5 best VPNs for routers in 2023

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: March 25, 2023 Read time: 21 minutes Disclosure

Having your home router configured to connect directly to your VPN service is one of the best and most powerful ways to harness the power of your VPN service and make it extensive to every internet device at home. This article tells you all about that.

Sneak peek at why you need router VPNs

Amidst the technological advancements, almost every gadget is now a “Smart” system technology, requiring an uninterrupted internet connection. Consequently, VPN security is inevitable for every device that somehow depends on the internet. However, not every smart gadget you own is compatible with the VPN apps. Also, most VPNs only allow limited simultaneous connections, making it difficult to secure the entire online traffic simultaneously. Nonetheless, you can follow a simple workaround – install the VPN on your router. Luckily, the best VPN vendors offer dedicated apps that are easy to install and configure on the router.

Hearing of VPN services makes most users think about protecting individual devices (phones, tablets, computers). But some VPNs support configuring a router so that all its traffic goes through the VPN’s tunnel, protecting the whole local network.

But do I need it? We hear you ask.

Well, gone are the days when no more than a couple of objects in a household would be online – one or two computers, typically. Now times have changed. This is the era of smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). Hence we need internet connections for TVs, gaming consoles, streaming devices, alarm systems, doorbells, phones, and tablets, not to mention Siri and Alexa. So more and more gadgets are online, sending and receiving packets over the internet.

The increased interaction with the internet raises privacy and security concerns. Could somebody be intercepting the data streams from your devices? Are they collecting intelligence on you? Who are they, hackers, your employer, your ISP, or a government agency? Or all of them, maybe?

We now broadcast more data to the internet that we can track or know. Unfortunately, that means we constantly allow somebody else to abuse it. However, there’s no need to think about a 1984 scenario. If Big Brother is out there, you needn’t worry too much as long as your traffic goes through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN secures all your traffic and solves almost every digital security issue.

But how would you secure all your devices with a VPN simultaneously? That’s where you need to install a VPN to the home router to get the VPN perks across all linked devices.

The top five VPNs to use with routers in 2023 – The quick list

If you’re in a rush and only need to get the gist of this article, here it is. These are the best five VPNs if you want to use them with your router.

  1. NordVPN. The best overall VPN in the industry is also the best option for routers.
  2. ExpressVPN. The most established name in the VPN world also delivers the goods with routers.
  3. Surfshark. The VPN universe-s enfant terrible take routers seriously and offers lots of resources in that regard.
  4. VyprVPN. A Swiss privacy champion that also has broad support for routers.
  5. IPVanish. This VPN has developed software that’s easy to use without a keyboard or a mouse.

What is a router VPN?

A router VPN is no different from a usual VPN client installed on a PC or smartphone. Regardless of the platform, all VPNs serve the same purpose; to tunnel your network connection through secure servers. Basically, a router VPN provides a secure and encrypted connection to the internet. Your online activity is anonymous and protected from prying eyes such as government surveillance, hackers, and ISPs. 

The convenience that comes with a router VPN is unmatched. The device comes in handy because it’s a one-time setup that protects all your devices provided they’re connected to the same router. Some devices, like game consoles and smart TVs, may not support VPN installation. In such cases, a router VPN provides a secure connection. When choosing a router VPN, select a provider that doesn’t limit the number of devices. This will allow you to connect as many devices as possible to the router VPN.

Using VPNs on routers – What’s the idea?

In the most common scenario, every device (such as a phone or a laptop) connects to its VPN individually. So, each device must have the VPN’s software installed and configured correctly. That is fine when you only need a desktop terminal, a laptop, and one or two phones secured. But the trend is to have more devices online, and many won’t support VPN apps. Hence, configuring a router is the best idea.

Some of the best VPN services support having your router connected to the VPN directly. Then every device at home that goes online through your router becomes protected without installing apps or setting anything up. It’s convenient, powerful, and even cost-effective.

Most VPNs will allow a limited number of devices to be connected simultaneously. But if you connect the router instead, you have only one active connection that protects every device, having each one connected independently. So, you’re getting a whole network covered for the price of one device.

Your VPN will encrypt all the traffic going in and out of the router. It means every device in the local network will have its traffic encrypted. Moreover, all that traffic hits the internet through a server in the VPN network. This server shows the rest of the world its own IP address as your own.

Since you can choose the server location, you can make the internet believe you are in another country. This feature in VPN networks gives you the advantage of unblocking geo-restricted websites. So if your VPN provider is top-notch, there is no downside to installing it in your home router.

Router VPNs vs. VPN Routers: What’s the Difference?

Router VPNs and VPN routers are different terms used interchangeably but have apparent differences.