With the privacy, security, and anonymity benefits that a virtual private network (VPN) provides, the personal use of VPN has grown in popularity.
But what if you want to configure a VPN with many devices at your home or small office? In this article, you will learn how to set up a VPN on your router without installing a separate client, saving time and effort.
What is VPN? How does it work?
If you want to keep your identity online and protect your internet traffic, VPN is the most trouble-free and effective solution. Connecting to a trusted Virtual Private Network server ensures encrypted connections, which add a security level to your data traffic. Hackers and service providers will not be able to have access to it.
It is easy for individual users to get all these benefits by simply installing a VPN client on the device and ensuring it's active before starting any web or cloud session.
Using a VPN makes the device appear in another geographic location, so cookies or hackers cannot trace the device and its streams.
On the other hand, for small business co-workers and families, it takes another way to get the same benefits efficiently. Instead of installing a separate client on each device, installing a VPN client on the router saves you better time and is easier than you think. Once you have a router VPN, you will be surprised to unlock new benefits you might not have expected.
What is a VPN router?
Unlike a regular Wi-Fi router that allows VPN traffic and does not perform VPN functionalities, having a VPN router automatically allows anyone to browse the web or access a cloud service using the local network.
This also allows data traffic in each device connected to your router to pass through an encrypted tunnel. It covers new devices with no further setup and even guests who visit and use your connection.
From the business perspective, a VPN router allows secure and reliable remote connectivity to a company's data and internal resources anytime and anywhere. It also facilitates seamless work collaboration and reduces a company's overall IT costs. But how to install a VPN on a router? How to set up a router to work with the VPN? Let’s get started!
How to Install VPN on Router?
As previously mentioned, there is no need for a VPN application on your device. Instead, you need to manually configure the router's settings and download new firmware that allows for encryption with your chosen VPN.
Below is the step-by-step guide to successfully setup VPN on Router:
Step 1. Access the router's configuration page.
Connecting to my router is a simple task. You may access it by entering your router's IP address in your browser. If you don't have your IP address ready, you can find it through the following:
For Windows users
- Click the "Start" menu and type in "Command Prompt." Select it.
- Type "ipconfig" and press "Enter" once the Command Prompt window appears.
- Some information will appear, but the "Default Gateway" represents your IP address.
For macOS users
- Open "System Preferences." You may find it in the Apple menu.
- Select "Network."
- Click "Wi-Fi", then "Advanced", and "TCP/IP."
- Your router's IP address will be displayed beside "Router."
Step 2. Navigate through the VPN tab.
This is usually found under the advanced settings or Services of your router. If it's not there, click around to find it, as it can be somewhere else, depending on the router's model.
If it cannot be found anywhere, your router is non-VPN compatible. In this case, you can install the firmware to make it VPN-compatible. This works in most routers.
Here is how to enable VPN functions in your router:
- Follow step 1 or click here to find your router's address.
- Type the IP address in your browser, just like when you type a URL to access the router. Enter your router's username and password, which can be found in the manual unless you have already changed them. (Tip: You can try "admin" for username and password, as this is the common default for most routers.)
- Enter the model of your router to get the firmware. You may use the search box to search for the model of your router. It should match both the brand and the model number. Try OPENWRT or Tomato if you do not achieve to find it.
- Download the bin file. Be careful when doing so, as it can void your warranty or make the router stop working. This could happen when the software is incompatible or when you experience a power outage at a critical step of the update process. But don't be scared; most DD-WRT installs work just fine.
- Find the firmware update screen. Most router interfaces can be found under the "Administration" section, but you can always navigate to discover where it is.
- Upload the bin file and wait. Double-check if it is the correct file.
- Reset the default username and password. Enter 192.168.1.1, the default DD-WRT IP, in your browser and reset the name and password.
- Get your router properly connected to the internet. If there are further advanced settings needed, do so.
- Set up the VPN client. First, explore the VPN tab under Services and tick the "Enable" bubble beside "Start Open VPN Client."
- Continue the process with the following steps mentioned below.
Step 3. Follow your VPN client's guidelines.
This part is unique depending on the VPN provider. However, there are ready-made instructions for setting up your VPN client on DD-WRT. If your router is from VPN.surf, you may find the instructions here.
Step 4. Make sure your connection is VPN-protected
Here, you can run some simple VPN tests that you can find online. Be sure to test the location and any leak tests. This will take only a few minutes; if all looks good, you can move on to the next step.
Step 5. Enjoy your VPN router!
Now that you have successfully set up a VPN on your router, get the most out of it to enjoy safe and secure browsing. If you want a quicker connection, locate the closest VPN to you and connect there.
Lastly, don't forget to bookmark your router settings so you can easily access the VPN router settings anytime you need.
We hope this tutorial successfully helped you set up a VPN on your router. While having the VPN directly set on the router will keep the hassle of turning ON and OFF VPN from your devices. This will also remove the need to install additional third-party VPN software on your devices.
Your IP address will be masked with a VPN router, and all the data transmitted to and from your router will be automatically encrypted. This additional security layer will keep all your connected devices safe and secure.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I put a VPN on my router?
If you have a device that you want to connect to a VPN server and never to your regular connection, you should use a VPN router. A VPN router will be helpful when using operating systems (ex: Tails OS) that don't support most VPN software.
2. How does a VPN work with a router?
When a VPN is set up on a router, the traffic that enters the router from the ISP will be directly encrypted, and the IP address will be masked. The traffic will go through the VPN server first before going to the router's connected devices.
3. Can the police track a VPN?
Police can't monitor live, encrypted VPN traffic, but they can ask your ISP (Internet Service Provider) for connection or usage logs if they obtain a court order. Your ISP can tell the cops where to go because they know you are using a VPN.
4. Can VPN really hide your IP address?
A VPN can help you conceal your online identity by masking your IP address. It protects your personally identifiable information (PII) by encrypting your location and the data you send and receive. Your bank account details, Social Security number, and driver's license number are examples of this data.
5. Does a VPN show your location?
No, it does not show your location. A VPN can mask your real IP address with a fake one. Your IP address contains the location data; since the VPN is masking your real IP address, hence will hide your original location.
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