If you have a VPN downloaded to your device, then you are already on the right track. A Virtual Private Network can help keep your information safe, your browsing private, and allow you to bypass geographic restrictions.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and the author’s views here do not necessarily reflect those of the blog owner.
There are benefits to taking your VPN a step further and connecting it to your wireless router. Doing so makes it possible for every device connecting to your network to be protected with a VPN.
Connecting a VPN to your router can mitigate the dangers the IoT (the Internet of Things) exposes you to. Your Smart TV or all-knowing refrigerator are likely using the internet without the protection of a VPN. Once your VPN is connected to your router, all the smart devices will be secured.
Why do the work of installing a VPN on my router?
Adding a VPN to your router enhances the security of your network and removes some of the pitfalls VPN users face.
Once your router has a VPN connection, there is no need to sign in each time you want to browse the internet. A VPN is constantly on. Any automatic updates or information sent to and from your devices will be protected without you having to keep track of the status of a VPN.
Anyone who visits your home and connects to your WiFi will experience added security without downloading or installing anything. As the information from your router out into the web is encrypted, each device using your network will be automatically secured.
The benefits of a VPN, like evading geo-restricted content, are extended to all your devices. This includes those that may have previously been incompatible with a VPN. A VPN connected to your router can allow you to change your location and view regionally restricted content on your Smart TV.
Your router counts as a single device according to your VPN service provider. Thus, any limits on the number of devices that can use the VPN are removed when connecting through the router.
Are there any negatives of installing a VPN on my router?
There are some drawbacks, but none outweigh the added security of having a constantly functioning VPN connected to your router.
Depending on how many devices are connected to your router at a time, your connection speeds could suffer. A VPN will always be on, as well, meaning you could be unnecessarily browsing at a slower speed when you typically would not be using a VPN.
If you like to access your home from outside (e.g., turn on the lights or access the security system), a VPN connected to your router may block these types of communications.
You may have to spend a little extra money up front to acquire a router that will run a VPN. There is really no “VPN router” on the market these days. Some are more adept than others at running the protocols required to operate a VPN. If your current browser is incompatible, then a new one will need to be purchased.
How do I connect a VPN to my router?
The first thing you must do is ensure your router is compatible with VPN services. A simple Google search of the make and model of your router will help with this determination.
Assuming you have a router capable of connecting to a VPN, log in to your router. Again, you can easily Google the instructions for logging into your router if you are unaware of this process.
Most routers are accessible by entering the IP address into the search bar of your web browser. Then, enter your username and password. If you have never changed the password on your router, now is the time!
Assuming you are using a router compatible with a VPN, you can Google the specific instructions for your router. These will dictate how to connect your router to the servers used by your VPN provider.
It is possible to reconfigure the settings on some routers that are less compatible with VPNs, but it can be complicated. In most cases, this requires installing a new firmware to the router.
Is there anything else I should know about using a VPN on my router?
Keep in mind that a VPN will always be on unless you go back into your router and turn it off. This means that you do not need to turn on a VPN on each device, and doing so could slow down your connections.
Changing the specifics of your VPN connection, like the country you are accessing the web through, will need to be done through your router. Check with your VPN provider to see if they have any extensions or apps that might make this more convenient.
Enjoy the increased confidence of knowing every device connected to your home network is now protected by your VPN.
This a collaborative post by Harold Kilpatrick.
Harold is a cyber security consultant and a freelance blogger. He’s currently working on a cyber security campaign to raise awareness around the threats that businesses can face online. https://www.linkedin.com/in/harold-kilpatrick-338ba615a/