Online security is not a joke. We use the Web to do a lot of important things nowadays. We pay for services and products and also feed trustworthy sites with personal data (bank accounts, addresses, credit card numbers, birthdays, etc.). All this data, if it falls into malevolent hands, can be used against us to do a lot of bad things, with the consequences ranging from stolen funds, identity theft, hijacked data and so on.
The above-mentioned reasons are a big factor in the growth of the popularity of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). They are a way of encrypting your data so it cannot be viewed or manipulated by outside forces. This type of software is usually installed on a PC, laptop, tablet or phone to improve the overall security of the device.
We are here to talk about a better way to utilize your VPN by setting it up on your router.
The benefits of using VPN through your router
These days, every home has multiple devices and installing a VPN on every one of them is a lot of work. Furthermore, almost every guest in your home will probably bring a phone with them and
you also need to ensure their safety while they are connected to your Wi-Fi.
This kind of setup protects all devices connected to the network, providing collective protection from ISP spying, surveillance and hackers. As an added bonus, you will be able to access restricted websites if you ever run into a restriction based on your location.
The downsides of using a VPN through your router
While they are not that big of a deal, we still want to talk about the potential downsides of using VPN through your router. First of all, you will lose a portion of your broadband speed. Somewhere around 10% of it to be exact and this is unavoidable.
Another potential issue is that you will have more difficulty accessing local websites. Websites that gave you access due to the fact that you live where you live may restrict your access as you will seem to be coming from the country you chose with your VPN. Even if they don’t block you, there will still be quite a bit of lag because the signal needs to travel to another country and back.
Neither of these two downsides is a big deal and will rarely if ever, disrupt the user in their daily online routine but we needed to mention them.
Picking up a suitable router
Not every router has the capability to handle a VPN. The firmware most cheap routers have installed is the standard OEM firmware. If you want to use a VPN through a router, you will have to get one that has DD-WRT firmware or install that firmware on the one you already own.
Installing the DD-WRT on your router comes with its fair share of problems. Firstly, to install it, you will need to flash your router and install new firmware. This process, even though it’s quite simple, can permanently render your router useless if you do it wrong.
After that, you can install DD-WRT firmware, which is free, but we recommend that you buy a router that can handle a VPN. They might be a bit more costlier than your average router but they will make the process simpler.
There is also no chance of your internet slowing down because your router lacks the processing power to handle a VPN (which is something that often happens with low-grade routers that are modified with DD-WRT).
Finding a VPN provider
Being that VPNs are very popular with online users, there are really a lot of providers out there. The main thing to look out for is that it’s stable and that it doesn’t have any bandwidth throttling. If you want to connect from a specific country, you want to make sure that your VPN provider offers enough exit nodes for that country.
For this article, we are going to use NordVPN so we can talk about a specific provider. Still, the process is not too different for other VPN providers.
Step 1: Download VPN setup files and extract them to your PC.
Step 2: By typing in the IP address of your router (can be found on the box) in the search bar, log on to your routers administrative interface.
Step 3: Go to Setup under Basic SetupTLS.key find WAN Connection Type and set it to Automatic Configuration – DHCP. Also under Network Setup where you should give your router a fixed local IP address. Go to Network Address Server Settings (DHCP) and set your VPN DNS addresses.
The boxes for Use DNSMasq for DHCP, Use DNSMasq for DNS and DHCP-Authoritative all need to be checked.
Step 4: Go to IPV6 menu and disable it.
Step 5: Go to the services menu, under the VPN section find OpenVPN Client and enable it.
Fill out the necessary information proposed by your VPN client.
Step 6: Download the CA and TLS certificates from your provider's website.
Step 7: Copy their content into their respective boxes located in the VPN submenu in the Services section. Be sure to add the following lines to their respective boxes “ —–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– and —–END CERTIFICATE—–“ and “—–BEGIN OpenVPN Static key V1—– and —–END OpenVPN Static key V1—–“ otherwise it won’t work.
Step 8: Go to the Status menu and find the OpenVPN section. If it says “CONNECTED SUCCESS” under this menu, then you have done everything right.
We hope that we’ve effectively explained the process of using a VPN through your router and why more and more people, especially businesses, are going for this technique.
The downsides are few, the investment is minimal but the safety is significantly better and it spreads out to every device connected to the router. Your data will be safer and you will have access to websites based on the country exit node you choose.