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5 Best VPNs for Routers in 2023 — Secure and Easy to Set Up

There are many advantages to running a VPN-enabled router, including extra protection for all your connected devices and unblocking geo-restricted content. A VPN/router combo is an effective and efficient solution for guaranteed privacy and unrestricted access. However, setting up a VPN on your router can be challenging.

After testing over 50 VPNs, I found the best ones that are a breeze to set up — from downloading firmware to tinkering with settings. These VPNs have secure global server networks and fast speeds, allowing you to use the internet with increased efficiency and privacy.

ExpressVPN is my top choice for routers. It offers a hassle-free setup and excellent performance, and you can choose which location each device connects to using the Device Groups feature. Plus, FlashRouters offers routers with ExpressVPN already built in. You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself risk-free. If you don't feel it's right for you, you can get a full refund within the 30-day money-back guarantee period.

Get ExpressVPN on Your Router Now

Short on Time? Here Are The Best VPNs for Routers in January 2023

  1. ExpressVPN — The best VPN overall that’s easy to set up on different routers and comes with top-notch security features and lightning-fast servers. You can try ExpressVPN with confidence as it's backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. CyberGhost — User-friendly VPN with detailed instructions on how to configure it on your router.
  3. Private Internet Access — High-end security features to protect all your devices connected to your router, but can’t unblock some streaming platforms.
  4. NordVPN — Fast speeds on all router-connected devices for buffer-free streaming, but accessing certain sites isn’t possible when Threat Protection is enabled.
  5. Surfshark — Vast server network to unblock international content from any device connected to your router, but headquartered in the Netherlands (which isn’t privacy-friendly).

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Today

Best VPNs for Routers — Full Analysis (Updated in 2023)

All the VPNs on my list are easy to install on a VPN-compatible router and come with detailed setup guides. 24/7 support is also available if you need help with the configuration. Plus, they provide strong encryption and other privacy features that keep you safe online without compromising speed.

Additionally, they all operate large server networks worldwide and come with a money-back guarantee, so you can try them out risk-free.

1. ExpressVPN — Custom Router Firmware for a Quick Set Up Without Complicated Settings

  • Its own firmware makes router setup hassle-free
  • Comes pre-configured on selected routers
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • Works with: Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, Tomato, Synology, Sabai, Linksys, D-Link, and more
  • Compatible with: Routers, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more
ExpressVPN Offer January 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

What sets ExpressVPN apart is its intuitive router interface and custom firmware that you can configure on compatible routers in just a few steps. During my tests, it took me less than 10 minutes to set it up on my Netgear router, connect my SmartTV, and watch Netflix US without interruption. Or you can skip the whole setup process and get a plug-and-play router from FlashRouters with an already built-in ExpressVPN. It doesn't get any easier than that.

If you already have a router (with DD-WRT or Tomato), you can opt for a manual flash. While a bit more complex, ExpressVPN's in-depth guides make it simple to do. Support isn't limited to written instructions; you have agents available around the clock via live chat, emails, and tickets for all your questions, big or small.

With ExpressVPN on your router, you can connect to multiple VPN locations simultaneously using the Group Device feature. This allows you to choose where each device connects to. For example, you can connect your phone to a local server (say the UK and get region-specific Google search results) and your laptop to a US server to watch movies on your Hulu account. I tested this capability by creating 3 device groups (you can have up to 5), each connecting to a different VPN location — the drag and drop dashboard functionality makes it very straightforward.

You can also use the internet on all your connected devices with greater privacy and security. ExpressVPN protects your router with military-grade encryption (AES 256-bit) and a kill switch (called Network Lock) which prevents your data from leaking if the VPN connection unexpectedly disconnects (however, this never happened to me). Also, it follows a strict no-logs policy, so your private information won’t be collected or shared. In my tests, I also tried 12 ExpressVPN servers and did not detect any IP/DNS leaks, which means your actual location and online identity will remain private.

True to its name, this VPN will happily load anything from Tumblr gifs to Netflix movies without you ever noticing a drop in your average speed. Using ExpressVPN's proprietary Lightway protocol, I recorded an average download speed of 35.2 Mbps — this is only a 12% decrease from my base speed. Considering you only need 25 Mbps to watch 4K, this VPN is ideal for streaming without buffering. And before you ask — yes, you can reliably unblock popular streaming services like Netflix and Disney+. It’s also P2P-friendly and provides unlimited bandwidth.

A screenshot showing ExpressVPN speeds held up well across all 4 servers — only experienced an average 12% drop in download speed.With such speeds, ExpressVPN will let you watch your favorite shows without interruption

The only drawback I found was its high price, with subscriptions starting at $6.67/month. However, ExpressVPN regularly offers great deals. I saved 49% on my 12-month plan and got 3 months of service for free.

It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can easily get a refund if you’re not 100% happy with it. To put this refund policy to the test, I canceled my subscription via its 24/7 live chat support. The agent only asked me a few questions about my experience with the VPN and then processed my request. I received all the money back on my credit card 3 days later.

Try ExpressVPN on Your Router Today

2. CyberGhost — Beginner-Friendly VPN That's Easy to Use on Routers (And Other Devices)

  • Simple app with easy-to-follow router set-up guides
  • Excellent speeds and reliable performance
  • 9,758 servers in 91 countries
  • Works with: Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, Tomato, Synology, Linksys, and more
  • Compatible with: Routers, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more
January 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost works with zero hiccups on compatible routers. Configuring the VPN is simple (even for new users) when following the well-written step-by-step guides on its website. Or drop a message to CyberGhost’s 24/7 live chat if you need more personal assistance. You can expect a fast, stable connection once you’re finished. Like ExpressVPN, it also has a partnership with Flashrouters — you can get the app already installed on some of the best routers available.

A screenshot of CyberGhost's router setup page displaying the instruction guides for different routers.You can configure CyberGhost on your router in just a few clicks using the step-by-step guides

It also delivers fast speeds for your router, so you won’t have to deal with long loading times. I tested 8 CyberGhost servers and averaged 32.8 Mbps, with only a 20% speed loss. I watched live sports on my ESPN and Kayo Sports accounts without delays. Provided your starting speeds allow it, you can use CyberGhost on your Netgear, Asus, or Linksys router and enjoy your favorite streams in UHD lag-free.

Your entire connection through the router is protected with top-level security features. AES 256-bit encryption and various tunneling protocols (including OpenVPN and WireGuard) keep you safe from hackers and snoops. I also ran IP/DNS leak tests and didn’t find any leaks. Plus, the VPN is based in Romania (outside the intelligence-sharing agreement of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances) and adheres to a no-logs policy. The websites you access and your search engine entries remain private.

What I didn’t like is the VPN’s expensive monthly plans with a short money-back guarantee (only 14 days). However, you can get CyberGhost’s long-term subscription for only $2.19/month. It offers the same features as the short-term options at a fraction of the cost.

Using its extended money-back guarantee, you can test CyberGhost free for 45 days. I tested this claim by canceling my subscription and asking for a refund by completing the ‘Contact Us’ form available on the website. I received a confirmation email within 24 hours and wasn’t pressured to stay with the service. My money was back in my bank account after 5 business days.

Try CyberGhost on Your Router Today

3. Private Internet Access — 24/7 Protection on All the Devices Connected to Your WiFi

  • Excellent privacy and security to protect all your router-connected devices
  • 29,650 servers in 84 countries
  • Easy to set up on the most popular routers
  • Works with: Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, Linksys, pfSense, Merlin, and more
  • Compatible with: Routers, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more
January 2023 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

With PIA on your router, all your connected devices are protected. It uses the highest level of encryption (AES 256-bit), a no-logs policy, and the gold standard in security protocols (OpenVPN) to protect your personal information. Also, if you get a VPN-compatible router from FlashRouters, you can download the FlashRouter Privacy app to control PIA on your router easily.

A screenshot showing you can protect your connection to the router with PIA's 256-bit encyptionPIA allows you to customize your level of encryption (AES 128 or 265 bit)

While testing, I found you can use its advanced split-tunneling to exclude specific devices from connecting to the VPN. This allows you to choose which devices access the internet from your actual IP address. It also supports a kill switch for network-wide security. This feature disconnects you from the internet if VPN drops, so none of your data leaks.

Its large server network means you don’t have to worry about picture freezing when your internet traffic passes through your router. A big server network means you can expect fast speeds for streaming as you won’t have to worry about overcrowding and congestion slowing you down.

I performed tests on its servers in Algeria, Brazil, France, and Germany and recorded an average download speed of 30.6 Mbps. This allowed me to watch movies on my Netflix US account in 4K without interruption.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t unblock my DAZN and ITV Hub accounts, but those were the only streaming platforms I had trouble with. I even tested PIA’s Italian servers and could instantly access RaiPlay and Netflix Italy.

PIA also offers reasonably priced plans — starting at $2.19/month. Monthly subscriptions are slightly more expensive without additional benefits, so I recommend getting the long-term option of 3 years for the best savings.

All plans also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you find the service isn’t right for you, getting a refund is straightforward. I contacted its 24/7 customer support to cancel my subscription and refund my money. I got a response immediately — my money was returned to my Payoneer account that same week.

Try PIA on Your Router Today

4. NordVPN — High-Speed Router Connections for UHD Streaming and Lag-Free Gaming

  • Good speeds for streaming without interruptions on all router-connected devices
  • AES 256-bit encryption and a kill switch to protect your data
  • 5,507 servers in 60 countries
  • Works with: Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, Tomato, Synology, Sabai, Linksys, D-Link, and more
  • Compatible with: Routers, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more

NordVPN delivers fast speeds for a smooth streaming experience on your router-connected devices. This allows you to watch movies and shows in perfect clarity on your favorite streaming platforms, including Hulu and Netflix. While testing NordVPN, I played Apex Legends lag-free on the US server. My average download speed was 28.7Mbps for nearby and far-away locations.

An extensive list of step-by-step guides for installing NordVPN on your router (like TPLink, Tomato, and pfSense) is available on the VPN’s website. I quickly set it up on my Sabai device. Plus, the service offers native firmware for ASUS WRT routers. If you run into any issues, it’s convenient to reach customer support through 24/7 live chat. Besides, NordVPN supports up to 6 simultaneous connections (router counts as one).

Screenshot of the NordVPN's router setup guidesNordVPN offers custom firmware for ASUS WRT routers

Accessing your favorite worldwide content isn’t an issue since the server network covers 60 countries. This means you can unblock your streaming accounts easily from abroad. I watched The White Lotus on my HBO Max subscription trouble-free.

It’s possible to choose the NordLynx protocol for a more significant speed boost on your router-connected devices. A super-secure OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) is also available. Among other security and privacy features are AES 256-bit encryption, a no-logs policy, and IP/DNS leak protection.

One thing to notice is that some websites (like YouTube and Reddit) aren’t accessible when a Threat Protection tool is enabled. However, you can easily access them when you turn this feature off. Threat Protection blocks malware and stops web tracking. I use it to block annoying ads on sites like The New Yorker.

The long-term plans start at just $3.49/month. I recommend the 2-year subscription, which is the most pocket-friendly.

You can try NordVPN on your router for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. I canceled my subscription through email, and my Union Pay card was reimbursed after a week.

Try NordVPN on Your Router Today

5. Surfshark — Many Worldwide Servers to Access Your Favorite Sites Easily When Connected to a Router

  • 3,200 servers in 100 countries to unblock your streaming platforms anywhere
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Easy-to-use apps for all levels of users
  • Works with: Netgear, Asus, DD-WRT, Tomato, Synology, Sabai, Linksys, D-Link, and more
  • Compatible with: Routers, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more

Surfshark’s server network spans 100 countries for easy unblocking on your router-connected devices. So you can stream your favorite TV shows easily, no matter where you are. I tested Surfshark’s US servers and watched The Great on my Hulu account without issues. Using other streaming platforms while traveling like Netflix US and Amazon Prime Video isn’t a problem either.

Screenshot of Surfshark unblocking Netflix USSurfshark let me access my Netflix US subscription and watch Honey Girls on my MacBook

The VPN works with various routers, such as Linksys, Netgear, and DD-WRT. Expert support is available 24/7 via live chat if you need help configuring the VPN on your router. Like CyberGhost, Surfshark’s website offers easy-to-follow instructions for manual VPN router configuration. It took me only 15 minutes to set it up on my ASUS WRT device following a tutorial.

Connection speeds are decent for high-bandwidth activities like UHD streaming, lag-free gaming, and torrenting without delays. I recorded an average download speed of 26.1Mbps on the US and UK servers I tested.

One drawback is that the VPN is based in the Netherlands, within the 9 Eyes Alliance. However, Surfshark follows a no-logs policy, so your personal information can’t be shared with any third party, even if a legal request was made. It also secures all devices connected to your network with top-level encryption, preventing hackers and snoops from getting their hands on your private data.

You can get Surfshark for $2.30/month if you opt for its long-term plan. I chose the 2-year subscription, which saves the most in the long run.

Additionally, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee backing the service. Getting a refund is very straightforward if you're not 100% happy with the VPN. I contacted support through live chat, and the money was back in my bank account 8 days later.

Try Surfshark on Your Router Today

Quick Guide: How to Set up a VPN on a Router in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I highly suggest ExpressVPN due to its easy router setup and ability to connect to various VPN locations simultaneously. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it with confidence.
  2. Make sure your router is compatible. Not every router works with a VPN. You need a router with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware, which is supported by most VPN providers. Sometimes, you will need to flash your router, which means reconfiguring it.
  3. Protect an unlimited number of devices. You can now secure all your devices connected to your VPN router.

3 basic router setup options

For an in-depth overview of getting started with a VPN router, look at our step-by-step installation guide. You essentially have 3 options:

  1. Get a pre-configured router. FlashRouters offers a variety of routers pre-configured for specific VPN providers. You won’t have to set up or install a VPN; it’s already done. But, you’ll have to buy a new router.
  2. Use a VPN-enabled router. The router is equipped with the right firmware (e.g., supports OpenVPN protocol) to easily install your chosen VPN.
  3. Manually flashing your router. If your router is not VPN-compatible, you’ll need to manually install advanced firmware (for example, with Tomato, OpenWrt, or DD-WRT). This is usually quite complicated, and not recommended for beginners.

Quick Comparison Table — Router VPN Features

The VPNs on my list are easy to set up and use with the most popular routers, offer robust protection and fast speeds, and have impressive unblocking abilities. Take a look at how my shortlisted VPNs compare:

VPN Lowest price VPN WiFi Routers from FlashRouters Works with Routers Speed
🥇ExpressVPN $6.67/month ExpressVPN Asus AC68U FlashRouter, ExpressVPN Linksys WRT3200ACM FlashRouter, ExpressVPN Netgear R6400 FlashRouter Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, Tomato, Synology, Sabai, Linksys, D-Link, Netduma, QNAP, Xiaomi, Invizbox 2, FreshTomato, Vilfo, pfSense, GI.net, Nokia, and Merlin The fastest VPN I tested
🥈CyberGhost $2.19/month Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT FlashRouter, Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter, Asus AX68U Merlin FlashRouter Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, Tomato, Synology, Linksys, Synology, and QNAP Super fast
🥉Private Internet Access $2.19/month Asus AX68U Merlin FlashRouter, Roqos Core Router + Protect 1 YR, Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter Netgear, Asus, TPLink, DD-WRT, OpenWRT, Linksys, pfSense, and Merlin Very fast
NordVPN $3.49/month Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter, Roqos Core Router Netgear, Asus,DD-WRT, pfSense, Merlin, Tomato Fast
Surfshark $2.30/month Asus AX68U Merlin FlashRouter, Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter Synology, Asus, Netgear, DD-WRT, Linksys, Tomato, Netduma Fast

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now

Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Your Router

Here are the strict criteria I used to shortlist the best VPNs for routers. However, if you prefer to run your own tests, then you can use these features as a checklist to ensure you find the best VPN for your needs:

  • Easy to use — Pick a VPN that is easy to install and use on your preferred router. Have a look at their router setup guides. If you don’t yet have a router, you might want to consider one with a VPN already built-in, like ExpressVPN.
  • Reliable customer support — Setting up a VPN on your router can be difficult if you’re a beginner. Make sure you choose a vendor that offers reliable customer support available most of the day via live chat and email.
  • Fast speed — Speed greatly impacts how quickly you can load and stream content. I tested the speeds of every VPN and only shortlisted the ones that allowed me to stream and browse with no lag or buffering.
  • Strong security — A VPN with robust security features like 256-bit AES encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and a no-logs policy will protect your router-connected devices from cyber threats.
  • Extensive server network — A global server network is essential for accessing geoblocked content. All of my top recommendations have servers located worldwide.

Try ExpressVPN on Your Router Today

FAQs on the Best VPNs for Routers

Why do you need a VPN for your router?

There are many benefits to installing a VPN on your router. Choose a VPN that's easy to configure and use to quickly secure all your connections through the router. Here are some other reasons you might want to get a VPN for your router:

  • Protect multiple devices at once. With a VPN on your router, you protect all devices connected to your network. Plus, your router counts as one device, which means you have extra connections to cover other devices that may not use the same network.
  • Use a VPN with devices that are not VPN-compatible. Once you install the VPN on your router, you can protect all your devices, even those that normally don’t run VPN software, like gaming consoles and smart TVs.
  • Access geo-restricted content. Having a VPN on your router makes accessing the geo-restricted content on your preferred devices easy.
  • Double protection. You can use the internet with increased privacy and security by configuring your VPN at the router and device levels. So, if one fails (very rare), you have a backup.

How do I check if my router is VPN compatible?

The easiest way to determine if your router is compatible with a VPN is to consult the router’s manual. Most routers come with a manual, or you can find it online. You can also contact your VPN provider and ask for a list of routers it supports. Consider trying a VPN like ExpressVPN with custom router firmware and 24/7 customer support.

Can I use a free VPN with my router?

Probably not. None worked on my router. Free VPNs are usually incompatible with most routers as it lacks the required software and setup guides. A premium VPN with great customer support and online tutorials is a more reliable option. Plus, they’re backed by money-back guarantees, so you can try them on your router risk-free.

Free VPNs rarely invest in the security features required to keep your personal data safe. Some even sell your data to third parties for a profit. Plus, mpose speed and bandwidth caps and restrict server locations, resulting in a poor streaming experience.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now

Get the Best VPN for Your Router Now

Make your router better with a compatible VPN — protect all your devices simultaneously, even those without native VPN support. The VPNs on my list are easy to configure on most routers, have robust security features, and global server networks.

My top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It offers pre-configured VPN routers through FlashRouters, or you can use its custom firmware to configure it on your VPN-compatible router. You can also test ExpressVPN out for yourself completely risk-free. If you’re unsatisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a full refund.

To summarize, the best VPNs for routers are...

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.8 /10
Save 49%!
2
9.8 /10
Save 84%!
3
9.6 /10
Save 82%!
4
9.4 /10
Save 71%!
5
9.2 /10
Save 83%!
Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Lawrence is a tech writer who's passionate about cybersecurity, renewable energy, and SEO. He always talks about online privacy, loves testing VPNs, and enjoys learning new technologies.

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