The Best VPNs for Routers in 2024 Reviewed

The best VPNs for routers can protect you online on every device connected to them while you browse, stream, and torrent.

Surfshark is our top choice, with wide-ranging support for routers, enabling you to mask your IP address while maintaining impressive connection speeds. To help you find the right option for you, we’ll assess how the best router VPN solutions stack up in terms of security, speed, compatibility, and privacy.

Read on and see which VPN providers are best for

Surfshark
9.5
Review
ExpressVPN
9.2
Review
NordVPN
9.2
Review
CyberGhostVPN
8.7
Review
PureVPN
9.4
Review
IvacyVPN
8.7
Review
TotalAV VPN
8.2
Review
PrivadoVPN
8.6
Review
IPVanish
8.3
Review

The Best Router VPNs Ranked

Here’s a quick breakdown of the best router VPN solutions based on their compatibility, speed, and privacy features.

  1. Surfshark – Overall best VPN for routers, with wide-ranging support and robust features.
  2. ExpressVPN – Strong option for downloading and uploading files, and with its own VPN router.
  3. NordVPN –  The best VPN for privacy, with great router VPN app.
  4. CyberGhost – Large network and servers optimized for gaming, torrenting, and streaming.
  5. PureVPN – Excellent privacy features and great at bypassing geo-restrictions.
  6. IvacyVPN – Eliminates network slowdowns while streaming.

The Top Router-Based VPNs Reviewed

Getting the best router VPN allows you to secure all the devices connected to your network from one centralized hub without individual configuration. This provides you with enhanced online privacy and security for all internet activity from your home or business.

Our guide to the best VPNs for routers compares the top providers based on in-depth, hands-on testing and a thorough evaluation of their features and functionality. Read on to learn more.

1. Surfshark – Overall Best VPN for Routers

An image of Surfshark's logo on a white background.

Router Compatibility Top 3 Features Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Wide router support – MultiHop VPN connections
– Private search engine
– Unlimited connections
$2.29/month Unlimited 3,200 100+

Surfshark is the best VPN for router in 2024. With its Nexus technology, users are connected to the entire network rather than just one server, enhancing security and privacy.

Surfshark VPN has partnered with FlashRouters enabling users to control router VPN settings easily with the help of FlashRouter’s app.

Surfshark is compatible with a variety of models from Asus, DD-WRT, GL.iNet, Linksys, Mikrotik, OpenWRT, pfSense, Sabai, Synology NAS, Tomato, and QNAP. Moreover, for easy setup, the provider offers detailed step-by-step instructions for each router brand with images and relevant links.

Once you link your router to Surfshark, using the IP rotator and IP randomizer, the service will periodically change your IP address while keeping your router connected to the VPN.

These features make it far harder to track you – and having them built into your router means you can set and forget them. The kill switch and Camouflage features will further assist with ensuring all your connections remain secure, preventing leaks, and stopping sites from registering VPN usage.

In terms of security, Surfshark has industry-standard AES-256 encryption, and an audited no-logs policy, ensuring your online activities remain private and untraceable.

While there is no free router plan or a trial period, Surfshark retails for just $2.29/month. Plus, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you enough time to test all its capabilities, and it doesn’t stop it from being the best VPN for home routers.

Read our full Surfshark review.

Pros

  • Nexus VPN network ensures security
  • Compatible with a wide range of routers
  • Unlimited connections for additional devices
  • Great value for money
  • Best VPN for Asus routers

Cons

  • No free plan or trial
  • No dedicated router app

2. ExpressVPN – Secure VPN with an Off-The-Shelf VPN Router Model

An image of ExpressVPN's logo on a white background.

Router Compatibility Top 3 Features Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Branded router and wide router support – High-speed connections
– Large server network
– Custom Lightway protocol
$6.67/month 8 3,000+ 105

ExpressVPN uses a custom, next-gen tunneling protocol for high-speed, secure connections. A particularly strong feature for routers is the fact that you can set up to five device groups, enabling different devices to access up to five different server locations at the same time from the router.

With some 3,000 servers across 105 countries, ExpressVPN doesn’t boast the largest server network – CyberGhost VPN has 11,500 servers, while NordVPN has 6,200. Nevertheless, ExpressVPN’s server fleet is significantly larger than what PrivadoVPN has to offer.

ExpressVPN supports streaming with its MediaStreamer feature, which you can assign to a specific device group. This allows users to unblock multiple streaming services that don’t otherwise support virtual private network access.

This VPN service is compatible with most routers, including models from Asus, Linksys, and Netgear, and can be configured on D-Link, DD-WRT, Netduma, Sabai, Tomato, TP-Link, and Xiaomi devices. There are also detailed tutorials if you need help installing a VPN on your home router.

That’s not to mention ExpressVPN’s own Aircove VPN router. This dual-band WiFi 6 router has ExpressVPN pre-installed, along with its Threat Manager and ad blocker.

It’s easy to set up and is a great way to connect unlimited devices to your ExpressVPN account – and it has an official seal of approval, having been audited for security by cybersecurity firm Cure53.

Read our full ExpressVPN review for more details.

Pros

  • Made-for-VPN Aircove router
  • Broad support for routers
  • Threat Manager and ad blocker installed on router
  • Audited no-logs policy
  • No IP leaks were detected

Cons

  • More expensive than the average
  • Fewer servers than its main competitors

3. NordVPN – Best VPN for Privacy, with Strong Malware Protection

An image of NordVPN's logo on a white background.

Router Compatibility Top 3 Features Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Branded router and wide router support – NordLynx Protocol
– Threat Protection
– Blocks malicious websites
$3.09/month 10 6,200+ 111+

NordVPN is a great option for privacy, providing secure, high-speed connections backed by an extensive global server network of 6,200+ servers across more than 111 locations.

Nord has its own NordLynx-branded router and has partnered with FlashRouters to offer routers with NordVPN pre-installed. If a router supports OpenVPN, it’ll likely support NordVPN.

The provider recommends devices from Asus and Privacy Hero and is compatible with routers from EdgeRouter and Ubiquiti, GL.iNet, Netduma, Netgear, MikroTik, and Peplink/Pepwave or running firmware from DD-WRT, DrayTek, OpenWRT, OPNsense, Padavan, pfSense, Sabai, and Tomato.

The NordVPN service also supports a split tunneling feature. This allows you to choose which apps and programs use the encrypted VPN connection and which connect directly to the internet – which is ideal if you want to connect a smart TV to your router while enjoying great internet speeds.

Options like Ivacy might be cheaper, but NordVPN’s security and privacy tools, including ad-blocking and data breach monitoring, are first-rate, and it’s able to provide consistently high-speed connections.

Business users may also be interested in upgrading to the separate NordLayer remote access solution, which can authenticate and authorize users and control access.

For more details, read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Great connection speeds
  • Own branded router and wide router support
  • Excellent security features
  • Large server network with 6,200+ servers

Cons

  • No free plan or trial
  • No port forwarding

4. CyberGhost – Ideal for Torrenting

A logo of CyberGhost VPN

Router Compatibility Top 3 Features Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Wide-ranging support and easy installation – RAM-only servers
– Free ID Guard Monitoring
– Kill-Switch
$2.03/month 7 11,500+ 100+

CyberGhost is perhaps the best VPN router solution for torrenting. Its servers are optimized to offer high-speed connections and efficient P2P sharing, and there are no bandwidth limitations capping your use of the service.

CyberGhost recommends routers from Netgear, Asus, and Linksys and is compatible with a range of devices. The company also provides comprehensive guides for different router types.

While CyberGhost doesn’t have its own branded router like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, there are services where you can buy routers with the VPN pre-configured for you, so you just need to buy a subscription.

With over 11,500 servers across 100 locations, CyberGhost VPN makes it easy to find a nearby location and avoid overcrowded servers while torrenting, ensuring efficient P2P connections and numerous locations to access international content.

Another reason why CyberGhost is an excellent torrenting option is its effective kill switch. If your router loses its VPN connection, the app will instantly disconnect, preventing any data from leaking.

CyberGhost also has an upgrade package with an antivirus and a product that checks your apps are up to date. For $1 per month, this means you have advanced security built into your network from the router level.

Check out our CyberGhost review.

Pros

  • Dedicated IP addresses
  • Effective kill-switch feature
  • Large fleet of servers
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Lacks VPN obfuscation
  • Ad-blocker could be improved

5. PureVPN – Innovative Privacy Solutions

An image of PureVPN's logo on a white background.

Router Compatibility Top 3 Features Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Wide router support – Personal Privacy Manager
– Dedicated IP addresses
– Audited
$2.11/month 10 6,000+ 65+

PureVPN earns its spot on our top router VPN list with an extensive server network of 6,000 servers spanning 80+ locations across 65 countries.

The provider makes it easy to install the software on routers and boasts a detailed guide on how to set up OpenVPN and PPTP on various Asus routers. Models from Netgear, Privacy Hero, and Roqos come recommended, and PureVPN supports brands like Belkin, Linksys, and TP-Link, among others.

In terms of security, PureVPN distinguishes itself with some valuable add-ons such as port forwarding and dedicated IP addresses. It also offers optimized servers for gaming and streaming – something which ExpressVPN, for example, lacks.

Unlike PrivadoVPN and IvacyVPN, it also has an audited no-logs policy, providing additional confidence in the quality of PureVPN’s security.

PureVPN’s PurePrivacy personal privacy manager is an attractive upgrade feature. It blocks trackers – meaning your whole network is protected with a router connection – and can optimize security settings on your social accounts. You can even send automated requests to data brokers asking them to delete your data.

At $2.11 per month, PureVPN is among the most affordable VPN router solutions on our list, and its 31-day money-back guarantee means you’re protected if you find the product isn’t a fit.

For more details, see our PureVPN review.

Pros

  • Detailed router setup guides
  • Strong privacy features
  • Affordable router VPN service
  • 31-day refund policy

Cons

  • Add-on costs can accumulate
  • Lacks RAM-only servers

6. IvacyVPN – Stream Movies and TV Shows Buffer-Free

An image of IvacyVPN's logo on a white background.

Router Compatibility Top 3 Features Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Wide router support and router applet – TV and P2P-optimized servers
– Beats ISP Throttling
– DDoS protection
$1.17/month 10 5,700+ 100+

IvacyVPN is a great solution for streaming, with support for a wide range of streaming providers. You can also ensure you get the best connection possible with streaming-optimized servers, features to combat ISP throttling, and split-tunneling so only specific apps and services run through the VPN.

The provider supports a wide range of router types, supporting models from Asus, DD-WRT, D-Link, Linksys, OpenWRT, and TP-Link, among others. Comprehensive guides are available for each individual device with clear, step-by-step instructions, making the setup process straightforward and user-friendly.

Another reason we rate IvacyVPN as the best VPN for streaming is its extensive server network. It boasts 5,700 servers spread across 100+ locations. This ensures users have reliable access to servers around the world as well as being able to find a connection point close to them. We’ve found the service is able to unlock Netflix libraries for the US, UK, Japan, and Australia.

While IvacyVPN may not have as many security features as NordVPN or ExpressVPN for security locked in on your router, it is the cheapest option on this list.

See our full IvacyVPN review for more information.

Pros

  • Affordable long-term plans
  • Over 5,700 servers
  • Prevents ISP throttling
  • Clear router VPN setup instructions

Cons

  • Relatively expensive one-month plan
  • Outdated UI

Comparing the Best VPNs for Routers

The table below provides all the details you need to compare the best VPNs for routers side by side. Check out their key features, pricing, and server numbers, and find the best router VPN for you.

VPN Provider Best For Router Compatibility Cheapest Monthly Price Connections Server Count Server Countries
Surfshark Best overall Wide router support $2.29/month Unlimited 3,200 100+
ExpressVPN Highly secure downloads Branded router and wide router support $6.67/month 8 3,000+ 105
NordVPN Privacy and security Branded router and wide router support $3.09/month 10 6,200+ 111+
CyberGhost Torrenting Wide-ranging support and easy installation $2.03/month 7 11,500+ 100+
PureVPN Privacy tools Wide router support $2.11/month 10 6,000+ 65
IvacyVPN Streaming Wide router support and router applet $1.17/month 10 5,700+ 100+

How We Tested the Best Router VPN Services

We employed rigorous testing processes when compiling our guide to the best VPN for routers to ensure a comprehensive, unbiased assessment of each service and its place in the market.

The key criteria we looked at included:

  • Router functionality: The services on this list needed to have wide compatibility with different router brands and models, and we gave credit where providers offered detailed setup guides and additional features for managing router usage. Nord and ExpressVPN got extra points here for providing their own branded routers with their services pre-installed.
  • Connections speeds: Having your internet secured from the ideal is great, but it’s not ideal if your connection slows to a crawl. Given this, connection speeds and server reliability formed a key evaluation metric, as did capabilities and optimization for streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
  • Core functionality: Features like a kill switch, double VPN, and split tunneling are all excellent additions for router users and earned points accordingly. At the same time, features like AES-256 encryption and a no-logs policy are a given for most leading providers today.
  • Customer feedback: To get a wider perspective on the product, we also look for online feedback from long-term customers to ensure we can document the benefits, challenges, and drawbacks experienced by real users in regular use, which we might not otherwise come up against.

How to Choose the Best Router VPNs

Here are the main areas to consider when choosing the best router VPN.

Router CompatibilityVPN ProtocolsEncryptionStealth ServersSpeedServer Network

Router Compatibility

Compatibility is crucial when choosing the best VPN for routers, as not all providers are compatible with all router models.

To avoid potential issues in the setup process, it’s important to check your router is compatible with VPNs or to consider a replacement. Attempting to configure an incompatible VPN will likely mean you won’t be able to establish a connection.

VPN Protocols

Different VPN protocols offer varying levels of security and speed, but not all protocols are compatible with all devices.

OpenVPN and WireGuard – and the proprietary Lightway and NordLynx protocols based on it – are the fastest and most reliable protocols available today.

Different providers offer a different selection of protocols, with some also offering L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2/IPsec, PPTP, and SSTP, so you’ll have to determine what protocols your VPN provider and router model can support.

Encryption

VPN encryption is crucial for ensuring the security of your online activities and ensuring your privacy is maintained.

AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard with a 256-bit key) has been widely adopted by leading VPNs and is now an industry standard. Providers that don’t offer this are likely to be second-rate.

Stealth Servers

Stealth servers allow you to disguise your VPN traffic as regular, unencrypted traffic.

They use stealth or obfuscation techniques to help users bypass strict censorship laws while preventing third parties (like governments and service operators) from identifying your VPN router traffic patterns. This is extremely useful when encrypting all your traffic via a router.

Speed

The VPN speed should be close to your regular router’s non-VPN internet speed. In a broader context, a good VPN speed allows smooth browsing, streaming, and P2P sharing without noticeable delays (lags, buffering, slow connections).

Under testing, we’ve found Surfshark and NordVPN to be among the fastest VPN services.

Server Network

Make sure the VPN of your choice has a broad worldwide server network. This will allow you to access content in different locations as well as to find numerous nearby servers for fast, encrypted connections.

The ability to unlock content for specific countries is a game-changer for Netflix users – as we explore in our guide to the best VPNs for Netflix.

How to Set Up a VPN on a Router

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to set up a VPN on a router. In this guide, we’ll be using ExpressVPN as an example.

  1. Download the Firmware

    Go to ExpressVPN and navigate to the “Setup” option in the top right corner. You’ll find various download and installation choices for different devices and operating systems.

    Find and click on the “Router” option, and choose between installing it on your existing router, setting up a new router, and purchasing an ExpressVPN router. Select the first option if you already have a router.

    <strong>Download the Firmware</strong>
  2. Select Router Model

    Clicking the “Installation” button opens a new page. Select your router type from the dropdown menu and proceed by clicking “Next.”

    The webpage will guide you through the installation steps to make the process simple.

    <strong>Select Router Model</strong>
  3. Install Firmware

    Access your router’s firmware settings to enable VPN. Locate the “Connectivity” button and choose the “Manual” option.

    Upload the VPN firmware you downloaded in the first by clicking “Browse” and locating the file on your device. Click “Install” (or “Start“) to initiate the firmware installation and wait for the router to reboot.

    <strong>Install Firmware</strong>
  4. Set Up Internet

    Once your router restarts, click on the “ExpressVPN configuration” button. Click “Get Started” and wait briefly for the router to detect an internet connection.

    You’ll then be prompted to sign up with ExpressVPN by typing in the activation code and clicking “Sign In to ExpressVPN.”

    <strong>Set Up Internet</strong>
  5. Set Up WiFi

    Upon signing in, ExpressVPN may offer to collect crash reports, speed tests, and usability diagnostics for service improvement. This is optional, and you can decline by selecting “No Thanks.”

    The subsequent steps involve entering your WiFi name and password. Once completed, click “Continue.” Finally, the installation guide will prompt you to set the router admin password for future settings adjustments.

    <strong>Set Up WiFi</strong>
  6. Enjoy

    After you create the router admin password, ExpressVPN will confirm the installation has finished. You can check the connection status and the number of devices protected in the dashboard.

    Now, all that’s left is to choose a country and server and enjoy secure browsing, gaming, downloading, and uploading with ExpressVPN.

    <strong>Enjoy</strong>

Router VPN vs VPN Router: How Do They Differ?

While Router VPNs and VPN Routers sound like one and the same, these two are not synonymous.

A VPN for router (router VPN) is any VPN provider that is compatible with a router. Said providers might offer a dedicated router app, like ExpressVPN, or require a manual set up, like Surfshark. However, in essence, this refers to a software.

A VPN router, on the other hand, is a hardware Wi Fi router that already has a built in VPN, meaning you can enjoy the VPN functionality right away. However, be mindful that this solution often is much pricier than router VPNs.

Can You Use A Free VPN for Routers?

Technically, you can use a free VPN for your router. However, be mindful of the limitations that come with a free plan. These may include compatibility issues, data restrictions, limited server locations, and more.

While you can use a free router VPN, not all free plans will be compatible with your router.

Now if you find a compatible router and VPN, you’ll likely face relatively low monthly data caps, going as low as 10GB of use per month. Plus, free VPNs often come with fewer fewer security features and server locations as well as sluggish connection speed.

More concerningly, many less well-known providers offering free services are shipping insecure products or are actually data harvesters which should be avoided at all costs.

While free VPNs are very tempting, we do not suggest using them and strongly encourage you to opt for freemium VPNs with free trials.

Our Other VPN Guides

For more information on VPNs, check out some of our other VPN guides below:

FAQs

What’s a router VPN?

What’s the best VPN for routers?

Is it worth putting a VPN on a router?

Can you get a free VPN for routers?

Which routers work with VPN services?

Is it safe to use a VPN on a router?

Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert
Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…