Have you been wondering how to set up a VPN router at home? There are many benefits in terms of security and privacy to be gained. You’ll also see that it’s a simple process once you understand the basics. This guide will help you install your own VPN in your router.
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How A VPN Boosts Your Privacy And Security
Getting a VPN is one of the best investments you can make. It protects you from having snoops intercept your traffic. This stops them from selling your information to advertisers. You may be aware that in the United States, internet service providers are allowed to track and sell their user’s data.
It also stops hackers from stealing your passwords or rerouting you to look-a-like sites that will steal your login credentials. Other attackers have even manipulated the packets themselves to hack your computer. You can read more about it below
There are a few factors you’ll want your VPN to have. Make sure your provider:
- Doesn’t keep logs
- Offers many server locations worldwide
- Has a kill switch in case you lose connection
- Offers separate DNS servers
- 24/7 support
Beware of people offering a free VPN. It costs money and time to run servers all over the world. They have to be making money somehow which means they would be selling your data.
Go with a host that offers a starting package at about $8 to $10 a month. This is a good way to know you’re dealing with professionals who are the real deal. Many of these companies give you better rates if you pick long-term offers over a year.
You might consider giving Surfshark a try. They have many good support articles on how to set up your router too.
How To Install A Home VPN Router
You may not know that you can set your router to always connect to your VPN service. This ensures that all your home traffic passes through an encrypted connection. You won’t have to log in every time you connect to the internet either.
It’s smart to set up a second router that is strict to serve VPN traffic. This will help you avoid ruining your entire internet connection if you make a mistake.
Look into common brands like Asus, Netgear, and Linksys to find one that is supported. You can check DD-WRT’s website right here to check your device’s compatibility.
You can also check if your router is compatible by googling, “ is Router Model OpenVPN Compatible.” This pulls up your manufacturer’s manuals and related posts. This may help you avoid having to flash your router to set up the software.
Flashing your router isn’t as scary as it sounds. It means that you can overwrite your router’s software and install something like “DD-WRT” or “Tomato.”
Some users enjoy being able to deeply customize things like their firewall settings. Other people use it to make sure the software is always up to date since many router makers are bad at security.
DD-WRT likely is the most popular option. It works for many routers and has a large community supporting it.
How To Install A VPN In DD-WRT Routers
This is an overview of how the installation process works to show you the process is pretty simple. The guide will be general since your router and chosen service will change certain settings. Your connection will be based on plugging an ethernet cable between your router and the main computer.
- Log into your router’s admin panel. The login will usually be the default gateway assigned to your router. Find it by looking it up in the manual, or typing “ipconfig” into your command prompt. The IP address will be under default gateway.
- Download your router’s version from here. Be very careful to have everything you need downloaded unless you have at least two routers. Flash your router with the DD-WRT firmware by dragging and dropping it from your downloads folder.
Use the .ovpn files from the servers you wish to use from your VPN host.
Give your router at least 30 seconds to reboot. Depending on your router it will do it automatically, or it will ask you to do it. You can press the off button and wait 30 seconds if it prompts you to.
- Try logging into 192.168.1.1 since this will probably be the new local login address of your DD-WRT setup. Set your new username and password. Make sure to write it down so you don’t have to do this all again to avoid doing this all over again.
Configuring The Settings Given To You
- Head into the DD-WRT control panel and open the “Setup” tab. Find the “Network Address Settings (DHCP)” part of the panel. Here you’ll enter your VPN service’s DNS servers. Check the boxes next to DNSMasq for DHCP, DNSMasq for DNS, and DHCP-Authoritative. Save and apply the changes.
Enter the addresses of the DNS servers from your VPN host.
- Go to the “Services” tab. Go and select the VPN tab. Find the option to enable the OpenVPN client. Click the choice to next to “Start OpenVPN Client” to enable it.
- While you are in the OpenVPN Client tab, make sure of a few settings.
Your port will probably be 1194 or 1195 according to your service’ s directions. Your “Tunnel Device” will likely be TUN and your “Tunnel Protocol will probably be “UDP.” Then, enter your username and password you set up with the host.
Double-check with their support article to make your settings match your provider’s. They may require you to use certain encryption too.
- You may need to go into the “Additional Config” option to enter in a few commands like, “cipher “AES-256-GCM,” “remote-cert-tls-server,” and the other things your host will require to use their service. These are just examples because some service providers will require quite a few.
- You’ll need to locate the “CA certificates and TLS auth keys” from your .ovpn files from your provider. Open these with a simple text editor like Notepad++, which you can download it for free. Then, copy and paste this into you “CA cert” input field. You’ll need the parts the say “—BEGIN CERTIFICATE—” and “—END CERTIFICATE—”
- The next step will be similar. You’ll copy and paste the text starting with, “—-BEGIN OpenVPN Static key V1—” and ends with, “—-BEGIN OpenVPN Static key V1—–”
Click the choice to save and apply your changes.
- Go over to the Status > OpenVPN tab in your menu. Look under “State” to see if the “Client:” box says “CONNECTED SUCCESS” This is a good sign.
- Now, go to a site like dnsleaktest.com or ipleak.net. This will make sure your browsing is secure and private.
You might find this article from DD-WRT useful if you run into any trouble.
Closing Thoughts About Home VPN Routers
You can make sure all your home traffic gets an extra layer of protection and privacy. By flashing your current router, or adding a second flashed router, you can avoid having to worry about logging into your service every single time.
Just make sure you pick a decent VPN host. They’ll give you specific guides on how to configure your device to use their services. Make this easier for yourself by getting a router that is “OpenVPN” compatible. Or you can opt to get a router that is VPN compatible out of the box.
Once it’s installed, your traffic will be more secure and you won’t have to worry about those that want to track you. Never leave your privacy to chance.