How to Setup a VPN Router to work with ExpressVPN?
Installing a VPN on your router helps you secure your internet activity on all your household devices. This makes all your data including your account passwords, credit card details, addresses and anything else you work with online almost impossible for hackers to grab.
Most users run a VPN software like ExpressVPN on their laptops or mobile devices. Running a VPN on your router makes this even easier by making a VPN connection available to any device connected to that router with no extra steps.
Moreover, a router running a VPN will encrypt internet traffic on devices that do not support native VPN applications. This includes the likes of game consoles and smart TVs. To the device, this feels like a regular WiFi connection, but there's some serious security activity happening under the hood of the VPN-enabled router.
It is not necessary for every router to be VPN capable; not all routers support VPN connections, and not all VPNs support router installations.
If you want to go ahead and set up a VPN at the router-level, it's a good idea to double-check your router’s manual first, to see if it supports VPN software to begin with. If yes, make sure your chosen VPN service allows for router setup before you buy a subscription.
VPN Router Setup Requirements
In order to use a VPN on your router, consider this:
A verified VPN account. If you are planning to get one, ensure the VPN service supports router installation, especially for your router model
It should support VPN client software
Take a backup of your current router configuration
After ensuring that the VPN you've chosen works with your router, go ahead and buy a subscription
Once you have the subscription, you are ready to set up the VPN on your router
VPN Router Setup Method 1: Using a VPN Router Application
An easy way to use a VPN on your router is to utilize a VPN service that has a dedicated VPN router app or applet. We recommend using ExpressVPN since it has a router distribution and is a tried and tested VPN provider.
Native router applications make it easy to switch servers and change router settings.
After a manual configuration your router, you need to install each server location step-by-step.
Note: log onto your router to follow this guide. The default username and password are mentioned on the card or box of the router.
ExpressVPN’s router applet and FlashRouters Privacy App
You can use ExpressVPN’s app with an ExpressVPN subscription.
ExpressVPN’s router applet is more user-friendly and much more informative than standard router dashboards we've seen.
The app comes with a VPN kill-switch and a type of split tunneling (named ‘Per device’), which permits you to exclude certain devices from the VPN.
ExpressVPN Router Applet Installation Procedure
Here in this process, we are using a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 for the following setup instructions:
Connect your router to the internet.
Log into the ExpressVPN account on your laptop and click Set Up on More Devices. Select your router from the list highlighted
Select the router model.
Click the Download Firmware button.
Log on to your router’s admin dashboard. You may have to navigate to the local IP address of the router or the local DNS name provided by the router.
Click on Admin. The Router will update, and then upload the ExpressVPN firmware.
Reboot your router and visit expressvpnrouter.com. Click on Get Started.
Enter the username and password. Reset your password.
Find your ExpressVPN activation code - this should be on an email send to you after you purchased your subscription.
Set a router admin password and click on Continue
After the completion of the installation process, you can take a look at the ExpressVPN router applet and its settings.
Once done then, select a server location from the list and click Connect.
This should get you started with a VPN connection via your router. In case you have any trouble, you can contact ExpressVPN for support.
Benefits of a VPN Router Setup
As long as you keep your router switched on, the VPN connection will always encrypt your home’s internet traffic.
With this, you don’t have to wait for your computer to boot fully before you attain advantages from VPN protection.
VPN helps in protecting all types of internet-enabled devices
You can’t install a VPN directly on certain devices like playstations and smart TVs.
A router can cover all your gadgets that don’t support VPN client software directly.
It overcomes ‘simultaneous connections’ obligations
Most VPN services limit the number of devices that are running the VPN at any given time.
By installing the VPN to the router level, one can cover many devices with one single VPN connection. As far as the VPN service is concerned, your router is the only device using the VPN software.
Using a VPN connection on a router can be compared to a firewall used on a network. Firewalls are enabled to protect the entire network by monitoring and policing all incoming and outgoing traffic while blocking malicious data caught trying to pass through.
Every Windows computer, for example, has a built-in software firewall; this is usually considered a secondary security measure, whereas the primary firewall is assumed to be located on the network’s router.
A router uses a firewall to protect the whole network, and it can also be configured to get connected to a VPN, which will encrypt and reroute all traffic being sent or received over the network. When a VPN is installed on your router, any devices that connect to its network will automatically be encrypted, and the system gets protected from malicious software or any other cyber-attacks.
Since your router will be connected to the internet via VPN service, there is no question of turning the service on or before you start your internet activity.
This may sound like a minor advantage, but it saves a little time on every boot and ensures that your devices are always protected as long as they connect to the internet via your router.
In other words, even if you forget that you wanted to connect through a VPN, you’ll still be protected by the router’s VPN without doing anything else.
Preventing Wi-Fi Poaching
Another advantage of connecting to a VPN on your router is that it can help protect your network from Wi-Fi poachers. Wi-Fi poaching is when an unwanted person connects and uses your wireless network without your permission. Often it is poachers that try to track traffic on the network and try to steal valuable data.
There are many other ways to safeguard your system from unwanted users on the network. These measures typically include using long and complicated passwords rather than using the numbers and symbols, as well as both uppercase and lowercase letters, and ensuring your router is updated.
However, even with all these checks in place, cybercriminals may still be able to gain access to your network. With a VPN set up directly on your router, your devices will automatically be encrypted, which means you’ll still have a certain level of safety and anonymity online.