How to set up a router with Surfshark


A VPN running on the router is quite a popular VPN connection method. This tutorial will help you decide if that's the best option and give general guidance on where to start with your router.


  1. Why do I need a VPN on my router?
  2. How to know if my router is VPN-compatible 
  3. What to do if my router is not VPN-compatible?
  4. Configure the router with Surfshark VPN

Don't have a subscription yet? Get Surfshark here.

 Why do I need VPN on my router?

Setting up VPN on your router might be a handy solution in the following situations:

  • You want to secure all devices in your household
  • The usual VPN connection method is not available (for example, on Smart TVs and gaming consoles that do not have native VPN support)

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to VPN running on your router:

  • You will lose access to most of the Surfshark features available on the apps
  • The management of a VPN connection will not be too convenient
  • The connection speed might decrease.
  • You must have a router compatible with VPN, one that has firmware with a pre-installed OpenVPN, WireGuard®, or L2TP client

NOTE: We recommend using Surfshark VPN applications on your devices to get the most out of Surfshark.


How to know if my router is VPN-compatible 

If you're looking for a new router, here are our top 5 VPN routers for your home.

But if you already have a router and you have decided to set up a VPN on it, you must find out if it is compatible with a VPN. There are several ways to do that:

  • Read your router's user manual and look for OpenVPN, WireGuard®, or L2TP instructions. If you do not have the user manual at home, you can usually find it online.

  • Find the model of your router and look for more information online. Usually, more people have the same router as you and have already tried to set up a VPN. 

  • Log into your router and check out the settings. Look for an OpenVPN, WireGuard®, or L2TP client. The most common way to do that is to find your router's IP address and enter it into the URL bar on your browser. If you don't know how to do that, check How to find your router's IP address guide.

  • Look at the routers section on our Help Center. We may already have a detailed tutorial for your router.


  What to do if my router is not VPN-compatible?

If your router turns out to be incompatible with VPN, consider purchasing a new one or installing a new firmware to your current router. Here's a few suggestions:

  • Install a widely used DD-WRT open-source firmware on your router.

    There are other firmware options available too. For example, Tomato firmware. Here is a list of routers that support Tomato.

    Reinstalling firmware might permanently damage your router if done incorrectly. Surfshark is not responsible for any damage that might be caused by installing custom firmware. 

  • Choose a router that comes with VPN functionality by default.

    For general guidance, we recommend routers running AsusWRT firmware, which is really easy to set up with a VPN. Here are several Asus models running this firmware: RT-N66U, RT-AC56U, Asus N-16, RT-AC66U, RT-AC68U, RT-AC87U, RT-AC5300, RT-AC3200, RT-AC3100, RT-AC1750, RT-AC88U, RT-AC66R

    Another VPN-friendly option is GL.iNet routers. These mini routers come with OpenWRT firmware pre-installed and already have an OpenVPN client. Here are a few models to get you started: GL-AR750S-Ext (Slate), GL-MT300N-V2 (Mango), GL-AR300M (Shadow).


Configure the router with Surfshark VPN


Once you have a VPN-compatible router, you can look for a detailed setup tutorial in the routers section on our Help Center. There we have tutorials for the most common routers, such as DD-WRT, AsusWRT, GL.iNet, OpenWRT, and others.   

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