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.
- Why do you need a VPN on your router
- Check if your router is VPN-compatible
- Look for a new router or new firmware
- Configure the router with Surfshark VPN
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Why do you need a VPN on your router
Firstly, we recommend deciding if you really need a VPN on your router. It might be a pretty handy solution in situations where the usual VPN connection method is not available. The most common case is Smart TVs and gaming consoles that do not have native VPN support, and the Surfshark app can not be installed. In such a case, you can set up a VPN on the router, and all connected devices will automatically get VPN access.
Unfortunately, there are few downsides to VPN running on your router. By setting up the VPN on your router, you will lose access to most of the Surfshark features available on the apps. The management of a VPN connection will also be not too convenient, and the connection speed might decrease more compared to using only Surfshark apps. Plus, you must have a router compatible with VPN, one that has firmware with pre-installed OpenVPN or L2TP client.
We recommend using Surfshark VPN apps for your devices to get the most out of Surfshark.
Check if your router is VPN-compatible
Here are our Top 5 VPN routers for your home
If you have decided to set up a VPN on your router, you will need to find out if it is compatible with a VPN. There are several ways to do that:
- Read the user manual of your router and look for OpenVPN 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 sniff around. Look for OpenVPN 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. Here is a detailed guide on how to find the IP address of your router.
- Feel free to take a look at the Routers section on our Help Center. We may already have a detailed tutorial for your router.
Look for a new router or new firmware
If your router turns out to be incompatible with VPN, consider purchasing a new one or installing a new firmware to your current router.
- You can install a widely used DD-WRT open-source firmware on your router.
There are other firmware options available, for example, Tomato firmware for routers. 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.
- Alternatively, you can 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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