6 Best VPN Routers to Secure Your Entire Network in 2023
A VPN router encrypts traffic across your entire WiFi network to include all the devices connected to it. You don’t risk forgetting to connect an individual device to your VPN each time you go online, especially when you multitask with several devices.
Unfortunately, many routers don’t support VPNs. If you find VPNs useful and are thinking of getting a VPN router, you need to know 2 things — the best VPN routers and the best VPNs for routers. Since I’ve done the research, it’ll help you select a combo that works together.
I’ve found 6 VPN routers to be the best, while ExpressVPN is the top VPN for routers. It’s the easiest to install and has the fastest speed. You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself, and if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund.
Warning! Make sure your VPN is compatible with your router before purchasing either one to avoid running into problems later on.
Quick Guide: How to Secure Your Router With a VPN
- Get a VPN. Get ExpressVPN as it works on most routers and has the fastest speeds. It’s also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Get a router that works with VPNs. All the routers on our list work with top VPNs like ExpressVPN.
- Start browsing. Once your router is configured, you can browse, stream, game, and torrent freely, knowing that all the devices connected to your router are secured.
The Best VPN Routers in 2023
1. Linksys WRT3200ACM Router
- Speed — Up to 3200 Mbps WiFi Data Throughput
- Protocol — 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi Standards
- Connectivity — 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN Port, 1 x USB 3.0 Port, 1 x Combo eSATA/USB 2.0 Port
- Features — Simultaneous Dual-Band Support, MU-MIMO Technology, Tri-Stream 160 MHz Wireless Connectivity
The WRT3200ACM is the successor to one of the most popular Linksys routers, WRT1900ACS. To enjoy customized settings and advanced monitoring capabilities, you can replace the router’s firmware with open-source code. The Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming feature enables the router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This speeds up your network as each device doesn’t have to wait for a signal.
Some of the security features the WRT3200ACM includes are a firewall, VPN passthrough settings, port forwarding and port triggering, and internet filtering. You can also configure ports and set up IP addresses to allow access to your home network.
It’s easy to install and configure, even for complete beginners. Once it’s connected to your PC, all you have to do is access the router’s admin page to launch the setup wizard. Linksys WRT3200ACM is compatible with ExpressVPN, and you can even get it pre-configured — so all you’ll need to do is plug and play.
2. Asus RT-AC86U Router
- Speed — Up to 2900 Mbps WiFi Data Throughput
- Protocol — 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi Standards
- Connectivity — 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN Port, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 Port
- Features — AiMesh Wi-Fi System Support, MU-MIMO Technology, WEP/WPA/WPA2/WPA Enterprise Encryption, Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Frequencies
The NitroQAM technology (1024-QAM) makes Asus RT-AC86U one of the best gaming routers as it allows everyone on your network to enjoy low-latency gaming. It also has commercial-grade security and AiProtection, powered by Trend Micro, to block and neutralize malicious attacks and viruses targeted at your smart devices.
Asus RT-AC86U is a dual-band gigabit router. The lack of tri-band capabilities means it doesn’t have an extra 5GHz band to stabilize the speeds when you have multiple high-bandwidth online activities taking place simultaneously in the house. But a dual-band is usually enough in a non-business environment or for personal use.
The router can be set up via an app or browser, but you can’t use its app to manage your network remotely. You’ll have to be connected to your home WiFi. Though this model of Asus router doesn’t support ExpressVPN with a native app, you can set it up using the OpenVPN protocol with the help of an in-depth, step-by-step guide.
3. Synology RT2600ac Router
- Speed — Up to 2600 Mbps WiFi Data Throughput
- Protocol — 802.11ac WiFi Standards
- Connectivity — 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN Port, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 Ports
- Features — MU-MIMO Technology, Enhanced VPN Functionality, Network Failover Support, Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Frequencies
What makes the Synology RT2600ac router stand out is its modern operating system or firmware, called Synology Router Management (SRM). Among other things, it allows you to see all the open applications and packages and receive automatic notifications when something happens or malfunctions. It’s designed to be completely intuitive and navigable even for complete beginners.
When you connect an external hard drive to Synology RT2600ac, it’ll also work as a network storage (NAS) server. You can share data and stream content to local and remote clients through a system-created shared folder. The shared folder will be removed automatically when the external drive is ejected from the system. Synology NAS recognizes Btrfs, ext3, ext4, FAT32, exFAT, HFS Plus, and NTFS formats. Others will have to be formatted first to be usable.
If you use multiple ISPs to guarantee reliable access, RT2600ac’s Smart WAN lets you leverage multiple interfaces to ensure better connectivity and bandwidth allocation. If your primary connection fails, you can decide to failover to the backup connection or use both to balance the load.
Setting up Synology RT2600ac is easy. Just link the router and your computer to the internet, configure an admin account, and establish a network SSID. Finally, select if you want your RT2600ac to work as a router or access point, and you’re done. CyberGhost has a complete tutorial on how to use the VPN on your Synology NAS via OpenVPN.
4. NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000P AC2300 Router
- Speed — Up to 2300 Mbps WiFi Data Throughput
- Protocol — 802.11/b/g/n/ac WiFi Standards
- Connectivity — 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN Port, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 Port
- Features — Multi-User MIMO Technology, 1 GHz Dual-Core Processors, Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Frequencies
The NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000P is easy to install, thanks to the Netgear Genie setup wizard. The wizard launches automatically when you connect the router to your modem and turn it on. You can select the router mode or configure the R7000P as an access point. This router also supports ExpressVPN and has a complete setup guide to make things easy.
The R7000P is the first router to offer Netgear Armor, a cloud-based cybersecurity solution powered by Bitdefender. Armor is designed to protect all connected devices, including smart door locks, thermostats, and home security systems from malware threats such as viruses, spyware, and ransomware. It also performs routine scans on all connected devices and sends a notification when a threat has been blocked. Netgear Armor, however, requires a paid subscription.
Additionally, the router comes with Circle With Disney Parental Controls. The Basic plan is free and lets you filter content by age and category, pause the internet, and view browsing history. The Premium plan allows you to see how much time your children spend online, set time limits, and reward them.
5. GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Router
- Speed — Up to 300 Mbps WiFi Data Throughput
- Protocol — 802.11b/g/n WiFi Standards
- Connectivity — 1 x WAN Ethernet port, 1 x LAN Ethernet port, 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x Micro USB power port
- Features — GPIOs for hardware DIY, DDR2 128Mb / Flash 16Mb, 3G/4G USB Modem Compatible
The GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 or Mango, is a mini router to help you stay secure when traveling or using public WiFi networks in hotels, cafes, and airports. It’s bright yellow, weighs only 39g, and fits into your pocket easily. In the box, you’ll also find an instruction manual, a USB micro cable, and an ethernet cable. To power the router on the go, you can connect it to your laptop, power bank, or a standard 5V/2A DC adapter.
On the main screen, you’ll see 4 ways to connect Mango to the internet:
- A wired LAN connection using ethernet cable
- WiFi known as the Repeater mode
- Tethering mode uses your phone’s 3G/4G/5G connection if no WiFi is available
- A USB 3G/4G/5G modem with prepaid SIM card
This router is based on the OpenWRT software, which is a Linux based operating system that receives regular updates. Since the firmware is regularly updated, the router stays secure and enjoys the latest features. It also has built-in support for Cloudflare’s DNS over TLS, which means your connection will be secure enough to prevent interceptions.
GL-MT300N-V2 supports both OpenVPN and Wireguard out of the box and has a simple interface for configuring them. You can operate it both as a client or server for each protocol. If you’re already subscribed to a VPN, you just have to download its configuration zip file, drop it into the router’s OpenVPN settings, and connect to the VPN without hassle.
6. Linksys WRT32X Router
- Speed — Up to 3200 Mbps WiFi Data Throughput
- Protocol — 802.11a/g/n/ac WiFi Standards
- Connectivity — 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN Port, 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0 Port, 1 x USB 3.0 Ports
- Features — Optimized for High Performance Gaming, Killer Prioritization Engine, Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Frequencies
Linksys WRT32X router was designed with 100% focus on gaming to give you all the bandwidth you need to enjoy online games with minimal lag. Its Rivet Networks’ Killer Prioritization Engine automatically identifies computers and laptops equipped with Killer Network LAN hardware to prioritize them over other devices on the network for performance.
The WRT32X allows you to replace its firmware with open-source code that offers customized settings and advanced monitoring capabilities. But doing this will disable the embedded Killer Prioritization capabilities. But then, your computer must have Killer Networking hardware to automatically sync with this router and enable prioritization at all.
Installing the WRT32X is fast and easy, especially if you follow the directions in the Quick Start Guide. First, connect the router to your modem and PC and turn on the power. Then, access the router admin page to launch the Setup Wizard. It’ll guide you through all your options. This is another router that supports ExpressVPN.
5 Reasons Why You Should Use a VPN on Your Router
- Protect Multiple Devices — A VPN router protects all your devices, including those not supported by a native VPN app. You don’t have to install an app on each device since they’re all connected to a VPN via the router.
- Easily Connect to All Your Devices — If you have a Smart TV, Chromecast, Alexa, Roomba, or any other IoT device, the only way for them to communicate with each other is by being connected on the same network. A VPN router can do this.
- Increase Online Security — It’s safer to use a VPN router than a standard router with a and a VPN connection, as you don’t have to worry about forgetting to connect to your VPN when you browse the web. Your data is safe as soon as you turn on your computer.
- Unlimited Connections — Most major VPNs have a cap on the number of devices you can connect to the VPN. When the VPN is installed on your router, it secures all the devices that are connected to the router regardless of the VPN’s limit.
The Best VPNs for Routers
- 3,000+ servers in 105 countries with access to global content
- Military-grade 256-bit encryption, TrustedServer technology, and Network Lock
- 24/7 live chat and email support, video tutorials, and troubleshooting guides
- Secure 8 devices or install on a router for unlimited simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN is the #1 VPN for routers as it’s the only one with native apps for easy installation. All you have to do is install ExpressVPN’s custom firmware provided on its router setup page and configure the router. The VPN also provides video tutorials and comprehensive step-by-step guides for each router model so you can do it yourself.
Some of the routers supported by ExpressVPN with native apps are:
|Asus RT-AC68U (up to v3)||Asus RT-AC87U||Linksys WRT3200ACM||Linksys WRT32X|
|Linksys WRT1900AC(S)||Netgear Nighthawk R6700v3||Netgear Nighthawk R7000||Netgear Nighthawk R7000P|
These operating systems are also supported by ExpressVPN, but they require manual installation, which is slightly more challenging:
What I like about ExpressVPN is that I could just hit the Talk to a Human link at the bottom of the setup guide and start a live chat for instant help. My queries were answered by an agent in less than 3 minutes and the manual installation on my DD-WRT router was done in 13 minutes.
To make it even easier, FlashRouters offers Linksys WRT3200ACM and other routers with ExpressVPN built-in. They’re flashed and preconfigured with the ExpressVPN firmware, which means you can connect to the VPN right out of the box, without any hassle.
Another reason this VPN tops the list is that ExpressVPN has the fastest connection speeds compared to all other VPNs. I was able to stream movies on my laptop at 103Mbps without lags while 4 other devices were doing high-bandwidth activities on the same router network.
I could also connect each of my devices on the same router to a different server location thanks to ExpressVPN’s Device Groups. All you have to do is create groups (maximum of 5) for your devices and connect each group to a specific VPN location. Now you can watch movies from the US while accessing your bank account in the UK, and download torrents while connected to Switzerland.
If you choose to install ExpressVPN to each of your devices, you can only connect up to 8 at the same time. But if you set up your router with ExpressVPN, there’s no limit to how many devices you can connect to your router, and therefore secure with encryption. These include those that aren’t VPN compatible like gaming consoles, smart TVs, smart fridges, and other IoT items.
Though ExpressVPN is slightly more expensive than other VPNs, it’s justifiable as it’s the easiest to install on routers and has blazing fast speeds. The best deal I’ve found is the 1-year + 3 months plan at $6.67 per month. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try ExpressVPN for yourself completely risk-free. If you’re not satisfied, you can always get a full refund.
ExpressVPN is compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, routers, gaming consoles, and more.
2023 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 10,200+ servers in 100 countries
- AES 256-bit encryption, headquartered outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance and has a strict no-log policy
- Online guides, 24/7 live chat assistance, FAQs, and an online ticket system
- Connect 7 devices or install on a router for unlimited simultaneous connections
- 45-day money-back guarantee except for the monthly plan
CyberGhost is a premium VPN service that is supported by FlashRouters Privacy App so you can manage all your VPN connections from a mobile device. It’s harder to change your VPN’s settings when it’s installed at router level because a router doesn’t have an interface. Without FlashRouters Privacy App, you’ll have to do it through the router’s dashboard on a computer.
The VPN also makes sure that your router doesn’t slow down the internet. During tests, CyberGhost recorded excellent speeds for streaming, torrenting, and gaming, especially when connected to the nearest server. The 88Mbps average on local servers with only 16% speed loss was more than enough to provide stable connections during Zoom video calls.
Unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost doesn’t have native apps built for routers but it does support manual configuration for the most common router firmware, for example:
|DD-WRT||Tomato||TomatoUSB Merlin Build||Synology NAS|
Alternatively, you can get a router that’s pre-installed with CyberGhost if you don’t want to go through the tedious installation process. CyberGhost has partnered with FlashRouters to supply top routers with the VPN already installed.
Another good thing about CyberGhost is that your connections through the router are protected by top-level security and privacy features like:
- AES 256-bit encryption, Perfect Forward Secrecy and secure protocols to keep your data hidden from cybercriminals and unhackable
- IP leak protection to make sure traffic to and from all your devices remain within the encrypted tunnel
- An automatic kill switch that protects privacy when there’s a failure in your home WiFi network.
If you connect to a public WiFi network a lot, you might want to install a VPN on individual devices like your smartphone and tablet. In this instance, a single CyberGhost subscription will allow you to connect up to 7 devices simultaneously, including your home router.
The only issue I have with CyberGhost is that its monthly plan is quite pricey with a short money-back guarantee duration. Get CyberGhost’s long-term 2-year + 4 months subscription for a better deal at only $2.03 per month. It also comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee. I asked for a refund via the 24/7 live chat system and got my money back in 5 days.
CyberGhost is compatible with: Windows, iOS, Mac, Android, Chrome, Firefox, routers, Amazon Fire TV, gaming consoles, and more
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3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Advanced Split-Tunneling Feature for More Control Over Your Devices
- Largest network with 35,000+ servers in 91 countries
- Highest-grade 256-bit encryption, MACE malware and ad blocker, and a kill switch
- 24/7 live chat and email support, plus online knowledge base and guides
- Allows unlimited simultaneous device connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans
PIA is a great choice for routers as it has an advanced split-tunneling feature that allows you to exclude some devices from VPN encryption. I offer a valuable service to our audience, individuals who often watch YouTube videos on their smartphones. In these instances, they might not need extensive encryption, but they do prioritize faster internet speeds. Simultaneously, some of our readers use their computers for online shopping and highly value the security that a VPN provides on the same network.
Like CyberGhost, PIA has partnered with FlashRouters so that you can use a router bought from them straight out of the box. FlashRouters installs PIA on a compatible router of choice before it’s shipped out. However, you can also manually set up PIA on routers with the following firmware:
|DD-WRT||ASUS-WRT including Merlin||Pfsense||OpenWRT/LEDE|
This VPN also has in-depth user guides for manual installations although they’re not accompanied by video tutorials like ExpressVPN. Still, PIA’s customer support agents are available 24/7 via live chat if you ever run into any issues.
In terms of speed, PIA is fast enough to engage in multiple high-bandwidth activities. I recorded a speed of 72Mbps when I connected to a local PIA server to watch live TV and upload photos to cloud storage at the same time. There were no lags and neither activity was affected even when I connected up to 8 devices. PIA allows connecting up to unlimited individual devices at the same time.
The only minor detail that might concern some is that PIA is headquartered in the US, which is the heart of the 5-Eyes Alliance. However, I wasn’t too concerned since it has a strict no-log policy, so it has no data to share. Plus, PIA is one of the more affordable VPNs with the 2-year + 4 months plan costing only $2.03 per month. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee that I personally tested. And I was refunded within a week.
PIA is compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, gaming consoles, routers, and more.
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FAQs on Routers and VPNs
How does a VPN router work?
A VPN router works like a normal router you use at home except it has a VPN installed. One of the reasons to use a VPN on your router is that it has firmware to manage connections and direct traffic from various devices in the home to pass through the VPN encryption tunnel.
Using this method, you won’t have to install a VPN on each of your devices like computers, smartphones, or smart TVs. Your connection is protected at the network level, avoiding the necessity for installing it separately on every device.
Is a VPN router worth it?
Which VPN router is the best?
There are many excellent ones on the market depending on your requirements and what you intend to use them for, but I recommend the following as they’re the best VPN routers:
- Linksys WRT3200ACM Router
- Asus RT-AC86U Router
- Synology RT2600ac Router
- NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000P AC2300 Router
- GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Router
- Linksys WRT32X Router
How do I set up a VPN on my router?
It depends on the router and VPN you have but setting up a VPN on your router generally follows the same steps.
First, make sure your router is compatible with the VPN firmware. Manually installing the firmware can be challenging and it may require some technical knowledge. It’s better to learn how to install a VPN on your router by following the VPN’s detailed guides, usually available on their website.
Can I use a free VPN on a router?
I highly doubt it since even the best free VPNs don’t support router installation.
Even if you can, I don’t recommend it because most free VPNs don’t have the resources to set up multiple servers close to your physical location. Server congestion may arise as a consequence, causing a reduction in speeds. Considering that setting up a VPN on a router already has an impact on speed, it is recommended to steer clear of worsening the situation by opting for a subpar free VPN service.
You’ll also want to avoid a majority of free VPNs that are infested with malware and viruses if your main aim is to secure your entire home network.
That’s why it’s better to use CyberGhost for free with its 45-day money-back guarantee. You’ll have better control over your devices, excellent connection speeds, and be protected by other essential security and privacy features.
Get the Most From Your VPN by Using a VPN Router
There are many reasons why you might want to install a VPN on your router instead of individual devices. However, not many routers actually support VPNs.
When you’re in the market for a good router and VPN combo, make sure you pick a router that works with your chosen VPN, is easy to install, and has the highest connection speeds to support all your devices and online activities.
After testing dozens of VPNs and routers, I recommend ExpressVPN as it’s compatible with a wide variety of routers, has a native router app, and is super easy to install. You can buy ExpressVPN in confidence as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee — if you don’t like it, it’s easy to get a refund.