Best VPN routers in 2024 (UK)

The VPN — virtual private network — used to have a bit of a dodgy reputation. It was once considered a means for conducting nefarious activities online. These days it just makes sense for everyone to have an extra layer of security when browsing online. Especially when doing things like checking your internet banking.

Without a VPN, your data is effectively open to anyone because it’s not encrypted. While most people don’t have to worry too much about being spied on, it’s still an unnecessary risk. Circumvent that risk by installing a VPN. It’s simple enough to find a good quality VPN.

But before you just buy yourself a VPN, we’d recommend getting a router to install it first. It’s easier than installing a VPN client into every single device. Confused? It does sound a bit complicated if you’re not tech-minded. To help, we’ve put together a guide and a list of the best routers for VPNs.

What is a VPN?

The world of VPNs can quickly become quite complicated, but we’ll give you a quick rundown. A virtual private network encrypts your activity to shield your data and let you use the internet anonymously. It gives you an extra layer of privacy and security against hackers and data collectors. A VPN on your device will make your IP address untraceable and keep your data secure, which is especially handy if you’re using an unsecured public WiFi network. Even in your own home, a VPN is useful for secure browsing, bypassing some regional restrictions, and more.

How do you install a VPN?

The set-up is where things can get fiddly. One method is to install a VPN client onto every single device in your home. The odds are though, you have multiple devices that connect to your WiFi network, from your laptop and phone to your TV — maybe even kitchen appliances if you’ve gone all-in with a smart home. Installing a VPN on every device takes time and effort. Instead, you can download a single VPN client directly to your router. That way, every device connected to your router will use the VPN automatically. It’s the safest option, especially if you have kids or tech novices in your home, and if you want to keep things secure with minimal hassle.

What is a VPN router?

Routers don’t (usually) have a pre-installed VPN, but you can download a VPN onto them. Some support the OpenVPN standard which means you can configure a VPN with any provider that supports this, while others can have their firmware changed to a third-party alternative that supports VPNs. Setting up a VPN on your router can be tricky. But if you know what you’re doing and you have lots of devices you want to be covered by a centralised VPN, you’ll probably find that the benefit outweighs the trouble — it’s certainly less hassle than setting up a VPN on each device separately.

Should you use a VPN with your router?

Configuring your router with a VPN means that any device connected to your router is protected under that VPN. So, you don’t have to get multiple VPNs, and smart devices that can’t otherwise be configured to use a VPN are protected. Most VPN subscriptions limit the number of devices you can connect to, and you have to pay extra if you want to add on any additional devices. Configuring your router to a VPN acts as a sort of loophole that gets around those limitations. Because the router pairs with any device connected to your wireless network, they’re all protected by that one VPN.

One instance where a VPN router is actually very useful is if you happen to own a small business like a cafe where random people will be connecting to your WiFi throughout the day. The VPN router will help protect customers’ data and it falls to the individual if they want protection on their devices once they leave.

What are the downsides to using a VPN on your router?

As already mentioned, VPNs can be a pain to set up. It’s not like downloading an app on your phone. Just looking at the ExpressVPN setup instructions might be enough to discourage the average person from trying. But if you’re tech-minded or good at following instructions, you’ll be able to master it. We believe in you. And remember that protecting your devices via a VPN on your router means that devices won’t be protected when you leave your home and are no longer connected to your network.

Additionally, not every service you use functions properly under a VPN. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu work to block VPN usage to prevent users from accessing geo-blocked content (i.e. only available in other countries). Banks might also block VPNs to prevent cybercriminals from accessing accounts.

What are the best VPNs to use with routers?

Our top picks are probably NordVPN and ExpressVPN. It’s worth taking your time when it comes to selecting a VPN, because there are a lot of different services out there offering similar sets of features. Fortunately, we can help you find the best VPN.

What is the best VPN router?

The decision is ultimately yours and depends on your own smart home set-up and internet usage, but we’ve done the hard work of researching and put together this list of top VPN routers. There’s something for everyone here.

These are the best VPN routers in 2024.

By 111 Tech

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