How to set up a VPN on your router

Close-up of a man's hand as he uses laptop to connect to VPN

Image: Prykhodov/Getty photo

One VPN is an effective way to encrypt and secure web traffic and activity on a PC or other device. But if you want to protect all the devices on your network, one option is to set up a VPN on your router, thus allowing all your devices to access the same VPN and connect to the same VPN network. connect.

There are some requirements and restrictions for setting up a VPN on a router. First, your router will act as a VPN client, not a server.

This means that you will need to use an existing VPN service that you have access to.

Second, not all routers support VPNs, so you need to check your make and model to see if it does.

For this story, I will be setting up VPN access on my home router, which is the Netgear Mesh Orbi. Since the firmware for each router is different, your steps will definitely differ from the one I described for your device.

Also: How Top VPNs Compare: Also, Should You Try a Free VPN?

But you can still follow through and make the process work.

How to set up a VPN on your router

To start, I opened the router’s firmware in the browser. Most routers have a default IP address of But that’s not always the case. To double check your router’s IP address, open a command prompt and type ipconfig.

The entry for Default Gateway points to your router, so enter that in your browser’s address field. You will then be prompted to log in with your router’s username and password.

Next, I look for the settings for the VPN or VPN service, which is usually in the advanced settings. For example, the settings on my router are under Advanced settings. I choose that setting.

Enable VPN service in router firmware

Enable the VPN service in the router’s firmware.

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I turned on the option to enable the VPN service. With my Netgear router, I was then asked to set up a static IP address or a dynamic DNS (DDNS) account.

Also: How to Connect a VPN in Windows 10

Both options work in conjunction with a VPN. With a static address, my IP address stays the same. With a DDNS account, my IP address information is updated automatically if and when my ISP assigns me a new dynamic address. In this case I use the option for DDNS.

Enable DDNS . service

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Then I signed up for one of the free DDNS accounts offered through Netgear. I go to the dynamic DNS settings in the router and log in with the account.

Login page for DDNS . account

Sign in with your DDNS account.

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After logging in with my DDNS account, I went back to the settings for the VPN and downloaded the necessary configuration file for Windows.

Two windows open to download files

Download the required configuration file for Windows.

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Next, I am prompted to install the VPN client on the devices that I want to use based on the operating system. Since I am using a Windows PC, I download and install the client package for Windows.

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But there are also plans for Mac and mobile devices. For my router, Netgear led me to OpenVPN, an open source VPN protocol and service. I install the OpenVPN client and then import the VPN configuration file into it.

Two windows open for entering credentials into the VPN client

Enter the confirmation information into the VPN client.

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Next, I had to test and rename the network connection to use the new VPN network. In Windows 10, I go to Settings > Network & Internet and select the option for Change adapter options.

Network connection settings

Check network connection.

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I look for a connection that contains the string: Click OpenVPN and rename it NETGEAR-VPN.

Network connection rename window

Rename the network connection.

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Finally, I double-clicked the VPN client icon in the System Tray to connect. A status window tells me I’m connected. Then I browse to different websites. Back in the VPN client status window, I can see that data is being sent and received.

VPN connection pop-up window and open Google window

Turn on the VPN connection and browse the web.

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Your experience will vary depending on your router model and manufacturer. Some routers require a program called DD0-WRT, which adds extra features not found in the router’s built-in firmware.

Also: 4 Best Travel VPNs

And while my Netgear router wants DDNS to use the VPN, that requirement may not be necessary in all cases. So while your mileage will vary, you’ll still need to follow a similar set of steps to take advantage of a VPN on your router.


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