Most people that purchase VPN service would like to be able to use that VPN on all of their devices. This is not a problem with most paid VPN providers, but many do limit the number of devices that you can run concurrently with one VPN account. It may be possible to get around this by setting up a VPN on your router. Be prepared, though. There are problems that you may encounter during the process.
Advantages of a VPN on Your Router
There can be some pluses to setting up a VPN on your router. Some of them can save you time and hassle while others can conserve resources. A lot of them just make good sense.
When you purchase VPN service and decide to use it on multiple devices like your laptop, desktop, and tablet, you will need to configure the VPN client on each device. An advantage to setting up a VPN on your router is that you don’t need to configure each separate device.
Using a VPN client can put a strain on a device’s batteries, so if you are using it on a phone or tablet you might see reduced battery life. When you use the router as a hub or central connection point for all of your devices you are putting most of the power load on the router itself.
A common problem that people face when using a VPN on a device like their PC is that the VPN connection can sometimes be dropped. It can be easy to miss this if you aren’t paying attention. This means that you may continue browsing for a period of time after the VPN connection is lost. That means you no longer have the encrypted connection of the VPN tunnel. When you connect a VPN to your router the VPN is always on.
Another thing to consider is whether or not there are multiple people using the devices in your home. It can be difficult to explain to younger children how to sign on to a VPN, and the same can be said for older adults who aren’t tech savvy. Connecting the VPN to the router solves this problem for you. You don’t have to worry about who is using the computer and whether or not they are connected to the VPN.
There are some select devices today that still do not have a built-in VPN client. Connecting the VPN to the router also solves this problem. If someone comes over and wants to connect a device that does not have a VPN client, no worries. The connection will still be encrypted when the VPN is connected to the router.
Disadvantages of a VPN on Your Router
Now we have to take a few moments to look at the downsides of connecting a VPN to your router. This VPN solution does not come without its own unique challenges that you should consider. There may be some performance issues that you wouldn’t encounter if no VPN was connected to the router.
There may be some local services that you use which block VPNs. If you have the VPN connected to the router this is going to prevent you from accessing those services. It is becoming more common today for some local services to block VPN usage. An example of this is BBC iPlayer. This service blocks VPN access, and that is true in the UK also. Using a UK VPN server won’t help, either. Those are blocked, too.
Another issue is that there may be a significant reduction in bandwidth and speed. The router becomes a kind of gateway when you connect a VPN to it. All the traffic passing through the gateway can slow things down. This might not be a problem for you if you are just browsing. If you are streaming media or using VoIP platforms like Skype, the reduction in speed can render your activities impossible to enjoy.
If the time comes that you need to find a new VPN provider you will have to make some adjustments to the router. This can be tedious and time consuming. All of the new credentials have to be put in place before you can connect the new VPN.
The biggest problem with a VPN being connected to your router is that a lot of routers don’t support a VPN connection. The ones that do can be expensive.
Do You Need a VPN on Your Router?
The truth of the matter is that not everyone needs a VPN connected to their router. For some people connecting a VPN to a device works just fine. You need to examine you own situation before you run out and buy and expensive router that will work with a VPN.
If any of the following apply to you a router on your VPN might be a good idea:
- You have several people in your house that use multiple devices
- You want your VPN to always be on
- You want your guests to be protected when they use your WiFi
Also, remember that your VPN provider has restrictions about how many devices can be connected to a VPN at one time. You should check with your provider to make sure that you are not violating the terms of service before you connect a VPN to your router.