Using a VPN is an important element in ensuring that your data is secure. Setting up a VPN is not difficult if you have a proper guide. There are many options available and the following guide presents the best of breed set up for your home router.
Roll Your Own or Buy from the Pros?
There is great satisfaction in rolling your own VPN router. You can see from end to end how the VPN setup works and be assured that you understand how your network is configured. However if you are uncomfortable with setting up your own VPN router, there are several options available. The best option is to purchase through flashrouters.com. They offer great tested VPN routers and they also have a great support staff.
Choosing a Router
If you choose to roll your own, choosing a router comes down to a few basic points. First does the router actually support a VPN endpoint? There are many routers that support VPN pass-through but those features do not enable an end-to-end VPN from your router to a VPN server. They simply allow VPN traffic from a device to pass through the router. The router needs to have the capability to establish a VPN endpoint within itself. There are two primary routers that I’d like to recommend for vpn endpoints. The first type of router is an ASUS (RT-AC68U) Wireless-AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router. The RT-AC68U provides all of the needed cpu horsepower for great VPN performance. The ASUS router has dual CPUs and plenty of memory so they’re typically is not an issue with capacity for home users. However, if you are a heavy bandwidth user be aware that another higher-end router such as the ASUS RT-AC5300 Wireless AC5300 Tri-Band Gigabit Router may be a better fit for you.
Choosing the Firmware for the Router
Equally important to the router Hardware in the firmware or software which is the brains of the router. There are a few options available for Asus Routers. I prefer to use Merlin firmware as it has many enhancements over the stock Asus firmware. Another option is to use DD-WRT firmware which is a totally different variant of software from the stock OEM image. There are many enhancements that you can employ with WD DRT, but it is not quite as user-friendly as the Merlin firmware.
Choosing a Provider
There are many many many VPN providers available. There are so many VPN providers that it can be a challenge to determine who is going to provide you the best service at the best price. I have conducted a significant amount of research and have even built my own VPN servers in the US and in Germany to benchmark test against me commercial providers. The cost of running your own VPN servers can be prohibitive if you use a significant amount of bandwidth such as streaming Netflix or YouTube, but the security of running your own VPN servers can far surpass what the providers offer. For ease-of-use I recommend private internet access as very good choice for VPN provider.
Setting up your router (Merlin)
If you are using the Merlin firmware, setting up your router is very simple. You will need the proper configuration information from your provider. If you use PrivateInternetAccess with OpenVPN configuration is quite easy to set up.
Setting up your router (DD-WRT)
If you use the DD-WRT firmware the setup process can be a little bit more challenging but is not difficult by any stretch of the imagination. PrivateInternetAccess also has a thorough setup guide for DD-WRT.
If you have questions or are running into problems configuring your router to use a VPN, leave a comment and the SecurityTaco community will try to lend you a hand.
Note – This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers or affiliates. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.