Owners of Netgear routers looking to encrypt their home or office networks have plenty of options for which VPN to install. However, some are better suited to the task than others, and today we’ll guide you through the merits of the top contenders, from ease of installation to security and more.
Virtual private networks are the perfect way to keep your data and your identity secure. Running them means launching an app on every device you use, connecting to a recommended server, then using the internet as you normally would. The downside to this is VPN apps don’t always support every connected device. You also have to run the apps every time you want protection, which makes it far too easy for data leaks to occur.
One of the best workarounds for this limitation is installing a VPN on your router. A VPN router can protect your entire home network effortlessly and automatically. You don’t have to run apps on all of your hardware, and every device that connects to your Wi-Fi will automatically be kept secure. We’ve covered some of the best DD-WRT routers in the past, but today we’re looking at the top VPNs for Netgear routers, some of the most popular routers in the world.
Choosing the Right VPN
Installing a VPN directly to your router is a fast and easy way to protect your entire home internet connection. Once everything is set up you never have to think about it again, simply connect and stay secure. Game consoles, smart appliances, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even visiting friends and family can enjoy the privacy your home Wi-Fi offers.
Choosing the right VPN takes a little research, especially if you specifically want one to use with your Netgear hardware. We compared some of the top VPN services on the market using the criteria below to see which ones stacked up as the fastest, the most reliable, and the best to use on a Netgear router.
- Router support – Not all VPNs allow you to install the service on Netgear routers. We searched for providers with dedicated software or at least healthy support for DIY installations.
- Logging policy – Some services store records of user activity. To retain your privacy, always go for VPNs with a strict zero-logging policy.
- Reputation – The more positive reviews and uplifting testimonies a VPN service has, the safer you’ll be.
- Security – Strong privacy features like 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch are vital for solid online security.
Best VPNs for Netgear Routers
With the above factors in mind, we tested out a slew of VPN providers. The following VPNs are perfectly suited for use on your Netflix router:
ExpressVPN is consistently ranked at one of the fastest VPNs on the market. The service delivers incredible speed test results to servers around the world, allowing users to connect and surf the internet without any lag. It’s perfect for watching live TV, streaming sporting events, downloading large files through torrents, or watching 1080p and 4K HD movies. ExpressVPN installs without any hassle on a wide variety of devices, as well, including multiple Netgear routers, making it one of the easiest to use VPNs around.
ExpressVPN offers access to 3,000+ servers in 94 different locations around the world. You’ll always have plenty of options for fast connections and non-local IP addresses no matter where you live, work, or travel. Data is kept secure with 256-bit AES encryption and a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. The apps also come with DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch for even stronger online privacy.
ExpressVPN offers easy installation for a number of Netgear routers, specifically the R6300, the R7000, and the Nighthawk R7000. The setup guides walk you through the entire installation process from beginning to end.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
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- 94 countries, 3,000+ servers
- Very simple and easy to use
- Strict no-logging policy
- 24/7 Chat Support.
- Month-to-month plan has high cost.
NordVPN has some of the fastest speeds and most bulletproof security practices of any VPN. It achieves this in part through a massive network of servers, a list that’s currently over 5,400 strong and covers 59 different countries around the world. You’ll always have a reliable connection in the region of your choosing with NordVPN, and you’ll even have access to extra features such as DDoS protection, onion over VPN, and double encryption.
NordVPN provides several fantastic security features to help keep your internet secure. A thorough zero-logging policy on bandwidth, traffic, time stamps, and DNS access ensures your activity is never stored on any device long-term, and an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection features on the VPN’s software hide your identity. Finally, 256-bit AES encryption keeps every packet of data locked down tight for a sturdy foundation of online anonymity and security.
NordVPN’s support for Netgear routers is through the DD-WRT firmware and OpenVPN. Once you sign up you can view a complete tutorial on how to install the service to your router.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Unblocks American Netflix
- Different IP addresses aervers
- Torrenting is explicitly permitted
- “Double” data protection
- Money back guarantee policy (30-days).
- Some servers can have average d/l speeds
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
CyberGhost is the perfect VPN to start with if you want a balanced variety of features, including fast speeds and strong security. The custom apps are easy to use, installation is a breeze, and users will have full access to over 5,900 servers in 90 different countries, providing all the speed and non-local IP address you could ever need. No matter if you’re bypassing censorship blockades or just trying to stream movies from foreign countries, CyberGhost can keep your data secure.
CyberGhost also sets up a strong privacy shield to keep you safe online, starting with 256-bit AES encryption on all data along with a zero-logging policy on traffic, time stamps, and IP address. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch are standard with the company’s custom software for most platforms, as well, which seals potential cracks to ensure no identifying information ever leaves your device.
CyberGhost supports Netgear router installs through OpenVPN, L2TP, or IPSec connections. Once you create an account, you’ll find ample amounts of help to guide you through the setup process.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
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- P2P allowed on any server except in US and Russia
- Versatile and user-friendly
- Zero logs
- 24/7 Live Support.
- Doesn’t unblock all streaming services.
PureVPN is a feature-rich virtual private network that goes well beyond the usual VPN offerings. Instead of just providing privacy and security, PureVPN gives you an entire suite of online protection tools, everything from malware shields to app blocking features, DNS website filters, and even anti-virus protection on its custom software. These features work no matter which device you run the apps on, allowing you to keep your laptops, tablets, and smartphones safe at all times.
PureVPN’s server network is fast and reliable, currently sitting at over 2,000 servers in 140 countries. Data that passes through this network is secured with 256-bit encryption and protected by a zero-logging policy on traffic, as well. PureVPN adds DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to every version of its software for a solid privacy foundation, allowing you to stream movies and surf the web with complete peace of mind.
Unfortunately, PureVPN doesn’t support Netgear router setups by default. If you have Netgear hardware and still want to use PureVPN, you can either install the apps on your devices or flash the router with Tomato or DD-WRT firmware (see below).
Read our full PureVPN review.
Using a VPN on Netgear Routers
VPNs are amazing multi-purpose tools that encrypt and anonymize your entire internet connection with ease. Using one is like creating a private tunnel between your device and the world wide web. Instead of sending raw, open data anyone can take a look at, you enjoy private and secure access no matter which device you’re on, especially when you install a VPN directly to your router.
There are several different ways to access a VPN’s main features, including using individual apps and adding encryption to your Netgear router. Below we look at some of the pros and cons of each to see which one is right for you.
Pros and Cons of Using VPN Apps
Most VPN users are perfectly content installing VPN apps on their devices to access the encrypted web. This method is generally much faster, as all you have to do is grab a program and run it, that’s it. It’s user-friendly and extremely effective, and you also get access to the best balance of speed and security along with extra features like DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, when available.
The downside to relying on VPN apps is they’re not 100% secure. All it takes is forgetting to turn your VPN once in a while and your data and identity can be compromised. Furthermore, using VPNs with non-standard devices like smart TVs and gaming consoles can be difficult, if it’s even possible.
Pros and Cons of Router VPNs
Using your router as a VPN connection allows you to protect your entire home network with ease. Every device that accesses your Wi-Fi will enjoy the encryption and anonymity a VPN provides, including smart appliances and devices your friends and family bring over for a quick visit. Router VPNs let you set the security options and forget about it, making it the perfect method for anyone.
RELATED READING: Who Should Use a VPN?
Setup can be a lot more complex with router-based VPNs, however. There’s no one-click solution for any mainstream VPN; you have to manually create configurations, flash firmware, and so on. Furthermore, not all VPNs are compatible with all routers, not even Netgear products. If you have the technical skills to pull it off, though, router VPNs can help take the load off of your individual devices for true network-wide security.
Router Hardware and Firmware – DD-WRT, Tomato
The more time you spend looking at VPNs and router installations, the more frequently you’ll see the firmware names DD-WRT and Tomato. Both of these are freely distributed and open-source packages that provide an alternative method of running your router. They’re important for VPNs because they’re widely supported and can usually handle the encryption required by the VPN protocols.
Netgear and Alternative Firmwares
If you want to install DD-WRT or Tomato onto your Netgear router, you’re in luck. Both have wide support for Netgear products old and new. The flashing process can be intensive and involve both time and technical prowess, however, so you should only attempt it if you know what you’re doing.
Check the official, highly detailed installation process tutorial on the DD-WRT home page or the Tomato installation guide to get started. Follow the instructions and before you know it, you’ll have a VPN on your router!
Buying Routers with a VPN Pre-Installed
Some VPNs have started offering router sales with their software pre-installed. This is extremely convenient if you already know which service you want to use, as it saves the trouble of flashing firmware, worrying about compatibility, etc. The offerings vary widely between providers, however, so there’s no guarantee you can find something on a budget. Check with your VPN for pre-installed router offers before signing up with the service.
Keeping your devices safe with a VPN is no small task. Apps help make the process quick and painless, but for true Wi-Fi security, you’ll want to go with the router install method. Netgear products are supported by many VPNs, all you need to do is go through the installation process and you’re set. Once you have a VPN router in place, every device you use is automatically protected by full online encryption.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.