- VPNs are wonderful little tools designed to protect your online privacy against prying eyes. However, using them on your default network might have some drawbacks.
- If you're considering deploying a VPN network-wide by installing it on your router, there are a few things you must take into consideration.
- Check out our best VPN-ready routers to simplify VPN installation.
- Visit our VPN Hub to discover more tools and guides to keep your online identity safe.
VPNs are wonderful little tools designed to protect your online privacy against prying eyes. There are truly the multi-tool of the modern era world wide web enthusiasts.
Truth be told, aside from protecting your privacy, a VPN can do so much more. For instance, it encrypts all of your traffic, circumvents geo-restrictions as easy as pie, and can even help you improve ping and reduce packet loss.
Unfortunately, all these security and privacy perks come with a price, and we’re not talking about paying the subscription plan. It’s well-known that using a VPN will affect your Internet speed.
It will also affect your connection if you’re using WiFi and can access your data just like your ISP. The good news is that using a VPN will render your ISP unable to see your data, so it’s a matter of who do you trust most.
So, long story short, VPNs tend to reduce Internet speed because there’s so much going on with them, including encryption, decryption, and not to mention the extra distance they add to your connection.
Does VPN affect router performance?
1. Using a VPN on your PC
A common misconception is that using a VPN on your network will subsequently affect everyone else on the network, including your router. If you’re not exactly tech-savvy, this might not be too hard to believe, so we’re going to debunk that right away.
If you’re using a VPN on your device, whether it’s a phone, desktop PC, or tablet, it will only affect you. No other user on your network will be affected by your VPN, security-, speed-, or performance-wise.
That also applies to your router. Using a VPN on your personal device will only affect the router in the sense that your router will receive encrypted traffic from your computer, but that’s it.
Also, any other speed or performance limitation will only apply to your device.
2. Using a VPN on your router
This situation is wildly different than the one above. All of your devices connect to your router, so in a sense, it’s not exactly accurate to say that using a VPN on your router will only affect this device.
In fact, since your router is downstream of every other device on your network, all network traffic gets routed through it. That’s why it’s called a router.
Your router, like any other flashable device, has a memory that it uses to run various processes. For instance, any additional security option you toggle might take additional memory (RAM). The same goes for any additional device you connect through it.
Deploying a VPN on your router will subject it to additional network management tasks. For once, a VPN encrypts and decrypts traffic, which is pretty intense, memory- and CPU-consuming processes.
Then there’s the fact that it must connect to a specific VPN server every once in a while, which also takes some processing power.
In conclusion, the answer is yes, if you’re using a VPN on your router, it will affect both its speed and performance.
But don’t expect it to tank suddenly. Depending on your router, the shift in its performance might be subtle or more noticeable, but it won’t all happen at once.
VPN-ready routers are the way to go
Generally speaking, most modern routers support VPNs, but you’ll have to get your hands a bit messy with manual configurations and whatnot. However, there’s a special category of routers that are VPN-ready.
If you choose to go with such a device, you won’t have to spend a lot of time configuring them, or at least you don’t have to come up with creative ways to deploy your favorite VPN on your entire network.
What’s the best router VPN?
We believe that Private Internet Access is one of the best VPNs you can use to shield the entire batch of devices on your network. It allows you to install it on up to 10 devices on the same account, so you might not even need to deploy it on your router.
If you have more than 10 devices on the same network (kudos, by the way), you’ll have to install it on the router.
However, note that these devices are wildly different from one another, both hardware- and software-wise. Therefore, you might want to check the official recommendations from PIA on deploying their VPN on your router.
Private Internet Access
Looking for an efficient router VPN? Try using Private Internet Access.
It’s also worth mentioning that certain devices that are not VPN-ready might need open-source firmware such as DD-WRT, Tomato, or PFsense.
Using a VPN can and will affect your router
The bottom line is that, while using a VPN service network-wide will do wonders for your security and privacy, it comes with some drawbacks.
If you install a VPN service on your router, expect to face some limitations regarding speed and device performance.
Make sure to check if your router supports VPN before attempting to deploy this type of service on your device. If it’s not compatible, you might need to flash your router with custom, open-source firmware such as DD-WRT, or Tomato.
Last, but not least, always check all the steps before you perform them, since flashing your router with unsupported firmware can do irreversible damage to it (you can turn it into an expensive paperweight).
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can expect your router to be affected speed- and performance-wise if you install a VPN on it.
If you want to deploy a VPN on your entire network, it would be a wise thing to invest in a VPN router. Check out our best VPN routers if you don’t know where to start.
There’s no standard way to install a VPN on your router, so you might want to search your VPN providers’ official recommendations on the matter.