Best router VPN quick menu
DDWRT made its debut in 2005 and, immediately, made a huge splash. The opensource router firmware is Linuxbased and enduringly popular. Why? Well, it’ll let you set up a vpn directly on your router. This is pretty handy, especially if you have a lot of devices you want to protect or gadgets that don’t have corresponding VPN apps.
DDWRT is also a great pick for folks who want to get more out of their hardware in terms of performance and versatility. Built with notquitesotechnical users in mind, DDWRT supports a wide range of devices, making it an increasingly popular choice among the denizens of the net.
The easiest way to achieve all this is to buy a preconfigured VPN router. However, you can install DDWRT on any compatible router yourself and save a huge chunk of money. But that begs the question: which VPN service should you pick?
Along with the rest of the team, I’m constantly putting the best VPNs to the test, comparing their speeds, security features, and pricing. We use these services all the time in our everyday lives, too, so you know you’re getting real reviews from experienced users. So, with that in mind, let’s dive into my shortlist of the 5 best router VPNs.
The three best VPNs in 2024
Need a quick answer? No problem. Here are my top 3 router VPNs today:
Best router VPNs of 2024
Why you can trust
We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Check out how my shortlisted services compare, as I dive into their security features and recent test results, and discuss everything I liked and didn’t like about each router VPN.
The Best VPN overall
ExpressVPN offers a range of preconfigured VPN routers, but also has a very detailed and clear tutorial for when it comes to setting up on your DDWRT router. The provider has even launched its very own VPNbuilt router ExpressVPN Aircove recently. The first of its kind to be powered by WiFi 6 technology, it delivers fast and secure connections while eliminating long and daunting configurations.
A really interesting feature is MediaStreamer, which allows you to unblock Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services from devices that don’t support the VPN, without needing to direct traffic through a VPN tunnel. Should you run into trouble during the process, ExpressVPN also boasts some impressive technical support including live chat with a response promised within minutes ‘day or night’.
In performance terms, this VPN is pretty good overall, with consistent speeds over both short and longer distances. Server coverage is also impressive with over 2000 servers across 148 locations in 94 countries, and you get P2P support. There is no logging of traffic data or your online activity.
It’s safe to say ExpressVPN costs more than most VPNs, but not by much. There is no free trial to test either, but all plans are covered by a 100% moneyback guarantee for the first 30 days. Of all the plans, the 1year subscription is the most reasonable option. The packages available are:
The best value router VPN
You can buy a router with IPVanish’s VPN preinstalled on it or manually set up on your existing router. The provider has a great knowledgebase detailing the router setup procedure, and there are over a dozen manufacturers supported.
In terms of performance, this VPN actually improved our download speeds, particularly on short hops compared to rivals. And on the security front, IPVanish supports OpenVPN and PPTP for DDWRT firmware, along with 128bit and 256bit AES encryption. The company makes it clear that there’s no logging of your internet activity, too.
The pricing page is the only fly in the ointment here. The official prices are a tad more expensive than your average VPN, with no option of a free trial to test things out. However, whichever subscription plan you pick, there’s a 7day moneyback guarantee, so that provides something of a safety net if you’re somehow not satisfied with it.
As ever, the annual plan is the best value for money, and with our Pro special offer, it’s considerably cheaper than it normally would be. The packages available are:
The best of the rest
The good news here is that there are tutorials which explain how to connect your DDWRT firmwaretoting router to NordVPN using the L2TP and PPTP protocols, as well as via OpenVPN. The provider also offers a selection of preconfigured VPN routers if you want to take the easy (and pricey) way out.
Performancewise, Nord more than delivers with aboveaverage speeds, even on longdistance connections. On the security front, NordVPN has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve including CyberSec for blocking ads, suspicious websites and malware, DoubleVPN for encrypting internet traffic twice, and Onion over VPN for a private browsing experience.
On top of that, the provider maintains a ‘no logs’ policy, which is obviously good news. NordVPN has a threeday trial, although rather oddly the company doesn’t advertise it on the front page of its site (find it here). This is a welcome option for testing as the monthly billing is quite expensive. The highly affordable limited 3year plan offers the best moneyforvalue. The packages available are:
There is certainly no ‘buffering’ here when it comes to streaming, as this VPN provider offered a consistently fast performance on both short and long hops with minimal latency in our testing, making it an excellent choice for responsive browsing and online gaming. You can either flash your router at home with DIY instructions available, or just buy one of the Buffered VPN routers which the company sells.
There is no free trial here, but a generous 30day refund policy which is valid for up to 10 hours, 100 sessions or 10GB of bandwidth usage (whichever comes first) goes a good way to making up for this. Buffered is a bit more expensive than some rivals, with the annual plan being the most affordable choice. The packages available are:
Undeniably the main attraction here is Windscribe’s Pro plan which allows for unlimited connections, so you can have as many devices connected to your VPN router as you want. In our tests, performance proved a mixed bag – shortrange hops were impressively quick, but longer distance connections exhibited a fair few fluctuations.
There is a free plan available with a 10GB monthly data limit, a generous amount of bandwidth you’ll rarely see elsewhere. This is great for testing on a single device, but if you want to run with a DDWRT router, you’ll need to go for the Pro subscription, because only that offers OpenVPN configuration (and indeed unlimited devices – you’re limited to one device with the freebie offering). The packages available are:
How to choose a VPN
For starters, you need a VPN that offers extensive support for upgrading your router with the DDWRT firmware, either through web guides or customer support. Ideally, you also want OpenVPN support as it’s the most secure and configurable security protocol in use.
The VPN’s performance should be speedy and reliable, obviously enough, with plentiful server coverage always being a big plus point when it comes to finding a fast connection. And as ever, look for pertinent security and privacy features to keep your online presence secure and hidden from prying eyes.
How we test VPN services our review methodology
We test the best router VPNs across various aspects, from the VPN’s speed and reliability to the server coverage and security.
We check how clear and simple the setup instructions are, how easily devices can connect to the VPN, and the download speeds. We look for free trial options, and assess the pricing plans to see how affordable the services are, especially over the long run. If a service had a refundpolicy in place, we made sure to mention that.
We’ve also examined the latency, privacy and encryption features, and the number of device connections, among other things.