VPN Router Vs. VPN App: Best to Use

8/2/2022

Security

VPN app may encrypt a single device, while VPN router enables the simultaneous protection of several devices (including computers, tablets, and smartphones) across a VPN network. If you’re confused about what to choose, then this article is for you.

A VPN router allows you to personally connect several devices, like your smartphone, smart TV, Xbox, and tablets, to the same VPN service. Businesses that invest in personnel and infrastructure maintain VPN servers. This ensures that your connection is active and functional around-the-clock, but the cost is less efficient. VPN routers are affordable, adaptable, and allow you to connect to several data devices simultaneously.

We will compare the upsides and downsides of utilizing a VPN router vs using a VPN app if you’re not sure which is best for you.

What is a VPN?

A VPN app creates a connection between your device and your internet services. When you join a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed over a secure tunnel to a server in another city. As a result, your VPN protects your internet behavior from your ISP, governmental organizations, network administrators, possible hackers, and other parties attempting to snoop on you. Additionally, you may fake your IP location and make websites believe you are in another country by using a VPN, which routes your traffic through a distant server.

A VPN may be used to unlock regionally restricted material, safeguard your online privacy, avoid censorship and surveillance, and more. Because of all of this, a VPN is an immensely useful tool that is necessary for protecting your privacy and maximizing the potential of your internet connection.

Difference between using a VPN App and VPN Router

You are technically performing the same action whether using your VPN app or VPN router: connecting to a remote VPN server to build a secure tunnel to the internet. The way you use it to finish this procedure makes a difference.

When using a VPN over a router, you must manually configure the VPN router to create your private connection. By doing this, you may use a VPN connection across all of the devices attached to your router without having to install a VPN app on each one independently.

On the other hand, using a VPN with a VPN app requires downloading the program directly to each device you intend to use while connected to the VPN. Just because you have the VPN app installed on your device doesn’t mean it will immediately start protecting your devices. To activate the VPN, you’ll need to open the app on your smartphone and connect to a server, though many VPNs now come with capabilities that let you join immediately.

VPN App: Pros and Cons

The VPN app has benefits and drawbacks when used on a PC or mobile device.

Pros

  • Access every function of your VPN. VPNs strive to stand out from the competition with their features. Additionally, if you use VPN app, you’ll have access to all of its capabilities, many of which you wouldn’t have if you used the same VPN on your router.
  • VPN changes server locations with convenience. You should be able to move between server locations with only one click using the VPN app. Need to travel quickly from Singapore to Canada? No issue, just hit the VPN app once, and you’re good to go. On a router arrangement, switching server locations might be much more difficult.
  • User-friendly. VPN app may be used by those who are not computer experts because most VPN providers create it with the typical user in mind.
  • Simple installation and setup. You can install a VPN on your device if you’ve ever downloaded and installed software or an app on your computer. If your operating system is up to current, you shouldn’t have any problems installing and configuring VPN programs on your computer or mobile device even if you haven’t.
  • Only the gadgets you actually need to protect should be protected. Sometimes you simply want to use your VPN connection to secure a few specific devices. You can easily decide which devices to connect to the VPN and which not to with a VPN client.
  • Connect various devices to various server locations. All devices you connect to your router will use that same VPN server location to access the internet. Using your VPN app changes that. If you like, you may link one device to Australia, one to the US, and one to Germany.
  • You can connect to a VPN anytime and anywhere.  You may connect to your VPN on your phone or laptop when you’re on the go as long as you have internet access.

Cons

  • Not suitable for all gadgets. Not every internet-connected gadget will support VPNs natively. For instance, the VPN app may not often work with your smart TV or game console. You must connect through your VPN router to join those devices to your VPN.
  • Each gadget must be connected independently. One of the drawbacks of utilizing VPN app is possibly having to independently connect each device to your VPN if you find it to be a hassle. You may connect all of your devices at once via a router connection (but to a single server location).
  • Several subscriptions could be required. If the number of simultaneous connections offered by your VPN service is restricted and you wish to connect more devices than that, you might need to buy extra licenses. That may become costly.

VPN Router: Pros and Cons

Even if using a VPN on a router has several benefits, there are also some downsides. Nevertheless, depending on your VPN needs, it may be an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Continuous VPN Protection. Every time you begin a new session with a browser-based VPN service, you must reactivate your connection. Once your router is configured, your VPN will continually operate regardless of your device. If you use a VPN router, you never have to worry about turning it on again. This significantly lowers the chance of exposing oneself online.
    One of the most excellent solutions to this issue is to secure your whole network using a VPN router. Your ISP has no access to any encrypted or protected communication between the router and the VPN server, which completely hides your browsing history.
  • Secure all of your gadgets. You don’t need to install different software on each device, the VPN will automatically secure all your connected devices.
  • Upgraded Router Security. From a security standpoint, upgrading your router is an excellent idea. Authorities and criminals have used router weaknesses in several instances to eavesdrop on people or steal their important data. If you use a VPN router at home, all of the devices connected to its network will benefit from your VPN. That implies that all your traffic will be secured by default even if you have visitors or wish to utilize multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Services for layered VPNs. If you’re utilizing a VPN router, it is considerably simpler to operate two VPN services at once. You may install different services on your PC and your router. While there is no doubt that doing this would slow down your connection, it is an excellent approach to increase your internet security if leaks or failures compromise one VPN provider.

Cons

  • Challenging to set up. Setting up a VPN on your network may be challenging and dangerous. Most VPN services give detailed setup guides for several router brands, models, and firmware. Even with some technical skills, it could be a difficult task. When misconfiguring your router, you risk “bricking” it.However, many VPNs provide preset VPN routers for users who don’t want to deal with the setup procedure.
  • Routers are often rather pricey. Yes, you can get a reasonable VPN-compatible router for around $50, but if you want your VPN performance to be above average, especially when connecting several devices, you should budget between $100 and $250 for your router.
  • Speed difficulties might occur if several devices are connected at once. You’ll probably have poor connection speeds if you’re overloading your router with connections and using all of its resources. If you’re broadcasting or playing games, that may be rather annoying.
  • When your VPN is enabled, certain services won’t function. If your VPN is turned on, you can experience issues sending or receiving emails. For instance, SMTP port 25 may be blocked by your VPN provider to stop spam, or your email service may only let access from residential IP addresses. Online banking, streaming websites (if your VPN cannot unblock them), PayPal, Craigslist, and government services may also be affected by your VPN. When you send an email and another online service, you have to turn off the VPN on your router, which is not ideal.
  • Not the easiest to use. On a router configuration, you’ll have to manually configure your VPN and won’t be able to use all of the VPN’s features or change server locations as quickly.

Pre-Flashed vs. Unflashed VPN Routers

If you plan to use a VPN router, you must consider getting a pre-flashed, VPN-enabled, or unflashed router.

Installing fresh firmware, the router’s operating system that controls what it can and cannot do, is called “flashing.”

Here is a summary of all three possibilities:

  • Buy a VPN router with pre-flashed firmware. These routers already have a VPN setup. Although it is sometimes more expensive, this alternative is quick and simple.
  • Purchase a router with VPN support. You won’t need to install new, VPN-compatible software because these routers already have inherent support for VPN functionality. You must still set up your preferred VPN, though.
  • Flash VPN firmware onto an existing router. The most challenging choice. Although you’ll have to install the VPN firmware manually, you might save money on new hardware.

Simple VPN installation on pre-flashed routers makes this solution superior to the others. You will have to install the VPN on unflashed routers manually. The first choice often costs a little bit more, but it eliminates all of your work—just plug it in and go.

It’s an inconvenience that you will be able to install a VPN on that specific device if you acquired your router as part of your internet subscription. Nowadays, the majority of ISPs provide their clients with hybrid devices that serve as both a modem and a router. In this situation, you’ll need to purchase a new router with VPN support and connect it to your existing device.

Now, we’ll go through each of these choices in further depth.

1. Pre-Flashed Routers

In virtually every case, pre-flashed routers are the easiest solution. You may skip the difficult process of installing new software or firmware since they already have a VPN installed.

It usually costs a little more to get a pre-flashed VPN router, but it eliminates all of your labor; you simply plug it in, input your login information, and go.

With the help of services, you may get a device with your preferred firmware and VPN provider already installed. If you currently subscribe to a VPN service, you might be able to find routers that are configured specifically for a certain service provider.

2. Routers with VPN Support

The second choice is to get a brand-new router that is already VPN app compatible. These devices already have firmware that supports VPN connections, so you can set up your VPN service and connect to their servers immediately.

Consider the VPN protocols the router supports and if it can be updated with fresh firmware if necessary if you decide to go with this option. Modern routers with VPN capabilities frequently support the OpenVPN protocol, so you may install any VPN service that supports OpenVPN. Fortunately, every reliable VPN service includes this protocol as a standard.

3. Unflashed

You will need to flash your router if VPN firmware is compatible with it but VPN app is not presently supported. This is a lengthier procedure depending on the kind of router in the issue.

You may install the VPN app of your choosing by manually flashing new firmware onto your router. Although it involves a little technological know-how, this can help you save money.

Which one should you choose?

That depends on what your VPN must do for you. The router approach will be the best option if you want continual, automated VPN security for all of your devices at once or if you need to connect devices that aren’t typically compatible with VPN app. But if you like the adaptability and all-around use of the VPN app, going that route would be the best option.

You may even combine the two methods if a dual-router arrangement works best. You may assign only a limited number of devices to use your VPN router, leaving other devices off the connection and using your regular router instead. The alternative choice would be to use router firmware that supports split tunneling, enabling you to connect certain devices to the router using a VPN and others using a non-VPN connection. However, using a hybrid system can need some extra technical work. Alternately, you may use the router and app while you’re out and about.

It would help if you were alright utilizing your VPN app for most common use cases. With this, you will get the maximum utility, versatility, and ease of use. Unless you have a specific purpose, such as for console gaming or streaming on your smart TV, trying to utilize the router strategy for regular, daily VPN use may end up being more bother than it’s worth.. You no longer even need a VPN router connection to connect all your devices at once as more and more VPNs these days are increasing the number of simultaneous connections they permit. However, the final decision is yours.

Which is Best to Use? IPsec VPN or SSL VPN?

Choosing between an SSL VPN and an IPsec VPN is key to finding the best VPN for your needs since each has different security advantages and disadvantages. Let’s examine both in further detail.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a VPN is crucial to keep your online activities private and hidden from prying eyes.

A VPN may significantly improve your privacy, whether you decide to use it on your device or put it on your router for internet security.