Asus routers

The main benefit of configuring a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to your router is that everything downstream of the router is then protected. This means safe and secure data transmission from PCs, tablets, Smart TVs, and IoT devices. 

The easiest Asus routers to use a VPN with are those with the AsusWRT firmware. This provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes for relatively straightforward installation of your chosen VPN. But which to choose? Not all VPNs work well with Asus routers, and those that do can vary in how well they perform.

I’ll go into more detail later in the article, but for now, here’s a brief rundown of the top five best VPNs for routers.

My best VPNs to use with an Asus router:

  1. NordVPN: My #1 choice VPN for an Asus router. Offers plenty of help with installation and boasts fast connection speeds and a huge network of servers. You can try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: The best budget option. Decent speeds, good for accessing region-locked content, and tight security. 
  3. ExpressVPN: Reputable provider with fast speeds, advanced security, and reliable connections.
  4. IPVanish: Very fast and secure VPN that is popular with Kodi-users. 
  5. PrivateVPN: Great for streaming geo-restricted content and able to offer fast speeds despite a small server network. 

There are some good Asus router VPNs available, but they can differ in terms of the services they offer. I’ve therefore evaluated the best VPNs for Asus routers based on the following:

  • Works with Asus routers
  • Set-up instructions provided by the VPN
  • Capable server network
  • Strong encryption
  • No logs policy
  • Good value for money

I’ve gone into more detail on the ranking methodology used in finding the best VPNs for Asus routers later in this article. For now, let’s take a look at which VPNs are worth your time.

Best VPN for Asus routers

1. NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is my first choice VPN for Asus routers. It offers detailed set-up guides – for routers running OpenVPN 2.4.x and AsusWRT – and helpful, round-the-clock customer support. Once installed, NordVPN provides impressive speeds and plenty of servers to choose from worldwide.

Security comprises military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, SHA384 authentication, and a 3072-bit DHE-RSA key exchange for perfect forward secrecy. The company has a no-logs policy and operates a network of RAM-only diskless servers. 

Streaming is reliable and free from lag or buffering, even when viewing 4K content. Torrenting is allowed and there are servers especially for this, though you don’t have to use them. 

Additional features include a system wide kill switch that disconnects the internet in the event of a dropped VPN connection, and an app-only kill switch that lets you select which programs are protected. 

There’s also the option to use one of NordVPN’s onion over VPN specialty servers, which will give you extra anonymity by routing data through The Onion Network (Tor).

If you want your devices protected while you’re away from home, NordVPN has apps for 

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. These are resistant to leaking any DNS, WebRTC, or IP traffic, and use the NordLynx protocol by default. 

Pros:

  • Easy to install on Asus routers
  • Highly secure
  • Very fast
  • Massive server network
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons:

  • Automatic server selection isn’t always helpful

BEST ASUS ROUTER VPN:NordVPN is my top choice for Asus routers. It has a comprehensive selection of speedy servers to choose from and a strong commitment to user privacy. You can try it risk-free thanks to a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark

Surfshark

Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs available and will work on Asus routers running AsusWRT firmware. It’s a great value service that doesn’t skimp on features, which include double VPN servers for extra security, a no-border mode, auto-connect, private DNS servers, and reliable leak protection.

Like other top-tier providers, its security is essentially uncrackable. It uses 256-bit AES encryption, together with a SHA512 authentication hash and 2048-bit DHE-RSA key exchange. Perfect forward secrecy ensures that compromised encryption keys cannot be used to unlock past sessions. 

Surfshark keeps no usage logs, and there’s a kill switch that will stop internet traffic if the VPN connection drops out. Unlike most VPNs, subscribers can connect as many devices as they like – this is useful when members of your household are away from the home network.

Apps are available for Linux, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Should you need any help, customer support is available 24/7 via live chat.

Pros:

  • Kill switch in all apps
  • Excellent speeds
  • 24/7 live chat
  • No logs
  • Allows P2P file sharing

Cons:

  • May require older Asus routers to install firmware 

BEST BUDGET OPTION: about your security and privacy, and boasts some features not available elsewhere. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has a reputation for being a solid all-rounder. It’s good for streaming, as well as being stable, private, and secure. Set-up guides using the OpenVPN protocol are available for Asus routers running DD-WRT firmware.

Torrenting and P2P file sharing are allowed via the servers of your choice. A kill switch stops internet traffic if the VPN unexpectedly disconnects, and split tunneling enables you to protect your torrent client with a VPN – while letting other apps connect directly.  

ExpressVPN uses an open-source proprietary protocol that provides market-leading speeds as well as more efficient switching between mobile and WiFi networks. OpenVPN is also available, though it’s not as fast.

Data is secured using 256-bit AES encryption together with a SHA512 hash authentication. A 4096-bit DHE-RSA key exchange supports perfect forward secrecy, which ensures that past sessions are protected from retrospective snooping. I encountered no IPv6, DNS, or WebRTC leaks while connected. 

ExpressVPN allows you to connect five devices simultaneously, which should be ample if you’re planning on installing it on your router. Doing so would count as just one of the permitted five connections.  

User-friendly apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, Nvidia Shield, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and a variety of routers other than Asus. 

Pros:

  • Very fast
  • High-end security on servers and apps
  • Zero logs policy
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons:

  • Pricier than competitors
  • Unlabeled streaming servers

STEADFAST VPN: connections that are both safe and secure. Helpful customer support is available, should you need it. ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

4. IPVanish

IPVanish

IPVanish is a good option for anyone wanting to install a VPN on an Asus router. Set-up guides are available for routers running AsusWRT, as well as AsusWRT-Merlin, DD-WRT, and Tomato.

The company is somewhat unusual in that it owns and operates its entire network of servers – of which there are more than 2,000. IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs, though it’s not the best choice for streaming – I had trouble accessing providers such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. That said, it’s a popular VPN with Kodi-users. 

IPVanish doesn’t keep any user logs, and in-session customer data is protected using 256-bit encryption, with a SHA512 used for authentication. A DHE-RSA 2048 key exchange supports perfect forward secrecy, meaning that past traffic data cannot be decrypted if the current decryption key is somehow obtained.

The provider uses the Wireguard protocol by default, though IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN are also supported.

Torrenting is allowed on all servers and isn’t limited by caps on either data or bandwidth. An optional kill switch ensures that the flow of internet traffic is stopped if the VPN connection suddenly drops out.  

Apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS, and Fire TV.

Pros:

  • Good router compatibility
  • No logs policy
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons:

  • Can’t access some major streaming services
  • No Linux app

FAST AND SECURE: speeds and can be configured on Asus routers with a variety of firmware. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN provides set-up guides for Asus RT routers (which have AsusWRT firmware), as well as those running DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. If you have any problems, PrivateVPN can help via remote control, though the service isn’t available 24/7.

While the company is relatively small in terms of its network size, it’s surprisingly fast. You can stream 4K video and make video conference calls with no lag or buffering. You can also access a range of streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Disney+, and Hulu. 

PrivateVPN’s torrenting servers are located in Sweden –- the company’s home country. Usefully, the VPN features port forwarding, which lets you connect to more peers in a torrent swarm. While there is a system-wide and app-specific kill switch, this is only available on Windows, OSX, and Android apps.

You can choose which level of encryption you want, depending on how fast you want your connection to be – less encryption tends to mean better speeds. A SHA256 is used for authentication, in conjunction with 2,048-bit RSA keys to provide perfect forward secrecy.

Lightweight apps are available for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Amazon Fire TV. 

Pros:

  • Remote control help with installation
  • Zero logs policy
  • Use up to 10 devices simultaneously

Cons:

  • Small server network 
  • Based in Sweden
  • Limited kill switch availability

SMALL BUT FAST: with modern Asus routers and makes the most of its small, but well-located, network of servers. Try PrivateVPN risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Methodology: How I chose the best VPNs for Asus routers

Installing a VPN on a router isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, so you want to make sure you make the right choice of provider. I’ve methodically looked through prospective VPNs and identified which areas would make them the best choice for Asus routers. Here’s a summary of what I was looking for:

  • Asus router support: There’s little point signing up to a VPN if it won’t work with your Asus router. So the first thing I check is whether VPNs will work with Asus firmware, as well as AsusWRT-Merlin, DD-WRT, and Tomato.
  • Large server network: I prioritize VPNs with high numbers of servers in as many different regions as possible. This ensures that, should a server go down, you have other choices within the same region.
  • Robust security: I expect the highest level of encryption, together with additional features like kill switches, leak protection, data obfuscation, and perfect forward secrecy. 
  • Privacy: If you’re entrusting your home network to a VPN, it’s vital that it doesn’t store any personally identifiable information. I require VPNs to adhere to a no-logs policy and, where possible, to allow payments in cryptocurrency.  
  • Customer support: Installing a VPN on a router can be tricky, which is why easily being able to get in touch with your chosen VPN is important. Set-up guides are a great start, but so is availability via 24/7 live chat.
  • Value for money: The cost of a VPN doesn’t necessarily reflect its quality. I only consider VPNs that are worth what they charge. Where available, I’ll include any additional discounts. 

Want to know more? I go into far more detail about my testing methodology process here.

Can I use a free VPN for an Asus router?

It’s very unlikely that a free VPN will have support for Asus router configuration. If you do manage to find one that does, be careful. Free VPNs tend to have poor data protection and some kind of logging policy. Some even sell your data to third parties. 

Free VPNs rely on advertising for income, so they don’t always invest enough in their security and server network. The result is that some free VPNs can unwittingly carry malware and leave your devices open to attack. Their servers also tend to be overstretched, with resulting slow connection speeds. Installing a free VPN on your router will mean all of your devices will suffer from these issues. For this reason, I’d only ever recommend installing a VPN you can trust, such as NordVPN.

You can also take a look at my cheap VPN alternatives.

How to set up a VPN on an ASUS router

The most straightforward way to configure a VPN on an Asus router is to use its proprietary firmware (AsusWRT on modern devices). Follow these steps: 

  1. Set up your wireless router via a wired connection.
  2. Open a web browser and enter http://router.asus.com to access the router’s GUI (AsusWRT)
  3. Enter your router’s username and password on the login page.
  4. Click [Sign in] to apply.
  5. Click [VPN] from the left Advanced Settings > Find [VPN Client] tab and click [Add profile].
  6. Select a VPN connection type: either PPTP, L2TP, or OpenVPN and enter the VPN authentication information provided by your VPN provider.             
  7. Click [OK] to create a VPN Client profile.
  8. Click [Activate] to execute your VPN connection.         
  9. A “tick” icon indicates that the connection is successful.

VPNs for Asus routers FAQs

Does NordVPN work with Asus routers?

Yes, NordVPN is the best VPN to use with Asus routers. NordVPN will work with Asus routers running OpenVPN 2.4.x and ASUS routers flashed with AsusWRT firmware.

My router doesn’t have AsusWRT firmware installed – can I still install a VPN?

Yes, you can. The VPNs I’ve chosen will work with alternative firmware such as DD-WRT, Tomato, or AsusWRT-Merlin. Check individual providers to find a match. Links to each VPN and the set-up guides offered for different firmware are shown below: 

  • For NordVPN, click here
  • For Surfshark, click here.
  • For ExpressVPN, click here
  • For IPVanish, click here.
  • For PrivateVPN, click here

What are the limitations of VPN routers?

While protecting all of your devices in one hit seems like a good idea, there are some downsides to installing a VPN on your Asus router.

One is that configuring a router is relatively difficult compared to downloading and installing an app onto your device. If you don’t get it right, you may find yourself with a ‘bricked’ router that is effectively useless. If in doubt, get in touch with your chosen VPN’s support team and talk it over with them first. 

A second issue is that your entire network will be locked to the same IP address. This could cause problems if people on the same network want to connect to different locations. For example, if you’re connected to a UK server, nobody on your network could stream a US-only service like YouTube TV.

If you do want to change location, you need to download the configuration files for your preferred servers, then manually tell the router which one you’d like to use. You may also have to manually configure some safety features, such as kill switches.