How To Run a VPN & Ad-Blocker On a Router

Why Run A VPN On Your Router?

Using a VPN at the router level makes a lot of sense. It is a convenient way to make all your network connections private and encrypted. Every device that connects to your network will be able to access the VPN — there is no need to install a VPN application on each device.

You’ll also be able to connect many devices as you want to the VPN — this is because the router only counts as one VPN connection.

Which Router To Use?

A router capable or running a VPN: Linksys WRT1200AC OpenWRT

The DIY option is to flash a suitable router that supports DD-WRT or Tomato firmware — there a full of suitable routers here. The DDWRT website is a good place for information on flashing routers.

If you don’t happen to have one of these routers, I recommend buying one from FlashRouters. They sell routers that are customized to make the installation of a VPN as easy as possible. They also offer good documentation and support.

For example, you can get a router like this: Linksys WRT1200AC OpenWRT FlashRouter [$175], which is ready to be used with ExpressVPN.

FlashRouter also come with a Privacy App installed. This allows you to specify list of domains that you prefer to connect to via the VPN. Alternatively, you can create a list of domains you don’t need to access via the VPN. This means  you will only use the VPN when necessary. At other times, you can make use of the full speed of your internet connection.

Block Ads Using Your Router

Blocking ads at the router is also quite convenient. To do this you must change the DNS (domain name server) setting on your router. Instead of using your ISP’s DNS you can use the free Adguard DNS. This will block ads, trackers and malware at the DNS level. This means you do not need to install ad-blockers in all your web browsers. The filters will work for all devices, and will be active in applications where you cannot usually block ads.

Alternatively, can also enable a Privoxy ad blocker on a FlashRouter. This free proxy will also block ads on all the computers connected to your network including mobile devices.

If you are more concerned about DNS censorship, you can change your router’s DNS to a private DNS from OpenNIC. This is a user owned and controlled top-level Network Information Center offering an alternative to traditional Top-Level Domain (TLD) registries, such as ICANN.

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