Connecting your virtual private network (VPN) to a Linksys router is an excellent way to kill two birds with one stone. First, it encrypts and protects your internet traffic. Second, you can share one VPN subscription with multiple devices, even if your VPN has device limits. Unfortunately, not all VPNs work with routers. That’s why we’ve taken the time to look for, test and select the best VPN for Linksys router hardware.
- Setting up a VPN connection on your Linksys router can help you get past device limitations and protect multiple devices at once.
- ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for Linksys routers because of its compatibility with the firmware, speeds, features and streaming performance.
- NordVPN is also a blazing fast and secure choice for Linksys routers, and it costs much less than ExpressVPN. Surfshark is the most affordable of the lot, while CyberGhost and PIA offer plenty of features.
As you can read in our best VPN routers piece, Linksys routers are popular for running a VPN, thanks to their speeds and range of connectivity. However, not all VPNs support the firmware. Besides, a VPN with poor features and reliability can affect your router’s performance. The best VPN on the market, ExpressVPN, is also the top VPN for Linksys routers.
Top VPNs for Linksys Routers
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency22 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed95 MbpsUpload Speed8 MbpsLatency124 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed69 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency38 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
Average speedDownload Speed89 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
What Makes the Best Linksys Router VPN?
It goes without saying that a Linksys VPN should be compatible with the firmware. Beyond that, we looked for VPNs with fast and consistent speeds in addition to robust privacy and security features. Here are the five VPN service providers that came out tops.
- ExpressVPN — Overall best Linksys router VPN and top-notch streaming performance
- NordVPN — Blazing fast and tons of security features
- Surfshark — Budget-friendly with unlimited bandwidth and data
- CyberGhost — Feature-rich with bargain-bin pricing
- Private Internet Access — Decent server coverage and privacy features
Of the VPNs on our list, only ExpressVPN offers native support for Linksys firmware. The rest can work with Linksys routers since they have the OpenVPN protocol, but the setup process is more involved.
To get the best out of your Linksys router, you need a VPN with fast speeds. Because a VPN encrypts and reroutes your traffic, it will reduce your Linksys router’s speed to an extent. However, the best ones only marginally impact your speeds.
Given that, it’s no surprise the VPNs on this list, except for CyberGhost, also made the cut on our list of the fastest VPNs.
You’ll also need a no-logs VPN that covers the basic security features, including AES-256 or ChaCha20 encryption and an internet kill switch that ensures your IP address and internet traffic aren’t exposed. Our article on kill switches has more details on how they work.
The 5 Best VPNs for Linksys Router
In this section, we’ll dig deep into each of our picks and highlight why they made our list. Let’s start with ExpressVPN, our top choice.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider Website: expressvpn.com
- Robust security features
- Custom Linksys firmware
- Easy to use
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for routers, the best VPN for Netgear routers and best VPN for Asus routers. It’s no surprise that it claims the top spot here, too. It provides custom firmware and setup guides for several Linksys models on its website, including the EA6200, WRT1200AC, WRT1900AC 13J1, WRT1900AC 13J2, WRT3200ACM and WRT32X.
ExpressVPN is also the most secure VPN. It comes with best-in-class security features, including AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryptions, a kill switch, an ad and malware blocker, perfect forward secrecy (read up on PFS) and a suite of VPN protocols (including OpenVPN and the in-house Lightway protocol).
Excellent Streaming Ability
As shown in our full ExpressVPN review, the service has unparalleled streaming ability. It’s the best VPN for Netflix and has no difficulties unblocking other major streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and BBC iPlayer. ExpressVPN’s servers are spread across 94 countries and all of them are optimized for streaming, so you can binge-watch your favorite shows on any server.
Its biggest drawback is that it’s pricey. If you have doubts about this VPN provider, take it for a test run using the 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN also recently announced AirCove, a dedicated VPN router that saves you looking up tech tutorials to set up a VPN tunnel for all the devices on your network.
If you’d rather have a pre-configured router rather than having to fiddle with router settings, install DD-WRT firmware or anything else.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.29 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Blazing fast
- Great security features
- Unblocks major streaming apps
- Doesn’t support some native Linksys router firmware
In many of our reviews, ExpressVPN and NordVPN slug it out for the first position. NordVPN is slightly behind here, primarily because of ExpressVPN’s custom firmware and support for Linksys routers. NordVPN also works with Linksys routers because it offers the OpenVPN protocol, but the installation process can be technical and complicated.
Thanks to its trove of security features, NordVPN is a useful choice if you’re worried about your data being compromised while using a router. For instance, its double VPN feature adds an extra layer of security to your VPN traffic.
Another useful tool is threat protection, which blocks ads and lets you avoid malicious websites.
Enjoy Lightning Fast Speeds
Pound for pound, NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market. It’s even faster than ExpressVPN, as shown in this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN matchup. With high upload and download speeds as well as low latency, you shouldn’t experience lags or buffering wheels, whether you’re downloading or uploading files, streaming or browsing the internet.
NordVPN is a cheaper alternative to ExpressVPN but delivers similar, top-tier performance. Discover more about NordVPN in our NordVPN review. Better still, test it yourself using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
- : Unlimited GB
- : 6
- : Unlimited GB
- : 6
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Some servers lack torrenting
If you don’t have the funds for ExpressVPN or NordVPN, Surfshark is a pocket-friendly alternative. It might be a cheap VPN, but it doesn’t skimp on features. It comes with the OpenVPN protocol, which allows manual configuration on Linksys routers. If you’re worried about ads, trackers and phishing attempts while using your router, you’ll love the CleanWeb feature.
Surfshark is also a relatively fast VPN service, coming in third in our best fast VPN list behind ExpressVPN and NordVPN. You can expect stable and consistent speeds, even when performing data-intensive activities like streaming, downloading large files and video calling.
Increased Performance with Surfshark Nexus
With most VPNs, when you connect to a server location, you’re only connected to one server. If that server is congested, you might experience lags. Surfshark has solved this problem by introducing Surfshark Nexus, which allows multiple servers to function together. If one is overloaded, you’ll be off-loaded to a less congested and high-performing one.
Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, particularly on its two-year plan. To learn more, read our Surfshark review or take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.37 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Easy to use
- VPN automation feature
- Not the fastest
- Inconsistent streaming performance
CyberGhost supports several Linksys models, including WRT1200AC, WRT1900ACv1, WRT1900ACv2, WRT1900ACS, and WRT3200ACM models. One of its biggest draws is its server network: over 9,000 servers in 91 countries. Aside from regular servers, CyberGhost offers specialty servers for gaming, torrenting and streaming.
However, as you’ll notice in our CyberGhost review, it struggles to unblock major streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video. Furthermore, the VPN is quite slow compared to NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark. That said, it’s handy for Linksys routers thanks to its security features like unbreakable AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryptions and dedicated IP addresses, which are useful for sensitive activities such as banking.
Having to select your VPN preferences each time you connect to your Linksys router can be tiring. Fortunately, CyberGhost’s smart rules feature allows you to automate your VPN use. For example, you can configure your VPN to connect to a specific server and launch an app when you connect to your Linksys router.
CyberGhost is just as expensive on the monthly plan as ExpressVPN. However, the long-term plans offer value for money, especially if you opt for three years. You can try the VPN before taking the plunge with its 45-day money-back guarantee.
5. Private Internet Access
More details about PIA:
- Pricing: $2.19 per month (three-year plan)
- Provider website: privateinternetaccess.com
- RAM-only servers
- Decent server spread
- Complex setup guides
- Inconsistent streaming performance
The fifth spot in this list belongs to PIA, a bare-bones service that gets the essentials right. It works well with Linksys routers and provides detailed guides on its website to help you set them up. It also has servers spread across 84 countries and handy features, including a kill switch, a built-in ad blocker and Shadowsocks, which is similar to double-hop VPN connections.
There’s a reason PIA is last in this review, though. Its setup guides are intricate and complex, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the technical terms and instructions. Plus, its streaming performance is a mixed bag: It can’t unblock Hulu or Amazon Prime Video, but it has no problems with Netflix.
Enjoy Privacy-focused Features
PIA’s RAM-only servers wipe your data on every reboot, ensuring there’s nothing to see, even if the VPN service is hacked. It also has a strict zero-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t collect identifiable customer logs such as your IP address, browsing history and geographic location. Finally, there’s Identity Guard, which monitors your email and alerts you of breaches.
PIA has monthly and annual plans, but you’ll get a significant discount with its three-year plan. You can learn about the service in our PIA review, or take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Can I Use a Free VPN for Linksys Router?
A free VPN can work with a Linksys router, but you may encounter several challenges. First, free VPN providers might log your data and sell it to third parties, defeating the purpose of using a VPN.
Even worse, free VPN software often contains malware that can infect your devices and compromise your security. Read our worst free VPNs post for examples of such dangerous VPNs.
Furthermore, free VPNs are often slow, so you might experience lags while using them. That’s because they typically cap user data and bandwidth. As a result, we hesitate to recommend them, especially if you’re going to share your internet connection with multiple users.
Setting up a VPN connection on your Linksys router is a smart way to bypass VPN device limitations and protect all your devices simultaneously. However, you need a fast, reliable and secure VPN to get the best out of your Linksys router.
ExpressVPN stands tall among the VPNs we tested, mainly because it has custom firmware and support for Linksys routers. It also has a suite of security features and excellent streaming ability. NordVPN is a close second, thanks to its blazing fast speeds. Surfshark, CyberGhost and Private Internet Access are also useful options.
Have you connected a VPN with a Linksys router? Did you experience any hitches or difficulties? Which of the VPNs on our list would you like to try? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below. As always, thanks for reading.