While many router brands are out there, Asus stands a cut above the rest, especially regarding VPN compatibility. Its built-in OpenVPN client ensures a seamless setup and broadens the horizon of compatible VPNs. Yet, be warned, not every VPN is cut out to work in harmony with your Asus router.
At Comparitech, we have dedicated countless hours researching and testing to find the best solution to overcome these issues. Enter the Virtual Private Network (VPN), a digital shield. By configuring a VPN on your router, you don’t just protect one device but every device that taps into that connection. It’s not just about safety but also about unlocking the internet without geo-restrictions.
Eager to know which VPNs are the best for Asus routers? Hold tight, as we have tested them all in the real world. But if you’re in a hurry, here’s a curated list of the top VPNs for Asus routers:
- NordVPN: Our top recommendation for an Asus router VPN. With a large server network and superfast speeds, NordVPN is great for streaming and browsing securely. Also comes with a risk-free with 30-day money-back guarantee.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for Asus routers.
- Surfshark: A budget Asus VPN with strong security features and unlimited simultaneous connections. Impressed average speeds and reliable performance with streaming platforms.
- ExpressVPN: This VPN is easy to set up on compatible router models. Optimum speeds for streaming. Offers plenty of key features including strong security 256-bit AES encryption.
- IPVanish: A privacy-focused VPN and a popular option for torrenters. A powerful streaming VPN that works with plenty of streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
- PrivateVPN: Unblock a ton of geo-restricted content with this small but speedy VPN. A reputable provider with DNS leak protection and 256-bit encryption.
There are many solid Asus router VPNs out there, but they differ in terms of security, performance, and other factors. Here are the main criteria used to compile this list of the best VPNs for Asus routers:
- Compatible and easy to configure with Asus routers
- Offers fast speeds
- Utilizes strong security features
- Can unblock most popular streaming sites
- Keeps no logs
- Offers excellent customer support
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Best VPNs for Asus routers – Our hands-on review
We’ve tested and compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Asus routers.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||IPVanish.com||PrivateVPN.com||Ranking for Asus routers||1||2||3||4||6||Streaming Services||Netflix|
|Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||70%||85%||Total number of servers||5,700+||3,200||Undisclosed||2,200+||200+||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||Unlimited||10|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99|
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Best VPNs for Asus routers
Our ranking methodology of the best VPNs for Asus routers is based on many factors which we have discussed under the following reviews. Let’s take a look at our ranked list of the best VPNs for Asus routers:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our first pick for an Asus router VPN. For manual configuration, NordVPN provides tutorials for both AsusWRT (Asus’ native firmware) and Asuswrt-Merlin (a custom firmware). Pre-configured NordVPN Asus routers are available through FlashRouters. This VPN allows torrenting and has blazing-fast speeds for streaming and downloading. It can access many popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
One thing that makes NordVPN stand out is its focus on strong security. It uses military-grade encryption alongside perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch, and leak protection. Extras include automatic wifi protection, double VPN, and Tor over VPN. This provider maintains no logs.
NordVPN has a ton of servers to choose from with over 5,000 in 60 countries. Native apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Plans allow for up to six simultaneous connections. Customer support representatives are very knowledgeable and can be reached via the website’s live chat feature at any time of day.
- Best in speeds testing
- Easy to set up with compatible Asus routers
- Operates a huge server network
- Comes with security extras
- Unblocks a ton of streaming platforms
- 24/7 support
- Bit of a learning curve for desktop apps
BEST ASUS ROUTER VPN:NordVPN is our #1 choice for Asus routers. It has tons of high-speed servers to choose from and can unblock most streaming platforms. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included making this a risk-free option.
Check out our in-depth review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN that provides fantastic performance per dollar value. The low price doesn’t stop it from offering the full package, including compatibility with routers. While there isn’t the option to buy a pre-configured Surfshark router, you can configure one yourself. The Surfshark website offers a tutorial for setting up the VPN with routers running the AsusWRT firmware. Surfshark is capable of accessing popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It has great speeds for streaming and downloading.
Security and privacy features include 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and the option of using a double-hop VPN. Surfshark maintains a strict no-logs policy.
This provider currently runs over 3,000 servers in 50 countries. One of the perks of a Surfshark plan is you can connect as many devices as you like at one time. Apps are available for Linux, MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Should you run into issues, customer support is always available.
- Can be setup with Asus native software
- Bypasses restrictions on Netflix and other sites
- Offers tight security and privacy
- No connection limit
- Around-the-clock support
- Some servers can be slow
BUDGET ALTERNATIVE:Surfshark is a powerful streaming VPN and doesn’t limit the number of connections per account. Plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our in-depth Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is an all-round solid VPN and a reputable provider. You can configure the VPN with your Asus router yourself or purchase a pre-configured ExpressVPN Asus router from FlashRouters (a pricier option). This VPN comes with its own (optional) easy-to-use custom firmware, which is compatible with select Asus models (RT-AC56(U/R/S), RT-AC68U, RT-AC87U). ExpressVPN allows torrenting and can unblock plenty of geo-restricted sites such as Netflix (US, UK, and other libraries), Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. You have a choice of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries.
A stellar security suite includes 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy. ExpressVPN’s network lock (kill switch) is enabled permanently in routers. Protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks further protects your information. This provider doesn’t log any information that could be used to identify you, such as an IP address.
ExpressVPNs plans allow for up to five simultaneous connections; a router counts as just one. If you need to protect other devices separately, apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. 24/7 live-chat support is available to help with any issues.
- Provides easy-to-follow tutorials for Asus router setup
- Includes the option to use intuitive custom firmware
- Provides superior speeds
- Easily unblocks Netflix and other sites
- Offers strong security
- Costs a bit more than some competitors
- Could offer more customizable features
RELIABLE VPN:ExpressVPN is a solid alternative for use with Asus routers. It’s fast and reliable, and offers prompt and knowledgeable customer support. Subscriptions include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish offers a fast, secure service and can be set up with Asus routers. The website includes tutorials for configuring the VPN with both AsusWRT and Asuswrt-Merlin firmware. If you prefer a plug-and-play solution, pre-configured IPVanish Asus routers can be purchased through FlashRouters. IPVanish is a popular option for torrenters and unblocks some streaming platforms, including Netflix US.
Privacy is at the forefront of IPVanish’s mission and the VPN keeps no logs whatsoever. Security features include a built-in kill switch and leak protection. Your traffic is concealed using 256-bit encryption alongside perfect forward secrecy.
IPVanish is generous in its connection limit, allowing up to 10 devices (nine in addition to your router) to connect to the VPN at any given time. This is ideal for families with lots of mobile devices to protect. You can download software versions for iOS and Android, as well as Windows and MacOS. This provider operates around 1,100 servers in 60 countries. Customer support is available 24/7 via live chat.
- Has tutorials for Asus router setup
- Fast and reliable
- Provides secure, encrypted connections
- Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency payments
FAST, PRIVATE VPN:IPVanish boasts strong security and privacy, along with fast speeds. It operates a 7-day refund policy.
See our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a smaller provider than others on the list in terms of network size, but it still has lots to offer, including compatibility with Asus routers. Two tutorials are provided for setup with Asus RT routers, one for OpenVPN and the other for L2TP. PrivateVPN is fast and reliable, and can unblock a ton of popular streaming sites.
This provider lives up to its name in terms of security and privacy. It keeps no logs at all, and protects traffic with 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch.
Users have access to around 150 servers in 60 countries. Six devices can be connected at a time and native apps are available for Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows. Live-chat support is available most of the time, but not 24/7.
- Configurable with Asus routers
- Pegs fast speeds
- Great at unblocking restricted media
- Operates a small server network
- Doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat
SECURE, RELIABLE CONNECTIONS:PrivateVPN makes up for its small size with a high-quality user experience. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our detailed PrivateVPN review.
Our Methodology: How we found the best VPNs for Asus routers
Deciding which VPN to install on a home router can be a very difficult task. After all, some providers don’t even support Asus firmware, and others might not offer all of their security features outside of their apps. To ensure we only recommend the best of the best, we identified a few key areas that the best Asus router VPNs should excel in. Below, we’ll break down exactly what we expect in each category:
- Asus router support: First and foremost, we need the VPN to work on Asus router models. DD-WRT, OpenWRT, AsusWRT Routers, and Tomato support is also a plus, since we know that people often change their routers over time. This could be through Router Firmware, or by providing step-by-step instructions and an OpenVPN configuration file.
- Plenty of server choice: Some providers only have a single server in each location, which means that when that goes offline, you’re out of luck. We prioritize VPNs that span dozens of countries, and strongly prefer those with higher numbers of servers. Just remember to download two servers’ config files for each location you’d like to use.
- Strong security features: At a minimum, we look for 256-bit encryption but some VPNs offer obfuscated servers that can replace more advanced tools like a stealth mode that’s available in-app but not via a router control panel. Note that you’ll have to manually configure DNS leak protection and a kill switch, however.
- A no-logs policy: The goal of a VPN is to improve your digital privacy. This is why we can’t recommend any service that logs your activities or any other personally identifiable information. Ideally, you’d be able to sign up anonymously by paying in cryptocurrency or prepaid gift cards too.
- Customer support: Most people can’t configure their router VPN without a little help. In fact, due to the risks involved with a misconfiguration, it’s best not to. We look for VPNs that have clear, detailed, step-by-step instructions and ideally, 24/7 support over live chat.
- Fair pricing: We see a lot of VPNs here at Comparitech and can quickly tell if a provider is charging more than its service is actually worth. If this is the case, we’ll simply refuse to recommend it. Additionally, we’ll let you know about any discounts available on our top VPNs so that you never pay more than is strictly necessary. We also look out for a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can test whether or not a service is suitable for you.
Interested in finding out more? This is actually just the first stage of testing, but we have a whole post laying out our full VPN testing process.
Can I use a free VPN with an Asus router?
Most free VPNs support the major operating systems, if you’re lucky, but are unlikely to have support for router configuration. Even if you do manage to get one set up, you’re opening yourself up to a host of other issues.
Free VPNs have very few servers to choose from, and lots of users trying to access them. This means you’ll have to endure slow, unreliable connections which clearly isn’t ideal when you’re trying to cover all the devices in your home. You may even have to wait to connect to a server, which means you’ll be unprotected for an indefinite amount of time.
What’s more, free VPNs are known for their shady business practices. If they’re not constantly bombarding you with ads, they’re likely tracking your activity and selling the data to advertisers who will target you with ads themselves. Some free VPNs fail from a security standpoint too by using weak or non-existent encryption. There have even been reports of free VPNs infecting devices with malware.
When protecting every device in your home, it’s essential that you go with a reputable provider that prioritizes security, privacy, and user experience.
How to set up your VPN with an Asus router
The exact setup you use will depend on your Asus router model, the firmware it’s flashed with, your chosen VPN provider, and which protocol you want to use. We provide links to some individual guides below, but the general steps will be similar.
Here’s how to configure an Asus router (with AsusWRT firmware) with OpenVPN:
- Choose a suitable VPN provider and submit payment. We recommend NordVPN.
- Log in to the VPN website and download the VPN configuration files for your desired location (these are usually available within the setup tutorial section of the site). You should be provided with a username and password for later use.
- Open a new tab in a web browser and go to your router dashboard, which you can usually access by entering 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 into the URL bar.
- Sign in to your Asus router control panel. Navigate to VPN > VPN Client > Add Profile.
- Select your protocol, in this case OpenVPN.
- Add a description for your profile and enter the username and password you were provided with in step 2.
- Click Choose File, add the configuration file you downloaded earlier, and hit Upload.
- Once the file has finished uploading, select OK. The profile has now been added.
- To connect to the VPN, select Activate next to the new profile.
Note that this will configure the VPN for one location. You can download configuration files for multiple locations and repeat this process to add a new profile for each location. Then you simply activate and deactivate profiles as needed.
Can I run an Asus router with the original Tomato firmware?
Yes, you can use the original Tomato firmware on an Asus router, but not all models are compatible. A better idea may be to use The FreshTomato project, a fork of the original Tomato firmware that offers support for several Asus routers. Some of the supported models include the Asus RT-AC66U, Asus RT-AC66U_B1, Asus RT-AC67U, Asus RT-AC68U/R/P, Asus RT-AC5300, and Asus TUF-AX3000_V2.
It’s important to note before installing, to check your router model’s compatibility. The installation can be a little tricky, so being tech-savvy is a big plus. If not, consider getting professional help. You can always switch back to the Asus firmware if things go wrong. You do this by using the Asus Firmware Restoration Utility.
However, remember that while Tomato firmware offers more features and customization, it might deliver a different WiFi performance than the Asus firmware due to differences in driver versions.
VPNs for Asus routers FAQs
Does NordVPN work with ASUS routers?
Yes, NordVPN does work with ASUS routers. In fact, NordVPN has a number of tutorials specifically for setting up its service on different ASUS router models. You can find these tutorials on the NordVPN website.
To set up NordVPN on your ASUS router, you’ll need to first create a NordVPN account. Once you have an account, you’ll be able to log in and access the “My Devices” page. From there, you can select your desired router model and follow the instructions to set up NordVPN on your device.
What are the limitations of VPN routers?
There are four main limitations with VPN routers. The first is that the manual configuration process is far trickier than simply installing an app and has the potential to brick your router if done incorrectly.
Additionally, because only your home network’s traffic is encrypted, you won’t have the same level of privacy when browsing away from home. Conversely, if each of your devices has the VPN app installed, you’d be protected regardless of which network you were using.
Changing location in a VPN app is as simple as selecting your desired server from a list. If your VPN is only installed on your router, though, you’ll have to download the configuration file for each server you’d like to use, then manually go into your router’s settings panel and tell it to use the appropriate one for a given situation.
Finally, all devices on your network are locked to the same location. In other words, if your router is sending data through a US server, no device on your network could access UK-only services like BBC iPlayer.
What is VPN passthrough on an Asus router?
VPN passthrough sounds complicated, but you might know it by its other name: split tunneling. This feature effectively allows specific websites to bypass the VPN entirely, which can be helpful for ensuring you get the highest-possible speeds. It’s important to only enable this for websites that aren’t processing sensitive information, though, since you won’t get any of your VPN’s privacy benefits.
You can also use VPN passthrough to access foreign and local services simultaneously. Say, for instance, that you were visiting the UK and wanted to stream TV from back home, but also watch BBC iPlayer. In this case, you could connect to a US server and simply add the iPlayer website to your exemptions list.
Is it possible to set up a router to be a VPN server and client?
Some of the more expensive home routers can be run as both a VPN server and client, although generally, homebrew solutions involve hosting your own VPN server on a separate device (such as a PC) and simply giving your router the information it needs to connect.
It’s worth mentioning that while free, this process is more time-consuming than setting up a commercial VPN. Additionally, you will be restricted by your network’s upload speed, which usually means significantly slower speeds overall.
Can I use these VPNS on other types of routers?
Some of the VPNs on this list, like NordVPN, support installation for routers other than Asus. For example, NordVPN also allows you to install it on selected Netgear, Linksys, and D-Link routers.
How many devices can I connect to an Asus Router VPN?
The good news is that you can connect as many devices as you like to an Asus Router VPN. Any device you connect to the router will benefit from the encrypted connection. This includes devices that you normally wouldn’t otherwise be able to connect to your VPN such as a games console. Needless to say, it’s a more practical way to secure many devices at the same time because you won’t have to download and install individual apps for each. This is also a great way to overcome the device limitations set by many VPN providers.
Are VPN routers slow?
The short answer is yes. VPN routers can be slower than non-VPN routers. However, this speed decrease is minimal and should not drastically hinder your internet experience.
When using a VPN router, you may notice slight drops of around 10-20% in speed as the router encrypts and routes your connection through its servers. This drop in speed is normal when using a VPN router and doesn’t necessarily mean that the device itself is slow; rather that more steps are being taken to secure your data before transmitting it across the Internet.
How do I check which version of OpenVPN my Asus router has?
To check the version of OpenVPN on your Asus router, you can follow these steps:
- Log into your router’s control panel and select VPN in the left sidebar menu.
- Once logged in, look for the “Advanced Settings” tab in the router’s interface. Click on it to expand the options.
- Locate and click on the “VPN Settings” option.
- You should find information about the installed OpenVPN version on the VPN settings page. The specific location of this information may vary depending on the router’s firmware version and interface design.
- The OpenVPN version number will be in the format of “2.x.x” or “2.x.x-xxxx” where “x” represents specific version numbers.
By following these steps, you should be able to identify the version of OpenVPN installed on your Asus router.
Asus router setup tutorials for the above providers
Below are links to the Asus router setup tutorials for the providers in our list above.
- How to set up ExpressVPN with OpenVPN on your Asus router
- How to set up the ExpressVPN router app for Asus RT-AC68U, RT-AC87U, RT-AC56R, RT-AC56S, and RT-AC56U
- How to configure your Asus router running original firmware (AsusWRT)
- AsusWRT Merlin setup with NordVPN