If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’ve heard of NordVPN. You may have seen their commercials on TV or popped over to their website to take a peek at their plans. But unless you have a professional or home network connection, setting up a NordVPN account may seem like a daunting task. That’s because all of their services require that you set up a dedicated server in the cloud. You don’t want to run the risk of bogging down your mobile data plan by taking up space on a desktop or laptop computer, either.
While you can’t avoid setting up a dedicated server altogether, you can take advantage of the fact that most routers are now Wi-Fi enabled to provide you with a free, private Wi-Fi network that you can use with your TV, laptop, and other devices. With a NordVPN router, you don’t have to worry about bogging down your cellular connection or Wi-Fi network with unsecured wireless connections. You can keep your private network secure, and save money in the process.
Here’s how to set up a NordVPN router.
If you haven’t heard of NordVPN, you may be wondering where to start your account. Their website is packed with all the information you’ll ever need, including a tutorial on how to set up a dedicated server, configure your router, and more. To get started, click on the Get Started button on their homepage and you’ll be presented with a sign up form. Fill out the necessary information and you’ll receive an email from the company containing a download link for their software.
The download will include the NordVPN client (the software you’ll use to connect to their servers), configuration files for your router, and a welcome message from the team at NordVPN. If you already have a router, you can skip this part and move on to the next step.
Download the NordVPN Configuration Files
NordVPN offers a variety of commercial and enterprise plans, so you’ll have to determine which one is right for your needs. From the screenshot above, you can see that they offer a free version of their software that supports up to three devices and one mobile phone. This free version doesn’t require you to set up a dedicated server, so you can download and install it on your PC or Mac. After you’ve downloaded the program, launch it and you’ll be presented with a short tutorial on how to use it. After you’ve completed this tutorial, you can head over to your router’s firmware update page to get the latest set of configuration files.
You’ll need the configuration files from your router to connect to a NordVPN server. Find the model of your router and plug it into the USB port of your computer. Next, click on the Download button next to the configuration file and you’ll be prompted to save it to your computer.
You can then take a break from configuring your router and enjoy the fact that it provides a private, safe Wi-Fi network for your home. You can also monitor your router’s activity on the NordVPN website or through their app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. You can also find servers in more than 100 locations worldwide, so no matter where you are in the world, there’s a likely server to provide you with a stable VPN connection.
You may be wondering about the security of a VPN connection routed through your router. While there’s no way to guarantee absolute security, you’re better off than having an unsecured network because any device on the network is fair game for hackers and malware writers. Additionally, if someone manages to steal your login credentials, they could potentially use your router to gain access to your personal data. For these reasons, the security of your private network is heavily dependent upon you following good security practices. Back up your routers firmware and make sure to change your password regularly.
Set Up Your Router for Home Networking
Once you’ve configured your router and downloaded the necessary firmware updates, it’s time to configure your home network’s IP addressing scheme and create guest WiFi networks for other family members and friends. To do this, open up your web browser and head to your router’s settings page. Look for the section named Default Gateway. Here you can input the IP address of the computer or device that will be acting as the gateway for your network. For instance, if you have a dedicated server acting as your gateway, you may want to enter its IP address.
To create a guest network, open up your WiFi network and enter the name of the network in the password field. After you’ve entered the password, you can select the network type. Since you’re creating a guest network, you may as well use the Public option to make the network available to all devices on the Internet.
You can then click on Save Settings and the network will be ready to use when you connect a device to it.
Why is configuring your router’s settings so important in terms of securing your private network? First, each device on your network needs to have a unique IP address. An IP address can be configured through your router’s settings page in a variety of ways including dynamic IPs and DNS servers. If you have a dynamic IP, you won’t be able to access devices on your network from computers or other devices on the Internet without the router automatically updating the IP address on a regular basis (usually set by your Internet service provider).
If you have a DNS server, you can choose from popular sites like Google’s DNS or CloudFlare’s 184.108.40.206 to provide faster DNS resolution for your visitors. Additionally, you can enable IP tracking which will allow you to see the IP addresses of all devices that connect to your router’s WiFi network. This will help you identify devices that may be threatening the security of your network.
Secure Your Home Network
Now that you have a private network set up on your home network, it’s time to take advantage of the extra security measures available to you. One of the best things about having your own router is the ability to secure it with a firewall which you can configure to block specific network ports (like SSH) and require everyone to use a secure connection (like HTTPS) when communicating with your network.
To secure your network, you’ll want to visit your firewall’s settings page and add a new rule for HTTPS. For SSH, you may want to create a new rule that requires a key to be passed before any data can be sent to or from your server. Here’s a screenshot of what your firewall’s settings page may look like for HTTPS:
As you can see above, you’ll want to change the Protocol to TCP and enter a Port number under Secure Options. For instance, if you’re using SSH and want to require passwords for all connections, you may want to enter 22 in the port field.
Once you’ve changed the settings as above, you can test that your firewall is working correctly by trying to access a website that is only available over an unsecured connection (e.g., http://www.whatsmyip.com/) through your browser. If you get redirected to the login page for that site, you’ve successfully configured your firewall to require a secure connection.
Additionally, you can use your firewall to restrict access to your network based on your ISP’s DHCP settings. If you’re accessing your network remotely through a broadband modem (e.g., Cable or DSL), your ISP will normally provide you with a range of IP addresses to assign to your network’s devices.
You can then use your router’s settings page to reserve some of those IP addresses for specific users and groups (like family and friends). When configuring your firewall, you may want to consider using a VPN to keep your network secure while you’re remotely accessing it.
Why VPNs? Well, you may not want to use your home network to access sensitive data or credit cards since the entire network is now potentially available to anyone with an Internet connection. Using a VPN not only keeps your private network secure but also provides you with a safe and private connection when you’re remotely accessing it through your router or any other Wi-Fi enabled device.
Use Your Router to Manage Your Smart Home
If you’re already using your router for home networking, it’s quite possible that you’re already taking advantage of its other features. One such feature is the ability to act as a home server, handling your personal media such as photos, music, and videos for all your devices connected to the network.