Setting up a VPN (virtual private network) with your router is a quick and easy way to secure your network and access your favorite websites, apps, and services from anywhere. With just a few steps, you can have a VPN up and running in no time!
Why should you set up a VPN with your router?
A VPN allows you to secure your network and resources from eavesdroppers, hackers, and other unauthorized users. While there are many different types of VPNs out there, they all work the same way. For example, with a VPN running between your computer and a public server, all of your network traffic (including web traffic) is encrypted, which protects it from being intercepted by hackers or other unauthorized users. Your network traffic is decrypted only when it reaches the public server (or the VPN server), so anyone between your computer and the public server will have encrypted traffic that they cannot read. (This is why you need to have your VPN server on a public network like the internet.) The advantage of a VPN over traditional firewall security is that you can always connect to the internet through the VPN. This way, you can access blocked websites, download new apps, and even use other people’s WiFi to access the internet when you are traveling. (Tip: You can also use a VPN to unblock YouTube videos in certain countries.)
Before you begin setting up your VPN, it’s important to understand a few things.
Get A VPN Router
While any router will work with a VPN, preferably get one with a few of the following features.
- firmware that is updated to support OpenVPN (and possibly other VPN protocols as well),
- advanced firewall features,
- IPSec support,
- an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot,
- a USB port for connecting a hard drive or a secondary router,
- a dedicated port for accessing the internet privately (and
- a port for an external device to connect to the internet via the router).
Why should you get a dedicated port for accessing the internet privately?
A private port on your router means you can install and configure the VPN software without having to worry about harming your internet connection. Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) monitor their customers’ internet activity and block sites that they believe are dangerous or offensive. Having a private internet connection on a dedicated port prevents those ISPs from seeing your activity through the VPN.
Set Up The VPN
To set up the VPN, you will need 2 devices:
- a dedicated internet connection (e.g., Cable or DSL),
- a wired or wireless router,
- a computer or mobile device that is compatible with OpenVPN. (You can also use a smartphone as a device to connect to the internet via wifi but it’s not highly recommended due to the potential security risks of connecting to unknown networks. If you absolutely must use a smartphone, you can download a VPN app to ensure that your personal information is always protected whenever you are online.)
Once you have all of those devices, you’re going to want to download and install the Arista VPN app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This is a free app that will set up your VPN in minutes and will require very little maintenance after that. You can connect up to 5 devices to a single VPN through the app, which is pretty cool if you’re hosting a party and want to make sure that everyone is connected. (Tip: Make sure to download security updates as they become available so that your users are always protected from potential vulnerabilities in the application.)
Pro-tip: Use Only Your First Name
While the app will create a VPN for you with a username that is based on your email address, it’s very important to use your first name only when logging in with the app. If you create a nickname for yourself on social media or use an online handle for your email, make sure to use that when signing in with your VPN through the app. This is one way of combating phishing attacks and other types of internet fraud if you’re ever forced to type in your username and password on a sketchy looking website. (Tip: Don’t use your real email address when setting up the VPN or you may run into trouble later.)
Connect To The VPN
Once you have your VPN up and running, you will need to connect to it in order to use it. To do this, you will need to enter your email address and create a password. You will then be presented with a security code that you enter into the app. After entering that code, you will be able to connect to the VPN and begin using it.
While the above steps will help you get up and running quickly with a VPN, it’s still a good idea to read the Arista VPN user guide to get a better understanding of how to use the app effectively.
Access Websites And Apps That Are Blocked
Now that you have your VPN set up, you can access websites and apps that are blocked in your region. If you live in a country where certain sites are blocked (such as North Korea or Iran), then you can use your VPN to unblock content. (You may need to register with the app before you can do this, however.) In some cases, you may need to upgrade your device’s firmware in order to take advantage of the VPN. (For example, you may need to update the firmware on your router if it’s from the 2.4GHz generation or earlier.)
Use The VPN To Secure And Unblock Your Computer
If you’re using a computer to access the internet, then you might as well use it to its fullest potential. You can download all of the necessary apps and configure your VPN to ensure that your computer and any other devices connected to it are always protected and are able to access the internet with perfect security.
In addition to using a VPN on your computer, you can also use it to secure your mobile devices. Since your mobile devices are always connected to the internet wherever you go, using a VPN is essential for ensuring that your personal information is always protected. (Note: You can use a VPN on your mobile devices even when you’re offline if you enable the application to do so. This is why you want to make sure that your mobile devices are always connected to the internet via a VPN so that you can always access protected content and services.)
You may also want to use a VPN to secure your Amazon Cloud Services accounts. Since your account information is stored online, it’s always at risk of being accessed by hackers and other unauthorized users. To combat this, you can use a VPN to encrypt your account information before it’s transmitted to Amazon’s servers.
Use The VPN To Check Email And Browse The Web
One of the main reasons why you set up the VPN is to ensure that your email is always protected when you’re using it. If you use a program like Gmail, then you will need to set up a quick-click action so that emails from certain individuals are automatically forwarded to a special inbox that is only accessible through the VPN. (You can do this through the Gmail settings.) This is one way of combating spam, getting rid of viruses, and ensuring that your personal information is always protected.
In addition to using a VPN to check email, you can also use it to browse the web. If you’ve ever used the SurfClojure app to access blocked content, then you know how important it is to have a VPN for surfing the web. (This is because all of the websites that you visit will be assigned a certain IP address when you are online which can be traced back to the country you are in. If you have no way of accessing the content you want on the internet, then you might as well use a VPN to keep your personal information secure while wasting time at the library.)
By setting up a VPN with your router, you can have a simple and effective way to secure your network, access your favorite websites, and even use them when you are traveling abroad. (Tip: Since the content you download while on the VPN will be encrypted, you don’t need to worry about your device’s storage space running out since it will always have enough room to save your content. This is one reason why you want to get a dedicated device for accessing the internet privately.)