If you value privacy and security, it's always important to prevent exposure to your digital devices. As the world's cybercriminals become more advanced, you'll need to upgrade your capabilities to keep you and your family's information secure.
And it's not just hackers that are causing raise for concern; world governments are becoming increasingly nosy when it comes to tracking your online activities.
While VPNs used to be a service primarily utilized by tech-savvy computer users, they're now commonplace for many users. As a modern consumer, you have a choice between a cloud-hosted VPN and hosting a VPN within your own home.
In this post, I'll concentrate on the latter and overview 3 different ways you how to set up a VPN at home:
- Option 1: Using a pre-configured router
- Option 2: Using a router with DD-RWT support
- Option 3: Using a home computer
But first - do you really need to invest time in building a home VPN server?
Why Setting Up A Home VPN Server Is A Good Idea
Setting up a VPN server in your home can help you access your home's internet from other areas of the world. This can be a huge benefit when you're traveling abroad. If you have geography locked content that you can't access overseas, simply use your VPN server to log in from your home's internet connection.
It can also protect your web traffic when you're connected to public WiFi hotspots in a different area. For example, if you're at your local café using your computer, you may not realize that your internet connection can easily be compromised.
Connecting to your home's VPN server instead can help you avoid the prying eyes of hackers and snoops.
3 Convenient Ways To Set Up a Home VPN Server
It's important to note that setting up a home VPN server isn't the easiest job in the world. While you don't need a deep understanding of computers to set up your own server, it can be difficult if you don’t have experience with this type of niche.
There are actually a few different options at your disposal. Let's take a look at them in more detail below:
Option 1: Use a Pre-Configured Router
Fortunately, there are plenty of routers that now come preconfigured to act as a VPN server. If you happen to have one of these routers, you won't have to do much work to get your VPN service up and running.
Most pre-configured routers will have a web interface that you can use to access its internal firmware. You'll be able to configure the VPN server's settings via this web interface.
Note: In most cases, your ISP's router won't provide you with VPN pre-configuration. You'll most likely need to purchase your own router if you want this type of feature.
Option 2: Use a Router with DD-RWT Support
If you don't currently have a pre-configured router, this may not mean that you have to purchase a whole new device to create a home VPN server.
There are some routers that you can adapt to VPN compatible devices. DD-RWT-compatible routers allow you to use Linux software to enhance the performance or features of your router.
You can flash your DD-RWT-compatible router with firmware from a computer interface. Here you will be able to set up a home VPN server, rendering your router as useful as a pre-configured VPN router.
Keep in mind, DD-RWT is just one example of a type of firmware that you can use with compatible routers. You can also use OpenWrt and a range of other firmware platforms.
Note: Again, a lot of ISP routers don't provide you with the ability to add VPN capabilities. ISPs prefer you to work within their boundaries.
Option 3: Use a Home Computer
If you don't want to use a router to set up your home VPN, you can use a home computer instead.
Using a computer can actually get quite technical, it's not the easiest way to set up your own VPN server at home. In most cases, you can use OpenVPN's software to set up your home VPN server. Because OpenVPN is an open source software, it doesn't belong to a specific company.
To start the process, head to OpenVPN's site and download the VPN client to your computer. Next, it's time to generate your certificates and keys, as well as generate the configuration files for the VPN server and its clients. Next, start up your server!
I won't outline every step in this article, as the process is actually quite long. Fortunately, OpenVPN provides excellent tutorials for people looking to set up their own home VPN servers. This guide should give you a clear overview of the process, though.
If you do choose to use a home computer, it's important to remember that the VPN platform will take up a big chunk of the computer's function. You will also need to leave the computer on 24/7 if you want reliable access to your VPN.
This is especially true if you plan on giving other people access to your server. For this reason, you should consider using an old computer to act exclusively as your home's VPN server.
But... There Are Other Reliable Options
Home VPNs are perfect for people who don't trust VPN providers or don't want to pay a monthly fee.
If you want to get safe access to your home's internet connection, setting up a server at home is a viable option. But, while a DIY VPN may be tempting, it's often not the best option for someone who needs VPN's full capabilities.
If you want to access overseas servers, unlock foreign content, and shield your current location, it's often best to pay for a premium VPN service. With a normal VPN provider, you'll be able to access internet servers from around the world. Most of the top providers also offer military-grade encryption that keeps your data extra-secure when connected to unsecured networks.
If you're someone who is averse to working with a VPN company because they have access to your data, it’s essential to work with a team that operates a strict no-log policy. It's also important to keep your eye on rumors about specific VPN providers. There are some allegations against particular VPN platforms, so make sure to use a VPN that's squeaky clean!
Using a premium, low-cost service like NordVPN can help you get the most out of your VPN connection. This Panama-based provider offers a range of premium features at an extremely affordable price. With NordVPN, you can access over 5,000 servers in over 60 countries throughout the world. The service also provides consistent access to Netflix, Hulu, and other content providers.
As with other top VPNs, you'll also benefit from a strict no-log policy and AES 256-bit encryption. If you're looking to simplify the VPN process and improve your capabilities, this is a reliable option. There's no messy setup process if you want to use this VPN on a computer or phone.
Additional Option: Setting Up An Existent VPN On A Router
If you want to set up an existent VPN service on a home VPN router, you can do so with the majority of the major VPN providers. For the purpose of this article, we'll take a quick look at how you can use your NordVPN account to create a home VPN router.
As in a previous section of this article, your home VPN router will need to be compatible with OpenVPN. For this reason, you won't be able to use most ISP-provided routers.
Fortunately, NordVPN provides its users with detailed home VPN router setup guides on its customer support page. Simply search for your current router's manufacturer in the search bar to find step-by-step instructions for the setup process.
Verdict: Choosing The Best VPN Option
As you can see, there is no shortage of options available in the VPN industry. While setting up your own VPN helps you avoid monthly subscriptions and keeps your data where you want it, there are quite significant limitations.
Regardless, if you simply want access to your home's internet connection when you're away from the house, a home VPN server can be an excellent tool.
As long as your upload speed is fast enough, and you don't need access to overseas servers, a home VPN server can do the job!
Do you use a home VPN server or a VPN provider? Leave a comment down below!