Do You Actually Need a VPN for Your Home Wi-Fi?
A man named his home Wi-Fi network "Hack it if you can". The next day it was changed to "Challenge accepted". This joke would be funny if it wasn’t so real.
It’s not uncommon for a home Wi-Fi network to get hacked, and setting up a VPN for home Wi-Fi is often considered a solution to the problem.
The question: “Do I need a VPN at home?” often comes up in the search for greater privacy and security. Having a VPN at home gives users an encrypted channel enabling them to hide their online activity from third parties (even internet service providers).
It’s also a working solution when you want to access country-specific services unavailable in your current location. Your traffic is hidden thanks to the secure connection between the device you’re using and a VPN server. In a nutshell, this is how VPN works.
In this guide, we’ll explore the following questions:
- Should you install a VPN for your home Wi-Fi?
- How can a VPN protect you?
- How do you set up a VPN for home Wi-Fi on your devices?
- How do you set up a VPN on a router?
Let’s dive in.
Do I need a VPN at home?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the most secure and personalized ways to protect your online activity. So, if you want to keep your browsing history a secret or watch that hilarious YouTube clip unavailable in your country, a VPN is your best friend. Here’s what you need to know.
Home Wi-Fi VPN - what is it, and how can it protect you?
The principle of how a VPN works for home Wi-Fi is quite straightforward: it encrypts the internet connection by changing your IP address. VPNs are supposed to prevent cyberattacks by ensuring data is transmitted within a secure network. It’s a responsible task, so consider splurging for a paid VPN; the free ones can’t always be trusted.
If you like digging into technicalities, here’s how a VPN works in greater detail. The VPN software encrypts the data you produce online, as well as the actions you take on the internet. Next, the encrypted information is transmitted to the VPN server. Then, your protected data reaches the destination point, whatever it is: an online shop, a search engine, or your favorite online game.
Though you can get along without a VPN at home, your worry-free Wi-Fi experience will largely depend on what your needs are as an internet user. So, we wanted to show you several cases for you to see when a VPN for home Wi-Fi is a must-have.
Don’t blindly trust your internet provider
If you read the contract you signed with your internet service provider (ISP) carefully, you probably know the extent to which your ISP can use your information.
If you haven’t (not because you’re lazy, but because you’re using the internet provided by your landlord, neighbor, or roommate), we can share this with you.
Usually, ISPs collect the URLs you visit, frequently-visited pages, the time you connect and disconnect, and the amount of time you spend on a website. On top of that, they’re interested in your email address, current location, phone number, and social media data too.
And the rest you know: they can sell this information for marketing purposes. If you’re against this, then just use a VPN.
You’ve been geo-blocked
Location-specific browsing restrictions, aka geo-blocking, refers to the denial of access to particular websites from particular places. Users from abroad may be prevented from making a purchase or using a specific service. And then, they have two options: they can either move or install a VPN for home Wi-Fi.
Jokes aside, a VPN is the loophole allowing you to continue visiting your favorite shops and web services or watching shows even if they claim they don’t cater to audiences in your country. As far as the website you’re visiting is concerned, it will seem as if you’re based in the country the VPN servers are located in, not your own.
The only drawback you should be aware of is how using a VPN to bypass geo-blocking slows down your internet connection. So streaming movies in HD isn’t an option when a VPN is turned on.
You want to protect freedom of speech (or your own freedom)
Sometimes, reasons for accessing a blocked web resource from a particular country can be more serious than wanting to watch Disney+ in the Philippines. For people who are referred to as dissidents, it can be a matter of life and death. They may be prosecuted as criminals all because their online activity is thoroughly monitored and based on found or rigged evidence.
Such threats are most dangerous for journalists, bloggers, and politicians. Although a VPN for home Wi-Fi shouldn’t be considered as the only protective weapon against oppressive regimes, it will help you continue your activity.
You can check out other cases when you need a VPN - they prove a VPN can be a necessity and not just a fancy add-on.
A step-by-step guide on how to set up a VPN for home Wi-Fi
If you’re new to setting up a VPN for home Wi-Fi, or if a VPN is not working on your home Wi-Fi, you’ll need to understand the basics.
Mac users can check out our explicit instructions on how to set up a VPN on Mac to increase security and privacy. But if you use Windows, here’s our quick guide.
1️⃣Go to the Search field in the bottom left corner of your PC and type VPN. Click VPN Settings.
2️⃣When the settings open, click Add a VPN Connection.
3️⃣In the new open window, click the VPN Provider dropdown list and choose the Windows (built-in) option. This will automatically populate the fields VPN type and Type of sign-in info.
4️⃣Populate the Connection name and Server name or address fields. This is your VPN provider’s info.
5️⃣Fill out your username and password in the corresponding fields. While these are optional, they should be provided by the VPN service you use.
Congrats, you’ve just created a new VPN connection for your home Wi-Fi! Next, click the Wi-Fi icon on your taskbar and look for your newly-created VPN connection (it should be the top option). Once connected, surf away - your connection is now secured.
A step-by-step guide on how to set up a VPN on a router
Setting up a VPN for a single device in your home Wi-Fi network is one thing. But what if you have a family of three teenagers? And even if you’re living alone, you probably have a laptop, a smartphone, and a smart TV set (at least you have your Netflix all to yourself).
Perhaps, it’s a good idea then to set up a VPN on your router instead of doing it for every device.
But first, make sure your router supports VPN and vice-versa, check if your VPN service is router-compatible. The way you set up a VPN on your router depends entirely on the router’s firmware. Remember many routers are different, so when in doubt - check with the user manual. Still, most routers follow a similar configuration pattern. You have to:
Access the router’s administration page. Usually, it only requires typing your router’s IP in your browser’s address bar.
1️⃣Enter the router’s login and password.
2️⃣Find the VPN settings. Some routers may offer two options: VPN server and VPN client. You need to select VPN client.
3️⃣Choose the type of the VPN protocol (usually, it’ll be OpenVPN) and other connection details. Your VPN provider should give you this authentication information.
4️⃣Save the settings. Don’t worry if your browser decides to reboot at this point - it’s just part of the process.
And there you go!
So now you know how useful VPN for home Wi-Fi is, how easy it is to set it up on your personal computer, and when it’s better to set up a VPN on a router. The final piece of the puzzle is finding a suitable VPN.
Why not give Clario VPN a try?