Best VPNs for Google Nest Wifi Routers + Easy Setup Guide
Nest Wifi is a line of mesh wireless routers sold by Google as part of its premium range of smart home products. First launched in 2016 as Google Wifi, it’s best known for its wide range, built-in storage, and connectivity.
Unfortunately, it’s also known for poor security features. A common gripe among users is the lack of VPN support. Unlike other premium mesh Wi-Fi routers, Nest Wifi neither has a built-in VPN nor supports manual installation.
Both first- and second-generation Nest Wifi routers lack VPN support. But the good thing is that you can still install a VPN on Nest Wifi and enjoy safer web browsing. All you need is a VPN-enabled Wi-Fi router.
Here’s the detailed VPN setup guide for Google Nest Wifi routers. We’ve also ranked the top five Nest Wifi VPNs below in case you don’t already use one.
- NordVPN – Excellent support for VPN protocols on routers, wide server network, superb encryption
- Surfshark – Only VPN that allows WireGuard installation on routers
- PrivateVPN – High-speed VPN with support for most third-party VPN router firmware
- ExpressVPN – Wide server network across 90+ countries
- CyberGhost – About 7,000 servers and supports VPN installation on microcomputers
What is Google Nest?
Google Nest is a brand of smart home products designed and sold by Alphabet, the company that owns Google. Originally started as Nest Labs in 2010, it was acquired by Google in 2014.
Google Nest products include thermostats, smoke alarms, doorbells, Wi-Fi routers, and security cameras. Since 2018, all Google Home products such as speakers are also sold under the Nest brand name.
What is Google Nest Wifi?
Google Nest Wifi or simply Nest Wifi is a wireless home networking solution by Google. First launched in 2016, Nest Wifi mesh routers now come with improved hardware, networking capability, and memory. They are used as an alternative to traditional wireless routers in smart homes.
Nest Wifi Points are just range extenders in the larger Nest Wifi family. They and Nest Wifi itself can also double up as portable speakers connected to Google Assistant.
Note: The word “Wifi” in “Nest Wifi” is a stylized version of “Wi-Fi” and not a typo.
As you may know, mesh routers generally offer wider coverage as they create multiple access points or nodes within an area. Mesh Wi-Fi routers offer stronger wireless connectivity than conventional Wi-Fi routers. They are usually installed in sets of three or more but a single mesh router is still more powerful than a regular router.
With Nest Wifi, the pod-shaped routers can be installed at strategic locations. This forms a mesh-like network within your house. This prevents Wi-Fi blind spots and ensures uniform speed and bandwidth to all connected devices.
Nest Wifi is easy to set up, powerful, and has the unique Google charm (similar to Apple devices) to it. However, it suffers from poor security features.
For instance, Nest Wifi routers are connected to your Google account. If an attacker manages to break into your account, they can also interfere with your router settings and snoop on your web traffic. While this risk exists in any connected ecosystem such as Google Nest or Amazon Alexa, that’s not all.
Does Nest Wifi Work With a VPN?
No, Google Wifi routers do not work with a VPN. They do not support the installation of external VPNs nor do they allow a third-party firmware to facilitate it. This forces users to depend on device-based VPN protection.
It all comes down to Google’s lack of support for VPN protocols. Unlike traditional routers, you cannot flash-install a VPN through third-party firmware like DD-WRT. The only way to be secure online while using Nest Wifi is to install a VPN on each of your devices.
I don’t know why Google decided to ignore VPN support because it does not even have any built-in security tools. There’s no malware protection or additional security settings on the Nest Wifi device.
This can be frustrating if privacy is of utmost importance to you. Thankfully, there’s a way around Google’s rigid router software.
How to Connect Google Nest Wifi to a VPN?
You can easily set up a VPN on your Nest Wifi router by configuring another VPN-enabled router and connecting them. You’ll need to create a parent-child relationship between the two routers and install a VPN on the non-Nest router. As of 2022, it’s the only way to install VPN on Google Next Wifi.
- A Google Nest Wifi router
- A VPN-capable wireless router (with FreshTomato, DD-WRT, etc. firmware)
- A VPN software (we recommend NordVPN)
- An Ethernet cable
Configuring VPN on Nest Wifi routers requires some technical knowledge. However, I’ve tried to simplify the process so that you can execute it without any additional help. I’ve divided the process into multiple steps to make it easier to follow.
Note: These steps work on both first- and second-generation (2016 and 2019 versions) Nest Wifi routers. While we haven’t tested it, they should also work on Nest Wifi Pro 6E routers.
Step #1 – Connect Nest Wifi With Another Router (Parent-Child)
The first phase of this process involves connecting the Nest Wifi router (child) and a VPN-capable router (parent). Before installing the VPN, we’ll need to ensure that the routers can communicate with each other.
At the end of this phase, you should be able to access the internet by connecting to either of the routers.
- Change Nest Wifi Router’s Subnet
First things first: Update your routers’ LAN addresses so that they communicate over two different subnets. A subnet or subnetwork is basically a range of IP addresses in a network. Since we want the routers to communicate separately, we have to change their subnets.
Most wireless routers use the 192.168.1.xxx subnet range. Therefore, we suggest changing the LAN address of your Google Nest Wifi. Here’s how to change your Nest Wifi’s subnet:
- Download and install the Google Home app (if not done already) on your smartphone
- Go to Advanced Networking via the app’s Wi-Fi Settings
- Select LAN
- Change the LAN address and select Save
- Enable DHCP under LAN Settings
If the existing address is 192.168.1.xxx, we suggest changing it to 192.168.2.xxx. (x is for representational purpose only).
Optionally, you can also check your other router’s subnet just to confirm that their IP address ranges do not overlap.
- Connect the 2 Routers Using an Ethernet Cable
In this sub-step, the VPN-enabled router is the parent and the Nest Wifi is the child. Use an Ethernet cable and plug it in the configuration shown below:
- One end to any LAN port of your VPN-capable router
- Other end to the WAN port of Nest Wifi
Once this is done, connect your internet source to the VPN-capable router through its WAN port. If you have a modem in your house, connect it and the VPN router using an Ethernet cable.
At the end of step #1, you should be able to connect to the wireless network created by both routers. Make sure you can surf the web through both networks.
Step #2 – Install VPN On the Router
The next step in the installation of VPN on Nest Wifi involves configuring VPN capability on the non-Nest router. There are two ways to do this:
- Use a router with native VPN support
- Use a router that supports third-party firmware like DD-WRT
If you are using a router with a native VPN, all you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions to configure it. In other words, you’ll need to link the router’s VPN client with your VPN service.
If you have a router that requires firmware flashing, do that using the firmware’s guide for your router manufacturer. Following are the top three third-party router VPN firmware manufacturers:
Most mainstream VPN providers have detailed instructions on router VPN configuration. You can find guides on their official websites. You can also get in touch with their customer support for more assistance.
At the end of step #2, you should be able to connect to this router’s network and surf the web anonymously. I suggest you test your VPN connection while being connected.
Pro Tip – Keep your VPN software’s login credentials handy.
Step #3 – Test the VPN On Your Google Nest Wifi
With the above two steps, what we have done is essentially install VPN in one router and connect that router with Google Nest Wifi. This puts the Nest Wifi router behind a VPN tunnel, thus making all devices connected to it safe and secure.
To check if VPN is working fine on your Nest Wifi router, do the following:
- Switch off the VPN through the router settings
- Connect any device (smartphone, laptop, etc.) to your Nest Wifi router
- Go to What Is My IP Address on that device and check your IP address. Note it down
- Switch on the VPN and wait for a minute
- Go back and check your IP address again
If the IP address changes, you can confirm that your Google Nest Wifi has been successfully configured with a VPN. You can also check out our recommended VPN testing methods.
Why You Should Install a VPN on Your Nest Wifi Router
As I noted above, Google Nest Wifi doesn’t score too well on the security front. Besides the missing VPN support, it has several vulnerabilities. For instance, a hacker could gain access to your Google account credentials and access your wireless router settings. Through this, they can snoop on you.
Such an attack via the cloud network can also interfere with your smart home and related gadgets.
There’s also the risk of privacy invasion from Google itself. While the Alphabet-owned company claims to protect your privacy, it’s best to not depend on Big Tech to be your privacy guardian. Why give free access to your web activities to Google’s AI when you can cover it using a VPN?
There are more reasons to install a VPN on your Nest Wifi router. Other than filling its security gaps, it can improve your overall web experience as listed below.
Benefits of Using VPN on Nest Wifi
- No need to install a VPN on every device
- VPN-unfriendly devices like smart TV, Roku, FireTV also stay protected
- Less risk of cloud-based cyber attacks in your smart home
- Total bang for your VPN subscription
What are the Best VPNs for Google Nest Wifi?
When it comes to choosing the best VPN for Nest Wifi router, the only non-negotiable parameter is router support. If your existing VPN service doesn’t support installation on routers or third-party firmware, you’ll need to switch.
One of our top VPN choices, AtlasVPN, has been excluded from this list as it does not support VPN connections through routers (as of October 2022).
I’ve tested and selected five premium VPNs, all of which have detailed router setup guides. The good thing is that they also provide router suggestions.
So, if you still haven’t bought a spare router for the Nest Wifi VPN setup, choose your VPN first and then pick one from their suggestions. ASUS and Netgear are crowd favorites if you ask me.
Without further ado, here are the top VPNs compatible with Nest Wifi routers.
With support for over 10 third-party firmware providers, NordVPN is our top recommendation for Nest Wifi routers. It is one of those rare VPNs that also comes preloaded in routers (via its partner Flashrouters). Setting it up on your Nest Wifi will be a breeze.
What’s more? NordVPN boasts 5,600+ physical servers spread across 59 countries. While that is not the largest network (CyberGhost has about 7,000), we’ve tested its servers for speed and bandwidth. They offer seamless connections with very minimal speed throttling. You can connect several devices to your Nest Wifi and NordVPN will not break its tunnel.
Over-the-top features like ad-blocking and dedicated P2P servers further make it a crowd favorite. In case you’re not satisfied, you can always cancel your NordVPN subscription and claim a refund via its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why NordVPN is best for Nest Wifi:
- Comes pre-loaded in routers by Netgear, EdgeRouter, Netduma, Peplink, etc.
- Supports over 10 third-party VPN flash firmware
- Over 5,600 servers spread across 59 countries
- Military-grade encryption
- Drawback of limited simultaneous connections not applicable in a router setup
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day-money-back guarantee
Like NordVPN, Surfshark also supports VPN installation on VPN-capable routers. While it doesn’t partner with any router manufacturers like NordVPN, you can still get a router and flash it with a third-party firmware. In my tests, I set up Surfshark on routers running firmware from DD-WRT, AsusWRT, and OpenWRT among others.
It has more than 3,000 servers in 65+ countries. So, if you’re someone who wants to access websites and content of multiple countries, Surfshark may be a better option.
What I love the most about Surfshark is its NoBorders Mode which can tackle virtually any geofence out there. This is helpful in your Nest Wifi VPN setup if you plan to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming apps on your smart TV. Simply log in to your streaming apps and enjoy global content.
Other features like kill switch, multi-hopping, and split tunneling further push it to be ranked among the best VPNs for Nest Wifi routers. Surfshark’s affordable plans, zero-logs policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee make this a great choice if you’re on a budget.
Why Surfshark is best for Nest Wifi:
- Supports major third-party VPN flash firmware
- Supports WireGuard protocol on routers
- Over 3,000 servers spread across 65+ countries
- AES 256-bit encryption
- NoBorders Mode for advanced website unblocking
- 30-day money-back guarantee
PrivateVPN also supports obscure third-party firmware like Synology, Linksys, and QNAP. So, if you have a router that supports any one of these firmware manufacturers, you should choose this.
Being a relatively new VPN service, PrivateVPN has about 150 servers in 60+ countries. I know you’re already comparing this with the heavyweights, but hear me out on its redeeming features. They definitely compensate for the smaller server network.
For starters, PrivateVPN offers high-speed connections without compromising on bandwidth. There’s IPv6 and DNS leak protection, a reliable kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy.
Above everything, I have enjoyed consistent service from PrivateVPN. I’ve never had to depend on the kill switch feature because I keep my Wi-Fi always on. And I expect my VPN to work 24/7 too.
Compared to Surfshark and NordVPN, the only drawback I find is that it does not support WireGuard protocol. OpenVPN is the only available latest architecture.
Why PrivateVPN is best for Nest Wifi:
- Supports major third-party VPN flash firmware including from Synology, Linksys, and QNAP
- Consistent high-speed and no bandwidth limitations
- Supports all major VPN protocols except WireGuard
- Can bypass geofences of most streaming sites
- 30-day-money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN is fourth on our list because it’s one of the most popular VPNs for Nest Wifi routers yet the one with the shallowest router support. At the time of writing, it supported only Netgear, Linksys, and ASUS routers.
However, that does not stop it from being a reliable and fast VPN. As someone who has used ExpressVPN for years, the best thing about it is its server network spanning nearly 100 countries. That’s half the world and covers almost all the major countries from which you would possibly want to access the internet.
Since I am big on streaming and clock hundreds of hours on it across my devices per month, I prefer ExpressVPN on my Nest Wifi routers.
That’s not all. ExpressVPN has good unblocking powers in censorship-heavy countries like Russia and China. There’s an efficient proprietary kill switch called NetworkLock, and split tunneling too.
Barring the costly subscription plans, everything works well for ExpressVPN. And I like to attribute that cost difference to its network. The markup you pay is to gain access to those 30-odd extra countries that are not covered by NordVPN or PrivateVPN.
Why ExpressVPN is best for Nest Wifi:
- Supports VPN on Linksys, Netgear, and ASUS routers
- Over 3,000 servers across 94+ countries
- Supports torrenting and anti-censorship
- Military-grade encryption
- 30-day-money-back guarantee
A close competitor to ExpressVPN in terms of server locations is CyberGhost. It offers nearly 7,000 servers across more than 90 countries. And it’s on the affordable end of the price spectrum, making it a better choice if you’re on a budget. (You likely are after spending it all on a Nest gadget.)
Comparatively, CyberGhost has better support for VPN on routers than most players. At the time of writing, it supported third-party firmware from manufacturers such as DD-WRT, Tomato, and NAS. Interestingly, you can also configure CyberGhost on Raspberry Pi and similar microcomputers to create customized wireless networks. This is a great feature for tinkerers and advanced users.
CyberGhost also offers DNS and IP leak protection, a kill switch, and unlimited bandwidth. In my tests, it fared well in bypassing geofences for services like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.
With affordable VPN plans, CyberGhost scores well in most departments to compete with the major players. If you’ve never used a VPN before or are looking to set up a customized wireless network using your Nest Wifi, go with CyberGhost.
Why CyberGhost is best for Nest Wifi:
- Supports major third-party VPN flash firmware
- Supports VPN setup on Raspberry Pi and other microcomputers
- Nearly 7,000 servers across 90+ countries
- No need to use its complex app interface
- 45-day-money-back guarantee
Google Nest Wifi and VPN FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about installing a VPN on Nest Wifi routers.
Is Google Wifi the same as Nest Wifi?
Nest Wifi is the renamed and upgraded version of Google Wifi routers. When Google acquired Nest Labs, it combined both their router products into a single brand called Nest Wifi.
Why do Google Nest Wifi routers not support VPN?
There’s no way to know why Google decided to not support VPNs on its Nest Wifi routers. Although, we believe it has to do with anti-tampering measures. Google simply does not want third-party firmware or software being installed in its devices. Such an action could interfere with its smart home technology. It’s also possible that Google sees third-party software support as a ground for a potential breach.
Is it possible to use a free VPN on a router?
Yes, you can set up a free VPN on a VPN-capable router as long as both support the same VPN protocol. However, we don’t recommend using a free VPN at all.
Will a VPN slow down my Nest Wifi speed?
Some VPNs may slow down your Nest Wifi network speed due to routing and encrypting functions. To avoid speed throttling, we recommend using fast VPNs such as NordVPN or PrivateVPN.
Can I directly install a VPN on a Nest Wifi router?
No, as of October 2022, there is no way to directly install a VPN on a Google Nest Wifi router. This is because Nest Wifi routers do not support any VPN protocol.
Is it legal to use a VPN with Google Nest Wifi router?
Yes, using a VPN on a Google Nest Wifi router cannot be considered an illegal activity. You’re not tampering with the Google device or breaking any law while using a VPN with Nest Wifi. In the same way, Google cannot deny you warranty on its Nest Wifi router if you install a VPN on another router and connect it with Nest Wifi.
Which VPN should I use with Google Nest Wifi?
NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost are the best VPNs for Nest Wifi devices. They support all major third-party router VPN firmware and have detailed setup guides. You can also try ExpressVPN and PrivateVPN.
Can I install a VPN on a Google Nest Wifi point?
Yes, you can install a VPN on a Nest Wifi point. However, you don’t need a separate installation if you’ve already set up a VPN on your Nest Wifi router. A Wifi point simply acts as a range extender in the mesh network that is directly connected to the main Nest Wifi router.
The only way to set up a functioning VPN on your Google Nest Wifi is to link it with a VPN-capable router. Once you connect your Nest Wifi with this router, configuring VPN on the latter is fairly easy.
If you’ve already bought the latest Nest Wifi router, I suggest you to first choose a VPN and then get the router. This way you can buy one specified by your VPN provider. If you have the budget, you could consider a router that comes preloaded with NordVPN. That will save you all the hassle. Surfshark, PrivateVPN, and CyberGhost will also give full value for your money.
In case you have already bought a new router or plan to use an old one, check if it supports VPN protocols. If not, you’ll need to flash-install a third-party software. Check if it supports flash installation. If neither work, you’ll need to get a replacement VPN-capable router.