Vilfo is a powerful VPN router that claims to be “the best VPN router.” The device offers users an easy way to protect all of their connected devices via a single access point.
While numerous routers are capable of offering VPN-protected connections, the Vilfo VPN router goes a few steps further by simultaneously offering VPN protection from multiple providers, and by using much more powerful hardware than most standard routers.
In this review, I’ll take a close look at the Vilfo VPN router. I’ll explain how it works, the advantages it offers, the drawbacks it brings to the table, and whether or not most users would find that the router is worth its somewhat pricey $379 price tag.
Here are just a few of the things I’ll be looking at in this review:
- What makes the Vilfo more powerful than the average WiFi router?
- Why is it so darned expensive compared to other routers?
- How easy is it to set up a VPN provider for use with the Vilfo?
- Can you use more than one VPN provider at once?
- Do your connected devices all have to use the VPN(s)?
- How well does it perform?
- Which VPN providers is Vilfo compatible with?
The Vilfo VPN router is an excellent option for internet users who are looking for a powerful, yet flexible way to provide VPN protection for their entire home or small office network. The router combines powerful hardware with easy-to-use software to provide a flexible method of offering VPN protection.
While the Vilfo VPN router is admittedly expensive, it is truly one of the most powerful VPN-optimized routers available today, and I strongly recommend it for users looking for comprehensive, easy-to-use, set-and-forget VPN protection for their home and small office networks.
For more information or to purchase a Vilfo VPN router, visit the Vilfo website.
- Powerful hardware
- Easy-to-use administration interface
- Parental controls
- Powerful strong encryption
- Works with most popular VPN services
- Offers split tunneling
- Can simultaneously provide connections from multiple VPN providers
- Wireless router performance could be better
- No 24/7 customer support
- No manual in box or available from website
The Vilfo VPN router boasts much more powerful hardware than most routers, even the high-end routers sold for gaming or streaming services. Let’s compare the Vilfo’s hardware specs with another popular router, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000.
Vilfo VPN Hardware Specs:
- Intel Celeron 2955U running at 1.40GHz
- 2 GB DDR3 1600 Mhz RAM
- 16 GB SSD
- WiFi: MT7612E
- WAN: 1 x 1000 Mbit/s
- LAN: 3 x 1000 Mbit/s
- HDMI: 1 port
- 802.11ac (Max 867 Mbit/s)
- 8 dBi antennas (2T2R)
- 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz WiFi
Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Hardware Specs:
- Broadcom BCM4709A0 – ARM Cortex A9 – Dual-core 1GHz processor
- 128MB flash and 256MB RAM
- Simultaneous dual band WiFi
- 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
- 802.11 a/n/ac 5GHz
- Five 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports (1 WAN & 4 LAN)
- Two (2) USB ports—1 USB 3.0 & 1 USB 2.0 port
As you can see above, the Vilfo boasts a much heartier processor than the R7000, as well as loads more RAM and flash storage. This all adds up to a better-performing router. While many routers can be used with some VPN providers, they are not specifically designed to use a VPN full-time.
This means the Vilfo router should provide much better performance than a “normal” router, especially when it comes to performing the calculations required for government-grade encryption used with the OpenVPN protocol.
I normally use a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router as my day-to-day router, so I am familiar with its performance and features. For a while, I had the ExpressVPN firmware installed on the R7000 router, so I am also familiar with its performance as a full-time VPN router.
I can honestly say that the Vilfo generally outperforms the R7000, except in the wireless connection speed category. The Vilfo interface is fast and responsive. Configuration changes that could take an extended period of time to update on some routers take only a few moments on the Vifo router.
While the Vilfo router outperforms other routers when it comes to performance for such things as overall internet connection speeds and administration of the router, the router does have one shortcoming, and that’s in its wireless performance.
The company’s website even mentions this, suggesting that if you prefer the wireless coverage that your old router offers that you put the old router into access point mode and connect it to a LAN port on the Vilfo, use the access point to connect to the Vilfo-protected network and “get the best of both worlds.”
What’s in the Box?
When you open the Vilfo VPN router box, you’ll find just a few things.
- The Vilfo router (DUH!)
- Two antennas for the router
- A short Ethernet cable
- A power supply and cable
- A two-page “quick start guide” with a Vilfo license key printed on the cover. (You’ll need that when you’re setting up the router.)
The Vilfo VPN router can best be described as minimalist.
The front of the small white device includes an on/off switch, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port.
The back of the router includes two screw posts for the two included antennas to attach to the router, a WAN port to use the included Ethernet cable to connect to your ISP-provided modem, and three 1000 Mbit/s LAN ports.
While I appreciate the minimalist design of the router, I do wish Vilfo had placed the power indicator light and the connection indicator lights on the front of the router instead of on the back of the unit.
Connecting the Router
Connecting the router to your current network is easy-peasy.
1. Simply connect one end of the supplied Ethernet cable to your modem or switch.
2. Then, connect the other end of the cable to the WAN port on the Vilfo.
3. Connect the power supply to the router and plug it into an available AC outlet.
4. Press the power button on the front of the router.
5. The Vilfo takes about three minutes to boot up. After the three minutes are up, connect your computer to the router, either via Ethernet or the router’s wireless signal, which is called “VILFO” by default. If you connect via WiFi, you may need to reconnect to the router if the router requires an update.
6. Once you’re connected, open your web browser of choice and enter “admin.vilfo.com” in the address field. Follow the steps that appear in the web browser.
The router setup instructions are handled in a step-by-step manner, all of which is accomplished in-browser.
You’ll first enter your license key from the front of the quick start guide, enter a username and password for the admin page, decide on a name for the hotspot, whether to use 802.11ac or 802.11n (802.11ac is better), and a few other things.
Where Is the Manual?
One thing you won’t find inside the box is a full manual. All you get is the two-page quick start guide.
While the guide is enough to get you started, you will most assuredly have some questions about the operation or further setup of the router.
While not including a full-fledged manual with any type of computer equipment (or any electronic equipment really) has become the norm, many manufacturers will include a link in their quick start guides to a full manual in PDF format.
Vilfo, unfortunately, does not do this. The company instead offers the answers to most of the questions that users might have in a “FAQ” section on their website.
While this likely won’t prove to be a big deal for many users, I’ve always appreciated a hardcopy manual or at least a PDF that I can refer to. (These are especially handy if you’re troubleshooting a bad connection, which might rule out visiting the Vilfo website.)
Connecting to a VPN
One of the things that isn’t mentioned in the router’s quick start guide is how to set up a connection to your VPN provider.
Luckily, the Administration interface will walk you through it, making it a relatively easy process. (Usually.)
Included in the initial setup process is picking a VPN provider. (You can always change this or add other VPN providers later.)
The router works with 25 VPN providers, including:
- OVPN (owned by the same company as Vilfo)
- Borderless VPN
- Flashback VPN
- Hide My Ass!
- Perfect Privacy
- Private Internet Access
If your VPN provider isn’t on the list, the router can also use OpenVPN configuration files. This means that if your provider offers OpenVPN as one of its protocols, you can likely use the router with your provider. (OpenVPN is the only protocol the router is compatible with.)
For the purposes of my testing, I used a set of user credentials for OVPN (which the provider – who also makes the Vilfo – kindly offered me), as well as my credentials for ExpressVPN. I later added Private Internet Access and IPVanish connections.
While the setup process for VPN providers is a simple one, and most shouldn’t run into any issues, there is a quirk to deal with if you’re setting up an ExpressVPN connection.
I entered the username and password I normally used for my ExpressVPN account, and the Vilfo kept reporting that the login was unsuccessful.
I contacted Vilfo for help, and they were kind enough to provide a link to ExpressVPN’s instructions on how to deal with this. (Make sure you’re logged into the ExpressVPN website, as you’ll need to copy and paste some information from the website.) More about Vilfo customer support later.
In most cases, you’ll need only to enter your VPN provider-supplied login credentials to connect. OPVN required only my username and password, and I was connected.
The Vilfo Administration Interface
The Vilfo VPN router offers an easy-to-use, web-based administration interface. All of the menus are logically laid out, and most options are easy to understand and use.
The Dashboard screen is the first screen you’ll see when logging into your Vilfo VPN router’s administration interface.
This screen provides a convenient summary of information, including gateway latency, the current load on your router, the number of devices currently connected to the router, the manufacturers of the connected devices, the amount of bandwidth that has been used by each device, and the amount of encrypted vs. unencrypted traffic.
This screen is where Vilfo users may spend the lion’s share of their time, as here is where you can set up, view and edit VPN groups.
This means you could have your streaming devices like a smart TV, Apple TV, Roku or other devices all connecting to a fast VPN provider that offers reliable access to streaming content (like ExpressVPN), while your computer and mobile devices could all be connected to another provider, or even the same provider but to a different server location.
Users can assign each connected device to a particular group, which can be categorized in nearly any manner they wish.
So, on the “Devices” screen, users can create new VPN groups that can be used to organize devices by VPN provider or by use. Groups can be set to use any VPN provider that is set up on the router. Groups can have their provider and server location changed on the fly, making this a quite useful feature.
By clicking a device name, users can access a screen where they can view numerous bits of information about the device’s usage of the VPN router, change the group the device belongs to, delete the device, view and edit parental controls, add and edit bypass rules (by entering an IP address, domain or port), forward ports and more.
Here, you can install the Vilfo browser extension, which you can set up on a site-by-site basis to either bypass VPN protection or to force VPN protection.
Bypassing allows connecting to those websites that don’t accept VPN-protected traffic, while forcing VPN protection means you’ll never be able to visit a designated website without being connected to the encrypted VPN tunnel.
Here, you can create and manage port forwarding for each device. This screen is also accessible through the “Devices” screen.
This screen shows charts offering an at-a-glance look at the memory currently being used on the router, the CPU usage, the bandwidth that has been used today as well as the total bandwidth that’s been used in the past, and the bandwidth used by each VPN group.
On this screen, users can reboot or turn off the router, back up the router settings, send router diagnostics to Vilfo, update the router’s firmware, reset the router back to factory settings, view all of the network connections, and view system info and the hardware specs of the router.
Here is where you install each VPN provider you’d like to use with the router.
While currently there are 25 providers that you can use natively with the router, VPN providers that use OpenVPN can also be manually set up to work with the Vilfo.
This is where you control the OpenVPN Server built into the Vilfo router.
Unlike a VPN provider’s VPN protections, which provides an encrypted connection to the internet, the Vilfo router’s OpenVPN Server allows you to securely connect to your home network from outside of the network.
This offers secure access to printers, storage and other resources normally only accessible from inside your home network.
Here is where you’ll add and edit bypass rules by IP address, domain or port.
This is handy for bypassing the VPN for specific websites or services that using a VPN could negatively impact. For instance, gamers can bypass the VPN for online gaming servers, possibly allowing for improved performance.
Here you can view and edit system settings such as time zone, update settings, admin account information; enable or disable MAC vendor lookup; enable or disable Intercom and Google Analytics; and grab a token for API Access.
This where you’ll edit the router’s LAN settings, wireless settings, DNS server settings and DHCP options.
You can edit the name of your wireless network, the type of encryption the network uses, the required password, network protocol and more.
This where you can control notifications of certain router events.
Notifications can be sent by email or through the Pushover notifications service. Notifications can be sent when a new router update is available, when a new device is added, a group connects to or disconnects from a VPN service, when the system shuts down, and many other events.
This section allows you to control various OpenVPN settings, including the ability to enable or disable the connection kill switch, edit the connection timeout period, and edit the protocol preference (UDP/TCP).
Here, you can add and edit rules for individual devices to control internet connectivity availability to turn off availability for devices. This is handy for controlling kids’ access to the internet.
This is where you can add users and edit user access to the Vilfo VPN server.
Security & Privacy
One of the most important uses for a VPN is to keep your online activities away from the prying eyes of nosy types, such as your Internet Service Provider, hackers and the government.
While the Vilfo VPN router only supports one connection protocol, the protocol it does support is OpenVPN.
OpenVPN has a good track record of providing reliable and well-performing connections. While many VPN providers also offer other connection protocols, OpenVPN is my connection protocol of choice.
Users have a choice of AES-128 and AES-256 encryption, AES-256 being the most secure of the two.
In addition to the military-grade encryption that your VPN services provide, the Vilfo VPN router also helps protect your connection from being exposed to prying eyes by offering kill switch protection and the ability to notify you if things go wrong, like when a device group is disconnected from the VPN, or when a VPN user is disconnected.
I only had a few questions for Vilfo customer support while testing the router, and in both cases, I received excellent support.
A question I had about connecting to ExpressVPN with the router was answered within 1 hour. A question about the ports on the front of the router was answered early the next morning.
Available support options include live support chat (although both times I used this feature, “live” chat wasn’t available, and instead I dealt with a bot that sent the message to a human). Also available is email support and a searchable support database.
All replies from support were informative and pleasant. I also found the support database to come in handy, and I was able to find helpful information almost every time.
The Vilfo VPN router’s administration interface is logical and well laid out. It is definitely one of the best UIs that I have ever used on a VPN-enabled router.
While the interface is attractive and logical, it is also fast. The router’s Intel Celeron processor, its 2GB of RAM, and large (for a router) 16GB of SSD storage all combine to provide a fast and responsive interface. Many routers, especially those that are a few years old or older, perform like a 486SX laptop running Windows XP. (Look it up, kids.)
While many users may simply set-and-forget their Vilfo VPN router, there are those who like to fool around in the settings, or those like me, who are constantly trying new VPN providers. Those users will appreciate the peppy performance that the Vilfo VPN router offers.
While Vilfo itself acknowledges that its router’s WiFi speeds aren’t quite up to snuff with other routers’ WiFi speeds, I found that those speeds were more than acceptable.
I will note that my WiFi routers are located in my office, where I work. However, the Vilfo VPN router’s built-in WiFi hotspot performed well in my testing.
In the table below, you’ll see my results.
I used the Speedtest app on my M1 Mac mini to test the download and upload speeds when connecting with no VPN via Ethernet and then via WiFi.
I then used the ExpressVPN app on my Mac and ran the same download and upload tests on Ethernet and WiFi.
Finally, I ran the download and upload tests a third time using the Vilfo VPN Router running the ExpressVPN connection on the router.
As a comparison, I also ran the same tests, both with and without the ExpressVPN app, while connected to a standard router, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000.
|Connection||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
|No VPN Vilfo WiFi||229 Mbps||138 Mbps|
|No VPN Vilfo Ethernet||451 Mbps||350 Mbps|
|ExpressVPN on Vilfo Router WiFi||145 Mbps||38.3 Mbps|
|ExpressVPN on Vilfo Router Ethernet||201 Mbps||70.7 Mbps|
|Express VPN App w/ Vilfo WiFi||116 Mbps||73.6 Mbps|
|Express VPN App w/ Vilfo Ethernet||149 Mbps||101 Mbps|
|No VPN Netgear Nighthawk R7000 WiFi||232 Mbps||93 Mbps|
|No VPN Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Ethernet||405 Mbps||224 Mbps|
|ExpressVPN App w/ Netgear Nighthawk R7000 WiFi||115 Mbps||35.7 Mbps|
|ExpressVPN App w/ Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Ethernet||237 Mbps||96.4 Mbps|
As you can see from the table above, the Vilfo VPN router performed well, both when it was connected to ExpressVPN and when it was using a normal ISP-provided connection. The Vilfo compared well to the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 on both WiFi and Ethernet, and with and without ExpressVPN.
While the connection speeds were all impressive, the best performance was seen from using the ExpressVPN connection that the Vilfo router offered. Also, you can see that an Ethernet connection outperforms a WiFi connection. An Ethernet connection will offer the best connection speeds, and should be used whenever possible, IMHO.
The router’s ExpressVPN numbers were also comparable to using the ExpressVPN app running on my M1 Mac mini.
It should be noted that your numbers will likely vary from my results, depending on the device you’re using, your current make and model of router, where you have your router located in your home or office, the size of your home or office, and various other little differences.
Your results will also vary according to which VPN provider you use.
I tried ExpressVPN, OVPN, IPVanish, Private Internet Access and other providers during my testing, and all performed quite well. For example, ExpressVPN delivered the fastest download speeds in my most recent general speed tests. The VPN service did not disappoint when using the Vilfo, providing above-average download speeds.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the performance of the Vilfo-provided connections, both via Ethernet and WiFi. In both cases, I was able to stream HD video with no buffering or lagging, and my day-to-day online activities (such as writing this review) were all pleasant, with no issues while testing.
The Vilfo VPN router, while definitely expensive, proved to offer a valid option for home and small office VPN protection and enhancement. The router offers convenient, well-protected connections from numerous popular VPN services. The router delivers an easy way to protect and manage connections for all of your connected devices.
I especially like the feature that allows using multiple VPN connections, allowing users to pick and choose the best protection and enhancement options for different types of devices.
The router’s management interface is easy to understand and offers top performance when compared to the UIs of lesser routers. The router’s specifications seemed like overkill when I first saw them, but I now appreciate the router’s features and performance.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
For more information or to purchase a Vilfo VPN router, visit the Vilfo website.
Disclosure: The Vilfo VPN Router was provided to me at no cost by Vilfo for the purposes of testing and reviewing, and some images in this review were also provided by Vilfo. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Vilfo VPN Router FAQ
Does the Vilfo VPN Router Support Wireguard?
The Vilfo VPN Router does not currently support Wireguard. However, Vilfo does offer router updates from time-to-time, and Wireguard support could be added as the use of the protocol continues to grow. Vilfo encourages its users to send them email to request new features, including new protocols.
Does the Vilfo VPN Router Have a Firewall?
Yes, the Vilfo VPN Router does include a firewall to isolate your network and its connected devices from requests coming in from the internet. This allows the blocking of incoming connections, blocks ICMP requests and more.
Can I Use Additional Routers or Mesh Networks With Vilfo?
Yes, you can connect additional routers and mesh networks to the Vilfo VPN router as access points. This allows you to use what may be a faster WiFi connection alongside the Vilfo VPN router’s VPN protection.
Is There a Mobile App For Vilfo?
There are no Vilfo mobile apps currently available for use with the Vilfo VPN router. However, your iOS or Android device can connect to the router as they would normally connect to a WiFi router.
- My Verdict
- Router Setup
- Connecting to a VPN
- The Vilfo Administration Interface
- Security & Privacy
- Customer Support
- Vilfo VPN Router FAQ
- Does the Vilfo VPN Router Support Wireguard?
- Does the Vilfo VPN Router Have a Firewall?
- Can I Use Additional Routers or Mesh Networks With Vilfo?
- Is There a Mobile App For Vilfo?