Picture this, you’ve purchased a VPN subscription and you start installing the VPN apps on your devices. One installation after the other, you start realizing how long it’s taking you to get everything set up.
After painstakingly setting everything up, you launch the VPN app only to see a message popup on your screen saying:
Maximum number of devices reached!
Now, you have no choice but to purchase another VPN subscription or play god and remove one or two devices from your current VPN account.
Sounds frustrating right?
Surely there must be a better solution. Turns out, there is one. You can always configure a VPN on your DD-WRT-compatible router. However, it can be a nightmare to configure everything properly if you don’t have technical knowledge. Besides, flashing a router is not recommended as it may ruin it permanently.
This is why proper VPN-compatible routers are in such high demand. You just need to set up your router once by following easy instructions, and you’ll be able to use the VPN service on unlimited devices simultaneously.
Speaking of proper VPN-compatible routers, today I’ll be reviewing one of the best in the market — Vilfo.
In this Vilfo review, I’ll be talking about:
- What is Vilfo?
- Key findings from my Vilfo review
- Things I like and dislike about Vilfo
- What’s included in the box?
- Streaming performance
- Simultaneous connections and group user management
- Dashboard and what it offers
- Vilfo’s hands-on user experience
- Vilfo router’s features
- Vilfo’s pricing
- Vilfo’s after-sales services
- How to set up your Vilfo router? (Easy way)
But first, let me tell you a bit about Vilfo…
What is Vilfo?
Vilfo is a ridiculously powerful multi-gigabit VPN router with current built-in support for 25 VPN providers. Vilfo’s powerful hardware is capable of delivering encryption speeds of up to 600 Mbit/s and offers a host of features such as multiple simultaneous connections, kill switch, parental control, real-time notifications, and much more.
The story behind Vilfo is very cool. It was part of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised $75,682 USD and was backed by 230 backers. While their initial goal was to gain $25,000, they manage to achieve 302% of it instead.
Vilfo is owned by the same Swedish folks over at OVPN. Vilfo AB is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and its team consists of:
- Alexander Koval
- Nikolay Nizruhin
- Andy Tsymbal
- Tamas Szabo
- Maximilian Holm
- Ruben Rehn
- David Wibergh
Key Findings From Vilfo Review
|Compatibility||All OpenVPN providers supported|
|Hardware||Intel Celeron, Wifi, 4 Ethernet ports, 2 GB DDR3 1600 Mhz Ram, 16 GB SSD|
|Measurements||Height: 42 mm, Width: 180 mm, Depth 120 mm|
|Wireless||802.11ac, 8 dBi antennas, 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz WiFi|
|Customer Support||Live chat support, but not available 24/7, email & FAQ|
|Money-back guarantee||14-days ($30 charges for return shipping)|
|Warranty||1-year hardware warranty|
|Package contents||Vilfo router, RJ-45 cable, power adapter, quick start guide, license code|
|Pricing||$379 - $20 shipping - $399.00 total|
Things I Like and Dislike About Vilfo VPN Router
|What I liked||What I dis-liked|
|Powerful hardware for a router||Expensive price|
|Fast AES-256-CBC encryption - up to 600 MBit/s||Live chat not available 24/7|
|Easy to understand user interface||$35 return shipping fee|
|Ability to run multiple VPNs simultaneously|
|Extensive monitoring features|
What’s Included in the Box?
By now, you must have a brief idea of what Vilfo is and what it offers. Let’s dive in a bit deeper to see if this $399 router is worth getting or not.
Vilfo router comes in a nicely packaged box. The white color box showcases some Vilfo branding along with router specification and the contents of the box.
Speaking of which, here’s what comes inside the box:
- Vilfo router and its two antennas.
- A short ethernet cable that could have been a bit longer.
- Power adapter and its supply cable.
- Quick start guide and a license code.
Vilfo Offers Powerful Encryption Without Slowing Down Speed
If you have ever configured a VPN on a router, you know that you don’t get fast speeds. That’s the problem with most VPN-compatible routers. While a lot of routers don’t support VPNs at all, some that do will offer excruciatingly slow speeds after being flashed with DD-WRT or any other custom firmware.
The reason why most VPN-compatible routers perform poorly is because of their hardware. Vilfo on the other hand is different. Vilfo router’s internals consist of Intel Celeron, 2 GB DDR3 1600 Mhz Ram, and 16 GB SSD. For a router, such specifications are pretty impressive.
With powerful internals, Vilfo can perform encryption and decryption without slowing down your VPN connection.
Speaking of encryption, Vilfo can handle up to 600 MBit/s of AES-256-CBC encryption. This is truly impressive.
In my testing, Vilfo certainly proved to be blazing fast. For proper testing, I ran multiple speed tests while using:
Out of all the routers that I flashed over the years, Vilfo performed better than all of them. With a 100 Mbps connection, Vilfo impressively offered a consistent download speed of 80+ Mbps while testing with all three VPNs.
Though, I do have to admit that Vilfo performed slightly better with ExpressVPN. Its USA – Atlanta, and the USA – Dallas servers offered fast speed and super low pings.
Here’s a screenshot of that:
If you configure a router with DD-WRT or any other custom firmware and then install a VPN on it, you’re not going to get nearly as impressive speeds as Vilfo. For instance, while using the same internet connection and configuring ExpressVPN on my Asus router (RT-AC66U B1), I saw a significant drop in upload and download speeds.
Here’s a screenshot of that:
With properly optimized hardware, Vilfo pretty much blows others out of the competition.
Vilfo Router’s Streaming Performance
Any review involving VPNs would be incomplete if I don’t talk about streaming performance. To test how effectively Vilfo can unblock popular streaming services, I configured my Vilfo router with ExpressVPN.
When streaming U.S Netflix, I didn’t face any issues. I was instantly able to search for U.S only exclusive titles like “The Bachelor” in just seconds. As for video playback quality, using my Fire Stick connected to my Hisense H9G 4K TV, I was able to stream multiple shows in 4K HDR. I also didn’t notice any buffering issues or lag.
I also tried accessing Hulu and Amazon Prime Video and found the overall streaming experience to be quite pleasant. Needless to say, Vilfo’s streaming performance is great.
Simultaneous VPN Connections and Group User Management
Vilfo handles simultaneous connections like a champ. Typically, if you configure a VPN on a router, every device that connects to that router will be forced to pass through the VP tunnel. This can be inconvenient as not everyone wants their internet connection to slow down due to encryption.
For instance, you might want to use the VPN server to unblock streaming services like Netflix on your laptop, however, on your other device, for general browsing, you’d prefer fast speed without any encryption. This is not possible with a typical router + VPN setup.
Vilfo is different. It allows you to manage various devices into groups. You can choose which group uses the VPN tunnel and which doesn’t. It’s kind of like a split tunneling feature but on the router level.
Dividing devices into groups makes it super convenient to manage different devices. You can segregate your work laptop and phone into a separate group so that they always pass through the VPN tunnel while adding your gaming consoles to another group to bypass the VPN tunnel for lag-free performance.
Vilfo gives users the full control to micromanage each individual connection.
If you want to block a certain device from accessing the internet — you can do that.
If you want to see how much bandwidth a certain device is consuming — you can do that.
If you want to view the browsing history of a particular device — you can do that.
If you want to manage parental controls, guess what — you can do that too.
But that’s not even the coolest part…
Vilfo takes simultaneous VPN connections to a whole nother level. Aside from letting multiple users share a VPN connection simultaneously, Vilfo can run multiple VPN clients at the same time (Click here for more details).
How cool is that? I’ve never seen any other VPN router offer this feature.
Overall, in terms of simultaneous connections and excellent device management, I would give Vilfo a 10/10.
Dashboard With God-Like Monitoring Options
Vilfo’s dashboard is insanely comprehensive. If you’ve ever seen a typical spy movie with a tech geek monitoring different graphs and stuff, Vilfo’s dashboard resembles just that. Vilfo allows you to monitor real-time data of everything that’s going on your router. It even shows all the devices that have access to your Vilfo router, including the devices that are not actively connected.
Just to name a few, here’s some of the analytics and insights Vilfo lets you view on your Network:
- Gateway Latency
- Real-time group bandwidth
- Encrypted vs Unencrypted traffic
Want to know why your games are lagging?
Access your Vilfo’s dashboard to monitor the real-time latency of your internet service provider and each individual VPN service installed on your Vilfo router.
Just like on your Windows computer, you can actually monitor the load on your Vilfo router’s CPU. Again, all in real-time. Looking over the data, you can decide if you want to take some of the load off of your router.
If you ever suspect an unknown device connected to your router (which is impossible thanks to WPA2-PSK encryption), you can use the dashboard to view the device manufacturers of all the devices connected to your router. Although not 100% accurate, Vilfo can still provide pretty accurate information by checking the MAC addresses of all the devices connected to it.
Bandwidth monitoring is pretty cool. It’s super helpful to identify bandwidth hoggers in your home. Via its dashboard, Vilfo can present you with the list of the top three devices that consume the most bandwidth on your network.
Real-time group bandwidth
Remember that we talked about grouping earlier on in this review? Well, Vilfo even lets you view the combined upload and download bandwidth for different groups. For instance, you can view how much bandwidth each device in your office or gaming group is consuming in real-time.
Encrypted vs Unencrypted traffic
Want more in-depth monitoring, Vilfo lets you monitor your encrypted and unencrypted traffic in real-time. Just at a glance, you can know how much of your internet traffic is protected vs unprotected.
Overall, I don’t think that I’ve ever used a VPN router before that offers this level of monitoring options.
Vilfo’s Hands-on User Experience
Although there’s not much to talk about when it comes to the user experience of routers, I have to make an exception for Vilfo.
To be honest, if you buy Vilfo, you’re not going to find yourself always in the admin panel messing with different settings, however, whenever you do, you’re going to be blown away by how snappy everything works and how all the options are so easy to find.
If you’ve ever accessed the admin panel of a regular router, you know how slow everything works. The UI looks boring and not appealing at all. But with Vilfo, things are a lot different. From the UI to how Vilfo handles multiple tasks, its performance and user experience are unmatched.
Vilfo Router’s Features
Now, let’s talk about some of the main features of Vilfo. Since Vilfo is just a router, there is not much you can expect. To keep things short and simple, here are some of the features that I’m going to talk about:
- Split tunneling
- Kill switch
- Built-in and manual support for VPNs
- Simultaneous VPN connections on steroids
- Parental controls
- Browser extension
- Vilfo’s built-in VPN server
Unlike the typical VPN split tunneling feature that a lot of VPNs nowadays offer, Vilfo’s split tunneling feature is a lot more customizable.
To be honest, I actually really liked the way this feature worked at the time of reviewing my Vilfo router.
Okay so, with Vilfo’s split tunneling feature, you can:
- Temporarily exclude any device from using the VPN server by going into the Devices window and clicking the Bypass button.
- Specify certain websites, port numbers, or IP addresses for a device to bypass the VPN tunnel. You can simply do this by going into the Settings menu > Bypass window.
Overall, you get a lot of customizable options to truly fine-tune the way you use your VPN service.
You might have heard of a VPN kill switch, but have you ever heard of a router kill switch. Vilfo comes with its own kill switch. This means that you get router-level leak protection. I’ve not seen any other router offer this feature.
If you don’t know what a kill switch does, it basically prevents your original IP address from leaking in case you lose a connection from the VPN server. In case of any accidental connection drops, Vilfo will temporarily disable your entire internet connection. Once your VPN connection is restored, Vilfo will disable the kill switch and allow you to resume your browsing as normal.
What makes a router level kill switch better than a regular VPN kill switch is that you’ll get leak protection for even those devices that don’t have native support for VPNs such a gaming consoles or smart TVs.
Vilfo’s kill switch feature works with any VPN service that supports OpenVPN. It is a super convenient feature to have.
Built-in and Manual Support for VPNs
As I said, the Vilfo router comes with 25 popular VPN services already pre-installed on it. In the future, more VPNs will be added. Among the already installed VPN apps, you get big names like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, Private Internet Access, and many more.
But Vilfo isn’t limited to using just these VPNs.
In fact, Vilfo supports any OpenVPN-compatible VPN service that offers OpenVPN configuration files. If your VPN service is not already integrated into Vilfo, you simply upload your VPN provider’s configuration files in the Admin interface. Click here if you want to see how easy it is to manually configure a VPN app on a Vilfo router.
Simultaneous VPN Connections on Steroids
I already talked about Vilfo’s ability to offer unlimited simultaneous connections and run multiple VPN services simultaneously. However, what I didn’t tell is that Vilfo can actually run 10 different VPN services simultaneously.
I’m not kidding.
What’s more, you can custom specify each group to use a different VPN service. Your office devices can be connected to NordVPN while your gaming and streaming devices can be connected to ExpressVPN for example.
Now that’s what I call simultaneous connections on steroids.
Let me know in the comments if you know any other VPN router that also offers this feature.
We all know how kids are naturally curious. However, there are somethings on the internet that you wouldn’t want your kid to see — at least not till they’re 18+.
Thankfully, Vilfo offers a parental control feature.
You can use the parental control feature to block internet access to certain devices for certain times of the day or week.
If your kids spend hours mindlessly playing games when they should be working on their homework, this feature can be a lifesaver for any parent.
Again, not many routers offer this feature.
Vilfo also comes with its own browser extension. While VPN browser extensions are pretty common, Vilfo’s browser extension is a bit different. For whichever VPN you set it up to use, the browser extension will give you the option to either bypass the VPN tunnel for the current website that you’re on, or force your browser to access the website via a VPN connection.
Vilfo’s browser extension is available for Chrome, Vivaldi, and Firefox. I personally used the browser extension with NordVPN on my Chrome browser and found it to work great. Web pages loaded smoothly and I didn’t notice any bugs either.
Speaking of using Vilfo’s browser extension, you can’t use it unless you enable it via your routers Extension menu. To enable Vilfo’s extension, head over to the Admin panel and click on Extension then Install now, and then Enable.
That’s it. You can now use the browser extension with any VPN service and access websites like Netflix in a matter of seconds.
Another cool feature that Vilfo offers is push-notifications. In case of any important event that occurs on your router, Vilfo will send push-notifications or emails to your phone.
For instance, you’ll get notifications for when:
- A new device connects to your network.
- When your connection to the VPN server drops.
- Whenever your Vilfo is powering back on (in case of a power outage).
- Whenever Vilfo is shutting down, Vilfo will send you an alert.
- Whenever there is a firmware update.
Vilfo’s Built-in VPN server
Aside from the VPN apps that come pre-installed on it, Vilfo also offers its own built-in VPN server.
Allow me to explain…
With Vilfo’s own VPN server, you can securely access the admin panel of your Vilfo router securely from anywhere in the world. You can make changes to any router settings or monitor its activities even on the go while being totally protected by Vilfo’s powerful encryption.
Another advantage of the Vilfo router’s built-in VPN server is that you’ll be able to access any resource on your network remotely from anywhere in the world. For instance, you can access your printer at home remotely without compromising security and privacy.
Setting up Vilfo’s built-in VPN server isn’t all that hard too. You can check out the easy getting started tutorial here.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Vilfo is Not Cheap. However, when you think about other companies offering pre-configured routers for upwards of $400, Vilfo doesn’t seem all that expensive, especially for all the hardware it offers.
Take for example Flashrouters that offers pre-configured DD-WRT firmware routers from popular brands like Asus, Net-gear, and Linksys. If you take a look at their pricing, you can find routers ranging between $159 to all the way up to $400. But if you check out the hardware that these routers come with, you’ll be quite disappointed.
For example, the Asus AC5300 DD-WRT router on their website costs $399, however, it only comes with 512 MB RAM and a 1.4 GHz processor. Vilfo on the other hand also costs $399 + shipping, however, it offers an Intel Celeron processor, 2 GB DDR3 1600 Mhz Ram, 16 GB SSD, and a WiFi chip supporting speeds of 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz.
If you compare both routers side by side, Vilfo is obviously much more powerful. So overall, Vilfo might seem expensive, however, when you compare it to a similar product, it actually offers a lot for what it costs.
Vilfo’s After-Sales Services
So you’ve just received your Vilfo router and you’re now thinking, “Did I make the right decision?”.
Well, I would say yes.
Take a sigh of relief, relax and check out some of the after-sales services that Vilfo offers.
Live Chat Support
Vilfo offers live chat support. If you run into any issues, their customer support is always there to help. For instance, when I was setting up my Vilfo router for this review, I needed some help getting started as the instructions that came in the box weren’t very comprehensive.
Although their live chat support is not available 24/7, I did manage to get in touch with them relatively quickly on numerous occasions. Their support agents are professional and very responsive. Overall, I would rate their customer support a solid 7/10.
1-Year Hardware Warranty
Software warranties are pretty common, however, not many companies offer hardware warranties. The cool thing about Vilfo is that they offer a one-year hardware warranty. In case of any hardware failures, you can claim your warranty. However, the warranty is not valid for any damages inflicted by the customer on the unit. You can read about it on their terms page.
Want more reasons to get Vilfo? Well, how about the fact that Vilfo offers a 14 days return policy. You can try out the router risk-free for 14 days and if you don’t like it, Vilfo will refund you your money.
Just keep in mind that Vilfo will deduct $35 for return shipping. Also, in order to get your refund, you must make sure to repackage the router carefully so that it may not incur any damages. You must make sure that the product is not damaged, otherwise, you may not get your refund.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you must repackage the router in its original box with all of its accessories, otherwise, you may be charged extra for missing items.
In my opinion, their refund policy is pretty fair. Although free return shipping would make things a lot more convenient for customers.
How to Set Up Your Vilfo Router? (Easy way)
- First things first, get your Vilfo router out of the box and assemble everything. Assuming that you’re not a monkey, it shouldn’t take you long to screw in the two antennas and assemble the power supply.
- Hook up your modem to your Vilfo router using an ethernet cable. Make sure to plug in your LAN wire in the WAN port.
- Power on your Vilfo router and give it some time before you begin the initial setup process.
- Alright, now that you’ve waited patiently, you can begin the setup process in one of two ways.
- You can either access Vilfo’s dashboard over WiFi by connecting to VILFO from the list of available WiFi networks.
- Access Vilfo’s dashboard by using a LAN cable (included in the box).
- Once you’ve decided which method you want to go with, open up your web browser and visit http://admin.vilfo.com. If you’re unable to access the admin panel and see a message saying “This site can’t be reached”, you might be experiencing an IP conflict issue. Vilfo is smart enough to automatically suggest using a different IP. All you need to do is change it. I’m my case, I didn’t have to change my IP, however, if you do, you can change the default IP from 192.168.0.1 to 10.220.0.1.
- Once you change your IP address, you can then access the admin panel by typing in http://10.220.0.1/setup.
- Now, start setting up the different options that appear on your dashboard such as Country, Network SSID, Encryption, Password, Protocol, Visibility Band, channel, etc. For Encryption, the recommended setting is WPA2-PSK. It is the safest algorithm by far. For the band, you can choose between 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. Keep in mind that you can only use one at a time and not both.
- Next, enter the provided Vilfo license key that came with your router. Also, provide a valid email address to be able to reset your password and receive notifications.
- Next, create an admin username and password. This is to ensure that you can log back into your Vilfo router’s admin panel to change any setting.
- Now is the time to set up a pre-installed VPN app on your Vilfo router. By default, there are about 25 VPN apps already pre-installed. You just need to enter your username and password for any VPN service that you’ve subscribed to and Vilfo will automatically install the appropriate config files. If you haven’t purchased a VPN subscription, I would suggest trying out ExpressVPN’s free trial or purchasing its 12 months + 3 months free plan for the best performance.
That’s it. This is how easy it is to initially configure a Vilfo VPN router.
What I Don’t Like About Vilfo and Do I Recommend Buying the Router?
While I absolutely love the performance of the Vilfo router and everything that it offers, there is one thing that I don’t like about it. Vilfo performance as a VPN router is great, however, as a regular router, its speeds can be better.
When excluding encryption and tunneling, Vilfo offered slightly slower speeds than my Asus router (RT-AC66U B1). But the results weren’t all that surprising to me. I say this because Vilfo itself recommends that if you have a high-speed router, you should use it as an access point for Vilfo. This way, you’ll get top-notch speeds and powerful VPN encryption of Vilfo.
Speaking of speeds, by no means is Vilfo slow. It is plenty fast straight out of the box.
This brings us to the question — is the Vilfo VPN router worth getting for $399?
To be completely honest with you, yes, Vilfo it is totally worth getting. I can’t recommend it enough.
The features, user experience, security, encrypted speeds, and unblocking performance that it offers, make Vilfo one of the best VPN routers in the industry right now.