5 Best VPNs for Synology That Work in 2019

With Synology NAS devices you can both connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel (via the VPN client) or set up your own VPN server through Synology. Setting up a VPN for Synology will ensure that your data is kept secure. In this article we tell you how to set up a VPN on Synology and list the five best VPN services (All with OpenVPN).

 

Synology is a Taiwanese firm that specializes in Network Area Storage (NAS). While it’s not the cheapest way to create your own VPN server, Synology is definitely at the top of its game. It offers much that you would be hard pushed to achieve otherwise. This includes everything from simple NAS to nearly everything web-related.

But, why should you bother with a VPN connection on your NAS device? Well, there are several benefits. By using NAS storage with a VPN server It will:

  • VPN encryption protects against eavesdropping and wiretapping, to prevent third parties from intercepting and reading your files.
  • A VPN prevents packet sniffers from reading transmitted data.
  • It allows you to use geolocation-related plugins as some may be blocked in your location. 

Unfortunately, VPN tunnels have overhead, which will ultimately slow down your connection. Nevertheless, it is worth trading a bit of speed for increased security when you're accessing sensitive data. However, if you get a fast VPN service, the amount your connection is slowed becomes negligible, as the VPN provides fast servers. Also, as Synology devices can connect to OpenVPN servers, you should be able to connect your NAS VPN with the majority of leading providers.

How to Set up a VPN on Synology

If you want to set up a VPN client on Synology you will need to follow the basic steps outlined below. Synology devices support all 3 major VPN protocols: PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN. For security and privacy purposes we strongly recommend opting for OpenVPN. To setup OpenVPN for Synology you will need to:

  1. Download the necessary config files from your VPN provider. If you aren't sure what config files you need ask your provider directly. You will need the .ovpn files for either UDP or TCP connections depending on which you intend to use (we recommend UDP as it is faster and more stable). You will also require .crt and .key files. (If your VPN cannot provide you with access to these files, you will likely need to subscribe to a different VPN service.)

  2. Open your Synology Control Panel

  3. Now click on "Network"

  4. Select the "Network Interface" tab in the top menu 

  5. Click "Create" and select "Create VPN profile"

  6. Select "OpenVPN (via importing a .ovpn file)"

  7. In general settings enter -  Profile name: (make this whatever you like). Username: Your VPN username from when you subscribed. Password: your VPN password from when you subscribed.  

  8. Import .ovpn file: Select the .ovpn file you downloaded from your provider

  9. CA certificate: Select the ca.crt you got from your provider

  10. Client certificate: Select the .crt file you got from your provider

  11. Client key: Select the .key you got from your provider

  12. In the next window, click the checkboxes next to: “Use default gateway or remote network.” “Allow other network devices to connect through this Synology server’s internet connection.” And: “Reconnect when the VPN connection is lost.”

  13. You should now see the newly created connection in the list. Select it, and click "Connect".

  14. Once a connection is established you should see a box appear that shows an active connection with data being sent.

Remember this is a basic outline, your VPN provider should be able to help you by providing specific information for your setup.

The Best VPNs for Synology 2019

The best VPNs for Synology are listed below. Simply pick one of these services and connect to your Synology NAS server, limited setup required! Click through to the provider websites for more information about their service. If you need more information about any of the services below, click the links to view the provider's website or check out our detailed VPN reviews.

  1. NordVPN - is a secure VPN service, it offers in-depth guides on how to set up NordVPN with Synology, and it has consistently fast servers
  2. CyberGhost - is an easy to use VPN service, offers strong encryption, and it is cheap
  3. Ivacy - is a fast VPN service, it won our fastest VPN award
  4. PrivateVPN - as it's name suggests it's a private VPN service and it is the cheapest on the list
  5. ExpressVPN - a Fast VPN that has been around for years! Servers in over 90 countries

Synology VPN Considerations

A Note Regarding PIA VPN and Synology

At the time of writing, numerous users in the Private Internet Access (PIA) forums are complaining of issues, bugs and configuration problems with PIA. As such, I currently recommend that you stay away from PIA if you want to use a VPN with a Synology device. Users are also complaining of long and drawn out calls with the support department, which is doing PIA's reputation little good.

Multiple users commented in the forums that the support agents were unable to resolve their issues because they weren't trained to support and troubleshoot Synology. Likewise, I would imagine that Synology staff are not trained to support PIA VPN, so it's a bit of a paradox.

Please don't misunderstand me, however. I actually love PIA VPN and think that it has a lot to offer. That said, I wouldn't use it in a scenario that includes Synology due to the complaints and common problems reported by multiple users. If you want to read up more on these issues, you can find the threads on PIA VPN's website and forums.

Conclusion

In this day and age, you can never be too careful. I advocate the use of VPN tunnels every time you power on your computer or mobile device, just as a precaution. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's always better to stay safe with a VPN tunnel than it is to risk a third party stealing your data.

On a NAS device, if you're copying or downloading large amounts of data or archives, it's best to use a VPN. Such data would likely include some information (text files, personal images, videos, and so forth) that you wouldn't want a hacker or government organization seeing. Lastly, remember to use OpenVPN whenever possible. It's much stronger than Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) connections, which are the only other two protocols compatible with Synology.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

7 Comments

  1. George-B

    on February 19, 2018
    Reply

    What VPN service works with Synology RT2600AC router. I have had NO luck finding a service provider. ExpressVPN said they DO NOT support the router.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to George-B

      on February 21, 2018
      Reply

      Hi George-B, The Synology RT2600AC router can be used as a standard VPN client supporting the OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP VPN protocols. ExpressVPN may not specifically support the Synology RT2600AC, but it be configured for ExpressVPN using its standard OpenVPN files or its standard PPTP and L2TP/IPSsec settings (just look up the instructions for any other device to find out what these are). The official documentation from Synology for doing this for this is available here.

  2. Brian

    on October 19, 2016
    Reply

    I'm new to the world of constantly using VPNs on my devices. I recently decided to invest in NordVPN, another VPN that supports Synology that you did not mention. I've successfully been able to connect it to the VPN, but the only thing I don't understand is whether or not people on the VPN will be able to access my services. If I open up ports for SSH, WebDAV, SMB, etc, will these be open to attack for whoever is also using the VPN? Just want to be able to securely access it on my local network!

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Brian

      on October 19, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Brian, Using a VPN does not make you vulnerable to attacks from other users of the VPN (you each have a separate end-to-end encrypted connection to the VPN server). You may share an IP address, but this does not make you vulnerable to attack. Opening any ports, however, always makes you vulnerable to attack via those ports (VPN or not - using a VPN will not increase your vulnerability).

      1. ken replied to Douglas Crawford

        on October 6, 2019
        Reply

        I was looking for the same thing and so excited to see this post but... the link you provided to Synology setup instructions is for a NAS not for the RT2600ac router. As far as I can tell the Synology router can not be set up as VPN client only as a server.

  3. Darren

    on February 1, 2015
    Reply

    Vypr gave my home IP for use by the DMCA. I was using their Austin server to connect to a torrent. Pretty disappointed in this company now. Only private unless someone asks it seems to me.

    1. Peter Selmeczy replied to Darren

      on February 2, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Darren Can you provide more information for us about this? We'd be interested to hear more - though Vypr does say they will respond to DMCA. Peter

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