I am new to using and configuring VPNs. I was thinking of setting up my router as an OpenVPN server, but as I understand that is to connect form the outside to my network. However, I want a connection were I can connect to my router securely but also encrypt all the information from my router to my ISP. Is it possible to do this? Do I have to get a VPN service?
You can do it both ways, by initiating the OpenVPN connection:
- from a host on your network or the router, to an OpenVPN server.
You need a server on Internet to connect to. This is a service you usually buy, but not necessarily - it can be a free one, a friend, etc. The traffic from this host (or all hosts if you connect from the router) will be secured, up to the OpenVPN exit point (= the server you connected to)
- from a host on Internet, to a server you control (the router, or a server in your network).
You need to set up an OpenVPN server yourself or possibly use a functionality of your router if it has one (some ISPs provide this functionality on their boxes)
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't advise running your traffic from a VPN simply due to the performance hit.
The idea of a VPN is this:
YOU >> encrypted traffic >> VPN SERVER >> the server gets data normally to the open internet in behalf of you using their own identity including their IP Address. Its slow because you send the data and the response from websites do not go back directly to you but again through the VPN tunnel.
Your data would not be traceable back to you and you would act as if you are located there (where the VPN is located). If you use a VPN located in USA and you're actually in China, your location & IP would appear as if you are in the USA and you would be able to access files accessed in the States that are blocked in China.
If you setup your own connection I suggest you do it with DD-WRT. But if the VPN Router is located within your home using the same IP, then the point of hiding yourself from the internet or bypassing restricted sites would not apply.
You can also pick from good VPN providers. You have to pick your provider since using their service means you are allowing your data to be "stored" in their servers.
If you want to encrypt all traffic from your network through your ISP, you need to setup your router at a client, not a server.
The client takes traffic and routes it through an encrypted tunnel to the server, where it gets unencrypted and delivered to the destination as if the traffic originated on the server end. Think of it like having a virtual connection to the server.
So in this situation, you'd need access to a openVPN server for your router to connect to. That essentially means you need to sign up for a VPN service as you described.
If your router acted as a server, you'd be able to connect to your network from anywhere in the world, and have traffic get to your internal network as if you were at home.