Hardware VPN vs. Software VPN: Pros and Cons

Choosing the right cybersecurity tools for your home or workplace can be a daunting challenge. It can be difficult to decide if a VPN is necessary, and if so, which type of VPN is most appropriate for your needs. If you want a tool that can encrypt your internet traffic and protect all devices connected to it, you might consider using a hardware VPN. This article will define what a hardware VPN is and explain how it differs from a software VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a technology that allows you to create a secure and private connection over the internet between your device and a server operated by a VPN provider. When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through the VPN server, which can be located in a different country or region.

This makes it appear as though you are accessing the internet from a different location, and also protects your online activity from being monitored or intercepted by others, such as your internet service provider or hackers. VPNs are commonly used to enhance online privacy and security, bypass internet censorship or geographic restrictions, and access content that may be blocked in your location.

What is a hardware VPN?

A hardware VPN is a type of VPN (Virtual Private Network) that uses a physical device to create a secure connection between networks or devices. The hardware VPN device is usually a small, dedicated piece of equipment that is installed on a network or connects to a router, and it encrypts all traffic that passes through it.

Unlike a software VPN, which relies on an application or program installed on a device to encrypt traffic, a hardware VPN provides security at the network level, protecting all devices connected to it. Hardware VPNs are often used by businesses and organizations to secure their networks and provide remote access to their employees.

Advantages of hardware VPN

  1. Scalability: A hardware VPN can support a large number of simultaneous connections, making it ideal for businesses with a large number of employees or devices.
  2. Security: Hardware VPNs provide an additional layer of security to the network by encrypting all traffic that passes through it. This makes it harder for hackers and other malicious actors to intercept or access sensitive information.
  3. Ease of Use: Hardware VPNs are easy to set up and manage, and they can be configured to automatically connect to the VPN when the device is turned on. This means that users do not have to manually connect to the VPN each time they want to access the network.
  4. Dedicated Hardware: Hardware VPNs use dedicated hardware to encrypt and decrypt traffic, which means that the performance is not affected by other processes running on the device.
  5. Compatibility: Hardware VPNs are compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems, making it easy to integrate into existing networks.

Previously, hardware VPN appliances were believed to be more secure and efficient than software VPNs for businesses, but now software VPNs are becoming a popular alternative. In fact, software VPNs can often perform better than VPN hardware in both personal and business contexts. Additionally, preconfigured routers with VPN capabilities are available, and one can find the best VPN router options from providers like Flashrouters.

What is a VPN Software?

VPN software is a type of application that allows users to create a secure and encrypted connection to a private network over the internet. This type of software can be installed on various devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

The software creates a virtual tunnel between the user’s device and the private network, allowing them to access resources and information as if they were directly connected to the network. VPN software can be used for personal or business purposes, and it provides several benefits, including enhanced security, privacy, and the ability to bypass geographic restrictions.

However, for certain enterprises, the features mentioned above are crucial. As a result, an increasing number of software VPNs are now offering services specifically tailored to businesses. With a multitude of choices available, how can a company determine which is the best option for its business requirements, whether it be a VPN hardware or software?

VPN Hardware vs VPN Software

We will examine the primary factors of speed, locations, setup, maintenance, updates, remote access, scalability, and price in comparing VPN hardware and VPN software.


Contrary to earlier beliefs, VPN hardware devices are no longer faster and more reliable than software-based solutions. Nowadays, even smartphones can run multiple programs simultaneously, including a software VPN, with little to no impact on performance.


To access virtual locations, VPN software offers various options and choices, including dozens of countries. On the other hand, hardware VPN devices have limited locations to choose from as they need to be physically placed in a location to provide access. This means that if your business has branches in various cities or countries, your employees will only be able to access virtual locations with hardware devices installed.

Installation, Upkeep, and Software Upgrades

VPNs can be easily deployed and installed within hours or even minutes, even for inexperienced users. Providers often offer round-the-clock online support if needed. On the other hand, setting up a hardware VPN typically requires more technical skills since it does not have a user-friendly interface, and remote employee access can be challenging. Additionally, software VPNs provide frequent updates and supplementary security features like kill switches and browser extensions.

Remote Access

Hardware VPNs establish secure and encrypted connections for employees to remotely access the company’s intranet, but the setup process can be intricate. On the other hand, software VPNs allow secure remote access to office intranets or resources in the cloud, but not all of them offer access to the company’s internal network.


Hardware VPNs have a limited number of VPN tunnels available, which means that as your company expands, you will need to purchase a new device. On the other hand, adding additional service for new employees is more affordable and easier to do with software VPNs, making them entirely scalable and suitable for startups as well as multinational corporations.


To set up, configure, and maintain hardware devices requires technical knowledge, which makes them more expensive. Therefore, only large corporations may be able to afford hardware VPNs. On the other hand, software VPNs are scalable and can be used by businesses of any size, from startups to multinational corporations.


What is the difference between VPN hardware and VPN software?

VPN hardware refers to a physical device that is designed to create a secure connection between two networks over the internet. On the other hand, VPN software is a virtual application that encrypts and secures the data transmitted between two networks over the internet.

Which is better, VPN hardware or VPN software?

Both VPN hardware and VPN software have their own advantages and disadvantages. VPN hardware is known for its security and reliability, while VPN software is more flexible and adaptable. The choice between the two largely depends on the specific needs of your business.

Can VPN hardware be used by individuals at home?

Yes, VPN hardware can be used by individuals at home. However, it may not be the most cost-effective or practical option for personal use. In this case, VPN software may be a better choice.

Can VPN software provide the same level of security as VPN hardware?

Yes, VPN software can provide the same level of security as VPN hardware. However, the security largely depends on the encryption protocol used by the software and the provider’s security measures.

Which is easier to set up, VPN hardware or VPN software?

VPN software is generally easier to set up than VPN hardware, as it typically comes with a user-friendly interface and can be installed in just a few minutes. VPN hardware, on the other hand, requires more technical expertise and manual configuration.

Can VPN software offer remote access to a company’s internal network?

Not all VPN software can offer remote access to a company’s internal network. However, some VPN software providers offer this feature, allowing employees to securely access the company’s intranet from remote locations.

Which is more cost-effective, VPN hardware or VPN software?

VPN software is generally more cost-effective than VPN hardware, as it is often offered on a subscription basis and can be easily upgraded as the business grows. VPN hardware, on the other hand, requires a larger upfront investment and may need to be replaced as the business expands.


For small and medium-sized businesses that require a flexible and easy-to-manage solution, software VPNs are the ideal option. In contrast, hardware VPNs may be better suited for larger corporations with larger budgets that do not expect significant growth.

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