Joel Tope

Joel Tope

September 11, 2017

Synology is a Taiwanese firm that specializes in Network Area Storage (NAS). While it’s not the cheapest (and it’s possible to create your own NAS at home using DD-WRT or Tomato), 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. The company’s success lies in the depth of advanced features and simple plug-and-play management system if provides. This gets you going with even the most complex of tasks.

Synology NAS devices can both connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel (via the VPN client) or host VPN connections (via the VPN server). Even though setting up the VPN server is undoubtedly useful, we’re going to be focusing on the VPN client. The client is what’s needed to connect to one of the VPN services mentioned in this article.

Why should you bother with a VPN connection on your NAS device? Well, there are several benefits. It:

  • Uses encryption to protect against eavesdropping and wiretapping, to prevent third parties from intercepting and reading your files
  • Prevents packet sniffers from reading transmitted data
  • Allows you to use geolocation-related plugins

Unfortunately, VPN tunnels have overhead, which will ultimately slow down your connection. Nevertheless, it is worth trading bit of speed for increased security when you’re accessing sensitive data. Also, as Synology devices can connect to OpenVPN servers, you should be able to connect your NAS VPN with the majority of leading providers.

The following are the best five VPNs for Synology.

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 Private Internet Access 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.

Troubleshooting Your NAS

If you already have a VPN service and just can’t seem to get it working right, you have a few options. Firstly, if your VPN offers technical support, open a ticket. Additionally, you could try to connect with a different protocol. You could also check your VPN provider’s website for troubleshooting guides.

I’d also recommend taking a look at the Synology site itself. It could be that routing issues or other related problems are to blame instead of your VPN provider. Checking out the Synology VPN guide might save you a ton of frustration!

Best Synology VPNs: 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.

Best VPNs for Synology: Side-by-Side Comparison

Joel Tope
May 17th, 2018

Joel Tope is a technology writer with a smattering of active certifications, such as the CCNP, and experience as a network engineer. Though passionate about security, he has an eclectic understanding of information technology. In his free time, he loves to run marathons, travel, and dig into the latest thriller novel.

6 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Synology That Work in 2018

  1. George-B says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

    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 says:

      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).

  3. Darren says:

    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 says:

      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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