Synology is a Taiwanese firm that specialises 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 it’s 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.
Quick Links to our best 5 VPNs for Synology
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 geo-location-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. Let’s take a closer look.
- Fast servers
- Affordable pricing
- Prevents VPN blocking and DPI
- Affordable pricing
- Three-day free trial
- Decent guide, but lacks images
- Standard version doesn't include anti-DPI features
VyprVPN is the best VPN for Synology. This service has a
lot going for it. It's owned by a parent company named Golden Frog, which
is based out of Switzerland, and offers affordable pricing. I really like
how VyprVPN manages its own servers, instead of outsourcing hardware
and virtual machine management to third party services.
It supports OpenVPN, which is the strongest security option for your NAS device. VyprVPN's website even includes guides that detail the process of setting up the VPN tunnel. Although I did find the guides adequate and succinct, I think they could have benefited from highlighted pictures.
VyprVPN has a network of servers that's larger than that of the average provider. To date, VyprVPN operates servers in over 70 countries, giving you plenty of connection options. It even has a proprietary Chameleon feature that prevents VPN blocking and protects against Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). Last but not least, note that the Premium version is moderately priced, at $6.67 per month. This offers up to five simultaneous connections.
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- Five simultaneous connections
- Prevents Deeps Packet Inspection (DPI)
- Servers in 50+ countries
- Anti-DPI features
- WebRTC, DNS leak and IPv6 leak protection
- Monthly plan is a bit pricey
- No support for peer-to-peer (P2P) and BitTorrent
TorGuard VPN is the second best VPN for Synology devices. TorGuard has
incredibly detailed guides with images that walk you through the whole
process. This service will unblock censored content just like other
VPN services, but the real advantage of VyprVPN is its extra
security features. VyprVPN blocks Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), Domain Name System (DNS), and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) leaks. It
also has a feature that prevents Deep Packet Inspection.
Right now it has servers in 50+ countries. While that may not be as many countries and locations as services like ExpressVPN and HMA VPN, TorGuard has servers in more countries than most other services. I do like how granular the pricing model is, and you can sign up in monthly, three month, six month and annual increments. The cost ranges anywhere between $9.99 and $4.99 per month depending on which plan you choose, but all the plans allow up to five simultaneous connections.
There are only two shortfalls in my opinion. The first is the lack of support for P2P and Bittorrent, which could be a huge problem if you stream media via Popcorn Time. Also, I thought that the monthly plan was priced a little too richly.
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- Fast and reliable servers
- Fantastic Synology guides
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the British Virgin Islands
- Three simultaneous connections per account
- No free service or free trial
- Pricier than most other providers
ExpressVPN is one of my favorite VPN services. It's a great
fit for those who wish to connect a VPN with their Synology storage device.
There are high quality guides on the ExpressVPN website that show
each step of the setup process, with high quality images
highlighted for your convenience. I was impressed with the
clarity of the tutorials.
There are other reasons to love ExpressVPN too, including a reputation and history of providing fast and reliable servers. Additionally, it has a rather large network of servers, located in 145 locations scattered across 94 countries. This VPN can be used on more than one device at the same time; currently, the allowance is three simultaneous connections per account. Anyone who dislikes digital services based on US soil doesn't have to worry, since this service is based out of the British Virgin Islands.
There are, however, two pain points that I dislike about ExpressVPN. The first is that there isn't a free version of the service, though it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is longer than most other services. Secondly, I don't like that it costs more than most other services. ExpressVPN is certainly nearer the higher end of the pricing spectrum, but the annual plan is significantly discounted and only costs $8.32 per month.
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- Expansive network with servers in 190+ countries
- Sleek Android app
- Cheap pricing
- Free HTTP proxy and anonymous email
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Complied with governmental coercion in the past
HideMyAss (HMA) VPN is the fourth best VPN for Synology NAS devices. The
service was originally started by a firm called Privax, which was based in
the UK. Recently, however, it was acquired by security giant AVG, though
the service hasn't undergone extreme changes as a result. For example, HMA VPN still
has servers in more countries than any other consumer-grade VPN service on
The exact number of countries HMA VPN hosts servers in fluctuates from month to month as new servers come online. That said, HMA does always seem to host servers in more than 190 countries. Given that the average VPN service provider hosts servers in 20-40 countries, HMA has an astoundingly expansive network. Plus, this service throws in a couple free goodies, such as a free HTTP proxy and an anonymous email service.
The annual plan only costs $4.99 per month, which is pretty darn cheap. However, the biggest complaint that most people have against HMA VPN is that it has complied with governmental coercion in the past, though the future might look different now that it has been acquired by AVG.
- Favorable for BitTorrent
- Kill switch feature
- Romania-based provider
- Web browser extensions
- Five simultaneous connections
- Not the fastest service
- Some misleading logging policy wording
The last great VPN for Synology devices is ibVPN. ibVPN
hosts servers in 63 locations, in 47 countries. This service has some great extra security features, such as the
ability to use Tor over a VPN tunnel and a double VPN feature that encrypts
data twice for extra protection. It even comes with a proxy service if you
don't need encryption for your connection.
Furthermore, ibVPN is a great choice if you use P2P networks or any BitTorrent-related service, such as file downloads or Popcorn Time. The software even has a kill switch feature to halt download activity in the event of a tunnel disconnect. Yet another great thing about this service is that it's not based on US soil. Instead, it's a Romanian company, putting it far outside the jurisdiction and direct control of the NSA.
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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.