Aside from letting you upgrade your network's performance and stability, DD-WRT also allows you to encrypt your traffic. To make that happen, you need the best VPN for DD-WRT routers you can find. Even though they might look the same, every VPN service is different. Some of them come with custom-tailored DD-WRT features, perfect for those who like to tinker.
With that said, we'll help you discover the best options you have today. We've produced this guide after testing 60+ VPN services, allowing you to dive deep into their DD-WRT side. So, no matter if you want to "flash" your router or buy a DD-WRT-ready unit, the following recommendations will accommodate your needs.
Of course, this article doesn't just give you a list of VPNs that work with DD-WRT. We made sure to recommend ultra-secure VPNs that help you take full advantage of your router's processor, using it for high-end encryption. So, let's jump right in, shall we?
Best VPN for DD-WRT Routers
Finally, let's talk about the best options in front of you. Based on our tests, these are the 5 best VPNs for DD-WRT routers:
- ExpressVPN – Best DD-WRT VPN Overall
- NordVPN – Best for High-End Security
- CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming & Entertainment
- Surfshark – Best Budget-Friendly Option
- Private Internet Access – Best for High-End Encryption
1. ExpressVPN – Best DD-WRT VPN Overall
|Try Risk-Free|| |
If you check our guide to the best VPN services, you'll see that ExpressVPN is our #1 pick. That especially applies if you want to install a VPN on your DD-WRT router. ExpressVPN handles routers in a unique way while also providing a solid set of features.
In terms of DD-WRT, ExpressVPN will help you configure custom OpenVPN connections. They come with AES-256 encryption, meaning your data will be perfectly safe. Furthermore, every ExpressVPN server comes with automatic obfuscation, which is why ExpressVPN works on any Web connection.
As per our tests, ExpressVPN is equally useful for browsing the Web, streaming online media, downloading torrents, and even online gaming. It also maintains fast speeds, especially if you configure a connection to a nearby VPN server. Therefore, you get a solid set of VPN features aimed at a wide range of users, which is why ExpressVPN checks all the right boxes.
We'll also mention that ExpressVPN supports more than DD-WRT routers. It even offers custom firmware, which is a joy to use. And aside from that, it supports many types of stock firmware, giving you practically an endless set of options.
If you need more information, here's our hands-on ExpressVPN review.
- Supports various types of routers.
- Relatively easy DD-WRT installation.
- High-end privacy and security.
- Great for streaming and torrenting.
- Not the fastest option out there.
2. NordVPN – Best for High-End Security
NordVPN has a reputation for bringing high-end security to its customers. This is a highly reliable VPN service that collects no logs. Aside from that, you can expect to find an ever-growing collection of features, many of which are oriented towards advanced users.
When it comes to NordVPN on DD-WRT, you can count on manual OpenVPN configuration. The VPN offers straightforward support documentation, which should make it easy to get started even if you're a newbie. However, it also comes with a few interesting tricks up its sleeve.
NordVPN has more than 5,000+ servers spread across 60+ countries. To help you find the best server for your needs, the VPN offers a handy online tool on its website. You can pick a server based on your planned activity, allowing NordVPN to show you the best option. Then, you can use that server when configuring the VPN on your DD-WRT router.
We'll also mention this VPN's always-available customer support. In case of any questions or doubts, you can chat with NordVPN's agents live. This is especially helpful for DD-WRT users, as they'll always have someone to turn to in case of technical troubles.
Learn what else to expect of this VPN by reading our NordVPN review.
- Helpful support documentation.
- Reliable OpenVPN connections.
- No data logging whatsoever.
- High-end security and privacy.
- Remote connections can be slow.
3. CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming & Entertainment
CyberGhost is one of the oldest VPNs on the market, managing to cater to millions of individual users. With that said, it's not a surprise that it covers any device imaginable, and that also extends to DD-WRT routers (among other router types, of course).
With that said, there are plenty of reasons to pick this VPN. First, it comes with over 7,500+ servers, giving you access to 90+ countries. Then, it offers specialized servers for certain online activities such as streaming, gaming, and torrenting. So, you'll have plenty of options for picking servers to add to your DD-WRT router through OpenVPN.
We'll also mention that CyberGhost VPN brings AES-256 encryption coupled with OpenVPN. That combination should put your mind at ease, meaning that your privacy will be intact. And, of course, CyberGhost is a no-logs VPN service, just like our other recommendations.
We'll also mention that CyberGhost supports up to 7 simultaneous connections. Of course, that doesn't matter much if you plan to use it on DD-WRT. However, it matters if you have multiple devices you plan to use outside your home. With that said, CyberGhost should cover your needs pretty well.
We've barely scratched the surface here. So, we'll leave you to our CyberGhost VPN review, where you can find all the information you need.
- Sizeable server fleet.
- Works on any DD-WRT router.
- No data logging whatsoever.
- Specialized servers on offer.
- Not the best support documentation.
4. Surfshark – Best Budget-Friendly Option
Surfshark is known as a user-friendly option, and we're always happy to recommend it to inexperienced users. However, just because it looks simple doesn't make it any less powerful than our other recommendations. In fact, Surfshark has a few unique features.
If you've never tried to install a VPN on a DD-WRT router before, you'll want one that has comprehensive support documentation. This is where Surfshark excels, providing you with an in-depth tutorial. And if you're into following a wall of text, you'll find helpful videos as well.
Then, know that Surfshark offers more than 3,000+ servers. As you can imagine, you have complete freedom to pick any server. Moreover, Surfshark will give you an easy server selection tool, showing the information you need right from the start. That's what makes setting up this VPN on your DD-WRT so simple.
Finally, we'll add that helpful customer support is there as well. Surfshark's agents are available 24/7 and always willing to answer even the most technical questions. Also, all of those features are available at highly affordable prices, especially if you're looking for a long-term subscription.
There's plenty more to know about this VPN. So, we'll leave you to our Surfshark review.
- Helpful support documentation.
- 24/7-available customer support.
- Fast and stable performance.
- High-end privacy and security.
- Medium-sized server network.
5. Private Internet Access – Best for High-End Encryption
We have one more recommendation for the best VPN for DD-WRT. And yes, our final pick is for more advanced users. Considering that you chose to use DD-WRT, you probably like to tinker with hardware and software, which is what you'll also get from Private Internet Access.
PIA comes with comprehensive tutorials showing you how to set it up on DD-WRT. And if you check those tutorials closer, you'll see that PIA gives you a lot of options. For example, you can pick a custom level of encryption, which is a feature you won't find elsewhere. Aside from that, more advanced options are there, like split tunneling, for example.
Another strong suit of this VPN is its server network. It has more than 30,000 servers spread across the world. All of those give you custom customization options, and they're all backed by multiple protocols. Of course, when it comes to DD-WRT, you should always go with OpenVPN. However, don't forget that PIA also offers WireGuard via its native software.
We also need to praise this VPN's customer support. During the last year, PIA did a lot to improve that aspect. It now offers live chat (via its website) in addition to plenty of helpful written material.
Intrigued by this capable VPN service? If you are, here's our Private Internet Access review.
- Custom encryption options.
- Massive server fleet.
- High-end data privacy protection.
- No data logging.
- Might be too complex for some.
Why Do You Need a VPN for a DD-WRT Router?
You need a VPN for your DD-WRT router if you want to safeguard your privacy and unblock new digital services. Find more detailed information just below.
- Protect Your Privacy: A VPN protects you from trackers and Web browser fingerprinting. They also encrypt your data, making it impossible for anyone to track your online activity. By configuring a VPN on your DD-WRT router, you’ll access the Web safely and securely.
- Access New Digital Services: Many digital services are restricted to individual countries or regions. However, you can always bypass those geo-blocks. Using a reliable VPN, you can replace your IP address, tricking websites into thinking you’re somewhere else.
- Protect Your Entire Household: A great benefit of using a VPN on DD-WRT routers is that you protect the source of your Internet connection. Any device you connect to your router will be covered, which means privacy protection and access to new digital services is possible on any device you own.
- Expand VPN Coverage to More Devices: Some types of devices don’t support VPNs natively, such as game consoles and smart TVs. The only way to re-route your traffic coming from those devices is to use a VPN (DD-WRT) router.
How to Setup a VPN on DD-WRT Routers?
You'll need to set up a VPN on your DD-WRT router based on its firmware version. That's why we'll give you generic instructions for now. So, you need to do the following:
- Pick a VPN suitable for DD-WRT routers, such as ExpressVPN.
- Subscribe to your chosen VPN, as you’ll need an active subscription from now on.
- Access your DD-WRT router by using your router’s default IP address.
- Supply your username and password (check these default credentials).
- Obtain OVPN files supplied by your VPN service.
- Via your DD-WRT dashboard, go to Services > VPN.
- Enable the ‘OpenVPN Client’ option.
- Input the required information using the OVPN files you’ve downloaded.
- Reboot your router by going to Administration > Management.
- Check if your VPN works by going to Status > OpenVPN.
The instructions found above are useful for more advanced users who already know a thing or two about DD-WRT firmware. With that said, if you want more detailed instructions (with images to help guide you), here's how to install a VPN on your router.
How to Use a VPN with DD-WRT Routers?
To use a VPN with your DD-WRT router, you'll need to configure a new OpenVPN connection, which is done manually (as explained just above).
Once your set up a connection to a specific VPN server, that connection will remain active as long as your router is set to act as an OpenVPN client (Services > VPN > OpenVPN Client). That means all your incoming and outgoing traffic will go through the chosen VPN server, without exception.
Any device you connect to your router (such as a smartphone, tablet, game console, streaming device, smart TV, etc.) will be protected by your VPN service. However, DD-WRT also allows you to route your traffic selectively through a feature called split tunneling.
To set up split tunneling, go to Service > VPN > Policy Based Routing. Then, enter IP addresses for each device you want to use your VPN. All other devices will continue to use your regular Web connection (your VPN won't protect them).
Alternatively, you can set up split tunneling on a per-destination basis. This is done by going to Administration > Commands > Firewall > Edit. This is where you can set up your firewall using IPtables, letting you route your traffic towards specific websites, apps, servers, or similar.
What’s the Best DD-WRT Router for a VPN?
For a more comprehensive look, make sure to check our guide to the best DD-WRT routers available on today's market. However, we've also prepared a range of more focused guides, helping you pinpoint the best picks based on your budget.
Is DD-WRT Still Good?
Yes, DD-WRT is still more than a great option. If you have a compatible router and wish to dive into fine-tuning and tinkering, DD-WRT will meet your needs.
However, keep in mind that DD-WRT is oriented towards more technical users. You need to know a fair bit of networking-related terminology, or at least be willing to learn some.
Which Routers Are Compatible with DD-WRT?
A vast range of routers made by Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link, MSI, ASUS, Microsoft, Nokia, and D-Link is compatible with DD-WRT.
To check if your router meets the required specifications, turn to this DD-WRT Wiki page. There's also a handy tool on DD-WRT's website that lets you search its router database, which is perhaps the easiest way to check if your router is on the list of compatible units.
Does DD-WRT Support OpenVPN?
Yes, DD-WRT supports the OpenVPN protocol. That's one of the most secure VPN protocols available right now, letting you unblock the Web with ease.
With that said, if you plan on setting up a VPN on your DD-WRT router, you need to find one that supports OpenVPN. Also, you will need OVPN files or instructions on setting up manual OpenVPN connections, so make sure to check your VPN's support documentation.
Does ExpressVPN Work with DD-WRT?
Yes, ExpressVPN works with DD-WRT just fine. This VPN provider offers in-depth support documentation showing you how to use it with DD-WRT firmware.
Also, know that ExpressVPN supports a massive range of all kinds of routers (by that, we mean stock firmware). On top of that, it offers its own firmware for select models. So, you'll have plenty of options overall.
Does NordVPN Work with DD-WRT?
Yes, NordVPN works with DD-WRT. This VPN service supports manual OpenVPN connections, which means you can set it up on DD-WRT with ease.
Which One Is Better – DD-WRT or OpenWRT?
Most users will find that DD-WRT meets their needs and expectations better than OpenWRT, which is why DD-WRT is a more popular option at the moment.
DD-WRT is quite technical, but it's also user-friendly. If you spend some time learning networking-related terminology, you'll manage to use DD-WRT to improve your router's performance and stability. Aside from that, DD-WRT is compatible with an army of routers and has a huge community that's ready to share knowledge.
OpenWRT is DD-WRT's precursor that offers more fine-grained control than DD-WRT. However, it comes with very limited support, which means you won't find too many fully compatible routers. Many routers bring half-baked support, with their Wi-Fi functionality being out of the question.
Is DD-WRT Better Than Stock Firmware?
If you need more options to fine-tune your router, you'll find that DD-WRT is a much better option than any stock firmware out there.
That's because stock firmware is typically made for average home users. They're safe to use in the sense that you can't break something or push your router to its limits. And then, we have DD-WRT, which allows you to alter pretty much any aspect of your router.
What’s the Best Free VPN for DD-WRT Routers?
There's no free VPN that works with DD-WRT routers, and that's because VPNs come with limited performance and limited bandwidth, making them incompatible with DD-WRT.
To use a VPN with your DD-WRT router, you need a trustworthy and unlimited VPN service. That's the only way to ensure that your Web connectivity stays uninterrupted and that all your devices can connect to the Web at once.
If you're on a budget, know that many VPNs offer steep discounts, especially via their long-term plans. You can also check our guide to the best cheap VPNs, where you'll find more than a couple of reliable options.
What’s the Best VPN for DD-WRT Routers?
As per our findings, the best VPN for DD-WRT routers at the moment is ExpressVPN. That's the only VPN that checks all the right boxes, providing plenty of value overall.
To remind you, we'll say that ExpressVPN has more than 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. All of those support OpenVPN connections coupled with AES-256 (high-end) encryption. Using this VPN, you can unblock the Web, stream media, and even download torrents.
That would be all for our guide on the best VPNs for DD-WRT. If you have any questions, let us know via the comments section below. And lastly, thanks for reading!