To set up ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT router, you first need to download the VPN's OpenVPN configuration files from your ExpressVPN account dashboard. Then, you'll use those files to create a connection from your DD-WRT router to a specific VPN server location.
Before we get started, know that ExpressVPN should work on any DD-WRT router as long as it has 8MB of flash. It's also recommended to use the latest DD-WRT firmware version available, letting you create more secure and more stable VPN connections.
If that sounds complicated, there's nothing to worry about; we'll show you how to set up and use ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT router one step at a time. Let's get to it!
How to Set Up ExpressVPN on DD-WRT Router
Setting up ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT router takes some time, but it's not an overly complex procedure. Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Sign up for ExpressVPN on its official website using any Web browser.
2. After subscribing, click "My Account" in the main menu of ExpressVPN's website. Access your dashboard using your email and password and provide a verification code if needed (from your inbox).
3. Select "Set Up Other Devices" when you access your ExpressVPN dashboard.
4. Click "Manual Configuration" on the left using the list of supported devices.
5. Select the "OpenVPN" tab on the right-hand side.
6. Make a note of your OpenVPN username and password. Also, pick a VPN server location just beneath and download its OVPN file to your computer.
7. Now, access your DD-WRT router's admin panel using the 192.168.0.1 IP address (type it in the Address bar of your Web browser and hit 'Enter').
If you can’t access your router, re-check its IP using your router’s manual. You can also find your router’s IP on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
8. You will be asked for your router’s username and password (both should be 'admin').
9. Select the "Services" tab once you open your router's admin, and then select "VPN."
10. Under "OpenVPN Client," enable the "Start OpenVPN Client" option.
If you have a DD-WRT version WITH 'User Pass Authentication,' feel free to keep following the steps below. And if you have a DD-WRT version WITHOUT 'User Pass Authentication,' skip the steps below – and just do these installation steps instead.
11-A. At this moment, you should be looking at the OpenVPN configuration panel. Fill out the configuration fields as per the information below.
- Server IP/Name: Open the OVPN file you’ve downloaded to your computer via a text editor (such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac). You’ll find your server name right next to the word "remote." It should look like this – "usa-newyork-serveraddress.com."
- Port: You’ll find your server’s port number right next to the server IP address.
- Tunnel Device: Select "TUN."
- Tunnel Protocol: Select "UDP."
- Encryption Cipher: Make sure to select "AES-256 CBC."
- Hash Algorithm: Make sure to select "SHA512."
- User Pass Authentication: Feel free to enable this option.
- Username: Copy your OpenVPN username from ExpressVPN’s online dashboard.
- Password: Copy your password from your online dashboard.
- Advanced Options: Enable this option.
- TLS Cipher: Select "None."
- L2O Compression: Pick "Adaptive."
- NAT: Enable this option.
- Tunnel UDP Fragment: Type in "1450" here.
- Tunnel USD MSS-Fix: Enable this option.
- nsCertType Verification: Enable this option.
Below, you'll find the installation steps for DD-WRT versions WITHOUT 'User Pass Authentication.' If you went through the steps above (for DD-WRT versions WITH 'User Pass Authentication'), skip the following steps and proceed to configure keys and certificates.
11-B. At this moment, you should be looking at the OpenVPN configuration panel. Look for the "Additional Config" field and type in – auth-user-pass /tmp/auth.txt. Then, fill out all the fields in front of you, based on the following.
- Server IP/Name: Open the OVPN file in a text editor (right-click on its name and open it in Notepad for Windows or TextEdit for Mac). Your chosen server's address will be right after the word "remote." It should have the following form: usa-newyork-serveraddress.com.
- Port: This should be a 4-digit code that you find right next to the server’s address (as talked about just above, in the OVPN file – once you open it in a text editor).
- Tunnel Device: Go with "TUN."
- Tunnel Protocol: Go with "UDP."
- Encryption Cipher: Make sure to select "AES-256 CBC" here.
- Hash Algorithm: Go with "SHA512."
- User Pass Authentication: Select "Enable."
- Username: Copy your OpenVPN username from your online dashboard.
- Password: Copy your OpenVPN password from your online dashboard.
- Advanced Options: Enable this setting to reveal more options below.
- TLS Cipher: Pick "None."
- L2O Compression: Pick "Adaptive."
- NAT: Enable this option.
- Tunnel UDP Fragment: Go with "1450."
- Tunnel UDP MSS- Fix: Enable this option.
- nCertType Verification: Enable this option by checking the box.
So far, you should have filled out all the fields found in the OpenVPN configuration panel (no matter if you have a DD-WRT version with or without 'User Pass Authentication'). Now, keep on going with the following steps.
12. Look for the "Additional Config" field, and type in what you see in the image below.
13. Make sure to have the OVPN file opened in the background in a text editor. Then, in the "TLS Auth Key" field, copy everything between <tls-auth> and </tls-auth>.
14. For the "CA Cert" field, copy everything between <ca> and </ca>.
15. For the "Public Client Cert," copy everything between <cert> and </cert>.
16. And for "Private Client Key," copy everything between <key> and </key>.
17. Click "Save" and then make sure to click "Apply Settings."
If you have a DD-WRT version without "User Pass Authentication," make sure to navigate to Administration > Commands. Then, enter the following commands:
- echo USERNAME HERE > /tmp/auth.txt
- echo PASSWORD HERE >> /tmp/auth.txt
18. Click on "Save Startup" and go to Administration > Management > Reboot Router. Wait for your DD-WRT router to reboot and establish the newly created VPN connection.
To check if everything works correctly, make sure to navigate to Status > OpenVPN. In the "State" field, there should be a note that reads "Connected Success" – which means your Web connection is now encrypted and your data runs through ExpressVPN’s server.
We don't have a single doubt that ExpressVPN is the best option for your DD-WRT router, letting you protect your privacy and unblock new types of Web content. Still, you can use ExpressVPN on the go as well. That said, here's our guide on how to download, install, and use ExpressVPN on all its supported devices.
Lastly, we'll add that ExpressVPN is the best option but it's not the only option. Our guide to the best VPNs for DD-WRT routers will help you explore what else is out there.
Does ExpressVPN Support DD-WRT?
Yes, ExpressVPN supports DD-WRT by allowing you to configure an OpenVPN connection to any of its 3,000 highly secure servers.
Which DD-WRT Router Is Best for ExpressVPN?
The best and the most popular DD-WRT router that works with ExpressVPN is NETGEAR's R6700 router, which comes as a very affordable option.
Of course, many more options exist. Here are the best DD-WRT routers overall. And then, here are the best DD-WRT routers under $50 and under $100.
Which Protocol Does ExpressVPN Use on DD-WRT?
ExpressVPN uses the OpenVPN protocol on DD-WRT. That means you'll get the highest possible protection for your sensitive information and the ability to unblock websites.
Where to Find ExpressVPN's Config File Download?
After you subscribe to ExpressVPN, click "My Account" on its website's home page. Log in, and then navigate to Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration > OpenVPN.
That's where you'll find your OpenVPN credentials (username and password), as well as ExpressVPN's config file downloads for each of its 3,000+ servers.
Should I Use ExpressVPN's Firmware or DD-WRT?
ExpressVPN's own firmware comes with a highly intuitive interface, making it suitable for less experienced users. Going the DD-WRT route is great if you're a more advanced user.
To learn more about the differences between the two, check our guide on how to download, install, and use ExpressVPN on a router.
That would be all on how to set up and use ExpressVPN on DD-WRT. If you have any questions, make sure to post a comment just below. Finally – thank you for reading!