How to Download, Install and Use ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT Router

Without any doubt, DD-WRT is the most powerful type of firmware out there. These both ultra-powerful and affordable routers also work well with VPNs. We’re here to help you unleash the full power of your device, so here’s how to set up and use ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT router.

Note

Know that ExpressVPN should work with any DD-WRT router out there. As per ExpressVPN’s documentation, it’s compatible with devices with a minimum of 8MB of flash. We also recommend using the latest DD-WRT firmware available, enabling the newest VPN configurations.

1. We’ll begin this process by letting you sign up for ExpressVPN.

2. You’ll land on ExpressVPN’s site, where you need to click on ‘Get ExpressVPN.’

3. Select a subscription (the biggest savings are found in long-term plans, by the way). 

4. Provide your email address and then input your payment details

5. Once done, you’ll receive an email confirming your new (and active) subscription. 

6. Then, go back to ExpressVPN’s website (make sure you’re on its home page). 

7. Click on ‘My Account‘ using the website’s main menu (in the top-right corner). 

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

8. Provide your email address and password, and then click on ‘Sign In.’

9. ExpressVPN will ask for a verification code, which you’ll receive via an email message.

10. Once you access your account dashboard, select ‘Set Up Other Devices.’

11. A new page should now open. You need to click on ‘Manual Configuration.’

L2TP Configuration for ExpressVPN

12. Then, make sure to select ‘OpenVPN‘ on the right-hand side. 

13. Make a note of your OpenVPN username and password that you’ll see there. 

OpenVPN OVPN Files Listed on ExpressVPN Website

14. Also, pick a VPN server just beneath and download its OVPN file to your computer. 

15. We recommend keeping that page open, so you can easily copy your credentials. 

16. Now, access your router using the 192.168.0.1 IP (type it in the Address bar). 

Tip

If you can’t access your router, it’s time to re-check its IP address (letting you access your router’s admin panel). For that purpose, we recommend checking your router’s manual. However, you can also find your router’s IP on WindowsmacOSAndroid, and iOS – so make sure to take a look.

17. You will be asked for your router’s username and password (both should be ‘admin‘).

18. At this point, you should be looking at your router’s admin panel

19. Select the ‘Services‘ tab, and then select the ‘VPN‘ sub-tab. 

20. Under ‘OpenVPN Client,’ enable the ‘Start OpenVPN Client‘ option.

21. An OpenVPN configuration panel should now open, asking for plenty of information. 

Important

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

22-A. At this moment, you should be looking at the OpenVPN configuration panel. 

22-B. Make sure to fill out the configuration fields as per the information below. 

  • Server IP/Name: Open the OVPN file you’ve downloaded to your computer – and make sure to open it using a text editor (such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac). You’ll find your server name right next to the word “remote.” For example, it should look like this – “usa-newyork-serveraddress.com.” 
  • Port: You’ll find your server’s port number right next to your 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. 
Setting Up VPN on DD-WRT

22-C. Double-check if you’re entered everything correctly. 

22-D. If you did, proceed to configure ExpressVPN’s keys and certificates.

Important

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 version WITH ‘User Pass Authentication’), skip the following steps and proceed to configure keys and certificates.

22-A. At this moment, you should be looking at the OpenVPN configuration panel. 

22-B. Look for the ‘Additional Config‘ field and type in – auth-user-pass /tmp/auth.txt

22-C. 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. 

Important

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. 

23. Look for the ‘Additional Config‘ field, and type in what you see on the image below. 

Information for Additional Config Fied DD-WRT

24. Make sure to have the OVPN file opened in the background in a text editor. You’ll now need to copy certain elements from that file, as described just below.

25. In the ‘TLS Auth Key‘ field, copy everything between <tls-auth> and </tls-auth>.

Copying TLS Keys from ExpressVPN

26. For the ‘CA Cert‘ field, copy everything between <ca> and </ca>.

Copying CA Keys from ExpressVPN

27. For the ‘Public Client Cert,’ copy everything between <cert> and </cert>.

Copying Certificate Keys from ExpressVPN to DD-WRT

28. And for ‘Private Client Key,’ copy everything between <key> and </key>.

Copying Private Key Details from ExpressVPN to DD-WRT

29. Click ‘Save‘ and then make sure to click on ‘Apply Settings.’

Important

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

30. Click on ‘Save Startup’ and go to Administration > Management > Reboot Router.

31. Wait for your DD-WRT router to reboot and establish the newly created VPN connection. 

VPN Connection Status DD-WRT Router

Tip

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.

That would be all on how to set up and use ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT router. In case you have any questions (this is a complicated procedure after all), make sure to post a comment just below. And finally – thank you for reading!

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