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Electronics

How to Set Up and Use ExpressVPN on pfSense

Written by Novak Bozovic
Last updated May 31, 2024

ExpressVPN runs on pfSense routers that support the OpenVPN protocol, which we'll show you how to set up just below. Aside from that, your pfSense must run software version 2.4.5 at least. So, before you can set up ExpressVPN on pfSense, make sure to update your router's software.

It's also worth mentioning that ExpressVPN is designed to run on pfSense routers and is intended for a basic home network setup. That means professional-grade pfSense routers and firewalls will benefit more from a large-scale VPN solution.

How to Set Up ExpressVPN on pfSense

We'll show you how to set up ExpressVPN on a pfSense router using an OpenVPN connection, which comes combined with AES-256 encryption. Do the following:

1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your computer and any Web browser.

2. Then, click 'My Account' using the top-placed main menu on the ExpressVPN site.

3. Provide your credentials and access your ExpressVPN dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

4. Navigate to Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration.

5. Make a note of your OpenVPN username and password.

6. Select a server by scrolling down, and then download that server's OpenVPN (OVPN) files.

ExpressVPN Online Dashboard View for OpenVPN Manual Configuration

7. Now, log in to your pfSense router and navigate to System > Cert. Manager.

8. Select the 'CA' tab, click on '+Add,' and enter the following information:

Saving Certificate Authority pfSense ExpressVPN

9. Now, select 'Certificates' > '+ Add,' and enter the following information:

Importing ExpressVPN Certificated on pfSense

10. Using the top navigation bar, go to VPN > OpenVPN.

11. Select 'Clients' and click on the '+ Add' button. 

12. Fill out the information in the 'General Information' group based on the following:

ExpressVPN Installation Settings on pfSense

13. Take a look at the 'User Authentication Settings' group. 

14. Provide your OpenVPN username and password.

15. Then, fill out the 'Cryptographic Settings' fields based on the following. 

Cryptographic Settings ExpressVPN on pfSense

16. Then, take a look at the 'Tunnel Settings' group of fields.

17. Fill them out based on the following information.

18. Now, you should look at the 'Advanced Configuration' group of fields. 

19. Make sure to take a look at the 'Custom Options' field and copy the following code:

fast-io;persist-key;persist-tun;remote-random;pull;comp-lzo;tls-client;verify-x509-name Server name-prefix;remote-cert-tls server;key-direction 1;route-method exe;route-delay 2;tun-mtu 1500;fragment 1300;mssfix 1450;verb 3;sndbuf 524288;rcvbuf 524288

20. Now, fill out the rest of the fields based on the following instructions. 

Verbosity Level ExpressVPN pfSense

21. You now need to route your WAN traffic through your VPN tunnel. 

22. Go to Interfaces > Interface Assignments. Click on '+ Add,' and a new interface will be created. 

23. For 'OPT 1,' make sure to select 'ovpnc1' and then go ahead with 'Save.'

Interface Assignments ExpressVPN pfSense

24. Using the top navigation bar, go to Interfaces > OPT1

25. Then, enter the required information based on the following. 

Reserved Networks Settings on pfSense

26. Now, use the 'Save' button and then click 'Apply Changes.'

27. Using the top navigation bar, go to 'Firewall' > 'Aliases.'

28. Once again, click '+ Add,' and come up with a name for your network alias.

29. Then, enter the following information. 

Saving Network Properties on pfSense

30. Save your changes and then go to 'Firewall' > 'NAT' > 'Outbound.'

31. For 'Mode,' select 'Manual Outbound NAT Rule Generation.'

NAT Configuration on pfSense

32. Once again, save your changes by using the 'Save' > 'Apply Changes' route.

33. Scroll down to 'Mappings,' where you should see your existing WAN connections. 

34. For the first WAN connection entry, click on the Copy icon (below 'Actions'). 

Copying WAN Tunnels on pfSense

35. For 'Interface,' make sure to select 'EXPRESSVPN.'

Selecting ExpressVPN Interface on pfSense

36. Save your changes, and repeat that same process for any other WAN entries.

37. Go to 'Firewall' > 'Rules' > 'LAN,' and then click 'Add' on the far left. 

38. Fill out the required information based on the following. 

Edit Firewall Rule

Source & Destination

Extra Options

Advanced Options

Adjusting Gateways on pfSense

39. Finally, save and apply all your changes by going to 'Save' > 'Apply Changes.' 

40. One more thing. You need to check whether your VPN connection works. 

41. Go to 'Status' > 'OpenVPN.'

42. Then, check for 'Up' in the 'Status' column. 

Checking ExpressVPN Status on pfSense

Final Thoughts

Setting up ExpressVPN on pfSense involves several steps, but that's the nature of pfSense, after all. This is the only router firmware that gives you an unparalleled level of customization, which goes hand-in-hand with ExpressVPN's high-end security features. That said, we hope you found the steps above clearly explained and that you now have a VPN connection live.

Of course, don't forget that ExpressVPN offers individual apps for computers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, and more, with up to 8 simultaneous connections. To learn how to get started with those, visit our central guide on how to download and install ExpressVPN (covering 60+ devices).

FAQ

Does ExpressVPN Work on pfSense?

Yes, ExpressVPN works on pfSense routers that support VPN connections. More precisely, you can set up OpenVPN connections on pfSense using ExpressVPN.

How Do I Connect to ExpressVPN on pfSense?

Once you subscribe to ExpressVPN and configure the VPN on your pfSense router, you need to go to Status > OpenVPN. If you're connected to ExpressVPN, it should say 'Up' in the 'Status' column.

What Protocols Does ExpressVPN Support on pfSense?

ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN on pfSense. The VPN combines that protocol with AES-256 encryption, which means you get high-end digital privacy protection.

That would be all on how to set up ExpressVPN on pfSense. If you have any questions, make sure to let us know via the comments section below. Lastly, thank you for reading!



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