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How to Set Up a VPN on a Netgear Router in 2024

Written by Novak Bozovic
Last updated December 5, 2023

To set up a VPN on a Netgear router, you need a router that supports the OpenVPN protocol. However, you'll have a challenging time setting up a commercial VPN even in that case, due to the way Netgear handles the OpenVPN protocol. That's why most VPN services require you to flash your Netgear router with DD-WRT.

DD-WRT is a custom type of firmware for routers that gives you unlimited customization options. It also supports OpenVPN in accordance with the requirements of most commercial VPN services. So, before you begin, check if your Netgear router is compatible with DD-WRT.

In this guide, we'll show you how to set up a VPN on a Netgear router using DD-WRT. We'll also give you a VPN recommendation along the way, as well as answer some FAQs.

How to Set Up a VPN on a Netgear Router

Before you can set up a VPN on your Netgear router, you need to flash it with DD-WRT. Then, you'll use your VPN's OpenVPN files to create a new connection. Use the following steps:


Before you start with the steps above, you need a Netgear router with DD-WRT installed and ready to use. If you haven't done that already, use DD-WRT's official setup guide.

1. Subscribe to a VPN with full DD-WRT support (we recommend NordVPN).

2. Launch your favorite Web browser, and then access your DD-WRT dashboard.

3. Go to Setup > Basic Setup > Network Address Server Settings (DHCP), copy the information found below, and click Save > Apply Settings.

Setting Up DNS of NordVPN to DD-WRT

4. Go to Setup > IPv6 and use the button next to 'Disable,' followed by Save > Apply Settings.

Disabling IPv6 on DD-WRT

5. Go to Service > VPN > OpenVPN Client > Start OpenVPN Client > Enable. Then, use the following information to fill out the corresponding fields.

6. Next to 'Advanced Options,' click on 'Enable' and use the following information:

7. Copy the following code into the 'Additional Config' field:

remote-cert-tls server
tun-mtu 1500
tun-mtu-extra 32
mssfix 1450
reneg-sec 0
#log /tmp/vpn.log
#Delete `#` in the line below if your router does not have credentials fields
#auth-user-pass /tmp/openvpncl/user.conf

8. Locate the OpenVPN files you downloaded moments ago. Open the OVPN config file using any text editor and copy the <ca> part to the 'CA Cert' field.

Copying CA Cert from NordVPN to DD-WRT

9. Scroll down and copy the <ts-auth> part into the 'TLS Auth Key' field and save.

Copying TLS Auth from NordVPN to DD-WRT

10. Go back to Status > OpenVPN. In the 'State' field, you should see a note saying 'Client: Connected Success,' which means your VPN connection is now online.

Connection Successful NordVPN on DD-WRT

11. You can also create a kill switch by going to Administration > Commands. Copy the code from below, save it, and then go to Administration > Management > Reboot Router.

WAN_IF=`nvram get wan_iface`
iptables -I FORWARD -i br0 -o $WAN_IF -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited
iptables -I FORWARD -i br0 -p tcp -o $WAN_IF -j REJECT --reject-with tcp-reset
iptables -I FORWARD -i br0 -p udp -o $WAN_IF -j REJECT --reject-with udp-reset

Final Thoughts

The only bulletproof way to set up a VPN on a Netgear router is by relying on DD-WRT. That said, the main prerequisite is to find a VPN that supports manual OpenVPN connections. You'll then receive the needed OpenVPN files, whose data you can easily use through DD-WRT.

Not every VPN service is the same in that regard, so we'll remind you that our recommendation is NordVPN, which pairs well with Netgear routers. Also, if you'd like to extend your VPN protection to other devices, check our central guide on how to set up a VPN.


Do Netgear Routers Work with a VPN?

Yes, plenty of Netgear routers work with VPNs. However, we highly recommend using a model that's compatible with DD-WRT, giving you access to OpenVPN connections.

Can You Add a VPN to a Nighthawk Router?

There are two ways to add a VPN to a Nighthawk router. You can use it as a VPN server to encrypt your network or use a third-party VPN to add new connections.

How Do I Put a VPN on My Netgear Router?

The easiest way to put a VPN on a Netgear router is to use one that offers custom firmware, letting you transform your router into a VPN client, such as NordVPN.

What's a VPN Passthrough on Netgear?

Once you activate the VPN passthrough feature, Web traffic from the VPN client will go through the Internet and reach the VPN gateway. That means you're free to install VPN apps on your devices without fearing that your router will block them.

Is Netgear Armor a VPN?

Yes, Netgear Armor is a VPN. More precisely, it's a cyber-security solution designed to help protect your privacy, prevent malware, and block hacking attempts.

However, Netgear's Armor relies on Bitdefender, and Bitdefender's VPN is a limited VPN solution. It's characterized by a small number of servers and mediocre speeds. So, our recommendation is to use NordVPN instead.

You now know how to set up a VPN on your Netgear router. If you have any questions, let us know via the comments section below. Thank you for reading!

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