How To Set Up and Use ExpressVPN on Fritz!Box (in 2021)

Fritz!Box is a versatile device designed in Germany by AVM. A Fritz!Box unit serves as a top-tier router and modem. Over the years, it has become a top-rated product.

AVM offers various models of the Fritz!Box with slightly different capabilities. However, none of these devices support the use of commercial VPNs like ExpressVPN. So, many subscribers of ExpressVPN that have a Fritz!Box find it impossible to use the VPN features on their router.

The good news is that there are ways you can connect the router to the VPN. Your options are to either set up the VPN on a DD-WRT or Tomato router linked to your Fritz!Box or install it on each device at home or work.

This article will show you simple guides you can follow to set up ExpressVPN on these devices.

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How To Set Up ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT Router for Fritz!Box

One way to connect your VPN on your Fritz!Box is to connect it to a DD-WRT router that already has the VPN installed. This tutorial will show you how to set up ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT router manually:

1. Find Your ExpressVPN Account Credentials

First off, if you don’t have an existing account with ExpressVPN, you’ll have to sign up for the service. However, if you already do, sign in to your account. Then go to the ExpressVPN setup page.

By default, OpenVPN is already selected for you. You’ll find your username, password, and a list of OpenVPN configuration files on the page. Click on the locations you’re interested in to download the .ovpn files.

2. Configure Your Router

Open your browser, and enter the IP address for your router’s admin panel in the address bar.  The default IP address is 192.168.01. However, you can also check your device’s settings if it has been changed already.

Next, Log in with your router’s credentials. By default, both username and password are “admin.”

Click the ‘Services’ tab on top of the page and click the ‘VPN’ sub-tab.

Click on OpenVPN Client, and then enable ‘Start OpenVPN Client.’ This will bring up the OpenVPN configuration panel.

The next steps are slightly different, depending on the version of your DD-WRT firmware. For example, some versions need a User Pass Authentication, while others do not.

  • So, if your DD-WRT firmware has User Pass Authentication, follow these steps:

Server IP/Name: To get your server IP/name, right-click on the .ovpn config file and use a text editor to open it. The server address will be listed between the word “remote” and the port number. Copy and paste the server address into the field.

Port: Enter the number after the server IP/name in the .ovpn file.

Tunnel Device: Select TUN.

Tunnel Protocol: Select UDP.

Encryption Cipher: Select AES-256 CBC.

Hash Algorithm: Select SHA512.

User Pass Authentication: Select Enable.

Username: Enter the username you found earlier.

Password: Enter the password you found earlier.

Advanced Options: Select Enable.

TLS Cipher: Select None.

L2O Compression: Select Adaptive.

NAT: Select Enable.

Tunnel UDP Fragment: Type 1450.

Tunnel UDP MSS-Fix: Select Enable.

nsCertType verification: Check the box.

  • For versions of DD-WRT without User Pass Authentication, follow these steps:

Find the ‘Additional Config’ text box and type in this command: auth-user-pass /tmp/auth.txt

Next, enter the following information:

Server IP/Name: To get this, right-click the .ovpn config file and use any text editor to open it. You will find the server address listed between the word “remote” and the port number. Copy and paste the address into the space.

Port: Enter the number after the server name in the .ovpn file.

Tunnel Device: Select TUN.

Tunnel Protocol: Select UDP.

Encryption Cipher: Select AES-256 CBC.

Hash Algorithm: Select SHA512.

User Pass Authentication: Select Enable.

Username: Enter the username you found earlier.

Password: Enter the password you found earlier.

Advanced Options: Select Enable.

TLS Cipher: Select None.

L2O Compression: Select Adaptive.

NAT: Select Enable.

Tunnel UDP Fragment: Type 1450.

Tunnel UDP MSS-Fix: Select Enable.

nsCertType verification: Check the box.

3. Configure Your ExpressVPN Keys and Certificates

In the ‘Additional Config’ field, copy and paste the following:

persist-key

persist-tun

fragment 1300

mssfix 1450

keysize 256

In the ‘TLS Auth Key’ field, copy the text between <tls-auth> and </tls-auth> tags in the .ovpn file and paste it here.

For the ‘CA Cert’ field, copy the text between <ca> and </ca> tags in the .ovpn config file and paste it in the space.

For the ‘Public Client Cert’ field, copy the text between <cert> and </cert> tags in the .ovpn config file and paste it in the area.

In the ‘Private Client Key’ field, copy the text between the <key> and </key> tags in the .ovpn file and paste it in the area.

Click ‘Save,’ and then left-click ‘Apply Settings’ to establish the VPN connection.

However, if your DD-WRT router doesn’t have User Pass Authentication, proceed to ‘Administration’> ‘Commands’ and input the following commands:

echo USERNAMEHERE > /tmp/auth.txt

echo PASSWORDHERE >> /tmp/auth.txt

Next, Click ‘Save Startup.’

Go to ‘Administration’> ‘Management’ and click ‘Reboot Router.’

4. Check Your Connection Status 

To check your connection, go to ‘Status’> ‘OpenVPN’.  If the VPN connection is successful, you’ll see “CONNECTED SUCCESS.” However, if you’re having issues with your connection, it may be because of the incorrect time and date.

5. Connect Your Fritz!Box

Now, you can connect your Fritz!Box to the DD-WRT router to enjoy the VPN features.

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How To Set Up ExpressVPN on a Tomato Router for  Fritz!Box

An alternative way to use a VPN on your Fritz!Box is to set it up on a router that uses Tomato firmware. If you have a Tomato router, here are steps to set up ExpressVPN on the router, using the OpenVPN protocol:

1. Find Your ExpressVPN Account Credentials

The first step is to go to the ExpressVPN setup page and sign in. To the right of the page, you’ll see your username, password, and a list of OpenVPN configuration files.

Any location you want to connect to, you’ll have to download its .ovpn file to your device. The information on this page comes in handy later on, so you shouldn’t close the page in a hurry.

2. Configure Your Tomato Router

Enter your router’s IP address in your browser’s address bar. Next, you’ll have to sign in to the admin page. The default username and password are ‘root’ and ‘admin,’ respectively.

Once you’re on the admin settings page, click ‘VPN’> ‘OpenVPN Client.’

In the ‘Basic’ tab, enter the following:

Start with WAN: Check this box.

Interface Type: Select TUN.

Protocol: Select UDP.

Server Address/Port: To get this information, right-click the .ovpn config file you downloaded, and open it with a text editor. Enter the server address listed between the word “remote” and the 4-digit number in the first field. Then, in the second field, enter the 4-digit number at the end of the line.

Firewall: Select Automatic.

Authorization Mode: Select TLS.

Username/ Password Authentication: Check this box.

Username: Enter the OpenVPN username found earlier.

Password: Enter the OpenVPN password found earlier.

Username Authen. Only: Leave unchecked.

Extra HMAC authorization (tls-auth): Select Ongoing (1).

Create NAT on tunnel: Check this box.

Click ‘Save.’

Click on the ‘Advanced’ tab and enter the following information:

Poll Interval: Leave this as is.

Redirect Internet traffic: Check this box.

Accept DNS configuration: Select Exclusive.

Encryption cipher: Select AES-256 CBC.

Compression: Select Adaptive.

TLS Renegotiation Time: Enter -1.

Connection retry: Enter -1.

Verify server certificate (tls-remote): Uncheck this box.

For custom Configuration, in the text editor you opened earlier, find the values for the following items and paste them into the appropriate field:

tun-mtu

fragment

mssfix

keysize

auth

sndbuf

rcvbuf

Click ‘Save.’

Click the ‘Keys’ tab, and then copy and paste the text from the .ovpn configuration file into the following fields:

Static Key: Copy the text between <tls-auth> and </tls-auth> tags in the .ovpn file and paste it in this field.

Certificate Authority: Copy the text in between <ca> and </ca> tags in the .ovpn file and paste it in this field.

Client Certificate: Copy the text between <cert> and </cert> tags in the .ovpn file and paste it into this field.

Client Key: Copy the text between the <key> and </key> tags in the .ovpn file and paste it into this field.

Click ‘Save.’

3. Connect to a VPN Server Location

At the top of the page, click the ‘Status’ tab. Then click the play icon. If your connection is successful, you’ll see the word “Running.”

However, you can use ExpressVPN’s IP Address Checker to verify your VPN connection. If your connection is correctly set up, you will have a new IP address that matches your selected location.

4. Link Your Fritz!Box

Once you’re sure that your VPN connection is correctly set up on your Tomato router, you can connect your Fritz!Box, and it would work like you installed the VPN directly on it.

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How To Set Up ExpressVPN on Individual Devices for Fritz!Box

Technically, this method doesn’t mean that your Fritz!Box will be connected directly to ExpressVPN, but it does protect the devices you link to your Fritz!Box. It is easier and more affordable than the first two methods. You can follow this guide to set it up:

1. Sign Up and Purchase a VPN Subscription

The first thing you need to do is create a user account with ExpressVPN on their website and choose any VPN plans to subscribe to. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can connect up to five devices simultaneously with one account.

2. Download and Install the VPN

Next, return to the website to download a VPN app that’s compatible with your device. ExpressVPN is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. So, please choose the right app, download and install it on your device.

Alternatively, you can visit your device’s app store to install the VPN app directly to your device.

3. Connect to a VPN Server

Once the app is installed, log in to your account. Next, you can choose a server to connect to from the server location list. Once you’re connected, the app will show a ‘connected’ sign.

ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers in 94 countries, so you get a wide array of options. Also, connecting to a server closer to your location is a great way to experience faster internet connections.

4. Browse the Internet

Once you’re successfully connected to an ExpressVPN server, your Fritz!Box connection with your device will now be protected by VPN technology so that you can enjoy better security, anonymity, and speedier connections.

Conclusion

It’s pretty inconvenient that Fritz!Box doesn’t support the direct installation of ExpressVPN. However, as we have highlighted in this article, there are other ways to get past the hindrance, and methods to follow are easy to understand. So, follow our guide, and you’ll have ExpressVPN on your Fritz!Box in no time.