How To Set Up ExpressVPN on DD-WRT Router (Updated 2021)

Using alternative router firmware allows users access to additional functions that are otherwise unavailable on native firmware. DD-WRT is an example of such alternative router firmware. It is open-source, Linux-based, and can be installed on wireless routers and access points. 

Using a VPN on a DD-WRT router gives you access to additional security features and allows you to protect several devices. This article dwells on how to set up and use ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT router. 

Setting Up ExpressVPN on DD-WRT Router

There are two ways to set up ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT router. 

1. Buy a preconfigured DD-WRT router. You can get a router that has ExpressVPN preinstalled on it. 

2. Configure ExpressVPN manually on a DD-WRT router. You’ll need some technical know-how in this process. Don’t worry if you don’t have any technical skills. All you’ll need to do is pay rapt attention to this guide.

Setting Up ExpressVPN on a Preconfigured DD-WRT Router

Did you know that you can have ExpressVPN pre-installed on a router without having to go through the stress of manually configuring it? All you need to do is find where you can buy it. 

FlashRouters is one place you buy a router without having to worry about manually installing ExpressVPN. This allows you to use your router out of the box with little or no extra configurations, except when you intend to change servers. 

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Setting Up ExpressVPN Manually on DD-WRT Router

The manual configuration process of installing ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT router can be stressful, especially to a person with no knowledge of how to go about it. Fortunately, this guide will show you the configuration process. First, your DD-WRT router version has to be compatible with OpenVPN as it’s one of the most secure VPN protocols. It also needs to have at least 8MB of flash memory and 800MHz of CPU for basic VPN performance. Now, let’s dive into the configuration process.

1. Firstly, you have to get an ExpressVPN subscription if you don’t already have one. Go to the ExpressVPN website and click on the “Get ExpressVPN” bar. Follow the instructions and fill out the necessary information needed to purchase a subscription and create an account. Once the account creation process is complete, go to manual configuration settings by following this path: Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration.

2. Click the “OpenVPN” tab below the “Manual Configuration” section. Your service credentials (username and password) should be visible to you. Save your credentials somewhere or leave the browser window open because you will need them later in this guide. 

3. Just below your service credentials, you will see a list of servers based on their locations. Select a server you intend to use and download the OpenVPN configuration file (.ovpn) of that server. Depending on your choice, you can select TCP or UDP. Select UDP for a faster connection and TCP for a more reliable connection. 

4. Next, you need access to your DD-WRT router’s control panel. Launch a new browser page and input your router’s IP address (usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1). Check your user manual for information regarding the IP address if you don’t know it. Fortunately, ExpressVPN has provided a way for you to find it. 

5. Then, you need to log in with your admin credentials (usually “admin” for both username and password). Check your user manual or reach out to the retailer if you don’t know the admin credentials or the default is not working. 

6. Once you’re in the control panel, select the “Services” tab on the menu at the top of the page. Then, click on the “VPN” tab below it. 

7. To open the OpenVPN configuration panel, navigate to the “OpenVPN Client” section and click the “Enable” radio button in the “Start OpenVPN Client” field. 

8. If your DD-WRT router’s version has User Pass Authentication, input the following in their respective fields: 

Server IP/Name: Open the .ovpn file you downloaded in step 3 above with a text editor. The server address is between the word “remote” and a 4-digit port number. Copy and paste it here. 

Port: Input the 4-digit port number after the server address above (or 1195 if it’s not there)

Tunnel Device: TUN

Tunnel Protocol: UDP (or TCP)

Encryption Cipher: AES-256-CBC

Hash Algorithm: SHA-512

User Pass Authentication: Enable

Username: Your ExpressVPN service username

Password: Your ExpressVPN service password

Advanced Options: Enable

TLS Cipher: None

LZO Compression: Adaptive

NAT: Enable

Firewall Protection: Enable

Tunnel UDP Fragment: 1450

Tunnel UDP MSS-Fix: Enable

nsCertType verification: Check this box

9. If your DD-WRT router’s version is without User Pass Authentication, do the following:

Go to the “Additional Config” box and enter the following:

auth-user-pass /tmp/auth.txt

Then, enter the same information in step 8 above. 

10. Next, you need to configure your ExpressVPN keys and certificates. Navigate to the “Additional Config” field and input the following: 

persist-key

persist-tun

fragment 1300

mssfix 1450

keysize 256

11. Go back to the .ovpn file you opened with a text editor and copy the text between the <tls-auth> and </tls-auth> tags and paste it in the “TLS Auth Key” field. Don’t copy any line that starts with “#.”

12. Do the same as step 11 above for the text between the <ca> and </ca> tags in the .ovpn file. Copy and paste it in the “CA Cert” field. 

13. Do the same as step 11 above for the text between the <cert> and </cert> tags in the .ovpn file. Copy and paste it in the “Public Client Cert” field. 

14. Do the same as step 11 above for the text between the <key> and </key> tags in the .ovpn file. Copy and paste it in the “Private Client Key” field. 

15. Click the “Save” button and afterward the “Apply settings” button. 

16. If your DD-WRT router’s version is without User Pass Authentication, navigate to the “Administration” tab at the top of the page, then the “Commands” tab, and  input the following:

echo USERNAMEHERE > /tmp/auth.txt 

echo PASSWORDHERE >> /tmp/auth.txt

Click the “Save Startup” button and select the “Management” tab. Click the “Reboot Router” button.

17. Follow this path to check your connection status: Status > OpenVPN. You should see “CONNECTED SUCCESS” in the “State” section if it worked. If it doesn’t work, reach out to ExpressVPN’s support team. 

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Why You Should Use ExpressVPN for DD-WRT Router

A VPN takes away the risk of connecting to the internet without proper online security. In terms of security and privacy, ExpressVPN is at the top echelon of VPNs. You have access to several features that will boost any device’s safety on the internet, including the AES 256-bit encryption, Tor over VPN, a Kill Switch, Split Tunneling, and so on. Its server fleet in 90+ countries is why it’s efficient in bypassing geo-restrictions and circumventing internet censorship.

Conclusion

ExpressVPN’s server network and security features are enough reasons to use it on your router. Using it on a DD-WRT router is a brilliant choice as it allows you to protect multiple devices without worrying about the simultaneous connection limit on your subscription account. We hope that with this guide, you can set up and use ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT router without any issues.