We all know that almost everyone uses a WiFi router and many of WiFi router users have it with DD-WRT firmware. The reason behind this is that there are numerous advantages in using a DD-WRT firmware.
For one, DD-WRT is a free, open source firmware that is based on UNIX for routers. It has the ability to access features, utilities and tools which are not accessible to users who are using router with stock firmware. Aside from that, using DD-WRT allows you to secure your connection especially when you have children, you could restrict certain websites from being accessed by certain internet users.
In this article, we shall take a little closer on how to setup your DD-WRT router and how to make your connection more secure through the use of a Virtual Private Network or more commonly known as VPN.
With VPN setup on your DD-WRT router, all your devices connected to your router are protected through a single access point. This means, you will be able to enhance the level of the protection of your devices and online activities such as gaming, streaming and many more.
Most VPNs could provide their services with certain models and brands of routers and DD-WRT firmware, unfortunately could be used with large number of different model which means it has more flexibility for those who are subscribed to a VPN service provider.
One VPN service provider that we highly recommend for DD-WRT router is ExpressVPN and with this, we would provide you a guide on how to set it up with most DD-WRT routers that has an up-to-date versions of DD-WRT firmware. What we will not be able to cover in this article, however, is how to install DD-WRT firmware on your router.
ExpressVPN is one of the most reliable and trusted VPNs that could be used for added protection for your DD-WRT router. With a DD-WRT, your router could ensure flexibility. Hence, it offers also reliability when using it with ExpressVPN. With ExpressVPN, you will be able to have access to numerous features including fast download speed which is perfect choice for routers.
ExpressVPN is available and compatible with Android, Amazon Fire, Windows, iOS, Chromebook, macOS and many more. It also comes with Firefox and chrome browser extensions. Furthermore, in case their subscribers encounter any issues, problems or have queries, they could easily be contacted through their 24/7 live support chat and their email support. Aside from that, they also have a searchable support library.
ExpressVPN comes with 3000 servers located in about 94 countries all over the world and offers a 30-day risk free money back guarantee.
How to Set Up ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT router?
Though setting up ExpresVPN on DD-WRT router could look and appear complicated, do not fret as we shall provide you a step-by-step instruction that will guide you to help you protect and enhance all of your devices.
Downloading VPN configuration files
- Sign up to ExpressVPN on their website using your device.
- Go to section where it says set up your devices
- Click router link
- A new window will open. Click the pull down menu.
- Select router
- Click on DD-WRT
- Click configure OpenVPN. While you are at this step, configure your router as well through PPTP and L2TP/IPSec.
- Ensure that you take note of your username and password.
- Copy the login username and password.
- Paste and save into a text file if you do not have a good memory.
- Scroll down on the page and look for the list of regions where ExpressVPN’s servers are located.
- Click a server location. A save dialogue box will appear. Select where you would like to save the configuration file.
- Click save button.
Entering ExpressVPN Information
Once you have saved and copied your username and password and has also been able to download the OpenVPN configuration file, you will now need to configure your DD-WRT router with ExpressVPN. Before we start our step-by-step guide, take note that you will need the latest DD-WRT installed on your router and have at least a minimum of 8 MB flash memory.
- Connect to your DD-WRT router.
- Open your web browser and go to your router’s control panel page. The usual default address is http://192.168.1.1
- Once your control panel has been loaded, click services.
- Click VPN tab.
- Scroll down and find OpenVPN client and click enable radio button- start OpenVPN client.
- Once done, you will see an OpenVPN client option which could be seen on the OpenVPN client settings page.
- Open configuration file in a text editor. Copy the server address.
- Take note of the 4-digit number which follows the address. Do not close the file yet as you will need some information.
- Paste the server address on the OpenVPN client field which is labeled as Server IP/Name.
- Enter the four-digit number that follows the address as mentioned earlier.
- Once you encounter the below port field, enter the following”
- Tunnel Device: TUN
- Tunnel Protocol: UDP
- Encryption Cipher: AES-256 CBC
- Hash Algorithm: SHA512
- Inbound Firewall on TUN: leave unchecked
- User Pass Authentication: Enable
- Username: ExpressVPN user information
- Password: ExpressVPN password information
- Advanced Options: Enable
12. Once advanced options have been enabled, you will see more fields. Ensure that the fields are matched with the following:
- TLS Cipher: None
- Compression: Adaptive
- NAT: Enable
- Firewall Protection: Enable
- IP Address: Blank
- Subnet Mask: Blank
- Tunnel MTU Setting: 1500
- Tunnel UDP Fragment: 1450
- Tunnel UDP MSS-Fix: Enable
- Verify Server Cert.: Checked
13. Scroll down the Additional Config field.
14. Enter the following details:
- fragment 1300
- mssfix 1450
- keysize 256
15. Next, configure the file open in a text editor. Go to file, copy the text between <tis-auth> and </tis-auth>block
16. Paste info that you just have copied into the TLS Auth Key field as shown below.
17. Copy the text in between <ca> and </ca>
18. Paste the copied text into the CA cert field.
19. From the configuration file, copy text between <cert> and </cert>
20. Paste the copied text into “Public Client Cert” field.
21. On the configuration file, copy text between <key> and </key>block.
21. Paste the copied text into “private client key”
22. Go to the bottom and then, click save button.
23. Click “apply settings”
24. Check the VPN if it is working by clicking “status”
25. Click “OpenVPN”
26. Double check if you are connected through the server that you have selected.
27. View your new IP address by going to WhatISMYIP.com or any similar site.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using VPN with DD-WRT Router
1. Constant Protection
Once you have installed a VPN on your DD-WRT router, you could be assured that your connection will always be protected. Sometimes, there are few users that would forget to turn on their VPN app on their devices whenever they share files, accessing geo-blocked content and/or many more. However, when you install a VPN and have a VPN running on full time on your DD-WRT router, you could be assured that your online activities are always protected.
2. All of Your Devices will be Protected
With a VPN installed on your DD-WRT router, you could be assured that any device that you have connected to your network will also be automatically protected. This means, your other extended devices will be protected as well such as streaming boxes, smart TVs, smart appliances and game consoles as well.
There could be a chance that your current router is not compatible with your DD-WRT firmware or your router provided by your internet provider does not allow its users to flash the router with DD-WRT firmware. This could mean you would need to buy a new DD-WRT router that is compatible.
Getting a WiFi router that is compatible and have enough horsepower that will be able to run DD-WRT could be expensive. If you are thinking of getting a low cost router, the performance might not be at par to your expectations.
2. Connection speed could be slower
If you are running a VPN on your computer and other devices as well, your connection speed could become slower. One reason behind this is due to the overhead of running a VPN on your router which means the processor becomes slower. Plus, having multiple devices on a router could lessen the ratio of bandwidth as well which could slower your speed and lower your connection speed.
3. Less Flexible
When you use a VPN, you will have to control the VPN’s turning on or off. If you are connected to a VPN-enabled router however you VPN protection will always be turned on. If your devices are not routed through the VPN tunnel, you will need to know the admin password for you to be able to turn on/turn off your VPN.
Can I Use a Free VPN with My DD-WRT Router?
Unfortunately, most free VPN service providers are compatible with iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows devices only. This only means that they will not be able to work on your router. Aside from that, free VPN service providers could throttle your connection speed and have limitations in terms of data caps and daily usage. They also monitor your online activities and sell your data to advertisers and third parties which is the reason why you would often encounter irritating and unwanted advertisements.
Though installing ExpressVPN on your DD-WRT have advantages and disadvantages, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. IT could offer you a comprehensive and reliable protection to all of your devices and on a full time basis as well. You will not even have to configure each device for your devices to be protected. So what are you waiting for? Subscribe to ExpressVPN and install it on your DD-WRT router and get a top notch protected online connection.