The most common way of setting up a VPN is to install the software on a single PC or smartphone. For example, on my Android, if I search for the VPN app, install it, log in, and connect to the country I want. And voila, I’m now connected to the VPN server.
However, more advanced users might want to install a VPN service not on a single computer or a smartphone, but rather on their router. This way, every device in the network is using the VPN by default, and you access geo-restricted content on all types hardware that don’t have a VPN app for it, like Roku and Apple TV.
That being said, installing VPN on your router is not as easy as installing a VPN app on your smartphone or a computer. But don’t fret - in today’s video, we’ll show you how to install VPN on your router.
Before we begin, you need two things.
A router with built-in VPN servers - sadly, most routers don’t support VPN by default, so instead, it’s better to buy a router that supports open source firmware like DD-WRT and Tomato firmware. For this instance, we’ll flash DD-WRT firmware on our NETGEAR R7000 router. To find out if your router supports DD-WRT, you can take look at the supported device list in DD-WRT website.
The server IP and login credentials for your VPN server - you can find this information on your VPN provider websites. For this video, we’ll be setting up Smart DNS Proxy smart VPN on using an openvpn protocol.
Once you have these 2 requirements fulfilled, you are ready to install VPN on your router.
Connect to your router
Connect to the router using either an Ethernet cable (wireless is not recommended), next, open a web browser and load the following address:
Step One: Flash DD-WRT
If you are not already running DD-WRT, you need to flash it on your router. If you have already done that, you can skip to the next step.
In our case, we’re running the stock Netgear firmware, so we’ll flash open source firmware like DD-WRT on the router. Make sure you download the latest firmware for your router model number and upload it.
After reboot, you are now running DD-WRT firmware. If you are already running DD-WRT, simply jump to the next step.
Check your DD-WRT firmware version that has been tested to work on VPN servers to see if the DD-WRT is a newer build. In general, builds older than 2014 are compatible.
Step two: Change your DNS
Your router most likely uses your ISP’s DNS servers. So, if your goal in using the VPN is protection of your personal information then you want to change your DNS servers.
To do that, go to Setup then under Basic Setup, scroll down till you see DNS1 and DNS2 and enter the following DNS servers, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52
Also, make sure to uncheck all three checkboxes for “Use DNSMasq for DHCP”, “Use DNSMasq for DNS” and “DHCP-Authoritative” and save settings.
Step three: Disable IPv6
IPv6 information can contain the MAC address of the connecting device, and most VPN providers don’t use IPv6.
IPv6 is usually disabled by default on your DD-WRT installation, but it’s good to double check that it actually is by navigating to Setup > IPV6. If it isn’t already disabled, turn it off and then save and apply your changes.
Step four: Disable Firewall
Next, just to make sure the connection is seamless, you can disable Firewall on your DD-WRT router.
Click on “Security” then “Firewall” and set “SPI Firewall” to “Disable” and click “Apply settings” button to save.
Step five: Set up VPN
Finally, it’s time to set up VPN.
Go to “Services” and select “VPN”.
Set “Start OpenVPN Client” to “Enable”.
Enter VPN Server Address to Server IP/Name of your VPN provider; in this case, we’ll enter the details for Smart DNS Proxy.
Enter Port number. For TCP/UDP protocol, you may enter one of the following port numbers 53, 80, 443 or 1194.
Next, for all the other details, make the same settings you can see on the screen.
Paste the CA Certificate that can be found in a VPN Setup instruction in the Support section of our website and click “Apply Settings”. You’ll have the link to all these details for Smart DNS Proxy in the description of this video.
Step six: Reboot your router
Go to “Administration” and reboot the router.
After reboot, it should connect to the VPN automatically. Please wait up to 1 minute for OpenVPN connection to be established. You can check the connection status by going to “Status” and “OpenVPN” tab. You should see “Client: CONNECTED: SUCCESS”
Step seven: Turning the VPN off
While you might want to leave your VPN service 24/7, it’s actually very easy to turn the service off without having to reverse every configuration stage.
If you wish to turn the VPN off permanently or temporarily you may do so by navigating back to Services > VPN and under “Start OpenVPN Client” section, set it to “Disable”.
All your settings will be preserved and you can return to this section to turn the VPN back on at any time.
So, that’s how you set up a VPN on your router. You do have to tinker in the settings a bit, but the end result is awesome. You not only get privacy, but all the devices connected to your router will automatically bypass geo-restriction as well.
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.
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