How to Share your printer with DD-WRT

As you are reading this site then there is a good chance that the primary reason you bought a DD-WRT router was so that you could share your VPN connection with all family members or staff, and with all devices in your house or office. That’s great, and DD-WRT is excellent for it, but that fancy router of yours can do a lot else besides.

We have already looked at how you can share a USB drive over your network using DD-WRT, so that it can act as a NAS, so now we’ll look at another very popular use for a DD-WRT router - sharing a printer over the network. This is very easy to setup, and has the advantage over sharing your printer via a PC connection that no computer has to be turned on (only the router) or connected to the printer (this is particularly useful if everyone uses laptops or mobile devices, and you have no static desktop workstation).

If you'd like to learn more about DD-WRT, then we'd recommend reading our  Definitive DD-WRT Guide

Setting up a shared printer in DD-WRT

We used a flashed Asus RT-AC66U router, but any DD-WRT router with a USB port should work.

1. Plug your printer into the router, and turn it on.

2. Enter your router config page by typing the router IP address (usually http://192.168.1.1/) into your browser address bar. Click on the ‘Services’ tab, and then the ‘USB’ tab.

3. Enable ‘Core USB Support’ and 'USB Printer Support’ (if you also want to plug in a hard drive to use as NAS storage go right ahead and enable ‘Automatic Drive Mount’ too - see here for more detailed instructions). ‘Save’ and ‘Apply Settings’.

USB enable

The printer is now ready to use by any computer or devices on the network. To do this you need to follow standard procedure for adding a network printer for your OS. Below is how you do this in Windows 7.

To add a DD-WRT shared Printer in Windows 7

1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers, and select ‘Add a printer’

DD-WRT printer 1

2. Select ‘Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer’.

printer 2

3. Click on ‘Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname’

printer 4

4. Enter your router’s IP address into the ‘Hostname or IP address’ field. Deselect the ‘Query the printer and automatically select the driver to use’ checkbox.

printer 19

Because we have used this port before, Windows adds an extension to the Port name, which is fine

5. Wait for Windows to try to detect your printer. It will probably fail, so click ‘Next’.

printer 6

6. Select your printer make and model from the list.

printer 7

7. Give your printer a name.

printer 8

As our reader Micah has pointed out (see comments), it is better to select 'Do  not share this printer' here (then click 'Next').

printer 18

8. If you already have a driver for the printer installed then you are fine keeping it.

printer 20

9. ‘Print a test page’ to make sure everything is working properly, the click ‘Finish’ and you are done!

printer 21

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

32 Comments

  1. Pirogeno

    on October 19, 2019
    Reply

    Thankyou very much. It was usefull for me. See you

  2. Sahil Bhalerao

    on June 20, 2019
    Reply

    I cannot get it working with MR3020 from TPlink. It says unable to reach the printer. I exactly did what you said in the tutorial. Please help. It is a 3G/4G USB port, I hope it connects.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Sahil Bhalerao

      on June 21, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Sahil. 3G/4G refers to your mobile connection, so I'm guessing that you are using a mobile dongle to connect to the internet? For the above instructions to work you must be connecting to the internet over WiFi via a DD-WRT router, with the printer connected to the router.

  3. Saijin_Naib

    on January 11, 2017
    Reply

    Douglas, This guide is amazing! Finally got printer server working on my WRT3200ACM with the 12/15/16 DD-WRT build. Thanks! Do you know if network printer sharing can also support scanning? It'd be great to be able to scan without having to move the USB cable over to my tower. I'm trying to share my MFC between my wife's computer and my own via my WRT3200ACM.

    1. J Miller replied to Saijin_Naib

      on January 20, 2017
      Reply

      The most recent info I read to enable the scanner as well leads me to believe that Samba Server can make it happen. If not, I think the only other option would be installing SANE as well.

    2. Douglas Crawford replied to Saijin_Naib

      on January 11, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Saijin, Thanks! To be honest, I don't know (I don't have a scanner). But if you feel like experimenting yourself, I would love to hear the results!

  4. Nicholas

    on November 19, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Douglas, I noticed that the printer is not available after I restart my laptop running Windows 7. So, I have to redo the process of adding the printer all over again every time I restart my laptop. Is it the same on your end? Thank u in advance

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Nicholas

      on November 21, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Nicholas, No - once added, the printer should be available to select whenever you print something. Windows, however, does not always do what its supposed to...

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