5 Best DD-WRT VPN Services in 2019

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best way to achieve privacy on your devices when you connect to the internet. However, did you know that with a ‘flashed’ router it is possible for every device in your home to be connected to the web privately via a VPN - all of the time?

On some routers, it is possible to switch the stock firmware with open source software known as DD-WRT. Once that is done, it is possible to run a DD-WRT VPN service directly on the router. DD-WRT allows this by providing access to the router's inner functionality, giving users much more control.

Top 5 DD-WRT VPN Services

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. CyberGhost
  4. PrivateVPN
  5. IPVanish

Installing a VPN client on a DD-WRT router is incredibly convenient. The first advantage is that it means every device connected via WiFi to the router is protected with the VPN’s encryption. That means that you won’t need to worry about getting a VPN that permits lots of simultaneous connections for multiple devices. Thus a DD-WRT VPN service is perfect for large families.

In addition, because all devices are connected to a remote VPN server, everyone connected to the router is hiding their true IP address. This means they can overcome censorship and geo-restrictions to access international content such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

For people who want to flash a router with DD-WRT themselves, there is a guide later in this article. For everybody else, our best DD-WRT VPN - ExpressVPN - sells a pre-flashed router. If you want to jump in a bit deeper, check out our 5 best DD-WRT routers article.

Best DD-WRT VPNs: Summary

1. ExpressVPN

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services for DD-WRT routers. It has a video tutorial for setting up a flashrouter at home, and is available pre-flashed on FlashRouters (see below).

With ExpressVPN loaded onto a DD-WRT router, all your devices are protected with a strong privacy policy. This VPN is enjoyed by subscribers all over the world, and is highly trusted within the VPN industry. It keeps no usage logs, and stores only a few aggregated statistics (that never reveal anything about individual users).

Customer care is provided via 24/7 live chat, which means that no matter what your issue might be, you can get it fixed on the spot. Furthermore, this provider has a fantastic guide for setting up ExpressVPN on a DD-WRT router. Finally, because it provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, anybody can test the service risk-free to see just how reliable and fast it is.

2. NordVPN

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

NordVPN is a fantastic VPN that works well on DD-WRT compatible routers. This service is often selected by people that want a little extra when it comes to security. It provides DNS leak protection, killswitch, stealth mode, double encryption, and VPN into Tor. encryption is also excellent with this VPN, which has a zero-logs policy. What’s more, this VPN is superb value for money. With outstanding customer care and so much offer, why not give their 30-day free trial a go to test the service.

3. CyberGhost

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

CyberGhost has been growing from strength to strength and now features at the top of a number of best 5 lists. The VPN works well on DD-WRT routers and is easy to use. Servers provide fast and stable connection, which makes this VPN great for streaming. Encryption is also strong with this VPN, and the privacy policy is excellent.

The VPN is fully featured and has everything you would expect to see from a world-class service. What's more, this VPN is great value for money.

We also really love this VPNs live chat support. Finally, it has a 30-day money back guarantee to test it thoroughly without risking a cent.

4. PrivateVPN

  • Pricing

    From $1.89 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

PrivateVPN is a zero-logs Swedish provider. It features both a firewall-based system kill switch and a per-app kill switch, which pretty neat. Full IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leak protection is also built-in to its client.

We have been particularly impressed by PrivateVPN’s high level of customer service, which even features remote installation for technophobes! Up to a generous 6 simultaneous devices are permitted, and port forwarding plus HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies are a nice bonus. PrivateVPN offers a simple setup script for DD-WRT routers that takes the hassle out of manual configuration.

5. IPVanish

  • Pricing

    From $5.20 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Money-back Guarantee

IPVanish is an excellent VPN provider that is rated highly by Flashrouters. It is based in the US, and was recently criticised for providing some logs to the US authorities in order to help them catch a high profile criminal. However, despite this, IPVanish remains a good VPN for the vast majority of people's needs.

The VPN software is easy to use and IPVanish provides some of the fastest speeds on the market. This makes the VPN perfect for unblocking content such as HD videos.

This VPN is excellent value for money, which is why it is popular among people who decide to get a flashed router. It also provides high standards of encryption to keep your data secure.

DD-WRT VPN FAQs

DD-WRT isn’t as simple as just getting a VPN, which is why so many people opt to buy a pre-flashed router. If you aren’t a particularly technical person, a pre-flashed router may be the best option. However, for people who have the expertise (or are willing to learn), flashing and installing a VPN on a router is easily achievable.

One thing to bear in mind is that although a flashed DD-WRT router means that all your devices are protected, they are all also subjected to the VPN's service. That's why it's important to make sure you get a reliable and trustworthy VPN service on your flashed router. Failure to do so will mean that all your devices are suffering from the same poor service.

When selecting a VPN for DD-WRT, the same VPN considerations apply as when selecting a VPN for use directly on a device. Encryption must be strong, and it must be implemented to a high standard. Servers must be located in a good spread of locations, and those servers must provide fast speeds for enjoying the internet. Furthermore, customer service and VPN provider's professionalism should be considered, so that you can quickly resolve any issues.

Privacy

If you are going to go to the trouble of installing a VPN on a flashed DD-WRT router, it is vital that the VPN is world class. For that reason, all the VPNs in this guide provide the very best encryption available on the market (OpenVPN encryption). In addition, they have a proven track record of providing privacy for their subscribers. They also have watertight privacy policies, which means that your data will remain private at all times.

Connection Speeds

One of the main advantages of a VPN is that subscribers can overcome censorship and geo-restrictions. Connecting to a VPN server in the US or UK, for example, means that the VPN user appears to really be in one of those countries. Many VPNs provide very slow connection speeds, which means that streaming in HD is nigh on impossible.

Our number one recommended DD-WRT VPN service is ExpressVPN, because it provides lightning fast access to servers in 94 countries worldwide. However, all the VPNs for DD-WRT that we have recommended in this list provide access to fast servers situated all over the world. Subscribers can unblock content in any of the countries in which their VPN has a server. With a flashed DD-WRT VPN service, that freedom is available on every device in your home!

Getting a DD-WRT Router

As already mentioned, the easiest way of getting a DD-WRT router is to buy one that is pre-flashed. This saves you the trouble of having to flash it yourself - a process that can result in “bricking” the router (making it unusable). Buying a pre-flashed router is more costly, but it is also a one-off investment (and doesn’t cost the earth). The best options for getting a flashed router are as follows:

Buy it directly from the VPN provider: Our most highly recommended VPN, ExpressVPN (and others such as StrongVPN), can provide users with a pre-flashed router that has the software already installed. You can simply log in to your VPN account and protect your home.

Visiting FlashRouters : FlashRouters provides a custom DD-WRT flashing and customizing service. All you need to do is purchase your VPN and buy a router from that provider. When it arrives, it will be set up and ready for you to log in to your account.

Buying directly from the router manufacturer: Many router manufacturers make DD-WRT routers, due to their popularity. You can purchase these on Amazon.

Set up OpenVPN Encryption on DD-WRT VPN

OpenVPN is by far the most secure VPN encryption on the market. It is the VPN encryption that we recommend that you use, so you should set up the VPN on your DD-WRT router to connect using it.

Setting up OpenVPN varies for different VPN providers. As such, these settings are only a guide. The good news is that each VPN has setup guides for loading its VPN onto a DD-WRT router. The best thing to do is to contact your VPN directly for instructions once you've subscribed.

Check That Your Router Supports OpenVPN

Make sure your DD-WRT router supports OpenVPN. Most DD-WRT routers accept OpenVPN by default, but it's worth checking. If you want to connect with OpenVPN (and you do!), make sure when you buy your router that it supports OpenVPN.

Now navigate to your VPN's website and log in. On your VPN's downloads page, download the .ovpn files (or at least the one for the server that you wish to connect to).

Set Up Your DD-WRT GUI Software

  1. Open the .ovpn file using a text editor. I would suggest using Notepad ++.
  2. Open your DDWRT Control Panel and navigate to “Setup -> Basic Setup.” Under Network Address Server Settings (DHCP) enter one of the following (check with your VPN to know which DNS address you should enter - these are only examples):
  • For Google DNS: Static DNS 1 – 8.8.8.8, Static DNS 2 – 8.8.4.4;
  • For OpenDNS: Static DNS 1 – 208.67.222.222, Static DNS 2 – 208.67.220.220; or
  • For OpenNic: Visit the website to find the best one for you.

3. Select ‘Services’ in your DD-WRT software and go to the VPN tab to enable ‘OpenVPN Client.’

4. Input the following settings (these will vary for your VPN, so get them from your provider as these are only examples):

Server Address/Port: Look at the text file of the .ovpn file in Notepad++ to find the IP address of the server and the port number (443, for example). To locate them, look for the line that starts with “remote,” or ask your VPN for them (it will have a guide that you can use).

  • Tunnel Device/Protocol: TUN/UDP
  • Encryption Cipher/Hash: Blowfish CBC/SHA1
  • nsCertTypeVerification: Disabled
  • Advanced Options: Enabled
  • TLS Cipher: None
  • LZO compression: Yes
  • NAT: Enable
  • Tunnel MTU Setting: 1500
  • Tunnel UDP MSS-Fix: Enabled

In the Additional Config box, paste the following:

client remote-cert-tls server ping 15 ping-restart 60 resolv-retry infinite nobind explicit-exit-notify 3 comp-lzo yes verb 2 route-gateway dhcp redirect-gateway def1

For the Keys, use the .ovpn file to:

  • Copy the text between and to CA Cert;
  • Copy the text between and to Public Client Cert; and
  • Copy the text between and to Private Client Key.

Click Apply Settings.
Going to “Status -> OpenVPN” will display your connection status, and should say Connected: Success.
You can also navigate to InfoByIP to check your connection.

DD-WRT VPN: Conclusion

In this article, we have recommended the best VPN for a flashed DD-WRT router and four runners-up. The easiest way to get a VPN running on a DD-WRT router is to buy it pre-flashed . For those of you who want to flash a router you already own, we have included a guide to give you an idea of how it is done.

Please remember, however, that the guide is only an outline and that the details will vary for each VPN provider. So please remember to get the details from your VPN provider. It will have a guide similar to the one above to walk you through the process.

All of the VPNs in this guide are perfect for running on a vpn router, because they are trusted and reliable services that showcase the best of what VPNs have to offer. They all have lightning fast servers located around the world, which will allow you to unblock almost anything. All that is left is for you to decide which VPN you prefer.

We are confident there is an ideal VPN for everyone in this guide, no matter what your personal circumstances may be. So read through the options carefully, and select your VPN with confidence. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us in the comments section below.


  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. CyberGhost
  4. PrivateVPN
  5. IPVanish

Title image credit: fullvector/Shutterstock.com

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

7 Comments

  1. Mike

    on April 28, 2019
    Reply

    Couple questions: With the first 5 vpn services listed, did you list them with the intent of using OpenVPN as well? Are they just services required by OpenVpn? I just flashed my router last night with a “mega” file, so I do have OpenVPN. Do I need a vpn service? If so, do I need to pay for one? Or are there any that are free? (I was thinking since dd-wrt includes OpenVPN, that OpenVPN was a free VPN service that stood alone.) Thank you in advance!

    1. douglas replied to Mike

      on April 30, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Mike. You need to sign-up for a VPN service, as these run the VPN servers you need to connect to. Most of these cost a small monthly fee, although decent free services do exist. You can use your router with any VPN service which supplied standard OpenVPN setup files. Note that it is also possible to setup your own VPN server, but this requires a fair amount of technical know-how, and usually means paying for rented server space anyway. I think where you might be getting confused is that it is possible to use a DD-WRT router as a personal VPN server. Doing this will not protect your home network with a VPN, but does allow you to securely connect to your privacy from outside your home network (for example on your mobile phone).

  2. VPN solutions

    on August 20, 2018
    Reply

    I think that setup is always pain for customers. They want simple solutions from the box. And if routers manufacturers are care about clients, they will use VPN sdk to make customers life easier

  3. mopani

    on December 31, 2017
    Reply

    I have been using TorVPN.com on my DD-WRT router with OpenVPN (from Germany) for a very long time. It costs 20 pounds a year for unlimited traffic. It can connect 4 devices and it has a connection to the Tor network. It's not many servers, but they're located all over the world. There's never been any problems. The data stream is extremely stable.

  4. nail

    on October 26, 2017
    Reply

    If you are a serious internet user, you need the privacy and security provided by VPNs let me tell you that there is the best vpn services

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives: