Setting up a VPN on a router is much easier than most people think.
The key is to choose a good VPN service first, then choose the best VPN router as needed – the rest is easy. In this how-to guide, we will introduce an easy way to install a VPN router.
But first, let’s consider these advantages. A good VPN router setup will:
- Extend the benefits of VPN to all devices without installing software
- Protect you from mass surveillance and Internet Service Provider (ISP) espionage
- Protect your home network from attacks, hacking and espionage
- Unlock the entire internet, allowing you to bypass geographic restrictions, block and review
Step 1: Choose a secure VPN service
The first step is to find a good VPN service that is critical to good VPN router performance. Here are some of the best suggestions in the best VPN list:
- Perfect privacy – in Switzerland
- VPNArea – based in Bulgaria
- ExpressVPN – located in the British Virgin Islands
- VPN.ac – located in Romania
- VyprVPN – based in Switzerland
For this setup, we will use VPN.ac .
Step 2: Choose the right VPN router
The only router brand that offers multiple VPN-ready routers is Asus . The default ASUS firmware, called ASUSWRT, supports OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP, out of the box (no need to flash!).
The following lists all Asus routers that support VPN , and the corresponding CPUs:
ASUS RT-N66U (600 MHz)
ASUS AC1750 (RT-AC66U) (600 MHz)
ASUS AC1900 (RT-AC68U) (800 MHz, dual core)
ASUS RT-AC87U (1,000 MHz – dual core)
ASUS RT-AC3200 (1,000 MHz – Dual Core)
ASUS RT-AC3100 (1,400 MHz – Dual Core)
ASUS RT-AC88U (1,400 Mhz – Dual Core)
ASUS RT-AC5300 (1,400 MHz – Dual Core)
ASUS RT-AC86U (1,800 MHz – Dual Core with AES-NI )
ASUS GT-AC5300 (1,800 MHz – quad core with AES-NI )
Note : The fastest VPN router in the list above is the second two options for the AES-NI crypto acceleration processor. These are the latest ASUS routers on the market.
Step 4: Assemble and connect the Ethernet cable
Assemble the router according to the instruction manual. Then, connect the new Asus router to the existing router using an Ethernet cable. Note which Ethernet (LAN) ports (blue WAN ports with new routers and any yellow LAN ports on existing routers) are used in the photos below.
Connect the existing (old) router to the new Asus router using an Ethernet cable.
Step 5: Connect the power and turn it on
After turning on the power and waiting a few minutes, you can set up a new router.
Step 6: Connect to the Asus router over the wireless network
Find and select the “ASUS” network to configure a new router.
Step 7: Start the configuration process
Once connected to the ASUS network, the configuration screen will appear. Follow a simple configuration process. Be sure to record:
- Router username and password (used to manage router settings)
- Wireless network name and password
After completing the basic configuration steps, you should see the new Asus wireless network name. (My new ASUS network is called RP.)
You can now connect to the new Asus network.
Step 8: Download the OpenVPN configuration file
Once you have a VPN.ac subscription, you can get an OpenVPN file and import it into your router. I recommend using AES 256 UDP files. This gives you the OpenVPN 256-bit encryption protocol, which is secure, fast, and reliable.
When you open the zip file, you will see a list of individual .ovpn files. Each file corresponds to a specific server location (or double-hop server configuration, see “2-hop” server below).
Step 9: Configure VPN on the router
Once connected to the new Asus network, you can log in to the router management area and add the VPN configuration to the router. Open an Internet browser and enter http://192.168.1.1 or http://192.168.2.1 in the URL address field to access the Asus management page . (Hint: Bookmark this page for quick access.)
Log in to your management area with your previous username and password.
Now select the following: VPN (left side of screen) > VPN Client (top) > Add Profile > OpenVPN .
Load VPN configuration file
Now enter the following information in the OpenVPN window.
- Description: You can use the VPN server location (ie VPNac Luxembourg)
- Enter the username and password for the VPN service.
- Now you need to select a specific .ovpn configuration file for the VPN server you want your router to use. (The closer the server is to your physical location, the faster and more stable your connection will be.)
- Click Browse, open the previous .zip file, select the encrypted folder to use (160 or 256), then select the specific server you want to use and click Open. Now click Upload to upload the .ovpn file.
You do not need to import a CA file. Just click OK now .
At this point, you should see the VPN server configuration added to the list of VPN servers . On the far right, click Activate to enable the VPN connection. After a few seconds, you should see a check mark on the far left of the “Connected Status”.
Now you can add as many different server configurations (VPN server locations) to your router as needed. If you are using VPN.ac , you can also add a double-hop server configuration. This means your traffic will be routed through two separate VPN servers (providing you with a higher level of anonymity) before exiting the regular Internet.
VPN router DNS and IPv6 leakage protection
For privacy reasons, it is best to set up DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection.
1) DNS leak protection – Select the WAN button on the left and select No under “Automatically connect to DNS server” . You can use any of the following DNS server addresses:
- OpenDNS: 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168
- Google: 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199
Then click ” Apply” at the bottom .
2) IPv6 Leakage Protection – Select the IPv6 button on the left side of the router management area. Now under Connection Type , make sure Disable is selected , then click Apply .
Test your VPN router
Now you can test everything to make sure the privacy settings above work properly. A good VPN test resource is the perfect privacy IP inspection tool. This will show if the VPN server is replacing your real IP address correctly. You should also run a DNS leak test (also on the Perfect Privacy website). For more information on VPN testing, please click here.
Using two routers – Using the VPN router settings in this guide, you can also use two routers: the old router (if you don’t want to go through the VPN) or the new ASUS VPN router settings. This gives you more flexibility because some services block VPNs, such as Netflix.
Finished! Only. Enjoy your new VPN router.