What Is the Best VPN for DD-WRT Routers in 2020?

Personal-class routers every so often struggle to serve multiple connections, lose connection, or glitch out. So, upgrading your wireless router’s hardware can potentially make a significant improvement. Maybe not.

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Purchasing a pricier router might prove ineffective. Worse, it might exhibit the same problems. What can be more effective in enhancing your router? Improve its software. And it’s simple. Just install DD-WRT, period!

DD-WRT is a Linux based open source firmware meant to enhance and upgrade your wireless internet router. As such, a DD-WRT enabled router is a more powerful, multi-use, business-class router.

The letters “DD” in DD-WRT are the license plate characters used in Dresden, Germany, the city where its developers lived. As well, “WRT” was obtained from Linksys WRT54G, the model router for which it was intended.

This open-source firmware is used in place of the factory default firmware on compatible router models, including popular brands like Asus, Netgear, D-Link, and Linksys.

Installing DD-WRT on your router can be compared to jailbreaking your Blackberry’s firmware to unlock its hidden features. It removes restrictions that come with the default firmware.

Speaking of removing restrictions, a DD-WRT router allows you to encrypt your connections by channeling your entire traffic through the VPN you install in your router.

VPNs for routers provide numerous benefits. A VPN secures all devices connected to your internet. And DD-WRT is the VPN pass-through. That is, it makes it way easier to run directly via your router.

To help you secure your online privacy, we’ve listed the best VPN services for DD-WRT routers to use if all you want is to protect several devices at no extra costs.

Top VPNs That Work with DD-WRT Routers

We ran several premium VPNs through a series of battery tests. Results indicated that these 5 VPNs best work on DD-WRT routers.

  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN tops our list of top VPNs that work with DD-WRT routers. It’s one of the fastest and most secure VPN that unblocks a whole load of geo-restricted websites.
  • NordVPN: NordVPN is a reasonably priced DD-WRT VPN that checks all the correct boxes. Also, it’s a server-rich VPN provider that comes with a little extra security.
  • CyberGhost: CyberGhost is an easy to install VPN that works well on DD-WRT routers. Users connect to servers that deliver relatively fast and stable speeds, making it a worthy choice for streaming.
  • IPVanish:  IPVanish is a top-tier provider that delivers some of the fastest speeds on the VPN market. The provider owns and operates its VPN servers.
  • PrivateVPN: This is a relatively low in price zero-logs VPN service that provides a simple setup script to use on DD-WRT routers.

To set up a VPN on a DD-WRT router, you require a VPN service that provides support, and the essential files to get connected.

We looked at several details on each VPN that’s on this list. But most importantly, we ranked the best in class VPNs that work with DD-WRT routers on the basis of the below criteria:

  • Compatibility with DD-WRT routers
  • Connection speed
  • Privacy and security protections
  • Global server coverage
  • Customer service
  • Pricing

Bear in mind that most free VPNs don’t allow users to set up their OpenVPN on routers. Worse, free VPNs are known to provide weak security and enable ads. Others record your browsing history and sell it to advertisers.

Here are our best VPNs to use with your DD-WRT router.

1. ExpressVPN

Our number one choice VPN for DD-WRT routers. ExpressVPN provides superb guides for setting up OpenVPN on your DD-WRT router. What’s more, the VPN provider makes their own fuss-free firmware for several routers which you can set up yourself.

The VPN is compatible with many routers, including Asus, Netduma, Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, Sabai, and TP-Link.

Once ExpressVPN installs correctly onto your DD-WRT router, then you can be confident that your devices are safeguarded with stringent privacy policies. The provider doesn’t keep any user logs.

To secure your connections, ExpressVPN encrypts your online antics with the rock-solid AES 256-bit with OpenVPN.

Similarly, it features split tunneling and a network lock. That aside, you can keep your payment information private by paying for the service using Bitcoin.

The VPN service allows you to connect to any of their over 3000 high bandwidth servers that extend in 94 countries. The servers deliver stable, and ultrafast speeds, allowing you to stream your favorite videos without hassles.

Customer support is offered via 24/7 live chat, email, and tickets. Not to forget the simple tutorials for setting up the VPN on DD-WRT routers.

Check our full ExpressVPN review

Pros

  • Easy setup, with simple guides
  • Breakneck speeds
  • Top-rated security features
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

2. NordVPN

NordVPN provides great installation support on its website, and an option to purchase specially made pre-configured routers. Also, the company lets you buy DD-WRT pre-configured routers. Such routers include Netgear, Asus, and Linksys routers. 

As mentioned, the NordVPN comes with additional security features. Apart from adhering to a zero-logs policy, the VPN service offers a kill switch, DNS leak prevention, double VPN, stealth mode, and is compatible with Tor.

The VPN’s anti-phishing CyberSec feature thwarts any identity theft attempts at your device, mainly when using unsecured Wi-Fi. On top of this, the function provides extra malware protection and adblocking.

With more than 5200 servers in over 60 nations, NordVPN comprises one of the most extensive server coverage in the VPN industry. And yes, it packs a punch with its dedicated IP servers that provide static IP addresses, particularly useful for banking.

With the service’s unlimited bandwidth and incredible speeds, you can stream loads of services including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

This VPN’s extended plans are reasonably priced, making it an ideal choice for users on a budget seeking a long-term service.

NordVPN offers best-in-class customer service. It provides support via a 24/7 live chat, an in-depth knowledge base and a ticket system.

Check our full NordVPN review

Pros

  • Double VPN for extra security
  • Extensive global server coverage
  • Unblocks lots of geo-restricted websites
  • All servers have OpenVPN configuration files

Cons

  • Double VPN can slack off some servers

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN compatible with DD-WRT routers. One of the ways this VPN provider offers support is via DD-WRT router installation tutorials for OpenVPN.

Further to this, CyberGhost allows you to customize features when you add a new device. That is, you get to enjoy the use of ad blocking, tracking prevention, data compression, and force HTTPS features.

The VPN service comprises an excellent privacy policy and top-grade encryption. Among the privacy-enabling methods, and protocols that come with this service include AES 256-bit, OpenVPN, split tunneling, kill switch, DNS leak prevention, and IKEv2/IPSec. Plus, you can pay anonymously using Bitcoin.

The VPN provider has more than 5900 servers in over 89 countries. The servers provide fast and consistent connection speeds, which makes CyberGhost a good VPN for video streaming.

Cyber is compatible with several routers, such as Linksys, Netgear, and Asus. While configuring the VPN isn’t rocket science, you can find help via live chat. As well, you can consult the informative setup guides.

While the monthly plan isn’t the cheapest you’ll find, the fee drops steeply as you extend your subscription.

Its web knowledgebase provides a good way for self-help. Besides, there’s a live chat, and email support options to help you navigate through any puzzling tasks.

Check our full CyberGhost review

Pros

  • The right balance of speed and security
  • Reliable live chat support
  • Reasonably priced extended plans
  • Extended refund policy

Cons

  • Just 1 day trial on Windows

4. IPVanish

IPVanish allows DD-WRT router users to download, and use OpenVPN installation files directly from the official site.

IPvanish is one of the fastest VPNs on the market. For a reason, it’s a worthy consideration for streaming HD content.

The VPN service protects your privacy using several significant protocols including both AES 256-bit and 128-bit. Plus, OpenVPN and IKEv2.

Furthermore, the VPN service comes with the unusual ability to select your VPN port (443 or 1194). A ‘Scramble OpenVPN Traffic’ feature reduces the possibility of detecting and blocking your VPN tunnel, common in hard-censored countries like Iran.

IPVanish is a top tier VPN provider that owns and operates their over 1300 servers in more than 75 locations. This means, the company has far more control over how they set up the network, and run the servers.

While IPVanish is cheaper than some competing VPNs, like ExpressVPN, their pricing is slightly higher than what your average VPN provider charges. But we firmly believe the provider offers decent value for the features that come with the VPN.

IPvanish provides 24/7 support via live chat. But the service stands out for its Monday through Friday phone support.

Check our full IPVanish review

Pros

  • Easy to use OpenVPN configuration files
  • Strong encryption
  • No logs
  • Manage own servers

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Bitcoin

5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN comes with easy-to-use setup documents for DD-WRT routers, taking out the trouble of manual configuration.

The VPN service protects user data using both IPv6 and IPv4 leak protection, and a kill switch for their Windows VPN app. Other technical features include OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP support.  Besides, the company doesn’t retain traffic logs, which might be seized by governments.

This new entrant has just over 150 servers in 60 countries. Not the fastest on this list, but the VPN service provides decently fast download speeds, better speeds than several providers with more servers.

Plus, it allows access to about all online streaming services. Better yet, unblocks censorship in China.

PrivateVPN is a pocket-friendly VPN. Without a doubt, one of the best things about the VPN is that you get top-rated service at a low cost. You can pay privately using Bitcoin.

While the provider offers premium customer service, we’re not sure why they offer ‘on and off’ live chat support. But this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

 PrivateVPN provides support via an FAQ page, detailed installation guides, and remote help through TeamViewer.

Check our full PrivateVPN review

Pros

  • Reliable 2048-bit encryption with AES-256
  • Inexpensive
  • Quality in-house support
  • Advanced configuration setting

Cons

  • Comparatively few servers

Why You Need a VPN for Your Router?

A router is a primary way through which devices, such as computers use to access the internet. As such, if you protect your router using the right VPN, then each device that connects through it is secured.

If you want to secure your connections without needing to install VPN apps on all your devices, you’ll need to install your VPN on a DD-WRT router.

Installing DD-WRT on a Router

It all starts with finding a compatible router. Then, download and install the right DD-WRT version on your router.  

Forceful flashing of an unsuited version or wrong flashing could permanently destroy your device. That said, here’s how to install DD-WRT on your router:

1.  Visit your router’s Admin Page and log in. To log in, type in your router’s IP address into the address bar. A router’s IP address is often found on the hindside of a router.

2.  Log into your router account and go to the Admin area.

3.  Next, tap into the Upgrade Firmware section and click on the DD-WRT folder to be uploaded to your router.

4.  Then, allow your router to configure. Yay! Your router is DD-WRT-enabled.

Afterward, we recommend you set up the OpenVPN (most secure encryption) on your DD-WRT router to connect to the internet via a VPN. The good thing, all the named VPN providers, offer guides for installing its VPN onto a DD-WRT router.

Getting a DD-WRT Router for Your VPN

Keep in mind that some routers aren’t compatible with DD-WRT firmware. Newer and inexpensive routers might not work on DD-WRT, while dated routers may be compatible with old versions of DD-WRT which don’t support OpenVPN.

Ideally, a router needs a minimum of 8 MB flash memory. To help you find an ideal DD-WRT router for VPN, here are some common choices:

Pre-flashed Routers

These routers come already equipped with the DD-WRT firmware, and VPN configured. While this is typically the pricier option, it needs the smallest amount of work to get it running.

DD-WRT Routers

A DD-WRT router has DD-WRT firmware previously installed. All you need is key in the setup details of your VPN to connect. As mentioned, certain DD-WRT versions don’t work on VPNs, accordingly be keen when buying this class of routers.

DD-WRT Friendly Routers

Arguably the cheapest category of routers, but might require more technical ability to configure. Several models come already equipped with the company’s proprietary router firmware. And in most cases, stock firmware isn’t compatible with VPNs.

The good thing, you can swap the company proprietary router firmware with a compatible DD-WRT version (flashing). Then, you’ll need to set up the VPN networks in settings.

Conclusion

DD-WRT-enabled routers are pretty common among users whose goal is to unblock the restrictions that come with standard routers.

Into the bargain, some VPNs that work well on DD-WRT routers will let you secure all your internet-enabled devices at the same time, saving you extra subscription costs.

Since DD-WRT a free, open-source firmware, it’s compatible with most VPNs. And the listed VPNs top the list of best performers.

Nonetheless, ExpressVPN stands out as our #1 all-around VPN for DD-WRT routers. Thanks to the VPN’s ultrafast speeds, bank-grade security, solid unblocking ability, and better-designed clients.

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