Installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your Openwrt router is a great way to secure your entire home network. After all, this allows you to bypass simultaneous connection limits and encrypt traffic from devices that don’t have full VPN support, like Smart TVs and games consoles.
The problem is that not every VPN works with Openwrt or other popular router firmware. Don’t worry, though: our team of experts has searched high and low to find services with large networks, high speeds, and powerful security tools so that you can stream, torrent, and browse the web safely on every device you own.
We’ll go into more detail on each service below but if you don’t have the time to read the whole post, here are the best VPNs with Openwrt support:
- NordVPN Our first choice. Boasts excellent speeds, a high level of security, and a risk-free money-back guarantee.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly.
- Surfshark The top budget VPN for Openwrt users. Has an extensive server network and a wide variety of advanced features. Great streaming abiliy too.
- ExpressVPN Quick speeds, 90+ server locations, and custom firmware for routers. An excellent choice for day-to-day browsing.
- PrivateVPN In-house support staff can walk you through the installation process. No-logs policy, steady speeds, and a strong security toolkit.
- VyprVPN A speedy, privacy-conscious VPN with Openwrt setup instructions and the ability to unblock most major streaming platforms.
- Private Internet Access Fast and reliable, with knowledgable support staff and a good set of security features.
- PureVPN Large network of servers and a real streaming potential. 24/7 customer support makes router installation as painless as possible.
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The best VPNs for OpenWrt: at a glance
We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for OpenWrt.
|Private Internet Access
|Ranking for OpenWrt
|Avg Speed (Mbps)
|Popular Sites Unblocked
|Total number of servers
|Best deal (per month)
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The best VPNs for OpenWrt
While you might not find a ton of documentation on it, many VPN services are compatible with OpenWrt. Of course, there are plenty of other important factors, and we’ve based our list of the best VPNs for OpenWrt on the following criteria:
- Compatibility with routers
- Responsive and knowledgeable customer support
- Fast and reliable connections
- Strong encryption and no logs of personally identifiable information
- Large choice of server locations
Here are the highest-quality VPNs for OpenWrt devices:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is the best overall VPN for Openwrt. Its support section has detailed step-by-step guides to installing it via command line or a GUI interface, so you should be able to protect your entire network in no time at all. This provider offers access to more than 5,000 RAM-only servers in 60 countries and works with a variety of streaming services, so there really isn’t much it can’t handle.
This service uses AES-256 encryption with a kill switch and DNS leak protection built-in. This means you can rest assured your information will never leave the encrypted tunnel. It also blocks ads, trackers, and malware automatically, and has been audited multiple times to prove that it doesn’t store connection or activity logs. Support staff are on-hand 24/7 to provide assistance via live chat.
NordVPN permits up to six simultaneous connections, though a router only counts as one, regardless of how many devices are connected. Clients are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS.
- Detailed Openwrt setup instructions
- Vast server network
- Very high speeds
- Works in China
- Strong encryption and no logs
- Doesn’t specifically say which servers are best for streaming
BEST VPN FOR OpenWrt:NordVPN is our top pick. Delivers first-class speeds, supports P2P traffic, and can be installed relatively easily on Openwrt systems. Provides a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our in-depth review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is the best budget VPN for Openwrt. Its website walks you through the entire installation process but live chat is available 24/7 in case you’d prefer one -on-one support. This provider has RAM-only servers in 100 countries and can unblock a wide range of geo-restricted content, plus its speeds are some of the fastest we’ve seen.
This VPN hides your activities using 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and automatic tracker-blocking. It can even swap your IP address periodically for an extra layer of privacy. Surfshark doesn’t keep any logs and has been audited several times. Users can pay in cryptocurrency too, so there’s no need to provide personally-identifiable info when signing up.
Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections, even if it’s not installed on a router. Just install the iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, or Linux apps.
- Well-documented setup procedures
- Fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth
- Connect as many devices as you like
- Great streaming ability
- Impressive security offering
- Can’t take advantage of Surfshark One features on routers
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is a great low-cost VPN for OpenWrt. Boasts solid speeds, a wealth of security features, and a no-logs policy. Connect as many devices as you like. Provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is the only major provider that has its own firmware for routers (and this has been revamped with a new and improved interface). Alternatively, you can buy a pre-configured router. It works with a wide variety of streaming services and even works in China, so you can browse safely wherever you are in the world. On that note, there are VPN servers in 94 countries and the customer support team is accessible 24/7 via live chat.
In our opinion, this is one of the easiest VPNs to use. That’s because it blocks malicious websites and trackers automatically, and obfuscation kicks in whenever it’s needed. Your connection is secured using 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch, plus ExpressVPN follows a strict no-logs policy, a fact that has been verified by independent auditors.
Five simultaneous connections are allowed, so you can cover your home with a router VPN and still be able to protect a couple of mobile devices, too. Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
- Support OpenWrt and offers pre-configured routers
- An excellent choice for any task you can think of
- Fast, reliable speeds
- No connection or activity logs
- Advanced configuration for power users is a little limited
- Monthly plans cost slightly more than its rivals’
HIGHLY VERSATILE OPTION:ExpressVPN is reliable and newcomer-friendly. Has a vast server network that is optimized for high-speed connections. Hard to beat on privacy and security. Works with all major streaming services. There is a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee included.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has a smaller network of servers (roughly 200 in 63 countries) but unlike most of its competitors, it owns these outright. It works with Openwrt and most other open-source firmware, plus it delivers reliable speeds. Better still, it easily unblocks stubborn platforms like Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. Live chat is available at most times of the day, though not quite 24/7 unfortunately.
As its name suggests, PrivateVPN has robust security features. These include 256-bit AES encryption, a customizable kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a stealth mode capable of beating the world’s strictest online censorship. This provider doesn’t keep any logs, so your privacy is in good hands.
PrivateVPN allows 10 simultaneous connections, which is double the industry standard of five. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- In-house support in case of any issues
- Perfect for streaming geo-restricted content
- Strict no-logs policy
- High connection limit
- Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat
- Few servers to choose from
GREAT SPEEDS:. Allows up to 10 devices on the same account. Fast connections but could do with an independent audit. 30-day money-back guarantee.
See our full review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
VyprVPN has dramatically improved its speeds lately, and is now one of the quickest on the market. What’s more, it works with tricky streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, so you’ll be able to watch all of your favorite shows securely across all of your devices. It owns all of its 700+ servers, which is great for privacy and even if you don’t use this as a router VPN, you can connect 10 devices.
VyprVPN provides excellent security in the form of 256-bit encryption, leak protection, a kill switch, and an adapted OpenVPN protocol called Chameleon. It also boasts a zero-logs policy and private DNS servers to keep your data out of the hands of third parties. VyprVPN notes that it offers limited support for OpenWrt, but it does provide a detailed guide to getting started on its website. If you need additional help, 24/7 live chat is available at no extra cost.
Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS.
- Fast speeds
- Owns its servers
- Solid choice for streaming
- 256-bit AES encryption and no-logs policy
- Cheaper providers on this list
- Limited Openwrt support (though detailed instructions are provided)
QUICK AND RELIABLE:VyprVPN is user friendly, stores no logs, offers excellent security, and unblocks most streaming services. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more in our VyprVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Private Internet Access (PIA) has servers in 84 countries and is more than fast enough for streaming HD content. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s one of the only VPN services that allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. While there are detailed instructions for setting up a VPN connection on your Openwrt router, PIA encourages users who are struggling to get in touch using the 24/7 live chat help desk.
Security is a top priority for PIA. It offers 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, plus there are plenty of advanced configuration options for more experienced users. This service has been independently audited, so when it says it keeps no logs, you can believe it.
PIA has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, plus a GUI-based Linux app.
- Great for most online activities
- Friendly and knowledgable support staff
- Tweak encryption for faster speeds
- Unblocking can be inconsistent
- Based in a Five Eyes Alliance Country
WIREGUARD SUPPORT:PIA offers 24/7 live chat support, servers in 84 countries, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Private Internet Access review.
Money-back guarantee: 31 DAYS
PureVPN offers detailed instructions for getting started with Openwrt systems and also works with other firmware, including Tomato and DD-WRT. There are servers in over 70 countries, and torrenting is permitted on any of them. This VPN’s speeds are reasonable (though far from the fastest we’ve seen), and support staff are ready to help at any moment via live chat.
This provider has robust security features including 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. Protocol options include WireGuard, OpenVPN, and L2TP, among others. Further, it refuses to keep any logs and has proven this with a third-party audit so there’s no need to worry about your online privacy.
PureVPN apps can be downloaded for MacOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. Up to 10 simultaneous connections are allowed, so you’re free to secure your entire home network and anything you take with you when you leave.
- Live chat agent can assist you to set up OpenWrt
- Top-notch security setup with AES-256 encryption, DNS leak protection, and kill switch
- Extensive server network
- Speeds could be improved
- Overcoming the stigma of earlier bad press surrounding privacy
EASY TO USE:PureVPN has powerful encryption, decent speeds, and step-by-step guides to getting set up on Openwrt routers. Includes a 31-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PureVPN.
Finding the best VPNs for OpenWrt: our methodology
It’s not enough to find a VPN that works with Openwrt. You also need to consider whether it’s capable of dealing with the stress of day-to-day browsing. Here are a few key areas we focused on when finding the top VPNs for Openwrt routers:
- Router support: First, we need Openwrt support. Ideally, there’d also be suppor for other router firmware and detailed guides to walk you through the installation process, plus 24/7 live chat in case you need additional advice.
- Speed: We perform hands-on testing and run dozens of speed tests to determine the fastest VPNs. After all, slow connections often lead to stuttering with HD content and random disconnections, which are terrible for your privacy.
- Security: VPNs installed on a router don’t provide all of the same benefits as traditional VPN app. However, in our opinion, they should still offer a high level of security, with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, a no-logs policy, and support for the most secure VPN protocols.
- Versatility: Plenty of VPNs are great for torrenting but struggle to access any streaming sites. That’s why we test them against platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. We also make sure they’re suitable for gaming, video-calling, and other common activities.
- Value for money: We take into account all of the above and then take a closer look at their prices, any discounts they’re offering, and their money-back guarantees. We even provide VPN discount coupons so you can save as much as possible.
Our VPN testing methodology includes all of the above and more. Hands-on testing allows us to stay up-to-date with the best VPNs for OpenWrt so you can have all the information you need to make a decision.
How to set up a VPN on an OpenWrt router
The exact setup will depend on your router model and the VPN you’re installing. We provide links to some individual VPN guides below, but the general, client configuration is quite similar no matter which device you have.
Here’s how to configure an OpenWrt router with a VPN:
- Select a suitable VPN provider and pay for your subscription. We recommend NordVPN.
- Ensure your router is flashed with OpenWrt firmware.
- Enable OpenVPN by changing the root password and installing the OpenVPN package.
- Download your VPN provider’s OpenVPN client configuration files for the location you wish to use. Change the file extension from “ovpn” to “conf.”
- Create a new network interface and firewall zone, and add a forwarding rule.
- Configure DNS servers as per your provider’s instructions.
Openwrt VPN setup guides
Protecting your smart devices and hiding your real IP address doesn’t have to be difficult, but unless you’re an advanced user, it probably will take an afternoon to get everything configured properly. On the plus side, most major VPN providers have step-by-step guides to installing their service on open-source firmware like Openwrt.
Here are a few links to router setup instructions for each of the VPN’s above:
Again, all of the VPN providers on our list will be happy to help you via their customer support teams. But it’s also worth bearing in mind that most providers typically issue a disclaimer stating that the setup hasn’t been fully tested and isn’t guaranteed to work.
Note that flashing a router (replacing its firmware) could cause damage to a router. You should probably not experiment with this unless you’re fairly tech-savvy.
VPNs for OpenWrt: FAQs
What is an .ovpn config file?
.ovpn is the file extension for OpenVPN configuration files. These are used to manually create OpenVPN connections on platforms without full VPN apps. For instance, you’ll often use them to create a VPN connection on Linux.
on your preferred operating system. For example, you may use OpenVPN on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, or .
How can I flash my router with OpenWrt?
There are multiple ways to flash your router with OpenWrt. This can be achieved via OEM firmware, via a bootloader and an ethernet port, via bootloader and serial port, or via JTAG. Indeed, OpenWrt.org provides full documentation including user guides related to installing OpenWrt, complete with step-by-step instructions and installation checklist.
What is the difference between DD-WRT and OpenWRT?
DD-WRT and OpenWRT are custom router firmware. OpenWRT is the oldest open-source firmware, and while it’s not the easiest to use (or indeed install), it supports the widest range of hardware. DD-WRT is based on OpenWRT and actually shares many of its features. It supports many of the most common home routers and is also a little more user-friendly.
Can I use a free VPN with OpenWrt?
Setting up a VPN with any router could require some advanced support. This is not a strong point of free VPNs as they simply don’t have the resources to invest in providing prompt and knowledgeable customer service.
And this isn’t the only reason you should avoid free VPN services. They typically have a very limited server network and a lot of users. Aside from only having access to a few locations, you’ll also endure long wait times for servers and poor connections.
Plus, the privacy facet of free VPNs brings more bad news. These providers have been known to use shady business strategies such as monitoring user activity and selling profiles to advertisers. This definitely isn’t the type of service you want “protecting” every device in your household.
Is it possible to get a router with a VPN built-in?
Most router firmwares will have settings somewhere that allow you to manually configure a VPN connection. The problem is that finding these (and setting the VPN up in a way that actually protects you) is often quite complicated.
A few companies have started selling routers with specific VPNs already installed, but there’s usually a pretty steep markup. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN offers its own Aircove router that comes pre-configured. Honestly, though, you can save yourself quite a bit of cash if you’re willing to spend an afternoon getting stuck into the router’s configuration menu.
Is it safe to install Openwrt?
A lot of people are scared to modify their router’s firmware because they’re worried they’ll damage it. This is a possibility, but extraordinarily unlikely, since every reputable firmware comes with detailed, step-by-step installation instructions to make the process as simple as possible.
In other words, yes, installing Openwrt is perfectly safe, so long as you follow instructions and don’t change any settings with a reason.