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ExpressVPN Router Setup: Install ExpressVPN on a Router, Quick and Easy

We often talk about the importance of getting a VPN to keep your devices safe, and to protect your privacy when you go online. Typically, users will install the software from their VPN provider on each of their devices and use that app to control the VPN connection. However, there is another way to connect to a VPN, and that’s by installing VPN software directly onto your router. There are some advantages to this method that we’ll discuss in depth.

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular and trusted VPNs among serious internet users thanks to its fast speeds, high level of security, and software that supports many platforms and is easy to use. In this article we’ll walk you through the steps of ExpressVPN Router Setup so that you can have your VPN software right on your router.

Why Install VPN Software Onto Your Router?

If you’re a regular home user, you might wonder why you would need VPN software on your router. And it’s true that home users can happily install VPN software onto each of their devices in order to keep them safe. In fact, even if you do install VPN software onto your router, it’s still a good idea to install VPN apps onto your phone and tablet too if you’re going to connect those devices to other networks as well as your home network. So why would you want VPN software on your router?

Convenience

With VPN software on your router you only have to change your VPN settings in one place and it will automatically affect all of your devices. So you can set up the VPN on your router to connect to a server in the US, for example, and then every device that connects to your internet will have its traffic routed via the US. This also helps with security, as one area of vulnerability with VPNs is the time in which the software is starting up. If you turn your computer on and it starts downloading data before the VPN software is loaded, then your data could be vulnerable. Having the software on your router protects you from this as every piece of data on the network will be encrypted before it is sent over the internet.

Protect All Your Devices

Another advantage of having VPN software on a router is that every device which connects to your network will be protected. If you give your wifi password to a friend, for example, their device will be protected while they are on your network – and if they do something illegal like using torrents on your network, you are protected from legal issues. Related to this, there are some devices which connect to the internet and which you want to protect with a VPN but which don’t have VPN apps, like games consoles or smart TVs. ExpressVPN has apps for some of these devices but not all of them. So if you want to encrypt the data from these devices then you need to do this through your router instead of on the device itself.

How Do You Put A VPN On Your Router?

You can see from this why people might want to have the VPN installed on the router instead of on individual devices. But how do you actually achieve this? Most people don’t have a lot of experience with working with routers or installing software on them. But fortunately, there are guides to installing ExpressVPN on a whole range of devices.

The simplest way to get ExpressVPN on your router is to buy one of the routers that have a compatible ExpressVPN app. If you select one of these compatible routers, you only need to download the corresponding firmware from ExpressVPN, then flash this firmware onto your device. We’ll give you more details about how to do that below.

The second option, if you already have a router and you don’t want to purchase a compatible router, is to manually configure ExpressVPN in your router’s settings. This method is a bit more tricky and requires some technical knowledge. It also doesn’t work on all routers, so it depends on the features that are available on your particular router. We’ll give you instructions on manually setting up a router to work with ExpressVPN as well.

Option #1 – Setting Up An ExpressVPN Compatible Router

You can easily install the ExpressVPN app for routers on the following models of router:

  • Asus RT-AC56(U/R/S)
  • Asus RT-AC68U
  • Asus RT-AC87U
  • Linksys EA6200
  • Linksys WRT1200AC
  • Linksys WRT1900AC(S)
  • Linksys WRT3200ACM
  • Netgear R6300
  • Netgear R7000
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000

Instructions For Setting Up An ExpressVPN Compatible Router

If you have any of these router models, then there is a ready-made firmware for you that you can download from the ExpressVPN website. Here’s how to do that:

  1. First, open your web browser and navigate to https://www.expressvpn.com/users/sign_in
  2. Sign in with the username and password you used when you signed up for ExpressVPN
  3. On the My Account page, look on the Dashboard tab. If you’re on Windows, you’ll see a button saying Download for Windows. But that’s not what we need, so next to that look for a button that says Set Up on More Devices

  4. This will open a tab to the downloads page at https://www.expressvpn.com/setup
  5. On this page you’ll see your Activation Code in the blue box (it’s blanked out in our image for security reasons, but your code should be right there). Take a note of the code as you’ll need it later
  6. Scroll down the page until you find the Router option in the left hand menu. Click on this
  7. Now you’ll see an ExpressVPN for Routers header. Under the Setup subheader you’ll see a drop down menu with options to select your router. Use this menu to choose your router
  8. For example, we’ll choose the Linksys EA6200 router. Now you’ll see a red box that says Download Firmware. Click on this button and the download will begin

Now that you have the software that you need, you can install it onto your router. The exact details of how to do this will vary by the specific router, as each router company has its own software and user interface. However, we will walk you through the basic steps, and if you need more specific guidance then you can look on the ExpressVPN website here.

  1. First you should navigate to your router admin panel. In the case of a Linksys EA6200, that panel should be located at http://www.linksyssmartwifi.com/
  2. Log in to your router with your username and password if required
  3. Find the Connectivity menu on the left side of the Linksys panel
  4. There should be a Router Firmware Update subheading, with a Manual option
  5. Click on Manual and you’ll be prompted to select a file. Find the firmware file that you downloaded earlier and click Start to begin the firmware update
  6. The router will restart while it updates. Once it is complete, use wifi or LAN to connect to the router, then visit http://www.expressvpnrouter.com/
  7. Sign in using the code that is printed on the bottom of the router
  8. Find the activation code that you saved earlier and paste this into the ExpressVPN router website
  9. Now you’ll be able to use this web interface to control the VPN on your router

A note: if you are setting up your router without current internet access then you will need to connect your computer to the router via cable or wifi, then set up your options such as passwords using the router admin panel before you can flash the firmware.

In other models of router, the firmware update option will be in another location in the router admin panel. Try looking for Firmware Update options under Administration or other similar headings.

Managing A VPN On Your Router

Now that your router has the ExpressVPN firmware installed, you can start using it to protect all of your devices:

  1. Connect your device to the router via either cable or wifi. The wifi username and password should be written on the back or on the bottom of your router
  2. Go to http://www.expressvpnrouter.com/ in your web browser
  3. You’ll see your current status: it should say that ExpressVPN is connected and say which server you are connected to
  4. To connect to a new server, first click Disconnect to disconnect from the old server
  5. Click on Select another location and choose the location you want from the drop down menu. This connects your VPN to the new location
  6. You can also manage devices on your network by going to the VPN tab, then to the VPN Options item. Here you’ll see a list of devices that have recently connected to your network, and you can toggle VPN protection on or off for each device

Option #2 – Setting Up A Router Manually

The other option, if your router does not have a specific app available for it, is to change your settings to use ExpressVPN. This is indicated by ExpressVPN to be less secure that using a custom router firmware, however, so if you want a very high standard of security then you should purchase one of the compatible routers. If you just want to be able to have basic VPN functions on your router, however, that is possible too.

Each brand of router is different, and there are differences between each model too. We’ll give you general instructions on setting up ExpressVPN manually on a router, but you should bear in mind that your experience will be different depending on the specific router that you use. There are guides on the ExpressVPN website for manually configuring routers from the following manufacturers:

If you know what particular protocol your router uses (for example, L2TP or OpenVPN) then there are also specific guides on the ExpressVPN website for the following VPN technologies:

Let’s assume that we have an Asus router with OpenVPN, that is not one of the Asus routers with a compatible app available. In this case we’ll perform the setup using the stock Asus firmware. Here’s how to do that:

Instructions For Setting Up A Router Manually

  1. First, open your web browser and navigate to https://www.expressvpn.com/users/sign_in
  2. Sign in with the username and password you used when you signed up for ExpressVPN
  3. On the My Account page, look on the Dashboard tab. If you’re on Windows, you’ll see a button saying Download for Windows. But that’s not what we need, so next to that look for a button that says Set Up on More Devices

  4. This will open a tab to the downloads page at https://www.expressvpn.com/setup
  5. On this page you’ll see your Activation Code in the blue box (it’s blanked out in our image for security reasons, but your code should be right there). Take a note of the code as you’ll need it later
  6. Scroll down the page until you find the Manual Config option in the left hand menu. Click on this
  7. Click on OpenVPN in the main section
  8. You’ll see a username and password (obscured here for security purposes). Take a note of this information
  9. Below that you’ll see options for configuration files organised by region. Select the server that you want your router to connect to. For example, we want to connect to the server in London, so we click on Europe then on UK – London
  10. This will start a download of a .ovpn file. Save this file somewhere convenient, like your desktop
  11. Now we’ll configure your router to work with the .ovpn file
  12. Do this by opening your web browser and going to your router control panel. Typically, this will have an address like 192.168.1.1
  13. Log in with your router username and password
  14. Find your OpenVPN settings. In Asus routers, you go to the VPN section in the left hand menu
  15. Find the VPN Client section. There should be an Add profile button there. This allows you to use the .ovpn file to configure your router
  16. Now you’ll need to enter the details of the profile. You need to give the profile a name, and a username and password if you want. Then you can upload the .ovpn file that we got from the ExpressVPN site earlier
  17. Click OK to save these settings, then you should see your new profile in your settings. Click Activate to start the VPN
  18. Now check your IP address, and you should see that you are connected to the London UK server

The downside of this method is that you can only connect to one server using it – the server that you chose in step 9. If you want to have the option to switch to another server, such as one in the US, then you should go back to the ExpressVPN site and download more .ovpn files. You can add a number of these files to your router as profiles, then you can switch between them using your router control panel when you want to use another one.

Special Deal On ExpressVPN

If this guide has inspired you to try out a VPN on your router, but you haven’t chosen a VPN provider yet, then we have a special deal available on ExpressVPN that you won’t want to miss out on.

ExpressVPN is one of the best names in the game for VPN providers. They offer everything that a VPN user could want: top notch security, super fast connections, and software that can be installed on a range of devices including the routers that we described above. The security features include the use of strong 256-bit encryption and a strict no logging policy, so you can be sure that no records of your internet use will be kept and your anonymity will be protected. In addition, in the software you’ll find more security features like a kill switch option to cut off your internet connection if the VPN goes down so that you don’t accidentally send data over an unencrypted connection, plus DNS leak protection to ensure your ISP can’t spy on your browsing activities, and an IP address checker so you can see for yourself that your VPN is connected and working.

This security won’t slow you down, though. The connections available from ExpressVPN are super fast so they’re perfect for downloading large files or streaming high definition videos. The network of servers that is open for users to connect to is very large, with more than 1000 servers available in 145 locations in 94 different countries, so you can get around and region locks and browse the internet freely. Finally, you can protect all of your devices as the software can be installed Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, plus some smart TVs and games consoles, and there are browser extensions for the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari browsers.

Read our full ExpressVPN review here.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Sign up for a year with ExpressVPN at $6.67 per month and get 3 months FREE! There’s also an amazing risk-free 30-day money back guarantee, just in case you’re not completely satisfied.

Conclusion

If you want to protect every device that connects to your network, even your games console or smart TV and your friends’ devices too, then you should consider installing a VPN directly onto your router. This setup takes a bit of time, but once you’ve done it then you can know that every single device you add to your network in the future will be protect with no extra effort on your part. Encrypting every single piece of data from your network before it goes to the internet will help improve your security by ensuing that your devices don’t accidentally send data over an unsecure connection before your VPN software has loaded.

ExpressVPN has support for a massive range of devices, and it offers custom firmware for compatible routers than makes managing your VPN dead easy. If you have a compatible router, you can follow the instructions in Option 1 of this article to setup the router to run ExpressVPN. If you don’t have a compatible router, you can still usually make this work, as long as the router supports OpenVPN or similar. To do this, follow the instructions in Option 2.

Have you tried installing ExpressVPN or another VPN onto your router? Did you find it gave you better security than installing VPN software onto each of your devices individually? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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