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ExpressVPN Router Review: Does It Work? 2023 Setup Guide

ExpressVPN is one of the only VPNs that offers custom firmware for several routers (as well as manual installation options). This makes it a tempting option if you want a VPN for your router — but how well does it work, and is ExpressVPN a reliable option?

My team and I tested ExpressVPN on a range of routers, including brands like ASUS, Netgear, and TP-Link. I looked into how easy its custom firmware is to install, alongside its manual setup options. I also tested the VPN’s speeds, security features, and unblocking abilities on streaming platforms including Netflix US.

The tests left me impressed with the service’s performance on routers. Read on to find out if it has everything you need in a VPN for your router. If you want to run your own trials, you can also test ExpressVPN yourself risk-free. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s easy to get a refund if you’re not totally happy.

Try ExpressVPN for Your Router

Disclaimer: Make sure you carefully follow all the correct steps when installing ExpressVPN on your router. If flashed incorrectly, third-party firmware can damage or "brick" your device. You should also check with the manufacturer if installing a VPN voids the router's warranty.

Quick Guide: ExpressVPN Router Setup in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download firmware for your router. For the easiest setup, ExpressVPN offers router firmware for ASUS, Linksys, and Netgear routers.
  2. Configure your router. Install the firmware on your router and sign in to the web application to set up a VPN connection.
  3. Start browsing. Enjoy safe browsing and streaming on all the devices in your network.

ExpressVPN Router — Intuitive Router Setup Suitable for Beginners

  • Custom router firmware to make installation as straightforward as possible
  • Vast network across 94 countries for unblocking global online services
  • Military-grade encryption and Network Lock (kill switch) to protect your data 24/7
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • Compatible with: Asus, Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link, Xiaomi, D-Link, DD-WRT, Netduma, Sabai, Tomato, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN Offer January 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

Installation Options

ExpressVPN offers custom firmware for several router models. I haven’t found many other VPNs that offer this feature — you usually have to set up VPNs on routers manually — so this does make the process smoother. Setup isn’t complicated either. While testing ExpressVPN, I flashed my ASUS RT-AC87U and Netgear Nighthawk R6400v2 routers in just 10 minutes.

The official website offers in-depth setup guides to configuring the VPN on your router. Plus, manual connection is possible on routers that support OpenVPN and LT2P protocols, as well as DD-WRT and Tomato-compatible devices. It worked on my Archer C7 TP-Link without problems.

It’s also possible to order a pre-installed ExpressVPN router online. Many of these routers support the latest WPA3 and WiFi 6 standards, and come with high-performing OpenWRT firmware. However, this is an expensive option that isn’t really needed, given how simple the setup can be (especially with custom firmware).

Ease-Of-Use

ExpressVPN is very easy to use on routers. You can customize the VPN via a user-friendly web app interface once you flash it. The firmware lets you quickly switch between VPN servers or use Smart Location to connect to the fastest one nearby.

There are step-by-step tutorials on each feature if you need assistance. There’s 24/7 live chat support available too. I tested the chat feature and a support rep promptly and clearly guided me through the router setup process.

Generally, ExpressVPN can be used on 5 devices simultaneously from a single account. However, you can use the VPN on as many devices as you want after setting up on your router. Any device connected to your home network is covered by the service. Just remember that some routers have maximum device limits (though this is usually more than enough to cover all your gadgets).

Managing multiple device connections is effortless with Device Groups. This useful feature (a type of split tunneling) lets you automatically assign devices on your network to specific servers — or exclude devices from the VPN. For example, I always connect my Nvidia Shield TV to a US server to access Netflix US. Meanwhile, I exclude my smartphone so I can access my banking app with my normal IP address when I’m at home.

I found the Device Groups feature really easy to use, especially as you can drag and drop your devices on the interface to quickly switch locations. Switching locations didn’t interrupt my VPN connection either, which meant my device traffic stayed protected at all times.

Install ExpressVPN on Your Router Risk-Free

Speeds & Connection

I had fantastic speeds while testing ExpressVPN on different routers. My connection never went below 75 Mbps on the servers I tested — that's only a 16% decrease from my usual speed of 90 Mbps. The VPN also works with Gigabit-ready routers that support up to 1000 Mbps. So, ExpressVPN is an excellent option for watching UHD videos without buffering(you only need 25 Mbps for smooth 4K streaming).

Torrenting is just as reliable, thanks to P2P traffic support. The VPN is compatible with BitTorrent, uTorrent, and other popular clients. Some ISPs throttle your speeds if they detect torrenting activity or other bandwidth-intensive tasks. However, advanced encryption hides your traffic, preventing intentional slowdowns on your network. Plus, unlimited bandwidth means you can stream, download, and game without data restrictions.

Unblocking & Streaming

The extensive network across 94 countries bypasses geoblocks on popular streaming platforms. For example, I watched all seasons of Shameless (US) on my Netflix US account from my iPad problem-free. It was just as easy to stream content on my Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ accounts.

ExpressVPN’s obfuscation feature helped me avoid deep-packet inspections.Obfuscation makes your VPN traffic appear as regular internet activity, letting you bypass VPN blockers even the strictest firewalls (including the Great Firewall of China). This makes it easier to get around geo-restrictions on streaming platforms that block VPNs, like Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

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Security & Privacy

Every device connected to your router is protected by military-grade encryption (AES 256-bit) encryption and 4096-bit RSA keys. This level of encryption is nearly impossible to hack and strengthened by Perfect Forward Secrecy technology. This changes your encryption key for each VPN session, further minimizing the chance that anyone can decipher your data.

The VPN provides top-grade tunneling protocols too, including Lightway, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec. I prefer the extra-secure OpenVPN for online banking, while the lightning-fast (but still secure) Lightway is the best protocol for streaming or gaming. Older routers can use the relatively fast L2TP/IPsec protocol, though I found it to be less successful for bypassing geoblocks.

The Network Lock (ExpressVPN’s kill switch) provides 24/7 protection from data leaks. It terminates your internet connection if your router disconnects from the VPN (though my connection was always stable, so this never happened to me). There’s leak protection too; I didn’t detect any IPv6/DNS/WebRTC leaks on all the routers I tested. That means your real location and identity isn’t at risk of being accidentally exposed.

ExpressVPN’s strict no-logs policy prevents it from collecting or sharing your personal information. The provider is located in the British Virgin Islands — beyond the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (intelligence-sharing pacts). On top of that, this VPN uses TrustedServer tech (RAM-only servers) that erases your browsing data with each reboot.

Price & Money-Back Guarantee

One downside is that the subscriptions are quite expensive — the most affordable starts at $6.67/month. On the bright side, ExpressVPN regularly offers generous discounts that help with costs. I signed up for its 12-month plan and got 49% off plus 3 extra months free.

Getting your money back is easy if you’re not 100% happy, thanks to the 30-day refund period. I used the live chat to cancel my subscription (it took about 5 minutes). After 2 days, my money was fully returned to my credit card.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

ExpressVPN Router Compatibility

Router type Custom firmware Manual configuration Setup guide
ASUS ASUS RT-AC56 (U/R/S); ASUS RT-AC68U; ASUS RT-AC87U (up to v3) Yes (other models) Yes
Netgear Netgear R6300v2; Netgear R6400v2; Netgear Nighthawk R6700v3; Netgear Nighthawk R7000; Netgear Nighthawk R7000P Yes (other models) Yes
Linksys Linksys EA6200; Linksys WRT1200AC; Linksys WRT1900AC(S); Linksys WRT3200ACM; Linksys WRT32X Yes (other models) Yes
FlashRouters Yes (pre-installed) Possible Yes
Aircove Yes (pre-installed) Possible Yes
TP-Link No Yes Yes
D-Link No Yes Yes
Xiaomi No Yes Yes
Sabai No Yes Yes
DD-WRT (firmware) No Yes Yes
Netduma (firmware) No Yes Yes
Tomato (firmware) No Yes Yes

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How to Setup ExpressVPN on Your Router

Installing ExpressVPN’s custom router firmware

Setting up ExpressVPN on your router is easier than you might think. Here’s an easy guide to flashing your router with custom ExpressVPN firmware, based on the installation process for my Netgear Nighthawk R6400v2:

  1. Complete the initial internet setup for your router.
  2. Download the relevant firmware on ExpressVPN’s website.
  3. Log in to your router’s admin panel via the browser (the default address is 192.168.1.1).
  4. Go to the “Administration” section in the “Advanced” tab and select “Browse.”
  5. Navigate to the folder with the downloaded firmware, select the file, and click “Update” to start flashing.
  6. After installation, you may need to reconnect your router using the factory settings.
  7. Go to https://www.expressvpnrouter.com and follow the step-by-step instructions to finish the setup.
  8. Select a VPN server and manage your Device Groups via the Express router dashboard.

Manually setting up ExpressVPN on your router

You can connect ExpressVPN to your router manually using its official guides. This is how I configured my Archer C7 TP-Link:

  1. Go to ExpressVPN’s setup page and log in using your credentials.
  2. Copy the VPN server settings, username, and password for OpenVPN, L2TP, or PPTP configuration.
  3. In your router’s admin panel, go to the “Network” tab and change your connection type to L2TP or OpenVPN (recommended).
  4. Go to the “Advanced Routing” tab in your router’s dashboard and input the VPN settings from the website.

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FAQs on ExpressVPN Router Support

Do I need a special router for ExpressVPN?

No, ExpressVPN is compatible with a wide range of routers. It has custom firmware for several popular router models, and you can configure ExpressVPN on many routers that support OpenVPN, LT2P, and DD-WRT.

It’s possible to buy pre-flashed routers. FlashRouters, for example, provide stock Linksys WRT1200AC and Linksys WRT1900ACS routers with ExpressVPN pre-installed. The provider also has its own custom VPN router — Aircove — that comes with ExpressVPN built in. However, given the ease of installation, this option isn’t really necessary.

The ExpressVPN website includes plenty of guides and step-by-step tutorials for router installation. There’s also 24/7 live chat support to help you if you have any questions along the way.

What is the best-reviewed router for ExpressVPN?

The highest-rated router for ExpressVPN is Linksys WRT3200ACM, followed closely by Netgear 6700v3 and Netgear R7000. These routers support custom ExpressVPN firmware with advanced security and connection management features.

Why does my ExpressVPN router keep disconnecting?

You may have found a server that’s undergoing maintenance, so you should try switching to another one to get a working connection again. If that doesn’t work, you may have to reconfigure your ExpressVPN configuration or router settings. Here’s a quick checklist of solutions you can try:

  • Disconnect from ExpressVPN to check if the issue is caused by your internet connection.
  • Confirm that you’re using the correct ExpressVPN login and password.
  • In the router’s admin dashboard, change the connection (protocol) type to OpenVPN, LT2P, or PPTP.
  • Enable IPv4 and set the DNS server to be obtained automatically in your device’s network settings.
  • Add ExpressVPN as an exception to your antivirus, firewall, or online security software.
  • Open UDP ports 1194 to 1204 in your firewall and lower the security level.
  • Contact your ISP to see if you need additional configuration information.
  • Use ExpressVPN’s 24/7 support to get further help.

Why should I install ExpressVPN on my router?

A VPN on your router enhances online privacy for your entire network. Since your router counts as a single connection, router installation allows you to connect all the devices on your network to the VPN. So, a quick installation of ExpressVPN extends its advanced AES 256-bit encryption to all your tech. Additionally, a reliable kill switch (Network Lock) and a no-logs policy ensure 24/7 protection of your confidential data.

ExpressVPN router setup also lets you bypass geoblocks on devices without native VPN support. Any device connected to your router is automatically covered by the VPN. So, you can watch geo-restricted content on Netflix US or HBO Max on your Smart TV or PlayStation 5.

The Device Groups feature also lets you assign different VPN servers to different devices, making it easy to manage all your connections at once. ExpressVPN uses top-of-the-line tunneling protocols too, allowing you to maintain fast speeds for UHD streaming, torrenting, and gaming.

Bottom Line

After carrying out a range of tests, I found that setting up ExpressVPN on your router is both straightforward and worthwhile. It offers unique custom firmware for easy installation on a whole range of routers, and plenty of useful manual connection guides for older models.

The top-grade encryption and kill switch provide 24/7 online protection to all devices in your WiFi network, including devices that don’t usually support VPNs. Plus, the VPN’s lightning-fast speeds and built-in obfuscation allow you to bypass geoblocks on any device connected to your router, including Smart TVs for big-screen streaming and gaming.

As a bonus, you can try ExpressVPN on your router without risk. The service provides a reliable 30-day money-back guarantee that I tested myself. If you’re not happy with the service, it’s easy to get your money back.

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Georgii is an avid writer with a knack for producing content about hi-tech and web services. He has a strong legal background and stands for safe, fast, and unrestricted Internet for everyone.

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