Connect to vpn (pptp) through OpenWrt

Setup your OpenWrt router with a vpn-service. pptp, Strongvpn.

Using a vpn service is a great way of surfing the web anonymous or getting an ipadress from another country to access local sites and such.
I’ve used a couple of different vpn services like strongvpn.com, anonine.com and mullvad.net but I’m sure this works with other services as well. This is how I set it up with OpenWrt and It’s actually quite simple.

First off you need to install OpenWrt on your router. Check openwrt.org for supported devices. There are several guides for this so I won’t go in to it, you can check this link. So lets say you have openwrt installed. Follow the steps below to get your vpn service up and running.

1. Connect and login to your router (usually 192.168.1.1 if you haven’t changed it)
2. Go to System -> Software and click “Update list”Update package list3. Open the tab “Available packages” and search for luci-proto-pptp, click “install”
If everything goes well the last line under actions should be “configuring luci-proto-pptp”

Search and install package luci-proto-pptp4. Go to Network -> Interfaces and click “Add new interface”

Add interface 5. Choose a name for your interface. In this example we will go with “strongvpn“. Choose pptp as protocol of the new interface and submit.

create pptp interface

6. Fill out the fields with the appropriate connection information you need for your service as in the example below. Click “Save and Apply”Connection details

7. The vpn connection should now connect by itself. If the connection works you should se something like this. If it doesn’t connect, try “Advanced settings” and uncheck “enable buffering”. pptp connected

8. If all is well you should now have trouble surfing the web but don’t worry. You need to assign the interface to a firewall zone to make the connection work. Click “Firewall Settings” and check “wan”, Save & ApplyAssign firewall zone "wan"

All done! The connection should now work. To see if your ipadress and “location” has changed you can check strongvpn.com or ipaddresslocation.org

12 thoughts on “Connect to vpn (pptp) through OpenWrt”

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for the tutorial. I have searched and searched the web and found very little on this sort of thing. Something so simple was just what I needed.

    I am trying to connect my OpenWrt router to a VPN, just as you have done, but when I check my IP via google before and after creating the VPN connection the IP is the same.
    I have tried it with several different VPN’s.
    I have tried it with Backfire and Altitude Adjustment.

    However when I run trace route through Luci in the with and without VPN’s the route is different.

    What am I missing?

    1. Hi Jay!
      Nice to hear you found it useful! Too bad it’s not working =) I’m sorry to say I no longer have a router with openwrt installed so I’m not sure exactly how to guide you and I don’t really remember the interface.

      You should check if your pptp connection covers the wan interface. Also check so there aren’t any “extra” bridges between your interfaces so that the traffic is routed outside the tunnel. Since you’re not changing the ipadress on you router, you’re just “adding a new one”, you’ll still have the old adress. What you want is to make sure your router knows it’s supposed to route the computers from lan to the tunnel. I realize this explanation is terrible at best.
      Please tell me if it helps. I can always install openwrt again on my router to check it out and get back to you during the weekend.
      Btw, my router acted up a lot and most of my problems were solved by restarting the router.. Just saying.

      1. Thank you for your fast reply.

        It was really was great to find someone who had posted their work on the internet like this.

        OpenWRT is very command line orientated in my opinion and I’m a windows guy, (I used to program C++ in linux though, I just like windows environments) so it was nice to see screen shots.

        I had actually followed the procedure you outlined, except that I had set the VPN to the LAN Firewall Zone and not the WAN Firewall zone.
        But I found that didn’t make any difference either way.

        The funny thing is when the VPN connection is setup packets are going both ways, but the ip of my PC does not change.

        I don’t think there are any bridges, but I’ll check that is a good call, thanks. I think I can assume there need not be any bridges at all, as everything comes in and out via the LAN ports on the back of the router. (I don’t use wireless, VLANS or anything else either).

        Your ‘terrible’ explanation is actually 100% spot on. I think the default route when you add a VPN is to route everything through the tunnel, so I am not sure why that is not happening.

        I’ll take another look shortly and post back what I find.

        (I do reboot the router several times to make sure it all is working during the setup process).

        ((also I’m not trying the RC-1 of Altitude Adjustment, see if that helps))

  2. Ok, I have tried again.

    Each time I use a fresh install on the router and reset all of the settings, so everything should be from scratch.

    After a fresh install,
    I set the LAN to DHCP client mode.
    I installed ppp-mod-pptp.
    I created a new interface PPtP type.
    Set it up to my VPN settings.
    Attached it to the WAN firewall interface.

    I see packets being sent and received, but not really enough and my IP address has not changed.

    I tried removing all bridging from all the interfaces, only the lan had any.
    But it didn’t seem to help.

    If you have any further idea’s, please feel free to pose them!

    1. Hi Jay!
      Sorry for my late reply. It sounds like you are using the correct settings although I noticed you chose another pptp install package. I’ve never used ppp-mod-pptp, I’ve only used luci-proto-pptp.
      I’m sure they work the same way but just to make sure, have you tried the suggested package?

  3. Hi,

    I’m struggling to understand what I need to configure. I want to only have my NAS box use VPN. My setup is a nas4free box connected to a router running OpenWRT. I understand I can either configure the vpn on nas4free or in OpenWRT.

    You told you’e tried Mullvad. I setup a test account and get a zip file with some files in it. I suppose that’s a completely different process as the one described above?

    Last question, if I configure VPN on the OpenWRT router, can I configure that only the nas4free box uses it?

    1. Hi
      It sounds like the vpn connection you are trying to use is a OpenVpn connection. They usually come with a configuration file that you can install in your OpenVpn client.
      I have no experience with nas4free but I’m positive you can install an openvpn connection on it. Regarding OpenWrt and OpenVpn, there are packages that will help you but I usually go with installing gargoyle on my router whenever I want to use OpenVpn. It’s pretty simple and has support for OpenVpn on a fresh install. Although you would then most likely redirect all traffic through the tunnel. It is however possible to configure a OpenVpn connection to let certain traffic and certain ports through the tunnel, like say, your NAS but thats beyond my knowledge, sorry. I just know it’s doable..
      If you figure it out, which you probably will, you may post a link to your own manual =)

  4. Hi. I can’t find that luci pptp package so I used ppp-mod-pptp but no activity takes place on the interface. I can’t find enable buffering in advanced either.

    1. Hey bro, I actually don’t use OpenWrt at the moment so I can’t check it out for you. I’ve using tomato for a while and I enjoy it. There’s a built in pptp client that’s very easy to use. You might want to give it a go! Cheers

  5. It can absolutely be done. I no longer use openwrt an the interface has changed quite a lot since last time I used it. I suggest you search for a more to update tutorial. If you want to make it easier for your self, dd-wrt usually comes with the pptp-server preinstalled and it’s fairly simple to configure. However, pptp is deprecated and insecure so I would advise you to check out openvpn or l2tp. Good luck!

    1. hello luvis thank you for the reply,
      you know i have router WE1626 but it runs openwrt,
      and i’ve been looking for running vpn server on this router for more than 1 month,
      and am not finding the suitable forums,
      can i ask you what you are using as a firmware ?
      and can i change the firmware for the router since its not well known,
      hope you can give me more help brother,
      thank you in advance

Leave a Reply