OpenWRT VPN Setup
OpenWRT VPN Setup

In the third part of our VPN series, we discuss how to troubleshoot your OpenWRT VPN setup. To learn the basics of VPNs and how to flash your router for VPN setup, check out our previous articles.

Since the world opened back up to travelers and more of us began working remotely, the demands for a safer, secure, and more accessible internet have increased. VPNs, or virtual private networks, offer users a way to use the internet with greater freedom and less worry.  

While some may have simply downloaded a VPN like NordVPN and assumed the task was complete, many content providers will still be able to detect your VPN and deny access. Luckily, an OpenWRT router ensures that your VPN works exactly the way it should. 

What is OpenWRT? 

As it states on their website, “The OpenWrt Project is a Linux operating system targeting embedded devices. Instead of trying to create a single, static firmware, OpenWrt provides a fully writable filesystem with package management. This frees you from the application selection and configuration provided by the vendor and allows you to customize the device through the use of packages to suit any application.” 

In other words, OpenWRT routes network traffic in a way that is usually better than a router’s stock firmware.  

Benefits of OpenWRT 

The number of people using OpenWRT has increased because of the great advantages they have from using it as opposed to using stock firmware. In many cases, stock firmware may come with security issues, broken port forwarding, lack of support, and other glaring issues. These can easily be avoided by using OpenWRT. 

After installing OpenWRT, users will often notice great stability as well as a reduction in lag. It also allows you to get through simultaneous connection limitations while also encrypting data from Smart TVs and gaming consoles (these usually do not fully support VPNs). 

How to Troubleshoot Your OpenWRT VPN Setup

You first need to understand the issue you are having before you start to troubleshoot.  Below are some basic steps for understanding your problem, then you can begin to troubleshoot your OpenWRT VPN setup. 

Is your VPN actively working? 

See the two illustrations below: The first shows the service not working, and the second illustration shows that the OpenWRT VPN service has started. 

VPN credentials must be authenticated, and the VPN service must be started for the VPN to work, but you could potentially still have misconfigurations even with these working. You must perform further troubleshooting to get to the root of the issue. 

Hopefully, you are hardwired into your OpenWRT device, and the local Wi-Fi network is disabled when you troubleshoot your OpenWRT VPN setup. 

Are you still having problems with VPN working?

By now you should be seeing whatismyip.com report back from another location. If you are not, you need to perform more troubleshooting and configurations. 

Troubleshooting Step 1 

  • Reach out to NordVPN support if you are utilizing their VPN services.  Email your connection logs from your router to support@nordvpn.com after attempting to connect to their services once more for further analysis of the issue.
    • The logs can be found in the following location:
      – OpenWrt LuCI: Status -> System Log.
      – Afterward, export the Syslog file and send it to the NordVPN support.
      – Please make sure the logs are copied and pasted into a .txt format file.
      – To save a file as a .txt on Windows, please use the built-in Notepad tool.
      – Once you have the file, you can either drag and drop it into your email or add it as an attachment. 

Troubleshooting Step 2 

Follow the steps below: 

  • VPN > OpenVPN 
  • VPN > OpenVPN > [NordVPN instance] > Edit 
  • Network > Interfaces 
  • Network > Interfaces > [NordVPN interface] > Edit 
  • Network > Firewall 
  • Network > Firewall > [NordVPN firewall] > Edit 
  • Network > Firewall > lan > Edit 
  • Network > DHCP and DNS > General Settings 
  • Network > DHCP and DNS > Resolv and Hosts Files 

Troubleshooting Step 3 

Please perform a leak test by following these steps

  1. Open dnsleaktest.com on your browser while connected to the servers 
  2. Take a screenshot of the homepage which contains your IP address. 
  3. Click “Extended test”, wait for the test to fully finish, and take a second screenshot of the IP addresses shown in the result. 

Please make sure to provide both of the required screenshots.

A guide for taking a screenshot on various systems can be found here:
https://support.nord-help.com/1478741782

Troubleshooting Step 4

Alternatively, you may look for a terminal inside of the admin panel of the router itself and execute the commands directly into there. You would need to SSH into the router via another device to the LAN IP of the router, which is usually 192.168.1.1.
     

Use the following setup from the Command Line Interface for disabling IPv6 on your OpenWRT router. You can disable it on your network interfaces by running these commands via the ssh:

uci set ‘network.lan.ipv6=off’

uci set ‘network.wan.ipv6=off’

uci set ‘dhcp.lan.dhcpv6=disabled’

/etc/init.d/odhcpd disable  

If you have other interfaces, you’ll want to adapt this for yourself. Don’t forget to save the settings: 

uci commit   

Bonus Resources for OpenWRT VPN Setup Support

Still curious about VPNs? Check out these other articles:

OpenWRT Not Working? How to Troubleshoot Your OpenWRT VPN Setup Summary 

In this article, we offered thorough instructions on how to resolve some common OpenWRT issues. As our daily lives become more synched with our access to the internet, it only makes sense that we would want to take the appropriate measures to get ourselves connected in a secure way. Plus, being online allows us to do and experience things without geographic limitations – using a VPN only aids us in having these experiences to a greater degree. 

Sometimes, removing the headache of trying to figure out all the tech is all you need. Reach out to us and see how we can help you. 

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