The following tutorial will guide you on how to set up a NordVPN server on a Linksys WRT 3200ACM (3-pack version). This tutorial builds upon the previous guide to provide more detail on the configuration of the VPN server and show you the various tools available to assist you in the process.
If you’re reading this, I assume you already have a working knowledge of networking and/or setting up a VPN server. If not, then this tutorial is probably not for you but you can find many detailed tutorials on the topic online should you need some help.
The following guide will walk you through the process of configuring the Linksys WRT 3200ACM to serve as a VPN server. Once setup, you can use the VPN to securely access files on remote servers as well as open up the internet for remote access from anywhere.
Before we begin, please note that this guide does not cover using a VPN to access local resources such as files on your computer or mobile devices. If you need help with this, please consult the relevant articles on our blog:
To follow this guide, you will need:
- a working knowledge of networking and network security
- a device running on the Wi-Fi network (e.g. a PC, tablet, or smartphone)
- a broadband internet connection
- a DNS server (e.g. OpenDNS or CloudFlare)
- a Linksys WRT 3200ACM (3-pack version)
A VPN server acts as a secure gateway for your local network and devices. All of your online activity such as web browsing, app usage, and network communication are protected by the VPN. Additionally, you can use the VPN to remotely access resources on other devices or servers. Lastly, a VPN server can help you keep your personal data secure when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a VPN is and the services it provides, let’s get started configuring the Linksys WRT 3200ACM to serve as a VPN server.
Step 1: Hardware Configuration
The first step in setting up a VPN server on a Linksys WRT 3200ACM is to connect the ethernet cable from your router to the connector on the back of the device. Next, you will need to enable the device by pressing the button on the back of the unit and entering the setup menu on the device’s display. From here, you will need to select Ethernet > Internet > On to enable the device for internet access and On to enable FTP so you can download software updates and other necessary software packages to the device. Press the button again to save changes.
Now that the device is enabled and ready to use, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Software Configuration (optional)
If you plan to serve as a VPN server for others, then you will need to install OpenVPN on your device. To do this, open a command prompt (Windows) or terminal (macOS/Linux) and enter the following command:
git clone https://github.com/OpenVPN/openvpn-server-configs.git
This will download a copy of the OpenVPN server configuration file for your specific router. Navigate to the location where the file was downloaded and rename it to “server.conf”. Next, open the file in a text editor and make any necessary modifications. You should now be able to connect to the internet through your VPN and access resources on other devices or servers that are connected through the same gateway.
Optional but recommended for security reasons is to configure the device to only accept VPN connections. To do this, return to the setup menu on the Linksys WRT 3200ACM and select Network > VPN. From here you will need to select the mode of operation to either Server (recommended) or Client. To connect to your VPN server through the settings of your device to provide remote access to resources or to access the internet whenever you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network, you will need to enable the VPN server mode.
You can also optionally configure the device to serve as a DNS server should you choose to do so (this is highly recommended for privacy reasons). To do this, return to the setup menu and select Network > DNS. From here you will need to enter the IP address of your DNS server in the form of “126.96.36.199” or “188.8.131.52” should you be using OpenDNS.
Step 3: DNS Server (highly recommended)
Now that you have configured the Linksys WRT 3200ACM for internet access and remote access through a VPN, it’s time to configure it to properly function as a DNS server. To do this, return to the setup menu on the device and select Network > DNS. From here you will need to enter the IP address of your DNS server in the form of “184.108.40.206” or “220.127.116.11” should you be using OpenDNS.
Step 4: Configure WiFi network security
If you are setting up your own VPN server at home, then you will need to configure your wireless network to properly function as a secure network. You can do this by following the instructions available on the back of your router. For example, you may want to configure your wireless network to use WPA2 encryption (this is the standard for most wireless networks) and to ensure only trusted devices (e.g. those from your own network) can connect.
Once you have configured your wireless network the way you want it, connect your PC or other devices to the network and you will be able to access resources on the internet securely through your VPN.
Step 5: Save Changes
You can now save the settings you’ve made on your device by selecting Network > Save Settings. This will bring up a dialogue where you can enter a name for your settings and click Save. Restart the device to make sure the changes take effect.
This guide provided you with the steps to properly set up a NordVPN server on a Linksys WRT 3200ACM. Once you’ve followed these steps, you can use the VPN to securely access files on remote servers as well as open up the internet for remote access from anywhere.