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How to Install VPN on Asus-Merlin Router (With Video Guide)

If you‘re looking to better protect your privacy and security when browsing the internet, installing a VPN on your Asus-Merlin router is a great option. In this guide, I‘ll walk you through the full process, step-by-step.

Why Use a VPN?

Before we get started, let‘s briefly go over the benefits of using a virtual private network (VPN):

  • Encrypts Your Traffic – A VPN encrypts all the data flowing from your devices to the internet. This prevents your ISP and others from spying on your activity or intercepting sensitive information.

  • Hides Your IP Address – Your IP reveals your location and identity online. A VPN masks this by assigning you an IP from the VPN server‘s location.

  • Bypasses Geoblocks – Want to access region-locked content? Connect to a VPN server in that country to bypass geoblocking restrictions.

  • Enhances Security – VPN encryption provides an important extra layer of protection, especially when accessing public WiFi networks.

According to recent reports, over 25% of US households currently use a VPN. And for good reason – with data breaches and surveillance at an all-time high, a VPN is now an essential tool for protecting your privacy.

Why Install on a Router vs Device?

You‘re probably wondering why we‘re installing the VPN on a router rather than just using VPN apps on each device. Here are the key advantages:

Simple Setup – Configuring each of your devices (phone, laptop, smart TV, etc.) with a VPN app can be a big hassle. With a router-based VPN, all your traffic is routed through the tunnel automatically.

Better Performance – Hardware routers have faster processors optimized for handling VPN encryption overhead compared to most devices. This means you‘ll see speed boosts over VPN apps.

Extra Security – For devices like smart home gadgets and gaming consoles that don‘t support VPN apps, a router-based VPN is the only way to protect them.

No Limit on Connections – Most VPN providers limit simultaneous connections. With a router VPN, all your home devices appear as a single connection.

Why Asus-Merlin?

Asus-Merlin is a custom firmware for Asus routers that adds tons of advanced functionality – including support for OpenVPN, the VPN protocol we‘ll be using in this guide.

Some of the key benefits over stock Asus firmware:

  • Built-in VPN client with OpenVPN support
  • Ability to selectively route devices through VPN (policy-based routing)
  • Increased security and privacy safeguards
  • Unlocks full customization potential of Asus routers

In short, Asus-Merlin supercharges your Asus router and is a must if you plan to install a VPN.

Step 1 – Install Asus-Merlin Firmware

The first step is to flash your Asus router with the Asus-Merlin firmware:

  1. On your computer, visit the Asus-Merlin download page and find the correct build for your Asus model.

  2. Access your router‘s admin console. For most models, visit

  3. Navigate to Administration > Firmware Upgrade. Select the Asus-Merlin .trx file you downloaded.

  4. Click "Upgrade" and wait for the process to complete. This takes around 5-10 minutes.

  5. Once upgraded, reboot your router. You may need to reconnect your devices to the WiFi network as well.

And that‘s it! Asus-Merlin is now installed and ready for VPN setup.

Step 2 – Configure Asus-Merlin Settings

Before setting up OpenVPN, we need to adjust a few settings in Asus-Merlin:

  1. Ensure your router‘s LAN IP address doesn‘t conflict with your main router, if you have one.

  2. Under DHCP Server settings, leave the DNS Server fields blank.

  3. Setup your wireless SSIDs and passwords under the Wireless tab.

With those quick tweaks complete, your router is now ready for OpenVPN installation.

Step 3 – Download OpenVPN Configuration Files

For this setup, we‘ll be using IPVanish VPN. Here‘s how to grab the needed config files:

  1. Login to your IPVanish account.

  2. Go to Settings > Server List.

  3. Click ‘OpenVPN (UDP)‘ to download the .zip with ovpn files for each server.

  4. Extract the zip and find the ovpn file for your desired server location.

  5. Open the certificate file with Notepad and copy the contents.

Step 4 – Upload Configs to Asus-Merlin

Now we need to import those OpenVPN files into the Asus-Merlin firmware:

  1. In your router‘s admin panel, navigate to VPN > VPN Client.

  2. Under ‘Import .ovpn file‘, choose the server ovpn file you copied earlier.

  3. Click Upload and Apply.

  4. Go to Keys and Certificates. Paste the certificate contents into the ‘Certificate authority‘ field and Apply.

  5. Enter your IPVanish credentials under ‘Authentication Settings‘.

With those files successfully uploaded, we‘re ready to finish configuring the VPN.

Step 5 – Configure VPN Client

Here are the steps to configure your new OpenVPN client:

  1. Under Client Settings, name the client something like ‘IPVanish New York‘.

  2. Set ‘Accept DNS configuration‘ to ‘Exclusive‘.

  3. Enable ‘Redirect Internet traffic‘ and ‘Block routed clients if tunnel breaks‘.

  4. Check ‘Automatic start at boot time‘.

  5. Click Apply and toggle the VPN client ON.

Great, your router is now connected to the IPVanish VPN! But all your traffic is being routed through the tunnel so far.

Step 6 – Configure Policy-Based Routing

Policy-based routing allows you to selectively route devices through the VPN. Here‘s how to set it up:

  1. In VPN Client settings, change ‘Redirect Internet traffic‘ to ‘VPN Director‘.

  2. Go to LAN > DHCP Server. Select the devices you want routed through the VPN.

  3. Navigate to VPN > VPN Director. Click ‘+‘ to add routes.

  4. Choose the VPN client, device IP, and click OK.

  5. Repeat Step 4 for any other devices you want routed through the VPN.

  6. Click Apply. Traffic from the selected devices will now flow through the tunnel!

Step 7 – Connect Devices to the VPN

Once policy-routing is configured, simply connect devices you want protected to your router‘s wireless network. Their internet traffic will automatically be routed through the VPN.

To verify everything is working, visit and check that your IP matches the VPN server location.

And that‘s it! You now have a working OpenVPN installation on your Asus-Merlin router with policy-based routing enabled.

I hope this guide helped explain the entire process from start to finish. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow privacy enthusiasts gain control of their online data.


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.