Need help getting ExpressVPN to work on an Asus router.

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mac_angel

Regular Contributor
I have an Asus RT-AX86U and yesterday I ordered ExpressVPN. I was able to set it up easily enough, downloading the .ovpn file from ExpressVPN. When I do an IP look up, my IP address shows the city of the server I have been selecting. I live in Canada, and I have been selecting Canadian servers, and trying to use Canadian services - Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. After a bit I was able to get Netflix to work, but Prime Video keeps telling me that I am using a VPN or DNS server and I must turn it off to be able to watch Prime Video. Doing a full test I've found that I do have a DNS leak and lists a bunch of local IP addresses. Running individual clients isn't an option, I need something on my router. So far their tech support is telling me that I must have set it up wrong, which is pretty much 'passing the buck'. Literally the only settings on the router are putting in my user name, password, and turning it on after I upload their file. I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to computers, but I have very little experience when it comes to VPN. But to me, if they are saying it's something in the configuration, if my IP address is showing, say Vancouver and I live in Ontario, but there's a DNS leak, it sounds like that would be something in their end, not the router.
But, as I said, I'm kinda new. Any suggestions or advice?
btw, I'm using the latest firmware from Asus, and using the OpenVPN Cllient option within the router.
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
Well you are using a VPN, so the source of the problem seems clear.

right. But their site says that they are compatible with many streaming services, including Prime Video. And the problem seems to be the DNS leak itself, not that I am using a VPN. Hence the title of this thread and looking for help in setting it up in case I'm missing something.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Is this happening on a PC or an IoT device like a Roku (or both)?
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
all devices connected to the router. DNS leak on all of them, showing local IP addresses (Kitchener, near Toronto) when it is suppose to be Vancouver.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Do you have a link to the instructions you were given to set this up?

Did you set the router's WAN DNS servers to be ExpressVPN's?
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
I had figured out what was shown in these instructions before hand, but when I was talking with their tech support, I found this page as well and showed them those were the steps I followed.
No, I didn't set the WAN DNS servers to be theirs. It wasn't in the instructions, nor did they mention anything about that. Is that something I need to do?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Setting the WAN DNS servers can sometimes prevent DNS leaks. However, this is not always possible because unless VPN provider's DNS servers are publicly accessible the VPN client will fail to start up (a chicken and egg situation).

If you know the IP addresses of the DNS servers you could try it. But don't be too surprised if the VPN client doesn't start and you have to go back to what you had before.
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
it seems like there are two different issues. The DNS leak on the router, and what server Prime Video works on.
I installed the software client on my PC and tried 4 different Canadian servers. None of them showed a DNS leak when connected with my PC (with it turned off with the router). But only one of the servers would work with Prime Video. The other three showed no DNS leak, but Prime Video would still pop up saying that I am behind a VPN and need to turn it off.

edit: It seems even that one server is hit and miss. I just tried it again, same server, and now Prime isn't working. I turn it off, I can watch Prime. I turn it on, Prime says it's connected to a VPN.
 
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cooloutac

Very Senior Member
the issues might indeed be correlated. I have better luck with merlin firmware. I set the vpn to use exclusive dns and strict policy routing. When I use stock firmware I have alot of issues connecting to different networks like my echo and blink devices and some ring devices for some reason can't get internet. with merlin firmware everything just works. Its worth a shot.

You might still have to switch servers once in a while for prime video but it shouldn't be as bad. You could also try changing the dns servers the vpn uses in the .ovpn file or in the advanced config too to see if that fixes your issues.
 
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mac_angel

Regular Contributor
the issues might indeed be correlated. I have better luck with merlin firmware. I set the vpn to use exclusive dns and strict policy routing. When I use stock firmware I have alot of issues connecting to different networks like my echo and blink devices and some ring devices for some reason can't get internet. with merlin firmware everything just works. Its worth a shot.

You might still have to switch servers once in a while for prime video but it shouldn't be as bad. You could also try changing the dns servers the vpn uses in the .ovpn file or in the advanced config too to see if that fixes your issues.


Still no Merlin for my router :( RT-AX86U
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
edit: It seems even that one server is hit and miss. I just tried it again, same server, and now Prime isn't working. I turn it off, I can watch Prime. I turn it on, Prime says it's connected to a VPN.
This is a better (faster) way to test. But unless you can get it work consistently with the PC client, using the router's client will be no different (regardless of what firmware you use).
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
This is a better (faster) way to test. But unless you can get it work consistently with the PC client, using the router's client will be no different (regardless of what firmware you use).

yea, they are now saying that they have done extensive testing, but only on US and UK Prime Video. They are still testing the Canadian one.
And honestly, Prime Video is rather secondary. It's the DNS leak from me installing it on the router that is more important. I'm not trying to bypass region specific content, but just hide my IP address. My son is 12 now, so him browsing some sketchy sites isn't that far off. So I bought BitDefender for my server and his computer, and a VPN for added measure. I tried a VPN a few years back, but it didn't get along with my Plex media server, so I never bought it (I was using a trial for Private Internet Access). If I can get the VPN working on my router, I don't mind porn forwarding my NVidia Shield for streaming services.
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
@mac_angel look harder!

Alpha 3 has landed.

Cool. I found them, but I don't know what the differences are between the two, other than the day posted. My son is home and gaming, PD Day from school, and my fiance is working from home (she works for Roger's Communications, so we get a good price on Internet, 1Gb down, 30Mb up. But Rogers HATES me. I've called the government on them a number of times for breach of contract. I'm what they call a "power user" and I "abuse their network". But they won't let us switch to a business line, nor offer any other packages). Anyway, point being, they are connected at the moment, so it will have to wait until dinner time for me to check out the new firmware. Any guides around that you can recommend for setting up the VPN? Or is it pretty close to Asus's firmware?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
The ExpressVPN link that you posted earlier has instructions for Merlin's firmware.

Have you looked into my other post about MediaStreamer DNS regarding your DNS leak problem?
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
The ExpressVPN link that you posted earlier has instructions for Merlin's firmware.

Have you looked into my other post about MediaStreamer DNS regarding your DNS leak problem?

I checked it out, but it seemed more for the media streaming box (NVidia Shield, in this case) than the router. It was also right before 9am when my fiance was about to start work, so I didn't want to mess around with anything in that short amount of time.
 

mac_angel

Regular Contributor
the issues might indeed be correlated. I have better luck with merlin firmware. I set the vpn to use exclusive dns and strict policy routing. When I use stock firmware I have alot of issues connecting to different networks like my echo and blink devices and some ring devices for some reason can't get internet. with merlin firmware everything just works. Its worth a shot.

You might still have to switch servers once in a while for prime video but it shouldn't be as bad. You could also try changing the dns servers the vpn uses in the .ovpn file or in the advanced config too to see if that fixes your issues.

Okay, my fiance's done work, about to have dinner, so I popped on the Merlin firmware quick. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to start up from scratch, that all my settings for my mesh and wifi was still there.
The VPN settings are a lot different with Merlin than the Asus ones. Do you have a guide you can point me to for setting that up? The guide on ExpressVPN show the basics of what was on Asus before and this looks like it's upgraded quite a lot, which I like. It's just all new to me.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Use the Merlin-specific settings on the ExpressVPN site. It's that simple. If you need a more detailed explanation of the DNS options in step 7 they can be found in Merlin's Policy based routing wiki.
 

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