My VPN setup. Update!

About this time last year I posted an article about how I setup my VPN.

Merely mentioning “VPN” is probably going to scare a few people. It sounds complicated and, to some, it’s a technically advanced and confusing thing to tackle.

However, it really isn’t that bad, and I figured it was time to update things. I also thought I could perhaps detail it all a bit better too.

Basically I’ve bought a router off eBay with the DD-WRT firmware on. This firmware makes it easy to connect up to a VPN. I’ve then signed up for a PureVPN account and followed these instructions on the PureVPN support site to set it up on a DD-WRT router.

But wait.. that’s already a paragraph filled with acronyms and technical gubbins, so let’s start at the beginning..

I have a fairly standard broadband connection. The same as pretty much everyone reading this. Nowadays though, your internet activity is monitored quite a bit by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). They will know what websites you’re looking at, what sort of traffic you’re passing and so on. That means that if you fire up BitTorrent or you’ve got one of those Android TV boxes that “find” illegal TV and movie streams, your “external” IP address (that’s the one on the “outside” of your router) is being revealed. The movie companies, lawyers and other agencies will be able to find out which ISP provides this IP address, then they simply ask your ISP for your details. Then you’re in trouble.

Likewise, ISP’s will “traffic manage”. This means that activities such as BItTorrent sharing will be monitored and controlled. If you’re pulling lots of data down, or pushing lots of data up, they’ll know which protocol you’re using and will control that access.

If you don’t want either of the above things, you need a VPN. It secures and encrypts your internet traffic, and it also means you can have your internet connection “relocate” to various countries around the world.

Most VPN apps and solutions will need installing on your phone or laptop, but I wanted a pretty simple solution where I just switched WiFi access points. So, here’s how I do it…

  1. My “normal” router is just like any other. It has one external IP address and then delivers local IP addresses to our phones and laptops. In our case it gives out IP’s on the 192.168.0.X range.
  2. A second router, which has the DD-WRT firmware on, makes it easy to setup a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection through a VPN supplier. You can buy these off eBay quite cheaply.
  3. The DD-WRT eBay router I bought plugs into one of the LAN ports on the back of the “normal” router and then dishes out internal IP addresses on the 192.168.1.X range.
  4. The DD-WRT eBay router uses the internet connection from the normal router, but logs into the PureVPN servers via VPN and you then get a new external IP. You can choose the server / location during the setup.
  5. The DD-WRT eBay router pumps out a WiFi hotspot which I can connect to and get onto the VPN.

Don’t worry if it’s not clear, as the video below should make the whole process easier. It’s well worth a watch..

Hopefully some of this will help you. I’ve had quite a few emails about broadband and VPN speeds, so this is something I touched upon in the video too. If your internet connection is less than 30Mbps then 2.4GHz is fine, but if you’ve got a super-quick internet feed you’re going to have to use 5GHz.

If you want to stay on the VPN all the time, you can switch off the WiFi on your “normal” router and only ever connect to your VPN router. I still switch between the two, because sometimes the VPN throughput just isn’t as quick as the normal connection.