How To Use A VPN Service With Apple Airport Extreme Or Time Capsule

UPDATE: Apple has not updated their router models in years and has reportedly stopped manufacturing the Apple Airport line and Time Capsules.

The Best DD-WRT Wireless Routers List of 2018 is the latest version of this list now available.

Apple Airport Extreme VPN

Use a VPN Service with Apple Airport Extreme

If you frequently use one of the popular WiFi base stations like Apple Airport Extreme or Apple Airport Time Capsule, you may want to add an extra layer of security by using it alongside a VPN service provider. After all, Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule are excellent solutions for Mac-fans looking to maintain a large high-speed network for an entire office, home, or classroom.

The advantage of these Apple products over other routers is the ability to use Apple Airplay to wirelessly stream or mirror content from iOS devices to HDTVs and speakers. It only makes sense to want to boost that service with a top-tier VPN connection.

However, what VPN services provide – a way to protect your sensitive online information from malevolent actors, the ability to access geographically restricted websites, etc. – can occasionally lead to some tricky technical questions that can leave even more experienced users stumped from time to time. There is a way you can have a working OpenVPN client in conjunction with Apple Airport Extreme and other Airport devices, but it may not be exactly the way you think.

Apple Airport Default Options for VPN

Apple products like the Airport Extreme, Airport Express or Time Capsule are created with simplicity and user support in mind. However, that simplicity comes at the expense of advanced features, so the only real way to take advantage of a VPN service with Apple Airport would be through a Dual Router Setup with a FlashRouter.

Apple Airport Extreme & Time Capsules do have a VPN option tab but it is not intended for use with VPN service providers. It is intended for connecting to a specified VPN server for a business. The VPN option is limited to PPTP/L2TP and does not include OpenVPN at all. So if you are trying to connect to OpenVPN for work or via a VPN service provider, you are completely out of luck.

Here are the advantages for Apple Time Capsule users looking to add a FlashRouter to their network for use with an AppleTV or Roku:

  1. Apple Airport Limited VPN Support: Apple features limited VPN support, which is not intended for use with popular VPN service providers, so they can not be configured. No OpenVPN. A FlashRouter would allow for a connection to nearly any VPN provider.
  2. DD-WRT & Tomato Firmware: Adds internal VPN client OpenVPN functionality within enhanced firmware alongside fully featured PPTP/L2TP (IPSEC) setup options. No more VPN service setup frustration!
  3. DD-WRT & Tomato Native Support for All OS’s: Connectivity issues with devices become a thing of the past. Whether it is Apple, Linux, Android, a Roku, open-source firmware supports them all.

Sadly, the Airport firmware can not be upgraded to activate OpenVPN integration throughout your entire network due to Apple’s closed networking software and system.

Dual Router Setup for Apple Airport Extreme/Time Capsules


In order to utilize OpenVPN with your Apple networking device, you will need to use a FlashRouter to have a working VPN service with Apple Airport.

Using the popular FlashRouter Dual Router Setup allows VPN users to easily switch between their local Apple Airport, Time Capsule or Airport Extreme network (for day-to-day, basic usage) and their VPN provider (for heavier protection and accessing geographically restricted material). The Dual Router Setup allows you to have a dedicated home network that’s segregated from your VPN, and enables you to use your VPN across your whole Apple Airport Extreme or Time Capsule network.

This is the perfect solution for those looking to create a large, high-speed Apple Airport network that covers their whole home or business with the protection a VPN service provides.

The Dual Router Setup also allows users the opportunity to get some use out of their old router while making a significant upgrade with a FlashRouter. In this case, it’s just what you need to make your VPN and your Apple Airport Extreme or Time Capsule work together.

Recommended VPN Routers For Apple Airport Extreme

You really can’t go wrong with a FlashRouter. Our devices are powerful, fast, and flashed with highly-popular and feature laden DD-WRT or Tomato firmware, which boosts their functionality and versatility by leaps and bounds. Check out our recent best-sellers list to find out which of our devices are the most popular these days.

Our latest addiction is Wireless-AC routers, which took the speeds of our fastest routers and just about doubled them (from 900 Mbps to 5300!). At the moment, our list of Wireless-AC routers include the the much-lauded networking powerhouses: Asus AC5300 DD-WRT Router & Netgear R7800 DD-WRT Router. Looking for something a little more modest? We can happily recommend the fan favorite Linksys WRT1200AC DD-WRT.

Updated: 09/28/2017

31 thoughts on “How To Use A VPN Service With Apple Airport Extreme Or Time Capsule

  1. Dave

    Hello, I currently use an AirPort router on my home network and have recently signed up to an OpenVPN provider. I’m considering getting a FlashRouter and running a dual router setup, but I’m new to this and have a few questions.

    1. I’m assuming that I would leave my AirPort connected to my fiber modem, and then connect the FlashRouter’s WAN port to one of the LAN ports on the AirPort. Is that right?

    2. In that configuration, I would want my wireless devices connecting to the FlashRouter. Would those devices be able to see any computers & fileshares that I have connected directly to the Ethernet ports on the AirPort? Or are the two networks completely separate?

    3. When traveling, would I be able to access my home network via OpenVPN to the FlashRouter? And in that case, would I be able to see all my home computers, or only those devices that are plugged into the FlashRouter?

    Thanks in advance. Your blog is very informative.

    1. joeso

      Hello Dave,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      1. Yes. That would be our recommended dual router setup –

      2. The networks would be completely separate in this configuration. There are some alternate options that you can do both but they are a bit more complex and need to be managed a bit more.

      3. That can be done but it does not hace to do with your OpenVPN provider since they provide those servers. You can use the FlashRouter to create your own OpenVPN server but that is not a setup we currently offer support for.

      Thanks for the compliment about our blog. We do what we can.

      Please let us know if we can assist you any further!

  2. Mark Anders

    is there a way to combine an Airport based network with a FlashRouter so that the Airport’s connection goes through the FlashRouter? That way one doesn’t have 2 networks. I do understand that there would only be 1 WiFi network, but that’s ok.

  3. Michael

    Hello, I am currently residing in Japan and is considering getting a FlashRouter. I have almost the same setup as Dave. I have an apple airport express were all my wireless devices are connected (iphone 5s, ipad, ps4, appletv and kindle fire hd) my laptop is on wire connection directly to the local modem/router.

    Now I am considering to buy Roku 3, as such would like to sign up to VPN provider to get the most from Roku. (Currently my appletv is offering only a few options because I am residing in Japan.) I plan to connect the Roku 3 to the FlashRouter and leave my other system intact.

    Below are some of my clarifications: (Sorry I am very new to this kind of set-up so forgive me if I ask too much)
    1. Can you ship your product to Japan, if yes how long does it take to ship the product. (For reference I am currently in Kobe, Japan.)
    2. Can your system work with Airport Express, because the sample above mentioned only Extreme & Time Capsule. If so, the I want to clarify the setup, as mentioned by Dave, will the connection be : I would leave my AirPort Express connected to my fiber modem, and then connect the FlashRouter’s WAN port to one of the LAN ports on the AirPort Express?
    3. Can you recommend which product and VPN provider would be suit me.
    4. If I sign-up to a VPN provider, would my laptop still remain outside the VPN and only devices connected to the FlashRouter be connected to the VPN? Because I have programs (games) in my laptop that checks my IP and I do not want any problem with that, I only want the Roku to be connected to the VPN. Because it is my first time to set-up a VPN I do not know how it functions so need clarification on how to properly set it up.

    1. joeso

      Hey Michael,

      1. We do ship to Japan.

      2. Our system will work with Airport Express as well. Although I believe the Airport Express only has one LAN/Ethernet port so it would have to run through that LAN port.

      3. Any router will function but with the goal being a lot of devices with streaming video capabilities I would recommend a good Wireless-AC device with a high-end processor like the Asus RT-AC56U. Our top recommended providers for use in Japan would be IPVanish & Overplay

      4. That is correct. Only devices connected to the FlashRouter with VPN integration would receive the alternate IP address.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions.

  4. jean-michel

    For now, i have a new airport extreme. My airport extreme works like a router. My airport send a internet connection to my PS4, computers and appletv. I was wondering if it is possible to plug my modem to one of your vpn router and send a internet vpn connection to my airport extreme ? This way i would be able to use my airport like i always did and have also a vpn on my internet connection… But if it works, will i still be able to play online with my ps4 ? and if possible, witch vpn router is the best for this setup ?

  5. Justin Oshiro

    Hello, I am also like Michael living in Japan. I am new to VPN and was wondering exactly how the set up works. I would buy a secondary router that I would plug into my apple airport extreme?Also, how do I connect the provider to the secondary router? Then once it is all setup will the vpn signal come from the secondary router as a completely separate signal then from the airport extreme?

  6. Brian

    Hello, I’m an American living in Japan and would like to set up a VPN network to allow my Apple TV to access different geographic location programming. As I run multiple systems I’m considering the NetGear R7000 while utilizing the IPVanish provider. This is my current setup and equipment.
    AppleTV, IMac, multiple iPads and iPhones, Windows based desktop and Laptop which all work well off my AirPort Extreme. I’m supported by a very fast fiber connection to a fiber capable modem.

    1. Will I be able to access either server from any device?
    2. Would the VPN router feed off the AirPort Extreme?
    3. Do I first get everything setup then purchase the IPVanish account?
    4. When I move stateside, will this setup work or would I need to reflash the router for a different VPN server?
    5. I don’t understand how I could access my home computer from a remote location. Can you explain this?

    Appreciate the support.

    1. joeso

      Hello Brian,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      1. The router will support any IPVanish server.
      2. Yes the VPN router would feed off the Airport. That is our standard dual router setup.
      3. You can order it in either order. VPN then router or router then VPN. We recommend visiting this link for the best price on IPVanish –
      4. It will work when you travel. no need to reflash. You can just cut and paste the new server location.
      5. This is not the same as using a VPN service. This would be using a router to crate a personal VPN server which is available within our router but an entirely different setup.

      Please let us know if we can assist you any further.

  7. Peter

    Hi. I have an ISP router. To that i have added via Ethernet an Airport Extreme. I now would like to add a VPN Router. Should this be added to the ISP router or to the Apple Extreme router? Could i thin use an apple airport as a range extended for the VPN router?
    Thanks. Peter

    1. joeso

      Hello Peter,

      Thanks for reaching out. Yes you can add it either way but after the ISP router would be optimal if you want to use the Airport as a range extender for the VPN.

      Contact if you have any further questions.

  8. david

    i have a airport extreame(AE) . i purchased vpn .i buy flash router from you with dd-wrt

    1,how do i hook up ? is it modem>(AE) wan,
    then lan to WAN (DD-WRT) ?
    2. can i connect to AE & DD-WRT wirelessly and wired
    3. when i configure both AE and DD-WRT with VPN do i have to do one at a time or can they be connected together like in question One
    or do we have to do wireless bridge setup first then set up vpn.? both units need to talk to each other first
    4. are you saying when connected like question one i cant use openVPN ?
    5. i hear there is some say CONNECT modem>(AE) wan,
    then lan to LAN (DD-WRT) “NOT DD-WRT WAN”

    6 WITHOUT VPN SETUP. its as easy as plug and play to get two wifi service connection but when config a VPN its not. being the fact that both wifi units need to talk to each other due protocals and security

    please answer all questions and please dont say ask VPN . this is a hardware question

    thank you

  9. Keith

    The WAN IP is not the external IP. External IP-based services will not work. – This is the warning message I get on router. Do I need to use an Ethernet switch

  10. David Sands

    Hi. I came across this article whilst searching for a problem I have. Hope you can help. You seem to be saying that my airport extreme router will not connect to any device which has VPN in place. Currently I have a virgin media router connected to an apple airport extreme router which is also connected wirelessly to a apple aiport express upstairs due to the poor wifi connectivity I get. Every device I have works fine with no problems. However I have just started a new job and I need to work remotely from home on some days. My work laptop has a vpn on it called X-Kryptor. And Im assuming its the interface between the router and the vpn thats the problem? You are saying its not possible to configure the apple device to use a vpn so I should add an additional router which WOULD allow me to access the x-kryptor vpn?

  11. Stephen Hagan

    will the flash routers boost the range and power of my current airport extreme and airport express set up? also, can the flashrouter be in a cabinet behind doors or does it need to be in the open for best performance?

    1. admin

      Hello Stephen,

      It can. It is better to be in an open space to get best performance always for less obstruction or signal interference.

      1. David Sands

        Hi. I bought the router and it fixed my particular problem. I haven’t noticed that the wireless range being bette rthan the apple airport extreme but with the addition of individual airport express routers thats very good. Do not put any router in a cupboard if you can avoid it..

  12. Kenny bryant

    Hey, I have 2 airport extremes and an airport express. Would this setup potentially work with a tenda w268r as the secondary? And will this also work with expressvpn?

  13. Flip

    I have an R7000 Tomato (Shibby) providing VPN service to my Apple TV and other devices. The R7000 is downstream (totally different IPs) from an Airport Extreme (Main router) with my itunes library on a Lan-attached client. The setup is WAN-LAN and everything works great, except I cannot access the iTunes content from the ATV. I know there’s a way to align the routers IPs and set a static IP from my itunes client to the ATV, but am at a loss on how.

  14. Nicholas Noe

    Thanks for posting this. Very helpful but I still have a few questions… How would I setup my home network so If I was overseas I could connect directly to my home network to watch say hulu live or some sort of streaming service that only lets you watch at home?


  15. Zo


    Do you have any specials for Australia, at least a shipping coupon.

    What is recommended router for Australia, looking for streaming and general download, no gaming?

    Best recommendation for VPN service, I guess obviously for best speed (and privacy) I need some close servers and occasional content related servers around the globe?
    I was looking at NordVPN, as best value/devices, but it seems ExpressVPN has more servers locally and good reputation but it’s more expensive and with less concurrent devices.
    Not sure about VanishIP and PIA which have also been recommended.

    I also have question about my setup:

    Cable Modem/Router to wan(wifi/wired/NAS)Airport Time Capsule.
    Ideally I would like to put the VPN router in between to provide IP to the Airport so I can keep existing wifi setup, especially around my backups on Time Capsule.
    Apparently you can have the Airport after the VPN router which will act as an wifi extender, but will the drive in it (being NAS not an USB hdd) be accessible via the ethernet cable?
    I agree that some of the routers I’m considering (like the linksys 32k) has better wifi range and probably even faster port to hook up to external NAS, but the problem is I’ve already invested in a NAS backup (being the time capsule which is not a stand alone hdd) and airport express wifi extender, so I don’t want to throw them in a bin and spend extra on a new NAS or HDD.
    Ideally I would like the VPN to be always ON and cover all of my devices (up to 8, laptops, phones, ipads, printer, chromecast). I can move the TV, Amp, Cable TV to the ISP modem/router. But I would like all my wifi devices to remain on the Airport for backup. Do you know a way to still use Time Capsule for easy backups in that setup (3 laptops).
    Will the always ON VPN slowing down the connections)?

    1. joeso


      For the best, most recent discounts, please contact us directly at and we can provide the most up-to-date info.

      As for latest info for Australian users, check out our Australian Info Page –

      You can use our router as you stated prior to the time capsule for VPN. With our new app, you can also select which connected devices use VPN if you have certain device to prioritize with speed over encryption/privacy. If you need more info, I suggest reaching out to our team as well.

      Thanks for reaching out!

  16. Bob

    I currently use an Apple Time Capsule to provide the wireless signal to my home network, but I’d like to switch to using a VPN router to provide better Wi-Fi coverage. However, I’d like to keep my Time Capsule connected to the network in order to back up my Macs, but I don’t want to utilize any of its wireless or routing functions. Is this possible and, if so, how can I set this up?


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