How to Setup a VPN on a Fritz Box in 8 StepsLast Updated by Sam Smith on June 25, 2019
While the Fritz!Box is a high-quality networking device with some of the best tools on the market when it comes to improving both the speed and versatility of your home network, it isn’t a great device to use when it comes to setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Fritz!Box does allow VPN setup, but it is not recommended for commercial VPN services.
The VPN setup the Fritz!Box provides, instead, focuses on setting up a VPN server to connect to your home network or company network.
Therefore, in order to connect a commercial VPN, like the ones we will be discussing in this guide, you will need to connect an additional router with firmware such as DD-WRT and Tomato or set up a virtual router.
This isn’t an ideal workaround, but it will do the job until Fritz!Box, hopefully, adds some proper support for these services.
Why you need a VPN for your Fritz!Box
Think of your system as a house with the rooms inside the house representing the applications on that system. Well, an IP address not only holds information about the address of that house, but it also has a number of ports associated with it which, in this analogy, are essentially doors to those rooms or applications.
You can block those doors with a firewall which acts a padlock, but if someone was trying to break into your physical house, you would surely prefer them not to find it in the first place.
This is where a VPN comes in. A VPN works by routing your internet traffic through one or more servers, encrypting your data and therefore, spoofing your IP address.
This means that if a hacker were to intercept your traffic between the VPN server and its eventual destination, they wouldn’t be able to see where you are located. Instead, they would just see the location of the VPN server you are connected to.
8 Steps to Set up a VPN server on your FRITZ!Box
As mentioned, FRITZ!Box allows you to set up a VPN server to establish a secure connection between all of the devices on your home network.
1 Install the necessary software
To do this, you will first need to download and install a couple of pieces of software. The first is called ‘FRITZ!Box VPN Connection’ and the second is called ‘Configure FRITZ!Box VPN Connection.’
Links to both downloads can be found here: https://en.avm.de/service/vpn/overview/
2 Create a MyFRITZ! account
Once you have installed both of these programs, it is time to create a MyFRITZ! account. This can be done by opening the FRITZ!Box user interface and clicking on the ‘Internet’ tab.
You will then see the ‘MyFRITZ! Account’ option in the ‘Internet’ menu. Click on it and then proceed to enter your email address and desired password for the account.
3 Determine the domain name
Once your account is set up, it is time to determine the MyFRITZ! domain name of the FRITZ!Box. This domain name is required to redirect you to the MyFRITZ! homepage of your FRITZ!Box after you have logged into myfritz.net. It can also be used to establish VPN connections.
To determine the domain name for VPN connections, you will first need to reopen the ‘Internet’ tab in the FRITZ!Box user interface. Now, click on ‘MyFRITZ! Account’ once again and make a note of the domain name displayed in the ‘MyFRITZ! Address’ field.
4 Adjusting the FRITZ!Box IP network
For the VPN connection to work, both ends of the connection must have IP addresses in different IP networks. This is because VPN communication cannot occur if your computer is connected to another router that uses the same IP network as your FRITZ!Box.
Therefore, you will need to assign an IP address to your FRITZ!Box that is different from the addresses of the other routers you will use to connect to your FRITZ!Box.
To do this, click on the ‘Home Network’ tab in the FRITZ!Box user interface and navigate to either ‘Network’ or ‘Home Network Overview’ in the ‘Home Network’ menu. Next, click on ‘Network Settings’ and then the ‘IPv4 Addresses’ button. If this button is not visible, enable the Advanced View first.
Now, enter the desired IP address and subnet mask and click ‘OK’ to confirm that the procedure may be executed on your FRITZ!Box, if prompted to do so.
5 Creating a file with VPN settings
Now that all of the preparations are in place, we can begin setting up a VPN connection. To do so, begin by starting the ‘Configure FRITZ!Box VPN Connection’ software and then click ‘New.’
Next, select ‘Configure the VPN for one user’ and click ‘Next.’ Then select the ‘Computer with FRITZ!VPN’ option and once again, click ‘Next.’
Now, enter the email address of the user who intends to connect to the FRITZ!Box via VPN and click ‘Next.’ You will now need to enter the domain name that you made a note of earlier into the ‘Name’ field. Do so, and again, click ‘Next.’
You will now see an option labeled ‘Apply factory settings of the FRITZ!Box for the IP network,’ Only enable this if you have not changed the FRITZ!Box’s IP settings.
Next, enter the IP network and the subnet mask of the Fritz!Box. Do not enter the FRITZ!Box’s IP address. Then, set the ‘IP address of the user in the network of the selected FRITZ!Box’ to the IP network of the FRITZ!Box.
You can also choose to enable the option ‘Send all data over the VPN tunnel.’ This will forward all web requests from the computer via the remote FRITZ!Box whenever a VPN connection is active.
Finally, click ‘Next’ and then ‘Finish.’
6 Importing the VPN settings into FRITZ!Box
To import the VPN settings into FRITZ!Box, open the FRITZ!Box user interface and click the ‘Internet’ tab. Next, click ‘Permit Access’ and then click on the ‘VPN’ tab.
Now, click on ‘Add VPN Connection’ followed by ‘Import a VPN configuration from an existing VPN settings file.’ Then click ‘Choose File’ and select the ‘fritzbox_[…].cfg’ file created with the Configure FRITZ!Box VPN Connection software and click ‘Open.’
Lastly, click ‘Ok’ to save the settings and confirm that the procedure may be executed if prompted to do so.
7 Importing the VPN settings into FRITZ!VPN
Now, let’s import the VPN settings into FRITZ!VPN. Start by opening the FRITZ!VPN program on your computer and then click ‘New’ or ‘File’ followed by ‘Import.’
Next, select the ‘vpnuser_[…].cfg’ file. Then, just click ‘Next’ and then ‘Finish.’
8 Establishing a VPN connection
Now that everything is configured correctly, we can go ahead and establish a connection. Firstly, run the FRITZ!VPN software from the Windows start menu.
Next, select the symbol with the MyFRITZ! domain name of the FRITZ!Box. Then, click ‘Establish’ to establish a VPN connection.
Best VPNs for Fritz!Box
Alternatively, you can choose to use a commercial VPN instead. However, as mentioned previously, this will require you to connect an additional router and you will need to speak to your VPN’s customer support team about how to connect the VPN to that router instead.
If this method appeals to you more though, here are the best commercial VPN’s that are currently available.
- Onion routing
- User-friendly app
Currently, ExpressVPN is the most popular VPN in the world. It was introduced back in 2009 and after seeing off some stiff competition at the time, the service has steadily grown. Nowadays, it is the VPN that all others are judged against and despite being closely matched by other VPNs on this list, ExpressVPN still reigns supreme.
It works by sending your traffic through a random series of nodes across the network making it nearly impossible to trace. This is similar to how a regular VPN does things, however, onion routing makes use of far more nodes, creating layers upon layers of encryption. Most VPNs only route your traffic through one extra server, so the difference is quite considerable.
Despite all of this extra routing, ExpressVPN is also surprisingly fast. This is important as one of the things that often puts people off of a VPN is the slow speeds they can come with. With ExpressVPN, this isn’t a problem with most servers easily able to provide speeds of over 100Mbps.
ExpressVPN also comes with a very user-friendly app that will work on pretty much any system you can think of. This means that you can set up the VPN on not just your phone and computer, but also your games console or Smart TV as well.
There are two major drawbacks to this VPN, however, as not only is it pricey but it also only allows you to connect up to 5 devices. This is pretty poor, to be honest, but hopefully, it will be addressed and improved upon in the future.
- Onion routing
- Up to 6 connections
- Over 5000 servers
NordVPN is another very popular option with many people actually preferring it to ExpressVPN due to its increased levels of security. The company is based in Central America and thanks to the relaxed laws in that region, this means they are able to provide a strict no-logs policy.
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN also makes use of onion routing. This alone provides a decent level of anonymity, however, NordVPN takes things one step further by first sending your traffic through the VPN before it enters the onion router. This means that the entry node, which is the one you initially connect to, won’t be able to see your location.
NordVPN also has a built-in killswitch that will break your connection if it detects that your IP address has been leaked. This is important as even with a VPN active, there could still be times when your location becomes compromised.
As for compatibility, NordVPN works with all major operating systems. You also get access to the VPN on up to 6 devices, meaning that you can potentially protect your whole household with one subscription, depending on how many devices you have.
- Optimized servers
- Over 3000 servers
- Unique features
CyberGhost VPN is a little less known than the previous two entries on this list but in terms of features, it is right up there with the best. The company is based in Romania where, once again, certain laws are relaxed. This means that just like the other VPNs we are featuring, it is able to enforce a no-logs policy.
This VPN does things differently. Instead of making you manually go through each server until you find one that works, CyberGhost simply gives you a list of geo-blocked services to choose from.
It then connects you straight to an optimized server that is set up specifically to provide the service you have chosen. Also, with over 3000 servers available, the chances of these optimized servers being unavailable are very unlikely.
- Excellent value for money
- Fast connections
- Unlimited number of connections
Compared to the other VPNs on this list, SurfShark VPN is a noticeably smaller provider. However, when it comes to value for money, Surfshark excels over the others and the premium price tags they boast suddenly become more difficult to justify.
Surfshark is also often praised for its ease of use. Unlike some VPNs, Surfshark has a very simple to use app which can feel bare bones at times, but is very useful if you aren’t the most tech-savvy.
One thing that does let this VPN down is that currently there are only 800+ servers to choose from. This is still plenty, of course, but compared to the thousands of servers being offered by the other VPNs in this guide, it has to be viewed as a negative.
Having said that, as long as the popularity of this VPN continues to grow, so too will the servers, meaning this issue could only be temporary.