How to set up VPN on Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Router

netgear nighthawk r7000 ac1900 router vpn

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If you’re here, it’s likely because you’ve read the Netgear documentation and beat your head against the wall because nothing worked…especially if you’re trying to get OpenVPN to work on your iPhone. I have the solution! The problem is that the documentation only states that you need to download the VPN configuration and import it to your device, but the download from the router is a zip file that contains a profile with a .ovpn file extension, two certificates, and a key. This is fine for windows and mac computers, but not so much for iOS and android smartphones. To learn how to get it up and running on those devices specifically, read on.

If you haven’t already read the Netgear docs on how to enable the vpn on the router and download the required files, go read that now. Here’s a quick rundown in screenshot form.

Netgear Nighthawk R7000 VPN service enable
Log into the router, go to the Advanced menu, then Advanced Setup in the left-hand navigation, check the box to Enable VPN Service, and click the respective button to download the zip containing the certs, profile, and key.
extract all context menu
Once you have the zip, unzip it to your computer

open with context menu
Open each file in a text editor like notepad. Right-click the file and choose “Open with…”

open with dialog
Then select More apps
open with notepad
Finally, select Notepad from the list of apps

Now for the fun part. We’re going to delete a few lines from the .ovpn file (for me it was named client3.ovpn) and add the content from the other files into it with a few small changes.

ovpn config dev tun cert
First, you must delete the lines depicted from the client3.ovpn file. They start with ca, cert, and key.
netgear clent certificate
For the client.crt, there is a lot of content. All we’re concerned with is the last section that starts with (and includes) the line —–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– and ends with (and includes) the line —–END CERTIFICATE—–

For the ca.crt and client.key, you’ll just copy the contents in their entirety.

Below the remaining content in the client3.ovpn file, add the content from the other files in between the respective tags. The stuff from ca.crt goes in between the <ca> tag, the client.crt between the <cert> tags, and the client.key between the <key> tags.

<ca>
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
blah blah blah
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
</ca>

<cert>
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
blah blah blah
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
</cert>

<key>
-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
blah blah blah
-----END PRIVATE KEY-----
</key>
ovpn config dev tun
The final file looks like this, with the exception that yours wont say “blah blah blah.”

Okay, the hardest part is done! Now you have to import the profile onto your phone. For iOS devices, there seems to be only one way to do this, although I can’t say for certain that there isn’t some other backdoor. Attach the client3.ovpn file to an email and send it to yourself. Then, open the email using the mail app on you iPhone. It *must* be the iOS mail app and not something else like Outlook or it will not work. If you have the OpenVPN connect app already installed on your phone, the attachment will appear with the app logo. Tap the attachment, and select OpenVPN as the app to open it with. From there, all you need to do is save the profile after the app opens!

I hope this helps you get your VPN up and running at home. I know for me personally, I was so frustrated that there weren’t better instructions out there. I can confirm that this works for Android devices too, at least it worked on my girlfriend’s Google pixel. Good luck, best wishes, and happy interneting!

The MAN Himself

Author of Modern Guitar Method. Also, please listen to my new album. I think it's the best jazz album of 2021 and It's available everywhere!

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