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OPNsense NordVPN

I. Introduction

A. Brief overview of OPNsense and NordVPN

OPNsense is an open source firewall and routing software based on FreeBSD that can be installed on commodity hardware. It features a stateful packet filtering firewall, traffic shaping, VPN capabilities, intrusion detection and prevention, and centralized logging and reporting.

NordVPN is a commercial VPN service provider that offers military-grade encryption and obfuscation tools to secure user privacy and bypass censorship. It has over 5,200 servers in 60 countries and supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, Wireguard and its own NordLynx protocol.

B. Importance of integrating NordVPN with OPNsense for secure and private networking

Integrating NordVPN with OPNsense combines the advanced firewall and routing capabilities of OPNsense with NordVPN’s secure and private networking features. This allows users to route specific devices or traffic through the VPN tunnel provided by NordVPN.

Benefits include:

  • Encrypted traffic that prevents snooping and interference from the ISP or network operators
  • Ability to bypass geo-restrictions and access region-locked content
  • Increased privacy as real IP address is hidden by the VPN
  • Added security against cyber attacks and surveillance with NordVPN’s obfuscation tools
  • Ability to customize and route only select traffic through the VPN to optimize performance

Overall, the integration enables a secure and high-performance home/office network.

II. Setting up NordVPN on OPNsense

A. Installation of NordVPN client on OPNsense

The NordVPN client can be installed on OPNsense in a few simple steps:

  1. Login to the OPNsense web interface and navigate to System > Firmware > Plugins
  2. Click the “Plus” icon to search for plugins and find “os-nordvpn-client”
  3. Click the Install button to download and install the plugin
  4. After installation, the plugin appears in the list under “Installed” tab
  5. Navigate to Services > NordVPN Client to configure the client

B. Configuration of NordVPN client using Wireguard or OpenVPN protocol

The NordVPN client on OPNsense can be configured to use either Wireguard or OpenVPN protocol for the VPN connection:


  1. Obtain Wireguard config files from the NordVPN website
  2. Copy the Private Key, Address, DNS and other details into the plugin
  3. Select at least one gateway server under Endpoint
  4. Enable WireGuard interface under Interfaces tab


  1. Login to NordVPN account through the plugin
  2. Choose countries and categories of servers to pick from
  3. Select Protocol (TCP or UDP), Resolver mode
  4. Add Encryption cipher, Auth digest (recommended SHA512)
  5. Enable OpenVPN interface under Interfaces tab

C. Routing specific network traffic through NordVPN using aliases and exception rules

  1. Create new alias under Firewall > Aliases
  2. Add IP addresses, CIDR networks or domain names to match traffic
  3. Navigate to Firewall > Rules > VPN
  4. Click “+” to add new rule
  5. Pick the NordVPN interface as Gateway
  6. Under Source, select alias created earlier
  7. Enable the rule to route that traffic through NordVPN

Repeat steps to add multiple rules for routing different traffic.

III. Integration with Home Network

A. Connecting OPNsense to the home network infrastructure

To integrate OPNsense firewall into an existing home network:

  1. Connect WAN port to the modem
  2. Connect LAN port(s) to the switch
  3. Log in to OPNsense web interface
  4. Go to Interfaces > WAN and edit the interface connected to modem
  5. Set IP address mode to DHCP to automatically get IP
  6. Go to Interfaces > LAN and set IP address mode on LAN to static
  7. Assign private IP addresses to LAN interface (e.g.

B. Configuring LAN and WAN interfaces on OPNsense

WAN Interface

  1. Choose DHCP or static mode for IP assignment
  2. Enable IGMP proxying if required
  3. Set MTU size if needed

LAN Interface

  1. Assign static IP address (e.g.
  2. Enable IGMP snooping for multicast traffic
  3. Set MTU size matching network switch
  4. Add DNS servers and gateway IP
  5. Enable DHCP server and configure pool, DNS, etc if needed

C. Managing routing tables and traffic flow for different devices on the network

  • Create aliases grouping devices, services, addresses
  • Generate rules and set gateway to route device traffic through VPN
  • Enable Multi WAN capability to load balance traffic across links
  • Leverage NAT and port forwards to access devices remotely
  • Configure static routes to manage routing across network segments
  • Rate limit/prioritize bandwidth usage for different devices
  • Monitor real-time traffic via graphs and logs in Status > Monitoring

IV. Enhancing Security and Privacy

A. Utilizing features of OPNsense such as DNS & IP blocklists, antivirus, and automatic VPN server updates

  • Enable DNS blocklist under Services > DNS Resolver to prevent access to malicious domains
  • Subscribe to IP blocklists under Services > IP Blocker to automatically block known threats
  • Integrate Suricata IDS/IPS to detect network intrusions and attacks
  • Install the ClamAV plugin for antivirus scanning of network traffic
  • Turn on “Update Cache Servers” in NordVPN client to ensure fresh VPN server lists

B. Overcoming limitations of NordVPN app on specific devices

Certain devices may have limitations in routing app traffic through VPNs. This can be overcome by:

  • Enabling VPN client at the router level with OPNsense that will route device traffic
  • For mobile devices, installing NordVPN mobile apps to selectively send traffic through VPN
  • Using NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy on devices and apps that restrict routing table changes
  • Creating VPN client profiles tailored to that device’s capabilities

C. Bypassing ISP throttling using NordVPN and OPNsense

NordVPN’s obfuscated servers combined with OPNsense firewall rules allows bypassing of ISP throttling and restrictions.

  1. Enable obfuscation under NordVPN plugin settings
  2. Select obfuscated servers manually or enable “Auto-connect”
  3. Create firewall rules to route traffic through NordVPN gateway
  4. Choose different VPN protocols like OpenVPN Scramble to avoid deep packet inspection
  5. Use a SOCKS proxy through NordVPN for restrictive networks
  6. Set up Multi-WAN in OPNsense to load balance links and bypass throttling

V. Troubleshooting and Optimization

A. Addressing common issues with NordVPN client installation and configuration

Installation issues:

  • Verify compatible OPNsense version
  • Check for errors or warnings during installation
  • Ensure adequate system resources – CPU cores, RAM, disk space

Connection issues:

  • Disable other VPN client add-ons if enabled
  • Generate new Wireguard key and reconfigure
  • Switch server protocol from UDP to TCP or enable obfuscation
  • Override MTU value if connectivity problems

Routing issues:

  • Confirm successful VPN tunnel creation on Status page
  • Ping remote endpoints through VPN interface to check connectivity
  • Verify firewall rules have correct NordVPN gateway selected
  • Flush rules/states and test with a single device first

B. Optimizing Cloak server and client for improved performance and stealth

Cloak is NordVPN’s proprietary obfuscation protocol for increased privacy. Optimizations include:


  • Selecting best performing Cloak servers through speed testing
  • Choosing Cloak servers closest to your region for lower latency
  • Enabling “Auto-connect” to automatically pick optimal Cloak servers


  • Trying different connection protocols (TCP vs UDP Cloak)
  • Overriding MTU settings in NordVPN plugin for best performance
  • Enabling “Scramble” variant to better evade deep packet inspection

C. Connecting ShadowSocks client to Cloak for secure and private data transmission

  1. Setup NordVPN on OPNsense with Cloak protocol
  2. Install ShadowSocks plugin on OPNsense
  3. Configure ShadowSocks client settings with Cloak server credentials
  4. Tunnel device traffic through ShadowSocks > Outbound NAT ruleset
  5. Use AES-256-GCM cipher and tls1.2 security for encryption
  6. Enable ShadowSocks client on devices to pass all traffic through Cloak

VI. Best Practices and Recommendations

A. Best VPNs for OPNsense, including NordVPN and others

NordVPN – Multi-protocol support, Cloak obfuscation, port forwarding

ExpressVPN – Fast speeds, split-tunneling configurations

PIA – Port forwarding, allows P2P traffic

CyberGhost – User-friendly apps with customization options

StrongVPN – Reliable performance, flexible routing

B. Setup guide for integrating NordVPN with OPNsense

  1. Install NordVPN client plugin
  2. Configure credentials and connection protocol
  3. Enable plugin interface and override settings if needed
  4. Create firewall rules to route traffic through NordVPN gateway
  5. Test with pings, traceroute and accessing geo-restricted sites
  6. Enable kill switch to prevent leaks if VPN drops

C. General steps for setting up a VPN with pfSense, including NordVPN’s specific setup guide

General Steps

  1. Sign up for a VPN service provider
  2. Download config files/credentials from VPN provider
  3. Install VPN client add-on in pfSense
  4. Configure the client using credentials from VPN provider
  5. Enable VPN interface under Interfaces menu
  6. Create firewall rules to route traffic through VPN

NordVPN’s pfSense Guide

  1. Purchase NordVPN subscription
  2. Login to account and download Wireguard or OpenVPN config files
  3. Install NordVPN plugin from pfSense app store
  4. Upload config file or login credentials into plugin
  5. Click Apply Changes to create VPN interface
  6. New VPN gateway appears under System > Routing