Sharing your printer with DD-WRT

As you are reading this site then there is a good chance that the primary reason you bought a DD-WRT router was so that you could share your VPN connection with all family members or staff, and with all devices in your house or office. That’s great, and DD-WRT is excellent for it, but that fancy router of yours can do a lot else besides.

We have already looked at how you can share a USB drive over your network using DD-WRT, so that it can act as a NAS, so now we’ll look at another very popular use for a DD-WRT router – sharing a printer over the network. This is very easy to setup, and has the advantage over sharing your printer via a PC connection that no computer has to be turned on (only the router) or connected to the printer (this is particularly useful if everyone uses laptops or mobile devices, and you have no static desktop workstation).

If you’d like to learn more about DD-WRT, then we’d recommend reading our Definitive DD-WRT Guide

Setting up a shared printer in DD-WRT

We used a flashed Asus RT-AC66U router (reviewed here), but any DD-WRT router with a USB port should work.

1. Plug your printer into the router, and turn it on.

2. Enter your router config page by typing the router IP address (usually into your browser address bar. Click on the ‘Services’ tab, and then the ‘USB’ tab.

3. Enable ‘Core USB Support’ and ‘USB Printer Support’ (if you also want to plug in a hard drive to use as NAS storage go right ahead and enable ‘Automatic Drive Mount’ too – see here for more detailed instructions). ‘Save’ and ‘Apply Settings’.

USB enable

The printer is now ready to use by any computer or devices on the network. To do this you need to follow standard procedure for adding a network printer for your OS. Below is how you do this in Windows 7.

To add a DD-WRT shared Printer in Windows 7

1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers, and select ‘Add a printer’

DD-WRT printer 1

2. Select ‘Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer’.

printer 2

3. Click on ‘Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname’

printer 4

4. Enter your router’s IP address into the ‘Hostname or IP address’ field. Deselect the ‘Query the printer and automatically select the driver to use’ checkbox.

printer 19

Because we have used this port before, Windows adds an extension to the Port name, which is fine

5. Wait for Windows to try to detect your printer. It will probably fail, so click ‘Next’.

printer 6

6. Select your printer make and model from the list.

printer 7

7. Give your printer a name.

printer 8

8. Ensure the ‘Share this printer so that others on your network can find and use it’ box is checked then click ‘Next’.

As our reader Micah has pointed out (see comments), it is better to select ‘Do  not share this printer’ here (then click ‘Next’).

printer 18

9. If you already have a driver for the printer installed then you are fine keeping it.

printer 20

10. ‘Print a test page’ to make sure everything is working properly, the click ‘Finish’ and you are done!

printer 21

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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24 responses to “Sharing your printer with DD-WRT

  1. Doug: This was a great guide and it worked for me on three different, a TP-Link TL-WDr4300, and Asus WL520gu and a TP-link AC1900 Archer C9 (currently using the Archer C9). With the first flash I put on the C9 it worked perfectly, but then I tried a newer dd-wrt build (because dd-wrt is kind of in a developing stage for this relatively newer router) and much to my surprise printing didn’t work with the newer builds! I wound going back to the original build, and everything’s working now. It’s very difficult to try and figure out why some builds work without any problem and others don’t–wonder whether you know anything about this in plain English. I have a post in the Archer C9 thread in the dd-wrt forum (bottom of page 30, post by ‘takeahike’):

    1. Hi Gene,

      Thanks, and that’s a great post about the C9. Development of DD-WRT is both open source (and so relies on the contributions of volunteers) and ongoing. The result is that each new version comes with some new wrinkles. The good news is that in time these will hopefully be ironed out..

      1. Doug: For everyone’s info the build that worked on the Archer C9 was release 28598, 12/24/15, (later builds didn’t even though I found a video where the approach is a little different and could work with later builds–video here: The Asus WL520gu worked with the stock firmware (build and the TP-Link TL-WDR4300 worked with all dd-wrt builds I tried, including a very recent one.

  2. Thank you Douglas, the exposition is clear and concise! Please let me ask two related questions.

    1) Is my understanding correct that a single DD-WRT-flashed router can be used as a print server, storage-sharing (NAS) server and a WiFi router at the same time? I am asking this, as many other articles on the same topic say things like “you can set up you SECOND router to be a print server”.

    2) If I am interested in these three functions (a print server, a NAS server and a WiFi router), which router would you recommend to buy today?
    In particular, does it need to have more than one USB-port (is there any disadvantage to using a USB hub)?
    I do not plan to use the factory firmware, but I do not mind flashing it myself. I do not need more than 300 Mbps, but I would like to have a reliable device.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Dmitri,


      1) One DD-WRT router can perform all theses tasks simultaneously.
      2) You will need enough USB ports for the all devices you want to connect. I’m afraid that I have no idea how DD-WRT routers handles USB hubs (good question though!) We will investigate this at some point in the future.
      3) I can only say that my Asus RT-AC66U is an excellent router (and has 2x USB ports.) Please bear in mind that running VPN is processor intensive, and cheaper routers are simply not up to the task (resulting in slow internet speeds when VPN is used.) This is not an issue if you run VPN through your computer/devices.

      1. Hi Douglas,

        I’ve bought a refurbished Netgear AC1450 and installed there KONG’s version 26500 of DD-WRT (not his latest, but often mentioned as a reliable build).

        It works great as intended: WiFi router + printer sharing + USB storage sharing (via SAMBA). Connecting the devices via a USB hub worked right away.

        Thanks for your help!

  3. Nice post! I have a USB printer working fine now on our internal LAN, but I would like to access it from the outside world using my laptop.

    So my laptop has the drivers for the printer, and works with the printer on the internal LAN; are there settings in DD-WRT so I can access the printer remotely? The printer doesn’t have anything fancy like Cloud Print built-in… Thanks!

  4. Awesome! For ages I’ve been looking at the ddwrt website which just gives jibberish command line instructions, not realising that the process was done when you clicked “enable usb printer”!
    Works great with my old canon i560, no need to upgrade now…

  5. Yeah seriously, that was amazing. I went through so many stupid guides that were SO much more complicated. Making you add Cron jobs and all this scripting crap. I KNEW there had to be a way to just add it so I kept looking till I found this.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Why do you share the printer from the computer? I thought the purpose of this was to take a computer acting as a print server out of the equation. If it is shared through Windows, it is no different than having it connected directly to that computer for other users. Each device should go through the setup process above or it will still rely on that computer.

    1. Hi Micah,

      In this tutorial I am not sharing the printer from the computer, but from the router. Any computer connected to the same WiFi network as the router can print from it, without the need for another computer to be turned on. The second part of the tutorial simply shows how to add that printer so you can print to it from Windows, as that is the OS I run (although I shall soon be migrating to Linux).

      1. That is why I am asking. Step 8, when you select “Share this printer so that others on the network can find and use it,” shares the printer from the windows machine. This results in the printer being shared twice, once from the router, and once from the computer. If clients connect to the wrong one, they will rely on that computer as the print server. I’ve experienced this first hand. Before I took over IT at my school, the copier in the office showed up on the network 5 times when scanning for network printers. One was because it was a network device, and the other four were because four computers that had already been connected were sharing it.

        1. Hi Micah,

          Ah… I see what you mean. Good catch… I have only setup this system from home and did not encounter (or at least notice) this problem. Thanks. I will update the tutorial.

          1. No problem, I only noticed because I had encountered the issue before. Being relatively new to DD-WRT, I have found your guides quite useful.


  7. Thanks, great write-up! Got everything setup but im having one small issue.

    When the printer goes into power save mode, I can no longer print remotely until I physically wake the printer. Is there anyway to automatically wake the printer whenever I send a print job to the printer?

    Is it something to do with the Wake on Lan (WOL) in the DD-WRT GUI?.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Wake on LAN capability allows you to wake up your sleeping, hibernating, or powered-off computer, and as far as I know it is not used for waking up peripherals attached to the router (see here and here). My printer does not have a standby mode, so I can’t say if your issue is printer specific, although I would expect a printer to leave standby mode if sent a print command, even via your router… Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  8. This is the most straightforward method I have seen. Worked like a charm first time. I had all kinds of trouble trying to use telnet and Putty.

    5 thumbs up!

  9. Hi Douglas,

    I am trying to add a printer on my DD-WRT TP-LINK 4300. However both the storage function and printer function do not seem to work. Adding the printer was easy but he mentions that the port is not correct. I am using both a Mac and PC. DO you have any recommendations?



    1. Hi Philip

      In Windows try the following for NAS:
      1) Enable the settings as per our guide and wait 5 minutes (it needs to register itself)
      2) In your file explorer window type and your HD should appear. Right click it and select add drive.
      Hope that works.
      I will see if I can find a work around for your printer.


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