Setting up a VPN server on your Ubuntu system can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up your Ubuntu system as a VPN server using OpenVPN, a robust and highly flexible VPN software that uses all of the encryption, authentication, and certification features of the OpenSSL library.
Setting up Ubuntu as a VPN server is relatively easy using OpenVPN. Simply install OpenVPN, configure it with the desired settings in the server.conf file, start the service, adjust the server’s networking configuration, set up a firewall, and you’re done!
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that allows you to create a secure connection over a less-secure network between your computer and the internet. It protects your data from interception by working in a way that it creates a secure, encrypted â€œtunnelâ€ over the internet.
While there are many options for setting up a VPN server on Ubuntu, OpenVPN provides a balance between security, performance, and ease of use. It’s open-source, which means it’s regularly updated to keep up with any security vulnerabilities.
Before you start, you need an Ubuntu server that you have root access to. It is also recommended to have a basic understanding of how terminal works.
Step 1: Install OpenVPN
Open your terminal and update your server’s package lists with the following command:
sudo apt-get update
Then, install OpenVPN using the command:
sudo apt-get install openvpn
Step 2: Configure OpenVPN
After installing OpenVPN, it’s time to configure it. OpenVPN configurations are stored in the ‘/etc/openvpn’ directory. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll create a new configuration file named ‘server.conf’:
sudo nano /etc/openvpn/server.conf
In this file, you can specify the parameters for your VPN server. Here’s an example configuration:
port 1194 proto udp dev tun ca ca.crt cert server.crt key server.key dh dh2048.pem server 10.8.0.0 255.255.255.0 ifconfig-pool-persist ipp.txt push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp" push "dhcp-option DNS 126.96.36.199" push "dhcp-option DNS 188.8.131.52" keepalive 10 120 comp-lzo user nobody group nogroup persist-key persist-tun status openvpn-status.log verb 3
Save the file and exit the editor.
Step 3: Start OpenVPN
Now, you can start the OpenVPN service with the following command:
sudo systemctl start openvpn@server
To make sure OpenVPN starts on boot, use the following command:
sudo systemctl enable openvpn@server
Step 4: Adjust the Server Networking Configuration
To ensure that the traffic is being routed correctly through your VPN server, you need to modify the server’s networking configuration. You can do this by editing the ‘/etc/sysctl.conf’ file:
sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
Find the line that says ‘#net.ipv4.ip_forward=1’ and remove the ‘#’ to uncomment this line:
Save the file and exit the editor. Then, apply the changes with the following command:
sudo sysctl -p
Step 5: Set Up a Firewall for Your VPN
Setting up a firewall will help protect your VPN server. Ubuntu uses ‘ufw’ or ‘Uncomplicated Firewall’ for managing a netfilter firewall. Enable the ‘ufw’ firewall with the following command:
sudo ufw enable
Then, allow SSH and OpenVPN through the firewall:
sudo ufw allow ssh sudo ufw allow 1194/udp
Congratulations! You have successfully set up your Ubuntu system as a VPN server. This will allow you to securely access your network from anywhere, as long as you have the OpenVPN client installed on your device. Remember, a VPN server is a great way to increase your privacy and security while online. However, it’s not a replacement for other protective measures like using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and keeping your system updated.
Yes, you can set up a VPN server on any version of Ubuntu as long as you have root access to the server.
No, you don’t need a dedicated server. You can set up a VPN server on any Ubuntu system as long as you have root access to it.
Yes, you can use a different VPN software if you prefer. However, this guide specifically covers setting up a VPN server using OpenVPN.
Yes, OpenVPN is considered to be a secure VPN software. It uses encryption, authentication, and certification features of the OpenSSL library to ensure the security of your data.
Yes, once you have set up your VPN server, you can securely access your network from anywhere as long as you have the OpenVPN client installed on your device.
It is recommended to have a static IP address for your VPN server to ensure consistent access. However, it is possible to set up a VPN server with a dynamic IP address using dynamic DNS services.
Yes, a VPN server can help you bypass geo-restrictions by masking your IP address and making it appear as if you are accessing the internet from a different location.
Yes, using a VPN server on public Wi-Fi networks can help secure your connection and protect your data from potential eavesdropping or interception.
Yes, you can connect multiple devices to your VPN server. Each device will need to have the OpenVPN client installed and configured to connect to the server.
No, setting up a VPN server is a great way to enhance your privacy and security online, but it is not a replacement for other protective measures such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and keeping your system updated.