Sunday, December 4, 2022

How To Build Your Own VPN Server

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The Scope Of The Problem

How To Create Your Own VPN Server

Before you can fix this problem, you need to understand it. That means knowing what your ISP can detect in your traffic. HTTPS traffic is already relatively secureor, at least, its content is. Your ISP can’t actually read the encrypted traffic that goes between you and an HTTPS website . However, ISPs do know that you visited that website, when you visited it, how long you stayed there, and how much data went back and forth.

They know this a couple of ways. First, if your website uses Server Name Indication to allow multiple HTTPS sites to be served from a single IP address, the hostname is sent in the clear so that the server knows which certificate to use for the connection. Second, and more importantly, your DNS traffic gives you away. Whether you’re going to or, your computer needs to resolve that domain name to an IP address. That’s done in the clear, meaning it’s easily intercepted by your ISP whether you’re actually using your ISP’s DNS servers or not.

Beyond that, any unencrypted trafficincluding but not limited to HTTP , much peer-to-peer traffic, and morecan be simply edited on-the-fly directly. Which, may I remind you, ISPs have repeatedly demonstrated themselves as perfectly willing to do.

Whats The Difference Between A VPN Server And A VPN Client

The VPN client and the VPN server are the two ends of an encrypted VPN tunnel. A VPN client is the device on which you want to use a VPN connection . A VPN server hosts and delivers the VPN service to your device. To put that into context, ExpressVPN lets you choose from thousands of different IP addresses because it has thousands of servers. Youre kept completely anonymous while connected to its servers. If youre connecting to your home VPN server, youll only be given the IP address of your home network, so youre not as protected. However, if youre using public WiFi, youll be kept anonymous since itll look like youre actually online at home.

Find A Setup Tutorial

If, for some reason, your VPN provider doesn’t offer software for the devices your business uses, check the provider’s website for guides on manual setup. Hopefully, you’ll find the documentation you need. If you don’t, search for other providers’ setup guides that use the same devices.

For example, if your business uses Chromebooks, you can search for tutorials specifically for these devices.

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Make Your Own VPN Server Today

Making your own VPN server at home is a great option if you dont mind the technical challenge. It can be a cheaper alternative to a commercial VPN service, has some privacy benefits, and gives you remote access to your local network. But because its quite time-consuming and requires extensive technical knowledge, its not for everyone.

If youre short on time or not very tech-savvy, I recommend using a reputable VPN service like ExpressVPN. Its easy and quick to set up so its great for beginners. It also protects your privacy, has super-fast speeds, and offers access to geo-restricted content. It even comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can test it out completely risk-free. If youre not impressed you have 30 days to claim a full refund.

Establishing A VPN Server In Windows 10 Using Openvpn

How to create your own private VPN server

Install Open VPN

The first step of this method is downloading the OpenVPN installer for Windows directly from the Open VPN website. When you start the installation, make sure to do the custom installation and select EasyRSA 2 Certificate Management Scripts.

Configure EasyRSA to generate certificates and keys

  • Open the Command prompt as administrator
  • Go to C:/Program Files/OpenVPN/easy-rsa
  • Now we have prepared easyrsa for generating certificates and keys.

    Generating certificate and keys

    The next thing we have to do is to create the server and client certificates and keys. For that, execute the following commands one by one. First, build Certificate authority to sign the other certificates and keys.

    1. ./easyrsa build-ca nopass

    Build certificate and keys for server and clients as follows:

    2. ./easyrsa build-server-full server nopass3. ./easyrsa build-client-full Client1 nopass

    Create Diffie-Hellman parameters

    4. ./easyrsa gen-dh

    After executing these steps, you can find the keys, certificate files, and Diffie-Hellman Parameters in the following folders.

    C:/Program Files/OpenVPN/easy-rsa/pki ca.crt and dh.pem

    C:/Program Files/OpenVPN/easy-rsa/pki/private server and client keys

    C:/Program Files/OpenVPN/easy-rsa/pki/issued server and client certificates

    Configure OpenVPN server

  • Make a copy of the client.ovpn file located in C:/Program Files/OpenVPN\/sample-config
  • Edit the file as you required and save it in the config folder.
  • Connect to the VPN server

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    How To Set Up A Personal VPN Server On Digitalocean

    One of the triggers for writing this article was seeing some online claims that it is quick and easy to set up a VPN Server on a cloud service. With people claiming you could have a VPN Server up and running in 10 minutes for only a few dollars a month , we thought we should investigate.

    What we found was not encouraging.

    The approaches we found a FOSS VPN Server called Algo. Algo seems to be a great software and works as advertised. It provides encrypted communications between your devices, and the Algo VPN Server running on Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, Microsoft Azure, and other similar services.

    But it doesnt give you anonymity, and it doesnt support the commonly-used OpenVPN protocol.

    The problems come in with fast and easy claims. Unless you are a computer tech with Linux experience, setting up Algo isnt easy or fast. It takes around 20 steps, many of which are done on the Linux command line. We had an experienced engineer set up Algo on DigitalOcean, and it took about 45 minutes.

    To give you an idea of what you will need to deal with if you decide to install Algo on a cloud service, here are selected screenshots of the process.

    First, you need to set up an account at the service :

    Clicking the Get Started with a Droplet gave us the options shown in the next screenshot. We Ubuntu 18.04 by clicking the relevant button and selecting the plan we wanted:

    With all that out of the way we launched the Algo installer, and selected the DigitalOcean option:

    Upload Ssl Cert File To Openvpn Access Server

    Now your SSL cert is ready to use, so lets use it on your OpenVPN Access Server.

    The tricky part about using Azure SSL is, Azure SSL is Microsoft IIS-compatible, but OpenVPN requires Apache-compatible certificate. This means you need to do some format conversion.

    In Azure Portal, when you go to the Key Vault you created for the SSL cert, you can export the cert as a .pfx file an IIS-compatible cert file.

    But if you go login to the Web Admin UI of your VPN server, and go to Web Server configuration tab, you will see that you need 3 different files to validate an SSL certificate.

    This means you need to use OpenSSL or other tools of your choice to extract these 3 files from the .pfx file you downloaded from Azure.

    You VPN VM is a linux machine, so you can use it to run the following commands.

    Extracting the CA Bundle file:

    openssl pkcs12 -in NAME_OF_PFX_FILE.pfx -cacerts -nokeys -out ca_bundle.pem

    Extracting the Certificate file:

    openssl pkcs12 -in NAME_OF_PFX_FILE.pfx -nokeys -clcerts -out certificate.pem

    Extracting the Private Key file :

    openssl pkcs12 -in NAME_OF_PFX_FILE.pfx -nocerts -nodes -out private_key.pem

    Then upload these 3 files to the corresponding places in the Web Admin UI, and click on validate. You should see the following success message on that Web Admin UI.

    Now, click on save to save your changes.

    You may need to re-start the VPN server to see the SSL cert working, by running these commands from the SSH session:

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    Set Up A VPN Server On Your Router

    This method involves replacing your routers operating system with advanced firmware. The most popular firmware is DD-WRT, while Tomato and OpenWRT are also prominent. This process is called flashing and it lets you create and host a VPN server on a router. Just note that this method can be quite time-consuming, so you may want to skip the manual set up and try ExpressVPN instead.

    Since theres more room for mistakes, this method is pretty risky, so be warned. Also, make sure your router can support the firmware first, or else it might break your router. If youre unsure, then you can check the supported routers database for each firmware. Doing the background research here is crucial.

    To flash your router, follow these steps:

  • Check compatibility and download. Ensure your router supports DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT firmware, or purchase a router with the firmware pre-installed. Then, download the compatible firmware.
  • Connect your computer to the router. Use an ethernet cable to connect the computer and router by plugging it into their respective LAN ports.
  • Open the router upgrade settings. Open your browser, enter your routers internal IP address , and log in to your router. Then, go to your settings and find the router update or upgrade section.
  • Flash your firmware. Every router has specific instructions for this step, so please refer to those. This is crucial because getting it wrong can break the router.
  • Restart and log in. Restart your router and then log in again.
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    How To Turn Your Macos Or Raspberry Pi Computer Into A VPN Server

    Since macOS doesnt natively support OpenVPN, youll need to use third-party software such as Tunnelblick or Homebrew in order to set up a VPN server on your device.

    Once youve set up either Tunnelblick or Homebrew with OpenVPN, its much the same as setting up a VPN server on Windows.

    If youre looking for a less cumbersome device to use as a VPN server, you can set one up on a Raspberry Pi.

    Read PiMyLifeUps step-by-step guide to setting up a VPN server on a Raspberry Pi using an install script called PiVPN.

    Use Other Devices As VPN Servers

    If you dont have an OpenVPN-compatible router and you dont want to buy one, you can host a VPN server on another device such as your Windows computer or macOS device but, like flashing a router, its a complex process.

    Bear in mind that the device used as the VPN server needs to be switched on at all times.

    If the device is turned off , you wont be able to connect through the VPN, which is a big problem if youre far away from home and unable to switch it back on.

    Before making the VPN server you will need to set up port forwarding on your router so that the server will be accessible from the internet.

    Our instructions for changing your NAT Type cover accessing and setting up port forwarding on your router.

    Well teach you how to set up a Windows device, as well as macOS and Raspberry Pi.

    If youre a Linux user, you can save yourself a great deal of effort and use one of the full-GUI VPNs for Linux we recommend here.

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    Connecting To Your Own VPN Server

    Now youre done with the hard part of setting up your VPN server. From here on out, the process is somewhat similar to using a commercial VPN provider.

    • If you set up a VPN server in the cloud with Algo, follow their instructions to connect using your devices. Its usually as simple as installing an app and scanning a QR code. Heres how you can display QR codes from your Cloud Shell instance:
    • After setting up the server, run /usr/bin/python -mSimpleHTTPServer 8080. Afterwards, in the upper-right corner of the Cloud Shell window, click Web Preview, then Preview on Port 8080. Youll see a new tab open with a list of links. Click configs, then your servers IP address, then WireGuard, then the appropriate .png file.
  • Connecting to your routers VPN depends on the tunneling protocol you used. If you went with OpenVPN, youll need software installed on your client device. Keep track of the usernames and passwords you selected when you set up the server.
  • How To Make Your Own VPN Server 4 In

    How to Set Up Your Own Home VPN Server

    Before setting up your VPN server, check if your IP is static or dynamic . If its dynamic, youll have to set up a DDNS , which is a service that maps domain names to dynamic IP addresses. This way, you wont have to re-configure your VPN server every time your IP address changes. You can find instructions for setting up DDNS on your router providers website.

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    Two: Create The Server Config

    You need to make a .conf file in the /etc/wireguard directory. You can even have multiple VPNs running at the same time using different ports.

    Paste the following code in to the new file:

    sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
    Address = = 51820# use the server PrivateKeyPrivateKey = GPAtRSECRETLONGPRIVATEKEYB0J/GDbNQg6V0s=# you can have as many peers as you wish# remember to replace the values below with the PublicKey of the peerPublicKey = NwsVexamples4sBURwFl6HVchellou6o63r2B0s=AllowedIPs = = NwsexampleNbw+s4sBnotFl6HrealxExu6o63r2B0s=AllowedIPs =

    Three: Create The Client Config

    First install Wireguard on your client machine, either the same way on Linux or through an app store if you’re using Windows, macOS, Android, or iPhone.

    If you used an online-key-generator or QR script in Step One, then you can connect your phone by taking a picture of the QR code.

    Once WireGuard is installed on the client, configure it using these values:

    # Replace the PrivateKey value with the one from your client interfaceAddress = = 51820PrivateKey = CNNjIexAmple4A6NMkrDt4iyKeYD1BxSstzer49b8EI=#use the VPN server's PublicKey and the Endpoint IP of the cloud instancePublicKey = WbdIAnOTher1208Uwu9P17ckEYxI1OFAPZ8Ftu9kRQw=AllowedIPs = =

    There are many optional add-ons that you might want depending on your use-case, such as specifying DNS or pre-shared keys for an extra layer of security.

    Start up the client in same way as the server if you are on Linux or through the application itself on other systems.

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    How Are The Apps

    Amnezia doesn’t have any mobile VPN apps right now, and that’s a real problem. But there are desktop apps available for Windows and Mac. I grabbed the PC build and it turned out to be really easy to use.

    Mostly I’d just click the Connect/ Disconnect button to, well, connect and disconnect. Although there’s also the option to enable the VPN for specific websites only

    If you really know what you’re doing then there’s plenty of tweakery to be found in the Settings box, too: protocol choices , DNS leak protection, UDP/TCP options, the ability to launch the VPN when your device starts, and an option to share access to your device with others.

    I can’t say I loved Amnezia’s apps, especially with the lack of mobile support, but I didn’t hate them, either. Amnezia’s apps had more power than I expected, and I’ve tested many commercial VPNs with far worse products.

    Build Your Own Dedicated VPN Server

    How to Make Your Own Free VPN Server in AWS (OpenVPN)

    Another option is to simply install the VPN server software on your own computer. To do this, you will need to ensure that the device in question is always running. You cant just set up a VPN on your daily laptop or desktop computer that you shut down every night! You can also use a Raspberry Pi to build a low-power VPN server.

    Both Windows and Apple operating systems have built-in software that can be used to set up VPNs. It should be noted, however, that these options are not as powerful or as secure as other VPN software that is available.

    There is also third-party VPN server software like OpenVPN that can work on a range of operating systems, including Linux.

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    Is It Free To Set Up A Home VPN Server

    Its possible to set up your own VPN server for free, but it depends on how you set up the VPN server.

    If you want to set up a home-made VPN server on a router you might need to buy new hardware if your current router doesnt support OpenVPN.

    Routers with built-in VPN server capabilities can cost upwards of $100.

    Its a similar story for cloud-based servers. Youll have to pay a monthly cost to rent them from a third-party provider.

    However, if you want to set up a VPN server on a router or device you already own, such as a Windows computer, its completely free.

    If youre not comfortable setting up a VPN server at home its a pretty tricky process and you dont want to spend money on a commercial VPN, take a look at the best free VPN services.

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