Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are great for securing networks, providing remote access to local resources, or for accessing local services when abroad. But VPNs can be difficult to set up on the server, and to integrate into client workstations and mobile devices. OpenVPN, one of the most popular open source VPN solutions, is tricky to set up and administer, and it is easy to make mistakes that reduce or eliminate the security of an OpenVPN installation.
But thanks to OpenVPN Access Server, setting up a VPN is now significantly easier. Not only does OpenVPN AS include OpenVPN itself, but it also ships an administrative server for user and access management, and a client-facing site to help VPN users get connected. In this guide we’ll install OpenVPN AS on your Ubuntu server.
You’ll need to download the latest OpenVPN AS package for Ubuntu 16.04. Packages can be found at https://openvpn.net/index.php/access-server/download-openvpn-as-sw.html.
Having downloaded the correct package, it must now be installed. Here we’ll take care of that.
dpkg -i openvpn-as-2.1.2-Ubuntu16.amd_64.deb
You’ll want to change the password for the openvpn user so it is unique. Without performing this step, anyone familiar with the default OpenVPN AS password can use your server without authorization. Pick a good password and keep it stored in a secure place.
You can now access the OpenVPN AS interface with the username “openvpn” and the password you just set.
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with OpenVPN AS’ various web interfaces. Start with the administrative UI available at http://your_ip:943/admin.
There is also the client UI, available at http://your_ip:943/.
You now have your own VPN server ready to go. Connecting to this instance from your desktop or phone will make all connections appear to originate from the remote VPN server, and is a great way to secure traffic or manage private access to internal resources. If you have any friends who struggle to set up their own VPNs, be sure to share this article with them so they too can enjoy the benefits of a solid, secure setup.