OpenVPN server Karmic


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OpenVPN server Karmic


One computer on a LAN can be designated as a VPN server to allow encrypted traffic to pass between remote clients and the computers on the LAN (through the VPN server portal). OpenVPN uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates when establishing an encrypted VPN tunnel between two nodes (the server and the client).

This hardware requirements of a dedicated VPN server depend on the number of simultaneous communication tunnels that are anticipated. A very modest computer can fulfill the needs of a VPN server if less than 10 VPN connections are anticipated. A VPN server with dozens of tunnels may benefit from greater RAM and CPU speed. Of course, the speed of the ethernet connection is the limiting factor, so robust networking cards are very important (Gigabit speeds are desirable, at least).

Using a bridge interface

An OpenVPN server often uses a bridge interface. One network connection (an ethernet card, for example) connects to the WAN (Internet) through which the VPN connection is made, and a second network connection (a second ethernet card, for example) connects to the LAN. The traffic between these two connections is "bridged." See Network Interface Bridging for more details.

OpenVPN Server Installation

  • Install OpenVPN:
sudo apt-get install openvpn

Server certificates

  • Create the OpenVPN server certificates.
  • Copy the easy-rsa directory to /etc/openvpn. This will ensure that any changes to the scripts will not be lost when the package is updated.
sudo mkdir /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/
sudo cp -r /usr/share/doc/openvpn/examples/easy-rsa/2.0/ /etc/openvpn/
  • Edit /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/vars and adjust the variables for your environment:
export KEY_CITY="MyCity"
export KEY_ORG="MyCompany"
export KEY_EMAIL=""
  • Run the scripts to create the server certificates:
cd /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/easy-rsa
source vars
./pkitool --initca
./pkitool --server server
cd keys
openvpn --genkey --secret ta.key
sudo cp server.crt server.key ca.crt dh1024.pem ta.key /etc/openvpn/

Client Certificates

  • A VPN clients requires a certificate in order to authenticate itself to the VPN server.
  • Create the certificate:
cd /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/
source vars
./pkitool hostname
Note: Replace hostname with the actual hostname of the client machine that will be connecting to the VPN.
  • Copy the certificate files that have been created to the client:
  • /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/hostname.ovpn
  • /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/ca.crt
  • /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/hostname.crt
  • /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/hostname.key
  • /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/ta.key
Note: Use the files that correspond to your client machine's hostname.

Server Configuration

  • On the OpenVPN server, modify /etc/openvpn/server.conf from the example file:
sudo cp /usr/share/doc/openvpn/examples/sample-config-files/server.conf.gz /etc/openvpn/
sudo gzip -d /etc/openvpn/server.conf.gz
  • Edit etc/openvpn/server.conf:
sudo nano /etc/openvpn/server.conf
  • Changing the following options to resemble:
dev tap0
push "route"
push "dhcp-option DNS"
push "dhcp-option DOMAIN"
tls-auth ta.key 0 # This file is secret
user nobody
group nogroup
local: is the IP address of the bridge interface.
server-bridge: needed when the configuration uses bridging. The portion is the bridge interface and mask. The IP range is the range of IP addresses that will be assigned to clients.
push: directives to add networking options for clients.
user and group: configure which user and group the openvpn daemon executes as.
Replace all IP addresses and domain names above with those of your network.
  • Create helper scripts to add the tap interface to the bridge.
  • Create /etc/openvpn/
sudo nano /etc/openvpn/
Add the lines:
/sbin/ifconfig $DEV mtu $MTU promisc up
/usr/sbin/brctl addif $BR $DEV
  • Create /etc/openvpn/
sudo nano /etc/openvpn/
Add the lines:
/usr/sbin/brctl delif $BR $DEV
/sbin/ifconfig $DEV down
  • Make the scripts executable:
sudo chmod 755 /etc/openvpn/
sudo chmod 755 /etc/openvpn/
  • Restart OpenVpn:
sudo /etc/init.d/openvpn restart

Client Configuration

  • Copy the example client configuration file:

sudo cp /usr/share/doc/openvpn/examples/sample-config-files/client.conf /etc/openvpn

  • Edit the client configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/openvpn/client.conf 
  • Change it to resemble:
dev tap
remote 1194
cert hostname.crt
key hostname.key
tls-auth ta.key 1
Note: Replace with the hostname of your VPN server, and hostname.* with the actual certificate and key filenames that correspond to the client.
  • Restart OpenVpn:
sudo /etc/init.d/openvpn restart
  • Connect the VPN client to the remote LAN through the OpenVPN server.

Other resources

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