install openvpn

Installing OpenVPN on Linux is an important step for individuals and businesses looking to secure their network communications and access remote resources. OpenVPN is an open-source VPN software that provides a robust and flexible solution for creating secure, encrypted connections between devices, regardless of their location. Linux, on the other hand, is a popular operating system that is known for its stability, security, and customizability. Combining OpenVPN and Linux can offer a powerful and secure solution for your networking needs.

Before diving into the installation process, it is essential to understand the basics of OpenVPN and the required preparations. This includes selecting the right Linux distribution, gathering server and client credentials, and ensuring that your system has all the necessary prerequisites in place. By following a detailed installation guide and making necessary configurations afterward, users can expect to have a strong VPN connection set up for their use.

Key Takeaways

  • OpenVPN and Linux offer a powerful, secure networking solution for remote access and communication.
  • Be prepared with the right Linux distribution and the necessary credentials before beginning the installation process.
  • Follow a detailed installation guide and make proper configurations to ensure a strong VPN connection on your Linux system.

Basics of OpenVPN and Linux

OpenVPN is a popular and flexible VPN service that allows users to create a secure and encrypted connection between networks. It works with various operating systems, including Linux, and provides a reliable solution for setting up a virtual private network.

Linux is a versatile and open-source operating system, which makes it an ideal choice for implementing VPN solutions. As a result, many users tend to configure OpenVPN on their Linux-based devices to create a private network. The combination of OpenVPN and Linux ensures a highly customizable and secure VPN experience for those who value their online privacy.

Installing and configuring OpenVPN on a Linux distribution involves multiple steps. First, you need to install the necessary OpenVPN packages and dependencies via the command line or package manager. Ensure that your Linux distribution is up-to-date and compatible with OpenVPN before proceeding.

Once the required packages are installed, you need to set up the OpenVPN server configuration. This process includes generating cryptographic keys and certificates to authenticate both the server and clients in the network. The OpenVPN server on Ubuntu 20.04 guide provides a comprehensive walkthrough for setting up the OpenVPN server efficiently.

For better security and performance, you can also configure advanced settings like network routing, encryption algorithms, and client-specific access policies. These configurations provide additional layers of security to your VPN service and ensure proper traffic flow within the private network.

With OpenVPN and Linux, managing your VPN server is relatively straightforward. You have complete control over the server’s settings, configurations, and access rules. This control allows you to tailor your VPN service according to your specific needs or requirements. Moreover, the vast Linux community and extensive OpenVPN documentation make it easier to troubleshoot and resolve issues that may arise during the setup and maintenance of your VPN server.

Preparation Before Installation

Before installing OpenVPN on your Linux system, it’s essential to gather some necessary information and ensure the proper setup of your environment. First, you’ll need to know the IP address of the VPN server you want to connect to, as well as the port number used for the connection. This information is typically provided by the VPN service provider or network administrator.

When choosing a Linux distribution for your OpenVPN installation, consider using popular options like Debian or Ubuntu. These distributions have extensive community support and documentation, which can help you throughout the installation process. Remember to update your Linux distribution to the latest version to ensure compatibility and security.

To begin the process, make sure you have access to a client machine running a compatible Linux distribution. This machine will be used to connect to the VPN server using OpenVPN. It’s crucial that you have administrative privileges on the client machine, as the installation and configuration of OpenVPN require root access.

Next, open a terminal window on your client machine to run the necessary commands for installation. For Debian and Ubuntu distributions, this can be achieved with the pre-installed terminal application. Ensure that you have a stable internet connection to download the required packages and dependencies.

During the installation, you may need to configure the client’s IP address, port, and other settings depending on your VPN server’s requirements. Pay close attention to these configurations, as they play a crucial role in ensuring a secure and reliable connection.

In summary, when preparing to install OpenVPN on a Linux system, make sure to:

  • Gather the IP address and port information for your VPN server
  • Choose a compatible Linux distribution, like Debian or Ubuntu
  • Update your Linux distribution to the latest version
  • Use a client machine with administrative privileges
  • Open a terminal window for running installation commands

Installing OpenVPN on Linux

Installing OpenVPN on a Linux system is quite simple and can be done by following the appropriate steps depending on your Linux distribution.

Debian and Ubuntu

For Debian and Ubuntu based systems, you can install OpenVPN using the apt-get package manager. Begin by updating your package list and then installing the OpenVPN package:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openvpn

Accept any dependencies necessary during the installation process.

Fedora, CentOS, and Red Hat

For Fedora, CentOS, and Red Hat distributions, you can use the yum or dnf package manager to install OpenVPN:

sudo dnf install epel-release
sudo dnf install openvpn

Alternatively, on older CentOS and Red Hat systems, you can use yum:

sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install openvpn

Compiling from Source

It’s also possible to install OpenVPN from source on any Linux distribution. To do this, first download the OpenVPN source code, extract the archive, and navigate to the top-level directory:

tar xfz openvpn-[version].tar.gz
cd openvpn-[version]

Now, configure, compile, and install the software:

sudo make install

Configuring the OpenVPN Service

After the installation, you’ll need to configure the OpenVPN service. This involves setting up configuration files and certificates, which may vary depending on your specific requirements. You can start the OpenVPN service once everything is set up:

sudo systemctl start openvpn

To enable the OpenVPN service to start automatically at boot:

sudo systemctl enable openvpn

Now you have successfully installed and configured OpenVPN on a Linux system. Remember to check the official documentation for specific details on setting up a client-server VPN using OpenVPN.

Configuration of OpenVPN

Setting up an OpenVPN server on Linux involves configuring the server, creating the necessary certificates, and configuring clients to connect to the VPN. This process can be simplified by following a set of clear steps and adhering to some best practices.

The first step in configuring OpenVPN is to install the required packages. For Ubuntu, this can be done using the package manager with the command: sudo apt install openvpn. You can go through detailed instructions on setting up OpenVPN on Ubuntu here.

Once the packages are installed, you’ll need to create a Certificate Authority (CA) and generate certificates for the server and clients. This process ensures secure communication between the server and clients. Detailed instructions for certificate generation are available in this guide.

Next, create the OpenVPN configuration file, usually named server.conf and stored in /etc/openvpn. The configuration file contains essential information such as the listening port, protocol, key, and TLS settings, along with the VPN configuration like the subnet and routing.

A typical OpenVPN configuration file includes settings such as:

port 1194
proto udp
dev tun
ca ca.crt
cert server.crt
key server.key
dh dh.pem
keepalive 10 120
cipher AES-256-CBC
user nobody
group nogroup
status openvpn-status.log
verb 3

Remember to configure your router to forward the necessary ports and protocols to your OpenVPN server. This typically involves setting up a Port Forwarding rule in your router’s configuration panel.

Finally, configure the clients to connect to the VPN server. Each client requires a unique configuration file, which includes the client certificate, key, and CA certificate. The client configuration file should point to the server’s public IP address and use the same protocol and port specified in the server configuration file.

With the correct configuration in place, start the OpenVPN server using the command sudo systemctl start openvpn@server and enable it to run at boot time with sudo systemctl enable openvpn@server. Clients can now connect to the OpenVPN server using their respective configuration files.

By following these steps and using the provided resources, you can set up a secure and functional OpenVPN server on Linux and successfully configure clients to connect to it.

Authentication Process

The authentication process in OpenVPN for Linux relies on a combination of certificates, certificate authority (CA), and various encryption mechanisms. This ensures a secure connection between clients and servers.

Certificates are essential components in the authentication process. In OpenVPN, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used, which is built upon OpenSSL. PKI consists of a pair of keys: a public key and a private key. The key pair is generated using the easy-rsa tool bundled with OpenVPN.

Easy-RSA is a powerful tool for managing certificates and helps set up a certificate authority (CA). The CA is responsible for signing and issuing certificates, ensuring the authenticity of clients and servers.

For every OpenVPN connection, a client certificate is required, which is signed by the CA. This ensures a secure and validated connection between the client and server.

Key exchange is another crucial aspect of the authentication process. OpenVPN relies on establishing a secure channel using Diffie-Hellman (DH) parameters, allowing clients and servers to agree on a shared encryption key. This process enables secure communication without the need to exchange the encryption key directly.

By combining certificate-based authentication and secure key exchange, OpenVPN provides a robust and secure way to authenticate clients and servers in a Linux environment.

VPN Connection

To set up a VPN connection using OpenVPN on a Linux operating system, you will need a profile file with the .ovpn file extension. This file contains the specific details necessary for connecting to an OpenVPN server or service. Your IT department or VPN provider should supply this file, which can also be obtained from a URL if using Access Server or OpenVPN Cloud.

Once you have the profile file, save it to your Linux operating system. You can now import the file by entering the following command in your terminal:

openvpn3 config-import --config ${client.ovpn}

With the profile imported, it’s time to connect your Linux client to the VPN server. To start a new VPN session, enter the following command:

openvpn3 session-start --config ${client.ovpn}

This command connects your system to the specified VPN server using the configuration parameters in the .ovpn profile. Your location will be masked, and your Internet traffic will be encrypted, ensuring privacy and security.

To verify that your Linux client is connected to the VPN server, you can check the assigned IP address by running the following command:


If your VPN connection is active, the returned IP address should be different from your actual IP address, indicating that your location is being masked.

To disconnect from the VPN server, run the following command:

openvpn3 session-manage --config ${client.ovpn} --disconnect

Remember to disconnect from the VPN server when it is no longer required to prevent unnecessary consumption of system resources.

In conclusion, setting up a VPN connection on a Linux system using OpenVPN is a straightforward process that involves importing a profile file, connecting to the VPN server with the appropriate command, and managing the VPN session as necessary. This ensures a secure and private connection to the Internet, protecting your system and data from potential threats.

Working with Firewall and DNS

When setting up an OpenVPN server on Linux, it’s important to properly configure the firewall and DNS settings for secure and efficient connectivity. In this section, we will discuss the key aspects of working with the firewall and DNS while setting up an OpenVPN server on Linux.

To begin with, ensure that your server is secured with a firewall. Many Linux distributions come with a built-in firewall, and you can enable it depending on your specific Linux distribution. For example, Ubuntu 20.04 server can have its firewall enabled by following the Initial Server Setup with Ubuntu 20.04 tutorial guide.

Once your server’s firewall is enabled, it’s critical to create the appropriate rules allowing OpenVPN traffic to pass through. OpenVPN typically uses UDP or TCP port 1194 by default, so make sure to open this port in your firewall settings. Additionally, ensure that your Linux distribution’s networking is configured to allow the necessary traffic between the OpenVPN server and clients.

Moving on to DNS, proper configuration of DNS settings is crucial for ensuring that clients can resolve domain names correctly when connected to the VPN. One method to achieve this is by setting up a local DNS resolver on your OpenVPN server and pushing the DNS server IP address to the clients. This can be done by adding the following line to the OpenVPN server configuration file:

push "dhcp-option DNS <dns_server_ip_address>"

This line pushes the specified DNS server’s IP address to the clients, ensuring that they use it for DNS resolution while connected to the VPN. Replace <dns_server_ip_address> with the actual IP address of your DNS server.

Lastly, remember to configure the DNS settings on the client side as well. For example, in Windows, you can add the following lines to the client configuration file to force the use of the configured DNS server:


The first line forces Windows to prefer the configured DNS server over any other it may have received from DHCP, while the second line blocks any DNS requests outside the VPN connection.

In conclusion, correctly configuring the firewall and DNS settings during the OpenVPN server setup on Linux is crucial for achieving a secure and functional VPN connection. By following these best practices, you will ensure that your clients can resolve domain names properly and securely access the resources available through the VPN.

Security measures with OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a popular VPN solution due to its flexibility and strong security features. In order to ensure a secure implementation, consider the following security measures when installing and configuring OpenVPN on a Linux server.

One of the primary security aspects of OpenVPN is its use of encryption. OpenVPN employs the OpenSSL library to provide various encryption algorithms, such as AES, Blowfish, and DES. When setting up OpenVPN, it’s essential to select a strong encryption algorithm and key length to protect your data from eavesdropping and unauthorized access.

OpenVPN also relies on Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure communication between the client and server. By using TLS, OpenVPN ensures the authenticity, confidentiality, and integrity of transmitted data. To further strengthen the security of TLS, you can implement tls-auth, which adds an additional HMAC signature to the TLS handshake process. With tls-auth, you can increase the difficulty of launching a denial-of-service (DoS) or man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on your OpenVPN server.

SSL/TLS certificates are another critical component of OpenVPN’s security. These certificates authenticate the server and client to each other, ensuring that only authorized clients can connect to the server. When setting up OpenVPN, make sure to generate a strong certificate and key pair for the server, as well as individual certificates for each client. Additionally, it’s recommended to install an SSL certificate for the web interface, as this will enhance the security of the connection between the server and the client.

To further boost the security of your OpenVPN installation, follow other best practices such as regularly updating your Access Server, securing the root and administrative user accounts, and limiting access to the server resources for authenticated clients only.

By taking these measures and maintaining a consistent focus on security, you can be confident in the effectiveness and protection offered by your OpenVPN server on a Linux system.

Using OpenVPN GUI

The OpenVPN GUI is a graphical front-end for managing and using OpenVPN connections on Linux. It provides an easy-to-use interface that allows users to connect and disconnect quickly from OpenVPN servers. The GUI runs as a system tray applet, making it conveniently accessible from the desktop without opening any terminal windows.

Many Linux distributions already include OpenVPN GUI in their repositories. To install it on a Debian-based system (such as Ubuntu), you can use the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install openvpn-gui

After installing the OpenVPN GUI, you need to configure it with the required settings and credentials to connect to your preferred VPN server. This usually involves importing the configuration files provided by your VPN service provider. These configuration files typically have a .ovpn extension and may include other associated files such as certificates. To import a configuration file, right-click on the OpenVPN GUI icon in the system tray applet, select “Import file,” and navigate to the .ovpn file on your system.

Once the configuration files are imported, you can establish a connection to the VPN server by clicking on the OpenVPN GUI icon in the system tray applet and selecting “Connect.” The GUI will prompt you for any necessary authentication details, such as a username and password, depending on your VPN service provider’s setup. After successful authentication, the OpenVPN connection will be established, and the GUI icon will indicate the active status.

If you need to disconnect from the VPN server, simply right-click on the OpenVPN GUI system tray applet and select “Disconnect.” Reconnecting is as easy as choosing the desired server profile and clicking “Connect” again.

In summary, the OpenVPN GUI is a convenient tool available for Linux users to manage and use OpenVPN connections without typing commands or editing configuration files manually. With its intuitive interface and easy access via the system tray applet, you can securely connect to your preferred VPN server with just a few clicks, whether you are running Ubuntu, Fedora, or other popular Linux distributions.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When installing OpenVPN on Linux, you may encounter some common issues that can be resolved through proper troubleshooting. In this section, we will address some of these problems and provide solutions.

1. Error during installation:

While installing OpenVPN, you might face errors related to missing dependencies or conflicts with other packages. Make sure to update your Linux distribution to the latest version and then try installing OpenVPN again. Additionally, check for any dependencies listed in the OpenVPN Community HOWTO and ensure they are properly installed.

2. Difficulty connecting to the server:

There could be various reasons for not being able to establish a connection with the OpenVPN server, such as network connectivity or configuration issues. To resolve this, try the following steps:

  • Ensure that your network and internet connection is stable and working properly.
  • Verify that the server configuration file is accurate and contains the correct server address and port.
  • Check your firewall settings and ensure that OpenVPN traffic is allowed to pass through.

3. Script-related issues:

Scripts are often used to automate various tasks in OpenVPN configurations, such as setting up certificates and keys. If you encounter issues related to scripts, consider the following:

  • Ensure that the scripts are compatible with your Linux distribution and have the proper permissions to execute.
  • Check for syntax errors or inconsistencies in the script code.
  • If you are using custom scripts, verify their functionality and debug them if necessary.

4. Authentication errors:

Authentication issues might occur if there are discrepancies in your certificate, key files, or username/password credentials. To fix this, verify and double-check the following:

  • Ensure that you are using correct and valid certificate and key files.
  • Confirm that your username and password credentials are accurate and up-to-date.
  • If using a VPN service, verify that your account is active and in good standing.

If the issues persist after trying the suggested troubleshooting steps, consult the OpenVPN Troubleshooting Guide for more in-depth solutions and assistance.

Final Thoughts on OpenVPN and Linux

OpenVPN is a widely used VPN (virtual private network) solution, and Linux is a popular platform for hosting OpenVPN servers. Installing and configuring OpenVPN on Linux is a straightforward process as long as you follow the right steps and use reliable sources for reference, such as the OpenVPN 3 Client for Linux guide.

Linux offers many advantages for running OpenVPN servers. The flexibility and performance of Linux operating systems make it an excellent choice for hosting VPN servers. Furthermore, Linux is open-source, allowing for customization and adaptability to specific server requirements.

Before diving into setting up an OpenVPN server on Linux, it’s essential to understand the necessary components, such as configuration files, enabling routing, and proper ownership for files, as mentioned in’s guide. When following the right installation and setup steps, an OpenVPN server on Linux can provide a robust and reliable solution for secure remote connectivity.

Using OpenVPN on Linux ensures your online data remains private and secure. With security risks continually increasing, the protection offered by a VPN is critical for maintaining your digital privacy. When OpenVPN and Linux are correctly set up, users can encrypt their network traffic, bypass geographical restrictions, and securely access their remote resources.

In conclusion, OpenVPN and Linux are a powerful combination for anyone seeking a high-performing, secure, and customizable VPN solution. Through the use of quality guides and resources, even beginners can set up and manage their own OpenVPN servers on Linux, ensuring an increased level of privacy and security in their online activities.

Resources and Further Reading

Setting up and configuring an OpenVPN server on Linux can be an invaluable step in securing your network and protecting your data. There are several resources available online that provide detailed instructions on how to accomplish this task, as well as tips and best practices for managing your VPN connections. Here are some noteworthy guides to consider when configuring OpenVPN on your Linux system:

By exploring these resources and referring to their detailed documentation, you’ll be well-equipped to securely set up and manage OpenVPN on your Linux system. Remember to keep your VPN configurations up to date and regularly review your security settings to maintain a safe and protected network environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to install OpenVPN on Ubuntu using command line?

To install OpenVPN on Ubuntu, you need to install both OpenVPN and Easy-RSA. Open the terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install openvpn easy-rsa

This will install OpenVPN and Easy-RSA on your Ubuntu system. For more detailed steps, refer to this tutorial on Ubuntu 20.04.

What are the steps to install OpenVPN client on Ubuntu?

First, acquire the client configuration file (client.ovpn) from your VPN provider. Save this file on your Ubuntu system. Then, install the OpenVPN client package using the following command:

sudo apt install openvpn

Now, connect to the VPN server by running:

sudo openvpn --config path/to/your/client.ovpn

Replace “path/to/your/client.ovpn” with the actual path of your configuration file.

Which commands are used to start OpenVPN from command line?

To start OpenVPN from the command line, use the following command:

sudo openvpn --config path/to/your/client.ovpn

Replace “path/to/your/client.ovpn” with the actual path of your configuration file.

How to install OpenVPN 3 on various Linux distributions?

Installation of OpenVPN 3 client on Linux varies based on the distribution. For Debian and Ubuntu, follow the OpenVPN 3 Client for Linux guide. For other distributions, refer to their official documentation.

Where can I download OpenVPN for Linux?

You can download OpenVPN for Linux from the official OpenVPN website. Select the appropriate package for your Linux distribution.

How to configure the OpenVPN client on Linux?

To configure the OpenVPN client on Linux, start by obtaining a client configuration file (client.ovpn) from your VPN provider. Save this file on your Linux system. Import the configuration file using this command:

openvpn3 config-import --config path/to/your/client.ovpn

Replace “path/to/your/client.ovpn” with the actual path of your configuration file. After importing, start a new VPN session with:

openvpn3 session-start --config path/to/your/client.ovpn

For more detailed instructions, visit OpenVPN Access Server’s Linux Connection Guide.

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