Creating an OpenVPN Server on Ubuntu
I have long used an SSH tunnel (put simply:
ssh -D 8000 server + FoxyProxy) to browse the web securely from unencrypted wireless access points and other potentially hostile networks. While this is secure, it isn’t all that convenient and has inherent problems. What I really want is a proper VPN, that will seamlessly encapsulate all traffic from my local machine and pass it through the tunnel to be emitted by the server. OpenVPN is one of those things that has a reputation for being difficult to setup,so I long avoided it. Once I decided to actually make with the go, it turned out to not be terribly difficult, though I did have to do a bit of searching to get exactly what I wanted.
caligula:~$ sudo aptitude install openvpn
Then, setup a place to generate the requisite keys:
caligula:~$ mkdir tmp/vpn && cd vpn caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ cp -r /usr/share/doc/openvpn/examples/easy-rsa/2.0/* .
At this point, many tutorials (the above mentioned ones included) say that you should run
./init-config, which doesn’t exist in recent version OpenVPN. With the scripts for generating keys in place, open up
vars and edit the stuff at the bottom, which should be pretty straightforward:
export KEY_COUNTRY="US" export KEY_PROVINCE="NY" export KEY_CITY="Rochester" export KEY_ORG="Dinomite-Net" export KEY_EMAIL="firstname.lastname@example.org"
vars file just sets up a bunch of environment variables, so you’ll want to source it and then build the certificate authority:
caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ source vars caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ ./clean-all caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ ./build-ca
Building the certificate authority involves a few questions, for most of which the defaults defined from
vars are all you need. Next, build the keys for the server and client (I name my computers after Roman emperors):
caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ ./build-key-server caligula caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ ./build-key vespasian caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ ./build-dh
With all that done, you can copy the appropriate key files over to the client, in my case
vespasian. Since I already had tunnelblick on that machine, I put the files directly where they needed to go:
caligula:~/tmp/vpn$ cd keys caligula:~/tmp/vpn/keys$ scp vespasian.crt vespasian.key \ ca.crt vespasian:~/Library/Application Support/Tunnelblick/Configurations/
Two steps left. First, make the client configuration file. For tunnelblick, this goes in the same directory as above, and you can name it whatever you want:
vespasian:~$ cat Library/Application Support/Tunnelblick/Configurations/client.conf client dev tun proto udp remote caligula.dinomite.net 1194 resolv-retry infinite nobind persist-key persist-tun ca ca.crt cert vespasian.crt key vespasian.key comp-lzo verb 3
There are plenty of other sites that will explain what all of those options mean, so I won’t go over it here. The important things to change from above are the
remote and the names for the
key. Now on to the server config and the files that it needs:
caligula:~/tmp/vpn/keys$ cp dh1024.pem caligula.key caligula.crt /etc/openvpn/ caligula:~/tmp/vpn/keys$ cat /etc/openvpn/server.conf server 10.7.7.0 255.255.255.0 push "redirect-gateway" dev tun0 proto udp keepalive 10 120 comp-lzo dh /etc/openvpn/dh1024.pem ca /etc/openvpn/ca.crt cert /etc/openvpn/caligula.dinomite.net.crt key /etc/openvpn/caligula.dinomite.net.key status /var/log/openvpn-status.log verb 3
The secret sauce in that config is
push "redirect-gateway" which is what tells the client to route all of its traffic through the tunnel to the server. To make this work, the server needs to be set up to do NAT:
caligula:~/tmp/vpn/keys$ echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward caligula:~/tmp/vpn/keys$ iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.7.7.0/24 -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
That’s all there is to it! Just restart the server (
sudo /etc/init.d/openvpn restart), connect, and all your traffic is now safely encrypted to the server.