This article describes a basic installation and configuration of OpenVPN, suitable for private and small business use. For more detailed information, please see the OpenVPN 2.4 man page and the OpenVPN documentation. OpenVPN is a robust and highly flexible VPN daemon. It supports SSL/TLS security, Ethernet bridging, TCP or UDP tunnel transport through proxies or NAT. Additionally it has support for dynamic IP addresses and DHCP, scalability to hundreds or thousands of users, and portability to most major OS platforms.
OpenVPN is tightly bound to the OpenSSL library, and derives much of its crypto capabilities from it. It supports conventional encryption using a pre-shared secret key (Static Key mode) or public key security (SSL/TLS mode) using client & server certificates. Additionally it supports unencrypted TCP/UDP tunnels.
OpenVPN is designed to work with the TUN/TAP virtual networking interface that exists on most platforms. Overall, it aims to offer many of the key features of IPSec but with a relatively lightweight footprint. OpenVPN was written by James Yonan and is published under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
- 1 Install OpenVPN
- 2 Kernel configuration
- 3 Connect to a VPN provided by a third party
- 4 Create a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) from scratch
- 5 A basic L3 IP routing configuration
- 5.1 Example configuration
- 5.2 The server configuration file
- 5.3 The client config profile
- 5.4 Converting certificates to encrypted .p12 format
- 5.5 Testing the OpenVPN configuration
- 5.6 Configure the MTU with Fragment and MSS
- 5.7 IPv6
- 6 Starting OpenVPN
- 7 Routing all client traffic through the server
- 8 L3 IPv4 routing
- 9 DNS
- 10 L2 Ethernet bridging
- 11 Config generators
- 12 Troubleshooting
- 13 See also
Install the package, which provides both server and client mode.
OpenVPN requires TUN/TAP support, which is already configured in the default kernel. Users of custom kernel should make sure to enable the
Kernel config file
Device Drivers --> Network device support [M] Universal TUN/TAP device driver support
Read Kernel modules for more information.
Connect to a VPN provided by a third party
To connect to a VPN service provided by a third party, most of the following can most likely be ignored, especially regarding server setup. Begin with #The client config profile and skip ahead to #Starting OpenVPN after that. One should use the provider certificates and instructions, see Category:VPN providers for examples that can be adapted to other providers. OpenVPN (client) in Linux containers also has general applicable instructions, while it goes a step further by isolating an OpenVPN client process into a container.
Create a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) from scratch
When setting up an OpenVPN server, users need to create a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) which is detailed in the Easy-RSA article. Once the needed certificates, private keys, and associated files are created via following the steps in the separate article, one should have 5 files in
/etc/openvpn/server at this point:
ca.crt dh.pem servername.crt servername.key ta.key
Alternatively, as of OpenVPN 2.4, one can use Easy-RSA to generate certificates and keys using elliptic curves. See the OpenVPN documentation for details.
A basic L3 IP routing configuration
OpenVPN is an extremely versatile piece of software and many configurations are possible, in fact machines can be both servers and clients.
With the release of v2.4, server configurations are stored in
/etc/openvpn/server and client configurations are stored in
/etc/openvpn/client and each mode has its own respective systemd unit, namely,
The OpenVPN package comes with a collection of example configuration files for different purposes. The sample server and client configuration files make an ideal starting point for a basic OpenVPN setup with the following features:
- Uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for authentication.
- Creates a VPN using a virtual TUN network interface (OSI L3 IP routing).
- Listens for client connections on UDP port 1194 (OpenVPN's official IANA port number).
- Distributes virtual addresses to connecting clients from the 10.8.0.0/24 subnet.
For more advanced configurations, please see the OpenVPN documentation.man page and the
The server configuration file
Copy the example server configuration file
Edit the file making a minimum of the following changes:
ca ca.crt cert servername.crt key servername.key # This file should be kept secret dh dh.pem . tls-crypt ta.key # Replaces tls-auth ta.key 0 . user nobody group nobody
Hardening the server
If security is a priority, additional configuration is recommended including: limiting the server to use a strong cipher/auth method and limiting the newer tls ciphers. Do so by adding the following to
. cipher AES-256-CBC auth SHA512 tls-version-min 1.2 tls-cipher TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-AES-256-GCM-SHA384:TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-AES-128-GCM-SHA256:TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-AES-256-CBC-SHA:TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-CAMELLIA-256-CBC-SHA:TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-AES-128-CBC-SHA:TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-CAMELLIA-128-CBC-SHA .
Since OpenVPN v2.4 it is possible to use LZ4 compression over lzo. LZ4 generally offering the best performance with least CPU usage. For backwards compatibility with OpenVPN versions before v2.4, use lzo
comp-lzo. Do not enable both compression options at the same time.
To do so, configure
/etc/openvpn/server/server.conf as such:
. compress lz4-v2 push "compress lz4-v2" .
On the client set
--compress lz4 , although this may be deprecated in the near future.
Deviating from the standard port and/or protocol
Some public/private network admins may not allow OpenVPN connections on its default port and/or protocol. One strategy to circumvent this is to mimic https/SSL traffic which is very likely unobstructed.
To do so, configure
/etc/openvpn/server/server.conf as such:
. port 443 proto tcp .
TCP vs UDP
There are subtle differences between TCP and UDP.
- So-called "stateful protocol."
- High reliability due to error correction (i.e. waits for packet acknowledgment).
- Potentially slower than UDP.
- So-called "stateless protocol."
- Less reliable than TCP as no error correction is in use.
- Potentially faster than TCP.
The client config profile
Copy the example client configuration file
Edit the following:
remotedirective to reflect either the server's Fully Qualified Domain Name, hostname (as known to the client), or its IP address.
- Uncomment the
groupdirectives to drop privileges.
keyparameters to reflect the path and names of the keys and certificates.
- Enable the TLS HMAC handshake protection (
client remote elmer.acmecorp.org 1194 . user nobody group nobody ca ca.crt cert client.crt key client.key . tls-crypt ta.key # Replaces tls-auth ta.key 1
Run as unprivileged user
Using the options
user nobody and
group nobody in the configuration file makes OpenVPN drop its
root privileges after establishing the connection. The downside is that upon VPN disconnect the daemon is unable to delete its set network routes again. If one wants to limit transmitting traffic without the VPN connection, then lingering routes may be considered beneficial. It can also happen, however, that the OpenVPN server pushes updates to routes at runtime of the tunnel. A client with dropped privileges will be unable to perform the update and exit with an error.
As it could seem to require manual action to manage the routes, the options
user nobody and
group nobody might seem undesirable. Depending on setup, however, there are different ways to handle these situations:
- For errors of the unit, a simple way is to edit it and add a
[Service]section. Though, this alone will not delete any obsoleted routes, so it may happen that the restarted tunnel is not routed properly.
- The package contains the
/usr/lib/openvpn/plugins/openvpn-plugin-down-root.so, which can be used to let openvpn fork a process with root privileges with the only task to execute a custom script when receiving a down signal from the main process, which is handling the tunnel with dropped privileges (see also its README).
The OpenVPN HowTo's linked below go further by creating a dedicated non-privileged user/group, instead of the already existing
nobody. The advantage is that this avoids potential risks when sharing a user among daemons:
- The OpenVPN HowTo explains another way how to create an unprivileged user mode and wrapper script to have the routes restored automatically.
- It is possible to let OpenVPN start as a non-privileged user in the first place, without ever running as root, see this OpenVPN wiki (howto). The howto assumes the presence of System V init, rather than Systemd and does not cover the handling of
--downscripts - those should be handled the same way as the ip command, with additional attention to access rights.
persist-tunoption mentioned in the howtos should not be used, otherwise new routes/IPs pushed on reconnect will be ignored by the client.
Converting certificates to encrypted .p12 format
Some software will only read VPN certificates that are stored in a password-encrypted .p12 file. These can be generated with the following command:
# openssl pkcs12 -export -inkey keys/bugs.key -in keys/bugs.crt -certfile keys/ca.crt -out keys/bugs.p12
Testing the OpenVPN configuration
# openvpn /etc/openvpn/server/server.conf on the server, and
# openvpn /etc/openvpn/client/client.conf on the client. Example output should be similar to the following:
# openvpn /etc/openvpn/server/server.conf
Wed Dec 28 14:41:26 2011 OpenVPN 2.2.1 x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu [SSL] [LZO2] [EPOLL] [eurephia] built on Aug 13 2011 Wed Dec 28 14:41:26 2011 NOTE: OpenVPN 2.1 requires '--script-security 2' or higher to call user-defined scripts or executables Wed Dec 28 14:41:26 2011 Diffie-Hellman initialized with 2048 bit key . . Wed Dec 28 14:41:54 2011 bugs/22.214.171.124:48904 MULTI: primary virtual IP for bugs/126.96.36.199:48904: 10.8.0.6 Wed Dec 28 14:41:57 2011 bugs/188.8.131.52:48904 PUSH: Received control message: 'PUSH_REQUEST' Wed Dec 28 14:41:57 2011 bugs/184.108.40.206:48904 SENT CONTROL [bugs]: 'PUSH_REPLY,route 10.8.0.1,topology net30,ping 10,ping-restart 120,ifconfig 10.8.0.6 10.8.0.5' (status=1)
# openvpn /etc/openvpn/client/client.conf
Wed Dec 28 14:41:50 2011 OpenVPN 2.2.1 i686-pc-linux-gnu [SSL] [LZO2] [EPOLL] [eurephia] built on Aug 13 2011 Wed Dec 28 14:41:50 2011 NOTE: OpenVPN 2.1 requires '--script-security 2' or higher to call user-defined scripts or executables Wed Dec 28 14:41:50 2011 LZO compression initialized . . Wed Dec 28 14:41:57 2011 GID set to nobody Wed Dec 28 14:41:57 2011 UID set to nobody Wed Dec 28 14:41:57 2011 Initialization Sequence Completed
On the server, find the IP address assigned to the tunX device:
# ip addr show
. . 40: tun0: <POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 100 link/none inet 10.8.0.1 peer 10.8.0.2/32 scope global tun0
Here we see that the server end of the tunnel has been given the IP address 10.8.0.1.
Do the same on the client:
# ip addr show
. . 37: tun0: <POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 100 link/none inet 10.8.0.6 peer 10.8.0.5/32 scope global tun0
And the client side has been given the IP address 10.8.0.6.
Now try pinging the interfaces.
On the server:
# ping -c3 10.8.0.6
PING 10.8.0.6 (10.8.0.6) 56(84) bytes of data. 64 bytes from 10.8.0.6: icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=238 ms 64 bytes from 10.8.0.6: icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=237 ms 64 bytes from 10.8.0.6: icmp_req=3 ttl=64 time=205 ms --- 10.8.0.6 ping statistics --- 3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2002ms rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 205.862/227.266/238.788/15.160 ms
On the client:
# ping -c3 10.8.0.1
PING 10.8.0.1 (10.8.0.1) 56(84) bytes of data. 64 bytes from 10.8.0.1: icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=158 ms 64 bytes from 10.8.0.1: icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=158 ms 64 bytes from 10.8.0.1: icmp_req=3 ttl=64 time=157 ms --- 10.8.0.1 ping statistics --- 3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2001ms rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 157.426/158.278/158.940/0.711 ms
Configure the MTU with Fragment and MSS
Now it is time to configure the maximum segment size (MSS). In order to do this we need to discover what is the smallest MTU along the path between the client and server. In order to do this you can ping the server and disable fragmentation. Then specify the max packet size.
# ping -c5 -M do -s 1500 elmer.acmecorp.org
PING elmer.acmecorp.org (220.127.116.11) 1500(1528) bytes of data. From 18.104.22.168 (22.214.171.124) icmp_seq=1 Frag needed and DF set (mtu = 576) From 126.96.36.199 (188.8.131.52) icmp_seq=1 Frag needed and DF set (mtu = 576) From 184.108.40.206 (220.127.116.11) icmp_seq=1 Frag needed and DF set (mtu = 576) From 18.104.22.168 (22.214.171.124) icmp_seq=1 Frag needed and DF set (mtu = 576) From 126.96.36.199 (188.8.131.52) icmp_seq=1 Frag needed and DF set (mtu = 576) --- core.myrelay.net ping statistics --- 0 packets transmitted, 0 received, +5 errors
We received an ICMP message telling us the MTU is 576 bytes. The means we need to fragment the UDP packets smaller then 576 bytes to allow for some UDP overhead.
# ping -c5 -M do -s 548 elmer.acmecorp.org
PING elmer.acmecorp.org (184.108.40.206) 548(576) bytes of data. 556 bytes from 220.127.116.11: icmp_seq=1 ttl=48 time=206 ms 556 bytes from 18.104.22.168: icmp_seq=2 ttl=48 time=224 ms 556 bytes from 22.214.171.124: icmp_seq=3 ttl=48 time=206 ms 556 bytes from 126.96.36.199: icmp_seq=4 ttl=48 time=207 ms 556 bytes from 188.8.131.52: icmp_seq=5 ttl=48 time=208 ms --- myrelay.net ping statistics --- 5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4001ms rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 206.027/210.603/224.158/6.832 ms
After some trial and error..., we discover that we need to fragment packets on 548 bytes. In order to do this we specify this fragment size in the configuration and instruct OpenVPN to fix the Maximum Segment Size (MSS).
remote elmer.acmecorp.org 1194 ... fragment 548 mssfix 548 ...
We also need to tell the server about the fragmentation. Note that "mssfix" is NOT needed in the server configuration.
... fragment 548
You can also allow OpenVPN to do this for you by having OpenVPN do the ping testing every time the client connects to the VPN. Be patient, since your client may not inform you about the test being run and the connection may appear as nonfunctional until finished.
remote elmer.acmecorp.org 1194 ... mtu-test ...
Connect to the server via IPv6
In order to enable Dual Stack for OpenVPN, you have to change
proto udp to
proto udp6 in both server.conf and client.conf. Afterwards both IPv4 and IPv6 are enabled.
Provide IPv6 inside the tunnel
In order to provide IPv6 inside the tunnel, you need to have a IPv6 prefix routed to your OpenVPN server. Either set up a static route on your gateway (if you have a static block assigned), or use a DHCPv6 client to get a prefix with DHCPv6 Prefix delegation (see IPv6 Prefix delegation for details). You can also use a unique local address from the address block fc00::/7. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages:
- Many ISPs only provide dynamically changing IPv6 prefixes. OpenVPN does not support prefix changes, so you need to change your server.conf every time the prefix is changed (Maybe can be automated with a script).
- ULA addresses are not routed to the Internet, and setting up NAT is not as straightforward as with IPv4. So you cannot route the entire traffic over the tunnel. If you only want to connect two sites via IPv6, without the need to connect to the Internet over the tunnel, the ULA addresses may be easier to use.
After you have received a prefix (a /64 is recommended), append the following to the server.conf:
This is the IPv6 equivalent to the default 10.8.0.0/24 network of OpenVPN and needs to be taken from the DHCPv6 client. Or use for example fd00:1234::/64.
If you want to push a route to your home network (192.168.1.0/24 equivalent), also append:
push "route-ipv6 2001:db8:0:abc::/64"
OpenVPN does not yet include DHCPv6, so there is no method to e.g. push DNS server over IPv6. This needs to be done with IPv4. The OpenVPN Wiki provides some other configuration options.
To troubleshoot a VPN connection, start the client's daemon manually with
openvpn /etc/openvpn/client/client.conf as root. The server can be started the same way using its own configuration file (e.g.,
systemd service configuration
To start the OpenVPN server automatically at system boot, enable
openvpn-server@<configuration>.service on the applicable machine. For a client, enable
openvpn-client@<configuration>.service instead. (Leave
.conf out of the
For example, if the client configuration file is
/etc/openvpn/client/client.conf, the service name is
email@example.com. Or, if the server configuration file is
/etc/openvpn/server/server.conf, the service name is
Letting NetworkManager start a connection
On a client you might not always need to run a VPN tunnel and/or only want to establish it for a specific NetworkManager connection. This can be done by adding a script to
/etc/NetworkManager/dispatcher.d/. In the following example "Provider" is the name of the NetworkManager connection:
#!/bin/bash case "$2" in up) if [ "$CONNECTION_ID" == "Provider" ]; then systemctl start openvpn-client@<configuration> fi ;; down) systemctl stop openvpn-client@<configuration> ;; esac
See NetworkManager#Network services with NetworkManager dispatcher for more details.
If you would like to connect a client to an OpenVPN server through Gnome's built-in network configuration do the following. First, install #The client configuration file[broken link: invalid section], if you have already created one. Yet, be aware NetworkManager does not show error messages for options it does not import. To connect to the VPN simply turn the connection on and check the options are applied as you configured (e.g. via
journalctl -b -u NetworkManager).
Routing all client traffic through the server
By default only traffic directly to and from an OpenVPN server passes through the VPN. To have all traffic, including web traffic, pass through the VPN do the following. First add the following to your server's configuration file (i.e.,
push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp" push "dhcp-option DNS 184.108.40.206"
220.127.116.11 to your preferred DNS IP address if configured to run on the same box as the server or else leave it at 18.104.22.168 to use google's DNS.
If you have problems with non responsive DNS after connecting to server, install BIND as simple DNS forwarder and push the IP address of the OpenVPN server as DNS to clients.
After setting up the configuration file, one must enable packet forwarding on the server. Additionally, the server's firewall will need to be set up to allow VPN traffic through it, which is described below for both ufw and iptables.
To allow clients to be able to reach other (private) subnets behind the server, you may want to use the
push "route <address pool> <subnet>" option:
push "route 22.214.171.124 255.255.255.0" push "route 172.20.142.0 255.255.255.0"
In order to configure your ufw settings for VPN traffic first add the following to
/etc/ufw/before.rules, and add the following code after the header and before the "*filter" line. Do not forget to change the IP/subnet mask to match the one in
/etc/openvpn/server/server.conf. The adapter ID in the example is generically called
eth0 so edit it for your system accordingly.
# NAT (Network Address Translation) table rules *nat :POSTROUTING ACCEPT [0:0] # Allow traffic from clients to eth0 -A POSTROUTING -s 10.8.0.0/24 -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE # do not delete the "COMMIT" line or the NAT table rules above will not be processed COMMIT
Open OpenVPN port 1194:
# ufw allow 1194
Lastly, reload UFW:
# ufw reload
In order to allow VPN traffic through your iptables firewall of your server, first create an iptables rule for NAT forwarding  on the server, assuming the interface you want to forward to is named
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.8.0.0/24 -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
If you have difficulty pinging the server through the VPN, you may need to add explicit rules to open up TUN/TAP interfaces to all traffic. If that is the case, do the following :
iptables -A INPUT -i tun+ -j ACCEPT iptables -A FORWARD -i tun+ -j ACCEPT iptables -A INPUT -i tap+ -j ACCEPT iptables -A FORWARD -i tap+ -j ACCEPT
Additionally be sure to accept connections from the OpenVPN port (default 1194) and through the physical interface.
When you are satisfied make the changes permanent as shown in iptables#Configuration and usage.
If you have multiple
tap interfaces, or more than one VPN configuration, you can "pin" the name of your interface by specifying it in the OpenVPN config file, e.g.
tun22 instead of
tun. This is advantageous if you have different firewall rules for different interfaces or OpenVPN configurations.
Prevent leaks if VPN goes down
The idea is simple: prevent all traffic through our default interface (enp3s0 for example) and only allow tun0. If the OpenVPN connection drops, your computer will lose its internet access and therefore, avoid your programs to continue connecting through an insecure network adapter.
Be sure to set up a script to restart OpenVPN if it goes down if you do not want to manually restart it.
# Default policies ufw default deny incoming ufw default deny outgoing # Openvpn interface (adjust interface accordingly to your configuration) ufw allow in on tun0 ufw allow out on tun0 # Local Network (adjust ip accordingly to your configuration) ufw allow in on enp3s0 from 192.168.1.0/24 ufw allow out on enp3s0 to 192.168.1.0/24 # Openvpn (adjust port accordingly to your configuration) ufw allow out on enp3s0 to any port 1194 ufw allow in on enp3s0 from any port 1194
Otherwise, you will need to allow dns leak. Be sure to trust your DNS server!
# DNS ufw allow in from any to any port 53 ufw allow out from any to any port 53
Alternatively, the vpnfailsafe ( AUR) script can be used by the client to prevent DNS leaks and ensure that all traffic to the internet goes over the VPN. If the VPN tunnel goes down, internet access will be cut off, except for connections to the VPN server(s). The script contains the functionality of update-resolv-conf, so the two do not need to be combined.
L3 IPv4 routing
This section describes how to connect client/server LANs to each other using L3 IPv4 routing.
Prerequisites for routing a LAN
For a host to be able to forward IPv4 packets between the LAN and VPN, it must be able to forward the packets between its NIC and its tun/tap device. See Internet sharing#Enable packet forwarding for configuration details.
By default, all IP packets on a LAN addressed to a different subnet get sent to the default gateway. If the LAN/VPN gateway is also the default gateway, there is no problem and the packets get properly forwarded. If not, the gateway has no way of knowing where to send the packets. There are a couple of solutions to this problem.
- Add a static route to the default gateway routing the VPN subnet to the LAN/VPN gateway's IP address.
- Add a static route on each host on the LAN that needs to send IP packets back to the VPN.
- Use iptables' NAT feature on the LAN/VPN gateway to masquerade the incoming VPN IP packets.
Connect the server LAN to a clientThe server is on a LAN using the 10.66.0.0/24 subnet. To inform the client about the available subnet, add a push directive to the server configuration file:
push "route 10.66.0.0 255.255.255.0"
Connect the client LAN to a server
- Any subnets used on the client side, must be unique and not in use on the server or by any other client. In this example we will use 192.168.4.0/24 for the clients LAN.
- Each client's certificate has a unique Common Name, in this case bugs.
- The server may not use the duplicate-cn directive in its config file.
Create a client configuration directory on the server. It will be searched for a file named the same as the client's common name, and the directives will be applied to the client when it connects.
# mkdir -p /etc/openvpn/ccd
Create a file in the client configuration directory called bugs, containing the
iroute 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0 directive. It tells the server what subnet should be routed to the client:
iroute 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0
Add the client-config-dir and the
route 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0 directive to the server configuration file. It tells the server what subnet should be routed from the tun device to the server LAN:
client-config-dir ccd route 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0
Connect both the client and server LANs
Combine the two previous sections:
push "route 10.66.0.0 255.255.255.0" . . client-config-dir ccd route 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0
iroute 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0
Connect clients and client LANsBy default clients will not see each other. To allow IP packets to flow between clients and/or client LANs, add a client-to-client directive to the server configuration file:
In order for another client or client LAN to see a specific client LAN, you will need to add a push directive for each client subnet to the server configuration file (this will make the server announce the available subnet(s) to other clients):
client-to-client push "route 192.168.4.0 255.255.255.0" push "route 192.168.5.0 255.255.255.0" . .
The DNS servers used by the system are defined in
/etc/resolv.conf. Traditionally, this file is the responsibility of whichever program deals with connecting the system to the network (e.g. Wicd, NetworkManager, etc.). However, OpenVPN will need to modify this file if you want to be able to resolve names on the remote side. To achieve this in a sensible way, install , which makes it possible for more than one program to modify
resolv.conf without stepping on each-other's toes.
Before continuing, test openresolv by restarting your network connection and ensuring that
resolv.conf states that it was generated by resolvconf, and that your DNS resolution still works as before. You should not need to configure openresolv; it should be automatically detected and used by your network system.
For Linux, OpenVPN can send DNS host information, but expects an external process to act on it. This can be done with the
client.down scripts packaged in
/usr/share/openvpn/contrib/pull-resolv-conf/. See their comments on how to install them to
/etc/openvpn/client/. The following is an excerpt of a resulting client configuration using the scripts in conjunction with resolvconf and options to #Run as unprivileged user:
user nobody group nobody # Optional, choose a suitable path to chroot into for your system chroot /srv script-security 2 up /etc/openvpn/client/client.up plugin /usr/lib/openvpn/plugins/openvpn-plugin-down-root.so "/etc/openvpn/client/client.down tun0"
Update resolv-conf script
The openvpn-update-resolv-conf script is available as an alternative to packaged scripts. It needs to be saved for example at
/etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf and made executable with chmod. There is also an AUR package: AUR which will take care of the script installation for you.
Once the script is installed add lines like the following into your OpenVPN client configuration file:
script-security 2 up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf down /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf
Now, when your launch your OpenVPN connection, you should find that your resolv.conf file is updated accordingly, and also returns to normal when your close the connection.
openresolvwith the -p or -x options in a script (as both the included
update-resolv-confscripts currently do), a DNS resolver like or is required for
openresolvto correctly update
/etc/resolv.conf. In contrast, when using the default DNS resolution from
libcthe -p and -x options must be removed in order for
/etc/resolv.confto be correctly updated by
openresolv. For example, if the script contains a command like
resolvconf -p -aand the default DNS resolver from
libcis being used, change the command in the script to be
Update systemd-resolved script
Since systemd-229, systemd-networkd's
systemd-resolved.service has exposed an API through DBus allowing management of DNS configuration on a per-link basis. Tools such as may not work reliably when
/etc/resolv.conf is managed by
systemd-resolved, and will not work at all if you are using
resolve instead of
dns in your
/etc/nsswitch.conf file. The update-systemd-resolved script is another alternative and links OpenVPN with
systemd-resolved via DBus to update the DNS records.
If you copy the script into
/etc/openvpn and mark as executable with chmod, or install it via the AUR package ( AUR), you can add lines like the following into your OpenVPN client configuration file:
script-security 2 setenv PATH /usr/bin up /etc/openvpn/scripts/update-systemd-resolved down /etc/openvpn/scripts/update-systemd-resolved down-pre
L2 Ethernet bridging
For now see: OpenVPN Bridge
TheAUR package provides a simple shell script that creates OpenVPN compatible tunnel profiles in the unified file format suitable for the iOS version of OpenVPN Connect as well as for the Android app.
Simply invoke the script with 5 tokens:
- Server Fully Qualified Domain Name of the OpenVPN server (or IP address).
- Full path to the CA cert.
- Full path to the client cert.
- Full path to the client private key.
- Full path to the server TLS shared secret key.
- Optionally a port number.
- Optionally a protocol (udp or tcp).
# ovpngen example.org /etc/openvpn/server/ca.crt /etc/easy-rsa/pki/signed/client1.crt /etc/easy-rsa/pki/private/client1.key /etc/openvpn/server/ta.key > iphone.ovpn
iphone.ovpn can be edited if desired as the script does insert some commented lines.
The client expects this file to be located in
/etc/openvpn/client/iphone.conf. Note the change in file extension from 'ovpn' to 'conf' in this case.
It automates the actions required for the OpenVPN howto by adapting it to systemd, and also working around the bug for persistent tun devices mentioned in the note.
Client daemon not reconnecting after suspend
AUR, available on the AUR, solves this problem by sending a SIGHUP to openvpn after waking up from suspend.
Alternatively, you can kill and restart OpenVPN after suspend by creating the folowing systemd service:
[Unit] Description=Restart OpenVPN after suspend [Service] ExecStart=/usr/bin/pkill --signal SIGHUP --exact openvpn [Install] WantedBy=sleep.target
Enable this service for it to take effect.
Connection drops out after some time of inactivity
If the VPN-Connection drops some seconds after it stopped transmitting data and, even though it states it is connected, no data can be transmitted through the tunnel, try adding a
keepalivedirective to the server's configuration:
. . keepalive 10 120 . .
In this case the server will send ping-like messages to all of its clients every 10 seconds, thus keeping the tunnel up. If the server does not receive a response within 120 seconds from a specific client, it will assume this client is down.
A small ping-interval can increase the stability of the tunnel, but will also cause slightly higher traffic. Depending on your connection, also try lower intervals than 10 seconds.
PID files not present
The default systemd service file for openvpn-client does not have the --writepid flag enabled, despite creating /var/run/openvpn-client. If this breaks a config (such as an i3bar VPN indicator), simply change
openvpn-client@.service using a drop-in snippet:
[Service] ExecStart= ExecStart=/usr/sbin/openvpn --suppress-timestamps --nobind --config %i.conf --writepid /var/run/openvpn-client/%i.pid
Route configuration fails with systemd-networkd
When using systemd-networkd to manage network connections and attempting to tunnel all outgoing traffic through the VPN, OpenVPN may fail to add routes. This is a result of systemd-networkd attempting to manage the tun interface before OpenVPN finishes configuring the routes. When this happens, the following message will appear in the OpenVPN log.
openvpn: RTNETLINK answers: Network is unreachable openvpn: ERROR: Linux route add command failed: external program exited with error status: 2
With systemd-233 (currently in testing), systemd-networkd can be configured to ignore the tun connections and allow OpenVPN to manage them. To do this, create the following file:
[Match] Name=tun* [Link] Unmanaged=true
systemd-networkd.service to apply the changes. To verify that the changes took effect, start the previously problematic OpenVPN connection and run
networkctl. The output should have a line similar to the following:
7 tun0 none routable unmanaged