A Linux User Point of View on Implementing VPN

FAQs, Featured, Getting Started, VPN Services

Linux VPNMost of the time, we take for granted that users will be using Microsoft Windows machines or Apple computers for connecting to the Internet, thereby forgetting that there are other platforms that count too. I am a regular user of Linux, and while I once managed some Linux-based servers. I do admit I’ve adopted a more “user-oriented” daily use those last couple of years. Learn about Linux VPN.

Linux VPN providers

Interestingly though, most serious VPN providers have well-documented installation instructions for Linux distributions. As opposed to Windows or Apple versions, most of the times, there are no “installers” for the Linux versions of any VPN solution provider. The reason is that there are a lot of Linux flavors out there, each having their package management system.

Anyway, if you look at the recent BolehVPN that How-To-Hide-IP just gave away,they have a Linux documentation. It comes with no surprise that serious VPN providers like HideMyAssibVPN, NordVPN or IPVanish fully support Linux implementation.

A standard OpenVPN client

What’s great about VPN implementation on Linux is that most distribution already come with an OpenVPN client that is fully compatible with every OpenVPN server out there. After all, we are in a standardized protocol where, as long as the protocol is set (PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, …), it shouldn’t matter what client software we are using. Just in case your Linux distribution doesn’t come yet with an OpenVPN packages, it’s just a matter of installing it from your distribution’s repository.

As an example, on an Ubuntu system, all you have to do would be launching something similar to

$ sudo apt-get install openvpn

If you are using SuSE, you’ll probably use Yast for the installation process, while an RPM-based Linux distribution would use either “rpm -i” or any package installation front-end.

Windows platform have “trained” us to have some “installation package” that will make the installation easier. Chances are that with a Linux VPN installation, you’ll be given instructions as well as the credentials so as to setup your VPN connection. This leads to one warning that we need to raise. As it is common with any Linux distribution, you have to be mindful about the distribution as well as the architecture where the OpenVPN client will be running.

Some troubleshooting tips

Running a VPN client from a Linux system isn’t any difficult as doing it from a Windows client or an Apple computer. However, few things need to be kept in mind so as not to blame the VPN service provider while it may be that your operating system may apply some restrictions.

As an example, I’ve come to some experiences where I received some strange error messages informing me that I couldn’t establish my VPN connection. It’s because my OpenVPN daemon isn’t running. This is a simple issue that can be easily solved by running the daemon through commands similar to

/etc/init.d/openvpn start

Another common reason for your VPN not running is that the Linux built-in firewall may limit some traffic to go through. Most of the time, a proper launching of the OpenVPN service will handle it. But, depending on the situation and the distribution, you may have to dig a bit further so as to find out what’s going on.

Those are only simple tips for Linux users who want to use a VPN connection.

How many Linux users have we out there as readers? And what is your favorite Linux distribution? Feel free to share in the comment section.

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