How to Add a Configuration VPN to Your VPS

With the increasing popularity of the VPN service, more and more companies and individuals are looking to dedicate a virtual private server (VPS) to host their company’s or personal VPN servers. While VPS deployments are common for web hosting or e-commerce platforms, applications such as these can be quite demanding in terms of system resources, and so can benefit from the addition of a layer of indirection via a VPN. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps necessary to add a VPN server to a VPS.

Obtain A VPN Certificate From Your Hosting Provider

If you’re looking to host a VPN on a VPS, the first step is to obtain a VPN certificate from your hosting provider. A VPN certificate is a certificate that binds an entity’s public key to a specific hostname and is issued to that host by a Certificate Authority (CA).

Since you won’t be managing this certificate yourself, you’ll need to work with your hosting provider to get one. When you’re dealing with a major web hosting provider, this step likely won’t require much effort on your part since they’ll take care of all the details for you.

Install And Configure OpenVPN On Your VPS

Next, you’ll need to install and configure OpenVPN on your VPS. OpenVPN is a free and open-source software that provides secure encrypted connections to users across public and private networks. It is the most popular and the de facto standard for VPN services.

The installation process for OpenVPN is similar in every respect across different operating systems, but there are a few subtleties that you need to watch out for. First, make sure that your network interfaces support TCP/UDP protocols, since this is what OpenVPN is configured to use on installation. Second, make sure that you edit your servers’ configuration files to reflect your region and to use the correct CAs. Third, make sure that you generate the correct static key for your VPN. Finally, double check that your firewall settings allow for VPN traffic and that they don’t block any other network protocols apart from TCP/UDP. Once those details are sorted, you’re good to go and can start configuring OpenVPN to suit your needs.

Secure Your VPS’ Network Interfaces With IPsec And DNS

Once you have OpenVPN installed and configured, you’ll need to take care of securing your VPS’ network interfaces. For this, you can leverage the IKE (Internet Key Exchange) or IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) protocols, which are used to secure S/MIME-encrypted email traffic, VPNs, and other protected data flows across the Internet. By default, OpenVPN configures its network interfaces to use IPsec, so all you need to do is configure the protocols on your network interfaces.

With IKE, you need to create an authentication and encryption key for each computer on your network that is going to communicate with another. You can use a free utility like IKEA to do this. You’ll also need to install the IKEA app on your iOS or Android device.

With IPsec, you’ll need to create a tunnel between your VPN and your default gateway, which is the IP address of your Internet router. This address will be in the form of 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x. At this point, you can test your VPN connection by pinging 8.8.8.8 from your VPS. If you get a reply, then your IPsec connection is good and you can move on to the final step.

Give Your VPS A Hostname To Navigate To (Optional)

If you’re looking to add an extra layer of security to your VPS, you can assign it a hostname. This will be useful for clients or other computers on your network to know where to find your VPN. You can give your VPN a hostname or IP address, but it’s highly recommended that you give it a hostname. Doing this will not harm your VPN in any way, but it will make it a little easier for others to find in a directory.

Create A Secure SSH Tunnel To Your VPS

SSH (Secure SHell) is a secure, proprietary protocol that provides confidentiality, data integrity, and authentication between computers. It was designed to replace the insecure and outdated protocol, Telnet, and so can support advanced features such as public-key authentication, user accounts, and file permissions. Since SSH supports all of these great features, it can be a great choice for companies and individuals that need a secure way to communicate with their VPS.

To create a secure SSH tunnel to your VPS, you’re going to need the public key of your VPS’ administrative account. You can generate this key pair on the VPS or download them from the administrator’s account on the hosting provider’s website. Next, you’ll need to log in to your VPS and run the following command to create the necessary configuration files:

bash -c "echo 'Host *' <yourvps> <youremail> <yourusername> <yourpassword> <trusty>"

The above command will result in the creation of a “host” file in your home directory, which you can then edit to include your public key. Afterward, you can use the Host command in the SSH client to connect to your VPS using your public key and to automatically authenticate you.

Configure Your VPS To Allow Users On The Outside To Connect To It

Finally, you’ll need to allow users on the outside to connect to your VPS. This can be done using the AllowInboundTraffic directive in OpenVPN’s config file. This directive controls which IP addresses can connect to your VPN and allows you to specify the protocols and ports that should be allowed. There are a couple options here, so let’s examine them.

The first option is to allow anyone to connect. This is usually the case for home users or businesses that want to keep their VPN open to the general public. In this scenario, you don’t need to configure any special rules since anyone will be able to connect.

The second option is to allow only certain IP addresses/subnets to connect. For example, you might want to block all traffic from the 128.0.0.0/8 range since these are the IP addresses used by Cisco for their routing protocols. You can use the Comma-Separated List (CSV) format to specify the IP addresses you want to allow or disallow.

You’ll need to perform this step on each of your VPN’s servers. To allow users to connect from mobile devices, you can use a tool like OpenVPN’s built-in server configuration generator. This generator will walk you through the process of connecting to a VPN server and configuring it for your region.

Once you’ve followed these steps, you can test your setup by using a tool like PuTTY to SSH to your VPS. You should now have a fully functioning VPN server that you can use to protect all your Internet-connected devices and data.

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