One of the most useful VPNs for home use is the free OpenVPN service provided by the non-profit, Open Society Institute. It is completely free, open source, and highly configurable. You can either download the app for your operating system or set it up manually through a web browser. This tutorial will walk you through the process of configuring your home router to work with OpenVPN. It should take about an hour to set up properly, and it is suitable for both beginners and experienced users alike.
Step 1: Install and Configure OpenVPN On Your Home Router
The first step is to download and install OpenVPN on your home router. You can download it from the OpenVPN website for free and install it using the supplied package manager. You will need to enter your email address when prompted, otherwise, you will have to pay a small fee to get the software.
OpenVPN is highly configurable and, for this reason, can be quite tricky to set up. The best guide to setting up OpenVPN is the excellent OpenVPN Guide by Mark Feiling. It is well written and easy to follow, and will walk you through the process of configuring and testing your connection before you go live.
Step 2: Create a VPN Account On Your Home Router
In order to use OpenVPN, you will need to create a VPN account on the device. For security reasons, it is best to use a VPN account that is separate from your computer or mobile device account. For this reason, creating a VPN account on your home router is the next step.
You can do this manually through the settings panel or app on your router. Most routers support adding a VPN account through a simple user interface in the Settings app. Simply search for VPN and select Create a VPN Account to start the process.
You will be presented with a form where you can enter your email address, a password, and an optional display name for the account. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will use the default account name and password for our OpenVPN installation. Once you have entered this information, you can select the IP address Range that you would like to connect to. The OpenVPN service supports connecting to multiple IP addresses at once, as long as they are all in the same IP range.
Finally, you can select the VPN protocol that you want to use. Depending on your needs, you can choose between IKEv2 or IKEv1 for your security requirements. IKEv2 is a more secure option and compatible with stronger encryption standards. IKEv1 is the original protocol and still fully supported by OpenVPN. For this tutorial, we will select IKEv2. Once this option has been selected, press Create Account.
Step 3: Test Your VPN Connection
Once you have created your VPN account on your home router, you can test it using the OpenVPN app or the VPN Connections menu item in the Settings app. To test your connection, you will need to select the option to connect to a VPN server. A VPN server is a location where your information can be encrypted by the service and transmitted to any device that you connect to. In most cases, you will need to press the Connect button to initiate this process.
Once connected to a VPN server, you will be presented with a menu where you can select the type of connection you want to create. You can select Static or Dynamic to create a shared or dedicated connection. If you choose Static, the OpenVPN app will create a new VPN connection saved to your device. If you select Dynamic, you will be able to connect to any available server at the time of login. Most people choose to use Static for this reason.
Step 4: Configure Your Home Router To Work With OpenVPN
After you have tested your connection and are sure that it is working, it is time to configure your home router to work with OpenVPN. This process varies slightly depending on the model of router you have, but the steps are generally the same.
The first step is to visit the OpenVPN website and download the OpenVPN client app for your operating system. You will then need to locate the model of router that you have and select the appropriate client for that model.
Once the download has finished, launch the app and follow the instructions to install the software on your home router. You will need to enter your email address and create a password for the VPN account.
Step 5: Congratulations!
You have now successfully configured your home router to work with OpenVPN. To verify this process, you can enter your email address and select the Log Screen option in the Settings app to pull up a list of all the devices that are currently connected to your VPN account.
This list will display all the devices that have successfully connected to your VPN account and are allowed to access the Internet through the router. You can also add additional email addresses that you want to allow access through the VPN account by repeating this step.
You can now ensure that no one else is using your VPN account by selecting the Settings app and entering your password. If you want to disconnect all of your devices from the VPN, all you have to do is select the log button and select the option to disconnect all devices.
You can then reconnect any of the devices that you want to use the VPN with simply by selecting the VPN Connections option in the Settings app and selecting the connection you want to use. In most cases, this will be the default, static connection that was previously created. If you are still unable to connect to the VPN server that you are trying to reach, it could be due to a bad IP address or a firewall blocking the connection.
To learn more, please consult the OpenVPN documentation.