Set up a personal VPN in less than 15mins

We wont go into why you need a personal VPN, as there are many other blog posts which go into this in great detail. Let’s just get straight to the point and create our very own personal VPN. *This tutorial is going to focus on macOS and iOS, but can easily be applied to Windows or Linux.

So, Lets go!

First of all we need a VPS (Virtual Private Server) to host our personal VPN, I’ve chosen DigitalOcean, as its reasonably priced, and best of all - super easy to setup.

Now we need to create a new Droplet where we will install the OpenVPN server for our VPN. Ive chosen Ubuntu, and the smallest size is more then sufficient. I also chose New York as the datacenter region, but you can choose any location. *A U.S. location will come in handy if you use something like Netflix.

1. Choose the droplet Operating System 1. Choose the droplet Operating System

2. Choose the size for droplet 2. Choose the size for droplet

3. Choose a region for droplet 3. Choose a region for droplet

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Create you’ll end up with something like this: The freshly created droplet The freshly created droplet

*Take note of the IP Address, you’ll need it again later. In our case it is: 138.68.60.231

Open a Terminal window and login to your newly created droplet using the IP Address we noted above. *You should recieve a password for your droplet via email. In this case we login with the following command:

ssh [email protected]

Logging into the droplet Logging into the droplet

Now lets install our personal VPN with OpenVPN

This is super simple using the script maintained in this GitHub account:
https://github.com/Nyr/openvpn-install

In the Terminal window, type:

wget https://git.io/vpn -O openvpn-install.sh &&  openvpn-install.sh

Press ENTER and run through the setup, selecting default answers for all questions. Running the setup script Running the setup script

Continue pressing ENTER and wait a minute or 2 for the script to install and configure openVPN. You should be rewarded with the following prompt: OpenVPN setup complete OpenVPN setup complete

*Take note of the client configuration location, in this case it is /root/client.ovpn

Extra Steps

If you want to connect multiple devices to your VPN, enter the following command:

nano /etc/openvpn/server.conf

then press ENTER

Scroll to the bottom of the window and paste:

duplicate-cn

Connecting multiple devices Connecting multiple devices

Click the CONTROL and X keys together, to commit the change. You’ll be prompted to confirm, click y. You’ll be prompted to save, click ENTER

OK, our VPN is now setup and we can logout of the droplet. Type:

logout

into the Terminal window then press Enter to logout.

Now that our VPN is configured, We need a way to connect to it via our computers/iPhone/iPad. That is also super simple.

Download configuration file

Let’s download the configuration file using the IP Address, and configuration location we noted above:

scp [email protected]:/root/client.ovpn ~/Desktop/client.ovpn

*change the IP address to the IP Address of your droplet. The configuration file will be saved to your Desktop, and be named client.ovpn

All thats left now is to use the configuration file on our devices to connect to our VPN.

Connecting to our VPN on macOS

Download and install https://www.tunnelblick.net Installing TunnelBlick Installing TunnelBlick

Once TunnelBlick is installed, drag the configuration file to the TunnelBlick menu icon: Drag config file to menu Drag config file to menu

All thats left to do is to tell TunnelBlick to connect to our VPN, which in our case is as simple as clicking Connect client Connect to VPN Connect to VPN

Connecting to our VPN on iOS

You need to install [https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/openvpn-connect/id590379981?mt=8](Open VPN Connect)

OK, lets add the configuration file to the app, this is super easy. All you need to do is open iTunes and connect your iPhone/iPad. Click on Settings>File Sharing then find OpenVPN Drag the config file into the OpenVPN Documents window and click DoneInstall config file in iTunes Install config file in iTunes

Now we head back to our iDevice, and open OpenVPN Look for the config profile you just imported and click the ADD button. Importing config file Importing config file

Click the toggle switch to connect: Connecting to VPN in iOS Connecting to VPN in iOS

Congratulations you should now be rocking your very own VPN!
In my own usage, and on my own meagre Internet connection I haven’t really noticed any noticeable slowdowns.
🙂