How to setup a home VPN (PPTP) with Ubuntu Server 10.04

In this guide I will be explaining how you can create a PPTP (Point to point tunnelling protocol) VPN using Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS release, this should also work for other versions of Ubuntu Server too!

Ok so there are many types of VPN’s (PPTP, L2TP etc. etc.) PPTP is not the most secure type of VPN but is proberbly the easiest to setup and therefore I will be using this method (its only a home VPN after all!) Also…. you don’t need to mess with certificates (like with L2TP+IPsec or SSL VPNs) on both sides of the connection.

VPN-ing into your server will allow you to connect to every possible service running on it, as if you were sitting next to it on the same network, without individually forwarding every port combination for every service you would like to access remotely.

Using a VPN connection also has the upshot of, if desired, granting access to other computers on the network as if you where in it locally from anywhere across the internet.

So lets get going….

Ok firstly we must install pptpd to install the daemon on your Ubuntu server, from the command line (logged in as root) execute the following command:-

apt-get install pptpd

Once installed we have a few configuration files we need to change…

we need to edit the main pptpd configuration…

nano /etc/pptpd.conf

and now add the following lines to it…


Where the “localip” is the address of the server, and the remoteip are the addresses that will be handed out to the clients, it is up to you to adjust these for your network’s requirements.

Now we need to edit the “/etc/ppp/pptpd-options” configuration file:

nano /etc/ppp/pptpd-options

Append to the end of the file, the following directives:

mtu 1490
mru 1490

Where the IP used for the ms-dns directive is the DNS server for the local network your client will be connecting too and, again, it is your responsibility to adjust this to your network’s configuration.

Edit the chap secrets file:-

nano /etc/ppp/chap-secrets

Add to it the authentication credentials for a user’s connection, in the following syntax:-

username <TAB> * <TAB> users-password <TAB> *

Restart the connection’s daemon for the settings to take affect:

/etc/init.d/pptpd restart

If you don’t want to grant yourself access to anything beyond the server, then your done on the server side. – Your PPTP Server is setup and ready to go! 🙂

Don’t forgot to port forward port number 1723 on your router to point to the Ubunut Linux Server 🙂

You want more (Enable forwarding)??

While this step is optional and could be viewed as a security risk for the extremely paranoid, it is my opinion that not doing it defeats the purpose of even having a VPN connection into your network.

By enabling forwarding we make the entire network available to us when we connect and not just the VPN server itself. Doing so allows the connecting client to “jump” through the VPN server, to all other devices on the network.

To achieve this we will be flipping the switch on the “forwarding” parameter of the system.

Edit the “sysctl” file:

nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Find the “net.ipv4.ip_forward” line and change the parameter from 0 (disabled) to 1 (enabled):

net .ipv4.ip_forward=1

You can either restart the system or issue this command for the setting to take affect:

sysctl -p

With forwarding enabled, all the server side settings are prepared.

I would recommend using a “Split Tunnel” connection mode for the VPN client.

A more in depth explanation about the recommended “Split Tunnel” mode, as well as instructions for Ubuntu Linux users can be found in the “Setting up a “Split Tunnel” VPN (PPTP) Client on Ubuntu 10.04” guide.

This guide originated from – I wouldn’t want to see a good tutorial dissapear! – So I’m mirroring it 🙂