Everyone is worried about their privacy and how to protect themselves from the malicious people on the internet. You should be because as the usage of the internet and technology is increasing, the potential risk of data loss is also growing.
Many websites steal your private data and sell them to advertisers. In return, you get nothing but the recommended products that you were considering buying sometime before. But on the other hand, the advisers and marketers are reaping more profits than you can think of.
Setting up your own home VPN server will give you stability as well as anonymity so that you can beat those prying eyes. You can eventually browse the internet at the same time keeping your identity safe. In this post, we are going to detail a comprehensive guide on How to Set Up Your Own Home VPN Server.
Why Should You Use a VPN?
Whenever you connect to the internet from your mobile or computer, your internet service provider can keep a record of your browsing and search history. They are seeing what you are doing on the internet. That’s why it is not recommended to browse on public Wi-Fi because that tends to be more notorious than your private Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Your computer has an IP address that anyone can use to track down your device location. This IP address is revealed to the world the moment you connect with the internet.
Even this IP can help hackers break through your PC and steal important data under certain circumstances. Since your ISP has a record of your internet browsing, you cannot always expect them to keep that data safe. No matter how trusted they are, there is a chance that they are selling those data to advertisers.
That data can also land in the hands of different government agencies. The Internet is a big place where various people from all over the world gather together to share thoughts and opinions. And although the internet is for information exchange, people take advantage of the revelation of identity and privacy and they use it for their own benefit.
You may have seen that many trustable websites have the HTTPS lock beside their URLs. The lock ensures to protect your information, but still, it cannot save you from all the malicious activities. A VPN can relieve you from all those worries by providing you with an extra layer of protection and privacy.
What are VPNs?
VPNs are Virtual Private Networks that are a perfect tool for securing your privacy and information. You can change your device’s IP address, location, stay anonymous online, secure your internet traffic at the same time browsing the internet.
A VPN creates a private tunnel on the server that lets your device exchange data without compromising on the speed or anything. The data your device is transferring through the virtual tunnel won’t be visible to anyone on the local network.
Therefore, VPN services give you that 100% anonymity and security. However, among various third-party VPN providers on the internet, it is not easy to trust one with your information. That’s why setting up your own home VPN server will be an intelligent move.
Why Should You Set Up Your Own Home VPN Server?
If you want to protect yourself and your identity but, at the same time, are not willing to spend a lot of money on third-party VPN servers, set up one on your own. You can build your Home VPN server in a jiffy after knowing how to do it. It can be helpful not only for your home internet browsing but also for business as well.
Obviously, setting up a VPN server will require some technical knowledge, and it can be a tricky step. But with the right knowledge, you can pull this together. Here are some of the benefits building your own VPN server offers:
- You can be the only one in charge of your private data. A third-party VPN can keep a record of your internet browsing. But with a home VPN server, you can be assured that it’s you.
- If you want to access a secure remote network to watch or get information, getting a VPN server can help. VPN technology will help you access business information over various company’s networks securely. You can securely access your or other’s remote networks without spending a lot of money.
- If you want to unlock certain location-based content that is not available in your location, you can take the help of a VPN server. For example, if Netflix USA is not available in your country, it is certainly available in the USA. You can change your IP address to a United States location using a VPN and watch content on Netflix USA.
Setting up a VPN server at home is not going to take much of your time. With the knowledge and tools, you can get it done. But before that, let’s learn where you should build a VPN server, in detail.
Where to Build a VPN Server?
You can build and configure a VPN server at home with some knowledge. Even if you don’t have any practical knowledge regarding this, we are here to help you. But first, we need to talk about the process more deeply. A lot of companies and brands use their own VPN server so that it gets easier to work.
Prominent cloud providers contact IT professionals to set up their virtual private networks. But you don’t need to consult for those expensive services if you have the essential components like a Raspberry Pi at home, you can use that to build a server at home.
You can collect components like a router that has VPN capabilities, or you can use the WireGuard application to create a server. The latter provides a more seamless and quicker VPN solution. Let’s get ready to build your first VPN server and check out the steps below.
Method 1: Buy a Router with Built-in VPN Servers
There are routers in the market that give you a quicker way to use VPN. These routers already come with a pre-built VPN solution and most of these routers are wireless. Connect the router to your device and open its web interface. There should be an option to activate and configure your VPN server.
There are many types of routers there, but you will have to pick the one that is more suitable for your VPN connection. Once the router is all set up and running, you can connect it to your device just like you use a standard router. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Open your browser and enter the router’s LAN (internal) IP address in the search bar. These IP addresses look something like 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.
Step 2: If you have not changed the username and password of your router, both of the credentials should be ‘admin,’ or leave the password field empty.
Step 3: Navigate to Settings (or Advanced Settings) > VPN Service.
Step 4: Enable the VPN connection. In some routers, it is known as Virtual Service.
Step 5: Make sure to allow all the applications or clients to use the VPN connection while you are accessing the internet or home network.
Step 6: Click on Apply.
Step 7: Download the VPN client files on your Windows/macOS/smartphone from the router’s control panel.
Step 8: Unzip the files on your device and copy them to the VPN client folder on the device you are browsing the internet from. You can connect your device to your computer using a USB cable to a wireless connection.
Step 9: Connect to the VPN network and check if there is any connection problem.
Step 10: If you find any connection problems, you can troubleshoot them right away with the help of on-screen prompts.
Method 2: Get a Router with DD-WRT or Any Third-Party Firmware
Get a router that supports DD-WRT, OpenWrt, or any third-party firmware. Replacing the firmware is like updating a new operating system on your device.
The standard router’s features will change, and it will help you build a secure private tunnel. DD-WRT is the most popular firmware right now, but there is a chance you can get some other ones that would work.
This firmware mostly comes with the built-in VPN server support to let you use it. In case you don’t find a router with a built-in VPN, this method will help you out with your purpose.
You can check if your router supports a third-party firmware tool or buy a router that supports the same. Once you ensure that the feature is there, you can enable it on your device. This is how to do it:
Step 1: Check if your router allows connections with third-party firmware. Or you can buy a router that comes pre-flashed with the firmware.
Step 2: Download the appropriate firmware file on your computer.
Step 3: Plug in the router on a wall socket with power and plug-in an end of the ethernet cable to a LAN port and the other end of the cable to your computer’s LAN port.
Step 4: Open your web browser and search for your router’s IP address in the search bar.
Step 5: Go to the control panel of the router and find the update or upgrade section in the settings tab.
Step 6: Go to the firmware’s website and find the device-specific instructions that will help you flash the router with the third-party firmware. Be careful with this step as the instructions tend to be different from router to router.
Step 7: Once done, restart the newly-flashed router and go back to its control panel. Check out the steps below to create your own VPN server.
Step 8: Now that you are in the web interface of the router, go to the Wireless tab.
Step 9: Find out the VPN tab or go to the settings menu and enable OpenVPN.
Step 10: Now, you can set up both your VPN server and VPN client. Below, we have demonstrated the process for OpenVPN that will help you set up a server and VPN client. The steps include using a lot of command-line commands that you might not be able to perform if you are a beginner.
How to Set Up your VPN Server and VPN Clients
- Your router needs to allow the VPN connection, and for that, you should change the firewall settings.
- Generate a Certificate Authority that will help the server and client to communicate with each other, and at the same time, it will encrypt the internet traffic.
- Generate the private key and certificate pair of the server.
- Install and configure the OpenVPN.
- Generate private keys and certificate pairs in every system and smartphone where you want to access the VPN server.
- Extract the client profiles and then import them to the client devices.
- Use the configuration files to configure each of the clients.
- You can connect to the VPN from your client software.
- Check out the VPN connection. It should work properly now.
Method 3: Make Your Own Customized VPN Server
Windows offers a built-in way to create and use a VPN server. You can also use the Apple’s Server app on your Apple device to create a virtual private network. Or go with the easiest method—install the OpenVPN server software on your Raspberry Pi. It will become a portable, lightweight, and low-power VPN server.
Method 4: Use Your Cloud Network and Install a Server with WireGuard
This one is going to be super easy; however, you need to have a modern Ubuntu or Debian machine to proceed further with this task. In case you don’t have any of these two, try out other solutions for a home VPN server.
First, make sure that port 51820 is ready on your server. You can prepare it with Security groups on AWS and a VPC network firewall on Google Cloud. You can install WireGuard with the sudo apt install wireguard package manager command or with yum from the EPEL repository with the sudo yum install kmod-wireguard wireguard-tools command.
Step 1: Create encryption key:
If you want to create files with private and public keys on a server directory, you can use the umask 077; wg genkey | tee privatekey | wg pubkey > publickey command. Make sure you can figure out the different key sets. You can use the same command line for a different directory on your local computer.
There are so many online key generators available that you can use, and all of them will help you figure out the keys in a jiffy. Create the files with key hashes in them, and you can use them in the next step.
Step 2: Create the Server Config File
Go to the /etc/wireguard directory and create a .conf file, and for that, you can paste the below code in the directory:
sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf [Interface] Address = 10.0.0.1/24 ListenPort = 51820 Use the server PrivateKey PrivateKey = GPAtRSECRETLONGPRIVATEKEYB0J/GDbNQg6V0s=
You can have multiple peers but remember to replace the values of each peer with the PublicKey:
[Peer] PublicKey = NwsVexamples4sBURwFl6HVchellou6o63r2B0s= AllowedIPs = 10.0.0.2/32 [Peer] PublicKey = NwsexampleNbw+s4sBnotFl6HrealxExu6o63r2B0s= AllowedIPs = 10.0.0.3/32
To start the VPN, paste the following code:
sudo systemctl start [email protected]
Check out if you have the systemd on your Linux system or not. It should be there, but in case it doesn’t, you can use the sudo wg-quick up wg0 command instead.
Step 3: Now Create The Client Config
Install the .on your client computer from the app store. You will find the software on your Apple App Store if you are using macOS. Or go to WireGuard’s official website and download the software for your operating system. After installing, you can configure WireGuard using the following values:
Note: Remember to replace the PrivateKey value with the one from your client interface.
[Interface] Address = 10.0.0.2/24 ListenPort = 51820 PrivateKey = CNNjIexAmple4A6NMkrDt4iyKeYD1BxSstzer49b8EI=
Use the VPN server’s PublicKey and the Endpoint IP of the cloud instance.
[Peer] PublicKey = WbdIAnOTher1208Uwu9P17ckEYxI1OFAPZ8Ftu9kRQw= AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0 Endpoint = 188.8.131.52:51820
You can start the client through the application itself, or if you are using Linux, you can start it like you open the server. You can use DNS or pre-shared keys to create an additional security measure on your VPN server.
When you are done with all of these, open your web browser and type “my ip” to get your public IP address. If you see that the IP address is different from the one your computer was using earlier, you have successfully created a VPN connection.
Method 5: Use a Disposable VPN
Since you used the cloud hosting provider to create a secret tunnel for a VPN connection, it does not completely ensure your safety. But you can use a disposable VPN like Algo VPN on Microsoft Azure that is safer and more amazing than creating a home VPN server. With the Algo VPN, you can create disposable VPN servers.
You can connect with the VPN whenever needed and delete the record. After deleting, no one will ever know that the VPN existed. However, for it, you will have to pay $0.006 per hour of usage or less. You can also use Algo VPN to set up a server on cloud platforms, including Ubuntu.
How to Turn On VPN on Windows 10 Computer?
Microsoft Windows offers a built-in feature to create VPN servers; however, the VPN protocol that it uses is not secure and also outdated. But you can set up your own VPN server with OpenVPN. Let’s have a look at the steps in a jiffy:
- Allow inbound VPN connections to your Windows by changing the firewall settings. This should also include port forwarding.
- Download and install OpenVPN for Windows 10. On their website, you will find most of the information, such as how to use it on your computer.
- When you are installing OpenVPN, make sure that the ‘EasyRSA’ box is checked. You will find it in the ‘Choose Components’ section during the installation.
- You will be asked to install the TAP drivers. Do it when prompted.
- EasyRSA will help you generate certificate authorities and request and sign certificates. Therefore, you need to configure the tool first.
- Next, generate the Certificate authority and VPN server certificates.
- Build client certificates on a device that you are willing to use the VPN connection on.
- Then build configuration files for the VPN server and VPN clients.
- After generating the files, configure the VPN clients with each of the files.
- Connect with the VPN server from your client device.
- When everything is done, all you need to do is test the VPN server on your device.
When Should You Use a VPN?
Always try to use a VPN whenever possible especially, when you are using a public wifi network. Also, during the covid pandemic situation, many people had to work from home, so the use of VPN networks became absolutely necessary.
Technically, a VPN is recommended to use every time you browse the internet so that your browsing records stay safe. But even if it is not convenient to use a VPN all the time, you should at least use one when you are in a public network connection.
Even when you are browsing the internet from an iPhone or Android, try to secure your connection with a virtual tunnel. You can use free VPNs for Android or iPhone. But your home VPN server should also work on your smartphone devices. Your mobile device will automatically connect itself with a familiar Wi-Fi network.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you keep your phone connected to a virtual private network to avoid any form of cyber attacks.
Why You Should Not Use Your Own VPN Server?
Since you know everything about setting a VPN server and how it can be beneficial, you should also know about its drawbacks. Have a look at what they are:
- You cannot browse content from all over the world. For example, if you are connected to the United States location on your VPN client, you will only be able to search within the United States territory.
To search in other countries, you will have to change your location from the VPN app. Also, it limits your access. You can’t even search for content in your country. Only the results available in the US will show.
- Setting up a VPN server is haphazardous. Though VPN is available for every device and operating system, setting it up on a new device will be extra work.
- VPN does not always give you continuous anonymity. Many VPN services use a shared IP address. So if you are using a server, multiple other users can also access the same server. If any other user manages to tie up the IP address with your account, you are not staying anonymous.
Even though setting up your own VPN connection at home has a few disadvantages, it has many advantages that easily outshine them. And setting up a home VPN server is in many ways better than using a free VPN service. Since not all VPNs are trustworthy, you can follow this guide and go ahead, make your own VPN network.