Setup OpenVPN

2 hours
  • 8 Learning Objectives

About this Hands-on Lab

In this learning activity, we will install and configure OpenVPN as a server on `Server1`, and as a client on `Client1`. All of the configuration parameters will be provided.

Learning Objectives

Successfully complete this lab by achieving the following learning objectives:

Install OpenVPN on `Server1`

In order to install the OpenVPN package, we’ll first need to install the EPEL repo:

[root@Server1]# yum -y install epel-release

Once EPEL is installed, we can go ahead with installing OpenVPN:

[root@Server1]# yum -y install openvpn

Let’s enable masquerading in the firewall, and then reload things so the changes take effect:

[root@Server1]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=1194/tcp
[root@Server1]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-masquerade
[root@Server1]# firewall-cmd --reload
Create Keys and Credentials on `Server1`

We’ll use EasyRSA to create and sign the keys for the server and client. Install it with this:

[root@Server1]# yum -y install easy-rsa

Create a directory to hold the files we’ll create:

[root@Server1]# mkdir /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa

and change our working directory to it:

[root@Server1]# cd /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa

To make things a littler easier, let’s append the EasyRSA executable folder to our current path:

[root@Server1]# PATH=$PATH:/usr/share/easy-rsa/3.0.8/

Initialize PKI:

[root@Server1]# easyrsa init-pki

Build the CA (remember the password you use, you can leave the common name as the default):

[root@Server1]# easyrsa build-ca

Generate a Diffie-Hellman key for forward secrecy:

[root@Server1]# easyrsa gen-dh

Now we’ll move on to the server credentials. For convenience, we won’t password protect these.

Create the server certificate:

[root@Server1]# easyrsa gen-req server nopass

Sign the server certificate:

[root@Server1]# easyrsa sign-req server server

We’ll be prompted to type yes here. There’s also a spot in here where we’ve got to enter the password we created a few steps back, with the easyrsa init-pki command.

Create the client certificate:

[root@Server1]# easyrsa gen-req client nopass

Sign the client certificate:

[root@Server1]# easyrsa sign-req client client

Type yes when prompted, and enter the same pass we did for the server creation.

Now we need to generate the TLS key:

[root@Server1]# cd /etc/openvpn
[root@Server1]# openvpn --genkey --secret pfs.key
Configure the OpenVPN Server on `Server1`

You’ll need to create and edit /etc/openvpn/server.conf:
[root@Server1]# vim /etc/openvpn/server.conf

port 1194
proto tcp
dev tun
ca /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/pki/ca.crt
cert /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/pki/issued/server.crt
key /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/pki/private/server.key
dh /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/pki/dh.pem
topology subnet
cipher AES-256-CBC
auth SHA512
push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp"
push "dhcp-option DNS"
push "dhcp-option DNS"
ifconfig-pool-persist ipp.txt
keepalive 10 120
status openvpn-status.log
log-append openvpn.log
verb 3
tls-auth /etc/openvpn/pfs.key

Now you can enable and start OpenVPN:
[root@Server1]# systemctl enable openvpn@server.service
[root@Server1]# systemctl start openvpn@server.service

Package up Keys and Certificates on `Server1` for Copying to `Client1`

You’ll need to package up the credentials we created, and copy them to Client1, you can do this by creating the following shell script:

[root@Server1]# vim

cd /etc/openvpn
mkdir -p server1/keys
cp pfs.key server1/keys
cp easy-rsa/pki/dh.pem server1/keys
cp easy-rsa/pki/ca.crt server1/keys
cp easy-rsa/pki/private/ca.key server1/keys
cp easy-rsa/pki/private/client.key server1/keys
cp easy-rsa/pki/issued/client.crt server1/keys
tar cvzf /tmp/keys.tgz server1/

Make it executable:
[root@Server1]# chmod +x

And run it:
[root@Server1]# ./

Install OpenVPN on `Client1`

Just like on Server1, you’ll need to install EPEL before you can install OpenVPN:

[root@Client1]# yum -y install epel-release
[root@Client1]# yum -y install openvpn
Copy and Install Keys from `Server1` to `Client1`

Now we need to copy the keys we tarred up on Server1 over to Client1.

On Client1:

[root@Client1]# cd /etc/openvpn`
[root@Client1]# scp cloud_user@ ./

We’ll need the password for Server1 at that point. Once the tar file makes the trip, we can extract it:

[root@Client1]# tar xvzf keys.tgz
Configure the VPN client on `Client1`

With the keys in place, we can configure the client:
[root@Client1]# vim client.conf

dev tun
proto tcp
remote 1194  
ca server1/keys/ca.crt
cert server1/keys/client.crt
key server1/keys/client.key
tls-version-min 1.2
cipher AES-256-CBC
auth SHA512
resolv-retry infinite
auth-retry none
ns-cert-type server
verb 3
tls-auth server1/keys/pfs.key

Start the Client:
[root@Client1]# systemctl start openvpn@client.service

Add a Static Route on Client1

In order to have Client1 traffic to node1 originate on the network, we’ll need to add a static route, so that the VPN tunnel is the interface that connects to that host:

[root@Client1]# ip route add dev tun0

We can can verify the entry using:

[root@Client1]# ip route show

We should now be able to access the website on node1:

[root@Client1]# curl

Additional Resources

A business unit has deployed a site for private internal use, and only wants VPN users to have access. They are asking us to create a VPN server, and we have been provided with a client host as well.

  • Server1 ( Should be configured as a VPN server
  • Client1 ( Should be configured as a VPN client

All configuration parameters and information are available in the tasks.

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