Do you need to get a configuration file for OpenVPN so you can connect to the server? We can help! After all, config files are the basis of the server-client connection in the community-powered open-source system that uses the OpenVPN VPN protocol. Thus, you need two such files at a minimum to connect the two. However, you may notice that some VPN providers deliver a lot more, which confuses some users. Don’t fret—we will explain that as we show you how to download an OpenVPN config file, or, more precisely, two or more files. Let’s dive in.
What is an OpenVPN configuration file?
OpenVPN configuration file is a file with a .conf or .ovpn file extension used on the client and the server side to establish a connection between them. It’s editable via text editor software and contains a plethora of settings users can enable and disable. Configuration files let users utilize a routing or bridging VPN connection and will create a VPN via a virtual TUN network interface using UDP or TCP (although they’re set to UDP port 1194, the official OpenVPN port number, by default). To help them start, OpenVPN provides example configuration files users can modify for their needs.
However, users may also create their files based on sample files or guides on the OpenVPN website with all necessary settings. Unsurprisingly, client configuration should mirror the settings on the server one, or else the connection fails. Additionally, VPN providers supply configuration files on their websites through account dashboards or by having a config file generation tool. These files are user-friendly because they are already configured. They only need to be copied to the right folder and loaded within the OpenVPN command-line interface or the software with GUI (Graphical User Interface).
How many configuration files do I need for OpenVPN?
You need at least two configuration files to use OpenVPN. To clarify, two files, named client.conf or client.ovpn and server.conf or server.ovpn are required for connecting to the VPN. The latter file extension, .ovpn, is common on Windows systems. However, two config files only allow a single-user connection to one VPN server. Outside of private connections, VPN providers that support OpenVPN offer a multi-client network with multiple servers, meaning there will be tens of configuration files.
Each client config file for OpenVPN will have a unique certificate (cert) and key, as well as a different port number. That is assuming the client doesn’t rely on a username/password connection only. The VPN system also allows you to operate multiple clients on the same computer. However, their output files must be stored separately to prevent overwriting, meaning users must tweak each config file setting. There are four notable output client conf file directives: log-append, status, log, and ifconfig-pool-persist.
Where can I download an OpenVPN config file?
You can download an OpenVPN config in several places depending on the type of connection:
1. Download and edit sample config files for a private OpenVPN connection from GitHub
If you want a VPN for private use, such as to create a VPN server on a router with OpenVPN, with a single VPN server and one or several clients, you should download the OpenVPN server.conf file on GitHub and a client.conf file for OpenVPN on GitHub. You can click on Raw, then highlight and copy the entire code or select the two window icon (Copy raw contents). Then, create at least two text files with those names except on Windows, where you should name them client.ovpn and server.ovpn, and paste the contents.
OpenVPN also comes bundled with sample configuration files in these locations:
/usr/share/doc/packages/openvpnfor Linux, unix-like operating systems, and BSD that use a DEB or RPM package
- Open Start menu -> Go to All programs -> Click on OpenVPN -> Select OpenVPN Sample Configuration files on Windows
2. Use a VPN provider’s official website to get OpenVPN config files
VPN services generate config files for OpenVPN on their users’ behalf or let them do so in a user-friendly way. After all, users are typically unfamiliar with the VPN server configurations and addresses and lack settings for CA and master keys. Users can usually download OpenVPN configuration files from VPN providers in two ways:
1. Getting pregenerated OpenVPN configuration data as a ZIP package
Most VPN providers decide to make OpenVPN settings files for clients and servers as a ZIP package available from the user account dashboard, like in these two examples:
- NordVPN. NordVPN has an OpenVPN configuration file package link that downloads a zipped archive with an up-to-date client and server.ovpn config files.
- Hide.me VPN. Sign in to Hide.me account. Then:
- Visit the Server Locations page under “Member Settings” in the left sidebar.
- Pick a server you want to connect to. Click More details next to its name.
- Click the appropriate link (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android) based on the platform below “OpenVPN Configuration” to download a zipped package.
Note. We are unaffiliated with any services and are giving you an idea of where to look. Your VPN provider likely has a knowledge base with the specifics.
2. Using OpenVPN config generation page to download files
Some VPN providers provide many more options so users can generate intricate config files. Two examples of a VPN service letting users generate detailed OpenVPN config files before download are:
- ProtonVPN. After signing in to your Proton VPN dashboard, do this:
- Go to Downloads in the left sidebar.
- Select the OpenVPN configuration files sub-option.
- Pick a platform, protocol, server, and other settings.
- Click Download once you’re ready.
- OVPN. Visit the OVPN OpenVPN Configurations page. Now:
- Pick an add-on service such as Multihop.
- Choose a country and region for the VPN server.
- Select the protocol and the version of OpenVPN.
- Click Advanced options for extra settings.
- Configure a custom location for config files.
- Click the Download button.
Can config data for OpenVPN be edited?
Yes, OpenVPN configuration files can and must be edited, by removing and adding “;” and “#” in front of settings in the sample files. Detailed instructions are on the official OpenVPN config file creation page. For instance, mandatory editing includes configuring the PKI (public key infrastructure) to add a unique master Certificate Authority (CA) certificate and a master key to sign all subsequent certificates (public keys) and separate private keys for each client and server in the network. However, private VPN users can also disable that option and connect using a username and password combination.