VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a tool that can safeguard your digital identity against cybercrime and online surveillance. Hence, it is crucial to employ one if you’re a concerned user. VPN service providers offer their services via a user-facing client. However, not all VPN clients are equal. While there are dozens of service providers in the market, only a select few stand apart. Then there is also the issue of money, as VPNs are costly to run. That’s where OpenVPN comes into play.
The client is not only free to use but also of quality build. Hence, the following article will detail everything regarding OpenVPN installation, configuration, and more.
What is OpenVPN GUI?
Before we delve further into the topic, let us first examine what OpenVPN is and why its GUI is such a big deal for VPN lovers. OpenVPN is an SSL VPN that offers all the features necessary for a VPN client. It implements the OS layer 2 or 3 network extension to secure connections.
Furthermore, the VPN client employs the market standard SSL/TLS protocol that supports various authentication methods, making it highly secure. These authentication methods are based on certificates, smart cards, and usernames/passwords.
And last but not least, the client can also handle multiple users/servers. Hence, it is scalable. And with the latest update, OpenVPN now supports IPv6 and PolarSSL.
Now coming back to the GUI issue, well it stands for a Graphical User Interface. Thus, it is an interface where users interact with the machine via graphics such as icons, images, videos, menus, visual indicators, representations, etc. A GUI is more liberating than a standard text-based interface where input and output are restricted to only single-line texts.
OpenVPN GUI installation
The steps to install OpenVPN is different on different platforms. Based on the operating system you are using, follow these steps –
If you need detailed step-by-step instructions, please have a look at our OpenVPN installation guide.
First, we will start by demonstrating OpenVPN installation on a Linux distro but using an RPM package. These distros include SuSE, Fedora, Redhat, etc. Although it is beneficial to find an existing RPM file for the relevant distro, users can always custom-make their own files.
Step 1. First, start the process by creating the file:
rpmbuild -tb openvpn-[version].tar.gz
Step 2. After creating the RPM file, install it by using the command:
rpm -ivh openvpn-[details].rpm
Step 3. Users can also upgrade an existing installation by using the following command:
rpm -Uvh openvpn-[details].rpm
It is not necessary that everyone should be running an RPM package distro. Hence, those without an RPM package can follow the steps to install OpenVPN.
Those with a Debian, Gentoo, or any Non-RPM based distro can use the apt-get mechanism or emerge. Then there is the universal ./configure method. The steps are:
Step 1. Start by extracting the .tar.gz file.
tar xfz openvpn-[version].tar.gz
Step 2. Now cd to the top-level directory and type the following commands:
Now, OpenVPN offers an exclusive .exe file for Windows, thus installation is pretty straightforward. The steps are as follows:
- First, go to the OpenVPN download page and download the .exe file for Windows.
- Then, locate the file from your Download folder and double-click on the MSI installer for OpenVPN.
- Let the installation Wizard run and click on I Agree to proceed.
- After that, indicate the location for the program files to be installed.
- Then, click on install to initiate the process.
- However, ensure that you have checked the TAP Virtual Ethernet Adapter and OpenVPN GUI boxes.
- Finally, restart the PC to enjoy OpenVPN GUI on your system.
Tunnelblick is the OpenVPN GUI for macOS. The following steps are suitable for macOS Mojave and higher.
- First, Open the Terminal App on your macOS device. Go to Applications and the Utilities.
- Then, type the following command: curl –output ~/Desktop/Tunnelblick.dmg –location
- Go to the Tunnelblick download page, find the appropriate download package, and copy the download link.
- After that, go back to the Terminal window and paste the link using Command-V.
- Press the Return key and wait for the download to complete.
- Double-click the Tunnelblick disk image on your Desktop to launch the Tunnelblick, and then install the program following the steps.
- Doing so will install the file into your system.
OpenVPN GUI Configuration
Once you have installed the OpenVPN GUI, it’s time to configure it. The following example is based on Windows OS. Here’s how:
Locate the OpenVPN GUI icon
The first step should be locating the OpenVPN GUI icon. Try to find it on the Windows Tray. If not, click the Windows Hidden Icon to draw the hidden apps and find the OpenVPN GUI there.
Preparing the installation for use
- If the installation is not done right, users can encounter the following error – “No readable connection profiles found.” Having a correct config file can resolve this. You can download an OpenVPN config file.
- If it shows this error – “There already exists a config file named…”, You have to rename the file. OpenVPN searches the entire directory of the following location: \Program Files\OpenVPN\config or \Users\$USERNAME\OpenVPN\config. Ensure all files have a unique name.
Importing the first config file
- Right-click the OpenVPN GUI icon and click on Import.
- Then, click on Import File.
- Now, select config.ovpn.
- You will see a message upon successful import.
Different OpenVPN GUI menus
- If you have successfully imported a file, then right-click the OpenVPN GUI icon.
- You will find the Connect option. Below you can find Disconnect and Reconnect and Show Status.
- Further down, users will find the View Log option and Edit Config.
- We suggest not touching the Edit Config option as it can render the OpenVPN GUI useless and users would have to find a new config file.
When you right-click on the icon and click on the Connect tab, you will be prompted for authentication. Most single-user OpenVPN GUI requires a set of credentials such as a username and Password.
Simply enter the correct username and password and connect to the VPN.
Troubleshooting Common OpenVPN Issues
While using OpenVPN, you might face several issues. As a beginner, you may find it difficult to find workarounds for these. To help you out, we have listed some common issues found while using OpenVPN and its GUI.
1. “No Readable Connection Profiles Found” Error:
You may encounter this error if the OpenVPN GUI installation is not done correctly.
- Ensure the installation process is completed accurately.
- Download a correct OpenVPN config file from a reliable source.
- If you see the error “There already exists a config file named…,” rename the file to ensure uniqueness within the directory:
2. OpenVPN GUI Icon Not Visible:
The OpenVPN GUI icon may not be visible in the system tray.
- Check the Windows Hidden Icons by clicking the arrow in the system tray.
- If not found, reinstall OpenVPN, ensuring that all installation steps are followed correctly.
- Restart the system to refresh the taskbar and system tray.
3. Connection Issues:
You may face difficulties connecting to the VPN.
- Confirm that the OpenVPN server is operational.
- Check internet connectivity on your device.
- Verify that the VPN server settings in the config file are accurate.
- Restart the OpenVPN service or application.
4. “No Internet Access” After Connecting:
You might also experience internet connectivity issues after connecting to the VPN.
- Confirm that the OpenVPN server allows internet traffic.
- Check the DNS settings in the config file.
- Ensure that the TAP Virtual Ethernet Adapter is enabled in the network settings.
5. GUI Unresponsiveness or Freezing:
Occasionally, the OpenVPN GUI may become unresponsive or freeze.
- Check for conflicting applications that may interfere with OpenVPN.
- Update your graphics drivers.
- Reinstall OpenVPN, ensuring that you have the latest version.
6. Authentication Prompt Loop:
Users may get stuck in a loop prompting for authentication credentials.
- Confirm that the username and password are correct.
- Check the OpenVPN server logs for authentication errors.
- Try importing the config file again.