Sometime last year I signed up for Private Internet Access. For about $40/year it gave me several VPN outlets - including several spread across the globe, which is nice if you have some reason to want to obscure/change the country you’re coming from. It also integrated nicely into my Mac/iPad/phone, etc. However I ended up dropping them because I didn’t like the idea of all of my internet traffic going them. TorrentFreak has several articles on this. They even ask several VPN providers point blank about what type of logging/monitoring is done, and PIA is on the list saying they do no monitoring. Still… I’d rather go elsewhere.
Setup was really easy. I have a spare $5/month server at Digital Ocean that I use for one-off tasks like this. My Jenkins server is over there along with some other occasionally-used services.
Digital Ocean has a good tutorial on their site: how-to-install-openvpn-access-server-on-ubuntu-12-04
- Install OpenVPN Access Server
sudo passwd openvpnto give the openvpn login a unique password. This is the same password you’ll login to the web interface with.
- Load https://YourIpAddress:943/admin to bring up the admin.
- Create some new local linux users in the terminal and give them passwords.
- In the OpenVPN admin, give access to those users. I also turned off access from non-named accounts under the User Permissions section.
- Connecting from a Mac or PC is easy. Go to the client page (with the user’s login created in step 4, not
openvpn), and you can download the client software directly from there.
- For iOS and Android there are official apps in the App Store.
Everything works really well. The only thing I haven’t been able to successfully do is install it on my Chromebook. There’s a nice guide by someone at Dwolla, but it’s much more involved and I’ll save that for another day.