VPNs have become so mainstream that now they are considered an essential tech tool that internet users must carry for their online security. A VPN protects your digital world and online privacy by encrypting and routing your web traffic through tunneled servers that no one can detect. It’s quite easy and convenient to configure and use a VPN app on your smartphone or PC. VPNs nowadays are compatible with all major operating systems like Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, and even Linux. We can even use a Raspberry pi as a VPN router. In this article, we will learn in-depth about Raspberry Pi as a VPN router and how we can use it.
One way around using VPN connections on these devices is to set up a Wi-Fi router with a VPN configuration. But there’s an even cheaper solution to protect your entire home network, and that is using Raspberry Pi VPNs as a router. With a few straightforward scripts, we can convert Raspberry Pi as a VPN router. By doing this, you will be routing by redirecting your router’s traffic to the VPN gateway before it’s sent anywhere else.
In this guide, we will explain how to use Raspberry Pi as a VPN Router by following simple steps.
Prerequisites to use Raspberry Pi as a VPN
To get started, you’ll need the following items:
- Raspberry Pi (1st gen or newer) operating headless (no monitor or keyboard). A non-headless Pi can also be used for this purpose, but linking remotely is much easier.
- A premium VPN subscription of your preferred service provider. We’ll be using NordVPN, which is undoubtedly a preferred choice of enhanced privacy advocates. However, there are several reliable VPN apps, such as ExpressVPN and Surfshark.
- OpenVPN setting files of your VPN provider and its encryption certificates. Plenty of servers are usually hosted by VPN apps, so you must pick enough of them for your gateway in order to connect quickly. We selected two servers from the US and two from the UK. It’s pertinent to mention that one of them must support the UDP protocol while the other one must support TCP/IP. These OpenVPN setups are easily accessible via your VPN provider’s official website. On your PC, download the files and then extract them.
Once you’ve resolved these issues, proceed as follows:
- Sign into your Raspberry Pi and open its command prompt. In case you have a headless Pi, you must connect through SSH.
- Now, type “sudo apt-get install openvpn” to configure the OpenVPN packages. To confirm, type “Y” followed by a click on Enter.
- Enter “cd /etc/OpenVPN” to navigate to the OpenVPN setup files folder.
- Download the OpenVPN configurations from the website of your VPN service provider.
- We did it by using “wget” but you must use “sudo” as ordinary users can’t write it.
A prompt “ls” command demands analyzing and shows if you have successfully done that. There is supposed to be a short list of files with the .ovpn file extension. Please note that some VPNs may have stored these files in subdirectories. For instance, for connections secured and encrypted with 128-bit or 256-bit protection. Your job is to move these configuration files in an “etc/openvpn” directory via mv command.
- Establish a connection with any of the servers for which you downloaded OpenVPN files through the command “sudo openvpn example.ovpn.” You can replace “example” in this command with any file name of your VPN. You will then be asked by the script to enter your email address and password if you want to validate the connection. Run the “ifconfig” command and test if it’s working fine.
Quick Commands for Various VPN Servers
We are good to go till this step, but you wouldn’t fancy typing long commands every time you need a VPN connection. We will now share with you a quick command script allowing you to initiate and switch moving in your preferred vpn servers.
To start with, close any running VPN connections and then initiate the OpenVPN settings. Attacker entering the user’s credentials.
- In your default home folder (mostly home or pi), type the “nano vpn1.sh” command.
- Type the following shortcode, save it, and exit.
#!/bin/bash sudo killall openvpn sudo -b openvpn /etc/openvpn/example.ovpn
- Go through all these steps with the preferred VPN connections that you saved and think will frequently use in the future.
After doing this, you can launch or change your VPN connection by running the SSH command on your Pi and entering the “sudo ./vpn1.sh” command.
Route Your Device’s Internet Traffic from the Raspberry Pi
Lastly, to route the web traffic through the Pi, you’ll need to modify the internet preferences. Largely, Keep everything in its default settings except for the Gateway through the Pi device.
Now change the DNS server to 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52.
Despite their availability and popularity, VPN apps aren’t supported by several streaming platforms like Gaming Consoles, smart TVs, and Roku devices. These apps often allow limited simultaneous connections, and you can use them on 6 devices at a time. However, if you want to secure your entire network, you can turn your Raspberry pi into a VPN gateway. Simply follow our guide and secure your network through a Raspberry VPN app.
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET’s Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He’s also the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks and Nook e-books, as well as audiobooks.