How to set up OpenVPN on Linux Mint

How To Set Up OpenVPN on Linux Mint

This guide describes the steps taken to set up the free OpenVPN service on Linux Mint and create a toggle switch in the Network Connections applet to simplify its use.

A VPN connection toggle switch circumvents the need to launch the OpenVPN service by typing a command in a terminal window. Additionally, multiple VPN networks can be added to the Network Connection applet as desired, to manage all your VPN networks effectively.

Linux Mint VPN Network Connection using the free OpenVPN service

Linux Mint VPN Network Connection using the free OpenVPN service

In brief, the steps required are:

  1. Visit vpnbook.com and download the free OpenVPN Certificate Bundles to your computer.
  2. Install the OpenVPN network daemon, network management framework and OpenVPN plugin core using Software Manager.
  3. Create a VPN network connection using one of the downloaded OpenVPN Certificates.

1. Download the free OpenVPN Certificate Bundles to your computer.

Free OpenVPN is the best and most recommended open-source VPN software world-wide.

Visit vpnbook.com/freevpn and download one or more Certificate Bundles appropriate for your needs.

Also, make a note of the Username and Password that are displayed beneath the list of certificates.

The Certificate Bundles are provided in a compressed file and need to be extracted. Go to your download folder and right-click the downloaded zip file. Select Extract Here to unzip the files quickly inside your download folder.

Right-click and select Extract Here

Right-click and select Extract Here

At this point, you may want to create a dedicated certificate folder in which to store all your extracted certificates.

2. Install the OpenVPN software.

Launch Linux Mint Software Manager from the Menu and enter your password when prompted.

Select Software Manager from the Linux Mint menu

Select Software Manager from the Linux Mint menu

In the Software Manager search field, type openvpn.

Search for openvpn in Software Manager

Search for openvpn in Software Manager

If the following packages are not installed, install them using the Software Manager interface:

  • Openvpn | Virtual private network daemon.
  • Network-manager-openvpn-gnome | Network management framework (openvpn plugin gnome gui).
  • Network-manager-openvpn | Network management framework (openvpn plugin core).

3. Create a VPN network connection

Click the Linux Mint Menu button and type network in the search bar. Select the Networking Configuration Manager.

Select Network

Select Network

Add a new connection by pressing the plus symbol beneath the list of available networks.

Add a new network connection

Add a new network connection

Select VPN from the Add Network Connection options.

Select VPN from the options

Select VPN from the options

Select Import from file…

Import from file...

Import from file…

Navigate to your certificate folder, chose a certificate (.ovpn file) and press Open to import that file.

Chose a certificate file

Chose a certificate file

A User Certificate, CA Certificate and Private Key are extracted from the vpnbook certificate file and stored on your computer. File locations can be obtained by clicking the folder icon adjacent to each file.

Enter the username and password in the appropriate fields and press Add to complete the Add Network Connection process.

It is important to note that the username and password are case sensitive.

Add username and password

Add username and password

The new network connection will now be visible in the Networking manager. It can be enabled and disabled in the Networking manager to test the connection.

Connection added to Linux Mint Networking Manager

Connection added to Linux Mint Networking Manager

Most connection failures will be due to an incorrectly typed username or password. To edit a network configuration, select the network by left clicking it in the list, then press the crossed spanner and screw driver icon in the Networking manager.

Upon confirmation of connection success, close the Networking manager window.


How to use

Left click the network icon (located at the bottom right of the Linux Mint task bar) to see a summary of available networks and those currently connected.

Linux Mint Network applet

Linux Mint Network applet

Use the toggle switch to enable or disable VPN Connections.

If you have multiple VPN connections configured, the one in use will be shown at the top of the list with a bullet point to its left.

To connect to a different VPN network, use the Network Settings option to return to the Networking configuration manager. Enable and disable VPN connections there.

Note that the vpnbook password is changed frequently. If you find that a previously working vpn configuration fails to connect, visit vpnbook.com and obtain the new password. Then make the appropriate change in the configuration as described in step 3.

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