A VPN server is a key part of any privacy plan. If you’re using the internet, there are all sorts of people who can snoop on your traffic. Even if they’re not listening in on your traffic, they can still get your IP address, and there are a lot of things they can do with that.
How do you stay secure? The best way is to use a VPN. Lots of people use paid VPN or free VPN services, but you can also create your own VPN. Here’s how.
Accounts and Software
Before you create your own VPN server, you need to get all the pieces together first. Here’s a list.
Digital Ocean is a virtual private server (VPS) service which provides cloud computing services. A VPS uses a physical server, like any cloud server, but it splits up its computing power to individual sections or virtual servers. Basically, it reserves a set amount of storage, memory, and processing power for your use.
There are a lot of services like this. Digital Ocean doesn’t offer a free trial, but some others do. This article runs through the steps for Digital Ocean, specifically. Sign up for an account.
2.PuTTY SSH Client
PuTTY is an SSH client, which means that it is a secure way for a computer to connect to a remote computer on an unsecured network. It keeps the communication between the two secure.
Download and install PuTTY on your computer.
FileZilla is a free client for Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). SFTP is an extension of the SSH protocol that adds the ability to securely send files using that same SSH protocol.
Download and save the file.
Pritunl is an open-source, free VPN server and management tool. It allows you to use and manage the latest VPN protocol, Open VPN, to secure your connection to the VPN you’re about to create.
Download and install.
Now let’s go and Create Your Own VPN
Step 1: Digital Ocean
To get started, you need to go to Digital Ocean.
- Log into your account and click on Droplets.
- Next, click on Create -> Droplets and it will take you to a series of options
- Log into your account and click on Droplets.
3. Choose an Ubuntu image.
4. Scroll down to the section, “Choose a plan” and you’ll see a series of boxes with prices and stats. The cheapest plan is on the far left, and it will get you 1 TB a month of traffic for $5 a month plus $0.007 an hour.
- 5. Choose whichever plan you like.
- Then scroll down to the data center location, and choose a location. The right one depends on your preference. If you want to use a VPN to get around geographical blocks, you’ll need to select one outside your country.
If you want to choose a name for the server, you can. Otherwise, click “create droplet”
Step 2: PuTTY SSH Client
You will get an email with the IP address. Open PuTTY and paste the IP address into the hostname field. Then enter a name into the “saved sessions” field, and click “save.”
Click on “open.” You’ll get a security alert, but it’s standard. Simply click “yes.”
In the terminal field, login as “root.” Copy the password from the Digital Ocean email, and paste the password into PuTTY. Press “enter” to login. You’ll need to paste the password again, and click “enter.”
You’ll get to set up a new password. Follow the instructions to get it right.
Update The Server
Update the server by entering the command line, “apt-get update.” Next, type “apt-get upgrade” to update the server. After the updates have been installed, go to GitHub and find the OpenVPN installer script.
Copy the URL. Go to the terminal window, and type this command “wget.” Paste the URL after “wget” and press “enter.” That will download the script.
Once it’s downloaded, type this command, “chmod 777 openvpn-install.sh” to make sure the script has the right permissions. Next, type “bash openvpn-install.sh” and press “enter.”
Next, It will ask you for your IP address, but it should appear automatically. Then choose your OpenVPN protocol, either UPD or TCP. The first is faster, and the second is more stable. Make your choice, and press enter. The script will ask for a VPN port, but the default port should be fine.
Next, it will ask what DNS server you want. The default is fine. It will ask for a name for the OpenVPN client, and you can choose a client certificate name, as a user name. Press any key, and the script will install.
Step 3: FileZilla
The next step uses FileZilla, so you’ll need to open it up. Copy the server IP address, and paste it into the “host” text field in FileZilla. The user name is “root.” Then type the password you created, and set the port to 22.
Click “quick connect.” Then click on the OpenVPN configuration file and download it. It should have the same name as the client certificate name with “.oVPN” as the suffix.
Step 4: Pritunl
Open up Pritunl and click on “import profile.” Navigate to the VPN config file you just download and select it. Click on the menu lines on the top right, and select “connect.”
Once Pritunl has connected to the server, your VPN is up and running. You can check whether your IP address is the same as your VPN server by going to our IP address tool.
And that’s it. Simple, right? Yep. It’s easy to create your own VPN.
Should You Create Your Own VPN?
The question is this: Is it worth it to create your own VPN or should you just go with the pros? There are a couple of reasons why it might be worth your while.
- The server might be faster since you’re the only one using it.
- You’re the only one with access to the logs. A paid VPN may log your activity.
- You like DIY tech stuff.
There are some great reasons why you should go with the pros, though.
- They have multiple servers all over the world for just one price.
- You can use several services for free. A DIY VPN will always cost money.
- It’s much easier, especially if you’re just not interested in all the tech stuff.
There are a lot of other routes to create your own VPN server, but this is just one of them. If you want a visual walkthrough of these steps, check out a great tutorial on youtube. Just be aware that the video is the author’s attempt to get everyone to use his referral link.