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Chapter 1 looks at what VPNs are, how they evolved during the last decade, why it is necessary to modern enterprises, how typical VPNs work. The chapter also covers some essential networking concepts.

Chapter 2 explains VPN security issues, including symmetric and asymmetric encryption, the SSL/TLS library, and SSL certificates.

Chapter 3 introduces OpenVPN. In this chapter, we learn about the history of OpenVPN, how OpenVPN works, and how OpenVPN compares to IPSec VPN applications.

Chapter 4 covers installing OpenVPN on both Windows, the Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD. It covers the installation on Linux from the source code and RPM packages. Installation on Suse and Debian is covered in detail.

In Chapter 5, an encryption key for OpenVPN is created and it is then used to setup up our first OpenVPN Tunnel between two windows systems in the same network. The key is then copied on a Linux system and this system is connected through a tunnel to the first windows machine.

Chapter 6 shows how to create x509 server and client certificates for use with OpenVPN. easy-rsa which comes with OpenVPN and is available for both Windows and Linux is used.

Chapter 7 reviews the syntax of the command line tool openvpn, which enables building tunnels quickly. The configuration options of openvpn are covered in detail with examples.

Chapter 8 shows how to make the example tunnels created earlier safer and persistent by choosing a reliable combination of configuration file parameters. It then covers how to configure firewalls on Linux and Windows to work with OpenVPN.

Chapter 9 focuses on using xca, the advanced Windows tool with which x509 certificates can be easily managed. Its Linux equivalent, Tinyca2, which can even manage multiple certificate authorities, is also covered.

Chapter 10 covers advanced OpenVPN configurations, including Tunneling through a proxy server, pushing routing commands to clients, pushing and setting the default route through a tunnel, Distributed compilation through VPN tunnels with distcc, and OpenVPN scripting.

Chapter 11 shows how to debug and monitor VPN tunnels. It covers standard networking tools that can be used for scanning and testing the connectivity of a VPN server.


OpenVPN is a powerful, open source SSL VPN application. It can secure site-to-site connections, WiFi and enterprise-scale remote connections. While being a full-featured VPN solution, OpenVPN is easy to use and does not suffer from the complexity that characterizes other IPSec VPN implementations. It uses the secure and stable TLS/SSL mechanisms for authentication and encryption.

This book is an easy introduction to this popular VPN application. After introducing the basics of security and VPN, the book moves on to cover using OpenVPN, from installing it on various platforms, through configuring basic tunnels, to more advanced features, such as using the application with firewalls, routers, proxy servers, and OpenVPN scripting.

While providing only necessary theoretical background, the book takes a practical approach, presenting plenty of examples.

  • Learn how to install, configure, and create tunnels with OpenVPN on Linux, Windows, and MacOSX
  • Use OpenVPN with DHCP, routers, firewall, and HTTP proxy servers
  • Advanced management of security certificates
Page Count 270
Course Length 8 hours 6 minutes
ISBN 9781904811855
Date Of Publication 10 May 2006


Markus Feilner

Markus Feilner is a seasoned Linux expert from Regensburg, Germany. He has been working with free and open source software since 1994, as a trainer, consultant, author and journalist. His first contact with UNIX was a SUN cluster and SPARC workstations at Regensburg University (during his studies of geography).

Since 2000, he has published many books and courses used in Linux training sessions all over the world. Among that were three books for Packt (two on OpenVPN and one on Scalix Groupware). In the same year, he founded his own Linux consulting and training company, Feilner IT. He was also working as a trainer, consultant, and systems engineer at Millenux, Munich, where he focused on groupware, collaboration, and virtualization with Linux-based systems and networks.

Until 2015, he had been deputy editor-in-chief at the German Linux-Magazine, where he wrote about open source software for both printed and online magazines, including the Linux Technical Review and the Linux Magazine International (the U.S., UK, and Australia).

Today, the Conch diplomat, Minister of the Universal Life Church, Jedi Knight, and owner of lunar property holds several nationalities and is employed as Team Lead of the SUSE Documentation Team in Nürnberg. He regularly gives keynotes, workshops, lectures, and presentations at tech and political conferences in Germany.

He is interested in anything about geography, traveling, photography, philosophy (especially that of open source software), global politics, modern science, arts and literature, but always has too little time for these hobbies.