Installing OpenVPN

OpenVPN source code and Windows installers can be downloaded here. Recent releases (2.2 and later) are also available as Debian and RPM packages; see the OpenVPN wiki for details.

For security, it’s a good idea to check the file release signature after downloading.

The OpenVPN executable should be installed on both server and client machines, since the single executable provides both client and server functions.

Linux Notes (using RPM package)

If you are using a Linux distribution which supports RPM packages (SuSE, Fedora, Redhat, etc.), it’s best to install using this mechanism. The easiest method is to find an existing binary RPM file for your distribution. You can also build your own binary RPM file:

rpmbuild -tb openvpn-[version].tar.gz

Once you have the .rpm file, you can install it with the usual

rpm -ivh openvpn-[details].rpm

or upgrade an existing installation with

rpm -Uvh openvpn-[details].rpm

Installing OpenVPN from a binary RPM package has these dependencies:

Furthermore, if you are building your own binary RPM package, there are several additional dependencies:

See the openvpn.spec file for additional notes on building an RPM package for Red Hat Linux 9 or building with reduced dependencies.

Linux Notes (without RPM)

If you are using Debian, Gentoo, or a non-RPM-based Linux distribution, use your distro-specific packaging mechanism such as apt-get on Debian or emerge on Gentoo.

It is also possible to install OpenVPN on Linux using the universal ./configure method. First expand the .tar.gz file:

tar xfz openvpn-[version].tar.gz

Then cd to the top-level directory and type:

make install

Windows Notes

OpenVPN for Windows can be installed from the self-installing exe file on the OpenVPN download page. Remember that OpenVPN will only run on Windows XP or later. Also note that OpenVPN must be installed and run by a user who has administrative privileges (this restriction is imposed by Windows, not OpenVPN). The restriction can be sidestepped by running OpenVPN in the background as a service, in which case even non-admin users will be able to access the VPN, once it is installed. More discussion on OpenVPN + Windows privilege issues.

Official OpenVPN Windows installers include OpenVPN-GUI, which allows managing OpenVPN connections from a system tray applet. Other GUI applications are also available.

After you’ve run the Windows installer, OpenVPN is ready for use and will associate itself with files having the .ovpn extension. To run OpenVPN, you can:

Additional Windows install notes.

Mac OS X Notes

Angelo Laub and Dirk Theisen have developed an OpenVPN GUI for OS X.

Other OSes

Some notes are available in the INSTALL file for specific OSes. In general, the

make install

method can be used, or you can search for an OpenVPN port or package which is specific to your OS/distribution.