Connecting to Access Server with macOS

Client software choice

The OpenVPN protocol is not one that is built into macOS. Therefore a client program is required that can handle capturing the traffic you wish to send through the OpenVPN tunnel, and encrypting it and passing it to the OpenVPN server. And of course, the reverse, to decrypt the return traffic. So a client program is required. We advise our official OpenVPN Connect Client that comes bundled with the OpenVPN Access Server. But alternatives are also available.

Official OpenVPN Connect Client in Access Server

The simplest one, and the one that comes with OpenVPN Access Server itself, is called OpenVPN Connect Client. This program is purposefully limited in its functionality in the sense that it only supports one active VPN tunnel at a time. Trying to connect to two different servers at the same time is a function we did not build into our official OpenVPN Connect Client. This was done on purpose. Connecting to two servers at the same time means there are two different adjustments made to the routing table on the client computer. It is very easy therefore to make a mistake and break connectivity or cause traffic to flow to the wrong target. Limiting this to one server makes this much less likely to go wrong. The OpenVPN Connect Client is able to remember multiple different servers, but only one can be actively connected at a time.

Download the OpenVPN Connect Client

Please note that we recommend that you download the OpenVPN Connect Client through your OpenVPN Access Server, as it will then come prepared with the correct settings to make a connection to your Access Server. You can download it by going to the client web interface of your OpenVPN Access Server and logging in as a valid user. You will then be offered the option of downloading the OpenVPN Connect Client. It is also possible to obtain a copy of a completely blank installer for OpenVPN Connect Client below, but this installer will not contain any connection settings so you will have to take additional steps after installation to configure your OpenVPN Connect Client to make a connection to your Access Server. If you are installing the file below on a computer that already has OpenVPN Connect Client installed and configured, it will simply update it to that version while retaining all settings.

Future replacement for OpenVPN Connect Client

We intend to bring a more unified approach to OpenVPN client connectivity across the 5 major platforms. On Android and iOS we have a new client interface that we are now also bringing to macOS. This OpenVPN Connect client for macOS that you can download here is a beta release that will eventually replace the official client above. We encourage our customers to try it out and report any issues to us on our support ticket system. This client is suitable from macOS 10.9 all the way up to the current version of macOS.

To learn more about our current beta programs, see our official beta program page.

Alternative: OpenVPN open source Tunnelblick program

The open source project has a client for the macOS operating system as well. It is called Tunnelblick and it is less limited in functionality than the OpenVPN Connect Client because it does support the option to connect to multiple OpenVPN servers at the same time.
On the other hand, it does miss some features that Connect Client does have as well like Python support for post-auth scripting and other functions that integrate Connect Client with Access Server, like the ability to import connection profiles directly from an Access Server, or the ability to authenticate any valid user on your Access Server and have them connect without having to install a connection profile for each separate user account. This is accomplished on the Connect Client with a universal server-locked profile which is not supported by the OpenVPN GUI program.

This program supports drag and drop to place OpenVPN connection profiles into Tunnelblick. These can be of .conf or .ovpn file extension. You can for example download a user-locked or an auto-login profile from the OpenVPN Access Server web interface, and drag and drop it on the Tunnelblick icon. The tray menu in the system tray will then show you options to use this connection profile – to start or stop the connection. Server-locked profiles are not supported, as mentioned earlier.

This program does support connecting to multiple OpenVPN servers at the same time, but there is a catch. You have to be careful not to implement conflicting routes and subnets when connecting to multiple OpenVPN servers at the same time. Unlike on Windows platform however, you do not need to worry about adding multiple virtual network adapters. These are provisioned automatically.

It can be obtained from the Tunnelblick website.

Alternative: Viscosity OpenVPN client

Another good OpenvPN client created by an external party, SparkLabs. It is available for Windows and macOS. It is compatible with OpenVPN Access Server.
It can be obtained from the SparkLabs Viscosity website.

Other clients

There are too many to name. There is however a page on the community website that tries to list them all.

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