Licensing the server to increase allowed connections

At the moment there are two different licensing models:

  • Amazon AWS pre-licensed tiered instances (in various sizes)
  • Bring Your Own License (BYOL) type instance (choose your own size)

Amazon AWS pre-licensed tiered instances

The Amazon AWS pre-licensed tiered instances are specifically meant for Amazon AWS and are not available elsewhere. It is billed directly through the Amazon AWS system and is handled there entirely and does not require separately purchased license keys. When you launch such an instance on Amazon AWS, you pay for both the virtual machine itself on AWS, and a separate hourly charge to AWS for the software license. When you put the instance in 'stop' mode, the billing for the software license pauses until you put the instance in 'start' mode again. When you terminate the instance, the billing for this instance stops as well. When you launch such an instance, it typically becomes automatically licensed within a minute. It does require access to a number of specific IP addresses and ports on the Internet to be able to do so, so if you encounter a problem where a pre-licensed tiered instances on Amazon AWS does not show the correct number of licenses, please check the licensing troubleshooting guide on how to debug such a problem.

There are in total 7 pre-licensed tiered instances available on Amazon AWS:

The one for 5 connected devices offers a free trial. If you launch one such an instance, the software license for 5 connected devices is free for the first 7 days. This gives you a chance to try the product out, and if you don't like it, you just terminate the instance within those 7 days and you won't be billed for the software license. You always still pay for the Amazon AWS virtual machine itself, but the software license is on a free trial for 7 days for the one instance. After 7 days if you continue to use the product, the software license will then start to be billed to you through AWS, so it converts to a paid instance automatically after the 7 days free trial.

We also offer the BYOL type instance on Amazon AWS. This license model is explained below.

Bring Your Own License (BYOL) type instance

If you run an OpenVPN Access Server that is not of the pre-licensed tiered instance type described above, then you can purchase license keys from our website and activate them on your Access Server installation. These license keys are single-activation keys that when activated on an Access Server installation lock to the specific hardware/software on that server, and unlock a certain amount of allowed connections. More than one license key can be active at once to increase the licensed amount on an already licensed server. Please note that you cannot augment the pre-licensed tiered instance type licensing on Amazon AWS with BYOL type license keys, they don't mix. We recommend that you read the licensing frequently asked questions where a lot of different questions regarding the licensing systems are answered.

Again, if you have Amazon AWS and are using one of our prelicensed tiered instances with a specified amount of connected devices which are billed through Amazon AWS, the license key system does not apply for you. An exception to this is the BYOL (Bring Your Own License) type instance available on Amazon AWS. That one does take license keys as it conforms to the BYOL type licensing model.

Please also note that having a license key does not mean you can connect to our servers with an OpenVPN client program. A license key is meant for an OpenVPN Access Server installation on a server that you provide and manage. Purchasing and having a license key does not mean that we provide you with a connection profile that lets you connect to our systems with your OpenVPN client program. That is not a service we offer on openvpn.net. However if you are looking for a VPN termination service where you can connect your computer to an already existing VPN server for the purposes of securing your Internet traffic, take a look at our offering called Private Tunnel instead. There, you can sign up, and receive a connection profile that lets you connect to a Private Tunnel managed server. But if you want to set up your own OpenVPN server based on our OpenVPN Access Server product, and need more than 2 simultaneous connections, then launching a pre-licensed tiered instance on Amazon AWS or purchasing a BYOL license key for OpenVPN Access Server and activating it is the way to go.

How to purchase and activate a BYOL type license key

Step 1: register for a free account on openvpn.net
On our main website openvpn.net you can register for a free account. This does not obligate you to purchase anything; registration is free. With an account on our website you can use the purchase license key page and it will also allow you to gain access to the support ticket system. Please note that having an account on openvpn.net does not mean you can point your OpenVPN client program at our site and get connected with a VPN tunnel. Some people seem to get confused about this point but our website is just a website, not a VPN termination service. If you are looking for a VPN termination service, try Private Tunnel instead.

Step 2: confirm your account
Via email a message will be sent to you asking you to confirm your account. This is to prevent spammers from adding just any email address to our systems. If for whatever reason this confirmation message is not making it to your mailbox it's possible the message is in the junk or unwanted folder of your mail client. If that also is not the case and you are unable to complete the confirmation process we suggest you visit the IRC web chat system and in the panel on the right hand look for the name novaflash and click it once and choose query. This opens a private secure window to the user novaflash - an official employee of OpenVPN Inc. Use the text field at the bottom to type a message explaining your predicament and your email address. We'll try to then contact you directly via email and confirm your account manually for you. Please note that it may take a little while for us to respond in this way as this is not our primary means of communication with our customers.

Step 3: go to the purchase license key page
On our purchase license key page on our website you can select how many connections you want on your license key (the minimum is 10, lower is not possible) and the duration you want this license key to last for. The choices are 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 years. Some discounts apply when you choose longer periods. The details about pricing are available on our pricing overview page. Once payment is completed either through PayPal or by using a credit card, the license key is immediately issued and made available to you.

Step 4: activate the license key in the Admin UI
We assume that OpenVPN Access Server installations have access to the Internet. The licensing system works by sending the license key you enter in the Admin UI to our licensing server to activate it. To do the activation go to the Admin UI of your Access Server and log in as an administrative user. Go to the "License" page and in the text field there enter the license key you have purchased and received. A license key looks like ABCD-1234-EFGH-5678 and can be used for activation only once. All our license keys are single-activation only, meaning that they lock to the hardware/software of your Access Server installation once activated. If your system ever changes because you reinstall the system or replace the hardware, or you just want to move the license key to another system, you should contact us through the support ticket system to request a license key reissue. Be sure to mention the license key you want to have reissued so that we can assist you as soon as possible with your request.