Limitations of an unlicensed OpenVPN Access Server
When the OpenVPN Access Server is installed without a license key it goes into a sort of demonstration mode. There is no time limit or functionality limit on this mode. The only difference between a licensed Access Server and an unlicensed one is the amount of simultaneous OpenVPN tunnel connections the Access Server allows. An unlicensed server will only ever allow 2 simultaneous connections and that’s it. To unlock more connections you can purchase a license key to unlock more connections. We suggest you read about the licensing models available for OpenVPN Access Server, and the pricing overview page to learn more.
Licensing the server to increase allowed connections
At the moment there are two different licensing models. One specifically meant for Amazon AWS, and one that can be used on any other type of system where OpenVPN Access Server is installed and running. The system meant for Amazon AWS is billed directly through the Amazon AWS system and is handled there entirely and does not require separately purchased license keys.
If you run OpenVPN Access Server on a system other than the Amazon AWS prelicensed tiered instance, 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 (does not apply to the Amazon AWS prelicensed tiered instances with a fixed number of allowed connected devices). We recommend that you read the licensing frequently asked questions which answers a lot of questions you may have regarding how the two licensing systems works. This page focuses on how to purchase a license key from our website, and activating it on your OpenVPN Access Server installation.
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.
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 you provide and manage. Purchasing and having a license key does not mean that you can connect to openvpn.net 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. 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 purchasing a license for OpenVPN Access Server is the way to go.
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.
If you are experiencing problems activating your BYOL license key, or with an Amazon pre-licensed tiered instance, we recommend you take a look at this troubleshooting page for software licensing problems.