Join Scott Simpson for an in-depth discussion in this video Using an OpenVPN provider, part of Browsing the Web Securely.
- [Instructor] Some VPN providers don't offer their own app, but rather give you a configuration profile that you can use in third-party software. Usually the third-party software that you'll use is a client for OpenVPN, one of the protocols in common use for VPN connections. Popular clients for using OpenVPN services are Tunnelblick on Mac, OpenVPN on Linux and Windows, OpenVPN Connect on iOS, and OpenVPN for Android on Android. Many services support this software, and for the next few minutes we'll take a look at Mullvad.
Mullvad does have its own clients for many desktop systems, but in this video we'll use third-party software to connect instead. Here on Mullvad's site, I'll sign up. I'll choose Get Account, and Mullvad is pretty neat. It doesn't have a username and password, just a number, and it doesn't ask for a name and email address. I'll fill out the Captcha and choose Generate account number. Now I've got a number, and what I need for an OpenVPN client is a configuration file. I can get that here under Download, and then I'll scroll down to iOS, Android and other platforms, and choose Instructions and configuration files.
Let's take a look at setting this up on Mac first, then Windows, and then my mobile device. I'll choose Other platforms, and make sure that my account number is populated here in the first box. I'll leave the recommended configuration, and I'll choose a country where I want to connect to, let's say the Czech Republic, and then I'll choose Get config. And, here on my Mac, I'll visit the Tunnelblick website and choose Downloads. Then I'll choose the Stable installer.
Once it's downloaded I'll install it. I'll go through the process. Then I'll go back to my Downloads folder, and decompress the configuration that I got from the Mullvad website. Inside the resulting folder, there's an OSX folder, and inside that is the Tunnelblick configuration. I'll double-click it and choose to Install. I'll choose to install it for only my user, and then I'll type my password. When that's done I'll open the Tunnelblick software, and I'll choose the Mullvad configuration.
Then in the bottom right I'll choose Connect, and I see that I've connected. When I'm done using this connection, I can choose Disconnect. Here on the Mullvad site on Windows, I can choose Download Client, and then go to the Instructions and configuration files. Again I'll choose Other platforms, and I'll put in my account number. I'll choose the country to connect from, maybe Romania today, and then I'll choose Get config.
I'll save that file, and then I'll download the OpenVPN client from their website. I'll choose right down here, Installer, Windows Vista and later, and I'll save that. When it's downloaded, I'll install the software. I'll click Next through the process and then choose Install. When the process finishes, I see a read me file, and that tells me where I should put configuration files. So I'll open up the File Explorer, go to my hard drive, and then follow the path that it tells me.
Program Files, OpenVPN, config. I'm done with the read me file, but I need to copy my configuration into this folder. I'll go back to my Downloads, and extract the zip file that I downloaded. I'll copy the files in this folder over to the config folder. Then I'll go to my start menu, find OpenVPN GUI, right-click, and run it as the administrator. It's running but I don't see it.
I'll go to my system tray and there it is. I'll right-click and choose Connect. When it's connected, I'm notified, and I can see that the icon turns green. When I'm done using the connection, I can right-click on it and choose Disconnect. Here on my mobile device I've gone into the App Store and searched for the OpenVPN Connect application. By default, it doesn't have any profiles so what we need to do is visit the Mullvad website and download a profile.
I'll switch to my browser and navigate to the site. Then I'll choose the Download Client option, and choose the button for Instructions and configuration files. I'll type in my account number and then I'll leave the configuration at the recommended option, and I'll choose a country. Let's choose Austria, and then I'll choose Get config. The browser offers the option for me to open this file in OpenVPN, and that's what I want to do, so I'll tap on that. Now OpenVPN shows a new profile that's available, but it hasn't yet been added.
To add it to my list I'll press the green button with the plus, and now that profile has been added to my OpenVPN. Before I connect though, there's a recommendation on the Mullvad website. It recommends visiting the application settings for OpenVPN and turning on AES-CBC ciphersuites. I'll switch back to OpenVPN and I'll toggle the switch to connect, and there we go. My traffic is being routed through the VPN. When I'm done using it, I can turn it off with the switch here.
- Selecting a VPN provider
- Installing a VPN
- Setting up your own personal VPN
- Browsing the internet with Tor