CentOS 6.5 - Install OpenVPN Server


I recently updated the script to use the latest openvpn 2.3.6 package that centos grabs, instaed of 2.3.2 which it used to utilize. Ever since then, I have been unable to start the openvpn service. I will hopefully have a fix for this at some point, but in the meantime, I recommend deploying an Ubuntu VPN.

Here's how to setup an OpenVPN server on CentOS 6.5


All you need to do is run the following one line command on your server. The actual installation script is actually pulled from my pastebin. Make sure to press enter at the appropriate points an put in 'y' for signing certificate etc. I tested that this works on a Digital Ocean VPS.

yum install wget -y && wget -O - http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=dfuDtW8L | tr -d '\r' > /tmp/script.sh && sudo bash /tmp/script.sh  

OpenVZ Users

Unfortunately, if you are using OpenVZ virtual containers instead of a VM with Xen or KVM, then your ethernet device will show up as venet0:0 instead of eth0, so you need to run the following slightly altered script instead.


# Bash guard to make sure we are running bash
if ! [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ];then
    echo "This is not bash, calling self with bash....";
    SCRIPT=$(readlink -f "$0")
    /bin/bash $SCRIPT

# Check have sudo/root permissions.
if [ "$USER" != "root" ]; then
        echo "You need to run me with sudo!"

echo "
   ____           _    ___  ____     __    ____ 
  / ___|___ _ __ | |_ / _ \/ ___|   / /_  | ___|
 | |   / _ \ '_ \| __| | | \___ \  | '_ \ |___ \ 
 | |__|  __/ | | | |_| |_| |___) | | (_) | ___) |
  \____\___|_|_|_|\__|\___/|____/   \___(_)____/ 
     ___                __     __ ___  _   _ 
    / _ \ _ __   ___ ___\ \   / /  _ \| \ | |
   | | | | '_ \ / _ \  _ \ \ / /| |_) |  \| |
   | |_| | |_) |  __/ | | \ V / |  __/| |\  |
    \___/| .__/ \___|_| |_|\_/  |_|   |_| \_|
        ___           _        _ _
       |_ _|_ __  ___| |_ __ _| | | ___ _ __ 
        | || '_ \/ __| __/ _' | | |/ _ \ '__|
        | || | | \__ \ || (_| | | |  __/ |
       |___|_| |_|___/\__\__,_|_|_|\___|_|

   [ courtesy of www.programster.blogspot.com ]

# Ask the user where they want to store the client configs on their local machine.
# This will be used for updating the client.conf file with the relevant paths.
read -e -p "Path where you will store client configs (your local machine): 
" \
-i "/home/USER/my-vpn" CONFIG_FILE_PATH

# Include the epel repository that has openvpn. We may not have wget yet.
echo "Adding the EPEL repository"
yum install wget -y
wget http://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/6/x86_64/epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm
rpm -Uvh epel-*
rm epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm -f

# Update the OS
echo "Updating the system"
yum update -y

echo "Installing openvpn"
yum install openvpn easy-rsa openssl -y

mkdir -p /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys

# resolving random issues with openssl 
# http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/issue-with-generating-certs-with-openssl-887207/
touch    /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/index.txt
echo '01
' > /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa//keys/serial

cp -rf /usr/share/easy-rsa/2.0/* /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/

# Fix issue with openssl
sed -i 's;cnf="$1/openssl.cnf";cnf="$1/openssl-1.0.0.cnf";' /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/whichopensslcnf

cd /etc/openvpn

# Clear out any keys that are already set. 
. /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/clean-all

# Rather than execute the vars dir, lets just define them here:
export EASY_RSA="/etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/"
export OPENSSL="openssl"
export PKCS11TOOL="pkcs11-tool"
export GREP="grep"
export KEY_CONFIG=`$EASY_RSA/whichopensslcnf $EASY_RSA`
export KEY_DIR="$EASY_RSA/keys"
export PKCS11_MODULE_PATH="dummy"
export PKCS11_PIN="dummy"
export KEY_SIZE=1024
export CA_EXPIRE=3650
export KEY_EXPIRE=3650

# These are the fields which will be placed in the certificate.
# Don't leave any of these fields blank. Update if you want
export KEY_CITY="SanFrancisco"
export KEY_ORG="Fort-Funston"
export KEY_EMAIL="noreply@getlost.com"
export KEY_CN=changeme
export KEY_NAME=changeme
export KEY_OU=changeme
export PKCS11_MODULE_PATH=changeme
export PKCS11_PIN=1234
. /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/build-ca
. /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/build-key-server server

# Create the client key. Change any of the settings below as you like
export KEY_CITY="Austin"
export KEY_ORG="The Alamo"
export KEY_EMAIL="noreply@getlost2.com"
export KEY_CN=changeme
export KEY_NAME=keyname
export KEY_OU=noidea
export PKCS11_MODULE_PATH=changeme
export PKCS11_PIN=1234
. /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/build-key client1

# generate Deffie Hellman Parameters which will be governing 
# the key exchanges between the client and the server of Ubuntu OpenVPN
. /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/build-dh

# Copy the files you just generated to the directory that actually runs the openvpn service.
cp /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/* /etc/openvpn/.

# make a duplicate of the example config files which we will use.
cd /usr/share/doc/openvpn-2.3.6/sample/sample-config-files/
cp client.conf  /etc/openvpn/.
cp server.conf  /etc/openvpn/.

# now edit the files we just copied.
cd /etc/openvpn/

# Update the client.conf
SERVER_IP=`/sbin/ifconfig venet0:0 | grep 'inet addr:' | cut -d: -f2 | awk '{ print $1}'`
sed -i "s;remote my-server-1 1194;remote $SERVER_IP 1194;" /etc/openvpn/client.conf
sed -i "s;ca ca.crt;ca $CONFIG_FILE_PATH/ca.crt;" /etc/openvpn/client.conf
sed -i "s;cert client.crt;cert $CONFIG_FILE_PATH/client1.crt;" /etc/openvpn/client.conf
sed -i "s;key client.key;key $CONFIG_FILE_PATH/client1.key;" /etc/openvpn/client.conf

# Update the server.conf by uncommenting the redirect of gateway
sed -i 's:;push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp":push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp":' \

# Update the dhcp-option to push google as the DNS
sed -i 's:;push "dhcp-option DNS":push "dhcp-option DNS":' /etc/openvpn/server.conf
sed -i 's:;push "dhcp-option DNS":push "dhcp-option DNS":' /etc/openvpn/server.conf

# Configuring system to allow ip forwarding
echo "configuring system to allow ip forwarding..."
# This is a version I have seen in the past
sed -i "s;#net.ipv4.ip_forward=1;net.ipv4.ip_forward=1;" /etc/sysctl.conf
# This is the latest way I have seen it disabled
sed -i "s;net.ipv4.ip_forward = 0;net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1;" /etc/sysctl.conf
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

# Set up iptables to forward packets for vpn and do this upon startup.
echo "configuring iptables to forward packets..."
echo 'iptables -A FORWARD -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -s -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -j REJECT
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s -o venet0 -j MASQUERADE
exit 0' > /etc/rc.local

# Call the startup script immediately so user does not have to reboot to get going.
sudo bash /etc/rc.local

# package up the files that the user needs to copy to their local machine
echo "packaging up files that you will need to send yourself..."
mkdir /etc/openvpn/vpn-details

cp /etc/openvpn/client.conf \
/etc/openvpn/ca.crt \
/etc/openvpn/client1.crt \
/etc/openvpn/client1.key \

cd /etc/openvpn/
tar --create --gzip --file ~/vpn-details.tar.gz vpn-details

# clean up
echo "cleaning up..."
sudo rm -rf /etc/openvpn/vpn-details
sudo rm /etc/openvpn/client.conf
# These steps I did manually to get working
cd /etc/openvpn
sudo rm client*

# Restart the openvpn service
echo "restarting the openvpn service..."
service openvpn restart

# set openvpn to start on boot
chkconfig openvpn on

# Finish up by telling the user the one manual step they need to perform
echo "Copy the vpn-details.tar.gz file to your local machine (SCP) 
and then run this command in your cli:
openvpn --config /location/of/your/copied/files/client.conf"

After it has completed, you will need to transfer the tar gzip archive in the server's home directory (probably /root) to your local computer and run the openvpn command it tells you to run. Make sure you have the files located at the path the script asks for at the beginning!

Installation Video



Stuart is a software developer with a passion for Linux and open source projects.

comments powered by Disqus
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. More info.