I have a few random posts lately on VPN stuff with Linux.  I have been learning about setting up an OpenVPN server on Ubuntu 12.04.  My test bed is on Amazon’s EC2.  The ultimate goal is to run the VPN through port 80 so I don’t have to worry about the VPN port being blocked by asshole ISP’s.  (That would be you Cellcom)

This is what I have learned:  I am still fighting with creating a fully functional OpenVPN.  I have the server setup on 12.04 and tunneling through port 80.  I believe I can connect with my Mac using Viscosity or Tunnelblick.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to push all the traffic such as the web through the VPN.

I decided I should check out PPTP next.  That went very smooth and works like a charm!  I have successfully tried it on my Mac and on my android phone.  Still need to test apple products but that is where Cellcom came in with their blocked ports.  Damn you Cellcom!

I successfully was able to open a file on my samba server through the VPN.  That made me feel good.  OpenVPN and PPTP both have their downsides.  OpenVPN will not work on an iphone or ipad unless it is rooted(err jailbreaked).  Apple only allows the behemoths to control their phones such as Cisco and Juniper.  The problem with PPTP is it doesn’t use SSL certificates.  To make that initial connection you are relying on a password and not a certificate for the connection.

It is a tradeoff and each business must make their own security decisions.  PPTP is baked into just about everything these days.  Android, IOS, Mac and Windows.  I like that part.  In order to access the file server (samba) I used a free app called ES File Explorer.  I was an Astro File Manager fan but it kept crashing when I wanted to add my file server info.

On an Ipad or Iphone it looks like the best program to connect with is $5.  The free program on IOS is called NetPortalLite.  I hope it works fine but haven’t tested it yet.  On the internet almost everyone mentions File Browser.  Yes, it’s really called just “File Browser”.

I figure I have two places to put my notes.  Privately in my google docs or make the public with this blog.  This way if others are searching for the same items as I am they may be able to find their answers quicker.

Posted in VPN