Updated · Mar 28, 2023
How to Create a VPN at Home [4 Easy DIY Tutorials]
Updated · Feb 07, 2023
With more and more people realizing how important online privacy and security are, VPNs have become more mainstream now than ever.
That said, paying for a VPN tool or hopping on a free VPN service is not a guarantee that your personal information will remain private.
If you’re adamant about keeping your browsing to yourself, setting up a VPN server at home might be just the right thing for you.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to create a VPN at home.
Let’s get down to it.
How to Create a VPN at Home
Here’s how to create a VPN on different devices:
How to Set up a VPN Server on a Router
Installing a VPN on your router allows for network-wide VPN coverage. This means you won’t have to worry about whether your VPN provider limits the number of simultaneous connections on your plan or installing whether your device is VPN-compatible.
The easiest way to ensure all of your Internet traffic is encrypted is to get a good router with pre-installed VPN software. These routers typically support VPN protocols like the OpenVPN protocol or the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP).
Setting up a router as VPN
If you have a router that has built-in VPN functionality, you’ll need to install and set up the VPN on it.
- Open the router configuration panel: Enter the router’s IP address into your browser’s search bar and log in with your credentials.
- Locate the VPN settings. You should be able to find it under “Advanced” or “Advanced settings”.
- Configure the VPN client. The steps to do that typically depend on the router and the VPN you have. In most cases, you’ll need to download the configuration file and copy them to the client folder.
Most VPN routers and VPN providers offer guides in their manuals or online documentation on how to configure the VPN.
Flashing a router to use it as VPN
Although VPN-compatible routers are convenient, they’re also pricey.
If you want the cheaper route, you’ll need to “flash” it with a new, third-party firmware that includes built-in VPN server support. Popular options include DD-WRT, OpenWRT, or Tomato.
Once you have your new firmware, you’ll need to create a VPN server and then configure the router so it can run the VPN client.
Note that for this method to work, you’ll need a router that supports the new firmware.
How to Set up a VPN Server on Mac and Windows
The Windows operating system comes with a built-in function for hosting VPN servers, called “Incoming Connections,” but it uses PPTP, a tunneling protocol Microsoft released back in 1999, which isn’t the most secure one.
A better alternative is setting up an OpenVPN server. This is the industry standard in terms of security, although it is not as fast as WireGuard.
Here are the basics:
- Change firewall settings. This will let you set up port forwarding and allow for inbound connections.
- Download the OpenVPN software and make sure to check the “EasyRSA” box during installation.
- Install TAP drivers and configure EasyRSA
- Generate the Certificate authority and VPN certifications.
- Create configuration files for the VPN server clients and configure each with generated files.
You can find more detailed guides on your Windows device or OpenVPN’s website.
If you have a computer running macOS, creating a VPN server is the same, but you’ll need to take a few extra steps before the configuration process to make your Mac work with the protocol.
More specifically, you’ll need to download and install third-party software, such as Homebrew or Tunnelblick, because the macOS doesn’t natively support OpenVPN.
How to Create a VPN Server Using Raspberry Pi
Setting up a VPN server on your Raspberry Pi has plenty of advantages, the most important being that it is cheap and consumes very little power around the clock.
To make it work, you need a micro SD and an ethernet cable or Wi-Fi connection.
The process of creating a Raspberry Pi VPN server can be tricky. Luckily, the PiVPN script, which supports both the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, simplifies the job.
You first need to set up port forwarding, install the install script from PiVPN’s GitHub page, set up a static IP, and set a user to hold the configuration files. Once that’s done, you can connect via the VPN tunnel to your home network.
How to Create a VPN Server on the Cloud (AWS)
Finally, you can set up a VPN on the cloud, from a provider, including Azure, DigitalOceal, Scaleway, AWS, and even Google.
Most providers run subscription packages, some of which offer free or freemium packages which usually come with limited versions of their services.
For example, AWS has a free tier (which remains free for 12 months) that you can use to run a private VPN server.
You can find a detailed guide on how to configure the OpenVPN Access Server on Amazon’s website.
Things to Do (and Know) Before Setting up a VPN at Home
A home VPN is a good idea if you need to access your local network when you’re not at home.
But, before you start tweaking your device, you’ll need to figure out whether your IP address is static (constant) or dynamic (temporary and changes from time to time).
You can check the type of IP address you have in your computer’s Network settings under System Preferences.
To set up a VPN server at home, you’ll need a static IP address.
If your network device uses a dynamic IP address, you need a Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS). The DDNS will update your IP records automatically each time the IP address changes. Routers, Windows, and Raspberry Pi all provide instructions for configuring DDNS on your device.
Another thing to keep in mind is that setting up a VPN at home requires some level of technical know-how to ensure the setup is not vulnerable to security flaws.
Even if you believe that you’ll get to the other end of it error-free, setting up your own VPN is not a great idea if your connection suffers from slow upload bandwidth since it’ll slow it down more.
A commercial, paid VPN will allow you to download, torrent, stream, and browse anonymously, without having to figure out the nitty-gritty of a home VPN setup. If you’re looking for a good VPN, here are our top VPN picks for 2022.
Setting up a VPN server at home can be a great way to boost online security and access your local network in a secure and private way, including when you’re not home. Regardless of the type of device you pick, you will need some technical knowledge to ensure a meticulous setup and reduce security risks.
Is it risky to create a VPN at home?
Setting up a VPN at home can be risky because it requires you to tweak your device and in some cases, alter the firmware, which can make it more vulnerable. The VPN will also slow down your Internet speed and your ISP will still be able to monitor your online activity.
Are VPNs created at home as good as third-party VPN services?
The main advantage of hosting your own VPN is that you’re in charge of the data that’s being used and stored.
How much does it cost to create a VPN at home?
That depends on the type of where you’re hosting the VPN server. Cloud services charge around $2-5 for monthly storage charges, but downloading an interface like Tunnelblick for your Mac or firmware for your router is free of charge.
How to create a VPN server at home?
You can set up a VPN server on different devices, including your router, your computer, and the cloud. Most setups require downloading a VPN protocol and configuring the file before you can use it.
Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.
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