If you don’t have an OpenVPN-compatible router and you don’t want to buy one, you can host a VPN server on another device such as your Windows computer or MacOS device but, like flashing a router, it’s a complex process.
Bear in mind that the device used as the VPN server needs to be switched on at all times.
If the device is turned off (or crashes), you won’t be able to connect through the VPN, which is a big problem if you’re far away from home and unable to switch it back on.
Before making the VPN server you will need to set up port forwarding on your router so that the server will be accessible from the internet.
Our instructions for changing your NAT Type cover accessing and setting up port forwarding on your router.
We’ll teach you how to set up a Windows device, as well as MacOS and Raspberry Pi.
If you’re a Linux user, you can save yourself a great deal of effort and use one of the full-GUI VPNs for Linux we recommend here.
How to Turn Your Windows 10 Computer Into a VPN Server
Microsoft Windows has a built-in function for hosting VPN servers, but it uses the out-dated and insecure VPN protocol PPTP.
Instead, we recommend that you set up an OpenVPN server using OpenVPN’s software.
You can find detailed instructions for setting up an OpenVPN server on your Windows device, including commands, on OpenVPN’s website.
Here are the basics of setting up a VPN server on Windows:
- Change firewall settings to allow inbound connections and set up port forwarding.
- Download OpenVPN for Windows to your computer.
- Install OpenVPN and ensure that the ‘EasyRSA’ box is checked on the ‘Choose Components’ section of the installation.
- Install the TAP drivers when prompted.
- Configure EasyRSA – this is a tool used to create certificate authorities, and request and sign certificates.
- Generate the Certificate authority and VPN server certificates.
- Build client certificates – the client is the device you will use to connect to the VPN server (e.g. your smartphone).
- Create configuration files for the VPN server and VPN clients.
- Configure each VPN client with the generated files.
- Connect to the VPN server from the client device.
- As always, test your VPN for leaks to ensure that your connection is secure.
Now you can connect to your Windows VPN server while you’re out and about.
How to Turn Your MacOS or Raspberry Pi Computer Into a VPN Server
Since MacOS doesn’t natively support OpenVPN, you’ll need to use third-party software such as Tunnelblick or Homebrew in order to set up a VPN server on your device.
Once you’ve set up either Tunnelblick or Homebrew with OpenVPN, it’s much the same as setting up a VPN server on Windows.
If you’re looking for a less cumbersome device to use as a VPN server, you can set one up on a Raspberry Pi.
Read PiMyLifeUp’s step-by-step guide to setting up a VPN server on a Raspberry Pi using an install script called PiVPN.