How to connect to your dedicated OpenVPN server
In this documentation entry we are going to look at how you can connect a device (both desktop and mobile) to a VPS-powered VPN server using the OpenVPN protocol. Although this is a relatively straightforward process, it will require downloading the OpenVPN client for your respective device. However, you should not worry as this protocol in itself is very user-friendly in general and you should not have any problems setting up.
Additionally, you should have a user file made available to you by your provider in the form of a ‘.ovpn’ file, which you will simply need to upload to the OpenVPN client. So without wasting any time, let’s get right into this step-by-step tutorial!
Connecting a desktop to an OpenVPN server
In order to connect your desktop to a VPN server you need to first download and install the OpenVPN user client. To do this, type ‘openvpn connect’ into your preferred search browser or alternatively follow one of these links for Windows or macOS, depending on your operating system. You should arrive at this page:
From here, select ‘Download OpenVPN Connect’ and the client should begin downloading. Once it has finished doing so, simply double-click the downloaded ‘.msi’ file and proceed to install the OpenVPN user client. Leave all of the settings on default as they are unless you are an experienced professional or you are absolutely certain of what each one of them does. Open the client when it has completed the installation process successfully. It should appear like so:
Next, all you have to do is to just select ‘File’ as illustrated in the image above, which will open up the following screen:
What you need to do here is to just drag and drop your profile configuration file (or you can also use the ‘Browse’ button to locate it on your system or device). Otherwise, you would need to get the user profile file from your VPN server's control panel.
After dropping in or selecting your ‘.ovpn’ file, the client will then automatically take care of everything else on its own.
Next, a menu will appear that will prompt you to rename the connection. You can change it if you so choose by altering the text in the first field under ‘Profile Name’.
Once you are happy with the name, click on the orange ‘Connect’ button at the bottom of the application and the profile will be automatically added to your client.
To activate or disconnect your connection to the VPN server, simply click on the slider located on the left side of your profile as evident in the image below. That’s it!
Connecting a mobile device to an OpenVPN server
Given that the OpenVPN client application uses the same graphical layout and management principles for both desktop and mobile, the process will follow the exact same steps.
First, go to your app store, regardless of whether you are on Android, iOS, Windows or any other mobile operating system. Next, search for ‘OpenVPN’ and click on the install button.
Once the installation process concludes, simply open the application and select ‘File’. Following that, you need to allow OpenVPN to have access to your storage. This is necessary as you will need to locate the user profile file that will have been given to you by your provider.
The same also applies when you are adding a new profile that you have manually generated from your server’s control panel.
Next, locate the folder, where you have downloaded your VPN profile’s settings. The file would usually go automatically to your ‘Download(s)’ folder, but if it does not appear there, try searching for it using your device’s built-in search option.
Once you have successfully located the file, click on ‘Import’ and everything will be automatically set up for you. You can also rename the profile (the top field - ‘Profile Name’) if you wish.
Finally, in order to activate your VPN connection, simply click on the slider button to toggle it on and off.
That’s it! Your user profile has been successfully set up and your device connection should be established. If you wish to check whether everything works normally, try opening your favorite browser and searching for ‘What is my IP?’ with and without having your VPN activated. If you notice that the 2 IPs that appear are different, then the VPN is working correctly.
As a side note, it is good practice to utilize a different user profile when connecting new devices to a VPN server, as too many devices running on the same address can slow down the IP’s connection and data processing capabilities. Creating new users for an OpenVPN server is really easy and it is done through your server’s control panel. We also have a step-by-step tutorial covering the entire process.