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How to manage a dedicated SoftEther VPN server

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In this documentation entry we are going to go over adding new user profiles to a SoftEther VPN server. The process does require you to install some additional software as you will need to be able to access the server settings. However, it is free and open-source, which also supports our goals to be as transparent as possible. The process itself is relatively simple so let's get right into it!

Step 1: Review the information you already have

Before you start downloading the required SoftEther software, you need to be mindful of the different information that you will already have at your disposal, which will have been sent to you by your provider. It will contain important information which will allow you to log into your server and manage it.

All in all, you should have the following information available to you, including a VPN admin password and a special IPSec key that will only be used to establish a connection for mobile devices:

example of a received confirmation email

While this does appear like a lot of information, it will be quite easy to notice what goes where, as soon as you open the server management client.

Step 2: Downloading the SoftEther server management client

In order to set up additional user profiles, you need to gain access to the SoftEther VPN server first. To do this, you will need to download and install the server management client. Once you load up the page, configure the fields that appear like so (can also be seen in the image below):

  • Select Software’ - choose ‘SoftEther VPN (Freeware)
  • Select Component’ - select ‘SoftEther VPN Server Manager For’ Windows/Mac OS, depending on your operating system
  • Select Platform’ - again, Windows or Mac OS with regards to your OS
  • Select CPU’ - choose an option from the available ones, representing your system’s CPU

download the softether server manager client

Next, go ahead and click on the ‘SoftEther VPN Server and VPN Bridge’ link, as highlighted in the image above. This will begin downloading the client. Once it has finished downloading the file, double-click to open it and proceed to the installation process.

Step 3: Installing the client

Proceed to installing the client using the default options until you reach the component installation menu which will look like so:

installing the client

From this menu make sure to select the ‘SoftEther VPN Server Manager (Admin Tools Only)’ option as that is what you will need in order to add new user profiles and successfully operate the VPN server.

Next, continue to finish the installation using the default settings and options. Once done, the server manager will open and it will have the following appearance:

client manager main menu

Step 4: Filling in the VPN server details

From here select the ‘New Setting’ button as shown in this image:

add a new setting

This will bring up a new window, requiring you to fill in the VPN server’s details. Here is a basic rundown of the fields you need to complete:

  • Setting name’ - give a name to your server connection (you can choose anything you like)
  • Hostname’ - your dedicated server’s IP address
  • Password’ - this field requires you to enter your ‘VPN Admin password’, not to be confused with the regular password you have for your pre-generated user client and the Port as well

All of these fields can be seen as they are highlighted below:

configure the settings

Once you have finished inserting the information, simply click on ‘OK’. Your connection should now appear in your client like so:

established a connection with the server

Next, click on the ‘Connect’ button. This will open up a new window allowing you to manage the SoftEther VPN server.

IMPORTANT: When connected through the server manager, your IP does not change - you are not attached to the server as a VPN connection. You are directly entering the server’s settings by using administrative privileges in order to manage it!

Action: Enabling mobile connections

The server management window will appear like this:

server management window

First, ensure that mobile devices can connect to the server by going into the ‘IPSec/L2TP Setting’ on the bottom of the window, highlighted with red in the following image:

enable mobile connections to your private vpn server

From here make sure that the ‘Enable L2TP Server Function (L2TP Over IPsec)’ box is checked and then proceed to input your pre-shared key (which you will have been provided with) into the ‘IPSec Pre-Shared Key’ field as marked in this image:

enabling phones

Action: Understanding hub management

SoftEther uses ‘hubs’. When you log into your server settings, you will see that there will be a hub already created for your server. This is the place from where you can manage your users, connections, groups and overall access. Your server will come with a pre-generated hub for you to use featuring your initial pre-defined user profile. If, however, you wish to add separate hubs, you need to first click on ‘Create A Virtual Hub’ as illustrated here:

adding a new hub

Next, a window will appear. What you need to do here is to simply give your hub a name by filling in the ‘Virtual Hub Name’ field and setting a designated ‘Password’ to it. Finally, click on ‘OK’ as highlighted below:

filling in the information for the new hub

Action: Adding a new user

Regardless of whether you want to use the already-available hub or one that you have created manually, adding a new user profile follows the same basic steps. From your management menu, select the hub you want to add a new user to and simply click on ‘Manage Virtual Hub’ as seen here:

managing the hub

This will bring up the hub management window. From it, you want to navigate to ‘Manage Users’, as highlighted in the following image:

managing the users

Finally, you will arrive at the user creation window. Here, you simply need to fill in the fields marked in red in the image below, most crucially ‘Username’ and ‘Password’ and your user will be created successfully.

creating a new user profile

That’s it! You have successfully created a new user profile. You can now utilize it to connect another device to the SoftEther VPN server. You can also check out our tutorials on how you can connect your mobile and desktop to a SoftEther VPN server.

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