Setting up a VPN solution can be complicated and, at times, costly. You must procure hardware, provision virtual servers, and install and configure the necessary software. Not to mention the ongoing maintenance and the regular update/upgrade cycle.
One way to avoid this traditional VPN setup is to use a cloud-hosted one—like the OpenVPN Cloud.
In this post, we’ll explore how to start with OpenVPN cloud and improve your online security.
This post assumes that you’re starting from scratch. All you need at this point is a device that you’ll use to connect to OpenVPN Cloud later. This post will be using an Android 13 phone.
Sign Up for an OpenVPN Cloud Account
Assuming you don’t have an OpenVPN Cloud account yet, follow these steps to sign up for a new one.
Go to the OpenVPN Cloud pricing page. You’ll see a few options for subscription. One of them is the Free subscription which is enough for this tutorial. Click the Get Started button.
On the next page, enter your email address and the password you want to use. Click Sign Up after you’ve filled out the required details.
Go to your mailbox and look for the code that OpenVPN sent and copy it.
Enter the code on the OpenVPN registration page.
Once you’ve verified the code, click the OpenVPN Cloud option.
Fill out the rest of the required fields and click Continue. Make sure to select 2-3 connections to comply with the conditions of the free OpenVPN account.
Next, enter a unique ID for your Wide-area Private Cloud (WPC) and click Continue.
You now have an OpenVPN Cloud account.
Configure Cyber Shield Domain and Traffic Filtering
Since we’re only covering the getting started part, we’ll go straight to the essential feature that would give the immediate benefit—the Cyber Shield feature. The Cyber Shield feature has two filtering options; Domain Filtering and Traffic Filtering (Intrusion Detection System).
You can find this feature by clicking on the Shield menu item.
Domain Filtering blocks the DNS resolutions of the domains belonging to specific content categories. This filter has four levels.
- Monitor Only — Blocks nothing, for monitoring purposes only.
- Basic Protection — Blocks all harmful websites.
- Safe Browsing — Blocks adult content.
- High Productivity — Blocks non-productive websites.
In this example, let’s choose Safe Browsing and click Enabled.
Next, select the protection level for traffic filtering. In this example, let’s choose the most level of protection that blocks all potentially harmful traffic. Click Enable.
The Domain and Traffic Filtering are not enabled.
Install and Connect with OpenVPN Connect
Now that the domain and traffic filtering are enabled, let’s work on the device connecting to your OpenVPN Cloud. The OpenVPN Connect client is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Note. Check our tutorial on how to install Google Cloud CLI (gcloud) and set it up on Ubuntu.
You can find the installer on the Documentation → Get Connected menu.
In this example, let’s install the OpenVPN Connect app on an Android phone. Open the Play Store and search for OpenVPN Connect and install it.
Open the app after it is installed.
Tap AGREE on the next screen to continue.
On the Import Profile step, type your OpenVPN ID URL and tap Next.
Next, authenticate by entering your username and password and tapping Sign In.
Choose the region by tapping the country/state/city. In this example, let’s tap Atlanta (GA).
Once the profile is imported, tap ADD.
Now, tap the switch to turn on the OpenVPN Cloud connection.
Tap OK on the Connection request.
And you’ve successfully connected to your OpenVPN Cloud account.
How do you know that your Cyber Shield filter is working? OpenVPN provides a URL for testing that should trigger the DNS blocking. Open a browser and navigate to drugs-test-domain.openvpn.com.
The OpenVPN Cloud blocks the DNS resolution of this URL domain, and as a result, the page does not load.
Now, go back to the Shield page in your OpenVPN Cloud portal. You should see that the BLOCKED DOMAINS chart shows the number of blocked domains.
That’s it! OpenVPN Cloud is now protecting your device from internet threats. With the free account, you are allowed three simultaneous devices.
What’s more? You can create access groups, networks, and connectors for dedicated hosts. It’s up to you now how to proceed with configuring your OpenVPN Cloud account. Maybe you should check out their official documentation next.