Advice on setting up a VPN
May 17, 2012 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Advice on creating a VPN type service using a windows desktop.

Is it possible to create a VPN service using a desktop? I have a desktop that I would like to be able to tunnel through when browsing the internet. I'm not sure what terms to search for, or what types of programs I should be looking for.

I don't want to use remote desktop; I just want to access the secure internet connection of the desktop.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
ssh tunnels, or proxy of some sort. Depending on how you plan to access the machine that you want to use and the infrastructure around it.
posted by k5.user at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2012

You might want to start with Hamachi. Just be careful on where you set up a reverse ssh tunnel. In a corporate environment you could inadvertently circumvent firewall protections and expose the host's local network to worms or other nastiness. (in other words...the IT dept responsible for security might have an issue if it is not cleared first). For establishing connections to a home network however, this is the way to go...much safer than mapping ports directly.
posted by samsara at 1:40 PM on May 17, 2012

Best answer: OpenVPN is the canonical open source solution to this kind of problem, though it is not entirely trivial to set up and use securely.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:51 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding k5.user's suggestion of an ssh tunneled proxy.

For what you want to do, you don't need a VPN. A VPN is a way of securely extending a network over the internet in such a way that geographically disperse computers think they're on the same LAN. They're great for connecting computers or securely re-routing internet traffic, but if all you want to do is browse the web, a full VPN is a bit overkill.

What you need is proxy. Proxies act as go-betweens forwarding network requests on behalf of other computers. Because you want to access this proxy over the internet (and you want to do so securely without anyone else having access) you'll need to establish a secure tunnel into it.

openssh can be configured to establish a secure tunnel into a machine, as well as run a SOCKS5 proxy. Once you have an available SOCKS5 proxy, you can change your browser's settings to use it instead of directly accessing websites.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:17 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with the suggestions that you want an ssh tunnel. Make sure that you use an accessible port for the ssh server, as some ISPs block inbound port 22.
posted by junco at 3:21 PM on May 17, 2012

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