0x6BAA OpenVPN Made Easy


Some people decide to buy some external VPN service for privacy.
Personally, as I already commit all my internet usage to my ISP at home, I rather VPN from untrusted locations into my home instead, saving a few bucks and keeping my ISP as the sole entity holding that information.
I guess I could try to use one of those VPN services (with better privacy terms than my ISP) at home but that would increase complexity too much for the rest of the household

As I already had some raspberries, forking kylemanna/docker-openvpn to build it for arm was the quickest way, some years ago.

Recently, some people have asked how to use the same docker image quickly in their raspberries, so I took the opportunity to refresh the docker image and add some goodies and I’ll summarize the quickstart here.


  1. Install raspbian on your Pi (or any other language that supports docker)
  2. Install Docker CE
  3. Run this docker

First 2 steps are well documented already, let’s focus on the third.

Setting it up in less than 3min


Drill down

  1. Initialize the configuration directory

    docker run --rm \
            -v testvpn:/etc/openvpn \
            fopina/openvpn \
            ovpn_genconfig -u udp://my.external.ip:9999

    testvpn used like this will be a named volume which is probably the cleanest and easiest option for most cases.
    If you want to make configuration files available to the host filesystem or if you’re using this in a swarm, then you don’t use a named volume…
    udp://my.external.ip:9999 can be tcp:// instead if you need to use TCP for some reason, but avoid if possible.
    9999 will be port exposed publicly (in your router, for instance), not the one published by the container - might be the same but not necessarily.

  2. Generate CA

    docker run --rm -ti \
               -v testvpn:/etc/openvpn \
               fopina/openvpn \

    Nothing much to say, just pick a passphrase for the CA that will be used to issue client certificates.

  3. Start the service

    docker run -v testvpn:/etc/openvpn \
               -d -p 9999:1194/udp \
               --restart=always \
               --cap-add=NET_ADMIN \

    -p 9999:1194/udp

    • you can choose other published port instead of 9999
    • Leave the internal port 1194 as that one never changes
    • Adjust udp to tcp if you used TCP in the first step
  4. Generate client configuration

    docker run --rm -ti \
               -v testvpn:/etc/openvpn \
               fopina/openvpn \
               easyrsa build-client-full CLIENTNAME nopass
    • CLIENTNAME should be whatever identifier you want for that profile/device
    • remove nopass if you want the profile to have a password (that you will to enter everytime you connect)
  5. Generate .ovpn and download link

    docker run --rm \
               -v testvpn:/etc/openvpn \
               fopina/openvpn:helper \
               ovpn_getclient_link CLIENTNAME

    This will bundle the previous step into an .ovpn file, upload it to vim.cx (which is a PrivateBin instance that supports attachments) and generate a QR code to make it easier to copy to a mobile device. If you prefer to manage the file transfer yourself, you can use:

    docker run --rm \
               -v testvpn:/etc/openvpn \
               fopina/openvpn \
               ovpn_getclient CLIENTNAME > CLIENTNAME.ovpn

Done: references

  • CLI used to upload attachments to privatebin
  • CLI used to generate the QR codes in the terminal
  • this github workflow to make the multi-platform builds of the docker image

Enjoy your home VPN.