Synology: set up VPN server

Numerous providers advertise that surfing on the go with the provider would be "unsafe" – one should rather book a package with VPN provider XYZ. But especially among those there are numerous black sheep. Why not combine the pleasant with the useful and set up your own VPN server at home if you have a Synology NAS? Among other things, this allows access to files at home – or the use of the home DNS server. When using a VPN server there are many ways to Rome, I describe mine with OpenVPN, which everyone should understand relatively quickly. There are a few peculiarities, depending on the user, which I only briefly discuss. Important in advance: this is just a first step.

First of all you install and activate the VPN server via the packet center of your Synology NAS. The package is simply called VPN Server and is then started by you from the menu. Then it should look like this:

Click on OpenVPN and activate the checkmark "OpenVPN-Server". Below you can specify how many connections you want to allow – and how many can be from a single account. Technically, you can limit or expand that for yourself. With the port you can leave everything as it is.

It should also be borne in mind that you also make that port in the router accessible externally. Depending on the router, you must also forward the external port 1194 to the internal UDP 1194. You don't have to do anything with encryption and authentication. "Allow clients LAN access" would mean that users with accounts on your NAS can also access this and the network environment. I use this for my part. Then you click on "Apply".

In principle, the server is already running. But there are still a few things to watch out for. In the general settings, you could set a different LAN interface or prevent new local users from logging on to the VPN. Alternatively, rights can also be removed in the "Privilege" area.

But how do you get into the VPN from the outside? For this you have to select in the area OpenVPN at the bottom that you want to export the configuration files – see the screenshot above above this text. The download comes as a ZIP. You have to unzip it and read and understand the readme file well. The thing is: if you just do it as described, you don't necessarily have to come in from the outside. Here I have to play the ball on you again.

In the end, it is the case that you need a provider who makes the mostly non-static IP address of your house connection accessible under a fixed name. Numerous router manufacturers offer this themselves, but can also be set up on your Synology NAS, if you have not already done so (Control Panel> External Access> DDNS ". This makes your external IP a fixed, always the same name.

Now you open the file VPNConfig.ovpn with a text editor (for Windows I recommend Notepad ++, on the Mac I like CotEditor). In line 4 you have to either write your IP address of the VPN server or the name of your DDNS – so to speak the fixed name, as just explained (e.g. remote 1194).

If for any reason you should use another DNS server at home or want to use one via VPN (maybe the Cloudflare filter), then you have to remove the leading # in line 25 and enter the address of the DNS server. Then simply save it – and proceed as described in the package in the README.TXT.

You only have to bring the configuration into your VPN program and authenticate yourself with your Synology account. Because you want to use the fun on the go: Install OpenVPN from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Push the file VPNConfig.ovpn (along with the certificate) onto your mobile phone and open it with the OpenVPN app. Here, the user name and a password must be entered – there you enter your Synology NAS access data.

The best way to test your success is to make sure that you are not in your own WiFi network, so switch to cellular. If everything has been successful, you should be able to connect directly to your home – and if you have activated this, you can also access your network.

If you have solved that, please do not hesitate to say whether you have been successful – or if you have done it differently on your Synology NAS, we look forward to a comment.

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