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Setting up the Hostwinds VPN on Linux with Network Manager

This guide walks you through how to successfully set up the Hostwinds VPN service on your Linux desktop environment. ?For the purposes of this document, we are using Network Manager, which is the most popular network configuration and connection management tool currently employed by the most common Linux distributions catering to desktop environments.

While this document may be specific to Network Manager in the steps provided, most other network management tools that also have OpenVPN support should work similarly, whether they?re configured through a graphical interface or via a shell. ?Your mileage may vary, so please be sure to check available documentation and resources if you are using a different tool.

You will need


  1. Use your favorite package manager to download and install network-manager-openvpn-gnome (or it?s equivalent). ?Some examples to try if you?re not sure how to do this:

    1. Debian, Ubuntu: sudo aptitude install network-manager-openvpn-gnome

  2. Unzip the Hostwinds TBLK file to a convenient location.

  3. In your notification area, click on the Network Manager icon (in this view, showing an Ethernet connection, though your icon may show another icon for a different kind of connection). ?Select VPN Connections > Configure VPN...

  1. Select Import?

  1. Navigate to the location where you have unzipped the TBLK file, and select Hostwinds-VPN.ovpn.

  1. Enter your username and password from your Hostwinds VPN Information email in the appropriate blanks, then select Advanced....

  1. Choose Use custom gateway port: and set the port number to 80.

  1. Select OK, then select Save?, then select Close. ?You should be back at your desktop.

  2. Click on the network manager icon in the notification tray again, and select VPN Connections > Hostwinds-VPN.

  1. Network Manager will do it?s thing and should notify you within a moment or two depending on your connection speed that it has successfully created your connection. ?Your Network Manager status icon should also now show a padlock icon, indicating that a VPN is now active.

Extra considerations

In Step 6 above, there?s a couple handy options that you may wish to consider enabling or disabling depending on your specific needs. ?You can return to these options at any time by clicking your Network Manager status icon and selecting VPN Connections > Configure VPN?, then select Hostwinds-VPN and click Edit?.

  • Automatically connect. ?This will bring your VPN tunnel up automatically whenever an active connection is available.

  • Available to all users. ?If you have more than one user who uses this computer, selecting this will allow this VPN connection to become available to all users of the same machine. ?Do not enable this option if you do not trust other users of your computer with your VPN password.

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