I have a .ovpn file with my VPN config - it works fine when I do

sudo openvpn --config ~jrg/Documents/vpn-config.ovpn 

in the terminal, but I'd like to use Network Manager. How can I do this?

  • 12
    In terminal sudo nmcli connection import type openvpn file /path/to/your.ovpn cyberciti.biz/faq/…
    – chepe263
    Jun 6, 2020 at 5:48
  • 1
    @chepe263 Make this an answer, you get my vote (BTW, NM architecture is such that sudo is NOT required with the connection import)
    – Samveen
    Jan 4, 2022 at 10:41
  • @chepe263 doesn't work for me: Error: failed to import 'file.ovpn': configuration error: unsupported blob/xml element (line 7). Jul 25, 2023 at 14:32

9 Answers 9


First, install the OpenVPN Network Manager plugin:

sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn-gnome

Open Network Manager, click "Add" and from the opened window select "Import a saved VPN configuration..." under "Choose a Connection Type". Navigate to your .ovpn file (~jrg/Documents/vpn-config.ovpn). If it doesn't automatically find your certificates/keys (the paths of which are found in the .ovpn file), you can select them here, or make any other small changes.

openvpn dialog

One other thing that may save you some headache down the road is to click IPv4 Settings, then change the method to "Automatic (VPN) Addresses Only". When kept at the default, this will cause ALL internet traffic to go over the VPN, regardless of your .ovpn settings. Here you can also set the DNS server and search domains to use while connected.

openvpn dialog

  • 4
    It doesn't show the certificates and such when I click "Import".
    – jrg
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:35
  • 22
    there's no "Import..." button in my case (using debian jessie...) :(
    – knocte
    Jun 7, 2013 at 13:33
  • 4
    I too cannot find any "import" buttons. Only a "create" option.. :( Aug 18, 2013 at 21:06
  • 4
    Open VPN AS ver 2.0.12 does not produce a .ovpn files that contains the locations of certs, it contains them itself. Therefore if will not find them and you can not find the location. You have to copy n paste like in the other answer. Mar 12, 2015 at 10:29
  • 8
    as of 16.04, It's still not working and at least this time you get "import is not supported in the plugin". Network manager still has issues even when manually configured May 22, 2016 at 21:42

Since ubuntu 18.04, if you already have the opvn file you can import it. (sudo is not required)

nmcli connection import type openvpn file [client].ovpn

Once done, go to search and find 'network', the new vpn connection will be there.

  • 2
    Thanks, this is way better than fooling around in the Network Manager GUI. (I don't even have to use sudo if nm-applet is owned by me) Feb 14, 2021 at 10:48
  • 1
    works also on Debian 10, IMHO since the OP inquired how to import, this should be the answer
    – HidekiAI
    Jun 4, 2021 at 3:23
  • 1
    This worked for Ubuntu 18, just one fact if it continuously asks for password even if you are entering correct password, please check the configuration, I had to manually enter the username, password by editing the config via GUI. Nov 24, 2021 at 11:17
  • 1
    as I mentioned in the comment to the OP, sudo is NOT required given NM's architecture.
    – Samveen
    Jan 4, 2022 at 10:43
  • 1
    This works on ubuntu 23.10. Thank you. Apr 2 at 1:14

My own experience of successful VPN connection establishing on Ubuntu 14.04.

Our admin gave me 3 files to install them into openVPN for Windows 7: *.ovpn, *.crt, *.key

  1. Execute the following commands in your Ubuntu terminal:

    sudo apt-get install openvpn network-manager-openvpn network-manager-openvpn-gnome network-manager-vpnc
    sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
  2. Open "Network Connections" window (VPN Connections -> Configure VPN)

  3. Press "ADD" button, click on drop-down menu and pick "Import a saved VPN configuration", press Create button.

  4. In "Select File to import" choose your "*.ovpn" file.

  5. In "Editing ...your *.ovpn file name..." window enter your username and password for vpn. Make sure that a *.crt file appeared in CA Certificate field.

  6. Open "IPv4 Settings" panel and choose "Automatic (VPN) addresses only".

  7. Open "VPN" panel again and click "Advanced" button.

  8. Open "TLS Authentication" panel and make sure your "*.key" appeared in "Key File" field. Press Ok button.

  9. Press "Save" button in "Editing ...your *.ovpn file name..." window.

  10. Your VPN connection should appear in "Network Connections" window.

That's all, I hope it helps. Good luck!

  • 2
    this worked for me but without step 8.
    – Aamir Abro
    Nov 27, 2015 at 6:02

It's late to answer, but I found a solution (and it is a PAIN)...

  1. Create a folder in your home directory called .OpenVPN (with the dot in front of it so it is hidden) then open that folder and create one called FrootVPN (no dot needed). This makes management of different VPN providers easier.
  2. Copy/Paste froot.ovpn to the /home/YOU/.OpenVPN/FrootVPN folder.
  3. Open the froot.ovpn file with a text editor.
  4. Copy everything between the ca /ca tags.
  5. Paste the contents to a new file and save it as ca.crt within the /home/YOU/.OpenVPN/FrootVPN folder.
  6. Click on the Network Manager icon and go to VPN CONNECTIONS > CONFIGURE VPN...
  7. Click on ADD and select OpenVPN. Click CREATE.
  8. Call it FrootVPN 1194 and use se-openvpn.frootvpn.com for the Gateway. Type will be PASSWORD. Enter your FrootVPN username and password. On CA Certificate, click the folder icon and browse to the ca.crt file you created.
  9. Click the Advanced button and change "Use custom gateway port:" to 1194. Click OK.
  10. Change the Method on both the IPv4 and IPv6 tabs to Automatic (VPN) addresses only.
  11. Click SAVE.

Now for the PAIN part: you will have to create 15 more FrootVPN connections since they use ports 1194-1209. Repeat Steps 7-11 above for port 1195 then again for 1196 and so on until you finish with port 1209 making sure the name in Step 8 matches the port in Step 9. I know... it sucks!

Now you can connect to FrootVPN by clicking on the Network Manager icon and going to VPN Connections. Work through the list of FrootVPN connections until you find one you can connect to.

Frankly, I wish Network Manager supported .ovpn files directly. We should be able to IMPORT the .ovpn file, Network Manager gets all the correct settings from the .ovpn file, does the correct range of gateway ports and other settings specified by the VPN provider, and saves it all as ONE connection. The .crt files should not be needed if everything is in the .ovpn file.

  • 1
    this totally sucks, anyone know if there is an offical bug report anywhere ? Mar 26, 2015 at 6:46
  • 1
    I know. It DOES totally suck. I wish there was a simple GUI that opens them like Windows has. Jun 3, 2015 at 22:31
  • 3
    It's late to answer... its 2019 now and this answer still saved my day, thanks! Jan 17, 2019 at 17:26

In Unity 14.04, all I had to do was go to edit connections, Click "add" by using the drop down list to select import a saved VPN configuration, and then select my "filename.ovpn" file, and voila. Done.

  • 6
    This looks promising, but it barely uses my .ovpn at all, it just pulls out the gateway. None of the certificates are present. :\ Sep 15, 2015 at 1:37
  • This worked for me, no problems. Ubuntu 16.04.
    – jonasfh
    Oct 2, 2018 at 11:05

I answered this with a way to use Network Manager as the OP asked, but there is a MUCH BETTER WAY! All you have to do is download and install a program called gopenvpn which is available via Ubuntu Software Center. Save your .ovpn files to /etc/openvpn as admin. Open gopenvpn which should be listed under Applications > Internet and click on the .ovpn file to connect to by right-clicking on the gopenvpn icon you will see on your task bar. Easy as pie which is the way anything on a computer should be :)

Also you can bypass usernames and password by making .txt files in /etc/openvpn using this format:


Then in each of your .ovpn files (for example VPNBook .ovpn files), change the line that says this:



auth-user-pass VPNBook.txt

Use SED to make the replacement per line in all your .ovpn -files, etc

root@masi:/etc/openvpn# sed -i '/auth-user-pass/c\auth-user-pass nordvpn.txt' *.ovpn

Lastly ensure security and do such that others do not see your username and password

root@masi:/etc/openvpn# chmod 700 nordvpn.txt
  • Use sed to replace the thing in all your .ovpn -files etc root@masi:/etc/openvpn# sed -i '/auth-user-pass/c\auth-user-pass nordvpn.txt' *.ovpn where the password file locates in /etc/openvpn/. - - Related: nordvpn.com/tutorials/linux/openvpn Sep 2, 2016 at 16:59
  • 2
    Please, pay more attention to security. Your password would be open to others. Sep 2, 2016 at 17:06
  • Also protect the file before putting sensitive info inside. 600 should be the file permissions and owner should be root I assume. I don't see how is this better than importing with nmcli or network manager UI whatever you are using (depends on DE). Oct 27, 2021 at 17:02

Since this issue bit me quite a few times, I decided to also create a tool to automate the "downgrading" of the .ovpn file with embedded certs to a .ovpn file pointing to other .pem files.

It is available here : https://github.com/dolanor/ovpnsplit/ It is in go, so you need go installed or you can just use the binaries from here : https://github.com/dolanor/ovpnsplit/releases

Put your .ovpn file where you want it (I put it in ~/.config/openvpn/ that I created), then launch the tool ovpnsplit ~/.config/openvpn/file.ovpn It will create all the files that were embedded in file.ovpn into individual .pem files

In NetworkManager, select import vpn config and then choose your ~/.config/openvpn/file.ovpn. Normally, all the certificate files should point to the good one.

But another bug made that NetworkManager doesn't detect the key direction from the Advanced settings of TLS Auth. So you need to put it to the right direction also…

And after that, you save and you should be good to go.

This tool will help with the use of the kylemanna/openvpn docker image which create all the certificates and the TLS Auth.

  • do you know which version of ubuntu will be the first one to allow .opvn files with embedded certs? (in order to resort to ovpnsplit, which is a great tool, don't get me wrong)
    – knocte
    Feb 29, 2016 at 5:08
  • Given this : bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/network-manager-openvpn/+bug/… . It seems it has been fixed. I think we're still before feature freeze, and since it is a bug it might get to the 16.04 anyway. I guess you were the knocte posting on this bug :)
    – Dolanor
    Mar 1, 2016 at 6:49
  • 1
    yes I were the one posting there, but nobody replied :(
    – knocte
    Mar 1, 2016 at 7:34

I created a script here to automate fetching password & zip files from several vpn sites such as vpnbook.com, extracting the ca, cert, and key data from the ovpn files, and updating the opvn files so the certs should just import for you. It could easily be modified for use with other providers.


When you aren't given an user certificate, you must select the 'Password' type in the authentication drop down. Then in advanced, in 'TLS Authentication' add the TLS .key file and set the direction accordingly (1 or 0, that should be set in the .ovpn file).

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