I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 64bit. I have an *.ovpn file that works if I type:

sudo openvpn client.ovpn

Now I would like to start up openvpn when I boot the computer.

How can I do this?

  1. Download the OpenVPNConfigFile.ovpn. Note that you can rename the file to anything you like.

  2. Move the ovpn file to /etc/openvpn

  3. cd /etc/openvpn folder and enter sudo nano yourserver.txt


    Save and Close

  4. sudo nano OpenVPNConfigFile.ovpn

    Find auth-user-pass and add yourserver.txt next to it so that it becomes

    auth-user-pass yourserver.txt

    This will allow you to skip entering your credentials everytime you start openvpn connection

  5. Rename OpenVPNConfigFile.ovpn to OpenVPNConfigFile.conf

    sudo mv OpenVPNConfigFile.ovpn OpenVPNConfigFile.conf
  6. sudo nano /etc/default/openvpn

    Uncomment AUTOSTART="all"

  7. sudo service openvpn start

    You should see a message saying that you are connected. The connection will be established every time you start your computer.

  • 5
    If you're running systemd you will need to run systemctl daemon-reload before restarting the service – Mario Campa Feb 16 '17 at 5:32
  • Is this the for a server ? – Dimitri Kopriwa Sep 10 '20 at 14:57

The openvpn package comes with an init script /etc/init.d/openvpn. This script automatically sets up connection for every .conf (mind the extension) file in /etc/openvpn.

Found this based on information here: https://openvpn.net/index.php/open-source/documentation/howto.html#startup

If you install OpenVPN via an RPM or DEB package on Linux, the installer will set up an initscript. When executed, the initscript will scan for .conf configuration files in /etc/openvpn, and if found, will start up a separate OpenVPN daemon for each file.


I got a bit stuck on this and ended up writing out all of the instructions for setting it up with systemd manually.

This worked for me using Ubuntu 16.10 and openvpn 2.3.11

Setting up your vpn to run from bash

These examples use expressvpn but most would work the same way

Download your vpn provider's ovpn config file e.g. my_express_vpn_amsterdam_2.ovpn

move that to /etc/openvpn/ and rename it to end in .conf

sudo mv ~/Downloads/my_express_vpn_amsterdam_2.ovpn /etc/openvpn/amsterdam-2.conf

Your VPN provider will provide you with a username and password for connecting over openvpn. Save the userename and then password each on their own line

sudo vim /etc/openvpn/express-vpn-crednetials.txt
# add these lines
# save the file

now edit /etc/openvpn/amsterdam-2.conf look for a line that says auth-user-pass and replace it with the path to your credential file

auth-user-pass /etc/openvpn/express-vpn-crednetials.txt

Test your config! Start openvpn like this

sudo openvpn --config /etc/openvpn/amsterdam-2.conf

openvpn should connect without asking for username or password

Remove existing (broken) service config for openvpn

sudo rm /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/openvpn.service

Set up openvpn to run as a systemd service

The config that came with openvpn was broken so I removed it and created a new one based on this answer

Create systemd service for openvpn

sudo vim /usr/lib/systemd/system/openvpn@service

add this config:

Description=OpenVPN Robust And Highly Flexible Tunneling Application On %I
After=syslog.target network.target

ExecStart=/usr/sbin/openvpn --daemon --writepid /var/run/openvpn/%i.pid --cd /etc/openvpn/ --config %i.conf


the %iis used as a wildcard so that this service can be used for multiple vpn configurations. Set it up for the amsterdam-2.conf file that we created earlier

sudo systemctl start openvpn@amsterdam-2.service

the systemd service should now be running on the amsterdam vpn. check its status like so

sudo systemctl status openvpn@amsterdam-2.service

you should see several lines of output ending in Initialization Sequence Completed and your vpn should be running.

Hope this helps! related reading:


It would be nice to have a un hacker way of doing it, but this will have to do for now.

  1. Create file myopenvpn in /etc/init.d/

    nano /etc/init.d/myopenvpn
  2. Insert into myopenvpn and save:

    # OpenVPN autostart on boot script
    start on runlevel [2345]
    stop on runlevel [!2345]
    exec /usr/sbin/openvpn --status /var/run/openvpn.client.status 10 --cd /etc/openvpn --config /etc/openvpn/client.conf --syslog openvpn

SOURCE: How to auto start OpenVPN client in Debian 6 and Ubuntu 12.04

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