I'm trying to setup OpenVPN using NetworkManager. The GUI seems buggy and unresponsive. Are there any other tools for setting up a VPN client?


Yes, you can use OpenVPN directly. This way you can use more settings as well.

First you need the openvpn package:

sudo apt-get install openvpn

Then you can connect like this:

sudo openvpn --config /path/to/config.ovpn

The sudo is important because OpenVPN won't be able to connect otherwise (I think because it has to change the routes).

  • I cannot find the config.ovpn file – Yan King Yin Apr 17 '15 at 15:18
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    @YanKingYin You should get it from VPN service provider. – Ali Shakiba May 22 '15 at 8:48
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    To make it permanent, edit /etc/default/openvpn and uncomment the line AUTOSTART="all" and copy your ovpn file to /etc/openvpn/config.conf - must has .conf extension – Thales Ceolin Jun 25 '15 at 21:59
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    @YanKingYin you should be able to download it by logging to your vpn server from browser. – Aniket Thakur Jul 31 '15 at 18:21
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    Is this only going to install OpenVPN CLIENT and not server? – Luka May 27 '17 at 18:57

Easiest method is running this command:

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

And then add a OpenVPN connection from Network Manager which after above command supports importing .ovpn files.

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    I tried using this, but couldn't save it. I think I'm affected by this bug: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/network-manager-applet/+bug/… – Farid Nouri Neshat Aug 2 '17 at 10:17
  • @FaridNouriNeshat: It is a while (after an update) in 16.04.1 LTS it doesn't work (I have reported the bug). Now using terminal to do that just read my comment on question about DNS leak. – Xaqron Aug 2 '17 at 11:30
  • This worked for me but wouldn't allow me to connect outside the VPN while it was on. Using the CLI tool worked flawlessly. – absynce Jun 6 at 15:40

As Louis has explained installing openvpn client can be done with command

sudo apt-get install openvpn

However if you are using dual authentication mechanism for your vpn server, simple connection with

sudo openvpn --config /path/to/config.ovpn

will not be sufficient. You need some extra setup.

  1. Make sure your config file has auth-user-pass line.
  2. Next add --auth-retry interact to your connection command. So your entire command would look like

    sudo openvpn --config /path/to/config.ovpn --auth-retry interact
  • Doesn't cut it for me: SIGUSR1[soft,connection-reset] received, process restarting – Tomislav Nakic-Alfirevic Sep 18 '18 at 10:26

I'm coming here from the locked How to setup VPN using an .ovpn file? [duplicate], because I wanted to give an answer to problems of importing *.ovpn files in the GUI, which some users experience.

Just like others, I've made sure to install:

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

However, on Ubuntu 18.04 (had same problem on 16.04), I've not been able to import a *.ovpn file using the GUI (Settings -> Network -> VPN + -> 'Import from file'). I always get:

Cannot import VPN connection

The file "foo.ovpn" could not be read or does not contain recognized VPN connection information

Error: the plugin does not support import capabilities

However, I just stumbled upon the following instruction from nixCraft for importing a *.opvn file:

$ sudo nmcli connection import type openvpn file /path/to/foo.ovpn

After running that command, my VPN connection gets listed under 'Settings -> Network -> VPN'. After editing the password, my VPN connection works. The VPN connection is also listed in top-panel menu that shows connections, power, users among other things.

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    This capability also works in the gui nm-connection-editor. Run the program, click [+] and choose Import a saved VPN configuration. The gnome network settings interface for doing this is broken in 18.04, but the nm-connection-editor works nicely. – Steeve McCauley Oct 7 '18 at 12:23

Install OpenVpn

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

Then go to Network Settings > Edit Connection > Add > Select VPN Point to Point Tunneling Protocol > Create

Add Username, Password and Gateway

Then go to Advanced Menu

Check Use point to point Encryption


Then go to Network Settings > VPN Connection and select that VPN connection and connect it.


If you don't want to involve Network Manager, this git repository has a simple script that does the whole job very well using an interactive session with less than half-a dozen questions. See docs in download.



On Ubuntu 18, install network manager with the command:

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


  1. Reopen Network settings
  2. Retry importing file

The import should work fine.

  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu. How is your answer different form the second most up-voted answer above? Or are you trying to comment on another answer? – user68186 Aug 9 at 20:16

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