I'm trying to setup a VPN using OpenVPN and I'm completely confused here. I followed some more less clear tutorials that include something like

sudo apt-get install openvpn

I configured here and there but never got the server running. Then I looked in https://openvpn.net/index.php/access-server/docs/quick-start-guide.html which claims:

OpenVPN Access Server consists of three major components:

  • OpenVPN Server
  • Admin Web Interface/Admin UI
  • Connect Client

Regarding that the Web interface will allow to configure the openvpn package I installed it and the confusion really started. None of my changes in the web admin reflected in the /etc/open/ files. I fully uninstalled the package and the web admin still allows to configure and start and stop the server.

Before going any forward in my VPN setup I want to know what is the difference between OpenVPN Access Server and just OpenVPN (the openvpn package)?

Does the OpenVPN Access Server includes the server and is not just a web/admin interface?


In short: OpenVPN Access Server is "almost free" and "just OpenVPN" (Community Edition) is totally free
However, they are configured in different ways. Open AS has indeed a web interface that simplifies (a lot) the tasks for setting it up. Open CE on the other hand, has to be configured by editing some configuration files
OpenVPN Access Server:
pros: very simple an intuitive configuration
cons: limited to two concurrent users. Although each additional one costs only nine USD a year, they are purchased in blocks of ten.
Some web features don´t work well (uploading your own CA certificate is one of them, so you still have to edit some files. See https://openvpn.net/index.php/access-server/docs/admin-guides/175-how-to-replace-the-access-server-private-key-and-certificate.html, method two)
OpenVPN Community Edition:
pros: completely free. Can have multiple concurrent users
cons: configuration is not a simple task
If you can deal with the two users restriction, go for OpenVPN AS. If not, use OpenVPN AS for configuration and once working, switch to OpenVPN CE using such configuration as base. See Easy method of switching from Openvpn-Acess Server to Community Edition?

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