On my Windows 7 box, I used Cisco AnyConnect to remote into my workplace network. Now playing wih Xerus. I set up an L2TP VPN connection using nmcli, but not much luck activating it:

root@hannahdesktop:~# nmcli connection up work-VPN Error: Connection activation failed: The VPN service 'org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.l2tp' was not installed.

I can't seem to find the package that supposedly contains it. Installing xl2tpd and strongswan was not helpful. Below is the full list of Network-Manager plugins at my disposal:

root@hannahdesktop:~# apt-cache search network-manager
network-manager - network management framework (daemon and userspace tools)
network-manager-dev - network management framework (development files)
network-manager-gnome - network management framework (GNOME frontend)
network-manager-pptp - network management framework (PPTP plugin core)
network-manager-pptp-gnome - network management framework (PPTP plugin GNOME GUI)
network-manager-iodine - network management framework (iodine plugin core)
network-manager-iodine-gnome - network management framework (iodine plugin GNOME GUI)
network-manager-openconnect - network management framework (OpenConnect plugin)
network-manager-openconnect-gnome - network management framework (OpenConnect plugin GNOME GUI)
network-manager-openvpn - network management framework (OpenVPN plugin core)
network-manager-openvpn-gnome - network management framework (OpenVPN plugin GNOME GUI)
network-manager-ssh - network management framework (SSH plugin core)
network-manager-ssh-gnome - network management framework (SSH plugin GNOME GUI)
network-manager-strongswan - network management framework (strongSwan plugin)
network-manager-vpnc - network management framework (VPNC plugin core)
network-manager-vpnc-gnome - network management framework (VPNC plugin GNOME GUI)
mate-gnome-main-menu-applet - GNOME start menu applet for MATE
strongswan-nm - strongSwan plugin to interact with NetworkManager

I tried installing third-party VPN clients and setting them up instead of Network-Manager, but the two I tested (Ike and another one) were VERY verbose when it comes to security settings. All I have is the vpn server address, my username, password and NT domain. I'm happy to try another client if Network-Manager doesn't support L2TP anymore, but might need an ELI5 manual. Any tips would be appreciated


Not sure if people are still interested 6 months after this question was asked, but I think I have a solution. This worked for me on Kubuntu 16.10.


As user563731 mentioned, the network-manager-l2tp plugin is not available in the Ubuntu or Debian repositories, and must be compiled from source.

  1. Install the required packages to compile:

    sudo apt install git intltool libtool network-manager-dev libnm-util-dev libnm-glib-dev libnm-glib-vpn-dev libnm-gtk-dev libnm-dev libnma-dev ppp-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libsecret-1-dev libgtk-3-dev libglib2.0-dev xl2tpd strongswan
  2. Download the source code from the network-manager-l2tp GitHub repository and change into the newly created directory:

    git clone https://github.com/nm-l2tp/network-manager-l2tp.git
    cd network-manager-l2tp
  3. Run the autogen.sh script downloaded from the repository:

  4. Configure the compile options as specified for Debian/Ubuntu in the README file:

    ./configure \
    --disable-static --prefix=/usr \
    --sysconfdir=/etc --libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu \
    --libexecdir=/usr/lib/NetworkManager \
    --localstatedir=/var \
  5. Compile with make. This may take some time:

  6. Copy the produced files to the proper locations. As far as I can tell, only 4 files need to be copied, despite the massive amount the make process created:

    cp nm-l2tp-service.name /usr/lib/NetworkManager/VPN/
    cp nm-l2tp-service.conf /etc/dbus-1/system.d/
    cp src/nm-l2tp-service /usr/lib/NetworkManager/
    cp src/.libs/nm-l2tp-pppd-plugin.so /usr/lib/pppd/2.4.7/

Additional workarounds & troubleshooting

I'm only listing the problems I experienced. For additional troubleshooting, make sure to review the links in the "Sources" section below.

AppArmor denies access to charon or stroke

When you connect, you may see errors in /var/log/syslog along the lines of "apparmor DENIED /usr/lib/ipsec/charon" or "reading from socket failed: Permission denied". The workaround for this is to disable AppArmor profiles for charon and stroke:

sudo ln -s /etc/apparmor.d/usr.lib.ipsec.charon /etc/apparmor.d/disable/
sudo apparmor_parser -R /etc/apparmor.d/usr.lib.ipsec.charon
sudo ln -s /etc/apparmor.d/usr.lib.ipsec.stroke /etc/apparmor.d/disable/
sudo apparmor_parser -R /etc/apparmor.d/usr.lib.ipsec.stroke

Port 1701 is busy, use ephemeral

This error appearing in /var/log/syslog is indicative of xl2tpd already running. Make sure the daemon isn't running:

systemctl stop xl2tpd

Then disable it to make sure it doesn't start again on the next reboot:

systemctl disable xl2tpd

The network-manager-l2tp plugin likes to start and stop this daemon on demand, so it's best to leave it disabled.

Minor problems that I encountered that I don't have solutions for, but aren't too horrible to live with

  • For the duration of the time the VPN is connected, /var/log/syslog is flooded with "xl2tpd: network_thread: unable to find call or tunnel to handle packet." I don't know what this means or how to fix it.
  • When the VPN is disconnected, it leaves behind a "ppp0" network interface. When re-connected, it creates a new "ppp1" network interface. It seems to do this indefinitely and does not remove any of them until you reboot.
  • Remote DNS servers on the other side of the VPN tunnel are not automatically assigned. I have to manually add my DNS settings to the "IPv4" tab in the connection settings.


  • Sure, the problem persists - and your solution works! – Piskvor left the building Dec 2 '16 at 10:40
  • Btw, if you're using L2TP over IPSec, you may see NetworkManager[1019]: IDir '' does not match to 'vpn.example.com' in the log. If you're sure that the IP address is correct, setting the Gateway ID in IPSEC settings to the IP address fixes this. – Piskvor left the building Dec 2 '16 at 11:29

You can use

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nm-l2tp/network-manager-l2tp  
sudo apt-get update  
sudo apt-get install network-manager-l2tp  

To install the network manager l2tp that supports L2TP for ubuntu 16.04

Walkthrough for building from source: http://blog.z-proj.com/enabling-l2tp-over-ipsec-on-ubuntu-16-04/


NetworkManager-l2tp is a VPN plugin for NetworkManager 1.2 which provides support for L2TP and L2TP/IPsec (i.e. L2TP over IPsec) connections.

For the moment, you need to build network-manager-l2tp from source code, see:


Thanks to all the helpers, especially the top one.

I managed to get it up and running with a simple 5-liner script (requires the easy installation of two packages, openvpn and openconnect):

sudo ifconfig tun1 down
sudo openvpn --rmtun --dev tun1
sudo openvpn --mktun --dev tun1
sudo ifconfig tun1 up
echo YourPasswordGoesHere | sudo openconnect your.vpn.hostname.com --authgroup=ADGroupName --user=hannah.sha3 --passwd-on-stdin --interface=tun1 -b

First line kills the tunnel-device, in case it's lingering from before. Not very clean, I know. If someone wants to make it prettier, they can keep the variables (username, password, hostname) in another file and limit permissions on it.

Take the connection down with:

nmcli device disconnect tun1

I ran in to the same problem. At first complite main installation:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nm-l2tp/network-manager-l2tp  
sudo apt-get update  
sudo apt-get install network-manager-l2tp

After install complited, install additional package:

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

It fixed problem for me.

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