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axoid

Home VPN Server

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axoid

I’ve made another step in being able to step away from Windows Home Server. Other than storage, the single biggest feature that I can’t live without is remote access. I regularly remote desktop into machines at home to take advantage of ether the horse power of my desktop or just so I don’t have to duplicate software and files on my Surface. I loved home server for this.

 

I noticed that this feature is no longer in 2019 Essentials and with 2011 getting long in the tooth I needed to find a new solution. There is also the problem that the Remote Desktop feature it only worked with Internet Explorer, and who knows how much longer that is going to remain in Windows 10.

 

So I built a VPN server out of a Raspberrry PI using the PIVPN installation. It is an easy to set up VPN that is compatible with OpenVPN clients. During the installation process it creates a key file that you need to import into the VPN app on the client machine, which should make it more secure than the simple IP/PW that Home Server used. If you don’t have the key file and the password, you can’t connect.

 

Another feature that Home Server has provided was a static DNS address you can use to access it’s features. ([myhome].homeserver.com). Most ISPs provide dynamic ip’s that can change whenever they want and this would make the VPN inaccessible because the target address is imbedded in the exported key file. So I signed up to the free NoIP.com service to allow me to do the same thing that Microsoft has been doing. I just had to install a utility app on a machine in the house that will update NOIP when my address changes ([myhome].hopto.com). I used this DNS in setting up the VPN.

So I just got it up and working this week and so far it is working well. The VPN gives me even more access to the home network than Home Server did since it is now like I’m directly connected to the network, just over a slower pipe since I only have 5Mbps up load speeds.

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nrf

cool. I had hopto for some time, you just get bugged to renew it at intervals. now i do openvpn in my router (sophos xg firewall) and it gives me a no-fuss domain name.

 

(I never used the remote access features of home server or essentials)

 

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Jason

I too use WSE12R2 mostly as a file server. Use OpenVPN built into Untangle NGFW. Raspberry Pi for pi-hole.

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