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Connect an On-Premises Network to a Vultr VPC With IPsec

Author: Humphrey Mpairwe

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 21, 2022
Networking Popular Security

Introduction

This article explains how to connect an On-Premises network to a Vultr Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) network using Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) to create a site-to-site tunnel. Internet Key Exchange (IKE) V2 is used to create and authenticate the secure IPsec tunnel between hosts as it supports more features, is more secure, and faster than IKEV1.

IPsec is a group of network protocols that create a secure connection between two or more devices by authenticating and encrypting packets over Internet Protocol (IP) networks such as the Internet. To establish a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel between devices, IPSec uses multiple protocols, including the following.

  • Authentication Header (AH): Ensures that data packets are not tampered with and come from a secure source device.

  • Encapsulating Security Protocol (ESP): Encrypts the IP header and payload for each data packet by adding a new header and trailer.

  • Security Association (SA): Negotiates encryption keys and algorithms between devices in a tunnel using protocols such as Internet Key Exchange (IKE), and the Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol (ISAKMP)

Prerequisites

Before you begin, make sure you have:

  • An active Vultr account. If not, sign up for one today.

  • An On-Premises or office network with a static public IP address.

  • An active domain name. This article uses vpn.example.com. Replace all occurrences with your actual domain name.

    IPsec IKEV2 requires valid SSL certificates for host authentication within a tunnel. For production, an active domain name masks the main server IP address and is used in self-signed certificates.

Scenario

This article follows the example network simulation in the graphic below. The On-Premises network has two hosts as deployed with the local network address 192.168.1.0/24 and the public network with example IP address 192.0.2.0/24. The Vultr VPC has two hosts with the local network address 203.0.113.0/24, and the public IP address 198.51.100.0/24.

On-Premises to Vultr VPC Network Topology

Replace all example IP addresses used in this article with your real-world public and private IP addresses on both networks, respectively.

Getting Started

In a single Vultr location:

  1. Deploy a Ubuntu 22.04 instance to work as the main server.

  2. Deploy a Debian 11 instance to work as an application server.

  3. Add both servers to the same Vultr Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

At the On-Premises network:

  1. Deploy a Ubuntu 22.04 server to work as the main network server.

  2. Deploy a Windows client machine to work as a client device.

Set up the main Vultr VPC Server

To set up IPsec on the server, install an open-source implementation tool such as Openswan, Libreswan, or strongSwan on the server. For purposes of this article, install strongSwan (strong secure wan), which uses the native IPsec stack, and is actively maintained. It supports both Internet Key exchange (IKE) protocols, IKEV1 and IKEV2 protocols, to create an IPsec tunnel between two or more hosts.

  1. Set up a domain A record pointing to the server

  2. Use SSH to log in to the main Vultr VPC Server.

  3. Create a non-root user account with sudo privileges.

  4. Update the server.

     $ sudo apt update
    
  5. Install strongSwan and all required packages.

     $ sudo apt install strongswan strongswan-pki libcharon-extra-plugins libcharon-extauth-plugins libstrongswan-extra-plugins -y
    
  6. Enable strongSwan to start at boot time.

     $ sudo systemctl enable strongswan
    
  7. Start strongSwan.

     $ sudo systemctl start strongswan
    
  8. Verify that the strongSwan daemon is up and running.

     $ sudo systemctl status strongswan
    
  9. Verify the IPsec tunnel status.

     $ sudo ipsec status
    

    Output:

    Security Associations (0 up, 0 connecting):
    
    none
    

Generate SSL certificates for the Server

A valid SSL certificate allows the server to identify itself to clients and mask its public IP address. For compatibility with the strongSwan configurations, generate self-signed SSL certificates on the server using the strongswan-pki utility.

  1. Create a private key for the root Certificate Authority (CA).

     $ sudo ipsec pki --gen --size 4096 --type rsa --outform pem > /etc/ipsec.d/private/ca.key.pem
    
  2. Create and sign the root CA using the key generated above.

     $ sudo ipsec pki --self --in /etc/ipsec.d/private/ca.key.pem --type rsa --dn "CN=Vultr VPC VPN Server" --ca --lifetime 3650 --outform pem > /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/ca.cert.pem
    
  3. Create the VPN server private key.

     $ sudo ipsec pki --gen --size 4096 --type rsa --outform pem > /etc/ipsec.d/private/server.key.pem
    
  4. Generate and sign the VPN server certificate using the CA key using the following command. Replace vpn.example.com with your actual domain name.

     $ sudo ipsec pki --pub --in /etc/ipsec.d/private/server.key.pem --type rsa | ipsec pki --issue --lifetime 2750 --cacert /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/ca.cert.pem --cakey /etc/ipsec.d/private/ca.key.pem --dn "CN=vpn.example.com" --san="vpn.example.com" --flag serverAuth --flag ikeIntermediate --outform pem > /etc/ipsec.d/certs/server.cert.pem
    

Configure IPsec

  1. Back up the original IPsec configuration file.

     $ sudo mv /etc/ipsec.conf /etc/ipsec.ORIG
    
  2. Create a new configuration file.

     $ sudo touch /etc/ipsec.conf
    
  3. Using a text editor, open and edit the file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/ipsec.conf
    
  4. Add the following configurations to the file. Replace vpn.example.com with your domain name.

     config setup
    
             charondebug="ike 2, knl 2, cfg 2, net 2, esp 2, dmn 2, mgr 2"
    
             strictcrlpolicy=no
    
             uniqueids=yes
    
             cachecrls=no
    
    
    
     conn vultr-onpremises-vpn
    
              auto=start
    
              compress=no
    
              type=tunnel  
    
              keyexchange=ikev2
    
              fragmentation=yes
    
              forceencaps=yes
    
              dpdaction=clear
    
              dpddelay=300s
    
              rekey=no
    
    
    
              leftauth=pubkey
    
              left=%any
    
              leftid=@vpn.example.com
    
              leftcert=server.cert.pem
    
              leftsendcert=always
    
              leftsubnet=203.0.113.2/24
    
    
    
              right=192.0.2.2
    
              rightid=vultruser
    
              rightsubnet=192.168.1.1/24
    
              rightauth=eap-mschapv2
    
              rightsendcert=never
    
              eap_identity=%identity
    

    Save and close the file.

    Here is what key configuration lines represent:

  • auto=: The automatic operation starts with the IPsec daemon, start loads and starts up the IPsec connection, add loads a connection but does not start it, ignore ignores the connection until started by the user.

  • type=: The type of IPsec connection, tunnel represents host to host, transport host to host transport mode, drop discards all signifying packets.

  • keyexchange=: Method of exchange to use in the IPsec connection, ike defaults to ikev2, ikev1 assigns IKEV1 to the connection.

  • leftauth=: The local server authentication type, accepted values include pubkey, psk, xauth, and eap.

  • left=: The local server's public IP address.

  • leftcert=: Server certificate located in the /etc/ipsec.d/certs directory.

  • leftsubnet=: Local IP address of the Vultr VPC network interface.

  • right=: The Remote Server's public IP address. For this article, the On-Premises server's IP address.

  • rightid=: How the remote On-Premises server authenticates. vultruser represents the username in your secrets file. Other accepted values can be the IP address, or a fully qualified domain name (FQDN)

  • rightsubnet=: The Local On-Premises network behind the main server or gateway.

  • rightauth=: The remote server authentication type, IKEV2 supports multiple methods such as eap-mschapv2, IKEV1 only supports XAuth.

  1. Back up the original IPsec secrets file.

     $ sudo mv /etc/ipsec.secrets /etc/ipsec.ORIG
    
  2. Create a new secrets file.

     $ sudo touch /etc/ipsec.secrets
    
  3. Open and edit the file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/ipsec.secrets
    
  4. Add the following configurations to the file. Replace vpn.example.com with your domain name.

     vpn.example.com : RSA server.key.pem
    
    
    
     vultruser : EAP "strong-password"
    

    Save and close the file.

    You can create multiple users in the user : EAP password format.

  5. Restart the IPsec daemon.

     $ sudo ipsec restart
    

Enable Forwarding

To allow the On-Premises server to communicate with hosts on your Vultr VPC network, enable kernel packet forwarding on the server as described below.

  1. Back up the original sysctl.conf configuration file.

     $ sudo cp /etc/sysctl.conf /etc/sysctl.ORIG
    
  2. Add new forwarding rules to the file using the following command.

     $ sudo echo " net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
    
                   net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1
    
                   net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
    
                   net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0 " > /etc/sysctl.conf
    
  3. Reload kernel settings using the sysctl utility.

     $ sudo sysctl -p
    
  4. View all the server network interfaces.

     $ ip addr
    

    Your output should look like the one below.

     1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN group default qlen 1000
    
          link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
    
          inet 127.0.0.1/8 scope host lo
    
            valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    
          inet6 ::1/128 scope host
    
            valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    
     2: enp1s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel state UP group default qlen 1000
    
           link/ether 56:00:04:27:fb:84 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    
           inet 198.51.100.1/24 brd 198.51.100.255 scope global dynamic enp1s0
    
              valid_lft 47693sec preferred_lft 47693sec
    
     3: enp6s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1450 qdisc mq state UP group default qlen 1000
    
           link/ether 5a:00:04:27:fb:84 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    
           inet 203.0.113.2/24 brd 203.0.113.255 scope global enp6s0
    
              valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    
  5. Using the iptables utility, forward all incoming network requests to the VPC network interface.

     $ sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o enp6s0 -j MASQUERADE
    
  6. To enable internet access on the IPsec tunnel, also forward network traffic to the public network interface.

     $ sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o enp1s0 -j MASQUERADE
    
  7. Restart the IPsec daemon.

     $ sudo ipsec restart
    

Security

By default, Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) is pre-configured, and active on Vultr Ubuntu servers, configure the firewall to allow IPsec traffic to the server.

  1. Verify that the firewall is running.

     $ sudo ufw status
    

    If inactive, activate it using the following command.

     $ sudo ufw enable
    
  2. Allow IPsec connections on UDPs port 500, and 4500.

     $ sudo ufw allow 500,4500/udp
    
  3. Verify the rules in your firewall table.

     $ sudo ufw status
    

    Your output should look like the one below.

     Status: active
    
    
    
     To                         Action      From
    
     --                         ------      ----
    
     22                         ALLOW       Anywhere
    
     500,4500/udp               ALLOW       Anywhere
    
     22 (v6)                    ALLOW       Anywhere (v6)
    
     500,4500/udp (v6)          ALLOW       Anywhere (v6)
    
  4. Restart the firewall to load changes.

     $ sudo ufw reload
    

Configure Hosts in the Vultr VPC

  1. Using SSH, access the Debian Vultr VPC application server.

     $ ssh example-user@198.51.100.2
    
  2. Ping the main Vultr server VPC address.

     $ ping 203.0.113.2
    

    Output:

     PING 203.0.113.2 (203.0.113.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
     ^C
    
     --- 203.0.113.2 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    

    Press Control + C to stop the utility replies.

  3. Verify your VPC network interface IP address.

     $ ip addr
    
  4. Define a route to the On-Premises network with the main Vultr VPC server as the next hop.

     $ sudo ip route add 192.168.1.0/24 via 203.0.113.2 dev eth1 src 203.0.113.3
    

    Apply the above configuration on all hosts in the Vultr VPC network.

  5. For purposes of this article, set up a basic web application on the server.

    First, install Nginx as the web server application.

     $ sudo apt install nginx -y
    
  6. Start Nginx.

     $ sudo systemctl start nginx
    
  7. Create a new index.html file in the /var/www/html web root directory.

     $ sudo touch /var/www/html/index.html
    
  8. Open and edit the file.

     $ sudo nano /var/www/html/index.html
    
  9. Add the following contents to the file.

     <html>
    
     <head>
    
     <title>Sample web application on a Debian Vultr VPC server</title>
    
     <style>
    
    
    
     h1{
    
     text-align:center; 
    
     font-size: 8em;
    
     margin: 0;
    
     margin-top: 1em;
    
     margin-bottom: 0;
    
     font-style: bold;
    
     color: red;
    
     }
    
    
    
     </style>
    
     </head>
    
    
    
     <body>
    
    
    
     <div>
    
     <h1>Awesome!!!! The Vultr IPsec tunnel works!!!! </h1>
    
     </div>
    
    
    
     </body>
    
     </html>
    

    Save and close the file.

  10. Allow HTTP traffic on port 80 through the firewall.

     $ sudo ufw allow 80/tcp
    
  11. Restart Nginx.

     $ sudo systemctl restart nginx
    

Setup the On-Premises Server

This section describes configurations you should apply on the main On-Premises server. These should be like those set on the main Vultr VPC server to create an IPsec tunnel successfully.

  1. Use SSH to access a terminal session of your On-Premises server, or open a terminal session (Ctrl + Alt + T) if the server runs a desktop environment.

  2. Install strongSwan and its extra plugins.

     $ sudo apt install strongswan libcharon-extra-plugins -y
    
  3. Using a secure terminal file transfer utility such as SCP or SFTP, connect to the Vultr VPC server and download the ca.cert.pem file to your server.

     $ sudo scp user@198.51.100.1:/etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/ca.cert.pem /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/
    
  4. Back up the IPsec configuration file.

     $ sudo mv /etc/ipsec.conf /etc/ipsec.ORIG
    
  5. Create a new configuration file.

     $ sudo touch /etc/ipsec.conf
    
  6. Open and edit the file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/ipsec.conf
    
  7. Add the following configurations to the file. Replace 192.0.2.2 with your static public server IP address, and 192.168.1.1/24 with your actual local On-Premises network.

     conn onpremises-to-vultr-vpc
    
             auto=start
    
             right=vpn.example.com
    
             rightid=vpn.example.com
    
             rightsubnet=203.0.113.2/24
    
             rightauth=pubkey
    
             left=192.0.2.2
    
             leftid=vultruser
    
             leftsubnet=192.168.1.1/24
    
             leftauth=eap-mschapv2
    
             eap_identity=%identity
    

    Save and close the file.

  8. Back up the IPsec secrets file.

     $ sudo mv /etc/ipsec.secrets /etc/ipsec-secrets.ORIG
    
  9. Create a new file.

     $ sudo touch /etc/ipsec.secrets
    
  10. Open and edit the file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/ipsec.secrets
    
  11. Add the following configurations to the file.

     vultruser : EAP "strong-password"
    

    Save and close the file.

    Make sure the username and password records match (except for the certificate directive) with those in the Vultr VPC server ipsec.secrets file.

  12. Restart the IPsec daemon.

     $ sudo ipsec restart
    

Configure the Firewall

  1. Allow SSH port 22 through the firewall.

     $ sudo ufw allow 22/tcp
    

    Enable UFW on the On-Premises Ubuntu server if it's inactive.

     $ sudo ufw enable
    
  2. Allow IPsec UDP ports 500 and 4500.

     $ sudo ufw allow 500,4500/udp
    
  3. Verify the rules in your firewall table.

     $ sudo ufw status
    
  4. Restart the firewall to load changes.

     $ sudo ufw reload
    

Setup Forwarding

  1. Back up the original systcl.conf file.

     $ sudo cp /etc/sysctl.conf /etc/sysctl.ORIG.BAK
    
  2. Create and edit a new configuration file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
    
  3. Add forwarding rules to the file using the following command.

     $ sudo echo " net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
    
                   net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1
    
                   net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
    
                   net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0 " > /etc/sysctl.conf
    

    Save and close the file.

  4. Verify changes and reload settings.

     $ sudo sysctl -p
    
  5. View the server network interfaces, and keep note of the local interface.

     $ ip addr
    
  6. Using iptables, forward incoming requests to the local network interface.

     $ sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth1 -j MASQUERADE
    

Configure Hosts on the On-Premises Network

  1. Access the Windows client machine on the host network.

  2. Open the Windows command prompt or PowerShell from the start menu.

  3. Ping the main On-Premises server local interface address.

     > ping 192.168.1.1
    

    Output:

     PING 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
    
    
     --- 192.168.1.1 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    
  4. Add a static route to the Vultr VPC network with the main OnPremises server as the next hop.

     > route ADD 203.0.113.0 MASK 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.1
    
  5. View the Windows routing table.

     > route print
    

Test the IPsec Tunnel

This section describes steps to test a successful connection between the On-Premises network and the Vultr VPC. If you have followed all steps correctly, you should be able to ping the main Vultr VPC server network address and access the internet through the IPsec tunnel. Likewise, the Vultr server should reach your On-Premises server's private address.

Hosts on both the On-Premises network must be able to reach hosts in the Vultr VPC. For this article, the Windows client machine should be able to reach the Debian application server. Likewise, the Debian server should be able to reach the Windows client machine.

On-Premises Network to Vultr VPC

  1. Access the main On-Premises server.

  2. Restart the IPsec daemon.

     $ sudo ipsec restart
    
  3. Connect to the IPsec tunnel profile as defined in your configuration file.

     $ sudo ipsec up onpremises-to-vultr-vpc
    

    A successful connection output should look like the one below:

     ipsec up onpremises-to-vultr-vpc
    
     establishing CHILD_SA onpremises-to-vultr-vpc{9}
    
     generating CREATE_CHILD_SA request 8 [ SA No TSi TSr ]
    
     sending packet: from 192.0.2.2[4500] to 198.51.100.1[4500] (256 bytes)
    
     received packet: from 198.51.100.1[4500] to 192.0.2.2[4500] (208 bytes)
    
     parsed CREATE_CHILD_SA response 8 [ SA No TSi TSr ]
    
     selected proposal: ESP:AES_CBC_128/HMAC_SHA2_256_128/NO_EXT_SEQ
    
     CHILD_SA onpremises-to-vultr-vpc{9} established with SPIs c67cbf3e_i c42445d9_o and TS 203.0.113.3/24 === 192.168.1.0/24
    
     connection 'onpremises-to-vultr-vpc' established successfully
    

    If the tunnel connection fails, details of the error display in your command output.

  4. Verify the IPsec tunnel status.

     $ sudo ipsec status
    

    Your output should look like the one below:

     onpremises-to-vultr-vpc[1]: ESTABLISHED 5 seconds ago, 192.0.2.2[vultruser]...198.51.100.1[vpn.example.com]
    
     onpremises-to-vultr-vpc{1}:  INSTALLED, TUNNEL, reqid 1, ESP in UDP SPIs: c17666e4_i cfd39c84_o
    
     onpremises-to-vultr-vpc{1}:   192.168.0.0/24 === 203.0.113.0/24
    
  5. Using the ping utility, test the connection to the Vultr VPC interface.

     $ ping 203.0.113.2
    

    Output:

     PING 203.0.113.2 (203.0.113.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.2: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
    
    
     --- 203.0.113.2 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    
  6. Test the connection to your Vultr VPC web application server.

     $ ping 203.0.113.3
    

    Output:

     PING 203.0.113.3 (203.0.113.3) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
    
    
     --- 203.0.113.3 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    

Vultr VPC to On-Premises Network

  1. Access the main Vultr VPC server.

  2. Verify that the IPsec tunnel is up.

     $ sudo ipsec status
    

    Output:

     vultr-onpremises-vpn[7]: ESTABLISHED 6 minutes ago, 198.51.100.1[vpn.example.com]...192.0.2.2[vultruser]
    
     vultr-onpremises-vpn{5}:  INSTALLED, TUNNEL, reqid 1, ESP in UDP SPIs: cfd39c84_i c17666e4_o
    
     vultr-onpremises-vpn{5}:   203.0.113.0/24 === 192.168.1.0/24
    
  3. Ping the main On-Premises server private IP address.

     $ ping 192.168.1.1
    

    Output:

     PING 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
    
    
     --- 192.168.1.1 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    
  4. Ping the Windows client machine.

     $ ping 192.169.1.2
    

    Output:

     PING 192.168.1.2 (192.168.1.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.2: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.2: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.2: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 192.168.1.2: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
    
    
     --- 192.168.1.2 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    

Vultr VPC Host to On-Premises Network Host

  1. Access the Vultr VPC application server.

  2. Ping the main On-Premises server private IP address.

     $ ping 192.168.1.1
    
  3. Ping the Windows client machine.

     $ ping 192.168.1.2
    

On-Premises to Vultr VPC Host

  1. Access the On-Premises Windows client machine.

  2. Open the Windows command prompt.

  3. Ping the Debian application server.

     > ping 203.0.113.3
    

    Output:

     PING 203.0.113.3 (203.0.113.3) 56(84) bytes of data.
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=21.0 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=17.7 ms
    
     64 bytes from 203.0.113.3: icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=19.4 ms
    
    
    
     --- 203.0.113.3 ping statistics ---
    
     4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
    
  4. Using a web browser such as Chrome, visit the Vultr web application server VPC address.

     http://203.0.113.3
    

    Your Web Application should display in the browser window.

Connect Road Warriors (Remote Users) to the IPsec Tunnel

Road Warriors are devices that are not directly connected to the On-Premises Network. For example, multiple remote users who work from home, another office, or a public place such as a coffee shop or restaurant.

Connect Road Warriors to the IPsec Vultr VPC Network tunnel

This section describes how you can allow Road Warriors to access the On-Premises to Vultr VPC network tunnel resources. These include a secure Internet connection through the VPC server and the ability to reach all hosts on both sides of the tunnel.

  1. Access the main Vultr VPC server.

  2. Back up the IPsec configuration file.

     $ sudo cp /etc/ipsec.conf /etc/ipsec.conf.BAK
    
  3. Open and edit the IPsec configuration file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/ipsec.conf
    
  4. Add the following configurations at the end of the file.

     conn remote-to-vultr-to-onpremises
    
             auto=start
    
             compress=no
    
             type=tunnel
    
             keyexchange=ikev2
    
             fragmentation=yes
    
             forceencaps=yes
    
             dpdaction=clear
    
             dpddelay=300s
    
             rekey=no
    
    
    
             left=vpn.example.com
    
             leftid=@vpn.example.com
    
             leftcert=server.cert.pem
    
             leftsendcert=always
    
             leftsubnet=0.0.0.0/0
    
    
    
             right=%any
    
             rightid=%any
    
             rightauth=eap-mschapv2
    
             rightsourceip=192.5.2.0/24
    
             rightdns=1.1.1.1
    
             rightsendcert=never
    
             eap_identity=%identity
    

    Save and close the file.

    The above configuration creates a new IPsec tunnel profile with different settings from the main On-Premises to Vultr VPC tunnel.

  5. Open and edit the ipsec.secrets file.

     $ sudo nano /etc/ipsec.secrets
    
  6. Add the following directives at the end of the file to add new users.

     user1 : EAP "22"
    
     user2 : EAP "22"
    
     remoteuser3 : EAP "22"
    

    Save and close the file.

    Your edited file should look like the one below.

     vpn.example.com : RSA server.key.pem
    
     vultr-user : EAP "strong-password"
    
     user1 : EAP "22"
    
     user2 : EAP "22"
    
     remoteuser3 : EAP "22"
    
  7. Restart IPsec.

     $ sudo ipsec restart
    
  8. Verify the IPsec status and confirm that the main On-Premises to Vultr tunnel is active.

     $ sudo ipsec status
    

    If disconnected, re-establish the tunnel using the following command.

     $ sudo ipsec up vultr-onpremises-vpn
    

Connect Road Warriors

This section describes how Road Warriors can connect to the main Vultr VPC through a different IPsec tunnel that interconnects to the main On-Premises network tunnel. IPsec supports all types of devices, and on a smartphone, you should download the strongSwan application from the respective device store.

For a road warrior to successfully establish a tunnel connection, you must import the Vultr VPC server certificate to the device, then enter a valid username and password combination as set in the ipsec.secrets file. This article connects a macOS road warrior device to the Vultr VPC network through the following steps.

  1. Open the Terminal application.

  2. Using SCP, download the Vultr VPC server chain.pem certificate.

     % scp root@138.68.87.87:/etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/ca.cert.pem warrior.pem
    

    Enter your server SSH password when prompted.

  3. Open the mac Finder Application.

  4. Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the server certificate.

  5. Double-click the certificate to open the Keychain access application and add it to your trusted server certificates.

  6. In the Keychain access window, click Certificates in the left bottom Category section.

  7. Enter your domain name in the search field to reveal your server certificate on the list.

  8. Double-click the server certificate to open a separate pop-up window.

  9. Expand Trust, and click the drop-down field next to IP Security (IPsec), then select Always Trust from the list of options.

  10. Close the window and enter your mac user password to update settings.

  11. Open System Preferences and navigate to Network.

  12. Click the + create a new service symbol in the bottom left corner.

  13. Click the Interface: drop-down and select VPN from the list.

  14. Keep IKEV2 as the VPN type, and enter a custom Service Name: for your network.

  15. Enter your domain name in the Server Address:, Remote ID: fields, then, enter your username in the Local ID: field.

  16. Click Authentication Settings…, keep Username selected, then enter your username and associated password.

    mac IPsec VPN settings

  17. Click Apply, then click Connect to establish a connection to the Vultr VPC server.

  18. When successful, open the Terminal app, then ping the main On-Premises server local address.

     $ ping 192.168.1.1
    
  19. Ping the On-Premises Windows host.

     $ ping 192.168.1.2
    
  20. Ping the Vultr VPC web application server.

     $ ping 203.0.113.3
    

    All requests should be successful, and users should be able to access both On-Premises, and Vultr VPC networks.

On other devices, such as Windows, or Linux desktop, find the VPN network settings from your Network and Sharing menu.

Troubleshooting

Failed communication between hosts after server reboot

Define static routes on each direct local network host with the main server as the next hop.

$ sudo ip route add 192.168.1.0/24 via 203.0.113.2 dev eth1 src 203.0.113.3



$ sudo ip route add 203.0.113.0/24 via 192.168.1.1 dev eth1 src 192.168.1.2

Setup proper iptables forwarding to the correct local network interface on both main tunnel servers.

$ sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth1 -j MASQUERADE



$ sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o enp6s0 -j MASQUERADE

Install and configure the iptables persistent package to load forwarding rules even after a restart.

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[IKE] IKE_SA vultr-onpremises-vpn[2] state change: CONNECTING => ESTABLISHED

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[CFG] looking for a child config for 203.0.113.3/24 === 192.0.2.2/32

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[CFG] proposing traffic selectors for us:

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[CFG]  203.0.113.3/24

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[CFG] proposing traffic selectors for other:

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[CFG]  10.24.96.0/20

Oct  4 10:51:13 example charon: 13[IKE] traffic selectors 203.0.113.3/24 === 192.0.2.2/32 unacceptable`

Verify that you set the correct leftsubnet= and rightsubnet= network values in both main server configuration files.

$ sudo cat /etc/ipsec.conf



Oct  4 11:30:37 example charon: 11[NET] received packet: from 192.0.2.2[4500] to 198.51.100.1[4500] (208 bytes)

Oct  4 11:30:37 example charon: 11[ENC] parsed IKE_AUTH response 1 [ IDr SA TSi TSr N(AUTH_LFT) N(MOBIKE_SUP) N(ADD_4_ADDR) ]

Oct  4 11:30:37 example charon: 11[IKE] do not allow non-mutual EAP-only authentication

Oct  4 11:30:37 example charon: 11[ENC] generating INFORMATIONAL request 2 [ N(AUTH_FAILED) ]`

Verify that you set the correct rightid, and the ipsec.secrets file settings are correct on both servers.

$ sudo cat /etc/ipsec.secrets

Conclusion

You have configured and connected your On-Premises network to a Vultr Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). The IPsec tunnel remains connected until the daemon receives a user action, such as shutting down or restarting the tunnel.

IPsec also supports multiple gateway devices, such as routers and firewalls, if your On-Premises network uses a static address on the main gateway interface, please visit the router documentation to connect your network to the Vultr VPC. For more information, please visit the following articles.

More Information

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