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OpenVPN Access Server OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

OpenVPN Access Server is the #6 ranked solution in our list of top Enterprise Infrastructure VPN tools. It is most often compared to Fortinet FortiClient: OpenVPN Access Server vs Fortinet FortiClient

What is OpenVPN Access Server?

OpenVPN is an open-source software application that implements virtual private network techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities.

OpenVPN Access Server is also known as OpenVPN.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Enterprise Infrastructure VPN Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

OpenVPN Access Server Customers

Verizon, Amazon, Disney, HP, Microsoft, IBM, Samsung

OpenVPN Access Server Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about OpenVPN Access Server pricing:
  • "With regard to setup cost, pricing and/or licensing, the simple answer is that you'll need to set aside some time to learn it and experiment with it."
  • "It is an open-source solution, so we don't pay for anything."

OpenVPN Access Server Reviews

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Elliott Scott
CEO at Scott Solutions LLC
Real User
Top 5
My solution for connecting two DRBD farms

Pros and Cons

  • "The features I have found to be most valuable are the levels of encryption I can enact and the compression I can apply to improve throughput."
  • "If there was a Graphical User Interface to help streamline the configuration, I believe OpenVPN would probably venture more into the non-geek realm as it were."

What is our primary use case?

OpenVPN is an excellent candidate for establishing secure point-to-point connections between home office locations and satellite locations. It can be configured to limit exposure of the network, from just between the specific endpoints, all the way to full access between local area networks. Performance is consistent and positive. Security has been outstanding, passing some of the greatest tests we've put them to regulating bodies looking for vulnerabilities. If you're looking for a solid solution to establish VPN tunnels between sites, be sure to put OpenVPN on your list to check out.

How has it helped my organization?

OpenVPN has allowed me to have the ability to VPN into my environment from anywhere, using Open Source technologies, which helps me control my costs. My clients have capitalized on it when WAN alternatives were too expensive to consider. Yes, there are appliance equivalents out there, but for full customization and low cost, you can't beat it, in my opinion.

What is most valuable?

The features I have found to be most valuable are the levels of encryption I can enact and the compression I can apply to improve throughput. Obviously, the higher the level of encryption the more difficult it will be to intercept valuable content; and of course, the more we can compress data through the tunnel, the higher the level of relative throughput we can achieve.

What needs improvement?

The product is fully customized through configuration files, which is all achieved through manual data entry. This is where it becomes unattractive. If there was a Graphical User Interface to help streamline the configuration, I believe OpenVPN would probably venture more into the non-geek realm as it were. What I mean by this is, if there was a form-driven configuration process, like a "File -> Settings" kind of thing, where the end user can enter data into fields to specify the connection specifics, e.g. hostname/IP Address, protocols, etc. that could be written into the config file in the background, similar to what you see in YaST over in openSuSE in some of the services area, etc., and basically foolproof the VPN configuration, you may see more GUI-oriented folks using OpenVPN. Of course in saying this, I anticipate what's going to happen: "Well, give it a try, Elliott!" I'd love to, but my programming skills aren't there yet - I'm a "Edit the file" guy...

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have had a hard time trying to get OpenVPN to crash. I have achieved it on occasion when I am constantly breaking connectivity between the hosts, which I only do when I'm experimenting with things. Otherwise, once your configuration is stable, the tunnel remains stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability, as far as I can tell thus far, is limited to the hardware capabilities of your Linux router or host from which you intend to run OpenVPN.

How are customer service and technical support?

I cannot recall whether I worked with customer support on OpenVPN; being an Open Source project, when you have questions, you really end up working with fellow users in the OSS community. That being said, I can also say that the documentation for OpenVPN is outstanding. It gives you a full explanation of the product and case examples of how it can be applied. From there, you really need to start experimenting with it and post questions to the forums. You will find that people will respond and help you through your issues. People are happy to help out with products they've come to enjoy, and OpenVPN is one of those, as I think you'll find out.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to OpenVPN, I've had some experience with SonicWALL VPN, Fortinet, and CiscoVPN. All of these are fine alternatives, and I rarely experienced a problem using them. The big push for me to look at OpenVPN came when I started to work in heterogeneous environments, using both Windows and Linux.

As I started to discover the options available through the Linux platform, I naturally continued to expand my curiosity and experiment with the options I found. In many cases, I found some that were okay, but too unstable to really consider, and in others, I found outstanding products developed by some brilliant people.

OpenVPN became the perfect solution for me when I tried to connect two DRBD farms together and needed to encrypt the data stream between the two. It made sense to use the product from the host responsible for managing the DRBD stack, and simply add the remote farm via the tunnel. I then began to see other opportunities where I could apply it, and finally jumped in full force.

How was the initial setup?

Going through the setup for the first time will be a challenge. What I have done is write down a procedure to follow, that I have used every time since. I make modifications from time to time, as new features have been introduced, or old features have been replaced. Having a working set of config files available to use as a basis to build out new tunnels have been a blessing, too!

What about the implementation team?

The project I described previously, I developed on my own. I was then hired by my clients to deploy the solution for them. To be honest, I knew nothing about OpenVPN when I started, but I was able to come up to speed pretty quickly. And if I was able to do it, I have no doubt you can be successful, too!

What was our ROI?

Overall, I believe the ROI is high. The initial investment can be costly, as you go through the process of learning the application. But in the long run, you gain more than just financial benefits; the intellectual knowledge gained can be invaluable.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

With regard to setup cost, pricing and/or licensing, the simple answer is that you'll need to set aside some time to learn it and experiment with it. That's the only cost you will incur, with the exception of freeing up some hardware on which you can install Linux. OpenVPN is freely available through all of the major distributions. My experience thus far has been with openSUSE, which is a great platform for you to explore.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In my DRBD example above, I couldn't find a solution without introducing additional hardware between the two farms that either complicated access from authorized hosts or potentially impacted performance. I really needed it to occur at the point of management: the DRBD master of the farm. So, when I am asked, "Did you evaluate other options?", the short answer is "Yes", but on paper only; none of them could accomplish what I needed to achieve.

What other advice do I have?

You can see a quick description of the DRBD project I mentioned on my website along with a graphic showing the layout of it. Visit http://www.scottsolutions.us/p... for more details.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Suresh Kotian
Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Easy to set up and use, offers multi-factor authentication, and technical support is good

Pros and Cons

  • "There is support for multi-factor authentication."
  • "The security needs to be improved because it was a complaint that our customers had."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and the OpenVPN Access Server was one of the products that we used for our customers. It is used to create remote desktop connections into the cloud network, where people who are working from home can share resources with people in the office. When people are working in an office then they have a local network, and OpenVPN expands the network for use externally.

We are no longer using this solution because of complaints raised by our customers about security vulnerabilities. The server is now shut down.

How has it helped my organization?

This server allows you to connect to a network that does not have any public IP addresses. You first dial-up the OpenVPN to get onto the network, then directly use the private IP for the local device. Once the connection is made, we can do development work, maintenance, or whatever is required.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the remote connection capability.

It is easy to use.

There is support for multi-factor authentication.

What needs improvement?

We would like to be able to access the parts of the network that belong to other virtual LANs, which is not currently possible. For example, if an organization has different VLANs for sales, developers, and production, then we can only connect and view one of these segments. If you can access sales then you will have visibility of that particular subnet and not be able to see the developer VLAN resources.

The security needs to be improved because it was a complaint that our customers had. I'm not sure exactly what the specific issue is, other than they told us that it was not compliant with their organizational policies.

It is not possible to scale this solution horizontally, which is something that should be improved. They could allow multiple instances to run in different zones, synchronizing with each using a round-robin scheduler.

It would be great if they added intrusion prevention and detection (IPS/IDS) features. If they had these then there would be less need to use other products, such as firewalls. It would allow everything to run under one umbrella with centralized control.

For how long have I used the solution?

We were using OpenVPN for about one year and we migrated away from it about three months ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Horizontally, this solution is definitely not scalable. Vertically, it is possible but there will be some downtime. Scaling requires that we stop the server, upscale it, select a different instance, and then restart it. The downtime is approximately five minutes.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been in contact with technical support and the experience was good. They have knowledgeable people.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have migrated to Fortinet because of security vulnerabilities.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy. Once we go to the marketplace for the license, we can install and start using it. This involves selecting an image, then selecting a VM, and deploying on that. You then install the certificate and create the users. Creating users is also easy to do.

 One person is enough for this task and it will take between 15 and 30 minutes to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team deploys OpenVPN for our customers. After the deployment is complete, users will log in, download their profile, and then they can connect.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before migrating to Fortinet, we looked at other vendors including Cisco. We found that based on the sizing we needed, the pricing of Cisco AnyConnect was not as competitive.

Personally, I have not found any differences between these products that affect what I need to do.

What other advice do I have?

Personally, I like this product and our decision to shut down the server is in response to decisions made by our customers. I have not found any issues with it, myself.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about OpenVPN, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and others in Enterprise Infrastructure VPN. Updated: October 2021.
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MO
Chief Executive Officer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
Is open source and stable, but the scalability could be better

What is our primary use case?

We've been using OpenVPN Access Server for node accessing.

What is most valuable?

For us, it's important that OpenVPN Access Server is cheap and that we get to use it ourselves. It is also a stable solution.

What needs improvement?

The scalability of the solution could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is not scalable. We have 20 people who use this solution. Most of them are developers, one is a system admin person, and one is a DevOps person.

How was the initial setup?

I'm the CEO of the company, and there is a technical team that takes care of…

What is our primary use case?

We've been using OpenVPN Access Server for node accessing.

What is most valuable?

For us, it's important that OpenVPN Access Server is cheap and that we get to use it ourselves. It is also a stable solution.

What needs improvement?

The scalability of the solution could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is not scalable. We have 20 people who use this solution. Most of them are developers, one is a system admin person, and one is a DevOps person.

How was the initial setup?

I'm the CEO of the company, and there is a technical team that takes care of the installation. As far as I know, it was straightforward and easy enough for them. I think it took a day to install it.

What about the implementation team?

We have internal staff who implemented it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is an open-source solution, so we don't pay for anything.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten, I would rate OpenVPN Access Server at seven.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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PB
Enterprise AWS Cloud Architect / Owner at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Very easy to set up users, but needs simpler high availability deployment and support for additional protocols

What is most valuable?

It was very easy to set up users.

What needs improvement?

The high availability deployment is not very straightforward. They can make it simpler.  OpenVPN does not support some of the additional protocols that Pulse Secure and Cisco AnyConnect support. They can include support for these additional protocols.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for close to a year. I set it up and configured it. I also supported it from time to time and documented standard operating procedures because there were other people who were going to maintain it and operate it. We have about 15 users of this solution.

How was the initial setup?

It was not very complicated. I did it for the first time, and for somebody who was doing it for the…

What is most valuable?

It was very easy to set up users.

What needs improvement?

The high availability deployment is not very straightforward. They can make it simpler. 

OpenVPN does not support some of the additional protocols that Pulse Secure and Cisco AnyConnect support. They can include support for these additional protocols.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for close to a year. I set it up and configured it. I also supported it from time to time and documented standard operating procedures because there were other people who were going to maintain it and operate it. We have about 15 users of this solution.

How was the initial setup?

It was not very complicated. I did it for the first time, and for somebody who was doing it for the first time, it was okay. I could do it.

What other advice do I have?

It is important to document the steps so that if one person is not available, another person can continue the work. 

I would rate OpenVPN Access Server a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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