Personal VPN (with WireGuard)

We can create a personal VPN to securely gain remote access to our home network.

We use WireGuard because it is easier to configure, more secure, more reliable and more performant, than OpenVPN.

(Alternatives include OpenVPN.)

TODO: Internet via VPN & DNS via Pi-Hole. Both Optional? Pi-Hole doable just by setting DNS on client (& Pi-Hole listening on wireguard interface). But VPN...


  • Wireguard is in beta, and has not been audited.
  • Wireguard private keys are secured under /etc/wireguard.
  • We use pre-shared keys for post-quantum resistance.


sudo pacmatic -S --needed linux-headers wireguard-tools wireguard-dkms

We select linux-raspberrypi-headers when prompted during the installation of linux-headers.

Port Forwarding

Ensure UDP Port 51820 is forwarded to your PiServer on your home router.

Test this with:

sudo pacmatic -S --needed openbsd-netcat
nc -vv -u -l 51820

Then on a different machine, try to connect to the PiServer and type anything to send messages back and forth.

nc -vv -u <IP-ADDRESS> 51820

Get your IP address with curl

Any port can be used, but usually port 51820 is used for Wireguard.

Server Setup

cd /etc/wireguard
umask 077
wg genkey | tee privatekey | wg pubkey > publickey

Configure the server (with no peers) /etc/wireguard/pivpn.conf

ListenPort = 51820
Address =

# Forward traffic (replace eth0 with internet-interface name)
PostUp = iptables -A FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
PostUp = sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.%i.forwarding=1
PostUp = sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.eth0.forwarding=1
PreDown = sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.eth0.forwarding=0
PreDown = sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.%i.forwarding=0
PostDown = iptables -D FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE

The "forward traffic" configuration translates packets from the Virtual Private Network to/from the Local Area Network - the PiServer will be a router.

To enable/disable the network interface:

wg-quick up pivpn
wg-quick down pivpn

Finally, enable the service with:

systemctl enable --now [email protected]

An alternative to temporary and possible-conflicting sysctl IP packet forwarding is to permanently add to /etc/sysctl.d/99-pivpn.conf:

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1

Warning: Do not use wg-quick down if you are remote - use systemctl restart :*(

Client Setup (For Each Client)

We can create the private keys on the server, and use QR codes to add them to our smartphones.

cd /etc/wireguard
umask 077
wg genkey | tee name.privatekey | wg pubkey > name.publickey
wg genpsk > name.psk

Generate the client configuration name.conf:

Address =
PrivateKey = <CONTENTS OF CLIENT name.privatekey HERE>

PublicKey = <CONTENTS OF SERVER publickey HERE>
PreSharedKey = <CONTENTS OF name.psk HERE>
AllowedIPs =, ::/0
EndPoint =
PersistentKeepalive = 60
  • The Address is set to the server only, which means...
  • The DNS is set to the DNS server on the LAN. We could set up a local DNS resolver. By default, Wireguard prevents DNS leaks.
  • We direct all IPv4 and IPv6 internet traffic to the VPN, even if the server cannot send IPv6 traffic over the internet. This prevents IPv6 leaks. By setting AllowedIPs = the LAN will be accessible, while internet traffic will remain unaffected (Split tunnelling).
  • The endpoint is a Dynamic DNS URL.
  • We use PersistentKeepalive because the client might be behind a NAT, and this will keep the connection open.

Append the client peer to the server configuration /etc/wireguard/pivpn.conf:

# Name = client-name-here
PublicKey = <CONTENTS OF name.publickey HERE>
PreSharedKey = <CONTENTS OF name.psk HERE>
AllowedIPs =
  • AllowedIPs is /32 because it is a single machine, not another network, on the other side.

Now generate a QR code which can be used by the smartphone Wireguard app:

qrencode -t ansiutf8 < name.conf

There are several levels of testing that we can do:

  • Ping the server, DNS host, and the internet
  • Try drill or curl
  • Try to browse the internet.
  • Look at logs in the Wireguard app.


Notify on failure with email systemctl edit [email protected]

OnFailure[email protected]%N.service


Update the backup file:

    /etc/wireguard/ \
    /etc/systemd/system/[email protected] \
    /etc/systemd/system/[email protected]/override.conf \
    /etc/systemd/system/[email protected] \


We set up a VPN to our home LAN:

  • that provides access to our home LAN, and
  • that is private and secure, and
  • that will backup the configuration files for easy restore.

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