- What is a Firewalla VPN Client?
What is the Firewalla VPN Client?
Firewalla VPN Client is a service running on your Firewalla box. When it is running, you can direct any of your home devices to a VPN connection.
Firewalla enables you to create 3 types of VPN connections:
- Site to Site VPN
- Remote Access VPN
- 3rd-party VPN (Verified 3rd-party VPN services)
|Site to Site VPN**||Remote Access VPN||3rd-Party VPN|
|Network Access||Bi-directional||One way||One way|
|Box Requirement||2 Firewalla Boxes||2 Firewalla Boxes||1 Firewalla Box|
1 Wireguard is only supported on the following Firewalla boxes: Gold, Purple, BluePlus.
2 AnyConnect VPN client supports SSL, not IKEv2.
For details of Site to Site VPN, please refer to this document.
VPN client feature is not available for Firewalla: Transparent Bridge Mode
3rd-party VPN Server
You have many devices at home, all connected to a router that provides access to the Internet. You worry that your ISP can see your internet traffic and log your browsing history. Or you are in a location, where some websites you want to use are inaccessible to the location you are at.
You paid for a 3rd party VPN Service to protect your online traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. But you have to install VPN Clients on all your devices to get them connected to the 3rd party VPN Service, and you have to manage them (all your laptops, smartphones, tablets, and game consoles) with apps on different platforms separately. Some of your devices may not even be able to install a VPN client app. Or you want to watch Netflix on Apple TV, but are told that it's not supported in your location.
Firewalla VPN Client enables you to connect your network to a 3rd party VPN Server. You don't need to install an individual VPN app on all devices. All you need to do is to enable the VPN Client on the Firewalla app, and select which device you want to connect to the 3rd party VPN Server.
Due to how each 3rd Party VPN server operates, Firewalla can not guarantee the performance, as it depends on the 3rd party VPN server, and how the 3rd party VPN server allocates bandwidth.
Remote Access VPN
When you are working from home, you need to access the company network to access files, printers, or connect to a computer.
You want to have an easy way to access company resources remotely while you are at home. Your company wants to provide you with a secure way to access its network.
Remote access VPN enables you to securely connect to the office network from anywhere. This is a one-way encrypted channel. This setup requires you to have 2 Firewalla boxes. One as the VPN server, the other as the VPN client. Here are more details on Firewalla VPN Server.
Site to Site VPN
Your company has offices at two different sites. Both the headquarters and the subsidiary (branch) office have their own separate network, with computers and servers connected.
Someone sitting at a computer in the headquarter is not able to access the server on the subsidiary (branch) office, and vice versa.
Site-to-site VPN allows you to connect the two networks. Devices in one network can reach devices in the other network under strong encryption.
For details of Site to Site VPN, please refer to this document.
How to use the Firewalla VPN Client?
Step 1: Create a VPN connection
- Go to: Home Screen -> VPN Client
- Tap on + Create VPN Connection to create a new profile/connection
NOTE: You can create up to 9 VPN connections in total.
Site to Site VPN:
For detail of Site to Site VPN, please refer to this document.
Remote Access VPN:
Create a VPN Connection with another Firewalla Box (with the VPN Server enabled) to establish a client -> server VPN. The client site can selectively send device traffic to the server site.
3rd-party VPN Server:
3rd-party VPN supports 3 types of protocols:
You can create VPN Connection with a 3rd -party VPN server by importing an existing VPN server profile, or filling in "configuration" from scratch based on the 3rd party VPN service you chose. Follow the manual of the 3rd party VPN to find the credential (username/password) or profile required for the VPN connection. Here is a detailed guide on several verified OpenVPN providers.
To connect to a WireGuard VPN Server, tap 3rd-party VPN and select WireGuard. If the WireGuard service you are using has provided a VPN profile or a QR code containing the VPN configurations, you can import the profile or scan the QR code to create the connection automatically. You can also copy and paste the configuration text to the app to create the connection from scratch.
(supported on Gold, Purple in router mode)
For those of you who are using AnyConnect to connect your devices to your company/school, you can now create a VPN connection on the Firewalla box and then connect any of your devices (or your entire network) to it with one tap.
If your VPN service provider requires Multi-Factor Authentication, just turn on the option and the app will ask for a one-time password when connecting to the VPN.
If your VPN service provider allows you to generate your One-Time Passwords using a Secret or a QR code, just tap One-Time Password, and select Auto-Fill, then fill in the secret or tap the "[-]" icon on the right to scan the QR code provided by the VPN service provider, then save the configuration. Firewalla will auto-fill your OTP every time when connecting to the VPN, no more entering OTPs.
Step 2: Select Devices to Apply
When the connection setup is completed, you can selectively send your devices' network traffic through the VPN.
Note: devices must be part of the Firewalla overlay network or in router mode, in order to use VPN.
- If you are using DHCP mode, all your monitored devices are already in the Firewalla overlay network.
- If you are using Simple mode, you need to manually join your devices to the Firewalla overlay network. This is done by assigning a static IP address to the device. Here is a tutorial on how to join the overlay network in Simple mode.
- If you are using Router mode, no need to do anything extra
Step 3: Connect to VPN
There are two ways to connect:
- Switch on the "VPN" button, you'll see the status become "Connected".
- On any device/ network/ group detail page, tap the VPN button and select which VPN to connect to.
Up to 5 active VPN connections are supported.
VPN Profile Configurations
After a VPN profile is set up, there are some options you can set.
- Outbound Policy:
- Server site subnets: The app will list all the subnets on the server site in this section. The outbound policy of all the subnets will be set to VPN, which means when VPN-enabled devices access those subnets from your local network, Firewalla will send the traffic via VPN.
- Internet: Direct or VPN
Direct means the VPN-enabled devices will be using its default gateway for Internet access.
VPN means the VPN-enabled devices will be using the gateway on the VPN server site for Internet access
- Force DNS over VPN: on or off
For VPN-enabled devices, force using DNS over VPN or not(system default instead).
When it is on, DNS requests will be forwarded to VPN server, Adblock, Family Mode, Safe Search, and DoH will not be working on devices connected to VPN.
When it is off, DNS requests will be forwarded to one Firewalla managed DNS server. More detail can be found here. Firewalla DNS Services Introduction
- Internet Kill Switch: on or off
This option is ONLY available when the Internet option is set to VPN
When it is on, Firewalla will be able to:
- Detect and generate an alarm if VPN Connection encounters any error.
- Auto disconnect device's internet access if VPN is down
- Detect and generate an alarm if VPN Connection restores
- Policy-Based Routes: Firewalla policy-based routing can be used to route traffic to VPN or locally. See https://help.firewalla.com/hc/en-us/articles/4408977159187-Using-Firewalla-Policy-Based-Routing-with-VPN-and-Multi-WAN
- Delete This Profile: this VPN profile will be deleted permanently. All related rules will be removed from the box.
Common Issues and Fixes:
- Firewalla VPN client does NOT support IPv6. IPv6 traffic will be blocked by Firewalla when VPN is connected.
- Devices (i.e. laptop/phone/pad, etc) should not use any local DNS servers.
- Devices must be part of the Firewalla overlay network or Firewalla in "router mode" to use VPN.
- On a Firewalla box, both the Firewalla VPN server and the Firewalla VPN client can be running at the same time.
- Firewalla VPN Client only supports one remote address. If the .ovpn file from your provider has multiple "remote xxxx .." addresses, please delete all but one of them.
Verified 3rd-party VPN services
These are verified by our test team and also contributed by customers. Although we try our best to keep this updated, there may be times, we can't catch up to the service changes. If you do have issues, please post them to our forums https://help.firewalla.com
Follow the steps below to set up ExpressVPN on Firewalla:
1. log in to your account on the ExpressVPN website.
2. Copy the Username & Password under Manual Configuration -> OpenVPN (https://www.expressvpn.com/setup#manual), and paste it into Firewalla App -> VPN Client -> profile-> create 3rd party VPN.
3. Download the OpenVPN file and import the profile to the Configuration section. Or you can open the file, copy and paste the content under the text field.
4. Save the profile, and you are ready to connect.
Note: For username and password, please use the separate credential dedicated for VPN connection from their setup website. Do not use the account username and password used in the ExpressVPN app.
Follow the steps below to set up SurfShark on Firewalla:
1. Log in to Surfshark website. Find Surfshark service credentials. Pick a server(location) and download the configuration file.
2. Open Firewalla App -> VPN Client -> profile -> create 3rd party VPN. Enter your Surfshark account credentials.
3. Import the config file you downloaded previously. Or you can open the file, copy & paste the content under the text field.
4. Save the profile, and you are ready to connect.
Follow the steps below to set up NordVPN on Firewalla:
1. Go to server picker on the NordVPN website. Tap on Show available protocols button. Download the configuration file depending on the connection protocol you want to use.
2. Open Firewalla App -> VPN Client -> profile -> create 3rd party VPN. Enter your NordVPN account credentials. You can find your NordVPN service credentials (username and password) in the Nord Account dashboard. Copy the credentials using the “Copy” buttons on the right.
3. Import the config file you downloaded previously from the NordVPN website. Or you can open the file, copy & paste the content under the text field.
4. Save the profile, and you are ready to connect.
Smart DNS Proxy
IPVanish VPN (Requires additional configuration)
(Per IPVanish support, new IPVanish profile will have CA cert content embedded. Below steps should not be needed anymore, they are here in case you run into problems)
1. Please find below two profiles 'ipvanish-XX-XX-XXX-XXX.ovpn' & 'ca.ipvanish.com.crt'
2. Open file 'ca.ipvanish.com.crt' using text editor, copy all the content
3. Open file 'ipvanish-XX-XX-XXX-XXX.ovpn' using text editor, find the line "ca ca.ipvanish.com.crt"
4. Replace the line of "ca" in the ovpn file with the following content
[Paste the content of ca.ipvanish.com.crt here]
5. Save it and import the new file to Firewalla VPN client.
PureVPN (Requires additional configuration)
Remove these two entries before importing the PureVPN profile to Firewalla
route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
Find user name and password on PureVPN. How to easily find your existing vpn password
Follow the steps below to set up ProtonVPN on Firewalla:
1. Log in to the web-based dashboard at account.protonvpn.com using your account credentials (the ones you set during account creation).
2. Select Downloads in the left navigation bar on the ProtonVPN dashboard. Find the OpenVPN configuration files section and choose (platform: Router; Protocol: UDP). Download the configuration file from ProtonVPN.
3. Open Firewalla App -> VPN Client -> profile -> create 3rd party VPN. Enter your OpenVPN/IKEv2 username and password. Copy the credentials using the “Copy” buttons on the right and paste them into the "username", "password" fields.
4. Import configuration file to Firewalla APP.
Contributed by our users:
- surfshark.com : works flawlessly
- Private Internet Access: Compatible
- Wireguard via NordVPN
This is confusing. I am in beta mode and cannot find a VPN Client button on the Firewalla app. Can you be more clear as to the steps required to access this Button?
The Box & App should both be in Beta to use this feature.
Go Settings->Advanced -> Beta program, switch on "Join Box beta program"
If you are using iOS, make sure you have installed the latest version App 1.31(15) from TestFlight.
If you are using Android, the feature is coming shortly after, please be patient.
Was wondering when the ability of username and password authentication be available?
I downloaded the OpenVPN profile from my NordVPN account and imported it into the Firewalla app. The issue is that your app allows saving the NordVPN profile password but not the username so I cannot connect.
Sorry for the trouble. We are working on it. No committed date on that yet. We have a bunch of features coming together...
Is there an example on how to create a new profile if I want to use a 3rd party VPN provider?
Usually the ovpn file should be provided by the 3rd party VPN provider instead of writing your own.
And you can import the ovpn file or create a new profile (and copy/paste the content). We'll make a video on that soon.
And please be aware that this is still beta and username+password is not supported yet.
Hi Firewalla Team,
if I SSH into /home/pi/.firewalla/run/ovpn_profile
could I place an ovpn and auth file in that folder that the firewalla device would recognize?
I have a 3rd party VPN but it requires Username and Password.
Not really. There are a couple of other places need to update.
I suggest you wait for our next release, which natively supports the username and password.
The release will be pushed to alpha branch in next 1-2 days.
Just testing this now. On Android there is no option to import a profile, also when pasting one in, the "save" button stays greyed out.
Using iOS is more successful, I can import a profile, did a UDP and TCP from NordVPN. Next I see that I need to move devices from simple mode to static IPs on 192.168 network, so I fix two of my devices, they now show on the overlay network, I enable them both, click save and it looks like it's working, but when I test my IP, they show my normal IP not the VPN address.
Question, do I need a blue Firewalls for this to work?
Im beta user. When I clicked on to use 3rd party VPN, it didn't show me to import file. Only manual configuration is showed. If that's the case, how do we manual config it? Thank you.
Ok I spoke too soon, I went out and came back home and t looks like it works now.
Melvin, the latest Beta update (with notes "allows import of profiles") on Android still doesn't work. The import button now appears but when I browse to my Nord VPN UDP saved file, it's greyed out for me. Contrasting with my iOS experience, which works fine and am able to install a VPN profile fine. Just to add I'm on Android 9 using a Motorola G6
Thanks for trying. The import bug should have been fixed in latest version (2.44.26), please have a try.
Please upgrade to latest beta release (2.44.26), it has the import function.
@Melvin Tu, newest beta works great! Thanks for the quick release. Great job!
Any tips for getting ProtonVPN profiles working? My profile is verified working using a different client, but when Firewalla connects it just disconnects after a minute or so. Is there a way to view the connection logs?
I am trying to connect to ExpressVPN. I cannot load the configuration as my .ovpn file is greyed out.
Which app version are you using? It should be an old issue, and already fixed in latest app.
I am using the latest beta version
Can you send a screenshot of the import profile dialog, (which has the ovpn file in the window) to firstname.lastname@example.org?
I tried in latest beta and latest production app, it works.
Is there a way to use the 3rd party VPN service's DNS servers when connected via the VPN Client?
I am in Simple Mode, with my device's IP manually set to the overlay, and its DNS server set to 192.168.4.1 (my physical network gateway IP). Perhaps setting the DNS server to the Firewalla's overlay IP (192.168.218.1)?
Edit: setting the DNS server to the Firewalla's overlay IP seemed to work. When not using the VPN client, https://dnsleaktest.com/ says I'm using an AmazonAWS server, and when VPN is on, a different server whose location matches the location of my 3rd party VPN Server I'm connected to.
The DNS server of 3rd party VPN will be used automatically when VPN client is connected and VPN mode is turned on in device.
When VPN mode is turned off in device, even if the device is still in overlay network and VPN client is still connected, it will NOT use the DNS server of 3rd party VPN. (Basically device traffic will not be sent through VPN)
So do you want to use the 3rd party DNS server even if VPN mode is not turned on?
The DNS server of the 3rd party VPN was not used until I told my device to use the overlay DNS address (192.168.218.1) instead of anything else.
I agree that the 3rd party VPN DNS should only be used when the device is using the VPN client.
I was just pointing out that I didn't see any instructions on how to ensure the 3rd party VPN service's DNS server was used. (My Android defaulted to using Google's DNS when I set up the static IP, and using the physical DNS address 192.168.4.1 didn't switch to the 3rd party VPN when I enabled it for the phone)
This doesn't sound right. It should be reroute to VPN DNS as long as your are using overlay network.
Can you send remote support to email@example.com so that we can take a look?
I think it's working as it should. Until I specified my phone's DNS server to be the Firewalla overlay IP, the DNS didn't change when activating the VPN client for my phone (in the Firewalla app).
If that doesn't sounds right, let me know, and I'll see about setting up the remote support love.
Yes, please share remote support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Start heavy test on using ProtonVPN! At the moment this is the way which make it work on Firewalla BLUE!
Config: Server Config >> select country and click on download near to download profile!
INFO: Manual import profile as the Android App didn't import it automatically no matter if you click import profile! Manual import is working well and the config is readable as well!
Name your profile and put the required username and password!
Hello Firewalla Team.
I am struggling to configure the VPN client with ProtonVPN.
Using iOS app.
I downloaded from ProtonVPN the ‘Router’ and ‘UDP’ config file, as Ernesto highlighted in comment above. However once imported the config and entered username and password I receive an ‘Invalid Content’ pop up in the app and cannot progress further.
Any advice appreciated.
**UPDATE - SOLUTION**
I found a solution, I edited ProtonVPN's configuration file. I removed all but one of the lines that lists the same IP address but different ports.
i.e. From this
remote xx.xxx.xxx.xxx 80
remote xx.xxx.xxx.xxx 443
remote xx.xxx.xxx.xxx 4569
remote xx.xxx.xxx.xxx 1194
remote xx.xxx.xxx.xxx 5060
remote xx.xxx.xxx.xxx 1194
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