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How to make an easy personal VPN setup with Google app for $5 a month

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Posted October 8, 2018

In the last few years, the use of VPN services has grown to be popular. But most guides and instructions for people who want to have their own VPN can be waded through just by users who know at least something about Linux.

Google has pleased everybody by releasing a great application that enables you to install a VPN in 2 mouse clicks (seriously in two!) on your own personal server without any previous knowledge. If you do not possess a server, never mind, some day you will get one.

Internet network - artist's impression. Image credit: Max Pixel, CC0 Public Domain

Internet network – artist’s impression. Image credit: Max Pixel, CC0 Public Domain

Outline is a project of Jigsaw, a Google subsidiary organization focusing on developing resources to bypass the blocking of sites or maximize security. Outline is among their projects.

We are going to speak about the technical issues of security towards the end of the article, let us proceed to the installation instructions.

Downloading Everything Needed

To create a VPN server, you have to visit www.getoutline.org/en/home and then having scrolled the web page down click on the button “GET OUTLINE MANAGER” and download the version which is suitable for your operation system.

Or you may use one of these direct links:

MacOS
Linux
Windows

While you are downloading the Outline Manager, install Outline client on your telephone or computer (that you want to hide behind the VPN).

Attention! If you are planning to administer your VPN from the same gadget on which the VPN is going to be used, download both programs.

Android
Windows
Chrome OS
iOS
Mac

Creating the Server

After you launch the Outline Manager, you are going to see this:

Press Create an account.

At this stage, while you are signing up at the web hosting provider DigitalOcean you are going to be asked typical registration questions and you will be asked to enter you payment card data.

You will be presented with a $10 discount which will let you use the service for 2 months for free.

After the registration is over, you’ll be able to select the location of your own server:

Choose the country which is nearest to you.

I selected Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After choosing the country, the creation and setup of your server will follow, it won’t take you much time.

When the configuration ends, you will see this:

Here, you will learn all the information about your server: the amount of traffic left for you, the number of users that have access to your server, and the price of your server.

Add Users

Press “ADD KEY”. Fine! You’ve just created a new user, it’s time to send him (or to your own telephone) a link for the access to the VPN.

To do this, click “Share”, get the link and send it.

Use only protected channels to send the web link. Chatting with oneself in Telegram is secure; notes which are synchronized between your personal computer and your telephone is OK, e-mail on a trusted foreign host (Google, Apple) is safe; ICQ / social network / any kind of service from your own country (for Russia, it is Yandex / Rambler / mail.ru / ICQ) is really very bad.

Conclusions

Congratulations, now you possess your own VPN server for just $5 a month. By using the Outline Manager you can now trace the consumption of the traffic on the server and also configure accounts of the users.

But what about the Security?

Everything is OK, this VPN uses the Shadowsocks protocol that was developed in China to get around the Great Chinese Firewall blocking websites, currently, the community is supporting it.

The VPN server itself consists of two docker images which will be installed on your server, that is to say, it is possible to install this VPN on your already existing server and feel safe. Naturally, the source codes of the project can be found on Github.

€1 variant for advanced users

When you have already got your own server or maybe wish to use less expensive hosting in place of the default DigtalOcean web host, it is possible to install Outline on any server available.

For instance, on arubacloud, servers in Italy cost €1 a month and they will present you with a 2 months trial period, but I would not recommend them for the beginner, the ping from DigitalOcean is far better.

To configure Outline on your own personal server please scroll the screen of the Outline Manager down to the bottom, to “Already have server”. After clicking it, you are going to get a Bash script for execution on your server. Run the script, wait a little for the Docker and two new containers installation to finish. After the end of the installation, you are going to be given an API access key, you should paste it into the Outline Manager.

In such a simple way you can configure Outline on any kind of server, without reference to any particular host.

Author’s Bio

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the Privacy-PC.com project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking.

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