Chromebook users, you don't want to find yourself out in the wild without the means to connect to your company resources. This tutorial covers how to connect to a VPN through Chrome OS.
Supported VPN types
Chrome OS supports the following types of VPN:
- L2TP/IPsec + pre-share key
- L2TP/IPsec + user certificate
If you must connect to a VPN that requires a certificate, that certificate will have to be installed first. If your VPN uses a pre-shared key, you won't have to manually install a Certificate Authority (CA).
Installing the CA
If you need to install a CA, follow these steps.
- Obtain the certificate authority from your company.
- Open a new tab in Chrome.
- Go to chrome://settings/certificates.
- Click the Authorities tab.
- Click Import (Figure A).
- Locate the downloaded CA.
- Fill out all necessary information for the CA.
The CA should now install on your machine.
Importing a downloaded CA.
Setting up the VPN connection
- Open Settings.
- Under the Internet Connections section, click Add Connection.
- Select OpenVPN/L2TP from the drop-down.
- Fill out the necessary information — this will vary, depending upon the VPN type you're connecting to (Figure B).
- Click Connect.
Setting up the VPN connection on a Chromebook Pixel.
Your VPN connection should authenticate, and your company resources should be available.
If your company doesn't have a VPN but you want to use one for the sake of security, you could sign up with a VPN service. I highly recommend Golden Frog's VyprVPN. VyprVPN costs $14.99 a year, but if you need the added security, it's worth every penny. You can sign up for a free account (which offers a limited amount of data) and, if it suits your needs, upgrade your plan.
The information necessary to create the VyprVPN connection is as follows.
- Server hostname: Locate the nearest host to you from this list
- Provider type: Select L2TP/IPsec + Pre-shared key
- Pre-shared key: thisisourkey
- Server CA certificate: Select Default
- User certificate: Select None Installed
- Username: Enter your Golden Frog username
- Password: Enter your Golden Frog password
After setting up and successfully connecting to your VPN, you can enable/disable the connection from the notification area pop-up window (Figure C).
Your VPN connection is now ready to connect.
That's all there is to connect Chrome OS to a VPN.
If you need to access company resources outside the company network, or you're just looking for a more secure means of using a less-than-secure internet, VPNs are the way to go.
- CloudReady has a Chrome OS platform ready for your non-chromebook hardware (TechRepublic)
- How to use secure shell from your Chromebook (TechRepublic)
- How to access local shares on a Chromebook (TechRepublic)
- Change Chromebook sync options for a better cross-device experience (TechRepublic)
- Turn an old PC or Mac into a 'Chromebook' (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.