How to Install WireGuard VPN Server on Ubuntu 18.04 | 20.04

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install WireGuard VPN Server on Ubuntu 18.04 | 20.04.

WireGuard is a novel VPN (Virtual Private Network) that runs inside Linux kernel. It is easy to install and configure, and if you’re looking for a great opensource VPN software to secure you communication, WireGuard is a great place to start.

WireGuard uses a peer-to-peer VPN module, and depending on how you configure it, it can serve as traditional VPN server or client.

If you’re a student or a new user, you will find out that the easiest place to start learning Linux is on Ubuntu Linux OS.

It’s a great Linux operating system for beginners.

Ubuntu is an open source Linux operating systems that runs on desktops, laptops, server and other device.

While learning Ubuntu, you will find that Linux isn’t so different than Windows and other operating systems in so many ways, especially when it comes to using the system to get work done.

To get started with installing and configure WireGuard, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install WireGuard Server

WireGuard has a PPA repository that is well maintained. Use this repository to install WireGuard so that when newer versions are available, your system can install them.

To add WireGuard PPA and install from there, run the commands below to get some update Ubuntu and install some basic packages.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install software-properties-common

Next, add the PPA repository and install WireGuard. Press Enter when prompted. This will install the repository file and fresh the system’s package sources.

The second commands install WireGuard.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wireguard/wireguard
sudo apt install wireguard

After installing WireGuard, you should see similar message as shown below:

wireguard:
Running module version sanity check.
Original module
No original module exists within this kernel
Installation
Installing to /lib/modules/5.3.0-46-generic/updates/dkms/
depmod…
DKMS: install completed.

WireGuard is now installed and ready to be configured.

Step 2: Configure WireGuard

Now that you’ve installed WireGuard, follow the steps below to configure it.

First, go and create a private and public keys. These keys are vital to the operation of VPN for secure communications.

Run the commands below to generate the public | private key pair.

wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/privatekey | wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/publickey

These key files will be generated and stored in the /etc/wireguard directory.

After generating the key pair above, your next task will be to create a tunnel device that will be used to route the VPN traffic.

This can be done using the ip or wg command.

For easier management, you can create a tunnel file and add its configurations in it.

Run the commands below to create a tunnel file called wg0.conf

sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Then copy and paste the lines below into the file and save.

[Interface]
Address = 10.0.2.8/24
SaveConfig = true
ListenPort = 51820
PrivateKey = paste server's private key here
PostUp = iptables -A FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o enp0s3 -j MASQUERADE
PostDown = iptables -D FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o enp0s3 -j MASQUERADE

Save the file and exit.

Details of the file above:

  • Address = the server network interface connected to the Internet. It can be IPv4 or IPv6
  • PrivateKey = private key create above stored in the /etc/wireguard/privatekey.
  • ListenPort = incoming port WireGuard listens on
  • enp0s3 = should match the interface name on the server. Some systems will have different names for their interfaces.

To find your network interface details, run the commands below:

ip addr

It should output similar lines as shown below:

enp0s3: mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel state UP group default qlen 1000
link/ether 08:00:27:af:cf:6b brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
inet 10.0.2.8/24 brd 10.0.2.255 scope global dynamic noprefixroute enp0s3
valid_lft 932sec preferred_lft 932sec
inet6 fe80::4b36:b8a6:fdc9:ee72/64 scope link noprefixroute
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

After that, run the command below to activate the tunnel interface and bring it up.

sudo wg-quick up wg0
sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

That should output similar lines as shown below:

[#] ip link add wg0 type wireguard
[#] wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
[#] ip -4 address add 10.0.2.8/24 dev wg0
[#] ip link set mtu 1420 up dev wg0
[#] iptables -A FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o enp0s3 -j MASQUERADE

To validate that the tunnel interface is working, run the commands below:

sudo wg show wg0

You should see a similar output as below:

interface: wg0
public key: vGzuXr0nETkqGLg6abrVSCDe4C6tO5eWcIE8gdpRMAk=
private key: (hidden)
listening port: 51820

Because VPN needs to forwards traffic, you’ll need to enable IP forwarding.

To do that, run the commands below to open the below configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Then uncomment the line below and save.

#net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies=1

# Uncomment the next line to enable packet forwarding for IPv4
net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
# Uncomment the next line to enable packet forwarding for IPv6
#  Enabling this option disables Stateless Address Autoconfiguration
#  based on Router Advertisements for this host
#net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding=1

After that, run the commands below to complete the server setup. This will save the changes in the /etc/sysctl.conf file and enable udp port through the firewall.

sudo sysctl -p
sudo ufw allow 51820/udp

This should complete WireGuard VPN server setup.

Step 3: Setup VPN Client

Now that the server is configured above, simply go and download the client VPN software and connect to the server.

Download the client software from the link below:

https://wireguard.com/install/

Run the installation and open WireGuard for Windows.

Click Add Tunnel –> Add empty tunnel….

WireGuard Window Client

Then a config pane should open where you setup your connection profile.

My client has similar provide as below:

[Interface]
PrivateKey = yDs+/sM7kA/IidaBmddJDTOGA/OtchTrfKI+LqKauFs=
Address = 10.0.2.15/24

[Peer]
PublicKey = 4OulabDoiELVCOuxDoQUVxtvSs7RZILspoI879TQTEE=
Endpoint = 10.0.2.8:51820
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0

When you’re done, click Save.

Step 4: Add Client Key and IP to Server

The final step is to add the client’s public key and IP address to the server. You can do that by running the commands below:

sudo wg set wg0 peer BzOkSfTUifmTAxlvqdi33E5Hv3EwGiG97efKNThnX3k= allowed-ips 10.0.2.15

With the client profile added to the server, you can now connect.

To remove a client profile from the server, run the comment below:

sudo wg set wg0 peer BzOkSfTUifmTAxlvqdi33E5Hv3EwGiG97efKNThnX3k= allowed-ips 10.0.2.15 remove

That should do it.

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to install WireGuard on Ubuntu 18.04 | 20.04. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

Thanks,

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3 thoughts on “How to Install WireGuard VPN Server on Ubuntu 18.04 | 20.04

  1. Did exactly how its described. But there is no HTTP connection anymore after starting and connecting the client. So somethings goes wrong somewhere. Any idea what I can debug?

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