How to easily turn that old Mac into an inexpensive personal VPN

“VPN subscriptions cost money, and they often require a bit of research just to figure out if they’re legit,” Thorin Klosowski writes for Lifehacker. “If you have an old Mac sitting around, you can make use of it by turning it into the simplest DIY VPN around, perfect for browsing safely on public Wi-Fi or grab files from your home computer on-the-go.”

“When you’re done with this project, you’ll have your own personal VPN that’s accessible from any computer, on or off of your home network,” Klosowski writes. “Your VPN will be able to act as a secure means to browse the web and connect to your home network from anywhere, so you can access your files no matter where you are in the world. You’ll be able to do all this using a $20 bit of software that works on any Mac.”

“Plus, it’s dead simple. Rolling your own VPN usually means going through the head-scratching OpenVPN setup, but OS X Server simplifies the process dramatically — you won’t even have to get into the command line,” Klosowski writes. “If you have an old Mac sitting around collecting dust and $20 to spend on the software, you can get this VPN running in no time at all.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yet another productive way to put that old Mac to use!


  1. The only problem with this is that the computer will slow down the Internet connection because this is being done in software instead of hardware. Your best option is a router whose software includes the ability to route traffic through a VPN. You should only route Internet traffic through a computer if it’s your only option.

  2. Dang, now the price of used Macs will go up.

    Speed down a bit is not a problem for most home users. Plus you can turn it off if you are doing data intensive upload/download work.

  3. Excellent article with excellent links to elaborations.

    OR, you can sign up with a VPN service and use their software on your portable Mac to safely use generic Wi-Fi wherever you are. (I’m currently using ProXPN. I’ve also used NetShade).

    1. The only VPN servers I use are servers I build and host. I would never send every packet that I send/receive to one server that I cannot see or touch. (Especially outside of international jurisdiction).

      People tend to forget that once a packet gets to the server, it is decrypted, then it’s a virtual firehose of every data packet.

      VPN’s were never meant to relay data back outside the network.

      1. OK. That’s kewl.

        1) Using a third party VPN is infinitely safer than spewing all your Internet data to the other people using your café’s Wi-Fi.
        2) It’s excellent being able to pick exit nodes all over the world, allowing you to workaround asinine marketing regions. Exm: I can watch Internet streams from inside the UK while sitting in the USA without any hassle. My VPN speed is very good.
        3) I don’t have to set up my own hardware. I get to let someone else worry about its upkeep, firewall, etc.

        These days we know that a lot of VPNs have been cracked by TPTB (The Powers That Be, aka Big Brother). So don’t plan your next assassination over a third party VPN, a word to the wise. 😉

  4. I spent all weekend attempting to complete this very tutorial. I set up port forwarding on my dd-wrt router, established a dynamic host with ($10), installed OSX Server 5.1 ($20), and followed the instructions exactly. I was able to ping my server remotely but OSX Server always listed my VPN as “Reachability Unknown”. I never did get it to work.

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