VPN and Network Manager in Ubuntu

Today i want to share my little knowledge about vpn connections using NetworkManager.

Network Manager in case you dont already know is an amazing piece of software for your linux distro allowing easy hazzle free networking when switching to wireless network environments.
An example would be the windows wireless list were its possible to see all the wireless networks found and click to access a specific one. Network Manager works much the same way.

However one functionality that i know some people use, amongst others myself, is VPN connection. Its available for Network Manager through a plug in, and i can say it works great. Though there are a few quirks that i have discovered through my use of it, and it can also be a little hard to get a hold of 🙁 Why i dont know, so to help out i have provided a download link at the end of this article.

First off to enable the use of the VPN plugin install VPNC from synaptic. You can also use the terminal and install using this command:

sudo apt-get install vpnc

If you for some reason forget to install this you will risk Network Manager simply crashing / disappearing on you when you try to connect to a VPN network. I had this bug recently and didn’t realize it until later when i installed vpnc and it worked. I haven’t investigated whether or not this is a known bug in Network Manager yet but in any case a valid point to know.

So now we have installed the necessary applications for the vpn plugin to function correctly. Download the .deb file provided at the end of the article and simply double click to install it. After install you might need to reboot network manager to get your vpn plugin showing up. Either reboot the old fashioned way, restart gnome or open the terminal and do the following:

sudo killall NetworkManager

sudo NetworkManager

Now when you left-click your network manager icon you should get a menu item called “VPN Connections” at the bottom. Now all thats left is simply to add your vpn network details and you are ready to connect.
I have personally found this to work easily and well on my university network, but different vpn networks might not be that easy. But most of this should be pretty much straight forward.

I hope this helped some people and especially the need to have “vpnc” installed before trying to establish a vpn connection could prove useful. So go forth and connect to vpn networks all over the world my penguins!
Class dismissed!

Download Network Manager VPN plugin: (.deb) (.rar)
PS: The version of Network Manager im currently using with this plugin is 0.6.3, so other versions might experience trouble.

january update

Well been over two weeks since last post .. sorry.

I had a spot of trouble with my hosting service, and still having some mail troubles there. Apparently they had a bunch of problems with the internet connection and a couple of servers. On top of that they moved me to a windows server (I liked my linux one better though) and apparently a bunch of things got messed up in the progress 🙁

But on the bright side its working now, and only a few wrinkles left to iron out.

Okay so what else is new ?! I have been busy with exams so of course i havent been making any content what so ever … feel bad about that but heck i have to prioritize. So i guess the few people who actually read this site will have to be patient, and im sure they are.
My exams are finished in the end of the month and then hopefully i can get around to posting some of the content i have brewing…

Untill next post, which will be a little while, keep the spirit alive !