Installing the OpenVPN Client Configuration Manually

Performing a manual client installation instead of using the OpenVPN Client Export Package requires additional steps to install the software and settings onto the client devices. Installing the client on other operating systems is left up to the reader.

After installing OpenVPN, copy the certificates to the client and create the client configuration file.

Copy certificates

Three files from the firewall are needed for each client: the CA certificate, the client certificate, and the client key. The configuration may require a fourth file, the TLS key, if the server is configured for TLS authentication.

  • Export the CA certificate from System Cert > Manager on the CAs tab, save this as ca.crt

  • Export the client certificate and key as described in Local Database, save these as username.crt and username.key

  • Copy these files to the OpenVPN config directory on the client

  • Copy the TLS key from the server configuration screen If TLS authentication is used on this OpenVPN server. Save this into a new text file called tls.key and include it in the config folder as well.

Create Configuration

After copying the certificates to the client, the OpenVPN client configuration file must be created. This can be done with any plain text file editor such as Notepad on Windows. The following shows the options most frequently used:

dev tun
proto udp
remote 1194
ping 10
resolv-retry infinite
ca ca.crt
cert username.crt
key username.key
verb 3
tls-auth tls.key 1

The host and port of the remote OpenVPN server. Can be an IP address or FQDN.


The protocol used by the OpenVPN connection. Change this line to proto tcp if the OpenVPN server uses TCP.

ca, cert, key

Must be modified accordingly for each client to reflect the filenames saved previously.


If TLS authentication is not used, the tls-auth line may be omitted.


If the remote access VPN does not include username and password authentication, omit this line.

See also

For a more complete reference on the OpenVPN directives, refer to the OpenVPN manual.

Distributing configuration and keys to clients

The easiest way to distribute the keys and OpenVPN configuration to clients is via the OpenVPN Client Export Package. If that package is not a viable choice, place the needed files in a ZIP archive or self-extracting archive automatically extracting to C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config or the appropriate path for the client in question.


Transmit this configuration securely to the end user, never allow it to pass over untrusted networks unencrypted.