How to Install WireGuard VPN server and client on Debian 9

Install WireGuard VPN Server and Client on Debian 9

Install WireGuard VPN server on Debian 9, client on Linux and Windows

WireGuard is a free alternative to OpenVPN with great encryption, speed, and simplicity. The lightweight, secure, and cross-platform VPN relies on advanced cryptography technologies in addition to supporting Windows, Linux, MacOS, BSD, Android, and iOS operating systems.

WireGuard installation is quite easy. Once installed, you can establish a connection by first exchanging the matching keys between the server and the client. This means that only a client machine with a public key corresponding to the server’s key will connect.

Unlike the client-server models, the WireGuard is a peer to peer VPN. The operation depends on the configuration, and this determines if the peer will operate like the traditional server or client.

In this article we’ll show you how to set up your own VPN server running Debian 9, then set up the WireGuard client on your local machine that might be running Debian 9, Windows, CentOS 7, or Ubuntu 18.04.


Contents

How to set up the WireGuard server on Debian 9
Step 1. Install WireGuard
Step 2. Generate server keys
Step 3. Configure server interface

How to set up WireGuard client: Debian 9
Step 1. Install WireGuard on client machine
Step 2. Generate client keys
Step 3. Configure client interface
Step 4. Add client peer to the server

How to set up WireGuard client: Windows

How to set up WireGuard client: CentOS 7

How to set up WireGuard client: Ubuntu 18.04


How to set up the WireGuard VPN server on Debian 9

Prerequisites

  • Debian 9 running on a cloud-based virtual machine (as you’ll need a static IP address)
  • An account with sudo privileges. Make sure sudo is installed with the following commands
su
apt-get install sudo -y

If you prefer to use root, sudo commands will still work. Alternatively, simply leave out the sudo prefix when you copy and paste all commands.

Step 1. Install WireGuard

First, update the system

sudo apt update; sudo apt upgrade

Now, install the kernel headers

sudo apt install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Add the repository

sudo echo "deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ unstable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/unstable-wireguard.list
sudo echo -e "Package: *\nPin: release a=unstable\nPin-Priority: 150\n" | tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/limit-unstable

Next, update the packages list and upgrade.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Install WireGuard and WireGuard tools.

sudo apt install wireguard-dkms wireguard-tools

If successful, you will see the following output.

Output

Building initial module for 4.9.0-17-amd64
Done.

wireguard:
Running module version sanity check.
 - Original module
   - No original module exists within this kernel
 - Installation
   - Installing to /lib/modules/4.9.0-17-amd64/updates/dkms/

depmod...

DKMS: install completed.
Setting up wireguard (1.0.20210914-1) ...
Setting up linux-headers-amd64 (4.9+80+deb9u15) ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.24-11+deb9u4) ...

Enable the WireGuard kernel module and check the status

sudo modprobe wireguard && lsmod | grep wireguard
Output

wireguard             212992  0
ip6_udp_tunnel         16384  1 wireguard
udp_tunnel             16384  1 wireguard

Step 2. Generate server keys Debian 9

We will now generate a private and public key which we will add to the server configuration file.

sudo wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/server_private.key | sudo wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/server_public.key

This will save them in the WireGuard directory, and display your server public key:

Output

JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=

Copy and paste this key temporarily in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need it later (don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the key to your config).

Step 3. Configure the server interface: Debian 9

We will now create the configuration file for the interface wg0 which will be routing the VPN traffic.

In this step, you will specify the IP subnet for the VPN network. For this article, we will use 10.10.0.1/24. When choosing the subnet, ensure that it is different from the office or home network to avoid conflicts.

Find NIC

First, find the name of your server’s public NIC using the command on your server

sudo ip a

You will get an output similar to below. Look for the NIC that contains your public IP.

In this case below, the public IP is 160.119.248.10 and it is assigned to ens3 (this is your NIC that you’ll need to add to the config file below)

Output

2: ens3:  mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000
     link/ether d2:4b:86:cd:b8:3a brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
     inet 160.119.248.10/24 brd 160.119.248.255 scope global ens3
        valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

Find server private key

Next, run the following cat command to display your server_private.key

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/server_private.key

Copy and paste your key and your NIC temporarily in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need to add it to the config file below. (Don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the key and NIC to your config)

Create server config file: Debian 9

Now, we will use GNU nano Text Editor. It should come pre-installed on Debian.

To create and open the blank configuration file, run

sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Finally, add the configuration text below

[Interface]
PrivateKey = your server_private.key here
Address = 10.10.0.1/24
Address = fd86:ea04:1111::1/64
ListenPort = 51820
PostUp = iptables -A FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE; ip6tables -A FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; ip6tables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE
PostDown = iptables -D FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE; ip6tables -D FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; ip6tables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE
SaveConfig = true

Use arrow keys to navigate to text and retype.

NOTE:

  1. Replace your server_private.key here with your own server_private.key,
  2. replace 10.10.0.1/24 with your desired IP subnet,
  3. replace all instances of ens3 with your own public NIC you found above

It should look as such with your own values added to fields with blue underline.

Debian 9 WireGuard server config file nano

To save: Ctrl+O, Enter to save filename as is. To exit: Ctrl+X

Enable user rights with this command below, so that only allowed users can read the file

sudo chmod 600 /etc/wireguard/{server_public.key,wg0.conf}

Configure firewall rules

sudo apt install ufw
sudo ufw allow 22/tcp
sudo ufw allow 51820/udp
sudo ufw enable

Verify settings

sudo ufw status verbose
Output

Status: active
Logging: on (low)
Default: deny (incoming), allow (outgoing), deny (routed)
New profiles: skip

To                               Action         From
--                               ------         ----
22/tcp                           ALLOW IN       Anywhere
51820/udp                        ALLOW IN       Anywhere
22/tcp (v6)                      ALLOW IN       Anywhere (v6)
51820/udp (v6)                   ALLOW IN       Anywhere (v6)

NAT

For NAT to work, we will enable forwarding for both IP4 and IP6 in the file /etc/sysctl.conf file as below.

Use nano to open the configuration file

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf 

enable the following commands:

net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

and

net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding=1

by navigating to each line, and removing the # sign at the beginning of the command to uncomment it.

It should look like this:

terminal output

Save and exit: Ctrl+O, Enter, Ctrl+X

wg0 interface

We are now ready to bring up the wg0 interface. To do this, use the wg-quick command as follows

sudo wg-quick up wg0

If you get an error about missing resolvconf

Output

[#] resolvconf -a wg0 -m 0 -x
/usr/bin/wg-quick: line 32: resolvconf: command not found

install it using the command below, and then try to start the interface again.

sudo apt install resolvconf

The started interface will return the following:

Output

[#] ip link add wg0 type wireguard
[#] wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
[#] ip -4 address add 10.10.0.1/24 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fd86:ea04:1111::1/64 dev wg0
[#] ip link set mtu 1420 up dev wg0
[#] iptables -A FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE; ip6tables -A FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; ip6tables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE

You can now use the wg command to see active interfaces and connected peers.

sudo wg

Since we have not configured the client yet, the output should be as shown below.

Output

interface: wg0
  public key: JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 51820

This shows that you have successfully configured your server interface.

Lastly, to enable WireGuard on system boot, run the command below on both the server and the client.

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

How to Install WireGuard client: Debian 9

For most operating systems, the installation process for WireGuard is the same for both the server and client. The only difference is the configuration file.

In this article, you will learn how to configure a client on Debian 9, Windows, CentOS 7, and Ubuntu 18.04.

You will start by installing the WireGuard, after which you will generate the key pair for the client, and finally, do the configuration.

Step 1. Install WireGuard on client machine

Update client machine

sudo apt update; sudo apt upgrade

Install kernel headers

sudo apt install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Add repo

sudo echo "deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ unstable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/unstable-wireguard.list
sudo echo -e "Package: *\nPin: release a=unstable\nPin-Priority: 150\n" | sudo tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/limit-unstable

Update and upgrade packages

sudo apt update; sudo apt upgrade

Install WireGuard and tools

sudo apt install wireguard-dkms wireguard-tools

If successful, you will see the following output.

Output

Building initial module for 4.9.0-17-amd64
Done.

wireguard:
Running module version sanity check.
 - Original module
   - No original module exists within this kernel
 - Installation
   - Installing to /lib/modules/4.9.0-17-amd64/updates/dkms/

depmod...

DKMS: install completed.
Setting up wireguard (1.0.20210914-1) ...
Setting up linux-headers-amd64 (4.9+80+deb9u15) ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.24-11+deb9u4) ...

Enable the WireGuard kernel module and check the status

sudo modprobe wireguard && lsmod | grep wireguard
Output

wireguard             212992  0
ip6_udp_tunnel         16384  1 wireguard
udp_tunnel             16384  1 wireguard

Step 2. Generate client keys: Debian 9

We will now generate a client private and public key which we will add to the client configuration file.

sudo wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/client_private.key | sudo wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/client_public.key

This will save them in the WireGuard directory, and return your client public key:

Output

a9rp8VZrNOWDUGV5VCqCZlv1V9HuYsZtEP99VAt3NWw=

You can use the cat command to view the keys.

Run the following command to return your client private key:

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/client_private.key
Output

gPlIeCidK3PIfCrixvmmGMMzB2tapLWH2DkPC/jQc18=

Copy and paste both these keys temporarily in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need them again below (don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the keys to your config).

Step 3. Configure client interface: Debian 9

The process is similar to that of the server apart from the information in the configuration files.

We will call our interface wg0 and use the configuration file to define the private network, our client private key, and the server’s public key and IP address.

You will need to add your own values to the PrivateKey, PublicKey, and Endpoint fields in the code block further down.

Find server public key

PublicKey is the server_public.key on the server. Go to the server and obtain the key by running the cat command;

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/server_public.key 
Output

JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=

Copy and paste this key temporarily in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need to add it to the config file below. (Don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the key to your config)

Time to create the client configuration file.

Create config file on client machine

Now, we will use GNU nano Text Editor editor to create and open the blank configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Now add the configuration text below.

[Interface]
Address = 10.10.0.2/32
Address = fd86:ea04:1111::2/128
SaveConfig = true
PrivateKey = your client_private.key here
DNS = 1.1.1.1

[Peer]
PublicKey = your server_public.key here
Endpoint = your server public ip:51820
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0

Use arrow keys to navigate to text and retype.

NOTE:

Under [Interface]

  1. Address = 10.10.0.2/32 this must be in the same IP subnet as your server is, but the IP cannot be exactly the same. For example: increase the last digit before the prefix /32 by 1. We’ve increased ours from 1 to 2.
  2. Replace your client_private.key here with your own client_private.key,

Under [Peer]

  1. Replace your server_public.key here with your own server_public.key,
  2. Endpoint : replace your server public ip with your own

It should look as such with your own values added to fields with blue underline.

Debian 9 WireGuard client config file nano

Save the file: Ctrl+O, then Enter to save filename, and exit: Ctrl+X.

Set the right permissions for your configuration file wg0.conf, hence making it secure.

sudo chmod 600 /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Step 4. Add client peer to the server

We will now add the client public key and IP to the server using the following syntax:

sudo wg set wg0 peer client_public.key allowed-ips client_ip_address/32,fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

To do this, go to the server and run the command below with your own client_public.key and client_ip_address inserted. As an example, it will look like this:

sudo wg set wg0 peer gDf++kLs3zl7DcGiIjzdkZiLOIEbV69Y8hnjPnqcpQM= allowed-ips 10.10.0.2/32,fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

To confirm the addition, run the following command on the server.

sudo wg
Output

interface: wg0
  public key: JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 51820

peer: gDf++kLs3zl7DcGiIjzdkZiLOIEbV69Y8hnjPnqcpQM=
  allowed ips: 10.10.0.2/32, fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

This shows that we have successfully added the peer.

Check connections

We will now start the interface on the client using the wg-quick command.

Note: Before you start the client interface, if your client machine is also a server, bringing up the wg0 interface will cause you to lose SSH access to your client machine. To ensure your command completes, run the following:

sudo apt -y install screen
sudo screen

Press spacebar twice, you should now be in a /home/ directory

Now start the interface on the client machine

sudo wg-quick up wg0

If you get an error about missing resolvconf

Output

[#] resolvconf -a wg0 -m 0 -x
/usr/bin/wg-quick: line 32: resolvconf: command not found

install it using the command below, and then try to start the interface again.

sudo apt install resolvconf

This will give the following output:

Output

[#] ip link add wg0 type wireguard
[#] wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
[#] ip -4 address add 10.10.0.2/32 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fd86:ea04:1111::2/128 dev wg0
[#] ip link set mtu 1420 up dev wg0
[#] ip -6 route add ::/0 dev wg0 table 51820
[#] ip -6 rule add not fwmark 51820 table 51820
[#] ip -6 rule add table main suppress_prefixlength 0
[#] ip6tables-restore -n
[#] ip -4 route add 0.0.0.0/0 dev wg0 table 51820
[#] ip -4 rule add not fwmark 51820 table 51820
[#] ip -4 rule add table main suppress_prefixlength 0
[#] sysctl -q net.ipv4.conf.all.src_valid_mark=1
[#] iptables-restore -n

You can check the status of the interface using the wg command

On the server

sudo wg
Ubuntu WireGuard server interface status

On the client machine

Note: If your client machine is also a server, you’ve lost SSH access and will now need to SSH from your server to the client machine via the IP address you assigned it in the client config file above. We assigned our client the IP 10.10.0.2. So now we have to

ssh clientserver@10.10.0.2

Now run

sudo wg
Ubuntu WireGuard client machine status

To see if the client can ping the server run ping followed by your server IP you assigned it in the server config file:

ping 10.10.0.1
Output

PING 10.10.0.1 (10.10.0.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.961 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.785 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.619 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=0.862 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=0.643 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=6 ttl=64 time=0.743 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=7 ttl=64 time=0.670 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=8 ttl=64 time=0.815 ms
^C
--- 10.10.0.1 ping statistics ---
8 packets transmitted, 8 received, 0% packet loss, time 7074ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.619/0.762/0.961/0.111 ms

This shows that we have successfully added the peer to the server and established a connection. Note that you can turn the interfaces on and off using

sudo wg-quick up wg0

to enable and

sudo wg-quick down wg0

to disable.

To enable WireGuard on system boot, run the command below on both the server and the client.

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

Note: if your client machine is also a server, and you now have to SSH to it via your server using the client config IP, use the exit command to exit the client machine session and return to your server terminal.



How to set up WireGuard client: Windows

Step 1. Install WireGuard

Download the WireGuard installer for Windows and install it on your Windows machine.

Once complete, the WireGuard client window will open.

Windows WireGuard client interface

Step 2. Add empty tunnel

Give it a name.

Your client public and private keys will already be generated and inserted for you.

Windows new WireGuard tunnel client keys

Add the configuration text below with your own values in AddressPublicKey and Endpoint fields.

Address = 10.10.0.2/32, fd86:ea04:1111::2/128
DNS = 1.1.1.1

[Peer]
PublicKey = your server_public.key here
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0
Endpoint = your server public ip:51820

NOTE:

Address = 10.10.0.2/32 this must be in the same IP subnet as your server is, but the IP cannot be exactly the same. For example: increase the last digit before the prefix /32 by 1. We’ve increased ours from 1 to 2.

PublicKey is the server_public.key you generated on your Debian VPN server. Obtain it by running the cat command on the server.

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/server_public.key

Then return to the client machine and insert the value in the PublicKey field.

Lastly, add your server’s public IP in Endpoint field.

It should look as below, with your own values added above the gold underline:

Windows WireGuard client config

Block untunneled traffic (kill-switch) will automatically be ticked, leave as is.

Click Save

Step 3. Add the client peer to the server

Now, you need to add the Windows client Public key and IP address to the server.

Your Windows client Public key will be here:

Windows WireGuard tunnel

Run the command below after replacing client public key in the command below with your client Public key, and 10.10.0.2 with your own IP you just set in the client tunnel config.

sudo wg set wg0 peer client public key allowed-ips 10.10.0.2

There won’t be an output. Proceed to step 4.

Step 4. Return to the client machine

Click Activate on the Windows client machine.

If successful, the client becomes Active, and you will start seeing received and sent traffic.

Windows WireGuard tunnel Active

Set up WireGuard VPN client: CentOS 7

Step 1. Install WireGuard on client machine

Run the following commands and type y when prompted and wait for installations to return Complete!

sudo yum update
sudo yum install epel-release https://www.elrepo.org/elrepo-release-7.el7.elrepo.noarch.rpm
sudo yum install yum-plugin-elrepo
sudo yum install kmod-wireguard wireguard-tools
Output 

Installed:
  wireguard-tools.x86_64 0:1.0.20210914-1.el7

Complete!

Step 2. Generate client keys: CentOS 7

Create the WireGuard directory.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/wireguard/

If running as a sudo user you may not have access to the WireGuard directory.

Use the following command to grant access to the logged-in user.

sudo chmod go+rx /etc/wireguard/

To generate key pair, run

sudo wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/client_private.key | wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/client_public.key

This will generate the keys, save them in the WireGuard directory, and return your client public key:

Output

9uJZnN2duYxuSo3OJBbF2BNvt2W7J5g+1jhwP9x/83A=

You can use the cat command to view the keys.

Run the following command to return your client private key:

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/client_private.key

Copy and paste both these keys temporarily in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need them again below. (Don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the keys to your config)

Step 3. Configure client interface: CentOS 7

In this step, we will create the configuration file /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf on the client device. Please note that the file name and location are similar to that in the server and the only difference is the contents.

You will need to replace the text fields PrivateKey, PublicKey, and Endpoint with your own values.

Find server public key

PublicKey is the server_public.key on the VPN server. Obtain it by using the cat command from anywhere on the server by specifying the full file path:

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/server_public.key

Or run the command from the server’s WireGuard directory

sudo cd /etc/wireguard/
sudo cat server_public.key
Output

JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=

Install Vim on client machine

Now, we will use Vim text editor to create the config file. If you don’t have it installed on your client machine yet, run this command:

sudo yum install vim -y
Output

Installed:
  vim-enhanced.x86_64 2:7.4.629-8.el7_9

Dependency Installed:
  gpm-libs.x86_64 0:1.20.7-6.el7           perl.x86_64 4:5.16.3-299.el7_9
  perl-Carp.noarch 0:1.26-244.el7          perl-Encode.x86_64 0:2.51-7.el7
  perl-Exporter.noarch 0:5.68-3.el7        perl-File-Path.noarch 0:2.09-2.el7
  perl-File-Temp.noarch 0:0.23.01-3.el7    perl-Filter.x86_64 0:1.49-3.el7
  perl-Getopt-Long.noarch 0:2.40-3.el7     perl-HTTP-Tiny.noarch 0:0.033-3.el7
  perl-PathTools.x86_64 0:3.40-5.el7       perl-Pod-Escapes.noarch 1:1.04-299.el7_9
  perl-Pod-Perldoc.noarch 0:3.20-4.el7     perl-Pod-Simple.noarch 1:3.28-4.el7
  perl-Pod-Usage.noarch 0:1.63-3.el7       perl-Scalar-List-Utils.x86_64 0:1.27-248.el7
  perl-Socket.x86_64 0:2.010-5.el7         perl-Storable.x86_64 0:2.45-3.el7
  perl-Text-ParseWords.noarch 0:3.29-4.el7 perl-Time-HiRes.x86_64 4:1.9725-3.el7
  perl-Time-Local.noarch 0:1.2300-2.el7    perl-constant.noarch 0:1.27-2.el7
  perl-libs.x86_64 4:5.16.3-299.el7_9      perl-macros.x86_64 4:5.16.3-299.el7_9
  perl-parent.noarch 1:0.225-244.el7       perl-podlators.noarch 0:2.5.1-3.el7
  perl-threads.x86_64 0:1.87-4.el7         perl-threads-shared.x86_64 0:1.43-6.el7
  vim-common.x86_64 2:7.4.629-8.el7_9      vim-filesystem.x86_64 2:7.4.629-8.el7_9

Complete!

Create config file on client machine

Now, run

sudo vim /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

This will open a blank text file in Vim editor that we will use as our configuration file.

To paste/edit text in Vim, press I to enter --INSERT-- mode. Now add the configuration text below.

[Interface]
Address = 10.10.0.2/24
Address = fd86:ea04:1111::2/128
SaveConfig = true
PrivateKey = your client_private.key here
DNS = 1.1.1.1

[Peer]
PublicKey = your server_public.key here
Endpoint = your server public ip:51820
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0

NOTE:

Under [Interface]

  1. Address = 10.10.0.2/24 this must be in the same IP subnet as your server is, but the IP cannot be exactly the same. For example: increase the last digit before the prefix /24 by 1. We’ve increased ours from 1 to 2.
  2. Replace your client_private.key here with your own client_private.key,

Under [Peer]

  1. Replace your server_public.key here with your own server_public.key,
  2. Endpoint : replace your server public ip with your own

Use arrow keys to navigate to text and retype.

It should look as such with your own values added to fields with blue underline.

wireguard client config file text in Vim

Press Esc to exit INSERT mode, then press Shift + ZZ to save changes and quit.

Set the right permissions for your configuration file wg0.conf hence making it secure.

sudo chmod 600 /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Step 4. Add client peer to the server

We will now add the client public key and IP address to the server using the following syntax.

sudo wg set wg0 peer client_public.key allowed-ips client_ip_address/32,fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

To do this, go to the server and change into the WireGuard directory

sudo cd /etc/wireguard/

Now run the command below with your own client_public.key inserted. As an example, it will look like this:

sudo wg set wg0 peer 9uJZnN2duYxuSo3OJBbF2BNvt2W7J5g+1jhwP9x/83A= allowed-ips 10.10.0.2/32,fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

To confirm the addition, while still on the server, run the following command:

sudo wg

Output

output for wg command on WireGuard VPN server

This shows that we have successfully added the peer.

Check connections

We will now start the interface on the client using the wg-quick command.

Note: Before you start the interface, note that if your client machine is also a server, bringing up the wg0 interface will cause you to lose SSH access to your client machine. To ensure your command completes, run the following:

sudo yum -y install screen
sudo screen

Press spacebar twice, you should now be in a /home/ directory

Now start the interface on the client machine

sudo wg-quick up wg0

This will give the following output;

Output

[#] ip link add wg0 type wireguard
[#] wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
[#] ip -4 address add 10.10.0.2/24 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fd86:ea04:1111::2/128 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fe80::9582:2edf:1c90:48a4/64 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fe80::f8f9:54e6:8964:c300/64 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fe80::5286:1739:7ed1:30c/64 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fe80::76b9:af75:4786:5ad6/64 dev wg0
[#] ip link set mtu 1420 up dev wg0
[#] ip -6 route add ::/0 dev wg0 table 51820
[#] ip -6 rule add not fwmark 51820 table 51820
[#] ip -6 rule add table main suppress_prefixlength 0
[#] ip6tables-restore -n
[#] ip -4 route add 0.0.0.0/0 dev wg0 table 51820
[#] ip -4 rule add not fwmark 51820 table 51820
[#] ip -4 rule add table main suppress_prefixlength 0
[#] sysctl -q net.ipv4.conf.all.src_valid_mark=1
[#] iptables-restore -n

When both server and client interfaces are up, you can check the status using the wg command.

On the server

sudo wg
WireGuard server interface status

On the client machine

Note: If your client machine is also a server, you’ve lost SSH access and will now need to SSH from your server to the client machine via the IP address you assigned it in the config file above. We assigned our client machine the IP 10.10.0.2. So now we have to

ssh clientserver@10.10.0.2

Now run

sudo wg
wireguard client machine interface status

This shows that we have successfully added the peer to the server and established a connection. 

Note that you can turn the interfaces on and off using

sudo wg-quick up wg0

to enable and

sudo wg-quick down wg0

to disable.

To enable the WireGuard on system boot, run the command below on both the server and the client.

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

Note: if your client machine is also a server, and you now have to SSH to it using the config IP via your server, use the exit command twice to exit the client machine screen session and client machine to return to your server terminal.


How to set up WireGuard client: Ubuntu 18.04

For most operating systems, the installation process for the WireGuard is the same for both the server and client.

You’ll start by installing WireGuard on your client machine (can be your PC, another server, etc), after which you’ll generate the key pair for the client and finally, do the configuration.

Step 1. Install WireGuard on client machine: Ubuntu 18.04

Update client machine system

sudo apt update; sudo apt upgrade

Now install WireGuard

sudo apt install wireguard -y

Restart client machine and confirm that it is working

sudo modprobe wireguard
lsmod | grep wireguard

If successful, it will give the output below.

Output

wireguard             221184  0
ip6_udp_tunnel         16384  1 wireguard
udp_tunnel             16384  1 wireguard

Step 2. Generate client keys: Ubuntu 18.04

If running as a sudo user you may not have access to the WireGuard directory. Use the following command to grant access to the logged-in user.

sudo chmod go+rx /etc/wireguard
cd /etc/wireguard

Run the following to generate the VPN client keys;

umask 077
sudo wg genkey | sudo tee client_private.key | sudo wg pubkey | sudo tee client_public.key

This will generate the keys, save them in the WireGuard directory, and return your client public key:

Output

gDf++kLs3zl7DcGiIjzdkZiLOIEbV69Y8hnjPnqcpQM=

You can use the cat command to view the keys.

Run the following command to return your client private key:

sudo cat client_private.key
Output

eIjXbij7EntYxoOfxvdGf6FN+DnincRhIZGdzTMyTkA=

Copy and paste both these keys temporarily in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need them again below. (Don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the keys to your config)

Step 3. Configure client interface: Ubuntu 18.04

The process is similar to that of the server apart from the information in the configuration files. We will call our interface wg0 and use the configuration file to define the private network, our client private key, and the server’s public key and IP address.

You will need to add your own values to the PrivateKey, PublicKey, and Endpoint fields in the code block further down.

Find server public key

PublicKey is the server_public.key on the VPN server. Go to the server and obtain the key by running the cat command:

sudo cat /etc/wireguard/server_public.key
Output

JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=

Copy and paste this key in someplace secure outside of your terminal, you’ll need to add it to the config file below. (Don’t forget to delete the temporary file after you’ve added the key to your config)

Now we will create the client configuration file.

Install Vim on client machine

Vim text editor should come installed with Ubuntu 18, but if you don’t have it installed on your client machine yet, run this command:

sudo apt install vim

Create config file on client machine

Now run

sudo vim /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

This will open a blank text file in Vim editor that we will use as our client configuration file.

To paste/edit text in Vim, press I to enter --INSERT-- mode. Now add the configuration text below.

[Interface]
Address = 10.10.0.2/32
Address = fd86:ea04:1111::2/128
SaveConfig = true
PrivateKey = your client_private.key here
DNS = 1.1.1.1

[Peer]
PublicKey = your server_public.key here
Endpoint = your server public ip:51820
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0

Use arrow keys to navigate to text and retype.

NOTE:

Under [Interface]

  1. Address = 10.10.0.2/32 this must be in the same IP subnet as your server is, but the IP cannot be exactly the same. For example: increase the last digit before the prefix /24 by 1. We’ve increased ours from 1 to 2.
  2. Replace your client_private.key here with your own client_private.key,

Under [Peer]

  1. Replace your server_public.key here with your own server_public.key,
  2. Endpoint : replace your server public ip with your own

It should look as such with your own values added to fields with blue underline.

Ubuntu client config file_vim

Press Esc to exit INSERT mode, then press Shift + ZZ to save changes and quit.

Set the right permissions for your configuration file wg0.conf, hence making it secure.

sudo chmod 600 /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Step 4. Add client peer to the server

We will now add the client public key and IP to the server using the following syntax:

sudo wg set wg0 peer client_public.key allowed-ips client_ip_address/32,fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

To do this, go to the server and run the command below with your own client_public.key and client_ip_address inserted. As an example, it will look like this:

sudo wg set wg0 peer gDf++kLs3zl7DcGiIjzdkZiLOIEbV69Y8hnjPnqcpQM= allowed-ips 10.10.0.2/32,fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

To confirm the addition, run the following command on the server.

sudo wg
Output

interface: wg0
  public key: JBzWtHi9fGCfCcSs8e59tQ0Pwam16PeMVN2+SVhaL0k=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 51820

peer: gDf++kLs3zl7DcGiIjzdkZiLOIEbV69Y8hnjPnqcpQM=
  allowed ips: 10.10.0.2/32, fd86:ea04:1111::2/128

This shows that we have successfully added the peer.

Check connections

We will now start the interface on the client using the wg-quick command.

Note: Before you start the client interface, if your client machine is also a server, bringing up the wg0 interface will cause you to lose SSH access to your client machine. To ensure your command completes, run the following:

sudo apt -y install screen
sudo screen

Press spacebar twice, you should now be in a /home/ directory

Now start the interface on the client machine

sudo wg-quick up wg0

If you get an error about missing resolvconf

Output

[#] resolvconf -a wg0 -m 0 -x
/usr/bin/wg-quick: line 32: resolvconf: command not found

install it using the command below, and then try to start the interface again.

sudo apt install resolvconf

The started interface will give the following output:

Output

[#] ip link add wg0 type wireguard
[#] wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
[#] ip -4 address add 10.10.0.2/32 dev wg0
[#] ip -6 address add fd86:ea04:1111::2/128 dev wg0
[#] ip link set mtu 1420 up dev wg0
[#] ip -6 route add ::/0 dev wg0 table 51820
[#] ip -6 rule add not fwmark 51820 table 51820
[#] ip -6 rule add table main suppress_prefixlength 0
[#] ip6tables-restore -n
[#] ip -4 route add 0.0.0.0/0 dev wg0 table 51820
[#] ip -4 rule add not fwmark 51820 table 51820
[#] ip -4 rule add table main suppress_prefixlength 0
[#] sysctl -q net.ipv4.conf.all.src_valid_mark=1
[#] iptables-restore -n

You can check the status of the interface using the wg command

On the server

sudo wg
Ubuntu WireGuard server interface status

On the client machine

Note: If your client machine is also a server, you’ve lost SSH access and will now need to SSH from your server to the client machine via the IP address you assigned it in the client config file above. We assigned our client the IP 10.10.0.2. So now we have to

ssh clientserver@10.10.0.2

Now run

sudo wg
Ubuntu WireGuard client machine status

To see if the client can ping the server run ping followed by your server IP you assigned it in the server config file:

ping 10.10.0.1
Output

PING 10.10.0.1 (10.10.0.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.961 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.785 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.619 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=0.862 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=0.643 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=6 ttl=64 time=0.743 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=7 ttl=64 time=0.670 ms
64 bytes from 10.10.0.1: icmp_seq=8 ttl=64 time=0.815 ms
^C
--- 10.10.0.1 ping statistics ---
8 packets transmitted, 8 received, 0% packet loss, time 7074ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.619/0.762/0.961/0.111 ms

This shows that we have successfully added the peer to the server and established a connection. Note that you can turn the interfaces on and off using

sudo wg-quick up wg0

to enable and

sudo wg-quick down wg0

to disable.

To enable WireGuard on system boot, run the command below on both the server and the client.

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

Note: if your client machine is also a server, and you now have to SSH to it via your server using the client config IP, use the exit command to exit the client machine session and return to your server terminal.


Now you should be all set up. We hope this helped.

Happy hosting!

Visit our other blogs if you have other OS requirements:

How to install WireGuard VPN server on Ubuntu 18.04, and client on Linux and Windows.
How to Install WireGuard VPN Server on CentOS 7, and Client on Linux and Windows

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