At VPNPick.com, we are mostly concerned with VPN service providers to help users boost their online security and circumvent problems encountered when online attackers, hackers, and governmental agencies try to intercept your data. However, these services aren’t the end-all-be-all for online security. In some situations, you will want a secure connection back to your home network to ensure that you can download local files and have access to your very own private network resources without interference from attackers or the government.
One option you have to facilitate secure connectivity to your home network is to setup your own VPN server. There are many types of free security software that allow you to do this, but today we are going to take a closer look at using Hamachi and Privoxy to create secure connections to your home network.
Using Hamachi and Privoxy for a Home VPN Server
Hamachi is a great tool since it if fairly simple to use and configure. In addition, Privoxy compliments its services nicely. When combined, these tools will provide you with secure access to your home network with ease.
The Hamachi software basically allows you to create a private virtual network, much like your home LAN. With this service, you won’t need to be bothered with hassles such as forwarding or other difficult and time consuming configuration options. In addition, it is very secure due to its AES-256 encryption technology. However, there is only one disadvantage to this useful software. It is not open source.
If you decide to download the free version of Hamachi, you will be constrained to five users per network, and it can’t run as an idle background process – constantly listening for connections and showing its interface. You will need to pay to run it as a background process.
Configure a PC or Server as a Hamachi Server
- First you will need to download and install the Hamachi program on the desired server or PC. Choose to download the unmanaged version. Be aware that this free version is simply a marketing tool, so they will inundate you with requests to sign up for an account. For the present, you can ignore these requests.
- Click the power button on your LogMeIn Hamachi software and enter your name.
- Next, you will want to create a new network and give it an identifier under the ‘network ID’ field. Also, you will need to create a password.
- Understand that you will need to download the Hamachi software to every device that you want to give access to your home network. When configuring the software on a client, choose ‘Join a new network’ instead of creating a new one from scratch.
Configuring Privoxy on Your VPN Server
- Download and install the Privoxy software onto the computer that you created a network with using Hamachi.
- After it is installed, right click on its icon in the system tray and click the edit/main configuration selections.
- Hit control + ‘F’ in the notepad configuration document to find the following line of code:
– listen-address 127.0.0.1:8118
Add a # sign to the beginning of that line to mark it as a comment and remove it from the configuration. Below the line that you commented out, add the following line of code:
- listen-address X.X.X:8118
In this code, X.X.X.X is the IP address that is listed at the top of your Himachi window next to the power button.
- Lastly, you will want to configure your client’s web browser to use your server as a proxy. If you are using Firefox, you will need to browse to Options, Advanced, and click the settings button next to Connection. Then you will need to click the radio button for manual proxy configuration and enter the IP address and port (8118) into the HTTP Proxy field.
- Lastly, verify that everything is working by browsing to the Privoxy site. You should see the public IP address of your home computer (the address next to the power button in the Himachi configuration) as well as port 8118. If you instead see the message ‘Privoxy is not being used’ you will need to do some troubleshooting.
However, if everything was successful, you are now using your home PC or server as a proxy server. You now have a VPN tunnel back to your home network that is encrypting all of your traffic between your home network and your local PC! You can also check out these alternatives to Hamachi.