Jun 20, 2023 7 min read

How to Set up a Secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04

Set up a Secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04 with our step-by-step tutorial. It's a safe VPN protocol that offers fast and reliable connections.

Set up a Secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04
Table of Contents

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Introduction

Before we begin talking about how to set up secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04, let's briefly understand – What is WireGuard VPN.

WireGuard is a modern and secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol that provides fast and reliable connections. It's designed to be simple, lightweight, and efficient, making it ideal for various devices and platforms.

WireGuard offers robust encryption, enhancing online privacy and protecting data from unauthorized access.

With its streamlined code and minimalistic approach, WireGuard delivers impressive speeds and excellent performance. It has gained popularity for its ease of use, strong security, and ability to establish secure connections swiftly.

Whether you're a tech enthusiast or a regular internet user, WireGuard offers a reliable VPN solution for safeguarding your online activities.

In this tutorial, you will set up WireGuard VPN on the Ubuntu 22.04. We will also address a few FAQs on how to set up a secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04.

Advantages of WireGuard VPN

  1. Speed: WireGuard's efficient codebase and modern encryption algorithms enable fast and responsive VPN connections.
  2. Security: WireGuard employs state-of-the-art cryptography to ensure secure data transmission and protect against potential threats.
  3. Simplicity: WireGuard's straightforward design makes it easy to set up and use, even for non-technical users.
  4. Compatibility: WireGuard is compatible with various platforms, including Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
  5. Performance: WireGuard's optimized code allows it to deliver superior performance, minimizing latency and maximizing bandwidth utilization.

Prerequisites Set up a Secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04

1) Make sure to have an Ubuntu 22.04 server with root or sudo access.

Step 1 – Install WireGuard on Ubuntu 22.04

1) The WireGuard is available from default Ubuntu repositories. You can install it using the below command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install wireguard

It will install the WireGuard module and tools too.

Step 2 – Configure the WireGuard

1) Both wg and wg-quick command-line tools will allow you to configure. Even manage the WireGuard interfaces. Each device in WireGuard VPN network needs a private as well as a public key. You will run the below command to generate key pair:

It is important that every WireGuard VPN has a public and private key. You can generate the key pair using the below command:

wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/privatekey | wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/publickey

The file's generation will be there in /etc/wireguard directory. You will be able to view the contents of files with cat or less. Make sure to keep the private key safe and secure.

The WireGuard even supports a pre-shared key that adds another layer of symmetric-key cryptography. This key is optional and has to be unique for each pair.

2) After that, configure the tunnel device to route the VPN traffic.

Set-up from the command line using the ip and wg commands or by creating the configuration file with a text editor.

3) Next, create a new file as wg0.conf. Proceed to add the below contents:

sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
[Interface]
Address = 10.0.0.1/24
SaveConfig = true
ListenPort = 51820
PrivateKey = SERVER_PRIVATE_KEY
PostUp = iptables -A FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE
PostDown = iptables -D FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE

The interface can be named anything, it is recommended to use something like wg0 or wgvpn0. The settings in the interface section have the below meaning:

  • Address – With a comma-separated list of v4 or v6 IP addresses. It is for the wg0 interface. Also, use IPs from a range reserved for private networks (10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12 or 192.168.0.0/16).
  • The ListenPort - Listening port.
  • PrivateKey - Generated by wg genkey command.
  • SaveConfig - The present state of the interface is saved to the configuration file when shutdown, if it is set to true.
  • PostUp - The command or script executable before bringing interface up. Like, you are using iptables to enable the masquerading. It allows traffic to leave the server, giving the VPN clients access to the Internet.

4) Further, make sure to replace the ens3 after -A POSTROUTING to match the name of public network interface. You can easily find the interface using the below command:

ip -o -4 route show to default | awk '{print $5}'
  • PostDown - The command or script executable before bringing the interface down. Here, iptables rules gets removed, after the interface is down.

5) Normal users should not be able to read both wg0.conf and privatekey files. Set the permission to 600 using chmod:

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

6) After this, bring wg0 interface up. Do it by attributes specified in the configuration file:

sudo wg-quick up wg0

The command will show an output similar to:

Output

ip link add wg0 type wireguard
wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
ip -4 address add 10.0.0.1/24 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

7) Continue to check the interface state and configuration using:

sudo wg show wg0
Output

interface: wg0
  public key: r3imyh3MCYggaZACmkx+CxlD6uAmICI8pe/PGq8+qCg=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 51820

8) Run ip a show wg0 to verify the interface state:

ip a show wg0
Output

4: wg0: <POINTOPOINT,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1420 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN group default qlen 1000
    link/none 
    inet 10.0.0.1/24 scope global wg0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

The WireGuard can also get managed with Systemd.

9) Now, you will bring WireGuard interface at the boot time by running the below command:

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

Step 3 – Server Networking and Firewall Configuration

1) The IP forwarding should get enabled for NAT to work. Open the /etc/sysctl.conf file. Further, add or uncomment the below line:

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

2) Proceed to save the file and apply the changes, by:

sudo sysctl -p
Output

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

3) Open the UDP traffic on port 51820 if you are using UFW to manage the firewall:

sudo ufw allow 51820/udp

Finally, an Ubuntu peer that will act as a server is set up.

Step 4 – Linux and macOS Clients Setup

1) You can check the installation instructions for all supported platforms at https://wireguard.com/install/. Install the package using the distribution package manager and brew for macOS.

2) Next, to set up process for a Linux and macOS client is the same as earlier. First, you will generate public and private keys:

wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/privatekey | wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/publickey

3) Then, create the file wg0.conf and add below contents:

sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
Output

[Interface]
PrivateKey = CLIENT_PRIVATE_KEY
Address = 10.0.0.2/24


[Peer]
PublicKey = SERVER_PUBLIC_KEY
Endpoint = SERVER_IP_ADDRESS:51820
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0

If you want to configure the additional clients. You will repeat the same steps. Do it using a different private IP address.

Step 5 – Windows Clients Setup

1) Now, download and install the Windows msi package from the WireGuard website.

2) After installation, open the WireGuard application. Then, click on "Add Tunnel" -> "Add empty tunnel..." as shown below:

3) A publickey pair is created automatically and gets displayed on the screen.

4) After that, enter a name for the tunnel and edit the configuration as follows:

[Interface]
PrivateKey = CLIENT_PRIVATE_KEY
Address = 10.0.0.2/24


[Peer]
PublicKey = SERVER_PUBLIC_KEY
Endpoint = SERVER_IP_ADDRESS:51820
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0

In this interface section, you will add a new line. It will define the client tunnel Address. Even, in the peer section, add the below fields:

  • PublicKey - The public key of Ubuntu server /etc/wireguard/publickey file.
  • Endpoint - IP address of the Ubuntu server along with a colon and the WireGuard port (51820).
  • The AllowedIPs - 0.0.0.0/0

5) After this, click on the Save button.

Step 6 – Add the Client Peer to Server

1) The Final step is to add the client’s public key and IP address to the server. So, run the below command on the Ubuntu server:

sudo wg set wg0 peer CLIENT_PUBLIC_KEY allowed-ips 10.0.0.2

2) Remember to change CLIENT_PUBLIC_KEY with the public key that you generated on client machine sudo cat /etc/wireguard/publickey. Further, adjust the client IP address, if different. The Windows users can copy the public key from the WireGuard application.

3) After that, go back to the client machine and bring up the tunneling interface.

Step 7 – Linux and the macOS Clients

1) You will now run the below command to bring up the interface:

sudo wg-quick up wg0

2) Now you will get connected to Ubuntu server and traffic from your client machine should get routed from it. You can check the connection using the following command:

sudo wg
interface: wg0
  public key: gFeK6A16ncnT1FG6fJhOCMPMeY4hZa97cZCNWis7cSo=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 53527
  fwmark: 0xca6c

peer: r3imyh3MCYggaZACmkx+CxlD6uAmICI8pe/PGq8+qCg=
  endpoint: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:51820
  allowed ips: 0.0.0.0/0
  latest handshake: 53 seconds ago
  transfer: 3.23 KiB received, 3.50 KiB sent

3) Open your browser and type “what is my ip”. You will be able to see your Ubuntu server IP address. Now, to stop tunneling, bring down the wg0 interface:

sudo wg-quick down wg0

Step 8 – Windows Clients

1) When installation of WireGuard is complete on Windows, click on the “Activate” button. The tunnel status will change to Active once the peers are connected.

FAQs to Set up a Secure WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04

Is WireGuard secure for VPN connections?

Yes, WireGuard is known for its robust security. It utilizes modern encryption algorithms, making it a reliable option for secure VPN connections.

Can I use WireGuard on other devices besides Ubuntu 22.04?

Absolutely! WireGuard is compatible with various platforms, including Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, allowing you to set up secure VPN connections on different devices.

Do I need advanced technical knowledge to set up a WireGuard VPN on Ubuntu 22.04?

While some basic understanding of networking concepts is helpful, WireGuard's simplicity makes it accessible for users with varying technical expertise.

Are there any specific requirements for setting up WireGuard on Ubuntu 22.04?

You need a compatible kernel version and administrative access to your Ubuntu 22.04 system to install and configure WireGuard successfully.

Can I use WireGuard to bypass geo-restrictions and access blocked content?

While WireGuard itself is primarily a VPN protocol, it can help you bypass geo-restrictions by routing your internet traffic through VPN servers located in different regions.

Is there community support available for setting up WireGuard on Ubuntu 22.04?

Yes, there is an active community of WireGuard users and developers who can provide assistance, troubleshooting tips, and guidance for setting up WireGuard on Ubuntu 22.04.

Conclusion

We hope this detailed tutorial helped you to set up WireGuard VPN on the Ubuntu 22.04.

If you have any queries, or doubts, please leave in the comment below. We'll be happy to address them.

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