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I am trying to set up a home server, so my wife and I can dial into it and access files from our laptops while away from home.

The PC acting as the server is running Windows Server 2008. I've configured it to accept VPN connections, and managed to get the two laptops to access it successfully. However, this was when I was dialing into the router's home IP address. When I tried accessing it away from home, it wouldn't work.

I know I have to set up a static IP address at some point, but for testing purposes I was using the IP address issued for the current connection. In theory this should work fine but it won't connect. The VPN gets to "Verifying User Name" and then hangs. Another time, it connected OK, but I couldn't access the server itself.

I read somewhere I had to open port 1723 on my router. On my Sky Netgear DG834GT router, it allows you to open an incoming and outgoing connection on this port.

Do I need to open it both ways?

On the incoming connection, it asks for the server to direct communications to. Should this be the IP of my server?

When I open this port, I lose all internet connection to any connected computers.

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Yes...You need to open the port the VPN software is running on both ways since incoming and outgoing packets will be transfered. As to reason your internet connection is effected by a simple port forward, more information is required, that shouldn't happen. – Ramhound Mar 12 '12 at 11:41

Your home PC is probably behind a NAT created by your home router. Your router is only assigned a single international IP address and translates this single address to multiple addresses, using NAT, to support multiple devices on your home network. The incoming VPN connection does not know where to route messages destined for your VPN. You'll have to set up port forwarding on your router, if it supports it.

Another, much easier, solution to your problem if you don't explicitly require a VPN might just be to use a remote desktop application like Teamviewer. It has your home computer connect to their servers, which allows you to easily access your files and work on your computer from anywhere on the Internet.

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