Help! I am in China and my plants are thirsty. I need a creative solution to VPN into my home network so I can water my plants. VPN has been working fine for the last few days, but suddenly stopped today, so I am guessing it has been blocked.

Tools I have: iPad + keyboard, AWS account access, all necessary credentials.

I was able to start an EC2 instance with Windows, configure then VPN, and connect; but of cource I lost my remote desktop connection to EC2 once the VPN connected. I was thinking of maybe adding another Elastic Network Interface (eni) to the EC2 instance and trying to apply the VPN to only one interface. Does anyone know if that would work and how to do it?

Other suggestions please!

  • 1
    Are you 100% sure china is blocking your VPN, and not that your home VPN solution has stopped working? For example internet failure, power outage, modem needs reboot, etc...
    – LPChip
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 9:37
  • You're right, that it is a possibility my VPN server has failed. I am trying to think of a way to test that. I did configure a VPN client to connect from an EC2 instance. Once I clicked the connect button, I lost my Remote Desktop Connection. I assumed the VPN connection was made, but maybe things don't happen in that order. I'll see if I can think of a test to make sure it is still running. Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 11:13
  • 1
    Maybe the best way to proceed forward is call home and see if someone can reset things, and while they're at it, water your plants. And for the future, you can consider something like a Tuya/zigbee smart power connector, put that in between your hardware, then you can open your phone, open the app, and turn on/off your devices remotely.
    – LPChip
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 11:31
  • I know you have all been concerned about my thirsty plants. Well, good news. I was able to water them. China has indeed blocked by home VPN. I was able to send the watering commands from an EC2 instance that connected to my home VPN from us-west-2. Here were the steps: 1. Start Windows EC2 instance. 2. Configure VPN, but do not connect yet. 3. Install Python and my home automation tools. 4. Write a batch script to: 4a. Sleep for 2 minutes (allow me to connect to VPN) 4b. Send water command, check and record status. 5. Wait, reboot EC2 instance, check log files for ok. Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 12:48
  • Just started on OpenVPN server on AWS that I can use for other internet. Still curious if others have ideas to make this more interactive. Thanks! Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 12:53


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