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For other reasons that I'm not going to go into, I'm not going to use Mountain Lion Server.

I've looked around but can't find anything that allows me to set up a VPN server without using the Apple OS X server.

What are my options? I've heard of openVPN but can't find any recent guides as to how to set it up.

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You can install OpenVPN on MacOS X very easily using MacPorts. Once you have it installed, any guide to configuring OpenVPN will show you the next steps. The official OpenVPN howto is a good place to start.

One of the key things you'll need to do is enable your MacOS X server to route packets between interfaces. This can be accomplished with the following sysctl command:

sysctl -w net.inet.ip.forwarding=1

This does not survive reboots, so you will have to make OpenVPN invoke it, or make a launchd script to do it.

Remember also that, once you become a router, you should be filtering packets. MacOS X has offered ipfw packet filter for a long time, and more recent versions include the even nicer pf packet filter. Documentation of both of these tools is abundant, including in MacOS X man pages.

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  • FYI, if you want a sysctl change to survive reboots, the easiest way is to write it to /etc/sysctl.conf. See man sysctl.conf. Unfortunately that man page isn't linked from the other sysctl-related man pages, so people don't always find out about it.
    – Spiff
    Feb 12 '13 at 0:11

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