After a few days on Google, I'm not able to find the right answer to my question. After reading a lot of scripting possibilities, then OpenVPN is up.

I have a client running Debian 7.8, with OpenVPN 2.2.1 x86_64-linux-gnu.

The connection is working great, and everything is fine. But - I need to mount some NFS-drives then the connection is initiated ("up" - I guess).

But - then I'm trying to start a script, I'm running into this error:

 Tue Jun 23 10:44:55 2015 /usr/share/openvpn/script-to-start.sh tun0 1500 1542 init
 Tue Jun 23 10:44:55 2015 WARNING: Failed running command (--up/--down): could not execute external program
 Tue Jun 23 10:44:55 2015 Exiting

I have added the settings in the config-file:

script-security 2
up /usr/share/openvpn/script-to-start.sh
down /usr/share/openvpn/script-to-stop.sh

See the full settings file here.

The script I'm trying to run (just for testing right now) is:


grep vpn /var/log/syslog > /home/USERNAME/test.txt

echo "Good morning, world."

(Update 2017: - The "!" mark is missing in the #/bin/bash-line. Don't copy/paste above line, cause it was the problem)

I have tested with "#!/bin/sh" as well, just to be sure. After all, i tested the permissions and ownership:


As you can see, I have added "script-security 2" before the "up" and "down" commands. OpenVPN is running as root, and started by a init.d script, but even if I'm trying to run it with the full command, I get the same error.

Se the example below (with and without sudo):

sudo openvpn --remote SERVERDOMAIN --dev tun1 --ifconfig --tls-client --ca /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/ca.crt --cert /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/TITLE.crt --key /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/TITLE.key --reneg-sec 60 --verb 5 --script-security 2 --up /usr/share/openvpn/script-to-start.sh

If I'm running the damn small script by myself, with both SU and Sudo, everything is going smooth without any issues.

The point is that I need to run this command, to mount a few NFS-drives, but right now I'm locked down. So I need some help here - I did try on a Danish forum with no luck.

sudo mount /home/USERNAME/sync

The online manuels is not that helpful - and now I need your help.

  • 2
    Maybe just a typo: note that #/bin/bash is just a comment, as it's missing the exclamation mark that changes it into a shebang: #!/bin/bash – Arjan Aug 8 '15 at 9:00
  • Damn... I just forgot the "!"... That's explain everything. – Tobias Nordahl Kristensen Aug 9 '15 at 10:57
  • 1
    Hmmm, I think it does not explain everything, unless you forgot it in #!/bin/sh as well? Your simple test script should run with that, I think. – Arjan Aug 9 '15 at 17:03

I ran into the same issue, luckily I found a solution.

Here are things I checked:

  1. permission of folder
  2. permission of openvpn to access script
  3. the script must list the full path of any commands used (ex. grep should be /bin/grep; you can find the full path by typing which in front of your command)
  4. use script-security 2 system instead
  • Using the system method shouldn’t be necessary. But checking whether the script is executable for the user is definitely worth a shot. – Daniel B Aug 8 '15 at 10:24
  • From here, all this stuff is correct. In this case, i just forgot the "!", and after copy/pasting the same code and a source with the same error, i did ran into the same issues every time. That's just stupid. Thanks for your help anyway. That's all useful information. – Tobias Nordahl Kristensen Aug 9 '15 at 10:59

Just to make it clear: I forgot the "!" (exclamation mark). That's explain everything.


Check username under which openvp daemon is running and chown your script folder or file to it.

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