This tutorial will show you how to create your own VPN server on Amazon Web Services – Elastic Compute Cloud (in short: EC2).
A VPN service can be used for a lot of things, for example:
- Testing your websites or services from another countrys ip
- Accessing content on some sites with ip address block, such as hulu or netflix
- Connect your computer and/or mobile phones and tablets that support VPN
- Safely accessing internet on public unsecure wifi networks!
I find that last point especially important. A VPN connection can prevent someone from picking up your login details if you are using a public wifi network; If some of the programs/apps you are using, send sensitive data such as login details or cookies over http instead of https, the details can be picked up by others sniffing around on the network.
There are many different VPN services available, most of them charge a couple of dollars per month (e.g strongvpn.com charges $21 for 3 months), and many are often on shared connections, often giving you a slow or unstable connection.
By setting up your own VPN service, you can fully control access to it, and even allow others to use your VPN server. Depending on your level of skills, setting this VPN server up can take as little as 15 minutes.
Why Amazon EC2
EC2 is Amazons virtual servers in the cloud, where you can set up your own virtual private server (VPS). EC2 instances come in a lot of different sizes, and are charged hourly and by usage. You can of course set up a VPN service on almost any VPS, but heres the reasons why I chose EC2:
- It’s widely available to everyone
- They have a lot of services available from one web interface
- They have a large library of Amazon Machine Images (AMI’s) which are predefined images with different setups, often making installation and configuration a breeze.
(We will be using an AMI later in this guide)
- It’s not the cheapest, nor the most expensive place to setup a VPS
- They have something called “AWS Free tier” which is a great offer to newcomers, letting people try out the different services for free!
So basically, if you are eligible for their free tier, you can get a free VPS server for a whole year. With this, you can for example setup a VPN server like we are about to right now!
As an alternative, you could for example use a Linode VPS to create this VPN server on.