QNAP VPN setup guide - How to install OpenVPN NAS server client

NAS systems are convenient since they let you access your files from anywhere in the world. However, anyone observing your network (your internet service provider, for instance, or the government) can see every single packet of data you send or receive. Some ISPs have even been known to limit the network speeds of users who download a lot, so if you’re storing large files, this could be a real problem.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to keep your network traffic secure: just install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your NAS. This will encrypt every byte of information you send or receive, ensuring that you’re the only person who knows which files were downloaded. Best of all, you can install a VPN client on a QNAP NAS server in just a few minutes.

Before we begin, here’s a quick summary of the best VPNs for your QNAP NAS server.

Best QNAP VPN:

  1. ExpressVPN: Our #1 choice for QNAP NAS servers. ExpressVPN boasts powerful security features, strong privacy protections, and consistently high speeds.
  2. CyberGhost: The best budget VPN for QNAP. High speeds, over 5,000 servers in 90 countries, and a wide range of security features.
  3. NordVPN:  Good all-rounder. NordVPN is a fast, secure service that keeps no logs whatsoever.
  4. IPVanish: With reliable, high-speed connections, a no-logs policy, and strong security features, IPVanish makes it easy to use NAS systems anonymously.
  5. PrivateVPN: A very fast service that takes your security seriously and doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  6. Surfshark: This VPN provides decent speeds and keeps your traffic private with advanced security features and a zero-logs policy.

How to install OpenVPN client on your QNAP NAS

While installing an OpenVPN client on a NAS server is slightly different from installing a PPTP or L2TP/IPsec client, the good news is that it can be done in just three steps. The process is the same regardless of which VPN provider you’re with. Just follow the instructions below to install OpenVPN on QNAP NAS systems:

Step 1: Tell QNAP you’d like to use a VPN

First, make sure you’re using QNAP 2 since certain VPNs have trouble staying connected with the older version. Once you’ve upgraded, log in to your QNAP device.

Next, check to see if you already have the QVPN Service installed. If so, great — click it to move to the VPN management page. If not, you can download this service from the App Center.

Click the VPN Server option in the list on the left-hand side to expand it. Next, select OpenVPN and make sure there’s a check in the box marked Enable OpenVPN Server.

Step 2: Import .OVPN files and configure the connection

Now, you’ll be asked to import an OVPN file. This stores all of the information the server needs to create an OpenVPN connection to one of your VPN provider’s servers. We recommend using ExpressVPN, but below, you’ll find the OVPN file locations for all six of the best VPNs for NAS servers. If you’re using a different provider, you can often find these files linked to in the Linux installation guide.

Download the OVPN files and decide which server you’d like your NAS to use. Generally, it’s a good idea to choose a server that’s fairly close to your location as this keeps connection latency to a minimum. When you’ve made a decision, import the corresponding OVPN file.

A new window will open asking for additional information. Give your connection a name and enter your VPN login credentials in the Username and Password boxes. Make sure the subnet mask is set to “255.255.255.0”.

Enable the Use default gateway on remote network and Reconnect when the VPN connection is lost options. Click the Apply button at the bottom of the page. You should now see your newly-created connection listed on the QVPN main screen. Finally, click Connect.

Step 3: Test the VPN connection

Now all that remains is to make sure everything is working as intended. This is a little more complicated than testing a VPN on a PC or mobile device, but it’s still fairly straightforward:

  1. First, visit IPmagnet and copy the magnet link address. Make sure to keep this page open!
  2. Go back to QNAP and open up the Download Station.
  3. At the top of the page, you’ll see a plus icon. Click this and select Input URL.
  4. Paste in the magnet address from earlier. Click Next, then Apply.
  5. Go back to the IPmagnet page. You’ll notice a second IP address has appeared. If these two addresses are different, you’ve successfully installed a VPN on your NAS server.

Why isn’t my NAS VPN working properly?

Due to the general complexity of networking software and the many different NAS models that QNAP offers, it’s often difficult to identify the cause of a given problem. However, there are a few things you can do that will take care of the most common issues.

  1. The most common mistake people make is entering their VPN username or password incorrectly. As a result, this is the first thing you should check.
  2. Upgrade to the latest firmware for your device, and while you’re at it, check for QVPN updates too, since some VPNs won’t work with the original version.
  3. Try importing the OVPN file for a few different servers in turn. This should give you an idea as to whether the problem is with you or your VPN provider.
  4. If all else fails, contact your VPN’s customer support team. They deal with similar problems every day and should be able to give you more in-depth advice.