Email Notification - OpenVPN Client Connect (Common Name)

  • Hi all,

    Wondering if anyone could assist me, I'm trying to set up email notifications for connections to my OpenVPN server but include the name of the user (Common Name variable).

    So far, I have manged to get a notification that a connection was made, but I'm unsure of how to get this to include the name.

    So far I have added line client-connect /root/ to the OpenVPN Custom Options area. is as below:

    #!/usr/local/bin/php -q
            notify_all_remote("VPN Connected");

    I have seen several methods using bash, though I haven't tested this and wondered if it was possible to just expand on the above script.


  • OK so I see two things - it seems that OpenVPN "generates" these variables at the time of connection, and in PHP there's getenv.

    Could I then change the script to something like this:

    #!/usr/local/bin/php -q
            $name = getenv('common_name');
            notify_all_remote strval($name);

  • I'm using :


    #!/usr/local/bin/php -q
    	$local_connect_value = " user_name: " . getenv('common_name') . " vpn_client_ip: " . getenv('ifconfig_pool_remote_ip') . " on " . date('F j, Y, g:i a');
    	if ( strrchr (__FILE__ , 'disconnect') ) {
    	$local_connect_value .= ", during : " . getenv('time_duration') . " seconds, received : " . getenv('bytes_received') . " bytes, send : " . getenv('bytes_sent') ." bytes. DISCONNRECTED.";
 and are identical.

  • Hi Gertjan,

    That's awesome, thank you. I assume I could feasibly just transplant this in to my notify/disconnect files without issue? I'm sure, I just ask as I work remotely and don't want to break my connection (again).

  • @Armstrong It's probably me, but I just tried this and OpenVPN stopped and won't start. Like I said, probably me, but maybe not. I put the .sh lines in the Server Custom Options.

  • @provels Do you have access to the VPN config still? As in you're local to it, rather than doing remote working.

    Out of interest, if you modify the notify script to be what mine originally was / is:

    #!/usr/local/bin/php -q
            notify_all_remote("VPN Connected");

    Just to narrow down whether it's your box or if there's something in the script.

    You should also be able to see on your front page dashboard, an error notification. This should pop up if there were any syntax errors or something similar.

  • @Armstrong I copied @Gertjan 's script to /root/
    and /root/ Added his lines to server custom options. OVPN service stopped on Save and won't start. I'm at home with my FW.

    No other errors on status page, like at top. No big deal for me, I just didn't want you to break your connection.

  • @provels Thanks for taking the hit to test!

    I'll go up to the site physically later then and give it a try when there's no risk of me losing my connection.

    Out of interest did you try just the basic notify script I had?

  • @Armstrong Not yet, will advise.

  • @provels said in Email Notification - OpenVPN Client Connect (Common Name):

    and /root/

    Because these are script files, or plain text files that contain commands, the script files should be marked as "executable".

    chmod +x /root/
    chmod +x /root/

    check :

    [2.4.5-RC][]/root: ls -al
    -rwxr-xr-x  2 root  wheel  504 Jun 26  2019
    [2.4.5-RC][]/root: ls -al
    -rwxr-xr-x  2 root  wheel  504 Jun 26  2019

    Also, be sure for this (file encoding) :

    [2.4.5-RC][]/root: file PHP script, ASCII text executable

    same thing for "".

  • @Gertjan said in Email Notification - OpenVPN Client Connect (Common Name):

    chmod +x /root/
    chmod +x /root/

    That was it. Student Driver here. Sorry. Works a treat! Thanks to both of you. Glad I read this post!

  • @Gertjan Ah yeah, I should've mentioned that it needs to be executable too.

    I decided to go full on and just implement over the wire. Scripts work fine.

    The only thing I would ask, is that the "disconnect" part doesn't seem to send the disconnect notification until I reconnect? I disconnect, no email, then when I re-connect after a short period I receive two notifications:

    13:08:17 user_name: username vpn_client_ip: x.x.x.x on 18 March during : 120 seconds DISCONNECTED
    13:08:17 user_name: username vpn_client_ip x.x.x.x 18 March

    It doesn't really bother me, I only wanted to know the users, but just out of curiosity.

    Thank you for your help!

  • @Armstrong My disco msg lagged a little, but did come about a minute after. Your messages may have overlapped.

    EDIT - 2 minutes

  • @provels Yup just tested that (with a little patience), it does indeed send through after about a minute. Must just take a bit for it to fully "close" the connection.

  • Also before I go, I made one change (connecting IP) so adding it to this post if anyone wants that too and would like to just copy and paste.

    #!/usr/local/bin/php -q
    	$local_connect_value = " user_name: " . getenv('common_name') . " vpn_client_ip: " . getenv('ifconfig_pool_remote_ip') . " from: " . getenv('trusted_ip') . " on " . date('F j, Y, g:i a');
    	if ( strrchr (__FILE__ , 'disconnect') ) {
    	$local_connect_value .= ", duration : " . getenv('time_duration') . " seconds, received : " . getenv('bytes_received') . " bytes, send : " . getenv('bytes_sent') ." bytes. DISCONNECTED.";

    Thanks for the input everyone!

  • @Armstrong Great to have if someone happens to snag your creds. Thanks.

  • Hi, I followed the comments and set up the @Armstrong script but I'm not getting any notification.
    I created the files, gave the permissions, added the two lines to openvpn and restarted the service.

  • @mikekoke Dumb question, do you have notifications set up in Pfsense to send you emails?

  • Yes of course, I also took the test and received the notification.

  • @mikekoke Gotta ask.

    You can connect to the VPN and disconnect as well, no errors with syntax or anything? It should work right away (latest OpenVPN version) so I can only suggest some other issue in your configuration.

    I would try my original script and config (client-connect /root/ and see if that works for you firstly. If it doesn't then there's more amiss than I could tell you.

  • I can connect to the VPN and everything works correctly, the script I am using is the first one, that of your post.

  • @mikekoke Can you run that notify script from the terminal verbose and see what happens?

    It sounds like there's a problem with notifications, if everything's running but you're not getting an email. As I said it works straight away if you have email notifications on and everything on the latest version.

  • When I try to run it it exits written: Exception: Zend Extension ./ does not exist

    edit: Problem solved. Thanks for your help.

  • @mikekoke What was the issue?

  • I had to create the files from the terminal.

  • @Armstrong said in Email Notification - OpenVPN Client Connect (Common Name):

    i felt free to make some cahnges for a readable output.
    the output from received via e-mail looks now like this.


    as far as i'm concerned with this output i don't need the cuz as the more users there are
    the more e-mails you'll receive.

    the source for is here.

    #!/usr/local/bin/php -q
    	$local_connect_value = " \n user_name: " . getenv('common_name') . " \n vpn_client_ip: " . getenv('ifconfig_pool_remote_ip') ." connected from " . getenv('trusted_ip') . " on " . date('F j, Y, g:i a');
    	if ( strrchr (__FILE__ , 'disconnect') ) {
    	$local_connect_value .= ", \n duration : " . round(((getenv('time_duration'))/3600),2) . "  hours, or " . round(((getenv('time_duration'))/60),2) . "  minutes, or " . getenv('time_duration') . "  seconds,\n upload from vpn-client (received) : " . round(((getenv('bytes_received'))/1048576),2) . " MB, \n download to vpn-client (send) : " . round(((getenv('bytes_sent'))/1048576),2) ." MB. \n DISCONNECTED.";

    to reduce the mass on mails i was thinkin to use with (client specific overrides)

    but it was not workin and ended with someting like this:
    Options error: option 'client-disconnect' cannot be used in this context

    The main reason i wanted to do this, i put my clients in categries like

    • management (trusted)
    • sysops (trusted)
    • employees (trusted ;)
    • contractors (notification needed)

    so that notification will only be sent if (untrusted or notification needed) as i mentioned earlier reduce tons of mails.
    but i'll open a topic on this one and edit this post later on.

    any hints are welcome

  • @noplan That definitely looks a lot better format-wise, thanks for the update. PHP isn't my strongest area.

    I only have a small number of users so it's OK with me to have the number of emails I do, though for a larger organization it makes sense. I'm afraid I couldn't comment on the use of client overrides, but someone else may be able to provide advice.

  • i'm so happy that you came up with a version i can play on.
    and look its workin. pretty fine.

    if someone digs into it a cool thing would be a email
    and a weekly report send by cron
    vpn-client | date | time-in | time-out | client-vpn-ip | client foreign ip | duration connection (hours) | received (MB) | send (MB) |

    mybe a nice project.
    so a weekly report of VPN-clients "timesheets" could be generated

    but maybe all things niceToHave on a firewall ;)

    writtin this post
    i am thinking to write the informations vom into a txt file and send it via cron to
    another machine doing the formating and generating a sweet pdf. (this could be fun i think )


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