I just thought I'd share. (The Cheapest VPN system ever All Courtesy of Amazon)

  • I was sitting on my couch one night and out of the blue, I came up with an idea.  How would OpenVPN function over Amazon's Free Tier?  Well,  I decided to set up an OpenVPN server to find out and found out I did.  After creating a micro-instance on CentOS, my distro of choice, I installed and configured an OpenVPN box, attached an elastic IP to it and tested it against my internet connection (50 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up).  Not only did it work like a champ, but it made me realize that I could get VPN service for a year for pennies.

    Amazon gives away one free EC2 microinstance for a year and all you pay for is the outgoing bandwidth.  I also came to realize that it comes with a static IP and you can have your own server (which you completely control).  It'll easily handle multiple VPN clients as well.  After doing the math for what happens after the year is up, putting the microinstance into a "reserved instance state", it works out to roughly ($10.91) per month after the first year.  It can easily handle multiple clients and handles Netflix / Streaming video ISP throttling simultaneously for multiple clients without a problem.

    I did a write up on my blog about it:  http://swimminginthought.com/2012/04/amazons-free-tier-personal-vpn-server./

    I'll be writing up a how-to on building the server up as well.

  • Interesting idea, thanks for sharing. That's as much or more money than most of the VPN service providers out there, but I suspect you have a much better solution there as far as performance and consistency. And doing it for cheaper than what most VPS providers would charge. From what I've seen working with a few people on VPN providers, they can be hit and miss on performance and reliability. And there is definitely a benefit to having access to the server.

  • You're very welcome.  I'm going to write a how-to guide (A step by step on how to do this ).  Just wondering if this would be a good sticky post?  What do you think?

  • I also wanted to point out that by simply sharing the cost of the reserved instance with 5-10 people, the costs per month come down considerably.

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    A wiki entry would be better than a sticky, but I'm sure others would be interested in the instructions either way.

  • For someone as technical as me.. I just never really was into the wiki thing.. however, I'll write the doc right now.. (article) and even do the wiki entry if I have access.  Although, I'd love for someone else to deal with the wiki page.. lol.. maybe I'll pay someone to do it.

    I'm transitioning to becoming a full-ish time blogger and writer and even put my first ebook on the Amazon Kindle store today. So I'll have to write up a doc that is a how-to that will allow people to set it up step-by-step if they don't want to buy my AMI product.  Although, the original posting will be technical enough for the linux admin to set-up, but the actual step-by-step manual will be worth something.. I'm sure..  After all, I managed to get the Promise R4/R6 array to work on bootcamp without apple's blessing.. and yes.. it does do 1+ GB per second as claimed.  That's a horse of a different color though.

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    That's fine, just write it up like you'd write it up here, it's not a big deal to translate it into wiki syntax.

    I'm not a die-hard wiki nut like some are, but it's extremely convenient for documentation like this. Only so many stickies a forum/board can have before it gets distracting. :-)

  • cool :) Thanks for the advice.

  • I can confirm that this works a treat!
    I got pkwong to set this up for me and he was really easy and fast to deal with…The amazon setup is a little less than transparent (and my command line stuff is not what it might be!) but I can recommend this as a way to go if you need to set something like this up!
    10/10 Percy:)

  • Works like a charm.
    In one of my several chats with Percy the topic of an EC2 microinstance came up and I decided to make the switch. Percy set it up for me and it has been solid, and the performance great thus far. I have had several dealings with Percy over the last couple of months and he has helped me immensley with everything from Pfsense tutoring, setting up my own pbx, at home and in the cloud, and helping me with setting up my vpn requirements with AWS EC2.
    I would highly recomend this as a viable option for your vpn requirements.
    Thanks Percy, your help has been greatly appreciated.

  • @pkwong:

    I also wanted to point out that by simply sharing the cost of the reserved instance with 5-10 people, the costs per month come down considerably.

    i would like to share this if u plan to use in production coz i anyways buy vpn from other providers for roughly $12/month that too their servers r always loaded with traffic

  • I did some calculations and I was a tad wrong with the cost of the VPN.  If you use a reserved instance (Heavy Utiilization), It works out to 6.43 per month + transfer, but I will be more than happy to write a document on how to selectively route traffic through the VPN to help mitigate traffic utilization through the VPN.  Even with heavy utilization (Netflix Hi-Def), last month, my bill came out to $4.00-ish considering I was on the free tier and didn't pay for the instance time.

    Just look for these postings on my blog @ swimminginthought.com

  • xbpin.. email me.. I'll set you up on mine.. send me your contact info… psk@psk.net

  • I've just created a step-by-step guide on my website on how to do this.  (It's for purchase on my website), but I also uploaded it to the Amazon book store lending library.  (Free).

    It should be live within 48 hours.

  • Wow, talk about fast turn around.  Amazon published the book right away.  It's available in the lending library!  Just search for Percy Kwong

  • Oops.. I had a blog mishap and had to rebuild the blog.. so here's the correct link: http://swimminginthought.com/amazons-free-tier-personal-vpn-server/

  • I'm making my guide free on Amazon.com for everybody from Tues to Wed. for download.  All I ask is you submit a review on Amazon.com or at least donate something.  I'm supporting my family after all.

    Get the word out: http://tinyurl.com/6skrsub

    Lose your current VPN provider and pay pennies on the dollar.

  • Could everybody that's downloaded the Guide please review it on Amazon please?  I've got over 300 downloads and not one review.  It would really be appreciated.

  • Having gotten Percy to set up my EC2 VPN server (which works great btw) my "dumb other self" managed to screw it up through a lack of understanding!
    No worries though….Percy came to the rescue and set the whole deal back up again for me in his usual friendly and helpful manner ;D
    Its a great way to run a VPN service and I cant stress how easy the whole deal has been...If you, like me, are still learning this stuff, get in touch with Percy and you wont go wrong!
    He's now offering a server setup and admin service as well which I have no doubt will be just as smooth and efficient as the VPN has been....Good Stuff there Percy!

    Check this out for his latest offering...http://swimminginthought.com/imagine-pay-server-admin/

  • I subscribe to this service and I can tell you that not only is it economical in the sense of tax purposes, but the service has been great. Percy really knows his stuff and I highly recommend signing up for this. My OpenVPN service is running superb. Thanks Percy.


  • It seems things have changed sufficiently in the ecosystem that I need to upgrade the guide.  I'll be upgrading it and putting it out as soon as possible.  Give me the weekend.  Then it's free for 3 days.  Cheers.  I'll announce when it's done.

  • Guide is updated.. I'm waiting for approval from Amazon, then I'll release it for free.  Unfortunately, Amazon only allows 5 days of free downloads every 90 days.. Any suggestions on how I should make it free?  5 consecutive days? 3 consecutive days + 2? or 2+2+1 for each month?

  • I was thinking of making a virtual multi-user instance (1 way) without any type of logging so there is no accountability as to who (which clients) are doing what. Type of guide..   is something people are interested in?

    I can also make an appliance people can launch with a quick howto on how-to generate keys.  The reason why I refuse to put a web-interface on it is security.

  • I'm locking this thread as the promotion (mostly deleted, from users with only 1 post) is getting out of hand, smells fishy and this isn't a place for random consultant advertisements.

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