Home Network VPN File Access

Anyone have a suggestion for setting up a VPN to share files from home? Just one person sharing (and working) on the file. I have a friend who does home design. He has one employee who is now working from home. They send files back and forth but he'd like to allow him to access the files directly.

Free dropbox account?

There is freeware called filezilla which is ftp server and client. It is super easy to setup. You put the server on one machine and client on a different machine and tell it which files or folders you want to share. You can setup password to restrict access.

Yeah dropbox should work for this also. Also google drive. There are bunch of things that offer free space in the gigs range.

Since you're asking about VPNs, I'm assuming security is a concern. If so, I would not use Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. If they decide to use Filezilla or some other FTP client, tell them to make sure they are using the SFTP (Secure FTP) option so their data isn't being sent in the clear.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Anyone have a suggestion for setting up a VPN to share files from home? Just one person sharing (and working) on the file. I have a friend who does home design. He has one employee who is now working from home. They send files back and forth but he'd like to allow him to access the files directly.

If you have a Linux server available, OpenVPN is probably the easiest to set up. Keep in mind, however, that VPN servers can often require a pretty good amount of networking knowledge, because you're mucking around with fake IPs and virtual networks, so at least part of your network will need to understand what's going on. If, say, you assign 192.168.10.50 to the VPN client, then any computer that client wants to talk to will need a static route pointing at the VPN host. If you run the VPN service on the firewall, then you don't have to muck with that, but a firewall with several interfaces is much more complex to configure.

If you're willing to forego a little friendliness, the new Wireguard VPN is much better than OpenVPN. It's a Linux kernel service, and will roll out as the production version in kernel 5.6. Most Linux distros support it already, however, by backporting the kernel module to earlier kernels through the DKMS system. It's harder to configure than OpenVPN, but it's much better. It strives for internal simplicity, meaning that there's very little to get wrong. OpenVPN has a billion options for encryption and so on, where Wireguard doesn't; it uses best-of-breed choices for all the relevant protocols, and doesn't expose any configuration knobs for that stuff at all. About all you can configure on WG is the IP addresses that will be assigned. (all WG addresses are static; it doesn't use DHCP.) It's easy to muck up your encryption on OpenVPN, but not on Wireguard.

WG is also much faster; a WG interface will come up almost instantly, so fast that it's hard to differentiate it from the transport network underneath. If the transport is working, Wireguard will be working. Unplug the cable and WG instantly stops. Plug the cable back in, and it will be running normally within 10 or 20 milliseconds. It's extremely robust, and has clients for most major OSes.

But it's harder to administer, because it doesn't have the same kind of infrastructure around it. OpenVPN is a full-suite package, where WG is a minimalist offering, requiring more work on your part to set up. Once it's working, however, it's goddamn awesome.

Thanks, Malor. He asked if I could set it up for him and I've been trying to get him to just have his employee bring his computer back in and then remote to it with LogMeIn or the Chrome extension. Seems a lot easier and is less of an issue with bad connections. I honestly don't want to mess around with virtual networks and such unless there is some software that just does it all for you. I'm going to try the remote desktop option again.