Guide: Configure OpenVPN to autostart on systemd Linux

The perks of having an automatic VPN connection are many. But notably, it will keep your Internet traffic private. The newer systemd Linux forces us to configure our startup script for OpenVPN to make it work. This guide depends on this OpenVPN setup. Learn how to configure OpenVPN to autostart on systemd Linux! [Read: Guide: Configure OpenVPN autostart Linux connection]

Requirements for OpenVPN autostart on systemd Linux

Before you begin setting up OpenVPN to autostart on systemd Linux, you'll need a few prerequisites:

Configure OpenVPN for systemd Linux

Now, let's configure OpenVPN to autostart for systemd Linux. First open a terminal. We need to change the default behavior of OpenVPN. With the editor Nano, run the command:

sudo nano /etc/default/openvpn 

Remove the '#' infront of 'AUTOSTART="all"' so that OpenVpn allows to start the .conf files. After that press "Ctrl X" to exit Nano and answer "Y" to save the file.

Configure Openvpn To Autostart - Systemd Linux

Run the following commands to show a list of possible vpn.ovpn files:

cd /etc/openvpn

Next, you need to decide which vpn.ovpn file you are going to auto connect to. The one you pick needs to be renamed to client.conf, because that's the standard way of doing it in the OpenVPN world. Run this command:

sudo cp vpnserver.ovpn client.conf

Where it says "vpnserver.ovpn" replace it with an existing file, the name will differ from provider to provider. For example, if you're using a VPN which requires you to login, like NordVPN does. Use this fix:

sudo nano client.conf

Change the line that says:



auth-users-pass .secrets

Press "Ctrl X" and "Y" in order to save your changes.

sudo nano .secrets

Insert your username on the first line and password one the second then "Ctrl X" and "Y" to save the file.

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OpenVPN for systemd Linux: Enable the systemd service

Run the following command to enable the OpenVPN service to run while booting:

sudo systemctl enable [email protected]

Reload the daemons:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Start OpenVPN with the following command:

sudo service openvpn start


sudo systemctl start [email protected]

Stop OpenVPN with the following command:

sudo service openvpn stop


sudo systemctl stop [email protected]

Now it's time to test if it worked. Reboot the system with the command:


To check the external IP run the command:


If returns your VPN's external ip, you're done!

Configure OpenVPN to autostart using Linux: Final thoughts

That's how to set up OpenVPN autostart on systemd Linux. VPNs are available for multiple platforms and devices. IPVanish VPN is compatible with Fire TV devices. You can also install OpenVPN using Docker for a private VPN server. Considering a VPN? Learn if a VPN or DNS is right for you.

Which VPNs do you recommend, and which Linux ditros are you using them on?

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