Running your own Wireguard VPN server and Travel Router

If you travel, or work from the road a lot, you probably have a good reason to set up a travel router and VPN. Travel routers let you create a private network for all of your personal devices. Paired with a VPN, you can obscure the nature of your activity from the local network, and evade IP address or geographical restrictions. 

The good use cases for “privacy” focused VPN services are vanishing. Improved encryption and protocols prevent many of the ways a casual attacker can spy on you with wifi. On top of that, many such providers have been caught selling user data to third parties and turning over information to authorities under subpoena, making them possibly worse than any attacker you’re sharing the hotel wifi with.

Running your own cloud VPN is easy and affordable. Once you know how to set it up, you can run it on most hosting providers anywhere in the world, or set it up at home so that you can virtually hop on your home network while you’re out and about. Actually installing Wireguard is the main part that’s different between operating systems. 

OpenBSD Server

It's probably no surprise that I run Wireguard on my OpenBSD Servers. OpenBSD has had full kernel support for Wireguard for years, so it's just a matter of installing the userland tools, and setting up the interface.

doas pkg_add wireguard-tools


inet NONE
!/usr/local/bin/wg setconf wg0 /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

Amazon Linux

Amazon Linux is just one easy example I found of a Red Hat-based system. These steps should work similarly on others like Rocky or Alma. 

sudo wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/wireguard.repo https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/jdoss/wireguard/repo/epel-7/jdoss-wireguard-epel-7.repo

sudo yum upgrade

sudo yum clean all

sudo yum install wireguard-tools wireguard-dkms iptables-services

Debian Linux

As the root of many other distributions like Ubuntu and RaspiOS, it made sense to also cover Debian since these instructions will also likely work on many distributions.

sudo apt update

sudo apt install wireguard


Generating Public and Private Keys

Most of the travel routers I've seen don't have a way to generate Wireguard keys on the device if you're manually configuring it. These can be generated on your VPN server and imported. We're changing the umask here to ensure the files are not world or group readable. We're going to be editing files as root, so just use sudo -i (linux) or doas -s  (OpenBSD)

sudo -i

umask 077 

Create the client keys:

wg genkey | tee client-private.key | wg pubkey > client-public.key

And then server keys:
cd /etc/wireguard
wg genkey | tee private.key | wg pubkey > public.key

Figure out your main network interface:

ip a

In Amazon AWS EC2, the interface was enX0 but it may very well be eth0 or something ridiculous like enp37s8lmaowtf depending on your configuration. You'll need this interface name for your iptables rules.

Using this example skeleton configuration file as a template, paste it into /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf and edit the interface name and fill in the appropriate public and private keys.  You can pick any port number you wish. There is no standardized port for Wireguard.


PrivateKey = [the contents of /etc/wireguard/private.key]
ListenPort = 57609
Address =
PostUp = iptables -t nat -I POSTROUTING -o [Interface] -j MASQUERADE
PostUp = ip6tables -t nat -I POSTROUTING -o [Interface] -j MASQUERADE
PreDown = iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o [Interface] -j MASQUERADE
PreDown = ip6tables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o [Interface] -j MASQUERADE

PublicKey = [the contents of client-public.key]
AllowedIPs =

Final Setup and starting the server


For OpenBSD, you won't need the Address or IPTables entries in wg0.conf above. You'll need to tell PF to NAT traffic for wg0, though. Again, you'll need the primary interface name, which you can find with ifconfig. Place the following lines into /etc/pf.conf AFTER the "pass" and before the block commands at the end of the file and restart pf.

pass in on wg0
pass in inet proto udp from any to any port 51820
pass out on egress inet from (wg0:network) nat-to ([Interface]:0)

doas pfctl -f /etc/pf.conf

Enable IP Forwarding by adding these lines to /etc/sysctl.conf:


To start Wireguard, run the following commands, or reboot:

doas sysctl net.inet.ip.forwarding=1

doas net.inet6.ip6.forwarding=1

doas sh /etc/netstart wg0


For Amazon Linux or Debian, it's also similar. Add these to /etc/sysctl.conf:



Reload sysctl:

sudo sysctl -p

Enable and start the Wireguard service with systemctl

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0.service

sudo systemctl start wg-quick@wg0.service

Travel Router Configuration

I've been using GL.iNet routers with Wireguard for about 3 years. The example screenshots are from my GL-SFT1200 "Opal" travel router. Manually configure the Wireguard client and set these values:


IP Address: (or your "peer" address from the Wireguard server config)

Private key: Contents of client-private.key file we generated earlier


Public Key: Contents of /etc/wireguard/public.key from the wireguard server

Endpont host: IP address and port of your wireguard server (e.g.

Allowed IPs: (or, all IP addresses are allowed through the Wireguard server)



Once you have configured the Wireguard client, you can connect to the VPN. Browse to an IP address checking site like whatismyip.com to verify you're coming from the VPN server's IP address.

Many travel routers have a mode switch on the side that allows you to easily change how the router works. I set up my Opal router so that the mode switch enables or disables Wireguard on the fly so I have more flexibility without worrying about having to log into the admin control panel and change settings. 

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