How to set up remote login to a VPN using OS X Server

This article is a bit technical. I have an office at home but I wanted to be able to log into the church computer to control it remotely, upload files, and also print to the printer there. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Get an internet plan with a static IP address for the machine you’d like to VPN into.
  2. You need to set up a version of OS X server at the site you’d like to VPN in to. Apple have killed of OS X server but here’s how to get server going on an old version of OS X. I set up an old macbook air running an old version of OS X to do this.
  3. Create a user on the OS X machine with a password and a Secret Key.
  4. You need to put a hole in your internet router pointing the the computer with OS X server on it. For OS X VPN you need to turn on Port Forwarding on ports 500, 1701 and 4500 and forward them all to the IP address of your OS X server machine.
  5. Set up the VPN login from your home computer as follows
  • Open System Preferences and Networks.
  • Create a new network. (Press the Plus button).
  • Select VPN and L2TP over IPSec
  • In ‘Server Address’ put the IP address of your modem’s Static IP address
  • In ‘Account Name’ put the OS X server user name
  • Click on ‘Authentication Settings’ and fill in the password and secret key.

When you connect, it should feel like you are on the other network. You can share screens, share files, print etc as if your computer was on the other network.

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