How to configure OpenVPN for OpenELEC 5 & 7 and LibreELEC 7 & 8 on a Raspberry Pi

By May 5, 2017General, Kodi, Raspberry Pi

Note: This instruction covers Kodi installations with OpenELEC 5 and 7 as well as LibreELEC 7 final and LibreELEC 8 Alpha with the ‘VPN Manager for OpenVPN’. OpenELEC 6 has removed native support of OpenVPN and will be covered in a separate article.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that, although the technical process is as thoroughly documented as possible, you need to have at least some technical understanding. There’s always a chance for an overseen mistake and/or things have changed and the article is not updated yet.

Important note: Please make sure that you run an IPv4 Internet connection. Some Internet Service Providers already connect with the IPv6 protocol, which is not supported by CyberGhost. While the CyberGhost client takes care of deactivating IPv6 under Windows, users of native protocols have to do this manually. If IPv6 is not deactivated, data might leak outside the IPv4 VPN tunnel!

Step 1: Configure a OpenVPN connection

Visit your CyberGhost VPN online account.

Click on the menu entry ‘My Devices’ and then on button ‘Add a new Device’.

In the list of compatible operating systems please click on ‘Other’ to be able to setup all necessary options for the OpenVPN protocol. When done the screen extends and gives way to ‘Create new credentials’. Do it by clicking on the respective button.

Scroll up the page. As you see, the placeholder for a new device is now replaced by ‘Linux, Router, etc.’. Click on that button:

Type in a name for your new device and activate the wanted extra features, provided with each Premium subscription:

Scroll down and generate the login and configuration data for the OpenVPN protocol, which will be implemented into the needed configuration file:

  • Protocol: Choose the OpenVPN protocol you want to use:
    • OpenVPN (UDP): UDP allows higher speed than the TCP version, but can result in broken downloads in some cases. This is the default setting and recommended.
    • OpenVPN (TCP): TCP allows more stable connections than the UDP version, but is a bit slower. Choose this version, if you have recurrent connection issues such as sudden disconnections.
  • Country: The country chosen is of no importance, because the VPN Manager for Kodi will do this job later on. For now it’s just that the configuration file will be generated properly.
  • Server group: The group chosen is also of no importance for the VPN Manager for Kodi, but for the proper generation of the configuration file.

After setting up the connection details please note down the following data sets. You will need them to configure your device:

  • User name: A solely for protocol usage generated user name. This is NOT your regular CyberGhost account user name.
  • Password: A solely for protocol usage generated password. This is NOT your regular CyberGhost account password.

Once done, please download the configuration file. For that click on ‘Download Configuration’ and save the file in an empty folder on your desktop. It’s a ZIP file, which contains the following single configuration files:

  • client.crt: This is the user certification file 
  • client.key: This is your private key file
  • openvpn.ovpn: This is the OpenVPN configuration file, which can be deleted (the VPN Manager creates it’s own)
  • ca.crt: This is the certificate of the certification authority (not needed later on, can also be deleted)

Unzip the files ‘client.crt’ and ‘client.key’ from the zipped configuration file to a folder on your desktop.

Step 2: Get VPN Manager for OpenVPN

To make sure, the VPN Manager gets updated properly, download the complete repository instead just the single add-on and copy the unzipped file to the folder with the certificate and the key.

Now copy all files to your device. For that you need access to the file system on your OpenELEC/LibreELEC device. The easiest way is by using a FTP client like Filezilla:

  1. First check for the OpenELEC/LibreELEC network IP address, usually something like ‘192.168.178.XXX’ and note it. If you don’t know how to find it, have a look at ‘System > System info > Summary > IP address’ in your Kodi media center.
  2. Start Filezilla, click on ‘File > Server manager’ and configure a new connection to your OpenELEC/LibreELEC device:
    • Enter the ‘Server’ address (this is the network address of your OpenELEC/LibreELEC device), e. g. ‘192.168.178.25’
    • Choose ‘SFTP’ as the ‘Protocol’
    • Choose ‘Normal’ as ‘Connection type’
    • Enter the ‘User name’ of OpenELEC/LibreELEC, usually ‘root’
    • Enter ‘Password’ for OpenELEC (usually ‘openelec’), resp LibreELEC (usually ‘libreelec’)
    • Click on ‘Connect’
  3. Filezilla opens the file system of your Kodi installation right inside the folder ‘storage’. Create a new folder called ‘downloads’ or ‘VPN’ or whatever you want to call it.
  4. Open the newly created download folder and copy all files into it (namely the files ‘client.crt’ and ‘client.key’ and the zipped repository file). 

Step 3: Install VPN Manager for OpenVPN

Start your Kodi. Here we use LibreELEC with the Estuary skin to illustrate the general way, so you might have to adapt some steps, but in essence there are no big differences between the distributions and/or skins and when it comes to configure the VPN Manager it’s all over the same procedure.

In case the installation of apps from unknown sources is deactivated (which is the default setting), first open the system settings and move to ‘Add-ons’. There you activate the slider for the entry ‘Unknown sources’.

Now go back to the main screen, activate ‘Add-ons’ and click on ‘Install from zip file’:

Move to the folder, where you copied the three files from the last step to.

Mark the repository and click on ‘OK’.

Back in the Add-on Browser click on ‘Install from repository’, choose the ‘Zomboided Add-on Repository’, click on ‘Services’, then on ‘VPN Manager for OpenVPN’ and at last on ‘Install’.

Step 4: Configure VPN Manager for OpenVPN

After installation move to ‘My add-ons’ and open the entry ‘Services’:

Open ‘VPN Manager for OpenVPN’ and click on ‘Configure’.

You can use the Wizard or do it manually, like we do it here (although the steps are the same). In the tab ‘VPN Configuration’ choose ‘CyberGhost’ as the ‘VPN Provider’ and enter the user name and the password you noted in step 1. DO NOT use your regular CyberGhost credentials.

Click on ‘OK’ and select the connection profile, which fits your subscription: ‘Premium and Premium Plus Account’ or ‘Promo Account’:

The next step is about the two files you saved from the downloaded configuration file.

Click on ‘OK’ and then select the user certificate (‘client.crt’) and the user key (‘client.key’). Once done, the VPN Manager will connect to your first VPN.

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