How to set up a PPTP VPN connection between Linux and Windows XP

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a VPN tunneling protocol based on a client and server model. Microsoft Windows comes with a built-in PPTP client software, and so PPTP VPN is popular among Windows-running computers. PPTP server and client software is also available on Linux platform.

Set Up a PPTP VPN Server on Linux

First, install a PPTP VPN daemon software called pptpd.

To install pptpd on Ubuntu or Debian:

$ sudo apt-get install pptpd

To install pptpd on CentOS, RHEL or Fedora:

$ sudo yum install ppp -y

$ wget http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/stable/packages/pptpd-1.3.4-2.el6.i686.rpm (for 32-bit system)
or
$ wget http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/stable/packages/pptpd-1.3.4-2.el6.x86_64.rpm (for 64-bit system)
 
$ sudo rpm -Uhv pptpd-1.3.4-2.el6.xxx.rpm

Next, go ahead and enable IP forwarding.

Now configure pptpd by adding "localip" (VPN server's IP address) and "remoteip" (VPN client's IP addresses) in /etc/pptpd.conf. In this example, the potential IP address of a VPN client is 10.0.0.2 or any IP address between 10.0.0.10 and 10.0.0.30.

$ sudo vi /etc/pptpd.conf
localip 10.0.0.1
remoteip 10.0.0.2,10.0.0.10-30

Configure local DNS servers in /etc/ppp/pptpd-options. For example, you could add public DNS servers provided by Google.

$ sudo vi /etc/ppp/pptpd-options
ms-dns  8.8.8.8
ms-dns  8.8.4.4

Configure user authentication using CHAP in /etc/ppp/chap-secrets. In this example, "alice" is a client's user name, "pptpd" is server, "dfs" is secret, and "*" represents the allowed IP addresses of clients. In this case, any IP address is allowed.

$ sudo vi /etc/ppp/chap-secrets
alice pptpd dfs *

Restart pptpd daemon:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/pptpd restart (Debian or Ubuntu)
or
$ sudo service pptpd restart (CentOS, RHEL or Fedora)

Optionally, if the VPN server is behind a proxy, you need to set up port forwarding on tcp port 1723, which is used for VPN control channel.

Set Up a PPTP VPN Client on Windows XP

Create a virtual private network connection.

Go to "Properties", choose "Security" tab, and mark "Advanced (custom settings)". In the custom settings, choose "Maximum strength encryption (disconnect if server declines)". If you do not perform this last step, you may get the following error in PPTP VPN server side (in /var/log/syslog).

GRE: Bad checksum from pppd" error on the PPTP VPN server side

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of Xmodulo.com. He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.

3 thoughts on “How to set up a PPTP VPN connection between Linux and Windows XP

  1. Thanks for sharing this such a great information! I really appreciate your work. I shared this awesome PPTP VPN information to my all facebook and twitter friends because this link helps for everyone.

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