It’s 2022, Quite a time for progressing technology and groundbreaking inventions but guess what? There’s one thing limiting your access to that all-fun stuff! That is firewalls! As you might have already experienced, firewalls are a great problem for the majority of the audience! Several enterprise-grade firewalls even block most of the useful sites (and some naughty stuff… jk)
Uhmmm So What’s the Solution?
Interesting question, but guess what? We heard Azure gives 100$ per year to students under their Student Program plans! Can we exploit this somehow? Obviously yea :)!!!
You make it sound so easy, but how can we as non-technical people do this?
Let me present to you, Azpn, an acronym from Azure Free VPN, This project is a set of jupyter python notebook files which automate the project of deploying a custom VPN server!
Project link – https://github.com/hari01584/Azpn-Azure-Free-VPN
But Why Use This Instead of Other Free VPNs?
Plenty of reasons actually!
- Free VPN are free just on surface, while they steal your data/information in background.
- Unlimited data, you won’t have to worry about bandwidth or any kind of limits!
- Enterprise grade firewall blocks common VPN (example fortinet), Azpn would work well with many kinds of such restrictions.
- The speed is really good! No free public VPN can provide you browsing speed any better than hosting your own on a very robust Azure infrastructure.
- Every command you run is written in jupyter notebook. If you, like my other friends are skeptical about this project, then you can ask your coding/geek friend to verify everything being run in jupyter cells!
Okay, Stop this, I got it, How to install it then?
Not much difficult, very easy! Run these commands and follow the steps to get it working 🙂
- Go to this azure link to sign-up for student plan, (Done easily if you have @.edu account for verification)
- Use the google collab notebook to execute commands for setting up your VPN, here’s the link for google collab notebook Please follow the order of execution of notebooks! Run 1st, then 2nd then 3rd index notebook for smooth Installation process!
- In your notebook, execute all the cells in order! It will ask for login on this specific cell, where a new window will open and you will need to input a code and login to azure cli (See step 1)
4. Once completed, execute all the cells in order until you get an option to select your region/location of VPN! Write the preferred location(Name) from the list you will get there!
5. Execute all the remaining cells, some cells might take more time than others, for example this one(image below) which takes some time to create and initialize virtual machine! Wait for them to complete before going to next step!
6. After executing all the cells, when you reach Success section, You will find a file named client.ovpn, this is the openvpn config file needed to connect with the VPN, download latest openvpn client and enjoy the fast, secure Internet!
BONUS TIP: You can generate more than one profile in the last bonus section, just enter the number of VPN profiles you want(ie you can distribute the profiles to your friends), and It will generate client1.ovpn, client2.ovpn ….. files that can be used to connect with VPN and share it to others!!
Okay, but what are the speed/ping when using it? Can’t you give us the benchmarks?? Yes I can, and would love to do!
Clean Up/Removing Azpn
What if you ever get bored, don’t wana use Azpn, or due to any goddamn reasons decided to remove this service? then What?? Fret not, I got chu covered! Using the next notebook in the series named azpn_remove_all.ipynb, You can remove every changes made by Azpn, and revert yourself to your before-installation state! But why the hell would you do that? :0
Ending Notes/Word of Caution
Since the VPN is hosted in Azure, it means you have full control of it, but since everything is routed through Azure servers then I would like to advise not to use this in illegal activities!
Kudos to these people for Inspiration!
Raghav Sharma – For telling me how he was hosting his personal VPN on google cloud using free 300$ credits, and then disclosing the trick of using 443 TCP to bypass common VPN detection methods in firewalls!
Rishab Gupta – For having a problem using SonyLiv to watch some webseries using University Internet, being forced to get a free VPN based on Indian servers to access the online content.