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# Thom's Documentation
This is the source repository of Thom's personal documentation which can be
found at [](
## Contributing
If you would like to contribute to this documentation, open an issue if you
think there's something that needs to be added, changed, or removed.

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# Thom's Documentation
This site hosts various personal documentation that I've written for mostly
personal use.
On the left is a list of small documentation snippets.

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# Thom's WireGuard Documentation
This is a basic guide to setting up the WireGuard VPN with a main server and a
couple client nodes. For the majority of this guide, I will assume the working
environment to be Linux.
While this should be used only for personal reference, I've seen this solution
in production on both my [personal website]( and
!!! note
If you're needing to implement a VPN solution for your infrastructure,
please consult some extra resources for best practices in your situation. I
can't guarantee that copy/pasting this guide will work for your situation.
## Introduction
### What is WireGuard?
[WireGuard][wg-home] defines itself as "an extremely simple yet fast and modern
VPN that utilizes state-of-the-art cryptography." Before continuing, let's
break down this statement.
A *Virtual Private Network*, or VPN, is technology that allows a multitude of
computers/servers from all across the world to be tied into a single *private network*
as if they were sitting in the same room. This provides a multitude of both
security advantages and pure networking conveniences for system administrators.
WireGuard also claims to use "state-of-the-art cryptography" for security. This
means that data transmitted over a WireGuard network is safe from the prying
eyes of third parties. Explaining the exact specification of what WireGuard
uses for its cryptography is beyond the scope of this document. For those who
remain curious however, the [technical whitepaper][wg-doc] states that it uses
a collection of:
- Curve25519 for ECDH *(Elliptical Curve Diffie-Hellman)*
- HKDF for key expansion of ECDH results
- RFC7539's construction of ChaCha20 and Poly1305 for encryption
- BLAKE2s for hashing
The above cryptography can also seen being referenced in [The Noise
### Why Should You Use WireGuard?
WireGuard allows multiple computers/servers to be tied together even when they're not
in the same location. This technology has been increasingly used by the
typical consumer, but its original role of large scale network management
hasn't been forgotten.
By linking servers from around the world over a secure connection, we can
easily pass information between them without having to worry about security of
the applications or services actually sending/receiving this information.
The classic example is being able to route or load balance incoming (and
encrypted) web traffic to a collection of back-end servers. This is simple if
the computers are in the same building and the thought of someone sniffing
traffic between the load balancer and the back-end isn't important. When the
servers are in different locations however, the communication has to be secured
somehow. Thus enters WireGuard.
## Description of Equipment & List of Materials
For the purposes of this guide, you will need:
- A server with a static IP address
- Some client computers to be connected
- Some basic knowledge of the Linux command line
## Installation
!!! note
There are two parts to WireGuard: the core code that allows transmission of
network information over a WireGuard interface, and the user-land tools
that allow you to work with WireGuard. As of the Linux 5.6 kernel, the core
WireGuard code is included. The following information is strictly for
the user-land tools.
The WireGuard tools need to be installed on **both** the server and the
clients. This varies depending on the specific Linux distribution, but for my
case of AlpineLinux on the server and ArchLinux on the clients, and the tools
are included in their respective package repositories.
**Install on AlpineLinux:**
apk add -U wireguard-tools
**Install on ArchLinux**:
sudo pacman -S wireguard-tools
Debian based Linux distributions would use:
sudo apt install wireguard
I can't suggest using Microsoft Windows at all, but I would especially not
recommend using it as the server. If you're going to have a Windows client
connect to your WireGuard network, you will need to fetch the installer from
Download the `.exe` file and run it. The installer will walk you through the
## Setup
### Simplified Overview
This is the most important step of this guide. WireGuard needs to be configured
before it can do anything useful.
Without going into unnecessary depth, WireGuard creates 'virtual' network
devices on your computer. Traffic sent over this device is sent to the server,
then it's forwarded from there to the correct destination.
As an example, if **Client 2** wanted to send some kind of network request to
**Client 1**, it would send traffic over its WireGuard interface to the
server. The server would then look at the packet of information and decide what
to do with it. If everything checks out (the user is properly authenticated),
the server will bounce the message to **Client 1** (the original destination).
![WireGuard Simplified Request Path](wgflow.png)
All of this routing logic is handled behind the scenes, so it's not crucial to
know how it does all of this. What *is* important is that each of the clients
have to properly identify themselves to the server for the server to route the
### The Configuration
To set up the above configuration, three key-pairs and configuration files have
to be created.
#### Generating Keys
Asymmetric key pairs will have to be generated for each of the devices on the
WireGuard network.
For those unaware, asymmetric key pairs are made of two pieces of information:
one secret, and one public. The secret key goes on the device it belongs to,
and the public part will go on the server in our case.
To generate the keys, type the following into a terminal:
wg genkey | tee privatekey | wg pubkey > publickey
The above command does two things:
1. It uses the `wg genkey` tool to generate a private key and save it to a file
named `privatekey`. This is the "secret" part, so don't share it with
2. It then generates a public key using this same private key and saves it to a
file name `publickey`. This part doesn't need to be kept secret.
We can then print out the keys that `wg` generated:
cat {privatekey,publickey}
Which prints out two lines:
The first one is the secret and the second is the public key. Make note of
these because they're needed in the next part.
!!! note
Remember to generate keys for all the devices you plan to use.
Keep track of what keys go to which device. You might want to save them in
separate files for each device.
#### Writing Configuration Files
Once keys are generated for each of the devices, we need to now tell each of
the devices how to connect to each other.
!!! note
`wg0.conf` can be replaced in the following examples depending on what you
want the network to be named. Just remember to leave `.conf` as the file
We should start with the clients. This process will also need to be repeated
for each client you choose to connect.
On Linux machines, edit `/etc/wireguard/wg0.conf`. You will need
root/administrator privileges to access this directory.
In my case, I would run:
sudo vim /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
Open the config file, and the following needs to then be inserted into the
Address =
PrivateKey = <client-private-key>
PublicKey = <servers-public-key>
EndPoint = <servers-public-ip>:4534
AllowedIPs =
PersistentKeepalive = 25
In the above configuration, a few things will have to be replaced:
- The `Address` under `[Interface]` is what you want the IP of the client to
be. This has to be different on ever device. I suggest starting with
`` for the first client and incrementing from there (``,
``, etc.).
- **`<client-private-key>`** needs to be replaced with the **private key** you
generated for the device earlier.
- **`<servers-public-key>`** needs to be replaced with the **public key** you
generated for the *server* earlier.
- **`<servers-public-ip>`** needs to be replaced with the public IPv4 address
for the server that is going to be facilities this VPN. An example would be ``.
!!! note
If you're more advanced with networking, you can substitute the
`` subnet with another local subnet of your choice. Be sure to
know what this means before you do it.
Once the above process has been repeated for the other client, the server needs
to be configured.
Open the same file on the server (`/etc/wireguard/wg0.conf`) and add the
following into it:
Address =
ListenPort = 4534
PrivateKey = <server-private-key>
PostUp = iptables -A FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE;iptables -A FORWARD -o %i -j ACCEPT
PostDown = iptables -D FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE;iptables -D FORWARD -o %i -j ACCEPT
# Client 1
PublicKey = <client1-public-key>
AllowedIPs =
# Client 2
PublicKey = <client2-public-key>
AllowedIPs =
As with the configurations on the clients, some values need to be substituted:
- **`<server-private-key>`**: the *private* key generated for the server
- **`<client1-public-key>`**: the *public* key generated for client 1
- **`<client2-public-key>`**: the *public* key generated for client 2
### Starting the Network
The essential configuration is now setup, but nothing is communicating with
each other yet. WireGuard interfaces still have to be created on each of the
devices. This can be simplified using the `wg-quick` utility.
To turn on WireGuard, run the following command on each of the devices:
sudo wg-quick up wg0
Now any information that is sent to the addresses of the other devices
(``, ``, or ``), will travel over the secure WireGuard
## FAQ
## Troubleshooting/ Getting Support
WireGuard is fairly robust and hard to break, but there are a few steps that
usually catch people up.
Below are a couple common issues, but if all else fails you can ask questions
in the `#wireguard` channel on the Freenode IRC server.
### Check Your Keys
By far the most common mistake is getting the WireGuard keys wrong. If you're
struggling to get WireGuard to work, remake your key pairs.
Be extra careful to note which key goes to which device and that its pasted
into the correct spots in the configuration files.
### Check The Server's Public IP
If the WireGuard clients aren't connecting, it could be that the wrong server
IP was used as the `EndPoint` in the client configurations.
## Contributing
If you would like to contribute to this guide, the source is hosted over on the
[NixNet Git][nn-git] server. Open an issue if you think there's
something that needs to be added, changed, or removed.

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site_name: "Thom's Documentation"
- Home:
#- Assignment Instructions:
- WireGuard:
#- License:
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name: material
- navigation.sections
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primary: red
scheme: default
icon: material/lightbulb-outline
name: Switch to dark mode
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copyright: Copyright &copy; 2021 Thom Dickson
repo_name: boots/docs