By Dan Moren
April 16, 2019 12:10 PM PT
Restoring Mojave’s “missing” VPN server with VPN Enabler
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
I recently updated my Mac mini server to macOS Mojave after a long and troublesome ordeal.1 While the update has been mostly positive, one of the features I was sad to lose was the ability to configure my own VPN server. As you may recall, the VPN server was previously available as part of macOS Server, but was removed by Apple–along with several other features–in that software package’s Mojave-compatible update.
But, as it turns out, all is not lost. The underlying code for running the VPN server is still present in macOS–there’s just no UI for configuring it. I could have just dug into the command line and figured out how to restore it, but it turns out that hard work has already been done for me. Via Twitter, Andrew Flemming pointed me to Bernard Teo’s VPN Enabler for Mojave, a $15 software package that–as its name suggests–provides a simple front-end for configuring a VPN server on Mojave.
I purchased VPN Enabler, set it up, and I would argue that it’s even easier than Apple’s own tools: besides fitting everything in one compact window, VPN Enabler will even suggest appropriate IP addresses so you don’t have to worry about figuring out what portions of your LAN are available. Additionally, it will generate a mobile configuration profile that you can use to automatically set up VPN access on your iOS devices with just a couple taps.
It took me less than 10 minutes to get up and running with VPN Enabler (and a solid few minutes of that was testing to make sure it still works even when the software isn’t open on the mini, which naturally, it does), and it’s working seamlessly.2
So, if you’ve been holding off upgrading to Mojave because of the lack of a VPN server, I can report that VPN Enabler does the trick. And if you’ve ever wanted to set up a VPN for your home network but been worried it was too complicated, this app takes pretty much all of the guesswork out of it.
- I’ve been writing a post about this whole saga which those of you who follow me on Twitter or listen to The Rebound will have heard much of, but it’s very long. Keep an eye out. ↩
- I found that the macOS VPN server actually died every once in a while and needed to be restarted, but so far I haven’t had that problem with VPN Enabler. ↩
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @email@example.com or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]
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