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Private Internet Access (PIA) on QNap TS-253 Pro

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

Striped Skunk in Grand Teton National Park; photo by Ryan Murphy.

I recently encountered the task of encrypting all traffic from my QNap TS-253 Pro NAS using my current VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA). Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut way of getting PIA setup on the QNap TS-253 Pro. After some digging and trial and error I was able to get this working.

1) Download PIA’s newest root certificates. This contains the root certificate for RSA 4096-bit encryption...

2) Use WinSCP or FileZilla to SCP in to your QNap and copy the ca.rsa.4096.crt and ca.rsa.4096.pem files to /etc/config/openvpn/keys

3) Open up the QNap Management Portal and configure the VPN client

  • System Settings -> Applications -> VPN Client

  • New -> OpenVPN Connection

Name: PIA VPN Connection
Server: (or any other     valid PIA server)
Port: 1197
Import ca.rsa.4096.crt

4) Click “Connect”, it may or may not connect, but if it does connect you won’t see any traffic. Click “Disconnect”

  • SCP into your Qnap

  • Open /etc/config/openvpn/clients/client1

  • Replace everything up to the <ca> line

dev tun2001
proto udp
remote 1197
cipher AES-256-CBC
auth SHA256
writepid /var/run/
reneg-sec 0
cipher aes-256-cbc
auth sha256
remote-cert-tls server
remap-usr1 SIGTERM
connect-retry-max 1
auth-retry nointeract
resolv-retry infinite
auth-user-pass /etc/config/openvpn/clients/client1.auth
script-security 3
up /etc/openvpn/openvpn_up
down /etc/openvpn/openvpn_down
daemon openvpn-client
plugin /usr/lib/ 1
ca /etc/config/openvpn/keys/ca.rsa.4096.crt
crl-verify /etc/config/openvpn/keys/crl.rsa.4096.pem

6) Save the file and close the session

7) Go back to your VPN Client in your QNap and click “Connect”

  • You should now start to see traffic

  • You may see SHA256/AES256 configuration errors in the logs, you can safely ignore these unless you’re seeing issues with connecting.

8) Test your connection by SSHing into your QNap and simply pinging

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