Use the Docker CLI to pull this image
Docker image to run an IPsec VPN server, with IPsec/L2TP, Cisco IPsec and IKEv2.
Use this command to set up an IPsec VPN server on Docker:
docker run \ --name ipsec-vpn-server \ --restart=always \ -v ikev2-vpn-data:/etc/ipsec.d \ -v /lib/modules:/lib/modules:ro \ -p 500:500/udp \ -p 4500:4500/udp \ -d --privileged \ hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server
Your VPN login details will be randomly generated. See Retrieve VPN login details.
To learn more about how to use this image, read the sections below.
Advanced users can use this image on macOS with Docker for Mac. Before using IPsec/L2TP mode, you may need to restart the Docker container once with
docker restart ipsec-vpn-server. This image does not support Docker for Windows.
Get the trusted build from the Docker Hub registry:
docker pull hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server
Alternatively, you may download from Quay.io:
docker pull quay.io/hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server docker image tag quay.io/hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server
Advanced users can build from source code on GitHub.
Two pre-built images are available. The default Alpine-based image is only ~16MB.
|Compressed size||~ 16 MB||~ 61 MB|
|Base image||Alpine Linux 3.15||Debian Linux 11|
|Platforms||amd64, arm64, arm/v7||amd64, arm64, arm/v7|
Note: To use the Debian-based image, replace every
hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server:debian in this README.
Note: All the variables to this image are optional, which means you don't have to type in any variable, and you can have an IPsec VPN server out of the box! To do that, create an empty
env file using
touch vpn.env, and skip to the next section.
This Docker image uses the following variables, that can be declared in an
env file (see example):
VPN_IPSEC_PSK=your_ipsec_pre_shared_key VPN_USER=your_vpn_username VPN_PASSWORD=your_vpn_password
This will create a user account for VPN login, which can be used by your multiple devices*. The IPsec PSK (pre-shared key) is specified by the
VPN_IPSEC_PSK environment variable. The VPN username is defined in
VPN_USER, and VPN password is specified by
Additional VPN users are supported, and can be optionally declared in your
env file like this. Usernames and passwords must be separated by spaces, and usernames cannot contain duplicates. All VPN users will share the same IPsec PSK.
VPN_ADDL_USERS=additional_username_1 additional_username_2 VPN_ADDL_PASSWORDS=additional_password_1 additional_password_2
Note: In your
env file, DO NOT put
'' around values, or add space around
=. DO NOT use these special characters within values:
\ " '. A secure IPsec PSK should consist of at least 20 random characters.
Advanced users can optionally specify a DNS name for the IKEv2 server address. The DNS name must be a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Example:
You may specify a name for the first IKEv2 client. Use one word only, no special characters except
_. The default is
vpnclient if not specified.
By default, clients are set to use Google Public DNS when the VPN is active. You may specify custom DNS server(s) for all VPN modes. Example:
By default, no password is required when importing IKEv2 client configuration. You can choose to protect client config files using a random password.
Note: The variables above have no effect if IKEv2 is already set up in the Docker container.
Create a new Docker container from this image (replace
./vpn.env with your own
docker run \ --name ipsec-vpn-server \ --env-file ./vpn.env \ --restart=always \ -v ikev2-vpn-data:/etc/ipsec.d \ -v /lib/modules:/lib/modules:ro \ -p 500:500/udp \ -p 4500:4500/udp \ -d --privileged \ hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server
In this command, we use the
-v option of
docker run to create a new Docker volume named
ikev2-vpn-data, and mount it into
/etc/ipsec.d in the container. IKEv2 related data such as certificates and keys will persist in the volume, and later when you need to re-create the Docker container, just specify the same volume again.
It is recommended to enable IKEv2 when using this image. However, if you prefer not to enable IKEv2 and use only the IPsec/L2TP and IPsec/XAuth ("Cisco IPsec") modes to connect to the VPN, remove the first
-v option from the
docker run command above.
Note: Advanced users can also run without privileged mode.
If you did not specify an
env file in the
docker run command above,
VPN_USER will default to
vpnuser and both
VPN_PASSWORD will be randomly generated. To retrieve them, view the container logs:
docker logs ipsec-vpn-server
Search for these lines in the output:
Connect to your new VPN with these details: Server IP: your_vpn_server_ip IPsec PSK: your_ipsec_pre_shared_key Username: your_vpn_username Password: your_vpn_password
The output will also include details for IKEv2 mode, if enabled. To start using IKEv2, see Configure and use IKEv2 VPN.
(Optional) Backup the generated VPN login details (if any) to the current directory:
docker cp ipsec-vpn-server:/etc/ipsec.d/vpn-gen.env ./
Get your computer or device to use the VPN. Please refer to:
If you get an error when trying to connect, see Troubleshooting.
Enjoy your very own VPN!
Windows users: For IPsec/L2TP mode, a one-time registry change is required if the VPN server or client is behind NAT (e.g. home router).
The same VPN account can be used by your multiple devices. However, due to an IPsec/L2TP limitation, if you wish to connect multiple devices from behind the same NAT (e.g. home router), you must use IKEv2 or IPsec/XAuth mode.
If you wish to add, edit or remove VPN user accounts, first update your
env file, then you must remove and re-create the Docker container using instructions from the next section. Advanced users can bind mount the
To update the Docker image and container, first download the latest version:
docker pull hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server
If the Docker image is already up to date, you should see:
Status: Image is up to date for hwdsl2/ipsec-vpn-server:latest
Otherwise, it will download the latest version. To update your Docker container, first write down all your VPN login details. Then remove the Docker container with
docker rm -f ipsec-vpn-server. Finally, re-create it using instructions from How to use this image.
See Advanced usage.
There are two services running:
Libreswan (pluto) for the IPsec VPN, and
xl2tpd for L2TP support.
The default IPsec configuration supports:
The ports that are exposed for this container to work are: