Making an L2TP/IPsec VPN work in my Linux
I need to use a VPN to access some resources and I hope this VPN is using a VPN protocol like WireGuard but sadly this is an L2TP/IPsec VPN.
This VPN can be easily configured in Windows/macOS and mobile OSes but there is no guide on how to use it in Linux from VPN providers.
After some struggle, I finally make it works in my Arch Linux and I hope my effort can shed some light on other experiencing the same situation.
Firstly I checked the ArchWiki here to use the “networkmanager-l2tp” and “strongswan” packages and NetworkManager GUI to set up the VPN, but it failed to connect to the server.
journalctl -u NetworkManager.service in a Terminal showed a message “no acceptable traffic selectors found” and the solution here fixed this issue.
The VPN still failed to connect to the server and now the logs showed “no socket implementation registered, sending failed”. I searched for this message online but couldn’t find any solution or know the possible root cause.
So I tried a lot of random things (like disabling my firewall temporarily and enabling some L2TP/IPsec options) but none of them worked.
Luckily I checked the NetworkManager-l2tp’s Known Issues and I thought my VPN might use some legacy ciphers which are disabled in the strongSwan by default now. Because they use the L2TP/IPsec, you can’t expect them to use more secure protocols.
NetworkManager-l2tp versions 1.2.6 to 1.2.14 use the Libreswan or strongSwan default set of allowed algorithms for phase 1 (Main Mode) and phase 2 (Quick Mode) proposal negotiations. This means VPN servers that are using only legacy ciphers that strongSwan or Libreswan now consider broken will result in a failed connection, unless user specified algorithms to supplement or override the default set of algorithms are used for phase 1 and 2 in the IPsec config dialog box.
Then I used the ike-scan and guide here to find out my VPN’s needed “Phase1 Algorithms” and “Phase2 Algorithms” (
aes256-sha1,aes128-sha1,3des-sha1, which are what Windows 10 and iOS use).
The VPN could connect to the server after it, but I couldn’t use it to access any websites (
wget www.example.com) or ping any IPs (
ping 18.104.22.168) successfully. When it failed to connect these, the VPN would be disconnected automatically.
Tried to use some different MTUs but this was not the cause. Then I suspected there might be some route problems. Maybe I need to add some routes manually or need to enable something like
net.ipv4.ip_forward to use it?
After some trying, I noticed there is a bug in NetworkManager or packages packaged in Arch Linux.
Finally, using a command like
sudo ip a del 172.16.100.10 peer 22.214.171.124 dev ppp0 mentioned in this bug’s comment fixed my issues and now I can use this L2TP/IPsec VPN in my Linux!