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Wireguard is an simple yet fast and modern VPN that utilizes state-of-the-art cryptography. It aims to be faster, simpler, leaner, and more useful than IPsec, while avoiding the massive headache. It intends to be considerably more performant than OpenVPN. WireGuard is a general purpose VPN for running on embedded interfaces and super computers alike. Initially released for the Linux kernel, it's now cross-platform (Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS, Android) and widely deployable. Although it's under heavy development, it already might be the most secure, easiest to use, and simplest VPN solution in the industry.


  • Simple and easy to use: WireGuard aims to be as easy to configure and deploy as SSH. A VPN connection is made by exchanging public keys – exactly like exchanging SSH keys – and all the rest is transparently handled by WireGuard. It's even capable of roaming between IP addresses, like Mosh. There is no need to manage connections, worry about state, manage daemons, or worry about what's under the hood. WireGuard presents a basic yet powerful interface.

  • Cryptographically Sound: WireGuard uses state-of-the-art cryptography, such as the Noise protocol framework, Curve25519, ChaCha20, Poly1305, BLAKE2, SipHash24, HKDF, and secure trusted constructions. It makes conservative and reasonable choices and has been reviewed by cryptographers.

  • Minimal Attack Surface: WireGuard is designed with ease-of-implementation and simplicity in mind. It's meant to be implemented in very few lines of code, and auditable for security vulnerabilities. Compared to behemoths like *Swan/IPsec or OpenVPN/OpenSSL, in which auditing the gigantic codebases is an overwhelming task even for large teams of security experts, WireGuard is meant to be comprehensively reviewable by single individuals.

  • High Performance: A combination of extremely high-speed cryptographic primitives and the fact that WireGuard lives inside the Linux kernel means that secure networking can be very high-speed. It is suitable for both small embedded devices like smartphones and fully loaded backbone routers.

  • Well Defined & Thoroughly Considered: WireGuard is the result of a lengthy and thoroughly considered academic process, resulting in the technical whitepaper, an academic research paper which clearly defines the protocol and the intense considerations that went into each decision.

Plus it's created by the same guy as pass, which uses Gentoo, I like this guy.


WireGuard is available from the default repositories. To install it, run the following commands:

sudo apt install wireguard

Configuring Wireguard

The wg and wg-quick command-line tools allow you to configure and manage the WireGuard interfaces.

Each device in the WireGuard VPN network needs to have a private and public key. Run the following command to generate the key pair:

wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/privatekey | wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/publickey

The files will be generated in the /etc/wireguard directory.

Wireguard also supports a pre-shared key, which adds an additional layer of symmetric-key cryptography. This key is optional and must be unique for each peer pair.

The next step is to configure the tunnel device that will route the VPN traffic.

The device can be set up either from the command line using the ip and wg commands, or by creating the configuration file with a text editor.

Create a new file named wg0.conf and add the following contents:

sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
Address =
SaveConfig = true
ListenPort = 51820
PostUp = iptables -A FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE
PostDown = iptables -D FORWARD -i %i -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE

The interface can be named anything, however it is recommended to use something like wg0 or wgvpn0. The settings in the interface section have the following meaning:

  • Address: A comma-separated list of v4 or v6 IP addresses for the wg0 interface. Use IPs from a range that is reserved for private networks (, or
  • ListenPort - The listening port.
  • PrivateKey - A private key generated by the wg genkey command. (To see the contents of the file type: sudo cat /etc/wireguard/privatekey)
  • SaveConfig - When set to true, the current state of the interface is saved to the configuration file when shutdown.
  • PostUp - Command or script that is executed before bringing the interface up. In this example, we’re using iptables to enable masquerading. This allows traffic to leave the server, giving the VPN clients access to the Internet.

Make sure to replace ens3 after -A POSTROUTING to match the name of your public network interface. You can easily find the interface with:

ip -o -4 route show to default | awk '{print $5}'
  • PostDown - command or script which is executed before bringing the interface down. The iptables rules will be removed once the interface is down.

The wg0.conf and privatekey files should not be readable to normal users. Use chmod to set the permissions to 600:

sudo chmod 600 /etc/wireguard/{privatekey,wg0.conf}

Once done, bring the wg0 interface up using the attributes specified in the configuration file:

sudo wg-quick up wg0

The command will produce an output similar to the following:

[#] ip link add wg0 type wireguard
[#] wg setconf wg0 /dev/fd/63
[#] ip -4 address add dev wg0
[#] ip link set mtu 1420 up dev wg0
[#] iptables -A FORWARD -i wg0 -j ACCEPT; iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ens3 -j MASQUERADE

To check the interface state and configuration, enter:

sudo wg show wg0

interface: wg0
  public key: r3imyh3MCYggaZACmkx+CxlD6uAmICI8pe/PGq8+qCg=
  private key: (hidden)

You can also run ip a show wg0 to verify the interface state:

ip a show wg0

4: wg0: <POINTOPOINT,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1420 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN group default qlen 1000
    inet scope global wg0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

WireGuard can also be managed with Systemd.

To bring the WireGuard interface at boot time, run the following command:

sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0

Server Networking and Firewall Configuration

IP forwarding must be enabled for NAT to work. Open the /etc/sysctl.conf file and add or uncomment the following line:

sudo vi /etc/sysctl.conf

Save the file and apply the change:

sudo sysctl -p

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

If you are using UFW to manage your firewall you need to open UDP traffic on port 51820:

sudo ufw allow 51820/udp

Client setup

Also install wireguard in your clients. The process for setting up a client is pretty much the same as you did for the server.

If the client is on Android, the official app is not on F-droid, but you can get it through the Aurora store

First generate the public and private keys:

wg genkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/privatekey | wg pubkey | sudo tee /etc/wireguard/publickey

Create the file wg0.conf and add the following contents:

sudo vi /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
Address =

Endpoint = SERVER_IP_ADDRESS:51820
AllowedIPs =

The settings in the interface section have the same meaning as when setting up the server:

  • Address: A comma-separated list of v4 or v6 IP addresses for the wg0 interface.
  • PrivateKey: To see the contents of the file on the client machine run: sudo cat /etc/wireguard/privatekey

The peer section contains the following fields:

  • PublicKey: A public key of the peer you want to connect to. (The contents of the server’s /etc/wireguard/publickey file).
  • Endpoint: An IP or hostname of the peer you want to connect to followed by a colon, and then a port number on which the remote peer listens to.
  • AllowedIPs: A comma-separated list of v4 or v6 IP addresses from which incoming traffic for the peer is allowed and to which outgoing traffic for this peer is directed. We’re using because we are routing the traffic and want the server peer to send packets with any source IP.

If you need to configure additional clients, just repeat the same steps using a different private IP address.

Add the client IP to the server

The last step is to add the client’s public key and IP address to the server. To do that, run the following command on the Ubuntu server:

sudo wg set wg0 peer CLIENT_PUBLIC_KEY allowed-ips

Make sure to change the CLIENT_PUBLIC_KEY with the public key you generated on the client machine (sudo cat /etc/wireguard/publickey) and adjust the client IP address if it is different.

Once done, go back to the client machine and bring up the tunneling interface.

sudo wg-quick up wg0

Now you should be connected to the Ubuntu server, and the traffic from your client machine should be routed through it. You can check the connection with:

sudo wg

interface: wg0
  public key: gFeK6A16ncnT1FG6fJhOCMPMeY4hZa97cZCNWis7cSo=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 53527
  fwmark: 0xca6c

peer: r3imyh3MCYggaZACmkx+CxlD6uAmICI8pe/PGq8+qCg=
  endpoint: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:51820
  allowed ips:
  latest handshake: 53 seconds ago
  transfer: 3.23 KiB received, 3.50 KiB sent

You can also open your browser, type “what is my ip”, and you should see your server IP address.

To stop the tunneling, bring down the wg0 interface:

sudo wg-quick down wg0

Allow the access to the local network

If you want to let the peer access a server of your local network you could add it to the allowed-ips.

sudo wg set wg0 peer CLIENT_PUBLIC_KEY allowed-ips,

Then you need to add the routes:

ip route add dev wg0


Remove a peer

wg show (find the peer, note the interface and peer key)
wg set <interface> peer <key> remove

Conceptual Overview

WireGuard securely encapsulates IP packets over UDP. You add a WireGuard interface, configure it with your private key and your peers' public keys, and then you send packets across it. All issues of key distribution and pushed configurations are out of scope of WireGuard; these are issues much better left for other layers. It mimics the model of SSH and Mosh; both parties have each other's public keys, and then they're simply able to begin exchanging packets through the interface.

Simple Network Interface

WireGuard works by adding network interfaces, called wg0 (or wg1, wg2, wg3, etc). This network interface can then be configured normally using the ordinary networking utilities. The specific WireGuard aspects of the interface are configured using the wg tool. This interface acts as a tunnel interface.

WireGuard associates tunnel IP addresses with public keys and remote endpoints. When the interface sends a packet to a peer, it does the following:

  • This packet is meant for Which peer is that? Let me look... Okay, it's for peer ABCDEFGH. (Or if it's not for any configured peer, drop the packet.)
  • Encrypt entire IP packet using peer ABCDEFGH's public key.
  • What is the remote endpoint of peer ABCDEFGH? Let me look... Okay, the endpoint is UDP port 53133 on host
  • Send encrypted bytes from step 2 over the Internet to using UDP.

When the interface receives a packet, this happens:

  • I just got a packet from UDP port 7361 on host Let's decrypt it!
  • It decrypted and authenticated properly for peer LMNOPQRS. Okay, let's remember that peer LMNOPQRS's most recent Internet endpoint is using UDP.
  • Once decrypted, the plain-text packet is from Is peer LMNOPQRS allowed to be sending us packets as
  • If so, accept the packet on the interface. If not, drop it.

Behind the scenes there is much happening to provide proper privacy, authenticity, and perfect forward secrecy, using state-of-the-art cryptography.

Cryptokey Routing

At the heart of WireGuard is a concept called Cryptokey Routing, which works by associating public keys with a list of tunnel IP addresses that are allowed inside the tunnel. Each network interface has a private key and a list of peers. Each peer has a public key.

For example, a server computer might have this configuration:

PrivateKey = yAnz5TF+lXXJte14tji3zlMNq+hd2rYUIgJBgB3fBmk=
ListenPort = 51820

PublicKey = xTIBA5rboUvnH4htodjb6e697QjLERt1NAB4mZqp8Dg=
AllowedIPs =,

PublicKey = TrMvSoP4jYQlY6RIzBgbssQqY3vxI2Pi+y71lOWWXX0=
AllowedIPs =,

PublicKey = gN65BkIKy1eCE9pP1wdc8ROUtkHLF2PfAqYdyYBz6EA=
AllowedIPs =

And a client computer might have this simpler configuration:

PrivateKey = gI6EdUSYvn8ugXOt8QQD6Yc+JyiZxIhp3GInSWRfWGE=
ListenPort = 21841

PublicKey = HIgo9xNzJMWLKASShiTqIybxZ0U3wGLiUeJ1PKf8ykw=
Endpoint =
AllowedIPs =

In the server configuration, each peer (a client) will be able to send packets to the network interface with a source IP matching his corresponding list of allowed IPs. For example, when a packet is received by the server from peer gN65BkIK..., after being decrypted and authenticated, if its source IP is, then it's allowed onto the interface; otherwise it's dropped.

In the server configuration, when the network interface wants to send a packet to a peer (a client), it looks at that packet's destination IP and compares it to each peer's list of allowed IPs to see which peer to send it to. For example, if the network interface is asked to send a packet with a destination IP of, it will encrypt it using the public key of peer gN65BkIK..., and then send it to that peer's most recent Internet endpoint.

In the client configuration, its single peer (the server) will be able to send packets to the network interface with any source IP (since is a wildcard). For example, when a packet is received from peer HIgo9xNz..., if it decrypts and authenticates correctly, with any source IP, then it's allowed onto the interface; otherwise it's dropped.

In the client configuration, when the network interface wants to send a packet to its single peer (the server), it will encrypt packets for the single peer with any destination IP address (since is a wildcard). For example, if the network interface is asked to send a packet with any destination IP, it will encrypt it using the public key of the single peer HIgo9xNz..., and then send it to the single peer's most recent Internet endpoint.

In other words, when sending packets, the list of allowed IPs behaves as a sort of routing table, and when receiving packets, the list of allowed IPs behaves as a sort of access control list.

This is what we call a Cryptokey Routing Table: the simple association of public keys and allowed IPs.

Because all packets sent on the WireGuard interface are encrypted and authenticated, and because there is such a tight coupling between the identity of a peer and the allowed IP address of a peer, system administrators do not need complicated firewall extensions, such as in the case of IPsec, but rather they can simply match on "is it from this IP? on this interface?", and be assured that it is a secure and authentic packet. This greatly simplifies network management and access control, and provides a great deal more assurance that your iptables rules are actually doing what you intended for them to do.

Built-in Roaming

The client configuration contains an initial endpoint of its single peer (the server), so that it knows where to send encrypted data before it has received encrypted data. The server configuration doesn't have any initial endpoints of its peers (the clients). This is because the server discovers the endpoint of its peers by examining from where correctly authenticated data originates. If the server itself changes its own endpoint, and sends data to the clients, the clients will discover the new server endpoint and update the configuration just the same. Both client and server send encrypted data to the most recent IP endpoint for which they authentically decrypted data. Thus, there is full IP roaming on both ends.

Improve logging

WireGuard doesn’t do any logging by default. If you use the WireGuard Linux kernel module (on kernel versions 5.6 or newer), you can turn on WireGuard’s dyndbg logging, which sends log messages to the kernel message buffer, kmsg. You can then use the standard dmesg utility to read these messages. Also, many Linux systems have a logging daemon like rsyslogd or journald that automatically captures and stores these messages.

First, enable WireGuard dyndbg logging with the following commands:

modprobe wireguard
echo module wireguard +p > /sys/kernel/debug/dynamic_debug/control

Once you do that, you’ll be able to see WireGuard log messages in the kernel message facility, if your system is set up with rsyslogd, journald, or a similar logging daemon. With rsyslogd, check the /var/log/kern.log or /var/log/messages file. With journald, run journalctl -ek.

Monitor wireguard