Create Your Own Personal VPN with Hamachi

Sometimes commercial VPNs aren't ideal, and you'd like to create your own VPN service.

In this guide, I'll show you how to use Hamachi and Privoxy to create your own private and personal VPN.

However, before I dive into that, let's explore the pros and cons of creating your own VPN service using Hamachi.

Why You Should Create Your Own VPN

VPN was, however, originally developed mainly to allow business employees to log in to their company’s servers securely when away from the office:

User [-> ISP ->] company server.

It is possible to set up a home computer so that it runs much like a business VPN server. Allowing you to securely remote login to your home computer, and access the internet through its IP address:

User [-> ISP ->] home computer -> ISP -> internet.  (traffic in brackets [] is encrypted)

Advantages of VPN at home

  • Free – there is no need to pay for a third-party VPN service
  • Secures your internet connection when using public WiFi hotspots
  • Can remotely and securely access content on your computer, and stream movies, music, etc. to a remote device
  • The home computer acts as a proxy. This is great for accessing geo-restricted web services when away from home. It can also be a very effective anti-censorship tool if the user is in a restrictive country. However, you will need a friend who is willing to set up a home server in a less restrictive country.

Countries such as China, and for geo-restricted services for example if you wanted to watch Hulu outside the US you would need a VPN. A private home VPN is also great for circumventing school, college or work restrictions. For information about a China VPN see our best VPN for China guide.

Disadvantages of VPN at home

  • The home computer acts as a proxy – you access the internet through your home computer’s IP address so any internet activity can be easily traced to that address. This also means that you cannot just change your apparent location (e.g. to a different country).
  • Although the connection between your remote computer and home VPN server is encrypted, your outgoing home internet connection is not. This means that your ISP (and anyone else who is watching) can easily monitor your internet activity.
  • You will need to keep your home computer on all the time, which will increase your electricity bills.

In short, setting up a private home VPN server offers many of the advantages of using a commercial VPN service. However, it does not provide privacy/anonymity when using the internet.

How to Use Hamachi to Create a Private VPN

By far the easiest way to set up a private VPN is to use LogMeIn Hamachi combined with Privoxy.

Hamachi is software that allows you to create virtual networks that operate like regular LANs.

It builds a ‘zero-configuration virtual private network’, which means that you do not have to worry about port forwarding or other complex configuration issues (which is definitely a very strong point in its favor). Transferred data is protected using 256-bit AES encryption.  

The biggest drawback with Hamachi is that it is proprietary software (i.e. it is not open source). However, as we discussed above, a private Hamachi VPN does not provide much privacy, anyway. So this is probably not worth worrying too much about. If privacy is a major concern, Tor or a no-logs third-party VPN provider are much better options.

The basic version of LogMeIn Hamachi is free and is fully functional. However, only five members per network can use it. Furthermore, the free version will not run in the background on idle computers (as the paid version can).

LogMeIn Hamachi is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux (beta).

To remotely access the internet through our home PC running Hamachi, we will need Privoxy, a free open source web proxy. You could run Privoxy on its own, but all connections would be over unencrypted HTTP. This is why we are using Hamachi.

Privoxy is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and iOS, and you can use it with any browser of your liking.

1. Setup Hamachi VPN

First, you'll need to set up Hamachi. Follow these steps to do so:

a) Download Hamachi on your home PC (choosing ‘Hamachi Unmanaged’ mode) and install. LogMeIn will nag you at various points to sign-up for a free account, but this can be ignored for now.

Hamachi Download

b) Click the power button to get started and enter a name for your client.

Hamachi ID

c) Hit ‘Create a new network’ and give it a name and a password. Hit ‘Create’.

Hamachi Create Network

d) Setup Hamachi on any other computers you to connect to the home VPN. The only exception this time is that you need to choose ‘Join an existing network’ to join the one you have just created, rather than creating a new one.

You can now Browse your Home PC, just as if it was on a local (LAN) network.

2. Set up Privoxy

You do this to allow secure remote connection to the internet.

a) Download, install and launch Privoxy. In Windows, Privoxy launches as a blank window, but don’t worry as this is fine. You can even close the window and Privoxy will continue to run in your system tray. Right-click Privoxy in the system tray, and select Edit -> Main Configuration.

b) Notepad will open Privoxy’s configuration file, called config.txt. Go to Edit -> Find, and search for ‘listen-address 127.0.0.1:8118’. Put a # in front of the line to mark it as a comment, then below it add the line:

listen-address [the IP address shown at the top of your Hamachi window]:8118


c) Save and close config.txt.

3. Setup Your Browser Proxy Settings

The last step is simply to configure your browser’s proxy settings to point to the Hamachi network IP address. 25.46.156.2, Port 8118 in our example.

In Firefox these settings can be found by going to Options -> Network tab -> Connection Settings

You can check everything is working by typing ‘http://config.privoxy.org/’ into your remote computer’s browser search bar.

(If it says ‘Privoxy is not being used’ then something has gone wrong)

You are now using your home computer as a VPN server! All your remote browser’s traffic will go through your home computer. Therefore, you will appear to originate from the IP address of your home computer.

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

14 Comments

George
on February 16, 2020
Reply
Hello Douglas, I would like to make you a question. I have installed in my laptop hamachi and works very good. I have tried to play 2 diferrent games with my friend, the general commander and champioship manager 01/02. We can play the first game with hamachi but on the second he cannot connect with me. So, I tried to donwload the hamachi in my father's laptop and with his username creat a game. We had a problem, because in this laptop the hamachi asked to confirmed that was my friend's account. We tried it but he never recieved the e-mail to confirm that I use to account. After all this, I use my e-mail, tha same e-mail addres that I use in my laptop and now I cannot change the e-mail address in my fother's laptop. Hamachi asked me to go to LogMeln to change the e-mail address but if I do it, I will change my e-mail in my laptop too. How can I change the e-mail address in my fother's laptop without change in my laptop too? Why if I re-install the hamachi, it uses the same account? PS: Sorry for my bad English..
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
Douglas Crawford replied to George
on February 24, 2020
Reply
Hi George. Sorry, I'm not a general expert on all things Hamachi.
George replied to Douglas Crawford
on March 5, 2020
Reply
Thank you very much Douglas
cam
on December 22, 2019
Reply
hi i know this is an old post but i need help when i go through all the steps i can no longer go on the internet with the proxy on
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
Douglas Crawford replied to cam
on January 2, 2020
Reply
Hi cam, As you say, this is an old article and I no longer have the setup running on my PC. If you can pinpoint your problem further, though, I will try to help. In the meantime, I have added the screenshots back in that should be with this article but which seem to have disappeared during a website update at some point (these changes need to be approved by my editor and so may not appear immediately).
Marcelo
on February 3, 2019
Reply
Why Privoxy and no anothers Proxys? and ... Are there other alternatives to privoxy?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
douglas replied to Marcelo
on April 5, 2019
Reply
Hi Marcelo, Privoxy in this context is not acting as an actual proxy. It is simply providing a link between Hamachi and your the PC's internet connection. There may well be other software that can do this, but I know Privoxy.
Cody Collyer
on January 21, 2019
Reply
Hi there, does this only act as a vpn for the browser that you change the proxy setting on or does it work as a vpn for all of the pc?
Jay Ramirez replied to Cody Collyer
on July 17, 2019
Reply
I agree this is a good question
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Jay Ramirez
on July 22, 2019
Reply
Hi Cody and Jay. Looking at this article some six years after I originally wrote it, I also agree this is a good question! The Hamachi software creates a true VPN connection between the remote computer and the home (server) PC. In order to proxy the remote computer's internet connection through home PC, however, you must setup Privoxy on the home PC and configure the remote PC's browser proxy settings as described. So you could view it as something of a hybrid between a VPN and a proxy, although all traffic goes through a true VPN tunnel.

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