Install SoftEther VPN on CentOS 7

Install prerequisites

sudo yum update -y
sudo yum install -y epel-release
sudo yum install -y vim wget unzip yum-utils htop
# Install Development Tools
sudo yum group install -y "Development Tools"

Install and configure automatic yum updates

sudo yum -y install yum-cron
sudo sed -i 's,^update_cmd =.*$,update_cmd = default,' /etc/yum/yum-cron.conf
sudo sed -i 's,^apply_updates =.*$,apply_updates = yes,' /etc/yum/yum-cron.conf
# Exclude kernel upgrades
grep -qxF 'exclude = kernel*' /etc/yum/yum-cron.conf || echo -e "\n# Exclude Kernel Upgrades \nexclude = kernel*" | sudo tee -a /etc/yum/yum-cron.conf
# Start and enable yum-cron service
sudo systemctl start yum-cron
sudo systemctl enable yum-cron

Add the following lines under /etc/sysctl.d/00-sysctl.conf in order to optimize the system

# Tuning Virtual Memory
# A low value avoids swapping processes out of memory, which usually decreases latency, at the cost of I/O performance.
# The default value of vm.swappiness is 60
vm.swappiness = 10
# vm.dirty_background_ratio is the percentage of system memory which when dirty then system can start writing data to the disks.
# vm.dirty_ratio is percentage of system memory which when dirty, the process doing writes would block and write out dirty pages to the disks.
# This tunable depends on what your system running, if you run large database its recommend to keep these values low
# to avoid I/O bottle-necks and when the system load increases.
vm.dirty_ratio = 40
vm.dirty_background_ratio = 10
# Avoid a smurf attack
net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts = 1
# Turn on protection for bad icmp error messages
net.ipv4.icmp_ignore_bogus_error_responses = 1
# Turn on syncookies for SYN flood attack protection
net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies = 1
# Turn on and log spoofed, source routed, and redirect packets
net.ipv4.conf.all.log_martians = 1
net.ipv4.conf.default.log_martians = 1
# No source routed packets here
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_source_route = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_source_route = 0
# Turn on reverse path filtering
net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 1
net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 1
# Make sure no one can alter the routing tables
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.all.secure_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.secure_redirects = 0
# Don't act as a router
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 0
net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.send_redirects = 0
# Turn on execshild
kernel.randomize_va_space = 1
# Disable IPv6
net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1
net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1
# Increase system file descriptor limit
fs.file-max = 65535
# Allow for more PIDs (to reduce rollover problems)
kernel.pid_max = 65536
# Increase system IP port limits
# For heavy traffic network servers, you may need to increase the networking port range.
# net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range defines the minimum and maximum port a networking connection can use as its source (local) port.
# This applies to both TCP and UDP connections.
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 2000 65000
# The maximum backlog an application can request.
# Make sure to increase application backlog as well if changed (Ex: Nginx backlog value must be <= net.core.somaxconn value)
net.core.somaxconn = 16384
# The maximum socket receive buffer size in bytes
net.core.rmem_max = 8388608
# The maximum socket send buffer size in bytes
net.core.wmem_max = 8388608
# The default size of receive buffers used by sockets in bytes. rmem_default should be no greater than rmem_max
net.core.rmem_default = 65536
# The default size of send buffers used by sockets in bytes. wmem_default should be no greater than wmem_max
net.core.wmem_default = 65536
# Max number of packets that can be queued on interface input.
# If kernel is receiving packets faster than can be processed this queue increases
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 16384
# TCP Window Scaling is enabled by default on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling = 1
# Increase TCP max buffer size setable using setsockopt()
# The first value tells the kernel the minimum receive buffer for each TCP connection, and this buffer is always allocated to a TCP socket,
# even under high pressure on the system. The second value specified tells the kernel the default receive buffer allocated for each TCP socket.
# This value overrides the /proc/sys/net/core/rmem_default and /proc/sys/net/core/wmem_default value used by other protocols.
# The third and last value specified in this variable specifies the maximum receive buffer that can be allocated for a TCP socket
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 8192 873800 8388608
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 4096 655360 8388608
# Increase max half-open connections
# which did not yet receive an acknowledgment from connecting client
net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog = 65536
# If enabled, time out the congestion window after an idle period. An idle period is defined as the current RTO (retransmission timeout).
# If disabled, the congestion window will not be timed out after an idle period.
# Many people suggest disabling this, which should help to improve performance in some cases
net.ipv4.tcp_slow_start_after_idle = 0
# The tcp_mem variable defines how the TCP stack should behave when it comes to memory usage (value is in pages).
# DO NOT touch tcp_mem. It’s already auto-tuned very well by Linux based on the amount of RAM
# net.ipv4.tcp_mem = 8388608 8388608 8388608
# Increase max TCP orphans
# Maximum number of TCP sockets not attached to any user file handle, held by system.
# If this number is exceeded orphaned connections are reset immediately and warning is printed.
# This limit exists only to prevent simple DoS attacks
net.ipv4.tcp_max_orphans = 262144
# Only retry creating TCP connections twice
# Minimize the time it takes for a connection attempt to fail
net.ipv4.tcp_synack_retries = 2
net.ipv4.tcp_syn_retries = 2
# Timeout closing of TCP connections after 7 seconds
net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 7
# Increase the tcp-time-wait buckets pool size to prevent simple DOS attacks. Increase the recycling time of sockets,
# avoiding large numbers of them staying in the TIME_WAIT status
net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 6000000
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1

Apply kernel configuration changes

sudo sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.d/00-sysctl.conf

Download the latest build

sudo wget -O /tmp/softether-vpnserver.tar.gz

Extract tarball into /usr/local

sudo tar xfz /tmp/softether-vpnserver.tar.gz -C /usr/local

Install VPN software

# CD into correct location
cd /usr/local/vpnserver
# Build executables

Create a non-login user for softether

# Adding a service account for softether
sudo useradd --system --no-create-home softether

Setup necessary permissions

sudo chown -R softether:softether /usr/local/vpnserver
sudo find /usr/local/vpnserver -type f -exec chmod 600 {} \;
sudo find /usr/local/vpnserver -type d -exec chmod 700 {} \;
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/vpnserver/vpncmd
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/vpnserver/vpnserver

Create /etc/systemd/system/softether.service systemd service

Description=SoftEther VPN Server auditd.service
ExecStart=/usr/local/vpnserver/vpnserver start
ExecStop=/usr/local/vpnserver/vpnserver stop
# Hardening

Allow non-root softether process to bind to port 443

# CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE to grant low-numbered port access to the softether process
sudo setcap CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE=+eip /usr/local/vpnserver/vpnserver

Enable and Start the Service

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start softether.service
sudo systemctl enable softether.service

Remove temp files

sudo rm -f /tmp/softether-vpnserver.tar.gz

In order to add a static route, navigate to Manage Virtual Hub > Virtual NAT and Virtual DHCP Server (SecureNAT) > SecureNAT Configuration > Edit the static routing table to push and add it as below.

# Format:
<VPC Network>/<VPC Netmask>/<VPN Gateway IP>
# Example:

You can manage this VPN using SoftEther VPN Server Manager. The initial administrator password will be blank.

Note: DO NOT enable both local bridge and SecureNAT at the same time. Packets will loop infinitely and it makes your server hang.

How to make SoftEther to follow default system routes on SecureNAT mode

  1. Connected via "SE-VPN Server Manager" GUI
  2. Select target Virtual Hub
  3. Click Properties button
  4. Click Edit Virtual Hub Extended Option List around the lower left corner
  5. Scroll down and find DisableKernelModeSecureNAT and DisableIpRawModeSecureNAT, set these values to 1
  6. Click Save
  7. Click OK
Last updated on by Yasitha Bogamuwa