Using an SSH VPN with a Chromebook

For a long time the lack of (decent) OpenVPN support from my Chromebook was a barrier that prevented it from becoming a full time work machine for me. With a Linux machine at home, a browser extension, and the chrome app, I’ve managed a usable workaround, that may actually make my OpenVPN setup unneccessary. Here’s how I got things working.

Step 1: Get the official “Secure Shell” App from the Chrome Store:

Step 2: Get the Chrome Extension “Switchy Omega

Step 3:  Make sure your Home Linux server has the SSH tools installed. –If your running an Ubuntu Distro, you can run the following snippet:

[bash] sudo apt-get install ssh [/bash]

Step 4: Setup a port forward on your home router (preferrably a non-standard port). For me, the rule looks like this:

ssh 2323 22 BOTH (TCP & UDP)

–This rule tells your router to take all traffic destined for port 2323 (from the internet and send it to your linux server (which in this case is

Step 5: Using the “Secure Shell” Chrome app, login to your linux machine, give the example above, here’s what your setup should look like (note that this assumes your Linux computer can put traffic out on port 8800… which it should unless you’ve done something to prevent it from doing so)


Step 6: Setup SwitchyProxy to use your newly created SSH tunnel on port 8800 (again, assuming you are following the example above, here’s what that should look like:


Boom! You should now have a connection that pipes all traffic (including DNS, etc.) through your home linux server. One last item of note: When you are not connected to your SSH session back to your linux machine, you’ll want to change profiles in the “SwitchyProxy” app. This is as easy as clicking the Switch proxy icon, and selecting “Direct” from the dropdown… When you connect to the SSH session again, you can go back to the dropdown, and select your VPN profile again.

Looking for a better Chromebook? Checkout the Samsung Chromebook Plus.

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