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Automated OpenVPN 3 Linux configuration profile loader

Manual section:8
Manual group:OpenVPN 3 Linux


openvpn3-autoload [ OPTIONS ]
openvpn3-autoload -h | --help


The openvpn3-autoload utility is used to automatically load and optionally start VPN configuration profiles from a specific directory. As the OpenVPN 3 Linux client provides fine grained control on both configuration profiles and VPN sessions which are managed outside the main configuration profile, the configuration profiles must be accompanied by a .autoload definition with local site-specific details.

The openvpn3-autoload utility is provided with a openvpn3-autoload.service systemd unit file which can be enabled and will load configuration profiles located in /etc/openvpn3/autoload.


-h, --help Prints usage infromation and exits.
--directory DIR
 Required. Directory to look for configuration profiles
 Optional. Do not automatically start any VPN sessions which have been configured to start during loading.


Traditionally in the OpenVPN 2.x, configuration profiles can contains a lot of options which are both site/host independent and site/host specific. This creates a challenge when distributing configuration profiles, as a profile working for one device in one particular network might not work on a different device or network.

OpenVPN 3 provides a way how to split out the site/host dependent options from the main VPN configuration profile being provided by the VPN provider. In the OpenVPN 3 Linux client, these site/host specific settings are managed via openvpn3 config-manage for configuration profiles already imported. The .autoload configuration files is used to automate setting up these various options without any direct user interaction.


The file format is based on JSON formatting and will carry the .autoload extension instead of .ovpn or .conf. The .autoload file is to be located in the same directory as the main configuration file. The base part of filename must be identical with the .ovpn/.conf file. Example: If the configuration profile is named vpn-client.conf, the .autoload file must be named vpn-client.autoload.

Main section

The basic layout of an .autoload file is like this:

"autostart": BOOLEAN,
"name": "string value",
"acl": {
"crypto": {
"remote": {
"tunnel": {
"user-auth": {

Attribute: autostart

The autostart boolean declares if the configuration profile should be started once it has been imported into the OpenVPN 3 Configuration Manager. (Default: false)

Attribute: name

By default, all automatically imported configuration profiles will use the complete profile filename, including the .conf or .ovpn file extension. If this attribute is set, this string will be used for the profile name instead of the filename on the filesystem. Beware that the configuration manager will accept duplicate profile names.

Section: acl

The acl section declares several Access Control Level parameters of the imported configuration profile. Valid settings are:

"acl": {
"public": BOOLEAN,
"locked-down": BOOLEAN,
"set-owner": UID

Attribute acl:public

The public element declares if this configuration profile is available for all users on the system or not. (Default: false)

Attribute: acl:locked-down

By setting the locked-down element to true, users granted access can only start new tunnels with this profile but cannot look look at the information stored in the configuration profile. (Default: false)

Attribute: acl:set-owner

By default all processed configuration profiles will be owned by the user who runs openvpn3-autoload. The root user on the system can re-assign the ownership of configuration profiles it imports, like when running this utility during the system boot. By providing the "set-owner" element with the UID of the user who should own this configuration profile, the ownership will be transfered. This is a feature only available by root.

Section: crypto

The crypto section enables fine-tuning some of the configuration parameters related to the crypto layers of a VPN session.

"crypto": {
"force-aes-cbc": BOOLEAN,
"tls-params": {

Attribute: crypto:force-aes-cbc

The force-aes-cbc elements enforces the use of the AES-CBC cipher algorithm. This is disabled by default, which allows the configuration profile to control the cipher, or can allow the server to change the cipher via the Negotiable Crypto Parameters protocol (NCP).

Sub-Section: crypto:tls-params

The tls-params sub-section further controls the TLS protocol parameters:

"tls-params": {
"cert-profile": [ "legacy" | "preferred" | "suiteb" ],
"min-version": [ "disabled" | "default" | "tls_1_0" | "tls_1_1" | "tls_1_2" | "tls_1_3" ]

Attribute: crypto:tls-params:cert-profile

The cert-profile declares the security level of the TLS channel. Valid values are:

  • legacy Allows minimum 1024 bits RSA keys with certificates signed with SHA1.
  • preferred Allows minimum 2048 bits RSA keys with certificates signed with SHA256 or higher.
  • suiteb This follows the NSA Suite-B specification.

Attribute: crypto:tls-params:min-version

The min-version defines the minimum TLS version being accepted by the client. Valid values are:

  • disabled No minimum version is defined nor required
  • default Uses the default minimum version the SSL library defines
  • tls_1_0 Requires at least TLSv1.0
  • tls_1_1 Requires at least TLSv1.1
  • tls_1_2 Requires at least TLSv1.2
  • tls_1_3 Requires at least TLSv1.3

Section: remote

Settings in this section is related to the connection to the remote server. It does not support different settings per remote server but is shared for all the remote servers enlisted in the main configuration file.

"remote": {
"proto-override": [ "udp" | "tcp" ],
"port-override": PORT_NUM,
"timeout": SECONDS,
"compression": [ "no" | "yes" | "asym" ],
"proxy": {

Attribute: remote:protocol-override

This forces the VPN client to connect using the given protocol. Valid values are tcp or udp.

Attribute remote:port-override

Port number to use instead of the port number defined in the VPN configuration profile. It must be an integer between 0 and 65535.

Attribute: remote:timeout

An unsigned integer defining how long to wait before trying the next remote entry enlisted in the VPN configuration profile.

Attribute: remote:compression

Controls how compression settings for the data channel. Valid values are:

  • no Compression is disabled
  • yes Compressoin is enanbled in both directions
  • asym Compression is only enabled for traffic sent from the remote side to the local side.

Sub-section: remote:proxy

This sub-section configures the client to start the connection via an HTTP proxy server.

"proxy": {
"host": "proxy-server-name",
"port": "proxy-port",
"username": "proxy-username",
"password": "proxy-password",
"allow-plain-text": BOOLEAN

Attribute: remote:proxy:host

String containing the hostname of the HTTP proxy

Attribute: remote:proxy:port

Unsigned integer defining the port to use when connecting to the proxy server

Attribute: remote:proxy:username

If the proxy server requires user authentication, this need to contain a string with the proxy username to use.

Attribute: remote:proxy:password

If the proxy server requires user authentication, this need to contain a string with the password to use.

Attribute: remote:proxy:allow-plain-text

Boolean flag enabling or disabling the OpenVPN 3 client to transport the proxy username/password unencrypted. Default: false

Section: tunnel

The tunnel section defines settings related to the tunnel interface. On some platforms this interacts directly with a tun/tap interface while other platforms may pass these settings via VPN API provided by the platform.

"tunnel": {
"ipv6": [ "yes" | "no" | "default" ],
"persist": BOOLEAN,
"dns-fallback": [ "google" ],
"dns-setup-disabled": BOOLEAN

Attribute: tunnel:ipv6

Enable or disable the IPv6 capability on the tunnel interface. This can be a string which must contain one of these values:

  • yes IPv6 capability is enabled and will be configured if the server sends IPv6 configuration details
  • no IPv6 capability is disabled and will not be configured, regardless of what the server provides of IPv6 configuration details
  • default Make use of IPv6 if the platform supports it

Attribute: tunnel:persist

Boolean flag which enables the persistent tunnel interface behaviour. This is related to whether the tunnel interface will be torn down and re-established during re-connections or restarts of the VPN tunnel. If set to true, the tunnel interface is preserved during such events.

Attribute: tunnel:dns-fallback

This makes the VPN client configure an additional fallback DNS server on the system. Valid strings are:

  • google Configures the system to use and as fallback DNS servers

Attribute: dns-setup-disabled

Controls whether DNS configurations in the VPN configuration profile or DNS settings sent from the server will be applied on the system or not. (Default: false)

Section: user-auth

This section is only important if the server uses user authentication methods other than certificate based authentication and this section is only used if the autostart attribute is set to true. This is used to automate the client connection as much as possible.

"user-auth": {
"autologin": BOOLEAN,
"username": "string value",
"password": "string value",
"pk_passphrase": "string value",
"dynamic_challenge": "string value"

Attribute: user-auth:autologin

If set to true, the client will not ask for username/password as it is expected that the VPN configuration profile carries the needed settings providing the identity towards the server. (Default: false)

Attribute: user-auth:username

String containing the username to authenticate as.

Attribute: user-auth:username

String containing the password used for the authentication.

Attribute: user-auth:pk_passphrase

String containing the private key passphrase, which is needed if the private key in the VPN configuration profile is encrypted.

Attribute: user-auth:dynamic_challenge

The server might ask the client for a dynamic challenge. If the expected response is static, the static response can be put here. If the server expects an OTP token code or similarly dynamic changing input, the VPN configuration profile is not suitable for autostart.


openvpn3(1) openvpn3-config-manage(1)

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