I have configured a few VPNs on my Ubuntu notebook. Some of them are OpenVPN, and in fact they are fairly easy to configure.
However, sometimes I receive this error:

I wasn’t able to exactly identify the situation when this happens – it seems to be related to networking, and it happens more often when I log into my desktop with WI-FI connection, OpenVPN daemon starts, then I plug an ethernet cable.


A quick solution is simply to log out and log in again. It is simple but I don’t like it very much.

Other than that everything regarding VPNs on Ubuntu Desktop seems to be a bit of a mess. In the long answer you can find some more details regarding OpenVPN.


In Internet you can find a lot of guides on how to set up an OpenVPN on Ubuntu Desktop. One simple and effective is Ubuntu’s Official: Help Ubuntu – OpenVPN. Anyway, most of the times everything is reduced to

to install a service, or

to install an extension to the Network Manager GUI.

However, the GUI option has some limitation – for example, you can only connect to one VPN at the time. If you have more than one VPN (and you can handle all routing problems with overlapping networks that can occur), you have to go with the service. To go with the service, you have to put all your OpenVPN configuration files, with extension .conf, in folder /etc/openvpn . Then (if your configuration files are correct, if your connection is ok, and a billion other ifs) if you restart openvpn service, you should see something like this:

That means that your VPNs are up and running.

However, if you have password authentication, for some reason, even if you have your credentials in a file connected to the configuration file, sometimes the service will hang, simply because the VPN restarts and it is waiting in background for a password. So, you have to restart the service.

But the agent of the first error it’s not this service. They are two completely different things. I think that this agent is something GUI related, for I meet this error only on the network manager GUI, and not with the service – which keeps running. However, it could just be that the service it’s still using WI-FI connection.

Unfortunately I have no real explanation for this and no real solution; just a quick workaround. It is a fairly complicated matter, which would require a lot of debug for a very simple task, and I don’t think it is worth the time.