Configuring and connecting to your VPN

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Do you require a VPN connection for your build, to be able to connect to your server, either to git clone your repository or to access a private API? If yes, then this tutorial is for you!

Technical infos

Connecting to a VPN, in short, works like this:

  1. the build starts
  2. you install & configure the VPN components you need
  3. you start the VPN
  4. you proceed with the build

Obviously, if you require a VPN connection in order to access your code repository, you have to connect to the VPN before the Git Clone step, but in general you can configure & connect to the VPN anywhere in your Workflow, before you’d use the connection.

You can choose other VPN tools, not just the one shown here (strongswan), this is just one example setup which works on

One important note: when you choose your VPN tool and do the setup/configuration, you have to be careful to not to restart / abort existing SSH sessions! The workers will abort the build if the SSH connection between the build’s Control/Master machine and the Build virtual machine terminates!


This is an example script which you can either save into your repository and run it from there, or just copy paste its content into a Script Step in your bitrise configuration (bitrise.yml / Workflow).

#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -e

echo "WAN IP"
# This prints the servers Internet IP adress to the log, useful for debugging

case "$OSTYPE" in
    echo "Configuring for Linux"

    # Variables
    etc_sudo='sudo' # Sudo is needed for Linux Strongswan configuration

    # Install strongswan
    echo "Installing Strongswan..."
    sudo apt-get install -y strongswan

    echo "Configuring for Mac OS"

    # Variables
    etc_sudo='' # Sudo is NOT needed for Mac OS Strongswan configuration

    # Install Strongswan using homebrew
    echo "Installing OpenSSL..."
    # Manually install OpenSSL first to save time, since installing Strongswan directly compiles OpenSSL from source instead
    brew install openssl
    echo "Installing Strongswan..."
    brew install strongswan

    echo "Unknown operative system: $OSTYPE, exiting"
    exit 1

# Method for rendering a template string file (when run, returns the input string with $VARIABLES replaced from env)
render_template() {
  eval "echo \"$(cat $1)\""

# Create a temporary directory to hold files
mkdir $temp_dir

# IPsec config file, see examples at and
echo "Downloading ipsec.conf..."
wget -O $temp_dir/ipsec.conf.template
# IPsec credentials file, see documentation at
echo "Downloading ipsec.secrets..."
wget -O $temp_dir/ipsec.secrets.template
# In some cases you might need to download the certificate, or certificate chain, of your other VPN endpoint
echo "Downloading server.crt..."
wget -O $temp_dir/server.crt

echo "Rendering config templates"
render_template $temp_dir/ipsec.conf.template > $temp_dir/ipsec.conf
render_template $temp_dir/ipsec.secrets.template > $temp_dir/ipsec.secrets

echo "Installing configuration"
$etc_sudo cp $temp_dir/ipsec.conf $etc_dir/ipsec.conf
$etc_sudo cp $temp_dir/ipsec.secrets $etc_dir/ipsec.secrets
$etc_sudo cp $temp_dir/server.crt $etc_dir/ipsec.d/ocspcerts/server.crt

# Start the ipsec service
echo "Starting ipsec"
sudo ipsec start

# We're sleeping between commands, mostly since Mac OS seems to have some problems otherwise
sleep 1

# Output some helpful status to the log
echo "Status ipsec"
sudo ipsec statusall

sleep 1

# Switch out myconnection with the name of your connection in ipsec.conf
echo "Initiating VPN connection"
sudo ipsec up myconnection

sleep 1

case "$OSTYPE" in
    # In Mac OS El Capitan, the `sudo ipsec up` command consistently fails the first time, but succeeds after a restart of the ipsec service
    echo "Restarting ipsec"
    sudo ipsec restart

    sleep 1

    echo "Initiating VPN connection"
    sudo ipsec up myconnection

    sleep 1

    # This step might apply if you are routing all traffic trough the IPsec connection (that is, if your remote IP range is
    # Mac OS El Capitan seems to have problems getting the DNS configuration from the Strongswan interface. Also IPv6 sometimes causes issues. So we're manually turning off IPv6 and forcing a new DNS configuration.
    echo "Disabling IPv6 and forcing DNS settings"
    # Fetch main interface
    main_interface=$(networksetup -listnetworkserviceorder | awk -F'\) ' '/\(1\)/ {print $2}')
    # Completely disable IPv6
    sudo networksetup -setv6off "$main_interface"
    # Switch with your DNS server
    sudo networksetup -setdnsservers "$main_interface"
  *) ;;

# Your VPN connection should be up and running. Any following steps of your Bitrise workflow can access devices over your VPN connection 🎉