Simple way to connect two linux computers over a VPN?

Hello everyone,

I was wondering…

If I connect two separate computers over the Internet on/with the same NordVPN account, can I then connect to one another like they were on a LAN ? Or do I need to do some extra work ?

I am planning to use this for my parents PCs as a simple way for remote maintenance (compared to TeamViewer/Anydesk…).

Thank you for your help !

P.S. I’m sorry if this is not the right forum, I tried previously to post on the “NordVPN” sub-reddit but they didn’t let me (not enough karma… great).

I use tailscale, but it does not work if another vpn is running, in theory it should work but it doesn’t.

So the answer is probably no.

But rustdesk should work.

It probably depends on how you intend to connect. TeamViewer and AnyDesk that you mentioned for comparison, provide a central server, allowing you to traverse NAT and avoid having to configure firewalls and port-forwarding on your networks.

Are you planning on connecting via VNC, or SSH, or something else?

I wouldn’t expect using NordVPN (or similar) will place you on the same virtual subnet as each other. I’d expect that clients of those services are well isolated from each other. But what you’re describing there is something like what Hamachi provides (closed source). I used to use that extensively back in the day for “LAN” gaming with friends over the internet.

I’ve not tried it, but Netbird may be similar, and open-source.

Then of course, you always have the option of carefully opening up specific ports in your parents firewall and forwarding those to their system, and connecting to them directly. This will be the most performant way to solve the problem, but it also carries risk, because the services you open up are now exposed to the internet. I would recommend only exposing a strongly secured OpenVPN, Wireguard or perhaps OpenSSH server in this way, if at all (pick just one). Your parent’s router may even offer some of these as a service, so you’d be connecting to their LAN, not just their computer, but that likewise carries similar risk.

If you plan to do the maintenance over ssh, then tailscale is probably the easiest way. In most situations, it should “just work” out of the box.

If you want something more akin to AnyDesk but FOSS, try out RustDesk.

NordVPN has a “Meshnet” feature you can use for this.

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