Nona Blog

How to setup your own personal VPN

A docker Wireguard VPN hosted on a Digitalocean droplet for $5 a month

This serves as a setup guide to create your own VPN for personal use.

Why would you want a VPN?

  1. Privacy (your traffic is coming from a public VPN server instead of your device)
  2. Security (your traffic can only be decrypted when it reaches your VPN server)

These are important because your ISP can see that you send traffic to the VPN server but not specifically what you are sending. And when you are using a public network your traffic will be encrypted. It is however important to note that a VPN does not offer complete security. You still need to be vigilant.


Please note due to a current (13-08-2020) issue the docker container does not work on older versions of Ubuntu.

  1. A server with a public IP that you have access to. (For my case I created a digitalocean droplet). Remember the location of the server determines the location of you.
  2. This server needs a linux(AFAIK) OS installed. (I went with Ubuntu 20.04). Please see the docker image docs for more detail as well on server limitations.
  3. This server needs docker and docker-compose installed. Please use the docker docs for this.


Now the easy part

We will split this in two. Server and peer where server is the vpn server that you connect to and peer is the user device that you connect from.


Once you have the server setup like above you can use the commands given on docker hub or the below docker-compose file to setup your server. For timezone see this.

version: "3"
    image: linuxserver/wireguard
    container_name: wireguard
      - NET_ADMIN
      - SYS_MODULE
      - PUID=1000
      - PGID=1000
      - TZ=<your-timezone>
      - SERVERURL=<your-server-ip-address>
      - SERVERPORT=51820
      - PEERS=1 # change to add more PEERS
      - ./config:/config
      - /lib/modules:/lib/modules
      - 51820:51820/udp
    restart: unless-stopped
  1. Create a file called docker-compose.yml on the server.
  2. Paste the above code and replace the relevant values.
  3. Run docker-compose up -d and wait for the container to startup. It should take less than a minute.
  4. Run docker container logs wireguard to confirm a successful startup. If you see a QR code it’s probably all good.


this is analogous to any device that you use to access the internet

The peer can be any device that is supported by Wireguard and any device further than that which can run docker(this is within reason do not take this as an absolute please). I do not know how to configure this for all peers so please refer to the wireguard documentation for connection. I will give an example of Mac/Windows as these are similar.

  1. Your first peer/peer config can be found on your server under config/peer1/peer1.conf and this should be the only file you need for connection.
  2. From the link provided follow the instructions to download wireguard peer.
  3. On mac you can then import your new tunnel from peer1.conf within the peer GUI.
  4. On mobile devices you can use the QR code saved on your server at config/peer1/peer1.png

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Ian Cawood

Fullstack Developer - Nona