Picture this – You’re out on the road for work or pleasure and have this sudden urge to listen to that one song from your collection which is stored on your desktop back at home. Or you’re a freelancer and need access the draft proposal you made for a client which is again on your desktop sitting in your home office.
You can’t keep your desktop or other machines at home exposed to the outside world over the Internet, because, franklt speaking, it’s a dangerous world out there. But you still need safe and easy (and secure) access to all your data. How do you do that ? Did someone say – “Create a VPN!”
What is Hamachi ?
Hamachi is a piece of software that lets you create a private, secure network of your own. It is what people in the industry call an instant zero configuration software VPN – virtual private network. With a Hamachi created network, you can continue using your machines from thousands of miles away, as if they were in the next room. Anything that works over a local network, should work using Hamachi and you will not even notice the difference.
Hamachi works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X and in this post today, we’ll be using it to network a Windows and a Linux (Ubuntu) machine.
Installing Hamachi on Windows
Download the windiows based installer for Hamachi and install it like any other Windows application. Hamachi is free for non-commercial use, so if that is your use-case, you can select that option while installation.
Once Hamachi is installed, it’ll take you through a small tutorial which you should read to get familiar with Hamachi. At the end of the tutorial, you’ll be asked to click on the power on button. Hamachi is now ready to be used.
Create a Network
Now comes the fun part. Click on the network button and chose “Create a New network” from the menu. Give your network a name and a password. Remember this password as it will be required to connect any other machine to this network.
Your Hamachi setup on the windows side is done.
Installing Hamachi on Linux
Installing and running Hamachi on windows is a little bit more involved because there is no fancy graphical installation to do the heavy lifting for us.
Download Hamachi for Linux from the same location as before. The Linux version comes as a .tar.gz archive. Extract the file, open the terminal and browse to the directory where you kept the extracted files. Give the following command as the ‘root’ user.
make install; tuncfg
You don’t need to be running as the root user to run the rest of the commands. The next command is used to create a cypto identity for your machine.
Now, give the following commands in sequence to start the hamachi daemon, login to hamachi, join a network (requires the password that you set earlier), and go online in the network.
If, at this time, you look at the hamachi GUI in the windows machine, you should be able to see the Linux machine logged in to the network you created earlier.
That’s it. Now that both the machines are in the same network and you can use them as if they were sitting right next to each other, even if you’re physically sitting miles away.
Hamachi is the easiest zero configuration VPN solution that I’ve seen and I’m sure you all will find a use for it at one time or another.
Are there any other VPN solutions that you guys use ? I need to find the best VPN Australia has to offer. Let us know in the comments.