Protect your Online Privacy with AWS VPN

In today’s world, where your data or personal information is sold abruptly, having a secure connection has become a must to keep your data safe from cybercrimes! 

And to do that, Amazon Web Services(AWS) provides you with an affordable and scalable virtual private network(VPN) to safeguard your and your client’s data with high-level encryption that cannot be hacked easily. 

What is AWS VPN?

Before knowing what AWS VPN is and how it works, let’s first figure out what a VPN is and why we need it. 

A VPN, or a virtual private network, basically builds up a private connection between devices with the help of the internet. VPNs help transfer your data when using public networks safely and anonymously.

They typically mask your IP address and encrypt your data so that only you and the other party can access it. To secure your data from being leaked, you most certainly need a VPN.  

When it comes to AWS VPN, it creates a private system with your on-premises networks, remote offices, client's devices and the AWS global network safely and securely.

AWS VPN offers two highly-secure services, i.e. AWS Site-to-Site VPN or AWS Client VPN, and you can access either of them according to your company’s requirements. 

Components of AWS VPN

Now that we understand what an AWS VPN is, let's move forward to its components and how they help secure the whole network.

  • Virtual Private Gateway(VGW)- VGW is a VPN concentrator on the AWS side of the VPN network. 

  • Customer Gateway(CGW)- CG is a physical device or a software application on the Customer side of the VPN network. 

Types of AWS VPNs Available

As we mentioned above, AWS VPN offers two private connectivity options that one can choose from, i.e., AWS Client VPN and AWS Site-to-Site VPN. 

1. AWS Client VPN

The role of AWS Client VPN is to create a temporary, although secure, communication tunnel between the corporate servers and the employee's devices.

The tunnels are kept temporarily since they allow employees to log in and out quickly without causing any interference within the system.

Even if your employees work from home, this AWS VPN establishes a strong and safe connection between your company’s network and your employees' devices. 

How it Works:

Firstly, you start with AWS Client VPN, configure the endpoint and associate subnets. Then enable the end user access to resources by adding authorisation rules and regulations.

Validate the connection with other networks by adding rules and routes, and download and install the free VPN Client on your user’s devices. At last, simply enter your corporate credentials to connect to your network over AWS Client VPN. 

Features of AWS Client VPN:

  • High Availability and Elasticity- It automatically mounts up the number of users associated with your AWS and on-premises resources. 

  • Authorization and Authentication- It supports client’s authentication using Active Directory, federal authentication and certification-based authentications.

    And it also offers you a network-based authorization, allowing you to create access control based on those Active Directory authentications that help restricts access to that particular network. 

  • Secure Connections- It provides a secure TLS connection from anywhere worldwide through an OpenVPN client. 

  • Network Management- One can use Amazon CloudWatch Logs to scan, store and access log files from AWS Client VPN connection logs. 

  • Easy Usage- It enables you to access your AWS and on-premise resources with a single tunnel. They even provide the flexibility of being utilized on any device your employees own. 

  • Pricing- You are charged hourly for each end-point association and active VPN connection. 

Use Cases of AWS Client VPN:

  • Safely Connecting IoT Devices- With the help of certification-based authentications, AWS VPN helps establish safe connections between IoT devices and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud(VPC) resources. 

  • Accessing Application while Migration- Users can securely access applications both on the AWS and on-premises end, even when the migration of apps is taking place on the cloud. 

  • Scaling Remote Access- Due to employees shifting to work from home, there is a foreseeable increase in VPN connections and traffic, which may lead to a lack of performance or availability of the AWS VPN. 

2. AWS Site-to-Site VPN

AWS Site-to-Site VPN is a fully-managed service to build a secure link between your data center and your AWS resources using IP Security(IPSec).

You can connect to both your AWS Transit Gateway and Amazon’s VPC while utilizing it, and these two tunnels will help each connection to increase redundancy. 

You can also opt for the Accelerated Site-to-Site VPN option, which will route your VPN traffic to the nearest AWS edge location.

It helps improve your AWS VPN's performance by reducing the distance over which the data is being shared on the internet and influencing the reliability and performance of the AWS global fiber network. 

How it Works:

You should establish a secure AWS Site-to-Site VPN connection to a Transit Gateway or Virtual Private Gateway via the AWS Management Console.

If you'd like, you can enable the Site-to-Site VPN acceleration by selecting the option in the AWS Management Console. After setting up the connection, download the configuration file from the console and input it into your router or SD-WAN device.

Then, your device will automatically connect to your Transit Gateway or Virtual Private Gateway with the help of AWS Site-to-Site VPN.

Features of AWS Client VPN:

  • Customization- AWS VPN offers customized tunnel options ranging from inside tunnel IP address and pre-shared key to Border Gateway Protocol Autonomous System Number (BGP ASN).

    Through such customization, you can set up multiple secured VPN tunnels to increase the bandwidth of your applications. 

  • NAT(Network Address Translation) Traversal- AWS Site-to-Site VPN supports NAT Traversal applications to let users use their private IP addresses on personal networks following the routers with a single public IP address facing the internet. 

  • Safe Connectivity- Like AWS Client VPN, Site-to-Site VPN employs an OpenVPN, which manages data channel parameters over a TLS-encrypted control channel. 

  • High Availability and Monitoring- One can build failover and CloudHub solutions through AWS Direct Connect. CloudHub enables remote locations to communicate with each other and with the VPC.

    This AWS VPN can also send metrics to CloudWatch to help improve visibility and monitoring. Moreover, CloudWatch lets you transmit your personal metrics and add data points in any order or rate you select. 

  • Private IP VPN- This VPN offers the ability to deploy Site-to-Site VPN connections using personal IP addresses over Direct Connect(DX). 

  • Pricing- You are billed for each VPN connection hour your VPN is provisioned and available.

    Furthermore, when you create an Accelerated VPN connection, they are divided and managed into two accelerators, and you are charged an hourly rate and data transfer costs for each accelerator. 

Use Cases of AWS Client VPN:

  • Secure Connection between Remote Sites- AWS Site-to-Site connections can be used to securely communicate between different remote sites. 

  • Application Migration- A Site-to-Site VPN connection between your network and the AWS cloud makes moving applications much more manageable.  

To find out, which AWS VPN is best for you, you must know your company’s requirements. If you want secure internal communication between multiple, geographically distant networks, you should opt for Site-to-Site VPN.

However, if you wish to have secure remote access for your employees, you need Client VPN. And you can always opt for both VPNs accordingly to your business requirements. 

Why choose AWS VPN?

There are many cloud and VPN solutions available, so let’s find out what makes AWS VPS stand out. AWS VPN products use AES-256-bit encryption, the same standard used by the US government or military.

If you go for AWS Client VPN, all your data stays on Amazon’s cloud, significantly reducing the computation strain on your computer.

Whereas, if you select Site-to-Site AWS, which offers integration with other AWS services, it accelerates your system’s performance up to 60%, which works significantly for long-range communications.

So, It doesn’t matter whether you go for AWS Client VPN or Site-to-Site VPN; your data will always stay safe and non-hackable. 

Final Thoughts

Given so many choices, figuring out whether AWS VPN is the right fit for your company is tricky. 

But, once you choose to go with either product of AWS VPN, be it AWS Client VPN or AWS Site-to-Site VPN, or both, you will not regret it.

Because both systems use military-level encryption to safeguard your data, have an affordable pricing structure, and are highly-powerful and flexible VPNs available in the market. So, choose wisely!


Is AWS VPN free?

If you have an already existing AWS account, then VPN usage is free for you. However, you might have to pay charges to access fewer services, including geographical ones. 

What IPSec stands for?

An IPSec is a protocol suite for ensuring Internet Protocol(IP) communications by affirming and encrypting each IP packet of a data stream. 

What defines billable VPN connection hours?

VPN connection hours are charged anytime your VPN connections are available or active. And if you no longer wish to use the connection, you can simply disconnect the network.

What is a Client VPN endpoint?

It is a regional construct that one configures to use the services. To configure the Client VPN endpoint, one should specify their authentication details, server certificate information, client IP address location, logging and VPN options. 

How do I set up AWS Client VPN?

The IT administrator setups a Client VPN endpoint, associates a target network to that endpoint, and establishes the access policies to allow end-user connectivity.

The administrator then distributes the client VPN configuration file to the end users. The end users download an OpenVPN client and use that configuration file to build their VPN session. 

What is a target network?

It is a network you associate with the Client VPN endpoint to provide secure access to AWS and on-premise resources and is currently a subnet in your Amazon VPC.

What types of devices and operating system versions are supported by AWS VPN?

The desktop client currently supports 64-bit Windows 10, MacOS(Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur), and Ubuntu Linux(18.04 and 20.04) devices.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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