systemctl status openvpn
● openvpn.service - OpenVPN service
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/openvpn.service; enabled)
   Active: active (exited) since Thu 2017-02-16 15:11:44 EST; 22h ago
  Process: 29607 ExecStart=/bin/true (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 29607 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   CGroup: /system.slice/openvpn.service


Feb 16 15:11:44 server.local systemd[1]: Started OpenVPN service.
Feb 16 15:15:20 server.local systemd[1]: Started OpenVPN service.
Feb 16 15:15:47 server.local systemd[1]: Started OpenVPN service.
Feb 16 15:22:37 server.local systemd[1]: Started OpenVPN service.
Feb 16 15:23:44 server.local systemd[1]: Started OpenVPN service.
Feb 17 13:36:16 server.local systemd[1]: Started OpenVPN service.


I've looked in /var/log/syslog and don't see anything. I've checked in /etc/openvpn for logs and nothing.


port 1194
proto udp
dev tun
ca ca.crt
cert server.crt
key server.key
dh dh2048.pem
ifconfig-pool-persist ipp.txt
push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp"
push "dhcp-option DNS"
push "dhcp-option DNS"
keepalive 10 120
max-clients 100
user root
group root
status openvpn-status.log
log         openvpn.log
log-append  openvpn.log
verb 9
mute 20

How can I figure out why it will not start?

This is:

cat /etc/debian_version
  • Why is your openvpn binary called /bin/true? ExecStart=/bin/true – Phillip -Zyan K Lee- Stockmann Feb 17 '17 at 19:24
  • Do not know. I installed from apt-get – Jason Feb 17 '17 at 19:27
  • Has to be something Debian-specific. Even so I can't imagine any reason to be starting /bin/true instead of, you know, OpenVPN. My second thought would be to file a bug report (and you probably don't want to know my first thought). – Michael Hampton Feb 17 '17 at 23:37
  • @MichaelHampton I probably know your first thought.. but I will dig deeper and bug report this. I've installed OpenVPN over 20 times this month and I've gotten it down to 5-10 minutes so this was the first time I've had this happen. – Jason Feb 18 '17 at 0:58

Like nearly every other of systemctl's .service files, one can find the relevant openvpn .service files in /lib/systemd/system.

As explained by openvpn's service file located at /lib/systemd/system/openvpn.service:

# This service is actually a systemd target,
# but we are using a service since targets cannot be reloaded.

One instead finds the proper .service file in openvpn@.service, indicating that he should start the openvpn service under his desired user with systemctl start openvpn@whicheveruser.service and enable the openvpn service with systemctl enable openvpn@whicheveruser.service.

The default openvpn@.service loads its configuration from /etc/openvpn/whicheveruser.conf. If one wants to change this, perhaps to /etc/openvpn/server.conf, he should alter openvpn@.service's ExecStart command to his preference.

  • 1
    What on earth is Debian doing here? – Michael Hampton Feb 19 '17 at 6:52
  • EL uses the same syntax @MichaelHampton. – Iain Feb 19 '17 at 7:16
  • 1
    @istheEnglishway EL does not have an openvpn.service, only openvpn@.service. – Michael Hampton Feb 19 '17 at 7:19

So I finally fixed this or it just started working when I came back to it a day later.

After doing a systemctl daemon-reload again it seems to have fixed the issue and I was able to start OpenVPN. Not sure why this installation was different then all the one's I've done time and time before.

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