Configure a Point-to-Site connection to a VNet using the Azure portal

This article shows you how to create a VNet with a Point-to-Site connection in the Resource Manager deployment model using the Azure portal. You can also create this configuration using a different deployment tool or deployment model by selecting a different option from the following list:

Important

6/22/2017: Currently, there is an issue with the VPN client download package that is generated. We are working on a fix for this issue right now. This message will be removed when the issue has been resolved.

A Point-to-Site (P2S) configuration lets you create a secure connection from an individual client computer to a virtual network. Point-to-Site connections are useful when you want to connect to your VNet from a remote location, such as from home or a conference, or when you only have a few clients that need to connect to a virtual network. The P2S VPN connection is initiated from the client computer using the native Windows VPN client. Connecting clients use certificates to authenticate.

Point-to-Site-diagram

Point-to-Site connections do not require a VPN device or a public-facing IP address. P2S creates the VPN connection over SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol). On the server side, we support SSTP versions 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2. The client decides which version to use. For Windows 8.1 and above, SSTP uses 1.2 by default. For more information about Point-to-Site connections, see the Point-to-Site FAQ at the end of this article.

P2S connections require the following:

  • A RouteBased VPN gateway.
  • The public key (.cer file) for a root certificate, uploaded to Azure. This is considered a trusted certificate and is used for authentication.
  • A client certificate generated from the root certificate, and installed on each client computer that will connect. This certificate is used for client authentication.
  • A VPN client configuration package must be generated and installed on every client computer that connects. The client configuration package configures the native VPN client that is already on the operating system with the necessary information to connect to the VNet.

Example values

You can use the following values to create a test environment, or refer to these values to better understand the examples in this article:

  • Name: VNet1
  • Address space: 192.168.0.0/16
    For this example, we use only one address space. You can have more than one address space for your VNet.
  • Subnet name: FrontEnd
  • Subnet address range: 192.168.1.0/24
  • Subscription: If you have more than one subscription, verify that you are using the correct one.
  • Resource Group: TestRG
  • Location: East US
  • GatewaySubnet: 192.168.200.0/24
  • Virtual network gateway name: VNet1GW
  • Gateway type: VPN
  • VPN type: Route-based
  • Public IP address: VNet1GWpip
  • Connection type: Point-to-site
  • Client address pool: 172.16.201.0/24
    VPN clients that connect to the VNet using this Point-to-Site connection receive an IP address from the client address pool.

1 - Create a virtual network

Before beginning, verify that you have an Azure subscription. If you don't already have an Azure subscription, you can activate your MSDN subscriber benefits or sign up for a free account. If you are creating this configuration as an exercise, you can refer to the example values.

To create a VNet in the Resource Manager deployment model by using the Azure portal, follow the steps below. The screenshots are provided as examples. Be sure to replace the values with your own. For more information about working with virtual networks, see the Virtual Network Overview.

  1. From a browser, navigate to the Azure portal and, if necessary, sign in with your Azure account.
  2. Click New. In the Search the marketplace field, type "Virtual Network". Locate Virtual Network from the returned list and click to open the Virtual Network blade.

    Locate Virtual Network resource blade

  3. Near the bottom of the Virtual Network blade, from the Select a deployment model list, select Resource Manager, and then click Create.

    Select Resource Manager

  4. On the Create virtual network blade, configure the VNet settings. When you fill in the fields, the red exclamation mark will become a green check mark when the characters entered in the field are valid.

    Field validation

  5. The Create virtual network blade looks similar to the following example. There may be values that are auto-filled. If so, replace the values with your own.

    Create virtual network blade

  6. Name: Enter the name for your Virtual Network.
  7. Address space: Enter the address space. If you have multiple address spaces to add, add your first address space. You can add additional address spaces later, after creating the VNet.
  8. Subnet name: Add the subnet name and subnet address range. You can add additional subnets later, after creating the VNet.
  9. Subscription: Verify that the Subscription listed is the correct one. You can change subscriptions by using the drop-down.
  10. Resource group: Select an existing resource group, or create a new one by typing a name for your new resource group. If you are creating a new group, name the resource group according to your planned configuration values. For more information about resource groups, visit Azure Resource Manager Overview.
  11. Location: Select the location for your VNet. The location determines where the resources that you deploy to this VNet will reside.
  12. Select Pin to dashboard if you want to be able to find your VNet easily on the dashboard, and then click Create.

    Pin to dashboard

  13. After clicking Create, you will see a tile on your dashboard that will reflect the progress of your VNet. The tile changes as the VNet is being created.

    Creating virtual network tile

2 - Specify address space and subnets

You can add additional address space and subnets to your VNet once it has been created.

To add address space

  1. To add additional address space, under the Settings section for your virtual network blade, click Address space to open the Address space blade.
  2. Add the additional address space, and then click Save at the top of the blade.

    Add address space

To create subnets

  1. To create subnets, in the Settings section of your virtual network blade, click Subnets to open the Subnets blade.
  2. In the Subnets blade, click +Subnet to open the Add subnet blade. Name your new subnet and specify the address range.

    Subnet settings

  3. Click OK at the bottom of the blade to save your changes.

    Subnet settings

3 - Add a gateway subnet

Before connecting your virtual network to a gateway, you first need to create the gateway subnet for the virtual network to which you want to connect. The gateway services use the IP addresses specified in the gateway subnet. If possible, create a gateway subnet using a CIDR block of /28 or /27 to provide enough IP addresses to accommodate additional future configuration requirements.

The screenshots in this section are provided as a reference example. Be sure to use the GatewaySubnet address range that corresponds with the required values for your configuration.

To create a gateway subnet

  1. In the portal, navigate to the Resource Manager virtual network for which you want to create a virtual network gateway.
  2. In the Settings section of your VNet blade, click Subnets to expand the Subnets blade.
  3. On the Subnets blade, click +Gateway subnet to open the Add subnet blade.

    Add the gateway subnet

  4. The Name for your subnet is automatically filled in with the value 'GatewaySubnet'. This value is required in order for Azure to recognize the subnet as the gateway subnet. Adjust the auto-filled Address range values to match your configuration requirements.

    Adding the subnet

  5. To create the subnet, click OK at the bottom of the blade.

4 - Specify a DNS server (optional)

After you create your virtual network, you can add the IP address of a DNS server to handle name resolution. The DNS server specified should be a DNS server that can resolve the names for the resources you are connecting to. The VPN client configuration package that you generate in a later step will contain the IP addresses of the DNS servers that you specify in this setting. If you need to update the list of DNS servers in the future, you can generate and install new VPN client configuration packages that reflect the new list.

  1. On the Settings page for your virtual network, navigate to DNS Servers and click to open the DNS servers blade.

    Add DNS server

    • DNS Servers: Select select Custom.
    • Add DNS server: Enter the IP address of the DNS server that you want to use for name resolution.
  2. When you are done adding DNS servers, click Save at the top of the blade.

5 - Create a virtual network gateway

Point-to-site connections require the following settings:

  • Gateway type: VPN
  • VPN type: Route-based

To create a virtual network gateway

  1. In the portal, on the left side, click + and type 'Virtual Network Gateway' in search. Locate Virtual network gateway in the search return and click the entry. On the Virtual network gateway blade, click Create at the bottom of the blade. This opens the Create virtual network gateway blade.
  2. On the Create virtual network gateway blade, fill in the values for your virtual network gateway.

    Create virtual network gateway blade fields

  3. Name: Name your gateway. This is not the same as naming a gateway subnet. It's the name of the gateway object you are creating.
  4. Gateway type: Select VPN. VPN gateways use the virtual network gateway type VPN.
  5. VPN type: Select the VPN type that is specified for your configuration. Most configurations require a Route-based VPN type.
  6. SKU: Select the gateway SKU from the dropdown. The SKUs listed in the dropdown depend on the VPN type you select.
  7. Location: Adjust the Location field to point to the location where your virtual network is located. If the location is not pointing to the region where your virtual network resides, the virtual network doesn't appear in the 'Choose a virtual network' dropdown.
  8. Choose the virtual network to which you want to add this gateway. Click Virtual network to open the Choose a virtual network blade. Select the VNet. If you don't see your VNet, make sure the Location field is pointing to the region in which your virtual network is located.
  9. Public IP address: This blade creates a public IP address object to which a public IP address will be dynamically assigned. Click Public IP address to open the Choose public IP address blade. Click +Create New to open the Create public IP address blade. Input a name for your public IP address. Click OK to save your changes to this blade. The IP address is dynamically assigned when the VPN gateway is created. VPN Gateway currently only supports Dynamic Public IP address allocation. However, this does not mean that the IP address changes after it has been assigned to your VPN gateway. The only time the Public IP address changes is when the gateway is deleted and re-created. It doesn't change across resizing, resetting, or other internal maintenance/upgrades of your VPN gateway.
  10. Subscription: Verify that the correct subscription is selected.
  11. Resource group: This setting is determined by the Virtual Network that you select.
  12. Don't adjust the Location after you've specified the previous settings.
  13. Verify the settings. If you want your gateway to appear on the dashboard, you can select Pin to dashboard at the bottom of the blade.
  14. Click Create to begin creating the gateway. The settings are validated and the gateway will deploy. Creating a gateway can take up to 45 minutes.
  15. After the gateway is created, you can view the IP address that has been assigned to it by looking at the virtual network in the portal. The gateway appears as a connected device. You can click the connected device (your virtual network gateway) to view more information.

6 - Generate certificates

Certificates are used by Azure to authenticate VPN clients for Point-to-Site VPNs. You upload the public key information of the root certificate to Azure. The public key is then considered 'trusted'. Client certificates must be generated from the trusted root certificate, and then installed on each client computer in the Certificates-Current User/Personal certificate store. The certificate is used to authenticate the client when it initiates a connection to the VNet.

If you use self-signed certificates, they must be created using specific parameters. You can create a self-signed certificate using the instructions for PowerShell and Windows 10, or MakeCert. It's important that you follow the steps in these instructions when working with self-signed root certificates and generating client certificates from the self-signed root certificate. Otherwise, the certificates you create will not be compatible with P2S connections and you will receive a connection error.

Step 1 - Obtain the .cer file for the root certificate

You can use either a root certificate that was generated using an enterprise solution (recommended), or you can generate a self-signed certificate. If you use a self-signed certificate, use the steps in the Create a self-signed root certificate for Point-to-Site connections article. These steps use specific settings necessary to generate a P2S-compatible certificate.

After creating the root certificate, you export the public certificate data (not the private key) as a Base-64 encoded X.509 .cer file. You then upload the public certificate data from the root certificate to Azure.

  • Enterprise certificate: If you are using an enterprise solution, you can use your existing certificate chain. Obtain the .cer file for the root certificate that you want to use.
  • Self-signed root certificate: If you are not using an enterprise certificate solution, you need to create a self-signed root certificate. The root certificate must contain specific values in order to work with a Point-to-Site connection. See the following articles for instructions:

Step 2 - Generate a client certificate

Each client computer that connects to a VNet using Point-to-Site must have a client certificate installed. The client certificate is generated from the root certificate and installed on each client computer. If a valid client certificate is not installed and the client tries to connect to the VNet, authentication fails.

You can either generate a unique certificate for each client, or you can use the same certificate for multiple clients. The advantage to generating unique client certificates is the ability to revoke a single certificate. Otherwise, if multiple clients are using the same client certificate and you need to revoke it, you have to generate and install new certificates for all the clients that use that certificate to authenticate.

You can generate client certificates using the following methods:

  • Enterprise certificate:

    • If you are using an enterprise certificate solution, generate a client certificate with the common name value format 'name@yourdomain.com', rather than the 'domain name\username' format.
    • Make sure the client certificate is based on the 'User' certificate template that has 'Client Authentication' as the first item in the use list, rather than Smart Card Logon, etc. You can check the certificate by double-clicking the client certificate and viewing Details > Enhanced Key Usage.
  • Self-signed root certificate: Use these instructions to generate a client certificate: Generate a client certificate using PowerShell and Windows 10. The instructions include the parameters that are required to create a P2S-compatible client certificate. When you generate the client certificate, it's automatically installed on the computer that you used to generate it. If you want to install a client certificate on another client computer, you need to export it as a .pfx, along with the entire certificate chain. This will create a .pfx file that you can install on your client computer which contains the required the root certificate information. Follow the instructions to export the certificate.

7 - Add the client address pool

The client address pool is a range of private IP addresses that you specify. The clients that connect over P2S receive an IP address from this range. Use a private IP address range that does not overlap with the on-premises location that you will connect from, or the VNet that you want to connect to.

  1. Once the virtual network gateway has been created, navigate to the Settings section of the virtual network gateway blade. In the Settings section, click Point-to-site configuration to open the Configuration blade.

    Point-to-Site blade

  2. You can delete the auto-filled range, then add the private IP address range that you want to use. Click Save to validate and save the setting.

    Client address pool

8 - Upload the root certificate .cer file

After the gateway has been created, you can upload the .cer file (which contains the public key information) for a trusted root certificate to Azure. Once a.cer file is uploaded, Azure can use it to authenticate clients that have installed a client certificate generated from the trusted root certificate. You can upload additional trusted root certificate files - up to a total of 20 - later, if needed.

  1. Certificates are added on the Point-to-site configuration blade in the Root certificate section.
  2. Make sure that you exported the root certificate as a Base-64 encoded X.509 (.cer) file. You need to export the certificate in this format so you can open the certificate with text editor.
  3. Open the certificate with a text editor, such as Notepad. When copying the certificate data, make sure that you copy the text as one continuous line without carriage returns or line feeds. You may need to modify your view in the text editor to 'Show Symbol/Show all characters' to see the carriage returns and line feeds. Copy only the following section as one continuous line:

    Certificate data

  4. Paste the certificate data into the Public Certificate Data field. Name the certificate, and then click Save. You can add up to 20 trusted root certificates.

    Certificate upload

9 - Install the VPN client configuration package

To connect to a VNet using a Point-to-Site VPN, each client must install a package to configure the native Windows VPN client. The configuration package configures the native Windows VPN client with the settings necessary to connect to the virtual network and, if you specified a DNS server for your VNet, it contains the DNS server IP address the client will use for name resolution. If you change the specified DNS server later, after generating the client configuration package, be sure to generate a new client configuration package to install on your client computers.

You can use the same VPN client configuration package on each client computer, as long as the version matches the architecture for the client. For the list of client operating systems that are supported, see the Point-to-Site connections FAQ at the end of this article.

Step 1 - Download the client configuration package

  1. On the Point-to-site configuration blade, click Download VPN client to open the Download VPN client blade. It takes a minute or two for the package to generate.

    VPN client download 1

  2. Select the correct package for your client, and then click Download. Save the configuration package file. You install the VPN client configuration package on each client computer that connects to the virtual network.

    VPN client download 2

Step 2 - Install the client configuration package

  1. Copy the configuration file locally to the computer that you want to connect to your virtual network.
  2. Double-click the .exe file to install the package on the client computer. Because you created the configuration package, it is not signed and you may see a warning. If you get a Windows SmartScreen popup, click More info (on the left), then Run anyway to install the package.
  3. Install the package on the client computer. If you get a Windows SmartScreen popup, click More info (on the left), then Run anyway to install the package.
  4. On the client computer, navigate to Network Settings and click VPN. The VPN connection shows the name of the virtual network that it connects to.

10 - Install the client certificate

If you want to create a P2S connection from a client computer other than the one you used to generate the client certificates, you need to install a client certificate. When installing a client certificate, you need the password that was created when the client certificate was exported. Typically, this is just a matter of double-clicking the certificate and installing it. For more information see, Install an exported client certificate.

11 - Connect to Azure

  1. To connect to your VNet, on the client computer, navigate to VPN connections and locate the VPN connection that you created. It is named the same name as your virtual network. Click Connect. A pop-up message may appear that refers to using the certificate. Click Continue to use elevated privileges.

  2. On the Connection status page, click Connect to start the connection. If you see a Select Certificate screen, verify that the client certificate showing is the one that you want to use to connect. If it is not, use the drop-down arrow to select the correct certificate, and then click OK.

    VPN client connects to Azure

  3. Your connection is established.

    Connection established

If you are having trouble connecting, check the following items:

  • Open Manage user certificates and navigate to Trusted Root Certification Authorities\Certificates. Verify that the root certificate is listed. The root certificate must be present in order for authentication to work. When you export a client certificate .pfx using the default value 'Include all certificates in the certification path if possible', the root certificate information is also exported. When you install the client certificate, the root certificate is then also installed on the client computer.

  • If you are using a certificate that was issued using an Enterprise CA solution and are having trouble authenticating, check the authentication order on the client certificate. You can check the authentication list order by double-clicking the client certificate, and going to Details > Enhanced Key Usage. Make sure the list shows 'Client Authentication' as the first item. If not, you need to issue a client certificate based on the User template that has Client Authentication as the first item in the list.

12 - Verify your connection

  1. To verify that your VPN connection is active, open an elevated command prompt, and run ipconfig/all.
  2. View the results. Notice that the IP address you received is one of the addresses within the Point-to-Site VPN Client Address Pool that you specified in your configuration. The results are similar to this example:

     PPP adapter VNet1:
         Connection-specific DNS Suffix .:
         Description.....................: VNet1
         Physical Address................:
         DHCP Enabled....................: No
         Autoconfiguration Enabled.......: Yes
         IPv4 Address....................: 172.16.201.3(Preferred)
         Subnet Mask.....................: 255.255.255.255
         Default Gateway.................:
         NetBIOS over Tcpip..............: Enabled
    

If you are having trouble connecting to a virtual machine over P2S, use 'ipconfig' to check the IPv4 address assigned to the Ethernet adapter on the computer from which you are connecting. If the IP address is within the address range of the VNet that you are connecting to, or within the address range of your VPNClientAddressPool, this is referred to as an overlapping address space. When your address space overlaps in this way, the network traffic doesn't reach Azure, it stays on the local network. If your network address spaces don't overlap and you still can't connect to your VM, see Troubleshoot Remote Desktop connections to a VM.

Connect to a virtual machine

You can connect to a VM that is deployed to your VNet by creating a Remote Desktop Connection to your VM. The best way to initially verify that you can connect to your VM is to connect by using its private IP address, rather than computer name. That way, you are testing to see if you can connect, not whether name resolution is configured properly.

  1. Locate the private IP address. You can find the private IP address of a VM by either looking at the properties for the VM in the Azure portal, or by using PowerShell.

    • Azure portal - Locate your virtual machine in the Azure portal. View the properties for the VM. The private IP address is listed.

    • PowerShell - Use the example to view a list of VMs and private IP addresses from your resource groups. You don't need to modify this example before using it.

      $VMs = Get-AzureRmVM
      $Nics = Get-AzureRmNetworkInterface | Where VirtualMachine -ne $null
      
      foreach($Nic in $Nics)
      {
       $VM = $VMs | Where-Object -Property Id -eq $Nic.VirtualMachine.Id
       $Prv = $Nic.IpConfigurations | Select-Object -ExpandProperty PrivateIpAddress
       $Alloc = $Nic.IpConfigurations | Select-Object -ExpandProperty PrivateIpAllocationMethod
       Write-Output "$($VM.Name): $Prv,$Alloc"
      }
      
  2. Verify that you are connected to your VNet using the Point-to-Site VPN connection.

  3. Open Remote Desktop Connection by typing "RDP" or "Remote Desktop Connection" in the search box on the taskbar, then select Remote Desktop Connection. You can also open Remote Desktop Connection using the 'mstsc' command in PowerShell.
  4. In Remote Desktop Connection, enter the private IP address of the VM. You can click "Show Options" to adjust additional settings, then connect.

To troubleshoot an RDP connection to a VM

If you are having trouble connecting to a virtual machine over your VPN connection, check the following:

  • Verify that your VPN connection is successful.
  • Verify that you are connecting to the private IP address for the VM.
  • Use 'ipconfig' to check the IPv4 address assigned to the Ethernet adapter on the computer from which you are connecting. If the IP address is within the address range of the VNet that you are connecting to, or within the address range of your VPNClientAddressPool, this is referred to as an overlapping address space. When your address space overlaps in this way, the network traffic doesn't reach Azure, it stays on the local network.
  • If you can connect to the VM using the private IP address, but not the computer name, verify that you have configured DNS properly. For more information about how name resolution works for VMs, see Name Resolution for VMs.
  • Verify that the VPN client configuration package was generated after the DNS server IP addresses were specified for the VNet. If you updated the DNS server IP addresses, generate and install a new VPN client configuration package.
  • For more information about RDP connections, see Troubleshoot Remote Desktop connections to a VM.

Add or remove trusted root certificates

You can add and remove trusted root certificates from Azure. When you remove a root certificate, clients that have a certificate generated from that root won't be able to authenticate, and thus will not be able to connect. If you want a client to authenticate and connect, you need to install a new client certificate generated from a root certificate that is trusted (uploaded) to Azure.

To add a trusted root certificate

You can add up to 20 trusted root certificate .cer files to Azure. For instructions, see the section Upload a trusted root certificate in this article.

To remove a trusted root certificate

  1. To remove a trusted root certificate, navigate to the Point-to-site configuration blade for your virtual network gateway.
  2. In the Root certificate section of the blade, locate the certificate that you want to remove.
  3. Click the ellipsis next to the certificate, and then click 'Remove'.

Revoke a client certificate

You can revoke client certificates. The certificate revocation list allows you to selectively deny Point-to-Site connectivity based on individual client certificates. This differs from removing a trusted root certificate. If you remove a trusted root certificate .cer from Azure, it revokes the access for all client certificates generated/signed by the revoked root certificate. Revoking a client certificate, rather than the root certificate, allows the other certificates that were generated from the root certificate to continue to be used for authentication.

The common practice is to use the root certificate to manage access at team or organization levels, while using revoked client certificates for fine-grained access control on individual users.

To revoke a client certificate

You can revoke a client certificate by adding the thumbprint to the revocation list.

  1. Retrieve the client certificate thumbprint. For more information, see How to retrieve the Thumbprint of a Certificate.
  2. Copy the information to a text editor and remove all spaces so that it is a continuous string.
  3. Navigate to the virtual network gateway Point-to-site-configuration blade. This is the same blade that you used to upload a trusted root certificate.
  4. In the Revoked certificates section, input a friendly name for the certificate (it doesn't have to be the certificate CN).
  5. Copy and paste the thumbprint string to the Thumbprint field.
  6. The thumbprint will validate is automatically added to the revocation list. A message appears on the screen that the list is updating.
  7. After updating has completed, the certificate can no longer be used to connect. Clients that try to connect using this certificate receive a message saying that the certificate is no longer valid.

Point-to-Site FAQ

What client operating systems can I use with Point-to-Site?

The following client operating systems are supported:

  • Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit only)
  • Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2012 (64-bit only)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit only)
  • Windows 10

Can I use any software VPN client for Point-to-Site that supports SSTP?

No. Support is limited only to the Windows operating system versions listed above.

How many VPN client endpoints can I have in my Point-to-Site configuration?

We support up to 128 VPN clients to be able to connect to a virtual network at the same time.

Can I use my own internal PKI root CA for Point-to-Site connectivity?

Yes. Previously, only self-signed root certificates could be used. You can still upload 20 root certificates.

Can I traverse proxies and firewalls using Point-to-Site capability?

Yes. We use SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) to tunnel through firewalls. This tunnel will appear as an HTTPs connection.

If I restart a client computer configured for Point-to-Site, will the VPN automatically reconnect?

By default, the client computer will not reestablish the VPN connection automatically.

Does Point-to-Site support auto-reconnect and DDNS on the VPN clients?

Auto-reconnect and DDNS are currently not supported in Point-to-Site VPNs.

Can I have Site-to-Site and Point-to-Site configurations coexist for the same virtual network?

Yes. Both these solutions will work if you have a RouteBased VPN type for your gateway. For the classic deployment model, you need a dynamic gateway. We do not support Point-to-Site for static routing VPN gateways or gateways using the -VpnType PolicyBased cmdlet.

Can I configure a Point-to-Site client to connect to multiple virtual networks at the same time?

Yes, it is possible. But the virtual networks cannot have overlapping IP prefixes and the Point-to-Site address spaces must not overlap between the virtual networks.

How much throughput can I expect through Site-to-Site or Point-to-Site connections?

It's difficult to maintain the exact throughput of the VPN tunnels. IPsec and SSTP are crypto-heavy VPN protocols. Throughput is also limited by the latency and bandwidth between your premises and the Internet.

Next steps

Once your connection is complete, you can add virtual machines to your virtual networks. For more information, see Virtual Machines. To understand more about networking and virtual machines, see Azure and Linux VM network overview.