Do I need any special software? What should I do to connect to a L2TP/IPSec VPN?

  • The mac included VPN client on 10.6 is very full featured. I've never needed custom client software except when admin don't want to tell me their settings and instead want to send a cisco file with the shared secret embedded. L2TP and IPSEC are well established standards and you shouldn't have any issues if you take care to enter the config properly and match on both ends.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 15:07
  • Great! Where's that client? (forgive noobishness)
    – Pitto
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 16:35
  • It's hidden well :-) noobishness is next to godliness in my book. Beginners mind is something ever so valuable - hang on to it ;-)
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 17:24
  • When I look at the location of the vpn settings I clearly understand how it was logic to find it there. But I also picture a evil mad scientist cackling at the table where they decided to put it hidden behind a small + in the Network panel.
    – Pitto
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 7:43
  • I think the brilliant designers of clean UI also have a bit of evil mad scientist in them. The level of trust that Apple shows is astounding. Just assume 99% of the users are totally lost by this minimalism until they learn (no one just figures it out). And the designers are OK with that since once you know, it will forever save you space on screen. The unspoken bargain is they will never again change the -/+ idiom on a whim (which is why the scrolling and spaces dialog is so animated surrounding Lion's changes)
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


I would start with the built-in VPN software on the mac. You basically add a new network interface of the VPN kind.

Here's the quick tour:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. select Network
  3. add a new VPN interface to match your server settings

enter image description here

The Finder help menu has several articles worth reading - the top 5 hits show how to understand, set up, use as well as basic troubleshooting. Apple's support site has more in-depth information if you need to learn how to set up a VPN server (it's geared to the OS X server, but the concepts are the same on any server and once you get the terminology, the button location won't matter so much)

enter image description here

  • 1
    Classy answer! :D
    – Pitto
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 16:56
  • I've found out that using apple + shift + 4 I can do wicked pics like that. Now all I need is you to confess how to create those cute arrows. Photoshop is clearly not an answer because it involves much too clicking for this kind of result. I'm right, am I not?
    – Pitto
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 7:51
  • 1
    Skitch is the answer - itunes.apple.com/us/app/skitch/id425955336?mt=12 - there might still be a free version on their website, but it might also be tied to a hosting plan.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 13:53
  • God bless you! :)
    – Pitto
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 15:32

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