[HowTo] Set up your LIACS VPN (or: do this if you want access to the Leiden SFX repository of scientific articles on Google Scholar)
Posted: 18 September 2012 10:13 PM
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Ok kids I figured something out the other day and I figured I’d take some time to share it with you guys.

So, being the good students that you all are, you have undoubtedly tried to find scientific articles on Google Scholar and found that you cannot access the Leiden SFX articles from home. Going to the Settings > Library Links page shows this:

This is a problem. But you don’t have to go all the way to the faculty to do this! Follow my x step instructions and you’ll be set. I did this on Windows 7, I’ll try to do it for Ubuntu too. If you’re on a Mac, sorry I can’t help you. If you can figure it out, please post it here. It’s really really simple, even I could do it. It’s got pictures, too!

1. Login to the VPN website
Ok, first, go to https://vpn.liacs.nl/.

Login using your Linux username and pass. It’s the one that Maarten gave us on the paper that we had to sign. You can change this, ask me if you wanna know how.

2. Set your VPN password
Ok now set a password for your VPN connection. I don’t think it has to be a very strong pass, but one of the restrictions is, it can’t be your linux pass.

Hit ‘Set’ and you’re set. You don’t have to log in ever again here. Unless you want to change your password.

3. Create a new VPN
Ok this is where your mileage may vary if you have a different version of Windows. This is for Win7, if you have a different version you’ll have to figure it out yourself.

Open up network and sharing center from Control Panel, and choose Set up a new connection or network.

Then, choose connect to a workplace. Click ‘Use my existing Internet connection

In the next screen, type vpn.liacs.nl for Internet address. Destination name doesn’t matter much

In the screen after that, fill out your Linux username and the password you specified in step 2.
Hit next and you’re all set! Unless…


4. Specify type of VPN
The first time I did this, everything worked. But when I tried to retrace my steps to make this awesome howto, it didn’t work. It hung at “Verifying Username and Password”. Apparently the VPN had the wrong type specified. It decided on it’s own it was a IKEv2 connection while it should be a PPTP. Windows… what can you say :/

If this happens to you, go to ‘Change Adapter Settings’ in the Network Sharing Center, rightclick your newly created VPN connection. Then, in the Security Tab, chose ‘Point to Point Tunneling Protocol’ for ‘type of VPN’.

5. Profit!
Hit refresh in your browser, et voila!


Well I hope it works for you! Buy me a beer some day if this saved you going to the Uni :p If this breaks your computer.. well firstly I don’t accept any liability and secondly doing this probably didn’t cause it.

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Posted: 19 September 2012 05:18 AM   [ # 1 ]
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Thanks for the tutorial. I got it working on OS X and iOS using your settings, I’ll post a tutorial later on the day (have to go to Snellius now).

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Posted: 19 September 2012 06:43 AM   [ # 2 ]
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Using VPN on OS X

1. Login to the VPN website

Same as how Wouter described it.

2. Set your VPN password

Same as how Wouter described it.

3. Create a new VPN

Go to the “System Preferences” or “Systeemvoorkeuren” in OS X. You can access it by clicking the Apple symbol in the top-left corner of your screen and clicking the menu item.

Go to “Network” and click on the plus-symbol in the bottom-left corner of the window.

Just like in the screenshot, use “VPN” for the interface, “PPTP” for the VPN type and “LIACS” for the service name.

After you’ve created the new interface, use “vpn.liacs.nl” for the server address and type your LIACS username in the “account name” field.

4. Extra VPN settings

If you want to use Google Scholar, there is one extra step that’s necessary. Click the “Advanced” button in the bottom right corner. Be sure to check “Send all traffic over VPN connection”, and click “OK”.

5. Finish up and connect

Click the “Apply” button to save all settings.

You can click the “Connect” button to connect to the VPN server. Enter your username and password

That’s all there is to it. You are now connected and you can use Google Scholar.

Pro tip: Use the “Show VPN status in menu bar” checkbox to add a VPN icon to your menu bar. That way it’s easier to connect to the LIACS VPN server.

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Posted: 19 September 2012 06:52 AM   [ # 3 ]
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Using iOS

1. Login to the VPN website

Same as how Wouter described it.

2. Set your VPN password

Same as how Wouter described it.

3. Create a VPN

Go to the “Settings” app in iOS. In the main menu, go to “VPN”. If this item is not available, go to “General” > “Network” > “VPN”. Tap “Add VPN Configuration”.

Tap the “PPTP” button and, just like in the screenshot, use “LIACS” for the description, “vpn.liacs.nl” for the server and type your LIACS username in the “account” field. If you’re ready, tap the “Save” button.

4. Finish up and connect

Make sure that the LIACS VPN is selected and tap the switch next to “VPN”.

That’s all there is to it. You are now connected and you can use Google Scholar.

As you can see, it is also possible to use the VPN server on 3G. You milage may vary if you are not on the T-Mobile network.

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Posted: 21 September 2012 10:16 AM   [ # 4 ]
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Works, awesome. Thanks

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Posted: 21 September 2012 11:30 AM   [ # 5 ]
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Well done Bobbie, awesome. I tried to do it in Ubuntu but it didn’t work for me as of yet, but I’m not sure if anyone else is using that OS anyway. Some people voiced some concerns about the security certificate that didn’t match up or something. To be honest I don’t know about all that. Check with the LIACS technical helpdesk to see if it’s safe.

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Posted: 21 September 2012 02:40 PM   [ # 6 ]
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Perfect tutorial! Thanks a lot.

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Posted: 21 September 2012 07:53 PM   [ # 7 ]
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looove it!!

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Posted: 14 March 2013 12:06 PM   [ # 8 ]
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For those who haven’t seen it on the Facebook page. Hereby is how to setup your VPN connection in Linux:

1. Go through the steps at vpn.liacs.nl that are recommended in above posts.

2. Create your vpn connection by making sure it recognizes it being of the type PPtP! If not, change it in the configurations.

3. In the password field, choose saved, and enter tje VPN pass you chose above.

4. One think after reading around forums to do is to UNcheck ‘apply to all users’. Seems stupid to me, but turns out it can create some problems.

5. Go to terminal and enter ‘ssh your_liacs_email_ssh.liacs.nl’  it will ask you for password. Enter the password OF YOUR LIACS ACCOUNT!!!

6. Now try to connect to the vpn network - it should turn out fine.

If not, I guess even without it, you can still access pages as being part of the LIACS network. What this does, apperantly, is to connect you to the ‘silver’ network which is the VPN of LIACS. Good luck.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 12:09 PM   [ # 9 ]
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Sweet! Thx bro!

Just for clarification, because I was too stupid to get it right the first time

“ssh [username][at]ssh.liacs.nl”

Where the underscores are should be your login name you use for the debian machines at the ground floor.

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