VPN Policy Based Routing for Hostnames

I need to route traffic to our staging server (and the production server, so I can access our administration interface) through a VPN. But I don’t want to have to connect to the VPN all of the time, it should automatically stay up, but only route traffic that goes to the specific sites.

I’ve had limited success with using domain-name based VPN policy routing on OpenWRT. It feels like it doesn’t really work. It could be that it doesn’t add all of the IP addresses for each domain name, and if the IP address changes, then it stops working.

Turns out these are distinct problems, but it is possible to solve both of them.

Instead of trying to configure it using the UI, you can add a new “Custom User File Include” at the bottom. I have /etc/vpn-policy-routing.<name>.user, with the following:


HOSTS='<production-server> <staging-server>'

for host in $HOSTS
  host $host | grep -v 'IPv6' | awk -v ipset="$TARGET_IPSET" '{print "add " ipset " " $(NF)}' | ipset restore
  host $host | grep 'IPv6' | awk -v ipset="$TARGET_IPSET" '{print "add " ipset "6 " $(NF)}' | ipset restore

Because the two ipset targets need to be different (wg for IPv4, and wg6 for IPv6), then we need to deal with them differently.

In this case, we just iterate through each hostname, and extract each matching IP address. We then create a string that looks like add wg (or the IPv6 version), and pass these to ipset restore.

You will want to make sure that your IP addresses are only added using this method, as ipset restore will complain about duplicates.

You can execute this file directly, to see that it works.

Then, the other part of the problem is making sure this is kept up to date. I use a cron job to /etc/init.d/vpn-policy-routing reload every 10 minutes.

You will need to put this file back after updating OpenWRT, which is a bit annoying. Took me a while to figure out why my VPN connection was not routing correctly.