Getting VPN working on Kodi on Retropie

If you missed out on getting a NES Classic like me, then you might have considered setting up a retropie. The Raspberry Pi is a small single board computer that can be used to teach basic computer science, they’re priced under $40 so anyone can buy them to tinker with. In this case we’re loading it with retropie to emulate old video game systems.

Another neat thing you can do in retropie is run Kodi, an open source media player. Through Kodi you can stream music and videos, but if the place you’re streaming from is not legal in your country you could run into troubles with your ISP. Some streaming sites may block you based on your location. For privacy and for your own protection, getting a VPN can give you peace of mind.

After some research I was able to install the VPN manager add-on in Kodi. But it wouldn’t work.

The error I would get was “the openvpn executable isn’t writing out a log” and “”The OpenVPN executable isn’t working.” I googled around and found the solution in this Reddit thread. It’s quoted below, so if you get stuck trying to configure your VPN, try this. Also, if you use PIA like me, make sure you generate a PPTP/L2TP/SOCKS user name and password from the control panel, the default username and password PIA assigned will not work here.

  • Get a USB drive ready and download this file from github then copy it onto the USB drive. It is a .zip file with VPN Manager for OpenVPN created by Zomboided. (all credit to him/her)
  • Plug that USB drive now into your Raspberry Pie (with Kodi already opened)
  • Navigate to SYSTEM -> SETTINGS
  • Scroll down to ADD-ONS
  • Click INSTALL FROM ZIP FILE
  • Find your USB drive from the list and click on it.
  • Click on REPOSITORY.ZOMBOIDED.PLUGINS-1.0.0.ZIP and it should have a pop up saying the repository was added/updated.
  • Hit ESC on your keyboard and then scroll up to INSTALL FROM REPOSITORY.
  • Scroll down and click on ZOMBOIDED ADD-ON REPOSITORY -> SERVCES -> VPN MANAGER FOR OPENVPN
  • Click INSTALL and it should install the program for you!

 

CONGRATULATIONS! You are half way there! Give yourself a pat on the back! You earned it! .^

 

  • Hit escape on your keyboard to back out to the main Kodi screen
  • Scroll over to PROGRAMS -> VPN MANAGER FOR OPENVPN
  • Click on ADD-ON SETTINGS
  • Now comes the fun part! Change the VPN Provider to the VPN you use (I use Private Internet Access) and enter in your Username and Password. Don’t change anything else.
  • Scroll to the top and move right until you get to DEBUG.
  • Click ENABLE DEBUG FOR JUST VPN MANAGER
  • Make sure USE SUDO WITH OPENVPN AND KILLALL is set to ‘default’ or ‘always’
  • Click ‘ALWAYS USE KODI LOG DIRECTORY FOR OPENVPN LOG
  • Scroll back up to the top and left until you get to VPN CONNECTIONS
  • Click FIRST VPN CONNECTION and choose any one of the servers it offers you!

 

If it works it’ll have a pop-up saying it was successful and you can now verify by clicking DISPLAY VPN STATUS.

 

If there was an error saying: “The OpenVPN executable isn’t working. Check the log” then you are in the same place I was in.. but I HAVE THE SOLUTION!

 

Exit out of kodi and let your Raspberry Pie load into EmulationStation. Once it is loaded, hit F4 on your keyboard and it will back you out to a command prompt style screen. Type these commands in EXACTLY:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openvpn
sudo apt-get install psmisc    

Load back into Kodi and it should work!

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