Aimed at journalists, small companies, and individuals, Outline is an open source project that comes in two parts: While companies can take advantage of an advanced mode to install Outline's server components onto an existing cloud server or an internal private server, most users can opt for the basic setup which is about as simple as it gets. Currently, Outline integrates with Digital Ocean using Digital Ocean's API and after signing in and authorizing Outline to make changes, it automatically spins up the lowest cost droplet and sets everything up.
Rather, what little configuration there is not much! The connection between the management application and the server is encrypted using a self-signed SSL certificate. The proxy server is based on a Shadowbox image that is imported using Docker and is kept up to date using Watchtower which is also installed on the droplet which checks every hour for updated images. A cron job is also automatically configured to run and apply security updates for the host Ubuntu operating system and reboot as needed.
Finally, a web server for management of it is installed in a secret path and run on a random port and only responds to queries if the secret path is specified and only over SSL. After watching Darren Kitchen and Shannon Morse over at Hak5 check it out, I decided to also fire it up to see if it really was that easy, and sure enough it is!
The entire process is very simple taking only a few minutes the longest step was finding my phone for the two factor authentications haha and the management of it at least seems very hands off with the automated updates. I think the hardest part about maintaining that security is going to be sharing the access with others as you would need a secure channel of communication to share the needed information with.
While you can generate the key easily enough for them, getting them their key for the client device could prove tricky if you are physically far away from them and do not already have a secure method of messaging e. Things are even simpler on the client side, after adding the server using the access key, all they have to do is hit a single connect button to get things connnected for most modern web browsers and other apps that respect the set Windows registry key.
In my case, after hitting connect, Chrome automatically configured the proxy settings and I was on my way. I did run into a hiccup with getting the Outline-client app, however. I was able to download it from the Outline website using Chrome and it installed fine, but when trying to grab it through the Get Connected option in the Outline Manager app, the download link opened automatically in Microsoft Edge which proceeded to flag the file as malicous and would not let me open it heh.
Hopefully they are able to get the false posiitive resolved as that may trip up normal users and make it harder to convince them to use your Outline proxy. So far I have not run into any other problems with it and things are running smoothly.
Outline is not a full VPN, but it is extremely easy to setup and share with others and may well be secure enough for most people. Users can opt-in to sharing anonymous metrics but they do not have to and the default setting is off which is good.
The downside is that right now it is still fairly new and not as vetted as some of the other options and while it is open source it is not necessarily free. Overall, it is a neat solution and I think it has promise. You can find both the Outline Manager and Outline Client at https: If you do end up checking it out, let me know what you think about it.
More screenshots can be found below.