Connecting to a VPN in Arch Linux with nmcli

arch-linux linux networking terminal

nmcli is the command line tool for interacting with NetworkManager.

For work I sometimes need to connect to a vpn using an .ovpn (openvpn) file.

This method should work for other vpn types (I’ve only used openvpn)

Installing the tools

All three of the required programs are available via the official Arch repositories.

Importing the ovpn file into your Network Manager

Once you’ve got the openvpn file on your computer, you can import it into your Network Manager configuration with the following command:

# Replace the file path with your own correct one.
nmcli connection import type openvpn file /path/to/your-file.ovpn

You should see a message saying that the connection was succesfully added.

Activate the connection

Activating the connection will connect you to the VPN specified with that .ovpn file.

nmcli connection up your-file

If you need to provide a password to your vpn connection, you can add the --ask flag, which will make the connection up command ask you for a password:

nmcli connection up your-file --ask


To disconnect from the VPN, just run the down command as follows:

nmcli connection down you-file

Network Manager on the Arch Wiki.