Can I use a privacy VPN alongside Zerotier? How

This may have already been asked before, I’m very new to networking and I’m getting confused. I am currently using HMA VPN service for privacy. With the VPN connected I’m unable to connect with my home network through Zerotier.

Is there a way to make it so I can use zerotier while also using a privacy VPN? If so, how do I set that up? I have a computer running windows 10 and another running Ubuntu. If there is a tutorial that anyone could link that would be great too.

Short answer: It’s not easy.

Trying to do both directly on a Windows 10 computer, I only ever managed to succeed by connecting to my VPN (Mullvad) manually using the OpenVPN client and then creating a bunch of custom firewall rules to force everything except ZeroTier through that. It was complicated (for me, also a networking rookie) and very frustrating and there was no “one guide to do all of this” anywhere.

Since then, I changed tactics and started using a router running OpenWrt that lets me run WireGuard to connect to my VPN (still Mullvad) and also run ZeroTier in a routing configuration.

It’s still plenty complicated and takes some setup (obviously getting a supported router and setting up OpenWrt in the first place), but the advantages are huge:

  1. Cover all devices in your LAN at once for both privacy VPN and ZeroTier. With Mullvad, I’m allowed 5 “devices”, but they consider the router and everything behind it to be a single device.

  2. No need to install anything on your computers. No VPN software, no ZeroTier “app”.

  3. You can put other devices behind the VPN too.

The disadvantages:

  1. Bypassing the VPN when needed is a little more tricky than just clicking an “OFF” button in a VPN app. But still doable!

  2. Ditto keeping certain devices off the VPN (i.e. streaming box, game console, TV with Netflix app, etc).

  3. Still no “this one guide shows how to do everything” that I’ve managed to find. But the OpenWrt packages for WireGuard and ZeroTier are fundamentally compatible with pretty good respective setup guides and everything else is just configuration details.

If you decide to try the router option, I’d be happy to help you out. I’ve been working on a guide to post on the OpenWrt forums since I’ve just done this whole setup on a new router recently.

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