What is Tailscale?

LTS Wiki Page


According to the site:

Tailscale is a free and open source service, based on WireGuard®, that helps users build no-hassle virtual private networks. Once you’ve created a Tailscale network (tailnet), you can securely access services and devices on that tailnet from anywhere in the world.

Though Tailscale has several great paid enterprise use cases, this blog isn't for enterprise so we're going to be discussing the free home lab use case instead. This is a service I had heard advertised on the Linux Unplugged podcast for quite a while before curiosity finally got the better of me. This is one of the rare occasions when the service advertised is actually as good as it sounds. With a free personal account you are able to connect up to 100 devices to your own zero config VPN.

Tailscale can be installed on Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. I have it installed on all my devices at home. A couple Linux laptops, my main Linux rig, Android phone, Raspberry Pi 400, and 4 Linux server mini PC's. With this set up I am able to install things like NextCloud (personal cloud server), Jellyfin (media server), and Feather Wiki on my devices then connect to them from anywhere even though I've not configured them to broadcast over the internet. Now my laziness has become a security benefit. Did I mention you can share your servers to others so your friends can have an account on your servers and view your media as well?

If you don't want to let big corporations handle your data and prefer a self hosted option or you're just looking for a simple and free tool to expand the functionality of your home lab then Tailscale will serve you well! I was surprised with how fast I was able to get it set up and running. I understand networking basics, but I don't enjoy networking nearly enough to try configuring and deploying a VPN on my own. With Tailscale you only need to create an account and install an app on your devices. Recently I was on a camping trip at a State Park and I was able to use my phone to SSH into my home lab servers and run my weekly updates on them while we were fishing from the bank of a river. That's a level of convenience I'm not sure my fiance totally appreciates, but thankfully she loves me nonetheless.


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