Tailscale - your distributed VPN network

If you have multiple devices such as PCs, servers, and mobile devices in your life, you probably want to have constant access to each of them.

The simplest way to achieve this is by forwarding the necessary ports for remote access through your router or firewall. By doing this, when someone from the internet requests access using a specific port, your router can direct the request to the appropriate device.

Unfortunately, this exposes your device to the entire Internet and that's… undesirable.

Traditional VPNs

Traditional VPNs provide a solution to this issue by allowing devices outside your network to securely tunnel into your network through a server within it. Once a device is connected to the VPN, it can access all devices within the network. This setup is commonly used in corporate environments.

If you'll permit some hand-waving and over-simplification, traditional VPNs tend to be a sort of funnel — there is one server running inside the network you wish to tunnel into, and all clients connect to that server.

What is Tailscale?

Originally created for developers working on different servers spread across many networks, Tailscale is a remarkably powerful app that protects you on random Wi-Fi networks, offers convenient ways to connect to your devices, and means that leaving a file at work or home is never going to block a project of yours from being completed again.

To start, you create an account at Tailscale and download the client to any machines you're using, including your laptop, desktop, phones, and tablets. It's a refreshingly easy install, and once you're logged in to Tailscale on each device, you'll be connected to every device you own, no matter where they are, thanks to its own private network created just for you.

Through Tailscale, each of your devices is assigned a private IP address, enabling communication between them no matter where they are located.

Private secure networking

In contrast to commercial VPN services where your traffic is logged by the service provider, Tailscale offers a more secure and private networking solution by allowing you to set up an Exit Node on one of your machines, through which all your traffic is routed before going out to the internet.

Additionally, Tailscale features subnet routing, which enables you to access any internal IP address on your home network even when you are away from home, providing seamless connectivity to your devices wherever you are.