Each node is connected to the leader using WireGuard in a star network topology, where the leader node is the hub of the VPN links so it is connected to any other node.

The VPN has its own network, the default is and it listens on UDP port 55820. Make sure this address is not already used inside your existing network and the UDP port 55820 is open on your firewall. You can change the VPN network during cluster initialization.

Promote a worker to leader

Changing the cluster leader implies all VPN connections must be reconfigured to point to the new VPN hub. The future leader node must provide a VPN endpoint that is reachable by any other node. For this reason, be prepared in advance to deal with a leader failure by providing a reachable endpoint address on one or more worker nodes!

For instance if node with ID 3 has a public and static IP address log on the leader node and run the following command:

redis-cli HSET node/3/vpn endpoint

A DNS host name can be set too, if there is one available:

redis-cli HSET node/3/vpn endpoint node3.example.com:55820

When the promotion time comes and depending on the old leader node state, an automatic or manual procedure executes the new leader promotion.

  • If the old leader node is alive, it can notify the cluster nodes to do the switch automatically to the new leader

  • If the old leader node is dead, a manual change is needed on every node.

Alive leader

Assuming 3 is the node ID of the new leader,

  1. log on to the old leader node,

  2. run the promote-node action:

    api-cli run promote-node --data '{"node_id":3, "endpoint_address":"node3.example.com", "endpoint_port":55820}'

In a few seconds the change is propagated to all nodes and the old leader becomes a worker.

The endpoint address is validated with a HTTPS request. We expect that cluster-admin is running on the endpoint. If this check passes, but VPN connection fails for any reason, apply the “Dead leader” procedure described in the next section.

Dead leader

Assuming 3 is the node ID of the new leader, for each worker node

  1. log on to the worker node
  2. run the following command for each of them:

    switch-leader --node 3 --endpoint node3.example.com:55820

The order of the nodes is not important but it is wise to start with the new leader node.

Wireguerd configuration

The VPN is configured in every node to use the interface wg0 and listens on UDP port 55820. To inspect the VPN status run

wg show wg0


[root@cs1 ~]# wg show wg0
interface: wg0
  public key: 4fYZdrhcdjQo3cyvLIJC1TaFR8G6KRT7hZgZNPRoGzo=
  private key: (hidden)
  listening port: 55820

peer: 3Ft+OeV/fdRXnWKcyD8e+emsMxzQGZ1grWqR+/FCoEc=
  allowed ips:
  latest handshake: 1 minute, 28 seconds ago
  transfer: 96.23 MiB received, 50.01 MiB sent
  persistent keepalive: every 25 seconds

peer: nvu810d2Q3LGUwJNmJawXj7u16+JUukgreQo4NCcACc=
  allowed ips:
  latest handshake: 1 minute, 34 seconds ago
  transfer: 12.14 MiB received, 13.57 MiB sent
  persistent keepalive: every 25 seconds

Configuration file is saved inside /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf, public and private keys are saved inside /etc/nethserver/wg0.{pub,key}.

The configuration file is initialized by create-cluster and join-node actions. Local modification to the configuration file can be merged into the runtime state with the following command:

systemctl reload wg-quick@wg0

Runtime changes can be persisted to the configuration file with the following command:

wg-quick save wg0

The apply-vpn-routes command is the handler of the “vpn-changed” and “leader-changed” events. It is also executed at system startup, after Redis is synchronized with the leader node (or is the cluster leader by itself). The command:

  • reads VPN and IP routing settings from Redis
  • applies changes to runtime WireGuard and IP routing configuration, to reflect the configuration from Redis
  • invokes wg-quick save wg0 to overwrite the wg0.conf configuration file