An open source, self-hosted implementation of the Tailscale control server
Tailscale is a modern VPN built on top of Wireguard. It works like an overlay network between the computers of your networks – using NAT traversal.
Everything in Tailscale is Open Source, except the GUI clients for proprietary OS (Windows and macOS/iOS), and the control server.
The control server works as an exchange point of Wireguard public keys for the nodes in the Tailscale network. It assigns the IP addresses of the clients, creates the boundaries between each user, enables sharing machines between users, and exposes the advertised routes of your nodes.
A Tailscale network (tailnet) is private network which Tailscale assigns to a user in terms of private users or an organisation.
headscale aims to implement a self-hosted, open source alternative to the Tailscale control server. headscale has a narrower scope and an instance of headscale implements a single Tailnet, which is typically what a single organisation, or home/personal setup would use.
headscale uses terms that maps to Tailscale’s control server, consult the glossary for explainations.