Linux is one of the most popular OS out there. But because of the limited user base, If you wish to install apps on Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, and others, you’ll have to rely on the good old-fashioned command line. The same goes for most Linux VPN apps.
Since GUI-based apps are already available for Windows and Macs, developers, including VPN providers, don’t really need to develop Linux apps, and many don’t even offer a command-line-based interface for the OS.
But don’t worry, I have come up with an awesome list of the best VPN for Linux that are super secure and simple to set up. After thorough testing, our top recommendation is ExpressVPN, because it is compatible with all major Linux distros and has an easy setup.
- 3,000+ Servers in 94 Countries
- Hard disk free infrastructure (RAM only)
- 256-bit Military-Grade Encryption
- Excellent unblocking capability for Netflix, Hulu & more
- 5 Multi Logins
- Zero-knowledge DNS
5 best VPN for Linux
Below are our most recommended VPNs for Linux. If you’re short on time, you can skip to our overview of the best VPNs for Linux.
- ExpressVPN – The very best Linux VPN with 3,000 servers & a painstakingly easy Linux setup.
- Surfshark – Excellent value and great Linux VPN functionality with affordable Ubuntu VPN client.
- NordVPN – Powerful, audited Linux VPN that offers 5,400+ super secure Ubuntu VPN servers.
- CyberGhost – A Balanced Linux VPN that provides 7,000+ servers and top-notch features.
- PIA – A popular Linux VPN with an excellent dedicated VPN client for Linux distros.
5 Best VPN For Linux 2021
While many VPN providers offer Linux support, most of them require you to rely on OpenVPN configuration files. Not only that, but you might also find yourself dealing with manual server lists.
So after painstakingly filtering out tons of VPNs, I have managed to compile a list of 6 top Linux VPNs that are super easy to install:
1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for Linux
Another super-powerful yet easy to set up VPN you can consider is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is compatible with Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS and offers a command-line interface for these distros.
ExpressVPN is super fast and offers 3000+ servers in 94+ countries worldwide. Due to its huge server base, it’s also one of the best streaming VPN and works well for Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix.
The Linux app of ExpressVPN offers a kill-switch and leak-proofing mechanisms. These are usually absent in Linux versions of VPN apps, so ExpressVPN deserves a lot of praise for that.
But there is one caveat. ExpressVPN is quite expensive and costs a whopping $6.67/mo . But regardless of the price, ExpressVPN is worth every penny and is surely one of the best VPN services for Linux.
Read the full story of the provider in this ExpressVPN review.
- 3,000 servers located in 94 countries
- Military-grade encryption
- Zero-log policy
- 5 devices simultaneous connections
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney + in Romania
- Offer 30-day money-back guarantee
- Slightly more expensive than other VPNs
The very best VPN for Linux: ExpressVPN is our #1 recommendation for your Linux device. With 3,000 locations in 94 countries, 5 device simultaneous connections, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
2. Surfshark – Excellent value and great Linux VPN
Surfshark is a VPN with one of the highest speeds and excellent support for Ubuntu and Debian distros of Linux. As one of the best Linux VPN software, it offers a command-line interface for both with enough features to make it a candidate for one of the
Not only is this VPN service super affordable, but it also offers industry benchmark features and a powerful network of 3200 servers in 65+ countries. You can easily unblock many streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer with Surfshark’s relevant servers.
What’s more, Surfshark will also be implementing WireGuard, the latest and most advanced VPN protocol originally designed for Linux, as soon as development on the protocol is completed. This will give Linux users even faster speed and stronger security.
Surfshark starts from just $2.49/mo . As far as compatibility is concerned, Surfshark works on Ubuntu and Debian only. Not only that, but Surfshark also offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee and supports an unlimited number of devices.
Setup Surfshark on your Linux operating systems:
- 3,200+ servers in over 65 countries
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Built-in adblocker, anti-malware, and double VPN feature
- CleanWeb and Whitelister feature
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Limited P2P servers for torrenting
Excellent value and great Linux VPN: Surfshark brings in excellent value for your Linux with 3,200 servers in 65+ countries, unlimited simultaneous connections, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. NordVPN – Best VPN for Linux with powerful security features
Next up, let’s check out NordVPN for Linux. One of the most renowned VPNs in the industry, NordVPN Linux offers 5600+ servers in 60+ countries. Naturally, the more servers you get, the better for your online accessibility and geo-unblocking. The VPN supports CentOS, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux mint distros.
NordVPN stands tall among other providers when it comes to Linux functionality. Unlike other VPNs that offer only a bare-bone client, NordVPN’s command-line Linux app has some of its advanced features intact such as the kill switch, CyberSec, and the ability to switch between TCP/UDP.
This shows that the company doesn’t discriminate between users of different devices and is committed to offering the same level of privacy for all. It also follows a strict no-logs policy and is one of the best log-less VPNs on the list.
The app is a pleasure to use, especially with the autosuggest feature that completes your commands while typing in the NordVPN interface to change servers, protocols, other settings, etc.
This greatly improves user experience so that even new Linux users can get the hang of the VPN pretty quickly. With so many security, privacy, and unblocking features available for Linux, NordVPN surely deserves a spot on the list of best VPN services for Linux.
Although not as cheap as the other providers mentioned above, NordVPN is competitively priced at $3.30/mo . You also get 6 simultaneous connections and a full 30-day refund policy.
Set up NordVPN on Ubuntu operating system:
You can learn more about configuring NordVPN on your Linux device by reading our guide: setting up NordVPN on Linux.
- 5,400+ servers in over 59 countries
- Supports advanced VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2
- 6 simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back gurantee
- Unblocks Sky TV, HBO, Disney+ and more
- Enabling the double VPN feature can affect server speeds
- Windows app is sluggish
Powerful, audited Linux VPN: NordVPN offers state-of-the-art security and privacy features along with 6 simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. CyberGhost – Secure VPN for Linux
CyberGhost is another strong service that offers excellent features and support for Ubuntu and Fedora distros with a dedicated command-line interface.
Speaking of features, CyberGhost offers powerful encryption and top-notch protocols to keep your device totally safe and ensure full security. Not only that, CyberGhost offers over 7,000+ servers in 91 countries.
You can select these servers by their suitability for different purposes. The Linux command-line app allows you to sort servers by torrenting as well as streaming capability.
Best of all, CyberGhost is very reasonably priced. If you opt for CyberGhost’s cheapest plan, you’ll only have to pay $1.99/mo . Last but not least, CyberGhost offers an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee.
Set up CyberGhost on your Linux operating system:
- Provides 7,000+ servers in over 91 countries
- Uses military-grade encryption
- Allows 7 simultaneous connections
- Separate modes for gaming, torrenting, and streaming
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- It doesn’t work in China
- Occasionally slow server speeds
Balanced Linux VPN: CyberGhost is a balanced Linux VPN with 7,000+ servers in 91 countries, specific modes for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
5. PIA – Popular Linux VPN
If you’re looking for budget VPNs for Linux, PIA is perfect for you. PIA offers a command-line interface for Ubuntu 16.04+, Mint 18+, Arch, and Debian distros of Linux, but it only supports 64-bit operating systems. It only costs $1/mo and offers over 35,000+ servers in 77+ countries.
You can easily connect to these servers with simple commands on the Linux command-line to access blocked websites and even download torrents with greater security.
PIA also offers a port forwarding feature and a decent amount of security protocols to protect you from DNS leaks and make sure you have maximum security and privacy online. It offers 10 simultaneous connections and a variety of encryption protocols to choose from. Best of all, every PIA subscription plan is covered by a full 30-day refund policy.
- Good for streaming and torrenting
- 35,000+ servers in 77+ countries
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Based in the U.S
- Can only unblock some Netflix libraries (US, UK, Canada)
Popular Linux VPN: CyberGhost is a popular Linux VPN that holds one of the largest VPN server networks with 35,000+ servers in 77 countries, along with 10 simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Quick Comparison Table: 5 Best VPN for Linux
Here is a quick comparison of the top 5 best VPN for Linux providers in 2021:
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands||The British Virgin Islands||Panama||Romania||USA|
|Security||AES 256 Bit||AES 256 Bit||AES 256 Bit||AES 256-bit||AES 256-bit|
|Leaks||No IP, DNS & WebRTC||No IP, DNS & WebRTC||No IP, DNS & WebRTC||No IP, DNS & WebRTC||No IP, DNS & WebRTC|
|Servers||3,000+ in 94 Countries||3,200+ in 65+ Countries||5,400+ in 59 Countries||7,000+ in 91 Countries||35,000+ in 77+ Locations|
|Speed||27.17 Mbps average||27.91 Mbps average||20.15 Mbps average||17.10 Mbps average||18.71 Mbps average|
|Streaming||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and More|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers|
|Trustpilot||4.6/5 – Reviews 7,320||4.3/5 – Reviews 8,863||4.1/5 – Reviews 5,839||4.8/5 – Reviews 12,483||4.2/5 – Reviews 6,943|
|Best For||Overall Best VPN||Fastest VPN Service||Best for Geo-Unblocking||Best for Private Browsing||Best for Torrenting|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||Surfshark Review||NordVPN Review||CyberGhost Review||PIA Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
How to choose the best VPN for Linux?
All the VPNs mentioned above, broadly speaking, have three characteristics in common:
- Command-line apps for popular Linux distros
- Strong security and privacy features
- Decent-sized server network
- Support for popular streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer
These attributes generally determine a good VPN service. So, if you want to do your own research and want to find out some VPN that you’d like to consider in your good books, you should apply these criteria at the bare minimum.
Why you should use a VPN
Linux is the most versatile operating system for computers. Being an open-source platform, the customizability of Linux is outstanding.
Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t operate on an operating system level. Access to the internet and the threats present within are problems that Linux users face just as much as their Windows/Mac counterparts.
Specifically, here are the key reasons why you should use one of the best VPN for Linux:
The Internet is full of sites and content that is only accessible by regular means from a given country or region, i.e., geo-blocked. Owing to this, users routinely find themselves barred from gaining access to websites of their choice.
In addition, some websites are banned or blocked by the government on political, legal, and/or religious pretexts in some countries. Social media is frequently blocked in many parts of the world if the government deems it fit to control an emerging situation.
A VPN can function as the key that unlocks all the out-of-reach areas of the Internet. If you need to view content censored in your country, your best bet is to use a VPN service and make all restrictions irrelevant.
Users that feel unsafe on the regular Internet and lacking control over their privacy can take advantage of the privacy features of a VPN.
A VPN masks the IP of users by establishing a connection with a server different from your ISP’s means that your location becomes hidden, which adds to your online privacy and security.
As a result, any surveillance agency will have a much harder time determining your actual identity than they would if a VPN didn’t protect you, and you’ll no longer be secure.
This is why if you use the best VPN for Linux, you can keep your identity hidden and enhance your privacy.
ISPs frowning upon torrenting is not a new thing, whether you’re downloading something legally or illegally. An ISP might penalize your account by restricting bandwidth, for example. Furthermore, the internet is full of copyright trolls looking to make easy money by collecting IP addresses or torrent users and sending them intimidating settlement letters through their ISP.
A virtual private network is essential for torrenting as it helps distinguish your internet traffic so that your ISP can not see what you are up to. Since the VPN server, IP address masks your IP address, copyright trolls cannot track you down.
A VPN is an essential tool for torrenting. When connected to a VPN, your ISP cannot distinguish between different types of traffic, torrenting or otherwise. And because the VPN server’s IP address masks your IP address, copyright trolls cannot track you down.
It doesn’t matter where you are; internet censorship has always been one of the biggest issues faced by internet users around the globe. By routing your internet traffic via a VPN server, you can circumvent such geo-restrictions and freely access the open internet. In all but a tiny fraction of countries, using a VPN is perfectly legal.
Be warned, however, that some countries block known VPN servers, so not all providers can bypass censorship measures. Be sure to check with the individual provider and ask if it can unblock censored sites from your country.
Linux VPNs that you should avoid
Various VPNs support Linux operating systems, but that doesn’t mean you should start using them. Such providers paid for selling your information. Therefore, the following VPNs should definitely be avoided:
Unlocator — It supports Ubuntu, but it’s not safe to use. It is known to keeps identifiable logs of your usage, which means your online activity could be traced back to you.
CactusVPN — While this VPN offers WireGuard support for Linux, but it sadly failed numerous unblocking tests.
While a VPN is a great tool for securing your Linux system, you’ll need a little more than that for complete protection. Like all operating systems, Linux has its vulnerabilities and hackers who want to exploit them. Here are a few more tools we recommend for Linux users:
- Antivirus software
- Anti-rootkit software
- Security-focused browser extensions
Best Linux VPNs for your device
It’s no surprise that Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distros simply because of its accessibility and abundance of software. In fact, every VPN provider supports Ubuntu OS. But you should select your VPN provider based on the security, privacy, unblocking capabilities, and speed provided by the VPN company
It should also come as no surprise that ExpressVPN is the top recommendation out of the best VPN for Linux and especially for ubuntu because it is easy to install and has a great command-line interface. It offers 3,000 servers in 94 countries that are capable of unblocking any geo-restricted content. It also offers military-grade encryption, internet kill switch, and leak protection.
Just like Ubuntu, ExpressVPN is also the best Linux VPN for Arch users. The reasons remain the same. It is one of the fastest VPN providers we have ever come across that offers an intuitive native client.
For our readers who are using Kali OS, we recommend using CyberGhost. You can download it with just a few commands, and its CLI lets you easily scroll through its massive server network, which consists of 7,000+ servers. Also, it has optimized servers for gaming, torrenting, and streaming purposes.
If you are using the Mint operating system, then we suggest using Private Internet Access. It is one of the only VPNs that offer GUI-based applications for Linux OS. The GUI makes it super easy to connect, explore the servers, and change the application settings with a single click. As far as ease-of-use goes, it is still one of the best VPN for Linux.
Creating your own VPN
If you just prefer a DIY solution, you could always create your own VPN. You’ll need to set up your own server. Common options are virtual private cloud services like Amazon Web Services and Digital Ocean. A variety of tools at your disposal that will assist you in getting a homegrown VPN up and running:
- SoftEther VPN
But even your own created VPN will have some drawbacks. For starters, it will be much more difficult than using pre-existing servers and pre-configured apps. Next, if you’re using a cloud service like AWS or Digital Ocean, your data still passes by the hands of a third party. Third, you only get a single server and location to connect to.
Finally, creating your own VPN likely means that only you and perhaps a handful of acquaintances will use it. That makes it much easier to trace internet activity back to a specific person.
Linux VPNs that don’t offer GUI based apps
Linux remains one of the most non-commercial software platforms in the world. It is no surprise that companies working in the VPN industry have not developed custom Linux clients for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS platforms.
The few Linux VPN service providers (like those mentioned above) are not your regular VPN service providers. They provide extensive cross-platform compatibility and a significant return on investment.
Even though there is no install-and-go approach you can use to set up Linux VPN, setting up a Linux VPN manually is much easier than doing it on the four commercial Operating Systems mentioned above.
Since there is no client software available, it does not mean that you get off the hook. You will still be required to download configuration files from your VPN service provider before you can set up your Linux VPN.
Free VPN for Linux
Free VPNs for Linux are just not worth it. Usually, free VPNs are associated with selling your data to third parties in exchange for monetary returns. Other than that, free VPNs come with data caps and won’t let you consume too much bandwidth.
Due to these reasons, we do not recommend users use free VPNs with Linux Distros. Nonetheless, there are still a select few completely legitimate VPN providers that offer free versions of their apps with limited features.
You can learn more about these in this article on good free VPNs for Linux.
Setting up VPN on your Linux
As I mentioned earlier, VPN providers don’t tend to offer GUI-based apps for Linux. However, Command-Line can seem overwhelming at first, it fairly easy to use, even if you’re not tech-savvy.
Here’s how you can set up a VPN on Linux:
Setting up Linux PPTP VPN
If you are a coder or have the good old Command-Line Linux working on your system (meaning no network manager), I’m guessing the whole VPN setup process will take you no more than five minutes.
- Download the VPN configuration files from your Linux VPN service provider and extract them to the path specified by your VPN service provider. This path may vary based on your Linux VPN service provider’s configuration.
- To set up PPTP VPN on your Linux, start by opening out your console/terminal and entering in ‘sudo su-‘.
- ‘Sudo’ is the command meant to bring you to your Linux console’s root environment and logs you into it, so the ‘su’ command will help you log into it.
- Do not be surprised if the software asks you for your user password when you enter this command. If you beckoned for a password, do not mistake it for your root password.
- You might need to make certain edits at this point based on the login credentials provided to you by your VPN service provider.
- Once you have completed the edits, use the ‘call server’ command to activate the Linux VPN tunnel.
- When you are done using the Linux VPN, the ‘killall’ command will allow you to deactivate your Linux VPN tunnel.
Set up ExpressVPN on Linux Operating System
Here’s a video tutorial for setting up ExpressVPN on Linux:
Setting up OpenVPN on Linux
While setting up a VPN on Linux is easy, it does not provide the same security level as OpenVPN can provide. I reviewed some of the industry’s top VPN service providers for their VPN compatibility.
It appears that most of them only provide OpenVPN for Linux users with a graphical Network Manager. This makes setting up OpenVPN much more difficult than it is to set up PPTP.
- Start by downloading the configuration files from your Linux VPN service provider.
- Open out the Linux ‘Network Manager’ and access the ‘Network Connections’ settings. Several tabs should be visible at this point. Click on the tab that says ‘VPN’ and click ‘Import’. Do not click ‘Add’.
- At this point, choose the Linux VPN server file from the downloaded configuration files (your VPN service provider should tell you which one is).
- You will find yourself looking at a set of configuration fields to edit your new Linux VPN connection.
- Your VPN service provider will give you the information you have to enter in the fields at this point. This includes the configuration you will have to enter in the ‘Advanced’ settings once done with the primary configurations.
- ‘Apply’ the settings and connect via the ‘Network Manager’.
If you still need more help, here is a simple guide to help you set up a VPN on Ubuntu with OpenVPN configuration.
Linux and Wireguard
Many VPNs either have or starting to adapt to Wireguard. Wireguard is a newer VPN protocol that ensures contentious security and considerably more speed than OpenVPN and IKEv2. Indeed, we’ve seen tremendous speed increases on the VPNs that have switched over to Wireguard.
Although it was originally released for the Linux kernel, Wireguard has become cross-platform, which means you can manually configure it or use it from within an existing VPN app. NordVPN and Surfshark both support Wireguard out of the box.
Currently, Wireguard works in Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Red Hat, CentOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and several other Linux distros.
Best VPN for Linux FAQ
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions.
How to make a VPN kill switch in Linux?
You can activate a Kill Switch feature on your Linux devices on your own hassle-free. However, you will have to create a startvpn.sh script. By doing so, it will enable traffic through the VPN tun0 network interface.
Moreover, it allows traffic to go to your VPN server through that interface. Here is how you can develop a startVPN.sh script accordingly:
- $ cat startvpn.sh
- sudo ufw default deny outgoing
- sudo ufw default deny incoming
- sudo ufw allow out on tun0 from any to any
- sudo ufw allow out from any to 184.108.40.206 # <– note this is the IP from the “remote” field of your configuration file
- sudo ufw enable
- sudo ufw status
- sudo openvpn client.conf &
As a result, your network traffic cannot be passed from any other network interface. When your VPN connection stops working, it also deactivates the tun0 interface.
Moreover, no network interface is left to pass internet traffic. Thus, your internet connection stops working too.
The same applies to the VPN connection. When your VPN connection ends, you have to remove the firewall rules. You can disable UFW to remove the firewall rules from anywhere instantly.
How to connect a VPN using Linux Network Manager?
Here are the steps for connecting a VPN using Linux Network Manager.
- Click the network button at the top right of the screen.
- Click on “VPN off” and select “VPN settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Select the “+” icon across from VPN
- Import your config file or choose the protocol that you want to configure and enter the details.
- Click “Add“
- The VPN connection will now appear in the configuration window. Click the slider to turn it green and activate the VPN
How to connect to a VPN automatically on Linux?
Most of our VPNs recommendations have dedicated Linux apps with an option to connect automatically in the settings. If your VPN is manually configured, getting it to run automatically will depend on your protocol and whether you use a third-party VPN app.
Which VPN encryption should I use for Linux?
While encryption depends on your purpose, generally, OpenVPN is always a good option on Linux. It is an open-source protocol, which is also the safest and can be installed manually on Linux operating systems. However, Wireguard has turned out to be a good replacement that is not updated with security fixes as frequently.
Let’s take a look at what Reddit user “EddyBot” has to say about Wireguard.
Which Linux distro is best in terms of privacy?
Tails is the best Linux distro in terms of privacy and concealing your information, but it does have its limitations. It’s executed from a USB stick, so it leaves zero traces of your activity on your computer. It also runs all of your traffic through TOR to guarantee anonymity. Additionally, everything you do is wiped away immediately once you shut down.
Why is my Linux VPN not connecting?
If your VPN isn’t connecting, you may have come across a blacklisted server. VPN servers get blacklisted all the time. If this happens to you, try choosing a different server. If that doesn’t work, contact customer support to see if they can resolve this issue for you.
How much a Linux VPN cost?
While ExpressVPN – the best Linux VPN may cost you a bit more than other VPN providers, it is guaranteed to offer you exceptional and unparalleled speed, unblocking capabilities, and performance for just $6.67/month on 12 Months + 3 Months free subscription.
Will a VPN slow down my connection speeds?
Yes, your connection speed will slow down if you use a VPN, but the best Linux VPNs won’t impact your speed too much. While a slight dip in speed is expected due to the military-grade encryption involved, the best Linux VPNs will provide fast speeds to avoid lagging and other interruptions.
Is using Linux the best way to download torrents and avoid viruses?
While most malware is made for Windows, the chances of your Linux device being infected by a virus are meager. However, t’s still well worth it to take precautions on Linux because there’s plenty of malware out there for you as well.
The essential thing is to do your best only to download trustworthy torrents. They should be linked from the official source. Also, choose torrents with plenty of good feedback and a lot of seeds.
The capabilities of Linux as a versatile and powerful operating system are hardly a debatable fact. Although Linux is more secure than its counterpart OSs, the Internet exposes all users to risks equally. This is where the role of the best VPN for Linux becomes prominent.
We hope you liked this blog post. Feel free to share your views in the comments below.