Linux is a popular OS but, because of the limited user base, if you wish to install VPN apps on Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, or any other distribution, you’ll have to rely on the good old-fashioned command-line interface setup.
Since many VPN providers already offer GUI-based apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, they don’t need to offer one for Linux operating systems.
But don’t worry, I have come up with an awesome list of the best VPN for Linux that guarantees straightforward configuration for your Linux device so that you can gain the ultimate form of online security, privacy, data protection, and anonymity.
So without further ado, let’s dive deep into the 5 best VPNs for Linux. Topping the list, we have ExpressVPN, a provider whose customer feedback on Trustpilot speaks volumes of how good this provider is for every type of network and device, including Linux.
- 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 Linux VPNs in 2021 (In-Depth Analysis – September 2021)
While many VPN providers offer Linux support, most 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 45+ VPNs, I have managed to compile a list of the 5 best VPNs for Linux:
1. ExpressVPN – The Best VPN for Linux
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Linux. This provider has proved again and again that it is the best when it comes to offering best-in-class security, privacy, data protection, unblocking, and anonymity on Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, Mint, and Debian.
ExpressVPN has 3000+ servers in 94 countries. These servers are more than capable of allowing you to bypass various content geo-restrictions on your Linux device. Its ability to unblock almost any streaming service helps rank it at the top position in our best-streaming VPNs list.
ExpressVPN is compatible with Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS and offers a command-line interface for these distros. Apart from that, you can also set it up on Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Smart TVs, routers, and more.
For security, privacy, and data protection on Linux, this provider relies on military-grade AES-256-Bit encryption, Private DNS, RAM volatile servers, and a TrustedServer network.
To learn more about this provider, check out our ExpressVPN review.
✔ ExpressVPN can unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Sling TV, DAZN, and more.
✔ Also works with Windows, iOS, macOS, Android TV, Smart TV, Linux, routers, and more.
2. Surfshark – Budget-friendly VPN for Linux
Surfshark is the most budget-friendly VPN for Linux. Launched in 2018, the provider has quickly gained the reputation for being one of the most affordable VPNs for Linux for offering budget-friendly subscription plans such as $2.49/mo .
Surfshark offers 3200+ servers in 65 countries, along with command-line interface VPN configuration for Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, Mint, and Debian.
Headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, this provider offers a strict zero-log policy, AES-256-Bit encryption, internet kill switch, Multi-Hop, and Clean Web to ensure utmost security and data protection of Linux users.
What’s more, Surfshark also offers WireGuard, the latest and most advanced VPN protocol that will be available for Linux soon. This will give Linux users even faster speed and stronger security.
Surfshark starts from just $2.49/mo , comes with a full 30-day money-back guarantee, and supports unlimited simultaneous connections.
To learn more about this provider, check out ourSurfshark review.
✔ Surfshark can unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more.
✔ Also works with Windows, iOS, macOS, Smart TV, Roku, Kodi, Linux, routers, and more.
3. NordVPN – Secure VPN for Linux
NordVPN is the most secure VPN for Linux. This provider offers some of the most state-of-the-art security and encryption features such as Double VPN, Obfuscated servers, and Onion Over VPN, which aren’t even available with various top-notch VPN providers.
NordVPN server network consists of 5200+ servers in 60 countries. It offers and native Linux VPN app for Debian, Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi, Elementary OS, and Linux Mint.
NordVPN stands tall among other providers when it comes to VPNs that work effortlessly on Linux. Unlike other VPNs that offer only a bare-bone client, NordVPN’s command-line Linux app has some of its advanced security features such as CyberSec, automatic reconnection, and even an internet kill switch. By now, it should be clear how much importance this provider gives to your online security and privacy, even on Linux.
Although not as cheap as the other providers mentioned above, NordVPN is competitively priced at $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE). You also get 6 simultaneous connections and a full 30-day money-back guarantee with premium accounts.
To learn more about this provider, check out our NordVPN review.
✔ NordVPN can unblock BT-Sports, Euro-Sports, ESPN+, CNBC, Crunchyroll, and more.
✔ Also works with Windows, iOS, macOS, Android TV, Roku, Linux, routers, and more.
4. CyberGhost – Secure VPN for Linux
CyberGhost is a user-friendly VPN for Linux. The provider offers purpose-specific modes for streaming, torrenting, and online gaming. It also provides various customizable features for giving the best user-friendly experience to Linux users.
It has 7000+ servers in 90+ countries and supports Ubuntu, Kali, Centos, Mint, and Fedora with a dedicated command-line interface. 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.
CyberGhost’s headquarters is based in Romania, a completely safe jurisdiction outside 5,9 and 14 Eyes surveillance. It is also a zero-log VPN with military-grade AES-256-Bit encryption, Wi-Fi protection, dedicated IPs, and an internet kill switch.
Best of all, CyberGhost is very reasonably priced. If you opt for CyberGhost’s cheapest plan, you’ll only have to pay $2.25/mo . Last but not least, CyberGhost offers an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee with 7 simultaneous connections.
To learn more about this provider, check out our CyberGhost review.
✔ CyberGhost can unblock YouTube TV US, NBC Live, Paramount+, Sky Go, Comedy Central, and more.
✔ Also works with Windows, iOS, macOS, Smart TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, routers, and more.
5. Private Internet Access – Best Torrenting VPN for Linux
Private Internet Access is the best Torrenting VPN for Linux. SOCKS5, zero-log policy, and port forwarding features allow PIA to provide the most optimized torrenting experience on Linux.
With an enormous server network consisting of 35500+ servers in 78 countries, Linux users can easily circumvent any geo-restriction and download torrents from anywhere at the same time.
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. PIA also offers AES-256-Bit encryption, ad/malware blocking, security protocols such as WireGuard and OpenVPN to protect your online security, privacy, and anonymity anywhere.
It only costs $2.08/mo and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition, it offers 10 simultaneous connections on a single PIA VPN subscription.
To learn more about this provider, check out our PIA review.
✔ PIA can unblock Hotstar, Spotify, YuppTV, Peacock TV, HBO Max, ESPN, Voot, and more.
✔ Also works with Windows, iOS, macOS, Smart TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, routers, and more.
Quick Comparison Table: Best Linux VPN
Here is a quick comparison of the top 5 best Linux VPN 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||3000+ servers in 94 countries||3200+ servers in 65 countries||5200+ servers in 60 countries||7000+ servers in 90 countries||35500+ servers in 78 countries|
|Speed||94 Mbps average||93 Mbps average||92 Mbps average||91 Mbps average||85 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 7,436||4.3/5 – Reviews 9,378||4.0/5 – Reviews 6,149||4.8/5 – Reviews 12,988||4.2/5 – Reviews 7,249|
|Best For||Best Linux VPN||Budget-friendly VPN||Secure VPN||User-friendly VPN||Torrenting VPN|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||Surfshark Review||NordVPN Review||CyberGhost Review||PIA Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
Test Methodology: How we tested the best Linux VPN
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, BBC iPlayer, and more
These attributes generally determine a good VPN service. So, if you want to do your own research and find out some VPN that you’d like to consider in your good books, you should apply these criteria at the bare minimum.
4 reasons: why you need the best Linux VPN
Linux is the most versatile operating system for computers. Moreover, being an open-source platform, the customizability of Linux is outstanding.
Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t operate on an operating system level. Therefore, access to the internet and the threats present are Linux users’ problems, just like their Windows/Mac counterparts.
Specifically, here are the key reasons why you should use one of the best VPN for Linux:
1. Bypassing censorship/geo-restrictions
The internet is full of content that imposes various regional geo-restrictions. 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 not 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.
2. Enhancing privacy
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, surveillance agencies will have a harder time determining your actual identity. 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 of torrent users and sending them intimidating settlement letters through their ISP.
A virtual private network is essential for torrenting as it helps disguise your internet traffic so that your ISP can not see what you are up to. In addition, due to the VPN servers masking your actual 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.
4. Internet Censorship
It doesn’t matter where you are, internet censorship has always been one of the biggest issues internet users face 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. So 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. Free VPN providers generate revenue by selling your personal 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.
The best VPN for different Linux platforms
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 ubuntu because it is easy to install and has a great command-line interface. In addition, it offers 3000+ servers in 94 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 7000+ servers in 90 countries. 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.
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. On the other hand, it is 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 a PPTP VPN on your Linux, start by opening 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. Therefore, 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.
Follow these steps to set up OpenVPN connection using Network Manager:
- 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”.
- Choose the Linux VPN server file from the downloaded configuration files (Consult VPN provider in this regard).
- 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. Once done with the primary configurations, this includes the configuration you will have to enter in the “Advanced” settings.
- “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 is considerably faster 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. For example, NordVPN and Surfshark both support Wireguard out of the box.
Wireguard works in Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Red Hat, CentOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Linux distros.
Best Linux VPN: FAQ’s
Let’s now take a look at some frequently asked questions.
You can activate a Kill Switch feature on your Linux devices by creating 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 220.127.116.11 # <– 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.
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.
While encryption depends on your purpose, generally, AES-256-Bit 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 faster and easier to debug than OpenVPN.
Reddit user “EddyBot” explains that WireGuard is lightweight on resources and efficiently integrated into the Linux Kernel.
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.
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 its 12 Months + 3 Months free subscription.
No, you shouldn’t use a free VPN for Linux. 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, a select few completely legitimate VPN providers offer free versions of their apps with limited features. You can learn more about these in our article on trustworthy free VPNs for Linux.
While most viruses are 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 viruses out there for Linux users as well.
Moreover, for downloading torrents secure, safely, and anonymously the essential requirement is to use one of the best VPN for Linux. Also, the torrents should be linked from the official source, and choose torrents with plenty of good feedback and many seeds.
The capabilities of Linux as a versatile and powerful operating system are hardly a debatable fact. However, although Linux is more secure than other operating systems, the internet exposes all platforms users to risks equally. This is where the role of the best VPN for Linux becomes prominent.
Moreover, ExpressVPN serves as the most reliable and best Linux VPN for every available Linux distribution out of all of our recommendations. The provider is known to offer exemplary VPN services for online security, privacy, data protection, and even reliable unblocking with its 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
If you hurry now, you can avail of its limited-time “12 months + 3 months free” subscription, which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.