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 fashion 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 feel the need to develop apps for Linux and many don’t even offer command-line based interface for the OS. But don’t worry, I have come up with an awesome list of best Linux VPNs that are super secure, and simple to set up.
But first, a brief overview of the 6 best VPNs…
- PureVPN – A powerful service with 2000+ servers, and a simple configuration for Linux.
- Surfshark – An extremely affordable Ubuntu VPN client with 1,700+ servers.
- NordVPN – Offers 5,500 super secure Ubuntu VPN servers worldwide.
- ExpressVPN – A blazing fast service with over 3000 servers & painstakingly easy Linux setup.
- CyberGhost – Provides 5,500+ servers, and top-notch features.
- PIA – An excellent provider with a dedicated VPN client for Linux distros.
6 Best VPNs For Linux 2020
While there are many VPN providers offering support for Linux, 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. PureVPN – Best VPN for Linux
First up we have PureVPN. With over 6500+ servers available in 140+ countries, and excellent support for Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS.
PureVPN boasts a super simple command-line interface for easy installation and usage. Aside from that, this VPN is committed to offering vigorous data security through AES 256-bit military-grade encryption. Moreover, its port forwarding feature takes things to the next level.
For even more security, PureVPN also offers the flexibility to switch between various protocols. For instance, you can switch between UDP, TCP, and even OpenVPN.
As far as streaming and torrenting is concerned, PureVPN works phenomenally well. You can not only unblock Netflix, but a lot of their servers are P2P compatible.
Nonetheless, since this isn’t a GUI-based Linux app, some of the features built into clients for other operating systems are missing such as the kill switch and split-tunneling.
But all things considered, PureVPN is the best inexpensive VPN with a cost of just $3.33/mo. Also, it comes with a full 31-day money-back guarantee.
For the complete features list, read our PureVPN review.
2. Surfshark – Affordable VPN Software for Ubuntu
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 and unlimited number of devices.
3. NordVPN – Privacy-focused VPN Software for Linux
Next up, let’s check out NordVPN for Linux. One of the most renowned VPNs in the industry, NordVPN linux offers 5600+ server 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 provider 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 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.
The app is a pleasure to use especially with the autosuggest feature that completes your commands while you’re 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.
Although not as cheap as the other providers mentioned above, NordVPN is competitively priced at $3.71/mo . You also get 6 simultaneous connections and a full 30-day refund policy.
4. ExpressVPN – Well-rounded Linux VPN Software
Another super-powerful, yet easy to setup VPN you can consider is ExpressVPN. Similar to PureVPN, 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 it’s 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 an integrated kill-switch and leakproofing 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.
5. 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 5500+ servers in 85+ 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 $2.25/mo . Last but not least, CyberGhost offers an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee.
6. PIA – Good Torrenting Support for Debian
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 12,000+ servers in 75+ 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 leak 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.
How to choose a good 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 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, internet doesn’t operate on an operating system-level. As such, 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 a 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 that is censored in your country, then 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.
The fact that a VPN masks the IP of users by establishing a connection with a server different than 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 you weren’t protected by a VPN and you’ll no longer be secure.
This is why if you use the best anonymous VPN for Linux Mint/Ubuntu/CentOS or your favorite distro, you can keep your identity hidden and enhance your privacy.
Linux VPN Services Don’t Offer GUI based apps
Linux remains one of the most non-commercial software platforms in the world. It comes as no surprise that companies working in the VPN industry have not put in effort into developing custom Linux clients as, they have 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 setup 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 to 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. Although 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 it 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 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.
Setting up OpenVPN on Linux
While setting up a VPN on Linux is easy, it does not provide the same security level as OpenVPN is capable of providing. 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. A number of 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 be able to tell you which one that 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 you are 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 setup VPN on Ubuntu with OpenVPN configuration.
How to make a VPN kill switch in Linux
Interestingly, 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, you can implement Firewall rules. It will enable traffic through 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 18.104.22.168 # <– 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.
The capabilities of Linux as a versatile and powerful operating system is 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.
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