So you are using Linux and looking for a Linux VPN? If you have been using it for some time, then you know that nothing about using Linux is easy, so don’t expect that to change just yet. But considering the fact that Linux is built for tech-rock starts, I am sure you will enjoy the experience.
Linux is considered the safest OS, so of course it is VPN compatible. But since it requires a particular level of familiarity with command line interfaces, it is not every VPN provider’s cup of tea. Moreover, not every VPN service provider offers a VPN for Linux. So, you really should cherish those VPN providers who offer their services for Linux systems. Here are some of the industry’s top ranking Linux VPN service providers:
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What Makes a Good Linux VPN
A good Linux VPN service is characterized by a good server spread and the availability of round the clock customer support. These two factors are the most critical elements that will come into play when you have to setup/use/tweak your Linux VPN.
The part that concerns your Linux operating system starts when you begin setting up your Linux VPN and ends once you have finished setting up. Everything else is your VPN service provider’s domain or responsibility.
So don’t bother yourself over Linux related tech talk. There is more than enough of that going around and Linux forums are overflowing with helpful posts. Your concern should focus on the VPN for Linux, not on Linux.
Linux VPN Services Don’t Offer Client Software
Since 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 in 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 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. But just because there is no client software available doesn’t mean that you get off the hook. You will still be required to download configuration files from your VPN service provider before you can setup your Linux VPN.
SETTING UP VPN ON YOUR 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 setup 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. Don’t be surprised if the software asks you for your user password when you enter in 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 PPTP 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 and it appears that most of them only provide OpenVPN for Linux users with a graphical Network Manager. This makes setting up OpenVPN much more than it is to setup 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’.
The Last Word on Linux VPN Services
Linux is not used as widely as other commercially successful operating systems. However, this lack of popularity does not mean that it is weaker than them. On the contrary, Linux is much more secure than other commercially successful systems because staying out of the spotlight (thanks to the millions that companies spend on marketing their operating systems) has allowed it to evolve and develop in peace. But sadly that honey moon period is over because hackers and crackers have begun to focus their efforts on the yet-untouched Linux user base.
Judging by the Linux development trends and cyber crime statistics, I am expecting full VPN integration to become a fundamental part of upcoming Linux distributions. However, until that happens, every Linux users will have to fend for her/his own self through a Linux VPN.