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Best VPNs for Linux in 2022

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Linux is a free OS that lets you greatly customize your experience. Being open-source in nature, this is the top choice for privacy-minded individuals. To boost their privacy, many of these users also turn to VPN service providers. The problem is that software-wise, Linux users often get the short end of the stick. This makes choosing the right VPN provider more challenging than it would be on other platforms.

So, in this best VPN for Linux list, we'll go through the top options, no matter which distribution you're using.

VPNs for Linux – our shortlist:

Don't have the time to read everything? Here's a rundown of the best VPN services for Linux. With them, you'll get the best possible combination for anonymity.

  1. NordVPN – the best overall VPN for Linux
  2. Surfshark – the best budget-friendly VPN for Linux
  3. IPVanish – best value and protection
  4. ProtonVPN – versatile VPN for Linux
  5. Pure VPN – powerful VPN for Linux

Why do I need a VPN for Linux?

As secure as Linux may be, data privacy is still important. Here are just a few of the many reasons why getting a VPN for your Linux machine would be a good idea:

  • Privacy. You might not be aware of how many breadcrumbs you're leaving when you're browsing the web. A VPN will disguise your IP and encrypt your connection, making it truly anonymous.
  • Security. The more anonymous you are, the more secure you are. Having a new IP address every time you go online can be enough to deter doxxing and DDoS attacks. Plus, if you're in the habit of frequently connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots, you can never be too sure whether the network is safe.
  • Unblocking websites. If you're living in Europe, you can't just go to the Hulu webpage and pay for your subscription. The website is off-limits if you're not from the US or Canada. The VPN helps to solve all these problems. It's even more useful in restrictive countries.
  • Torrenting. Linux users heavily rely on P2P networks to exchange operating system ISO files. The same networks tend to be a bit sketchy, and you might not always know what you're downloading. A VPN helps you stay private when downloading and helps you avoid copyright infringement notices.
  • Avoid bandwidth throttling. Some ISPs impose restrictions on a particular type of traffic. So, if web pages load almost instantly, but downloading files takes forever, the culprit may be your ISP. A VPN disguises your traffic type, making it impossible to restrict based on its type.

Best VPNs for Linux – our detailed list:

Many VPNs have clients for Linux, but only a handful are convenient to use daily. Even if a graphical user interface (or GUI) isn't that important to you, different providers had different terminologies. This includes the total features that you could expect. Here are the best VPN apps for Linux.

1. NordVPN – hands-down best VPN for Linux

NordVPN
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5400+ servers in 60 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get NordVPN with 68% OFF!

NordVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market right now. No wonder it occupies top spots across all platforms, including Linux.

From their official website, you can download Debian and RPM packages. These will cover the most popular distributions, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, and others. There is even a fan-made Arch Linux port, for which you'll still need an active NordVPN subscription. Their support page also has guides for manual OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections.

Recently, NordVPN has changed the Linux installation process a bit – you can download and execute a shell script. This saves you time as you don't have to add the repository, depackage, and update the package manually.

The GUI is absent - you'll have to configure everything using the terminal. Though, this isn't something a typical Linux user will have trouble with.

More importantly, you'll be getting their NordLynx protocol, which is one of the fastest tunneling protocols. Considering that few Linux apps offer WireGuard connectivity, this is truly a strong selling point.

NordVPN has no IP leaks, and you get to choose from their 5400+ servers in 60 countries. All of these are running on RAM-only, ensuring their no-logs promise.

2. Surfshark – the most affordable Linux VPN

Surfshark
Based in:The Netherlands
Servers/countries:3200+ servers in 95 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get 82% OFF Surfshark + Antivirus & 2 months FREE

Surfshark is widely regarded as one of the most budget-friendly VPNs. It doesn't have a limit for the number of simultaneous connections. In addition, the monthly subscription price is one of the lowest you will find.

If you want to set up Surfshark on your Linux computer, you'll have to use the Ubuntu or Debian distribution. It will also require sudo/root permissions to set up the client.

Once you're done, you will be presented with a list of countries and cities to connect to. There is no GUI, so you'll have to rely on the terminal to connect or disconnect from the servers.

This provider doesn't have the biggest network, but their 3200+ servers in 95 countries should be plenty. All of them are RAM-only, which is more efficient and great news for your privacy.

The main downside is that the only protocols you'll be able to use on Linux are OpenVPN in TCP and UDP modes. It's especially annoying because their other apps include WireGuard support.

That said, even without this tunneling protocol, their speeds should be good enough. Surfshark is known to unblock most streaming services, so you'll even get some additional entertainment value.

3. IPVanish – overall affordable protection

IPVanish banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:2000+ servers in 50 countries
Unblocks:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
Current deal:Get up to 69% OFF IPVanish + an Antivirus!

IPVanish is another VPN option we recommend for Linux users. Even though it doesn’t have a Linux app, you can easily set up manual connections.

In essence, IPVanish is a decent choice for Linux users with an easy setup, solid privacy policy, and other compatibilities. This makes it an affordable and functional VPN for Linux users.

Since IPVanish currently doesn’t have an app for Linux, it will work on any obscure distribution, as long as it has a package for setting up VPN connections. Conveniently, the IPVanish support page offers comprehensive setup guidelines for the majority of distributions.

This VPN operates under a no-logs policy, ensuring that your browsing activities and online footprint is not being logged or tracked. What is more, it is a good option for bypassing geo-restrictions and making streaming even more pleasurable. For those who want to take advantage of great speeds and secure connection combination, IPVanish has a free SOCKS5 proxy for protecting your traffic.

Also, IPVanish offers OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and IKEv2 protocols. These protocols ensure the VPN is as powerful and adaptable as possible. They come with numerous types of authentication methods, and fast speeds.

Take a closer look at our IPVanish review to get the most benefit.

4. ProtonVPN – feature-rich VPN for Linux

ProtonVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
Servers/countries:1700+ servers in 63 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get up to 50% OFF ProtonVPN!

ProtonVPN is a feature-rich VPN for Linux users with versatile privacy-focused architecture, advanced security characteristics, and solid performance. Conveniently, the new ProtonVPN Linux app offers an easy-to-use graphical user interface that allows you to activate functions and connect to servers in no time.

Its previous app version is compatible with all major Linux distributions (Ubuntu-based, Fedora-based, Manjaro, and Arch-based). Only Debian-based distributions are supported by the latest version.

ProtonVPN offers a great deal of servers in 63 countries. In addition, this VPN is based in Switzerland, which is a privacy-friendly country. It offers a secure core connection which means that the traffic goes through numerous tough servers that are protected by strict privacy laws. Its high-profile features also include a strict no-logs policy, kill switch, ad blocker, and more.

Along with the high-level security, ProtonVPN implements AES-256 encryption, which is an industry standard form of encryption making sure no one intercepts your online activities. It serves well for keeping you anonymous, as well as helps unblock geo-restricted streaming platforms and other content.

P2P file sharing is another neat feature that makes ProtonVPN a reliable provider for torrenting. Even though it might not be the fastest for this purpose, it is quite well optimized for torrenting.

Dig a little deeper and learn more about all the features ProtonVPN offers.

5. Pure VPN – reliable VPN for Linux

purevpn
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:6500+ servers in 78 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get PureVPN 82% OFF + 3 months FREE!

PureVPN is another efficient VPN provider for Linux OS users. It assures easy configuration for your Linux device to fine-tune your online security, privacy, as well as data protection, and other ultimate VPN capabilities.

PureVPN appears to be broadly in line with the most popular VPN providers on the market, with over 6500 servers in 78 countries.

As of now, PureVPN supports Ubuntu, Linux mint, and Fedora distributions. Having only a client interface, everything is still accessible through intuitive commands. This allows smooth transition from other Linux applications to the VPN interface.

Encryption and tunnelling protocols are some of PureVPN's undisputed security features. This provider implements strong AES-256 encryption. This military-grade cipher can withstand brute-force attacks. It’s the industry standard encryption that will deal with sensitive data, and deadlock it on your Linux device.

Another core PureVPN’s feature is a kill switch. If the VPN connection is lost unexpectedly, it will protect your data and location until you are reconnected.

Talking about speeds, PureVPN stood out with high speeds scoring overall robust performance. This VPN connection supports only OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP protocols for Linux – they offer competitive speeds, and are highly configurable.

Even though there are some areas that PureVPN could improve, like an extensive and comprehensive installation guide for less experienced users, it’s a solid VPN choice for Linux users.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

A typical Linux user is a different breed. They want to customize everything themselves and already know a lot about how their system works. Which only makes it harder to recommend a proper VPN service. Our goal was to focus on several key areas:

  • Security. What I call security is mostly technical VPN setup: complex encryption ciphers with modern tunneling protocols. Various security features, such as traffic obfuscation and the like, are also important
  • Privacy. If you're shifting the trust from your ISP to your VPN service provider, it should be one that deserves it. A strict no-logs policy, warrant canaries, a privacy-friendly business location, audit reports, all of this adds up to make a trustworthy VPN service.
  • Linux client. While a GUI might simplify some things and save you typing time, a terminal can be just as good an alternative. Everything can be achieved with intuitive commands, making a seamless transition from other Linux apps to the VPN's interface.
  • Performance. Some VPNs offer fast connections, while others don't. This depends on a number of reasons, many of which are invisible to the outside observer. That's why we relied on our own empirical speed tests to determine what's what.
  • Additional features. In most cases, Linux app versions get next to no features compared to macOS or Windows apps. However, that isn't always the case. Anything extra can boost convenience, security, or both.
  • Price. You shouldn't be paying for features that aren't even available in the apps that you will be using. If you're only using a VPN for Linux, choose a service that provides the most value on your chosen platform.

How to install a VPN on Linux

Just like there are many ways to skin a cat, there are multiple ways to install a VPN on Linux. It mostly depends on the kind of distribution you're using. This will shape which package you'll be installing: tar.zst, Debian, or RPM. Still, there are some general guidelines that you'll have to follow.

  1. Get the VPN's repository package. You will be able to download it from your service provider's website.
  2. Install the repository. How to go about doing this will depend on your Linux version.
  3. Most likely, you'll have to update the package list.
  4. The final step is installing the actual VPN software itself.

After you've completed every step, you will be able to launch the app and use the terminal or GUI (if the program has it) to connect to the servers.

Does Linux OS distribution matter when choosing a VPN?

Distributions like Ubuntu, Kali, and Mint are all Debian-based. Essentially under the hood, they work the same. This means that they can all use the same packages, so there aren't many differences between them.

If you're using something Red hat-based, you will use RPM packages. This makes the distribution somewhat different from the Debian version. Still, if a provider is offering Debian support, they will usually support Red Hat.

You won't have any issues with any of the services on our best VPN for Linux list.

Which free VPN is best for Linux?

If you're looking for a decent VPN free service with Linux support – it's ProtonVPN. They don't have a data cap and allow you to choose between several locations.

Most importantly, the service aligns with the essential security and privacy requirements. They are funded from paid users' subscription fees and located in privacy-friendly Switzerland.

The ProtonVPN Linux client also includes a simplified GUI, but the service can also be used via the terminal. Although the support could be a bit better, it's an unbeatable pick if you need a free VPN for Linux.

As for alternatives, there aren't that many that could be recommended. You will be either stuck with severe data caps or not have the most secure or private service. These aren't compromises you should be making.

VPNs to avoid with Linux

Some VPNs have very limited support for Linux. Usually, they don't even have any apps. They just provide manual configurations. Here are some services that you should avoid if you're planning to use a VPN on Linux.

TunnelBear – this service provider doesn't have a VPN client for Linux. You will have to go through a manual setup to use it, which will strip you of much of the value that would be available with the app.

VyprVPN – only supports Ubuntu and Linux Mint. You might be able to set it up on other Debian-based distributions, but there is no official support. If you're running Red hat-based Linux, there are no clients or tutorials.

Conclusion

Using Linux is an good step to have better control over your data privacy. However, this could be even further enhanced by using a trustworthy VPN service provider. Although Linux users often are worse off for VPNs, the landscape is much improved when it comes to app options or support.

Now, if you're looking for a quality VPN for Linux, there are many options to choose from. Most of them will provide you with much better online security and privacy without putting you in debt.


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

Best VPNs for Mac: improve your privacy status
Best VPNs for Raspberry Pi: secure your Raspberry connection
Best VPNs for Chromebook OS: unblock streaming sites on your Chrome OS device


FAQ

Comments

Ademeion
Ademeion
prefix 8 months ago
- "The GUI is absent - you'll have to configure everything using the terminal. Though, this isn't something a typical Linux user will have trouble with."

And the "year of Linux" kept moving forward...
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