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Best VPNs for Raspberry Pi in 2021


Raspberry Pi is a small, single-board computer that operates on a Debian based operating system. However, Raspberry Pi OS is not the most secure when it comes to operating through wireless networks. No matter if you’re using your Pi to simply browse the web, set up bird watching websites, or create complicated surveillance systems, securing your traffic and data is in your best interest.

Any data that’s being transferred through a Raspberry Pi that’s set up as a web gateway for IoT or a web server is vulnerable to attacks. This is especially concerning if the aforementioned data is related to surveillance and security systems, or anything that’s not meant for an outsider’s eyes.

However, a way to secure your Raspberry Pi is to use a VPN. A lot of VPN providers on the market have apps for Linux and therefore Raspberry Pi, but choosing the best one is not always easy. To help you in this quest, we made a list of the best VPNs for Raspberry Pi. Let’s take a look.

5 best VPNs for Raspberry Pi:

  1. NordVPN - the best VPN for Raspberry Pi
  2. Surfshark - the best price/quality ratio
  3. IPVanish - an extra secure option for Raspberry Pi
  4. PureVPN - simple but perfectly functional
  5. ProtonVPN - the best freemium VPN for Raspberry Pi

How to use a VPN with Raspberry Pi

It might not be entirely clear how to use a VPN with Raspberry Pi. However, this short guide is here to help you:

  1. Choose a VPN that has an app for Raspberry Pi or Linux. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Purchase your subscription and create an account. Skip this step if you already have one.
  3. Download and install the app using the terminal.
  4. Login and connect using the terminal.

The best VPNs for Raspberry Pi - our detailed list

If you want to be sure about what you'll be getting with each VPN we recommend, we've got you. This list goes into the most important features that each provider has - all to help you decide. Give it a read.

1. NordVPN - overall the best VPN

NordVPN banner
Servers/Countries:5,500+ servers in 59 countries
Price:From $3.29/month
Raspberry Pi or Linux app:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN, now 72% OFF! 🔥

NordVPN, a staple of the VPN market, is also the best option for Raspberry Pi. It has a dedicated app for Raspberry Pi OS, and setting it up takes only a couple commands in the terminal. To add to this, all of the commands are very easy to remember, and the settings are simple to apply.

Another great thing about NordVPN is the speed. The WireGuard and the custom Nordlynx protocols allow for unmatched speeds and the lowest ping possible, which is great for watching live data feed with as little delay as possible.

NordVPN also uses military-grade, new generation AES-256 encryption protocols, which ensure the complete safety of any incoming and outgoing traffic.

Other awesome NordVPN features include a kill switch for the internet in case the VPN connection is lost, CyberSec for blocking ads and malware, and obfuscated servers for maximum anonymity.

NordVPN also offers 24/7 live support which is truly helpful in case you run into any issues at any time.

Read our NordVPN review to learn more.

2. Surfshark - the most budget friendly option

Surfshark banner
Servers/Countries:3,200+ servers in 65 countries
Price:From $2.21/month
Raspberry Pi or Linux app:Yes
Current Deal🔥 Get Surfshark, now 83% OFF + 3 Months FREE! 🔥

Surfshark is the most budget-friendly option for Raspberry Pi, but the low cost doesn’t mean less features. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Apart from having a Linux client that’s easy to install and use, Surfshark also offers a variety of great features and great speeds.

This provider will not disappoint you if you’re looking for something cheaper but no less speedy. Surfshark appears on numerous lists as one of the fastest VPNs out there.

In terms of encryption, Surfshark uses the military grade AES-256 cipher, and for extra security, it also has leak protection, a kill switch, and an ad blocker. You, your traffic, and your data will be protected from all sides.

And there are additional features for no extra cost that make Surfshark even more attractive. To name some of them, the split tunneling lets you exclude selected apps and domains from the VPN traffic, and Camouflage Mode hides the fact that you’re using a VPN.

Read our Surfshark review to learn more.

3. IPVanish - security taken to the next level

IPVanish banner
Servers/Countries1,600+ servers in 75 countries
Price:from $4/month
Raspberry Pi or Linux appNo
Current deal:🔥 Save 70% OFF the IPVanish 1-year plan! 🔥

As the name says, IPVanish truly makes your IP vanish, but that’s not all. This provider offers a variety of features fit for any respectable VPN, and all for a truly great price.

IPVanish uses 256-bit AES encryption to encrypt traffic and hide your IP address. On top of that, all your login information is processed using the SHA-512 hash functions, which adds an additional layer of security.

As for speeds, IPVanish does not disappoint. The OpenVPN protocol allows for quite good download and upload speeds in nearer locations. Lower speeds in locations a bit further away are understandable.

Additional features of IPVanish include the WireGuard tunneling protocol, which allows for even greater speeds, and SugarSync, an encrypted file storage space for all IPVanish users.

One downside of this provider is that it doesn't have an app for Linux, and instead manual OpenVPN configuration is needed. You won’t need to struggle with that alone though, because there are guides to help you through setting it up.

Read our IPVanish review to learn more.

4. PureVPN - the "less is more" approach

PureVPN banner
Servers/Countries:6,500+ servers in 78 countries
Price:From $3.33/month
Raspberry Pi or Linux appYes
Current deal:🔥 PureVPN is now 74% OFF! 🔥

Despite the troubles in the past, PureVPN has really purified itself, and now it’s among the best VPNs for Raspberry Pi.

And while it may seem that this provider doesn’t have that much to offer, decent prices and perfectly running features seem more than enough if you’re looking for something functional.

As most of its contenders, PureVPN uses military-grade encryption to keep your data safe and anonymous, and the OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols allow for good speeds. Additionally, PureVPN has implemented the always-on-audit policy, which further ensures there are no hiccups security-wise.

As for compatibility with Raspberry Pi, PureVPN has a Linux app with set up guides both for other distributors and Debian (which Raspberry Pi OS is based on). Setting it up might be trickier than with other providers, but if you run into any difficulties, PureVPN’s 24/7 live chat support is just a few clicks away.

Read our PureVPN review to learn more.

5. ProtonVPN - free VPN for your Raspberry Pi

ProtonVPN banner
Servers/Countries:1,080+ servers in 54 countries
Price:Premium from $4/month
Raspberry Pi or Linux app:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Save up to 33% with a 2-year plan! 🔥

ProtonVPN is the only freemium VPN on our list, and not without a reason. It has a fairly good free version and a Linux app to go with it, which is not the case for most freemium VPNs.

Looking at the security side, Proton VPN employs the military-grade AES-256 encryption, and no DNS leaks were noticed during our testing. On top of that, ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which allows them to operate under a no-logs policy.

ProtonVPN also has an extensive feature list, including tools for tracker blocking that allows you to stay totally anonymous online, and a version of split tunneling (though this feature differs from OS to OS).

As for the speed, ProtonVPN performs pretty well. One downside is that it doesn’t have the WireGuard protocol, so the internet speed gets affected a bit more.

Another downside is that ProtonVPN doesn’t have a live chat. However, support is perfectly reachable through support tickets, and their extensive help centers are there for you to use.

Read our ProtonVPN review to learn more.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

While there are some universal features that our team looks into when testing VPNs, there are also specific ones that need to function without hiccups in particular cases. The VPNs on our list were tested on Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model with the latest updates, using the Debian-based Raspberry Pi OS. Here are the features that we looked into when testing:

  • Raspberry Pi or Linux app. The best VPN for Raspberry Pi, of course, has to have a compatible app. As Raspberry Pi OS is a Debian-based Linux distributor, a VPN should have a Pi or Linux client.
  • Security. Security is the most important factor to take into consideration. Top tier encryption protocols, split tunneling options, a kill switch, and ad-blocks are just some of the features that a respectable VPN needs to have in order to be the best for Raspberry Pi.
  • Speed. Because a lot of data from various sensors travels through the internet, as minimal a delay as possible is preferred, allowing recipients to act accordingly to this data without hiccups. Thus, a VPN should have sufficient speeds for information to travel quickly.
  • Ease of use. The VPN providers on our list don’t have a Linux interface. In turn, the installation and using process happens through the terminal. Despite that, the experience should be as smooth as possible.
  • Support. The best VPN should have the best support. 24/7 live chat, email, or phone support is the ideal, and detailed guides definitely add points.
  • Jurisdiction. Last but not least, the best VPN should be under the jurisdiction of a country that doesn’t require the provider to log users’ data.

Why do I need a VPN for Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi OS doesn’t add much security to your Pi device, especially regarding internet traffic encryption. And unless you’re using your Pi device for purposes that don’t require internet connectivity, securing it might be something you’ll want to do.

But why is encryption of the data travelling through your Pi device so important?

Consider this: Raspberry Pi is commonly used in surveillance and security systems. The way it works is that the Raspberry Pi is used as a web gateway for transferring surveillance data from devices like cameras and automated locks to, for example, your phone. If this data is travelling through unencrypted tunnels, it takes nothing for Mr. Evil Hacker to access it and, in turn, compromise the security of your home.

And while this is just one example of the dangers of unencrypted traffic roaming freely around the world, we’d say it’s pretty illustrative of the fact that you need a VPN for your Raspberry Pi.

What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a single board computer, a bit bigger than a credit card, capable of performing most of the tasks as a regular computing device. It’s operating system is a Linux distributor and is called Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian).

raspberry pi desktop screenshot
Raspberry Pi desktop view

Being so small, you wouldn’t think that it can do much, right? But while Raspberry Pi probably won’t allow you to use editing or animation software, it can do plenty of other things that regular computers can. You can easily code, play games, or just simply browse the internet.

Raspberry Pi is also widely used as a web gateway for the Internet of Things. Because of its small size and easy portability, RasPi is especially convenient for, let’s say, setting up your wildlife watching website or home surveillance systems.

Is Raspberry Pi secure?

The answer depends on the context in which the Raspberry Pi is used.

Raspberry Pi is generally very secure as long as it is not connected to any kind of outside network. Hardware hacking is, by definition, only possible if a hacker gets their physical hands on your device. I suspect you won’t be leaving your Pi out in the open, so the chances of it getting hacked are pretty low.

But if your Raspberry Pi is connected to outside networks, namely the internet, the security question changes completely. A hacker has very easy means of hacking into your network and doing all kinds of stuff there, be it collecting the IoT data, your personal info, or anything else.

You may ask, “How do I protect myself from such wireless hacking attacks?” The answer is, you need a VPN. The good news is that the best VPNs have apps for Raspberry Pi, and installing it is pretty simple.

How to install a VPN on Raspberry Pi

Installing your chosen VPN on Raspberry Pi isn’t extremely difficult, but it may differ slightly from provider to provider. To help you out, we made this guide on how to install a VPN on your Raspberry Pi.

  1. Choose your VPN service. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Purchase a subscription and create an account. Skip this step if you already have an account.
  3. Download your VPN Linux Client. It can be downloaded using the terminal, or from the browser. Some providers have only OpenVPN configurations and no apps.
  4. Install the client using the terminal and update it to the latest version. You might need to reboot your device after this.
  5. Login to the VPN using the terminal or the app interface (if your provider has one).
  6. Depending on your provider, enable/disable any features and configure any settings if there’s a need for that before you connect.
  7. Connect to a VPN server by using terminal commands for your provider.
  8. Explore the additional features your provider offers.
  9. You’re set and ready to use your Raspberry Pi safely!

If you need any help with setting up a VPN on your Raspberry Pi, you can always visit your provider’s help center or contact the support through live chat.

Can I use a free VPN with my Raspberry Pi?

There’s this saying about free services - if it’s free, the user is the product. Free VPN providers usually make their profit by selling user data to third parties, which is as far from good VPN service practice as it gets. With free VPN services, online anonymity and security go out through the window.

So, to answer the question - we wouldn’t recommend using a free VPN with your Raspberry Pi. But, if you still want to try an unpaid option, ProtonVPN has a free version, and an option to upgrade it for a very agreeable price.

Final thoughts

Raspberry Pi OS is not the most secure operating system. The lack of solid security is especially true if any outside networks, including any internet networks, have access to your device.

And the internet is not the most secure place on the planet. Whether you’re using your Pi as a web server for the IoT (Internet of Things) or doing any other work that requires internet access, your data is at risk.

Using a VPN is a great way to get rid of this risk and encrypt any incoming or outgoing traffic. Our list of the best VPNs for Raspberry Pi is designed to help you choose the best possible protection for your Pi.

FAQ


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Best VPNs for Linux: improve your online security
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Best VPNs for multiple devices: secure your whole network's resources

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