All Linux users face the same problem when looking for a VPN: compatibility. Finding a provider that is compatible with the Linux OS, as well as other Linux distributions, can be difficult. Even if you do find a solution, it might not offer the level of privacy and security you need.
However, if you use the best VPN for Linux, you’ll get everything you need to stay protected online. A suitable VPN will provide you with robust encryption, iron-clad data protection, and strong content-unblocking capabilities while working seamlessly across different Linux distributions.
In this article, we’ll share the 5 best Linux VPN providers with you and show you how to set up a VPN on Linux. Then, we’ll compare the features of every provider, explain why you need a VPN, discuss how to choose the best VPN for you, talk about how Linux distribution affects your VPN selection, and much more.
Best Linux VPNs - Our Shortlist
- NordVPN – Our #1-Rated Best VPN for Linux in 2023
- Surfshark – Best Linux VPN for High-End Privacy
- ExpressVPN – Beginner-Friendly VPN with Native Linux Support
- CyberGhost VPN – Provider with Support for Multiple Linux Distros
- Private Internet Access – Largest VPN Server Fleet Available
How to Set Up a VPN on Linux
To setup a VPN on Linux, you must first get a subscription to a VPN that supports Linux. Then, you need to install it and connect to one of its servers. Here’s some handy steps:
- Subscribe to a VPN that works with Linux (we recommend NordVPN).
- Download and install the Linux app on your device.
- Open the VPN app and log in to your account.
- Connect to a VPN server in any location you want to access content from.
- That’s it! Now, you’ll be able to protect your Linux device with a VPN.
The process to set up a VPN on Linux can vary depending on the distro you are running. However, you can more or less follow the instructions described above to download a VPN for Linux. Some VPNs even have separate download links for each distro that speed up the process greatly.
The Best VPNs for Linux
To find the best VPN for Linux, you need to follow the set of criteria we established in our guide to the best VPN for multiple devices. With that said, the first consideration is whether the provider supports Linux devices and offers a native app for different distributions. Make sure it also delivers high speeds and stable performance.
Choose a VPN that supports many other platforms like Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android—and allows multiple simultaneous connections. Next, look for a wide server network and robust security and privacy features, such as a no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols, and encryption.
Moreover, your provider should come with many additional features, including a kill switch, split tunneling, ad blocking, and more. It must also have strong unblocking capabilities so you can access restricted websites and media streamers. Lastly, look for a generous money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.
Based on the criteria explained above, these are the 5 best Linux VPNs:
|Get NordVPN Now|| |
NordVPN is the best VPN for Linux because it supports Linux OS and other platforms such as Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. This VPN has a native Linux app that you can download on Debian, Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Linux Mint, and RPM-based distros. You can set up NordVPN on Linux without much hassle, and you’ll get up to 6 simultaneous connections.
This provider has a larger server network than ExpressVPN but covers fewer regions: 60 countries worldwide with 5,800+ servers. NordVPN also has stellar unblocking capabilities, so you’ll be able to access all kinds of websites and media streaming platforms from anywhere in the world.
Moreover, NordVPN for Linux comes with top-notch privacy and security. Some of the features you’ll get include secure VPN protocols, AES 256-bit encryption, and a no-logs policy. It also offers a Double VPN, a kill switch, split tunneling, an ad blocker, and anti-malware.
NordVPN has medium-fast connections. That said, it delivers reliable performance nonetheless, and it’s still suitable for browsing, streaming, and gaming.
In addition, every NordVPN plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which you can use to test out its services. Lastly, you’ll get excellent 24/7 customer support via the live chat feature on their website.
- Offers native Linux app
- Robust privacy measures
- Wide range of security features
- Great for unblocking restricted content
- 30-day refund period
- Slow on remote servers
Last but not least is Surfshark, a powerful VPN that supports Linux and many other platforms like iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows. You’ll get an easy-to-use Linux graphical interface with its native app on Ubuntu distros and unlimited simultaneous connections. Setting up this VPN on Linux is pretty straightforward, which is why it is a great option for first-time users.
Surfshark offers excellent content-unblocking capabilities, allowing you to access websites and streaming platforms that are otherwise geo-restricted. It covers 100 countries with its 3,200+ servers, which further boosts its unblocking capacity.
This VPN is one of the fastest options on the market, offering super-fast Internet connection speeds and consistent performance. In addition, Surfshark comes with robust security and privacy features, such as secure VPN protocols, military-grade encryption, and a no-logs policy.
With Surfshark, you’ll enjoy a wide range of additional features, including a kill switch mechanism, split tunneling, a Multi-Hop feature, CleanWeb (Surfshark’s ad blocker), Smart DNS, leak protection, NoBorders mode, Camouflage mode, and more.
All Surfshark plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try out the provider’s services risk-free before you commit. Lastly, you’ll get top-notch 24/7 customer support, available on their website via live chat.
- Beginner-friendly GUI Linux app
- Top-notch security and privacy
- Robust suite of features
- Super-fast connection speeds
- 30-day money-back period
- App for Ubuntu distros only
ExpressVPN has an easy-to-use native Linux app and supports multiple Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Raspberry Pi, Linux Mint, and Arch Linux. Also, the provider supports many other platforms like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more. Plus, it allows up to 8 simultaneous connections.
Downloading ExpressVPN for Linux is pretty straightforward. Once you set up ExpressVPN on Linux, you’ll get to use its wide server network of 3,000+ servers in 100+ countries, which allows you to enjoy excellent unblocking capabilities. Thus, you can access a great deal of websites and media streaming platforms, such as Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more.
This VPN also comes with robust security and privacy features, including military-grade encryption, an independently-audited no-logs policy, and secure VPN protocols. In addition, it comes with a wide range of VPN features, such as a kill switch, split tunneling, TrustedServer technology (which ensures that none of your data is logged), and advanced leak protection.
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN that money can buy, so you’ll enjoy lightning-fast speeds and reliable, stable performance. Also, all ExpressVPN plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try them out and get a refund if it doesn’t suit your needs. Finally, you’ll have access to their knowledgeable 24/7 customer support via live chat.
- Supports multiple Linux distros
- Native Linux app
- Top-notch unblocking capabilities
- Lightning-fast speeds and performance
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No ad blocker
Next, we have CyberGhost, a robust provider that supports the Linux OS and has a native app for Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, Kali, CentOS, and Pop!_OS distributions. It also provides support for multiple other platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. You can use CyberGhost VPN for Linux on up to 7 devices simultaneously.
With CyberGhost, you’ll get access to more than 9,300 servers in 100 countries, which means that you’ll be able to unblock geo-restricted content, like websites and streaming platforms. This provider offers medium-fast connection speeds and stable performance, but it’s faster on remote servers compared to NordVPN.
CyberGhost also comes with excellent security and privacy features, including a no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols, and military-grade encryption. In addition, you’ll get features like a kill switch, split tunneling, an ad blocker, a tracking blocker, anti-malware, streaming-optimized servers, Smart DNS, and more.
This VPN offers an extended 45-day money-back guarantee on its longer-term plans and a 14-day money-back guarantee on its monthly plan. Both options give you time to try out the provider’s services without wasting your money. Furthermore, you’ll get dedicated 24/7 customer support, available via a live chat feature on the official CyberGhost website.
- Extra-wide server network
- Seamless Linux compatibility
- Optimized servers for entertainment purposes
- Dedicated 24/7 customer support
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Slower compared to other VPNs
Private Internet Access (PIA) has strong Linux support and is compatible with other platforms like macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. It offers a full GUI in its native Linux app that works on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Fedora, and Arch Linux. Even better, you can use PIA on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.
PIA has the largest server network on the market, offering thousands of servers in 84 different countries. In addition, it comes with great content-unblocking capabilities, allowing you to access any websites or media streaming platforms.
With PIA, your privacy and security are ensured by its no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols, and strong encryption. Also, it comes with a wide range of other VPN features, such as split tunneling, a kill switch, a Multi-Hop feature, P2P support, an ad blocker, anti-malware, port forwarding, and customizable DNS settings.
PIA VPN for Linux is the slowest provider on our list, offering average Internet connection speeds and consistent performance. On the bright side, it’s still great for browsing and streaming. With PIA, you can tweak your VPN settings to choose the protocol you use and increase or decrease your encryption.
All PIA pricing plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try out the VPN risk-free. You’ll also have access to 24/7 customer support, available via PIA’s live chat feature.
- Largest server fleet on market
- Offers full GUI for Linux
- Multi-hop and port forwarding available
- Many customization options
- 30-day refund policy
- Slowest VPN on our list
Best VPNs for Linux: Compared
|Native App for Linux||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Other Supported Platforms||macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Android TV Chrome, Firefox, Edge||macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox, Edge||macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Android TV, Chrome||macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox||macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Opera|
|Server Network Size||5,800+ servers in 60 countries||3,200+ servers in 100 countries||3,000+ servers in 100+ countries||9,300+ servers in 100 countries||Thousands of servers in 84 countries|
|VPN Protocols||OpenVPN, WireGuard, NordLynx||OpenVPN, WireGuard||Lightway, L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN||OpenVPN, WireGuard||OpenVPN, WireGuard|
|Money-Back Period||30 days||30 days||30 days||14 days on monthly plans;45 days on longer-term plans||30 days|
Why Do You Need a VPN for Linux?
You need a VPN for Linux to protect your devices and your data while you’re using the Internet. Other reasons why you need a VPN include the following:
- Conceal Your Browsing Activity – ISPs, the government, and hackers can easily see what you’re doing online if you’re not protected. A VPN will hide your online activity so they can’t view it.
- Hide Your IP Address – Your IP address reveals your location and other sensitive information. A Linux VPN can hide it by giving you a brand-new IP.
- Avoid Throttling – Bandwidth throttling happens when your ISP slows down your Internet because you’re using a lot of data. A VPN can help you avoid this by hiding your usage.
- Bypass Local Censorship – Most countries have certain websites blocked for a number of reasons. With a VPN, you can see any content you want, no matter where you are. Simply connect to VPN servers in regions that allow access to your desired content.
- Unblock Global Content – Most VPNs have servers all over the world, allowing you to connect to a wide range of countries and access their geo-restricted content.
- Access Local Content While Traveling – With a VPN, you can connect to a server in your home country while you’re abroad and use the Internet as if you were back there.
- Use Public Wi-Fi Safely – Public Wi-Fi networks aren’t encrypted, and connecting to them makes you an easy target for hackers. However, a VPN will encrypt your connection and make using public Wi-Fi more safe.
- Enjoy Smoother Gaming – With a VPN, you can improve your overall gaming speeds by connecting to servers closer to your game’s data centers. This will reduce ping and minimize lagging.
- Eliminate Price Discrimination – A VPN can help you take advantage of deals available only for certain regions by allowing you to get an IP address from said regions.
- Shop Safely Online – VPNs will mask your real IP, encrypt your connection, and ensure your personal and financial info is safe while you’re shopping online.
- Secure Your Torrenting – VPNs will hide your personal information and activities to protect you while you download torrents.
How to Choose the Best Linux VPN?
To choose the best Linux VPN, you must ensure that it supports Linux, has strong security and privacy features, and a wide server network. Here’s a comprehensive list of features to consider:
- Support for Linux – Make sure that your VPN natively supports many Linux distros. An app with seamless GUI is ideal.
- Support for Other Platforms – Your VPN should be compatible with other popular platforms, such as Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and more.
- Simultaneous Connections – A suitable VPN should offer at least a few simultaneous connections so that you can use it on multiple devices.
- Server Network Size – Find a VPN with a wide server network that allows you to connect to multiple locations in many different countries. This opens up a world of content at your fingertips.
- No-Logs Policy – No-logs policies are imperative, as they ensure that none of your data is stored or shared with authorities, ISPs, or any other prying eyes.
- VPN Protocols and Encryption – The VPN you choose must employ secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard, along with military-grade encryption so that you can keep your data safe.
- Advanced VPN Features – Some extra features to look out for include a kill switch, split tunneling, ad blocking, Double VPN support, data leak protection, anti-malware, and more. All of these will boost your security and privacy.
- Website Unblocking Capabilities – Your VPN must be able to give you access to websites that are otherwise unavailable due to censorship or geo-restrictions. This requires servers in different countries.
- Performance and Speed – Ensure that your VPN has fast connections and stable performance so that you can use it for lag-free gaming, bufferless streaming, and seamless browsing.
- Money-Back Policy – A money-back guarantee will allow you to try out a VPN risk-free and get a full refund if you don’t like its services.
- Customer Support – Make sure your VPN offers 24/7 customer support so that you can reach them whenever you need to, ideally by live chat.
Does Linux OS Distribution Matter When Choosing a VPN?
Yes, the Linux OS distribution matters when choosing a VPN to a certain degree. This is because Linux distributions that share the same core functionalities can use the same VPN, while those that differ greatly cannot.
For instance, you can use the same provider as a VPN for Linux Mint, Kali, and Ubuntu because those distributions are all Debian-based. You often can’t use the same VPN for both a Debian distro and one like Arch Linux, which is independently developed. Thus, you’ll need a separate VPN for Arch Linux that supports that particular distro.
Similarly, you’ll need to use RPM packages if you have a Red Hat–based distribution. Luckily, most VPNs offer both Debian and Red Hat support. However, to be sure, always confirm that the provider you want to use supports your distribution so that you don’t waste time and money.
Can You Use a Free VPN for Linux?
Yes, you can use a free VPN for Linux, but we strongly advise against that. For starters, free Linux VPN providers are rare, and even if you find one, you’ll face a lot of limitations that will make your whole experience on the Internet worse than it was before.
Namely, free VPN providers offer poor security and privacy and usually sell their users’ data to third parties. So, you won’t be protected as you should be. Also, free VPNs come with small server networks, limited content-unblocking capabilities, slow speeds, and low data caps. So, risking your safety with a free VPN is not worth it at all.
Instead, we recommend you use a premium option. With the best VPN providers, you’ll get seamless Linux compatibility, a wide range of features, and robust security and privacy that will ensure your safety online.
Not all VPNs are compatible with Linux, which is a problem that Linux users struggle with often. Besides that, even if a VPN is compatible with Linux, it might not offer the necessary security and privacy needed to protect your data online. That’s why you need a reliable VPN that works seamlessly with Linux.
We recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for Linux because it has a native app for numerous Linux distros. Thus, it can comprehensively protect your devices and data online. Plus, NordVPN is ideal for unblocking content and offers blazing-fast speeds to boot.
What’s the Best VPN for Linux?
The best VPN for Linux is NordVPN. It offers native support for Linux and multiple Linux distributions, as well as excellent security, privacy, and Internet connection speeds.
How Do I Know If a VPN is Running on Linux?
You can check if a VPN is running on Linux by opening its website and seeing whether it supports the OS. A clear indication is if the VPN offers a native Linux app.
Does Linux Have a Built-in VPN?
No, Linux doesn’t have a built-in VPN. So, if you want to secure your connection and browse safely, you’ll need a reliable Linux VPN.
Does NordVPN Work with Linux?
Yes, NordVPN works with Linux. You can use it on your Linux device by installing the NordVPN Linux app. Moreover, it’s compatible with multiple Linux distributions.
Does ExpressVPN Work with Linux?
Yes, ExpressVPN works with Linux. It has a native Linux app and also supports multiple Linux distributions. It’s also the fastest VPN on the market with strong unblocking capabilities.
Does CyberGhost Work with Linux?
Yes, CyberGhost works with Linux. It has a Linux app that you can download to use its VPN services. This provider also offers protection for multiple Linux distributions.
Which VPN is Best for Kali Linux?
The best VPN for Kali Linux is NordVPN. It’ll give you a seamless and blazing-fast connection, as well as all the necessary features to keep you safe online.
That’s all for our guide on choosing the best VPN for Linux. If you have any additional questions or remarks, please share them via the comments section below. Thanks for reading!