How to Download, Set Up, and Use ExpressVPN on Linux

You can set up ExpressVPN on various Linux distributions by downloading its native application from its website. We're talking about a command-line application here, which means you'll get to interact with ExpressVPN's servers on your Linux through easy-to-remember commands.

Aside from using ExpressVPN's Linux native application, you can also manually set up the VPN using Ubuntu's Network Manager or Linux's Terminal. You should always go for the native application for the highest level of privacy protection. However, keep in mind that you have multiple options in front of you, so decide based on your level of technical knowledge.

Also, let's see which versions of Linux are supported. ExpressVPN works with Ubuntu (all LTS and interim releases currently supported by Ubuntu's support window), Debian 9 and 10, Fedora 34, Arch (the latest rolling release), Raspberry 9 and 10, as well as Linux Mint 20.1 (including Linux Mint Debian Edition 4).

How to Set Up ExpressVPN on Linux

As mentioned just above, there are 3 ways to set up ExpressVPN on any Linux distribution. These are all the options available at the moment:

Method #1: Install ExpressVPN's Linux Application

Using ExpressVPN's command-line application for Linux should be your primary route to go, especially if you want the best privacy protection. Here's what you need to do:

1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your computer and any Web browser.

2. After subscribing, click "My Account" using the top-placed main menu on ExpressVPN's site. Provide your credentials and access your ExpressVPN online dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Once you access your online dashboard, click the "Set Up Other Devices" button. Then, pick "Linux" on the left. On the right, select your version of Linux and click "Download."

Setting Up Devices ExpressVPN Account Online
Tip

You can check which version of Linux you have by using Terminal and one of the following commands: "uname -m" or "arch." If you see '64' somewhere there, that means that you have a 64-bit distribution (so, download the 64-bit installation file).

Downloading ExpressVPN on Linux

4. Now, find the downloaded file (it should be in the 'Downloads' folder by default). Right-click on the file and pick: Open with Other Application > Software Install > Select > Install.

Installing ExpressVPN on Linux

5. Provide your Linux (user) password and click "Authenticate" to install ExpressVPN.

6. Once the installation is complete, launch the Terminal application and run the "expressvpn" command. Press the Enter key to confirm the input.

ExpressVPN Basic Command for Linux

7. Then, run the "cd ~/Downloads/" command. 

Downloads Command for ExpressVPN on Linux

8. If you use Ubuntu, input this command: "sudo dpkg -i [installation file name]." If you use Fedora/CentOS, go with "sudo yum install [installation file name]" or "sudo dnf install [installation file name]." And if you use Arch, go with "sudo pacman -U [installer filename]."

9. Now, activate the application by using the "expressvpn activate" command. You'll be asked for your ExpressVPN activation code, which you can paste from your ExpressVPN dashboard.

ExpressVPN Linux Activate Command

10. When asked about anonymous data logging, go with 'Y' or 'N.' Once you do so, ExpressVPN's application will be installed, activated, and ready to be used.

11. To connect to the nearest VPN server, use the "expressvpn connect" command. 

ExpressVPN Linux Connect Command

12. To end your VPN session, go with the "expressvpn disconnect" command. 

ExpressVPN Linux Disconnect Command

13. If you’d like to connect to a specific server, input the "expressvpn list all" command. Connect using a command such as – expressvpn connect “USA – New York."

14. To check other commands you can use, go with the "man expressvpn" command. That will open ExpressVPN's manual, where you can see how else you can use the VPN.

Method #2: Set Up ExpressVPN via Ubuntu Network Manager

Using Ubuntu's Network Manager, you can set ExpressVPN on Linux manually and use its OpenVPN protocol. To make that happen, do the following:

1. Get your ExpressVPN subscription, using your computer and any Web browser.

2. After subscribing, click "My Account" on the top-placed main menu on ExpressVPN's site. Provide your username and password, and then access your ExpressVPN online dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Navigate to Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration > OpenVPN. You'll now see your OpenVPN username and password on the right-hand side.

ExpressVPN OpenVPN Files

4. Pick a server (under your OpenVPN credentials) and download that server's OpenVPN configuration file to your Linux computer.

5. On your computer, go to Settings > Network. Click "+" in the "VPN" section and pick "Import From File." Pick the OVPN file you just downloaded and hit "Open."

Network Settings Ubuntu

6. A pop will now appear. Upload the corresponding OVPN files, and then you need to fill out the fields under "Authentication" in the following way:

  • Type: Pick "Password with Certificates (TLS)."
  • Username: Provide your OpenVPN username.
  • Password: Provide your OpenVPN password.
Advanced Button Network Manager Ubuntu

7. Click "Advanced" in the bottom-right corner to access additional options. Make sure to pick the "General" tab and input the following information:

  • Use Custom Gateway Port: Enter "1195."
  • Data Compression: Go with "LZO."
  • Use Custom Tunnel Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU): Enter "1500."
  • Use Custom UDP Fragment Size: Enter "1300."
  • Restrict Tunnel TCP Maximum Segment Size (MSS): Check this box.
  • Randomize Remote Hosts: Check this box.
OpenVPN Advanced Options General Tab on Linux

8. Select the "Security" tab and input the following information:

  • Cipher: Pick "AES-256-CBC."
  • HMAC Authentication: Select "SHA-512."
OpenVPN Security Options Linux

9. Select the "TLS Authentication" tab and enter the following information:

  • Key File: Select the "ta.key" file you download from ExpressVPN's site.
  • Key Direction: Pick "1."
TLS Authentication in Linux

10. Click "OK" to save the newly added parameters and you'll return to the "Network" window. To activate your VPN connection, toggle the switch next to its name. That's it!

Connecting to VPN Connection in Ubuntu

Method #3: Set Up ExpressVPN via Terminal

If you're a more advanced user, you can set up ExpressVPN via Terminal using the OpenVPN protocol. These are the steps you need to take:

1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your computer and any Web browser.

2. Once you subscribe, select "My Account" using the top-placed ExpressVPN website main menu. Provide your credentials and access your ExpressVPN online dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Go to Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration > OpenVPN. Make a note of your OpenVPN username and password on the right-hand side.

ExpressVPN OpenVPN Files

4. Scroll a bit down and pick a VPN server location. Then, click on the server's name and download its OpenVPN (OVPN) configuration files.

5. Proceed based on if you have a Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora distribution of Linux.

Installation Steps to Linux Ubuntu

6. Launch Terminal and input this command: "$ sudo apt install openvpn openvpn-systemd-resolved." Press the Enter key to confirm your input.

7. Initialize OpenVPN: "$ sudo openvpn --config /[path to file]/my_expressvpn_[server location].ovpn --script-security 2 --up /etc/openvpn/update-systemd-resolved --down /etc/openvpn/update-systemd-resolved --dhcp-option 'DOMAIN-ROUTE .' --down-pre." Make sure to replace the [path to file] section.

Activating OpenVPN Linux Ubuntu

8. Provide your OpenVPN username and password. After that, your VPN session will become active, as it should say: "Initialization Sequence Completed." Leave the Terminal window active in the background to keep your VPN session active.

Linux Ubuntu VPN Final Command

Installation Steps for Linux Debian

6. Launch Terminal and input this command: "$ sudo apt install openvpn resolvconf." Provide your Linux password and press "Y" to continue.

7. Now, use this command: "$ sudo openvpn --config /[path to file]/my_expressvpn_[server location].ovpn --script-security 2 --up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf --down /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf." Replace the [path to file] section.

Activating VPN Linux Debian

8. Once you provide your OpenVPN username and password, your OpenVPN connection will go live. It should say "Initialization Sequence Completed." That's it!

Linux Debian VPN Final Command

Installation Steps for Linux Fedora

6. Launch Terminal and input this command: "$ sudo dnf install OpenVPN."

7. You'll now need to use a series of commands to configure your DNS. Start by using the following command first: "$ sudo cp /usr/share/doc/openvpn/contrib/pull-resolv-conf/client.{up,down} /etc/openvpn/."

8. Now, input this command: "$ sudo chmod +x /etc/openvpn/client.{up,down}" followed by this: "$ sudo sed -i -e 's|bresolvconfb|ignore-&|' /etc/openvpn/client.{up,down}."

9. Launch OpenVPN using the following command: "$ sudo openvpn --config /[path to file]/my_expressvpn_[server location].ovpn --script-security 2 --up /etc/openvpn/client.up --down /etc/openvpn/client.down." Replace the [path to file] section.

10. Provide your OpenVPN username and password. Your connection will become active once you see the "Initialization Sequence Completed" message. That's it!

Final Thoughts

If you want privacy, security, and website unblocking, ExpressVPN is the best choice for Linux. That said, you'll get 5 simultaneous connections, so you'll want to try ExpressVPN on your other devices as well. Here's how to set up ExpressVPN on all its supported devices.

In the end, know that ExpressVPN is the best option - but not your only option. So, if you'd like to explore more, our guide to the best VPN for Linux should be your next Web destination.

FAQ

Does ExpressVPN Work on Linux?

Yes, ExpressVPN works on Linux. It comes with a native application that's compatible with Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and other Linux distributions.

How Do I Download ExpressVPN on Linux?

To download ExpressVPN on Linux, you first need to sign up for the VPN. Then, access your dashboard on ExpressVPN's site (by clicking "My Account) and download the VPN app for Linux from your dashboard.

How Do I Enable ExpressVPN in Terminal?

Once you install ExpressVPN on Linux, you can enable it in Terminal using the "expressvpn connect" command, which will connect you to the most recently used VPN server.

Does ExpressVPN Have OpenVPN on Linux?

Yes, ExpressVPN offers OpenVPN on Linux, as well as its own protocol - Lightway. You can choose from UDP and TCP variations, both of which are highly secure.

Does ExpressVPN Have a GUI on Linux?

No, ExpressVPN doesn't have a GUI on Linux. That means ExpressVPN is a command-line application, no matter which Linux distribution you use.

You can install ExpressVPN's Web browser extensions to get a GUI. For Chrome, use the "expressvpn install-chrome-extension" command, and for Firefox, go with "expressvpn install-firefox-extension."

Is ExpressVPN Free on Linux?

No, ExpressVPN doesn't come on Linux (or any other operating system). However, you can get ExpressVPN's 30-day risk-free trial, so you can test-drive the VPN with no limitations.

That would be all on how to set up and use ExpressVPN on Linux. If you have any questions on your mind, make sure to post your comment just below. And lastly, thank you for reading!

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