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Linux has lots of benefits compared to Windows and macOS. One area where it can’t help you, however, is online privacy.
To be truly safe on the internet, you need to use a VPN. It will protect you from the prying eyes of governments, ISPs, and hackers. Here are the best VPNs for Linux—and we’ve even thrown in a couple of Linux VPN clients.
We begin the list of Linux VPNs with ExpressVPN, which happens to be one of the best VPNs for any device, period.
Since April 2016, the app has offered its own Linux-compatible app. It relies on the command line rather than providing a user interface, but it’s still easy to use.
If you’re running Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, or CentOS, just download the installer and follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll need to add your activation code before you can use the service.
Once the installation is complete, you can connect to your nearest server from the command line by typing expressvpn connect. To see a list of the available servers, type expressvpn list. And to connect to a specific server, use expressvpn connect [LOCATION]. To disconnect from ExpressVPN, type expressvpn disconnect.
MakeUseOf readers can get a special 49% discount when signing up to ExpressVPN.
TorGuard offers more than 3,300 servers in 55 countries, thus making it one of the Linux VPNs with the most connection points.
The service has four standalone features:
- Anonymous VPN Service: This is the core feature. TorGuard’s VPN will encrypt all your traffic. You can have up to five simultaneous connections along with unlimited speed and bandwidth.
- Anonymous Proxy: The Anonymous Proxy will hide your IP address, unblock websites, and let you download content incognito.
- Stealth VPN: Some sites and services don’t allow you to access their pages with a VPN. Stealth VPN will enable you to bypass such blocks.
- Private Email: The Private Email feature uses OpenPGP email encryption so you can send messages without compromising your identity.
Unlike ExpressVPN, TorGuard does have a graphical user interface (GUI) on Linux. If you’re uncomfortable with using the command line, you might find it to be a better option.
TorGuard plans start at $9.99 per month.
Remember, before signing up for any VPN service, you need to establish what’s most important to you. Some VPNs have locations in hundreds of countries and specialize in accessing geo-blocked content. Others instead focus on offering the most robust security.
NordVPN’s falls into the latter category. Its features include a kill switch, DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, and port forwarding. The company does not keep any logs and only supports the secure OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocol with Next Generation Encryption.
Even making payments for NordVPN is private; you can pay for the for service using Bitcoin. NordVPN costs $6.99 per month if you sign up for a year.
On the downside, there’s also no GUI on Linux, so using the VPN is slightly more laborious for beginners.
NordVPN is based and operate under the jurisdiction of Panama.
AirVPN works on all the major Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and Arch.
The service supports SSH, SSL, and Tor. It uses three types of encryption to keep you safe: 4096-bit RSA keys, an AES-256-CBC data channel, and an HMAC SHA1 control channel.
Importantly, AirVPN also offers no traffic limits, no maximum speed, no time limits, no logging, and up to five connections at the same time.
The company deserves massive credit for its Linux VPN client. Called Eddie, the app is open source. As such, you can use it to connect to any other VPN provider’s servers.
The VPN costs €7 per month. Uniquely, three-day plans are also available for €3. Like NordVPN, you can pay for AirVPN using Bitcoin.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is perennially popular among users. Despite being located in a Five-Eyes jurisdiction (the United States), PIA is reasonably secure. The company does not keep logs or any identifying information.
Indeed, when confronted with new Russian laws which required a company to keep logs of all traffic for 12 months, it shut down its operations in the country rather than comply.
From a features standpoint, PIA has more than 3,000 servers in 33 countries. PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSec are supported, and you can use five devices at the same time. There is also a dedicated Linux user interface.
You can buy Private Internet Access for less than $3 per month if you sign up for two years. The regular monthly price is $6.95.
What about free VPNs for Linux? If you want a reliable free VPN, your options are much more limited.
One of the most common free VPNs on Windows and Mac is TunnelBear. Unfortunately, it only has limited support for Linux. Therefore, we think the best free VPN for Linux is Windscribe. It is available on Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS.
Windscribe Free gives you 10GB of data per month and access to servers in 10 countries. And, unlike some free VPNs, you still get all the security benefits of a paid plan, including no logging. If you want to upgrade to the pro plan, it will cost you $9 per month.
It’s always worth ending VPN article with a mention of Tor. It routes your traffic through an onion network, making it virtually impossible to trace. The Tor browser is available for Linux.
You should use Tor if you’re looking for a free option. Remember, you shouldn’t use a free VPN. With a free VPN, you are the product; they are notorious for logging, lousy business practice, and poor reliability.
Speaking of open source VPN clients, have a look at Qomui. It’s a frontend VPN GUI that’s compatible with any provider that supports OpenVPN. Some commentators have suggested it’s better than Eddie.
Note: Qomui does not offer a VPN service.
Secure Yourself on Linux
Using a Linux VPN is just one of the ways you can protect yourself while using your favorite distro.
If you would like to learn more about staying secure on Linux, check out our articles about Linux security issues you should be aware of and security tools you should always keep handy on Linux.