Best VPN for Linux (PJ)

The Best VPN for Linux for 2024

Arthur Sabayi
Last update: March 19, 2024

Quick Answer: What Is the Best VPN for Linux?

  1. Private Internet Access — Best VPN for Linux
  2. Proton VPN — Best free VPN for Linux
  3. ExpressVPN — Best for streaming on Linux devices
  4. NordVPN — Reliable security for Linux devices
  5. Surfshark — Affordable VPN for Linux
  6. Windscribe — User-friendly GUI app for Linux
Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
Visit Private Internet Access

Though Linux may seem intimidating, thanks to its terminal interfaces, it’s a smooth system that can do everything other mainstream systems do. You can stream, play games or download whatever you want on a Linux device, but you need the best VPN for Linux to maximize all these operations. Our best VPN list tries to cover all devices, including Linux.

The biggest challenge for new Linux users is navigating the terminal when setting up a virtual private network. Fortunately, some Linux VPN apps have a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) that lets you choose servers, switch VPN protocols and enable important features like the kill switch.

In this article, I’ll take you through the six best Linux VPNs, exploring all the features that make them ideal for this operating system. We’ll look at the Linux versions each VPN is compatible with, the number of servers each offers, the protocols available and their pricing plans. If you’re looking for a free service, I recommend clicking over to our best free VPN list instead.


My Top Choice: Private Internet Access, the Best VPN for Linux

Private Internet Access (PIA) is my top Linux VPN recommendation because it’s one of the few options with a feature-for-feature GUI that matches its Windows and macOS counterparts. You don’t need to torture yourself with terminal command lines or extra tools like NetworkManager.

Furthermore, PIA works with multiple Linux distributions (or distros), like Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora and Arch. It packs amazing speeds for streaming, strong encryption (see our encryption guide for more context), IP leak protection and a large VPN server network to unblock Netflix just about anywhere.


How to Choose the Best Linux VPN Provider

I tested multiple VPN providers for my Linux PC to find the ones that work. Here are the factors I noticed when drawing up my final list of six.

As long as you combine them with good password security, these VPNs will keep you safe without breaking a sweat.

GUI App vs Command Line App for Linux

There are two ways to use applications on Linux-based systems. You can use a graphical user interface (GUI) to interact directly with the system through actionable elements like buttons, icons and windows. A command line interface (CLI), on the other hand, is text-based. You need to enter specific commands to perform tasks. 

Though a GUI is preferable for ease of use, a CLI gives you greater control over the system, which is why it’s popular with nerds who have sold their souls to the /dev/null. Normal humans like you and me had better stick to a GUI.


The 6 Best VPNs for Linux Compared

VPN:PriceLinux GUIDistrosSpeedNo-Logs PolicySecurity
PIA$1.98 per month/three-year plan✔️Ubuntu
Mint
Debian
Fedora
Arch
Fast✔️AES-256
AES 128
Proton VPN$4.99 per month/two-year plan✔️Ubuntu
Debian
Fedora
Fast✔️AES-256
ChaCha20
ExpressVPN$6.67 per month/one-year planUbuntu
Debian
Fedora
Raspberry Pi
Mint
Arch
Fastest✔️AES-256
ChaCha20
NordVPN$3.99 per month/two-year planUbuntu
Debian
Elementary OS
Mint
Fedora
Very fast✔️AES-256
ChaCha20
Surfshark$2.39 per month/two-year plan✔️Debian
Ubuntu
Mint
Very fast✔️AES-256
Windscribe$5.75 per month/one-year plan✔️Ubuntu
Fedora
Arch
Debian
CentOS
Fast✔️AES-256-GCM ChaCha20

1. Private Internet Access — Best VPN for Linux

pia linux
Private Internet Access offers a graphical user interface app with all the standard buttons.
Pros
  • Dedicated Linux app
  • Port forwarding
  • Large server network
Cons
  • Doesn’t unblock some streaming sites

If you are a Linux user who is unfamiliar with the CLI, then Private Internet Access is suited for your needs. This VPN offers fast speeds with unlimited bandwidth, so you can download bulky files without worries about hitting data caps.

The P2P support on every server gives you faster torrenting speeds while keeping your privacy intact. PIA also offers port forwarding across all its Linux apps, which speeds up your torrents regardless of location. You can get more detailed information from our Private Internet Access review.

Why I Think Private Internet Access Is a Good Choice

RegionCountriesLocations
North America653
South America1010
Europe4448
Asia1818
Africa55
Oceania26
Middle East44

A multi-hop obfuscation feature routes your internet connection through two servers while masking all traces of the VPN from your traffic, perfect for networks and regions that try to block VPN use.

Protocol:EncryptionDevices
OpenVPNAES-128
AES-256
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
WireGuardAES-128
AES-256
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux

Private Internet Access Pricing & Value

PIA offers three price options. The three-year plan is the best value for your money, costing $1.98 per month with an extra four free months. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can try the one-year plan for $3.33 per month or the shorter but costlier monthly plan for $11.95. A 30-day money-back guarantee covers all the plans, so try it out.

Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
Visit Private Internet Access

2. Proton VPN — Best Free VPN for Linux

protonvpn linux
Proton VPN offers CLI and GUI app functionalities to cater to all audiences.
Pros
  • Linux GUI app
  • Free version
  • Reliable Secure Core servers
Cons
  • Free version offers only five locations
  • Free server selection is random

Proton VPN is the best free VPN, with an intuitive GUI that makes it user-friendly for newbies on a budget. You can also switch to the CLI if you’re an advanced user.

The bottom line is that no matter which route you choose, Proton VPN works like a charm on major Linux distros. The speeds are impressive, and you can activate a special feature called the “VPN accelerator” to receive a major speed boost for activities like gaming, streaming or torrenting.

Why I Think Proton VPN Is a Good Choice

RegionCountriesLocations
North America520
South America66
Europe3337
Asia1215
Africa33
Oceania25
Middle East33

Proton VPN owns and operates these VPN servers, so no third parties are involved. They also have strong physical security. There’s also the ever-reliable NetShield ad blocker, which I always use when dealing with websites crawling with annoying pop-up ads and trackers.

ProtocolEncryptionDevices
WireGuardChaCha20Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
iPadOS
IKEv2AES-256-GCMmacOS
OpenVPNAES-256-GCMWindows
Android
StealthAES-256-GCMmacOS
Android
iOS
iPadOS
OpenVPN DCOAES-256-GCMLinux

Proton VPN Pricing & Value

Proton VPN’s cheapest price plan is the 24-month option, which costs $4.99 per month. Next is the 12-month plan, which goes for $5.99 per month, and the monthly option, which costs $9.99. A risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee backs each plan. Alternatively, you can use the VPN for free and access five locations but with only automatic server selection and standard encryption.

  1. Overall Rating 8.8 / 10
    Visit Proton VPN

3. ExpressVPN — Best for Streaming on Linux Devices

expressvpn linux
ExpressVPN uses command lines for its Linux app, but the browser extensions offer GUI functionality.
Pros
  • Fast streaming speeds
  • GUI via browser extensions
  • Automatic Linux updates
Cons
  • Main VPN app lacks a GUI

If you don’t enjoy typing commands into the terminal, look away, because ExpressVPN for Linux is all CLI. Don’t let that scare you; once you get the hang of executing the commands, it becomes easy. Additionally, the specific commands for each action are available on the ExpressVPN website; you only have to copy and paste each one when needed. 

Additionally, ExpressVPN offers a GUI through its browser extensions for Chrome, Edge and Firefox. Its speeds are also among the best thanks to its extremely fast and unique protocol called Lightway UDP, which combines well with speed-optimized servers for gaming, streaming and torrenting — more on that in our ExpressVPN review.

Why I Think ExpressVPN Is a Good Choice

RegionCountriesLocations
North America1440
South America1010
Europe4765
Asia2434
Africa66
Oceania29
Middle East22

Additionally, the innovative TrustedServer technology ensures your data is wiped with every reboot to avoid data retrieval in the future. Automatic obfuscation on every server helps break through high-level VPN censorship in schools, workplaces and certain countries.

ProtocolEncryptionDevices
LightwayAES-256
ChaCha20
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
routers
OpenVPNAES-256Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
IKEv2AES-256macOS
iOS

ExpressVPN Pricing & Value

ExpressVPN isn’t cheap, but a combination of discounts and a 30-day money-back guarantee can soften that blow. The VPN has three price plans, with the 12-month option offering the best deal at $6.67 per month with an extra three free months.

The six-month option goes for $9.99 per month, and the monthly option goes for $12.95. Our ExpressVPN price guide dives into more detail.

  1. Overall Rating 9.5 / 10
    Get 49% Off ExpressVPN

4. NordVPN — Reliable Security for Linux Devices

nordvpn linux
NordVPN has the highest compatibility with Linux distros.
Pros
  • Wide range of security & privacy features
  • Meshnet for securely connecting Linux devices
  • Offers P2P servers for torrenting
Cons
  • No Linux GUI
  • Double VPN can be slow

NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs, as discussed in our NordVPN review. However, it doesn’t have a GUI for Linux, so you must enter command lines to get things moving.

Fortunately, NordVPN provides all the specific commands you need to download it, log in, select a server and much more. Open the command list, copy the one you need and paste it into the terminal. NordVPN’s speeds were impressive during my tests, enough to handle all my streaming and gaming needs without buffering.

Why I Think NordVPN Is a Good Choice

There are specialty P2P servers for torrenting, double VPN servers for twice the encryption and obfuscated servers for bypassing VPN blocks on restricted networks.

RegionCountriesLocations
North America421
South America44
Europe3743
Asia910
Africa11
Oceania26
Middle East33

The monitor scans the dark web for any traces of your credentials so you can change them to keep them away from hackers. The “threat protection” feature stops pop-up ads and trackers from interrupting your streaming or gaming. 

ProtocolEncryptionDevices
NordLynxChaCha20Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
OpenVPNAES-256Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
IKEv2AES-256Windows
Android

NordVPN Pricing & Value

NordVPN Essential is the cheapest price option, with three plans. You get the best deal with the two-year plan, which will cost you $3.99 per month. The next best deal is the shorter one-year subscription, which costs $4.99 per month, and then the monthly plan for $12.99. A 30-day money-back guarantee covers all the plans.

  1. Overall Rating 9.2 / 10
    Visit NordVPN

5. Surfshark — Most Affordable VPN for Linux

surfshark linux
Surfshark offers both CLI and GUI interfaces.
Pros
  • Affordable price plans
  • User-friendly GUI app
  • Servers optimized for speeds
Cons
  • Only works with Ubuntu, Debian & Mint

Surfshark uses command lines in the initial installation process, but you can access all the important app features like server lists, the kill switch and protocols through a user-friendly GUI app. You can connect to the server of your choice, favorite the ones you use the most and manage all other features, like the VPN kill switch, CleanWeb and many more.

Something else I love about Surfshark for Linux is that updates are automatic, so you don’t have to go back to the terminal to update it. However, you also have the option to manually update.

The speeds were impressive, thanks partly to the fast 10Gbit ports through which Surfshark routes your traffic. There are no bandwidth caps either, so you are free to handle heavy torrent files or stream in 4K without worrying about running out of steam.

Why I Think Surfshark Is a Good Choice

Furthermore, you can connect unlimited devices, making it ideal for those on a tight budget. Our Surfshark review expands on the benefits of these unlimited simultaneous connections.

RegionCountriesLocations
North America834
South America1010
Europe4562
Asia2526
Africa66
Oceania26
Middle East33
ProtocolEncryptionDevices
WireGuardAES-256-GCM
ChaCha20
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
OpenVPNAES-256-GCMWindows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
IKEv2AES-256-GCMmacOS
iOS
Android

Surfshark Pricing & Value

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs around, and the cheapest option is Surfshark Starter. The 24-month plan offers the best value at $2.39 per month with an extra free month. Next is the 12-month option, which costs $3.99 per month, and finally, you can try the monthly plan for $10.99. All the plans offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  1. Overall Rating 8.9 / 10
    Visit Surfshark

6. Windscribe VPN – User-Friendly GUI App for Linux

windscribe linux
Windscribe has one of the most user-friendly GUI apps for Linux.
Pros
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Linux GUI app
  • Free version
Cons
  • Free version has a monthly 10GB data cap
  • GUI has been buggy in the past

Windscribe, like PIA, has a user-friendly graphical user interface similar to what you get with Windows, macOS, Android or iOS. Reddit users have complained about the GUI app’s instability, but some recent updates have significantly improved the issue. In the meantime, you can use the CLI command to get Windscribe working on your Linux device.

Why I Think Windscribe Is a Good Choice

RegionCountriesLocations
North America433
South America66
Europe3846
Asia1313
Africa33
Oceania26
Middle East22
Antarctica11
ProtocolEncryptionDevices
WireGuardAES-256-GCM
ChaCha20
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
OpenVPNAES-256-GCM
4096-bit RSA
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
IKEv2AES-256-GCMWindows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
StealthSSLWindows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux

Windscribe Pricing & Value

Windscribe VPN offers a free version that we discuss in detail in our Windscribe VPN review. The premium version has two main price plans. The yearly plan costs $5.75 per month, and the monthly plan costs $9 every 30 days. However, this VPN has the shortest refund period; you only get three days and can only receive a refund if you have used less than 10GB of data.

  1. Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
    Visit Windscribe VPN

Can You Use a Free VPN for Linux?

You can use a free VPN for Linux, but there are many reasons why I don’t recommend it. First, many free VPNs aren’t safe, and you can’t always determine which ones will betray you. One of their revenue generation tactics is selling your private data to third parties, and there’s no telling what might happen to you if that data falls into the wrong hands. 

Secondly, most free VPNs have limited servers and lack vital security features like obfuscation, so the chances of being exposed are much higher than with premium options. Finally, you won’t enjoy fast speeds due to server congestion and the inability to properly bypass ISP speed throttling.

The Best Free Linux VPN Service: Proton VPN

The best free Linux VPN service is Proton VPN. It offers free servers in the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, Poland and Romania, randomly connecting you for extra security. Proton VPN also offers reliable encryption to protect you on any network, plus no monthly data limits.


How to Install, Set Up & Use a VPN on Linux

Setting up a VPN on Linux may seem intimidating, but anyone can quickly hack it in a matter of minutes. The process is easier for VPNs like Private Internet Access, which comes with a GUI that’s easier to navigate. Let’s break down the two processes with detailed step-by-step guides.

How to Set Up & Use a VPN With a GUI App on Linux

If you’re using a VPN like PIA, which comes with a GUI app, here’s how to set it up on your Linux device.

How to Set Up & Use a VPN on Linux Using the Terminal

The setup process for VPNs that use a CLI to install and run on Linux devices varies. NordVPN has the most straightforward setup.

1. Install the app

First, install NordVPN by typing the command line below in the terminal.

2. Log in to your account

If you are still in the terminal, type in the following command to log in to your NordVPN account.

3. Connect to a server

To connect to a server, type the following command in the terminal.

4. Adjust your settings

With the VPN now running, you can adjust your settings based on what you want the VPN to do. Here’s a link showing all the important commands to activate the kill switch, threat protection or obfuscated servers; select NordLynx; and more.


Why Should You Use a VPN With Linux?

One of the most pervasive VPN myths is that Linux users don’t need one. You need to use a VPN with Linux to stop your internet service provider or anyone else from intercepting and seeing your online traffic. A VPN also protects you in heavily censored regions like Russia, where the government spies on its citizens through state-controlled ISPs.

A VPN also helps you access geo-restricted content by switching your IP address to any part of the world with a single click. This is how you can unblock streaming sites like Peacock TV or Sling TV outside the United States. It also foils geolocation tracking, which is absolutely a risk even if you run Linux.

Which Linux Distro Is Best for Online Privacy?

Qubes OS, a Fedora-based Linux distro, is the best for online privacy because it isolates different components of the Linux system, making it easy to quickly separate compromised parts without affecting the rest.


Conclusion

Linux is not for the faint-hearted, but there are workarounds for the challenging installation process that let you use VPNs without issues. Private Internet Access is still my top recommendation for Linux because it has the easiest GUI app and offers the largest server network for unblocking any content you want.

Other alternatives you can consider include Proton VPN (which offers a free version), ExpressVPN (reliable and fast speeds), NordVPN (best security features), and Surfshark (affordable price plans).

If you have used a VPN with Linux before, how was the experience compared to with other operating systems like Windows or macOS? Did the VPN work right away, or did you have to resort to advanced troubleshooting using command lines? Tell us about your experience in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading our content.


FAQ: Linux VPN

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