Best VPN for Ubuntu in 2021: Privacy for Penguins

Because Ubuntu isn’t as popular as mainstream operating systems like Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, finding a good Ubuntu VPN can be difficult. The VPNs on this list offer Ubuntu-compatible Linux apps with a command line or GUI-based interface. Keep reading to find a VPN that fits the bill.

Samson Max
By Samson Max
— Last Updated: 2021-02-22T17:33:48+00:00

Compared to the more popular operating systems like Windows and macOS, Ubuntu offers excellent localized security. While it bodes well for your digital privacy and security, the OS can’t completely ward off online threats on its own. If you want to remain secure online and keep your data private, you have to use one of the best Ubuntu VPN services. 

Key Takeaways:

Finding the best VPN for Windows or macOS isn’t hard. However, finding one for Ubuntu isn’t straightforward because there are not many apps that are fully compatible with Ubuntu. In this article, we’ll show you the top five VPNs for Ubuntu.

  • You can run a VPN on Ubuntu through Terminal or follow the more traditional OpenVPN configuration via Ubuntu’s Network Manager.

  • Like other operating systems such as Windows and Mac, Ubuntu doesn’t come with a built-in VPN application. However, with the tremendous growth of the VPN market, providers are offering Ubuntu-compatible Linux apps, which you can install to acquire security and privacy.

  • Installing a VPN on Linux through Terminal is super easy. All you have to do is download the Linux app and extract the files. Then, open the Terminal windows and change the directory to the VPN folder. Lastly, type the install commands: sudo bash install.sh and enter your sudo password to kick-start the installation.

  1. 1
    • Payment methods: PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, SOFORT, AliPay, UnionPay, iDeal, WebMoney
    • Simultaneous connections: 5
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  2. 2
    • Payment methods: Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies
    • Simultaneous connections: 6
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. 3
    • Payment methods: PayPal, Credit card, GPay, bitcoin
    • Simultaneous connections: 7
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  4. 4
    • Payment methods: PayPal, Credit card, AmazonPay
    • Simultaneous connections: 10
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  5. 5
    • Payment methods: PayPal, Credit card
    • Simultaneous connections: 10
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy

What Makes the Best Ubuntu VPN?

We know that manual OpenVPN configuration, via the Ubuntu Network Manager is tedious, so we picked VPNs that are easy to install and use. If you don’t have the time to read the whole guide, here is our short list of the top five VPNs for Ubuntu.

  1. ExpressVPN — The fastest VPN for Ubuntu on the list, able to unblock streaming services
  2. NordVPN — State-of-the-art global server network, advanced security options, easy to use on Ubuntu 
  3. CyberGhost — Dedicated servers for streaming, affordable pricing plans
  4. PIA — The only VPN provider with a GUI-based app for Ubuntu 
  5. ProtonVPN — Free plan available, focused on privacy

Compatibility is an important factor when it comes to VPNs for Ubuntu. Not all VPN clients offer compatibility for Ubuntu, and most available VPN apps are either difficult to install or too cumbersome to work with on Linux. If you had such worries, fret no more because all the VPNs on our list are compatible with Ubuntu and easy to use, too.

Another crucial factor is speed. Whether you’re streaming, torrenting or surfing the web, good speed is essential. The VPNs on the list ranked as the fastest VPN in our latest series of speed tests, and you might not even feel their effect on your connection speeds.

Our top five VPNs for Ubuntu use OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols in unison with AES-256 encryption to guarantee your security. The first two — ExpressVPN and NordVPN — have perennially ranked top on our list of most secure VPNs.

In terms of privacy, the providers are above board, thanks to strict no-log policies. Even better, most of them are headquartered in countries with strong privacy laws.

The Top 5 VPNs for Ubuntu

All the VPNs on our list offer a custom VPN app for Ubuntu, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility with your favorite Linux distro. ExpressVPN starts off our best Ubuntu VPN list, so let’s jump right into it.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn cli
ExpressVPN CLI for Ubuntu comes with DNS leak protection.

More details about ExpressVPN:

Pros:

  • Blazing-fast speed
  • Best at accessing geoblocked content
  • Excellent security & privacy protection

Cons:

  • GUI only available via a browser extension
  • Pricey

ExpressVPN is our top pick because it ticks all the right boxes for Ubuntu users. The app is without a doubt the fastest on today’s market, which makes it a great choice for torrenting, P2P sharing and streaming. Besides, with OpenVPN and the industry-standard AES-256 entwined at its core, ExpressVPN is as secure as it gets. Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more. 

The command line app, which is a cinch to install via Terminal, unlocks handy features such as killswitch and DNS leak protection. It’s also lightweight, which means it places an insignificant hit on your system resources and won’t bog down your device. If you need a GUI for your VPN, you can install the ExpressVPN browser extension and control the app from there.

Unblock Streaming Services With ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming. It allows you to bypass even the most strict georestrictions to unlock content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. This, coupled with the lightning-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth, allows you to stream as much video content as you want without buffering.

ExpressVPN-for-Linux.
Get started with ExpressVPN to enjoy blazing-fast speed.

The VPN costs a little more than all the others, with the annual plan offering the best value, with discounts of up to 35 percent. To make up for the lack of a free trial, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on each of the subscription plans.

ExpressVPN Plans
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 5
  • Bitcoin
6-months plan $ 9.99/ month
$59.95 billed every 6 month
Save 23 %
15-months plan $ 6.66/ month
$99.96 billed first 15 months
and 12 months thereafter
Save 49 %

We really admire ExpressVPN for its speed, security and ability to unblock streaming services. The Linux app is easy to install on Ubuntu, thanks to plenty of helpful setup guides to implement it via Terminal or the traditional OpenVPN configuration through Ubuntu Network Manager. It might be pricey, but considering the comprehensive suite of features and excellent customer support, the price is justifiable.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn cli
NordVPN CLI for Ubuntu has no graphic distractions

More details about NordVPN:

Pros:

  • Top-notch security & privacy protection
  • Auto-suggests commands as you type
  • Impressive global server coverage

Cons:

  • No graphical user interface (GUI)

NordVPN is our second favorite Ubuntu VPN. With recent updates, we have seen a significant improvement in its speeds, but it’s still slightly slower than ExpressVPN. This doesn’t mean NordVPN is by any means ineffective. 

On the contrary, its VPN server options give you a super-fast experience when streaming and torrenting. Be sure to check out our NordVPN review or read our NordVPN torrenting guide to learn more.

Installing the command line app isn’t awfully complicated, thanks to the easy-to-follow setup guide. There is no GUI for NordVPN’s Linux app, but this shouldn’t be too much of a worry because NordVPN offers widgets that auto-suggest commands as you type to improve your VPN experience.

Advanced Security and Privacy Features

NordVPN’s real forte is security and privacy, and this is an area where it gives ExpressVPN a run for its money. The Linux app pairs NordLynx protocol — which is comparable to OpenVPN — with AES-256 encryption to create a security layer that’s unbreakable. For even better online security and privacy, you get the CyberSec tool to filter pesky ads, malware and other cyberthreats.

NordVPN-for-Linux
Get started with NordVPN to enjoy excellent online security.

NordVPN is reasonably priced. The two-year plan, which works out to $3.71 per month, is the best deal, with a discount of 68 percent. Plus, each subscription plan allows up to six simultaneous connections. NordVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 6
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 4.92/ month
$59.00 billed every year
Save 59 %
2-year plan $ 3.71/ month
$89.00 billed every 2 years
Save 69 %

NordVPN puts your online security and privacy first, and it even offers advanced tools to block ads and malware. For an extra layer of protection, it uses Double VPN technology to change your IP address twice. Its Linux app doesn’t offer a GUI, but the available command line app is super easy to use.

3. CyberGhost

cyberghost cli
CyberGhost CLI is simple, quick and easy.

More details about CyberGhost:

Pros:

  • Comprehensive global server network
  • Reasonably priced
  • Strong encryption

Cons:

  • No GUI-based Linux app for Ubuntu

CyberGhost is cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fly-by-night VPN. Despite being the cheapest Ubuntu VPN on our list, it offers over 6,800 servers, and it’s great for streaming HD videos. Read our CyberGhost review to learn more. 

CyberGhost’s Linux app doesn’t have a GUI, but using its command-line interface is dead simple, and it’s easy to set up if you follow CyberGhost’s installation guide. Another plus is that CyberGhost blends AES 256-bit encryption with WireGuard and OpenVPN protocol to create a solid security layer.

Streaming-Optimized Servers

If streaming is your cup of tea, then you’ll surely want CyberGhost on your device. When it comes to streaming, CyberGhost’s ability is excellent, earning it a spot on our list of best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer.

The VPN goes as far as providing servers that are optimized for streaming. Not to mention, CyberGhost can bypass even the toughest georestrictions to unlock content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max and many more.

CyberGhost-for-Linux
Get started with CyberGhost with the best deals on the market.

CyberGhost offers some of the cheapest plans you’ll ever get from a reputable VPN provider. Its best deal is the three-year plan, which goes for $2.25 per month. Even better, the vendor offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, and it’s easy to get a CyberGhost refund. Be sure to read our guide on how to use the CyberGhost free trial.

CyberGhost Plans
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 7
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 3.99/ month
$47.88 billed every year
Save 69 %
2-year plan $ 3.49/ month
$83.76 billed every 2 years
Save 73 %
3-year plan $ 2.44/ month
$87.75 billed every 3 years
Save 81 %

CyberGhost is the cheapest VPN provider on our list. For as little as $2.25 per month, you get cutting-edge functionality, security with solid encryption and OpenVPN protocol, 24/7 customer support and a license to secure up to seven devices. Even better, the Linux app has a strict no-logs policy, which means your privacy is guaranteed.

4. Private Internet Access

PIA-Ubuntu-client
PIA offers a no-frills, easy-to-use client for Ubuntu.

More details about Private Internet Access:

Pros:

  • GUI-based Ubuntu app
  • Up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Keeps zero identifying logs

Cons:

  • Poor distribution of server locations
  • Not the most reliable at unblocking streaming sites

When it comes to VPNs for Ubuntu, Private Internet Access is the epitome of simplicity. It’s the only app on our list to offer a GUI-based VPN app, making it a great choice for newbies. Plus, PIA has the largest server network, with over 20,000 VPN and proxy servers. Learn more about this service in our PIA review

When it comes to speed, PIA is still a work in progress. While it’s not as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, it’s still decent enough for just about any online activity.

In terms of security, the app doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles, but it does have some handy features. You get a killswitch to back up your online security, plus PIA Mace, which is a DNS-based malware and ad blocker that filters domains known for malware and advertising.

Graphical User Interface

The stand-out feature for PIA is the GUI-based Linux app. When you install it on Ubuntu, it gives you the same convenience you would get on Windows or macOS. You don’t have to remember or manually enter commands to select a server or connect to the VPN. It removes the tedious coding process, giving you the ease and freedom to change options with a click of a button.

PIA-for-Linux
Get started with PIA to use the no-frills GUI.

PIA doesn’t offer much in the way of extra features, and its pricing reflects this. The two-year subscription plan costs $2.69 per month, which puts PIA in the same league as some of our cheapest VPN options. The plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and allows you to connect up to 10 simultaneous devices, which is more generous than most VPN services.

Standard Plans
  • Details: 2-Year plan comes with two months free
  • Included Devices: 10
1-year plan $ 3.33/ month
$39.95 billed every year
Save 72 %
2-year plan $ 2.91/ month
$69.95 billed every 2 years
Save 76 %

The GUI-based Linux app gives PIA an edge over other VPN services on our list, making it a great service for Ubuntu newbies (PIA has installation instructions on its Linux download page). PIA is very affordable, but you get no advanced VPN features for your money. You can read our NordVPN vs PIA comparison guide to see how it compares to one of the best VPNs on the market.

5. ProtonVPN 

ProtonVPN-CLI
It’s easy to connect ProtonVPN on the command line app.

More details about ProtonVPN:

  • Pricing: Free VPN on one device; best deal is $3.29 per month on the two-year plan 
  • Provider website: www.protonvpn.com  

Pros:

  • Focus on privacy
  • Open-source Linux app
  • Zero-logs policy

Cons:

  • No GUI-based app for Ubuntu
  • Doesn’t unblock Netflix

ProtonVPN’s Linux app is open source, so if you’re a well-versed coder (like most Linux users) you’re free to tweak its code to improve performance. Plus, ProtonVPN’s emphasis on privacy makes it a great option for torrenting and securing your device when using public WiFi. Be sure to check out our full ProtonVPN review.

While it covers the basics well, ProtoVPN doesn’t offer much in terms of advanced features. Besides, its server network isn’t great. In fact, with just over 1,100 VPN servers to its name, ProtonVPN might not suit you if you need to connect to a specific country that’s not on its server list. 

Simple Command Line App

That said, ProtonVPN has a simple command line interface app. Launched in beta in November 2020, the Linux app also comes completely integrated with Network Manager. The ProtonVPN Linux app has an always-on killswitch embedded into its codebase. What’s more, it offers DNS leak protection and it automatically re-establishes connection when you switch networks.

ProtonVPN-for-Linux
Get started with ProtonVPN’s flexible pricing plans.

ProtonVPN isn’t the cheapest VPN, but one thing we like about the pricing is its flexibility and the free plan. With ProtonVPN’s free plan, you can tinker with the VPN features and weigh your options before subscribing to a long-term plan.

Free
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 1
  • Bitcoin
Basic
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 2
  • Bitcoin
Plus
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 5
  • Bitcoin
Visionary
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited GB
  • Included Devices: 10
  • Bitcoin

In a nutshell, ProtonVPN is lacking in terms of server count and ability to unblock streaming sites. However, when you look at it from the perspective of privacy and usability, this is definitely a worthwhile VPN for Ubuntu. It’s easy to install on Ubuntu, thanks to the Linux setup guide. The VPN is also open source, making it a good option for seasoned Ubuntu users.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Ubuntu?

We usually don’t point users to free VPN providers, regardless of the operating system they use. Keep in mind that free VPNs come with limited bandwidth and are prone to connection speed throttling. In a worst-case scenario, some providers sell your data to third parties. 

Instead of using free VPNs, we recommend using cheap solutions, such as CyberGhost, or the cheapest plans of premium apps such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. 

Final Thoughts

In comparison to other operating systems, Ubuntu offers far better options for online security and privacy. Using a reliable VPN improves security, allowing you to wander online without worrying about cyberattacks. It also boosts your online privacy, keeping your data — such as IP addresses and internet activities — away from prying eyes.

As you’ve already seen, there are numerous Ubuntu VPN options on the market. We did the heavy lifting for you and tried all the available VPN options for Ubuntu. After a series of compatibility, speed, security and usability tests, ExpressVPN emerged as the best. It’s super fast, easy to use, secure and has an unmatched ability to unblock streaming sites. 

NordVPN came in a close second, thanks to its advanced security options, large server network and ability to bypass georestrictions. You can check out our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison guide to see how our best Ubuntu VPNs compare. If you’re after an incredibly simple VPN for Ubuntu, you’re better off using PIA, but be ready to make do with a small server network.

Have you installed a VPN on Ubuntu? Which one? How has the whole experience been, from installation to usage? Do let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.