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Best VPN For Linux 2022

Not every VPN provider offers a Linux app, and even fewer will give you one with a graphical user interface. Choosing one that is simple enough to set up and use is easier said than done, which is why we reviewed the best Linux VPN services.

Andrej Hadji-Vasilev
By Andrej Hadji-Vasilev (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-05-24T13:17:15+00:00

With only around 2% of desktops running it, we wouldn’t blame you if Linux isn’t your first choice for an operating system. However, it is the go-to OS for many developers and IT enthusiasts, and it’s no surprise that many of them would like to keep their internet connection private using a Linux VPN. 

The problem is that with such a small market share, not a lot of VPN service providers focus on the Linux experience. This makes it difficult to find a Linux VPN that will perform well and provide the online security you need. If you’re a Linux user, though, fret not, because we reviewed some of the best VPN services that are compatible with Linux. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Private Internet Access is the best Linux VPN, with a user-friendly Linux client and great overall performance and features.
  • ProtonVPN is a free alternative but has very few servers if you don’t pay for a premium plan.
  • ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark are great performers, but the lack of a GUI makes them a worse option for non-tech-savvy users.

If you’re not keen on reading through, Private Internet Access took the win with a graphical user interface and all the functionality you’d get with the Windows version, as well as a great price-to-performance ratio. There are some interesting alternatives that might be a better fit for your needs, so read on. 

  • 12/03/2021 Facts checked

    Cloudwards revamped the list by expanding the number of services and adding providers compatible with Linux.

  • No, Linux does not have a built-in VPN. To use a VPN on Linux, you’ll need to install and set up your own VPN.

  • No, Ubuntu doesn’t have a built-in VPN, but you can install and configure your own Ubuntu VPN.

  • If you want your internet connection to remain for your eyes only, and you want to add security to your internet browsing experience, you need a VPN with any operating system, including Linux.

  • You can set up VPNs for Linux by using the VPN provider’s setup guide. Some have an installation file, while others will require you to use the command-line terminal to set them up. It varies depending on the Linux VPN provider.

Top VPNs for Linux

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    • : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
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  5. 5
    • : PayPal, Credit card
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    • : PayPal, Credit card, Cash, Bank Transfer
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    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : Unlimited
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    $5.75 / month (save 36%) (All Plans)3-day money-back guarantee

What Makes the Best Linux VPN

If you look at our list of best VPNs, you will find that four things matter most: speed, security, features and price. You want a fast VPN that won’t impact your browsing speeds too much, and you want your VPN connection to be for your eyes only. Additional features like a strict no-logs policy, kill switch and split tunneling are also welcome, and budget is always a consideration. These VPN services check all the aforementioned boxes. 

  1. Private Internet Access — Feature-rich VPN with a minimalist GUI
  2. ProtonVPN — Free VPN with a neat user interface
  3. ExpressVPN — Blazing-fast premium VPN
  4. NordVPN — Highly secure VPN with a CLI
  5. Surfshark — Affordable option with unlimited simultaneous connections 
  6. Mullvad — Simple-to-use VPN with a graphical interface
  7. Windscribe — Feature-rich option with a build-your-own-plan feature

With Linux users, however, there are a few other factors. OS support is first, with Linux being split up between Debian-based and Red Hat Linux-based distros, and you want the VPN service to support the distro you’re using. If possible, you also want the VPN client to offer the exact same features and functionalities it offers on other operating systems. 

While some Linux users are well versed in using a command-line interface (CLI), a dedicated Linux client with a graphical user interface (GUI) is a huge bonus because it makes using and configuring the VPN service much easier. While we’re talking about bonuses, any additional features that are Linux-specific also count. 

The Top 7 Linux VPNs

Whether you’re looking for a Linux app with a neat GUI or you prefer to use the terminal, here are the best VPNs for Linux.

1. Private Internet Access

linux pia
The PIA Linux app is identical to the one available for Windows. 

More details about PIA:

Pros:

  • Very clean GUI
  • Supports Debian & Red Hat distros
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Upload speeds can be inconsistent

Private Internet Access is a great Linux VPN, thanks to the ease of installation and use and its well-thought-out graphical UI. Feature-wise, it is identical to the app made for other operating systems. It’s highly customizable and has a built-in ad and malware blocker that works fairly well, as you can see in our PIA review.

You can install PIA on both Debian and Red Hat–based distros, which makes it one of the best VPNs for Linux in terms of versatility. The limit of 10 simultaneous connections is generous enough, and we like that you can add an antivirus and a dedicated IP address to your subscription (at an additional charge, of course). 

cta pia
The download page for Linux lists the distros it works with, and the list includes both Debian and Red Hat options. 

PIA’s monthly plan isn’t exactly cheap, but if you subscribe for two years, you get much better pricing. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s the best VPN for Linux users. 

2. ProtonVPN

linux protonvpn
ProtonVPN’s free version only lets you connect to Japan, Netherlands and the United States. 

More details about ProtonVPN:

  • Pricing: Free with unlimited data and slower speeds; $5 per month
  • Provider website: protonvpn.com

Pros:

  • Well-organized app
  • Unlimited data on free plan
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Only 3 free locations
  • Speed throttling on free plan

ProtonVPN’s free plan has received a lot of praise from users of VPN services, and we had some nice things to say in our ProtonVPN review, too. The fact that it gets you a graphical interface for Linux is reason enough to have it on your radar. The app is organized very well, and if you’re on the free plan you’ll have the three VPN server locations available right at the top. 

The fact that you don’t have a data limit, even on the free plan, is excellent, but ProtonVPN does admit to throttling your speed if you don’t pay for a premium plan. The Linux app works with both Debian and Red Hat–based distros, and there’s even a guide to configure an OpenVPN connection on unsupported distributions. 

cta protonvpn
ProtonVPN emphasizes their support for a wide range of distros, and gives you an alternative if yours isn’t on the list. 

If you don’t mind slightly slower speeds and only having three locations to choose from, the free plan makes ProtonVPN the best free VPN for Linux, period. If you still want to try out one of the premium plans, though, you have a 30-day window to change your mind and get a refund. 

Free
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : 1
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Visionary
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : 10
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3. ExpressVPN

linux expressvpn
The CLI ExpressVPN uses will remind you that the app has a VPN kill switch that protects your privacy.

More details about ExpressVPN:

  • Pricing: $6.67 per month for the yearly plan, plus three months free
  • Provider website: expressvpn.com

Pros:

  • Excellent speeds 
  • Works with almost any distro
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • No graphical interface
  • Expensive

Linux’s users sometimes prefer speed to everything else. If that’s the case with you and your quest for a good VPN service, ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN out there (learn more in our ExpressVPN review). Despite that, the lack of a graphical interface is enough to push it lower down on our list because it might be a bit difficult to set up and use. 

To connect to a server, you only need to look at the list of locations and type in the appropriate server abbreviation, but it’s still more complicated than a few mouse clicks. However, if this is something you’d be willing to work with, you can use ExpressVPN on almost any distro. 

cta expressvpn
For users who aren’t too tech-savvy, “easy-to-use” and “command-line interface” don’t really belong in the same sentence. 

ExpressVPN’s Achilles’ heel is that it’s expensive, even with a long-term subscription. That aside, ExpressVPN is a great VPN adept at streaming, torrenting and gaming — it’s our best Steam and League of Legends VPN. If you’d still like to try it out, though, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee

4. NordVPN

linux nordvpn
If you aren’t used to a command line, NordVPN’s interface might be overwhelming. 

More details about NordVPN: 

  • Pricing: $3.71 per month for the two-year plan
  • Provider website: nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Strong focus on security
  • Compatible with Debian, Red Hat & openSUSE
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • No graphical user interface
  • Connecting to a server is difficult

NordVPN is one of the best Linux VPNs, thanks to its combination of speed and security. The NordLynx protocol is NordVPN’s implementation of WireGuard, which adds an extra layer of protection on top of the speedy base protocol. The app is also compatible with Debian and Red Hat distros, and you can even find guides on how to set it up with openSUSE. 

Unfortunately, not only is it command line–based, but it’s also a tedious chore to connect to any of its VPN servers. You’ll need to pick between UDP and TCP, choose the server and then write the exact command to connect to said server with the specified parameters. 

cta nordvpn
NordVPN’s download page lists the VPN’s requirements for Linux users.

As far as pricing goes, NordVPN is somewhere in the middle of the pack if you opt for a two-year plan. If you do, and decide you don’t want to type out long commands every time you need a VPN, there is a 30-day period in which you can get a refund. You can find out more about it in our NordVPN review.

5. Surfshark

linux surfshark
Surfshark’s CLI will make you go through several pages’ worth of servers before it lets you choose a location and connection type. 

More details about Surfshark:

  • Pricing: $2.21 per month for the two-year plan
  • Provider website: surfshark.com

Pros:

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Affordable pricing
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Only available for Debian-based distros
  • CLI is counterintuitive & tricky to use

Linux users who run multiple devices at the same time will love Surfshark and its unlimited simultaneous connections. We gave it a lot of praise in our Surfshark review. Unfortunately, the command line–based interface is incredibly counterintuitive, and you can only get it for Debian-based Linux systems. 

When you try to connect, Surfshark will list all available VPN servers, but you’ll need to go through several pages until you reach the end. Here, you’re given the choice between TCP and UDP, and only then can you select the server you want to connect to. This makes it outright difficult unless you’re a regular Linux system user who knows their way around the CLI. 

cta surfshark
Surfshark’s download page and installation guide only mentions Debian-based distributions. 

Pricing is affordable, with a two-year plan getting you a reasonably good value. Plus, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you find the UI as alien as we did.

6. Mullvad

linux mullvadvpn
Mullvad’s Linux app is minimalist, providing users with only the bare essentials.

More details about Mullvad:

Pros:

  • Available on Red Hat & Debian distros
  • Innovative signup process
  • 30-day money-back guarantee 

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Small server network

While most Linux VPNs claim to have a no-logs policy, Mullvad takes things a step further. It requires zero information from you during signup — you’re assigned an account number that you top up when you want to use the VPN. This goes a long way toward protecting private user data, as we discuss in our Mullvad review

Availability for Linux systems is excellent, and the Linux app itself is identical to the app for other OSes. It also maintains the ease of configuration and minimalist design, which makes this a very easy VPN to use. There are two glaring downsides, though: the inconsistent speeds that make it impossible to use with streaming services, and the very small server network. 

cta mullvad
Debian or Red Hat? Mullvad VPN does both, and you can choose right on the download page.

Mullvad comes with a flat fee of about $6 per month, regardless of how long you stay subscribed. Yes, it’s simpler, but it’s also more expensive in the long run. However, you have 30 days to get a refund if you change your mind. 

Mullvad
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : 5
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30-day money-back guarantee
$6.39/month

7. Windscribe

linux windscribe
To connect to a server using Windscribe, you’ll need to use each server’s respective label from the four.

More details about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: Free; $4.08 per month for the yearly plan
  • Provider website: windscribe.com

Pros:

  • Free plan 
  • Works with Red Hat & Debian distros
  • Build-your-own-plan option

Cons:

  • No GUI
  • 3 day money-back guarantee
  • 10GB data limit on free plan

Windscribe has been at the top of our list of best free VPNs for quite some time, and for good reason. It’s fast, it has 10 servers to choose from and you get plenty of security for your VPN connections. We discuss it in more detail in our Windscribe review, but it’s not the best option for Linux users, thanks to the lack of a graphical interface. 

From a Linux user’s perspective, Windscribe keeps your internet traffic secure if you’re willing to take the time to set it up. It provides detailed how-to guides, but it took us a while to figure out that we needed to connect using the server’s alias instead of location. 

cta windscribe
Windscribe gives you a choice between doing it “properly” via the command line, or with binaries.

Windscribe’s basic plan is free, but you’re limited to 10 server locations and 10GB of data per month. You can build your own plan and add more locations and data, but the three-day money-back guarantee really isn’t enough. 

What Is the Best Free Linux VPN?

When it comes to using a free VPN service, most of them aren’t worth touching with a 10-foot pole. They might try to sell your data or bundle malware with the installation file. Some of them will do very little when it comes to protecting your connection, allowing your internet service provider to see exactly which websites you’re visiting. 

However, there are some exceptions to this rule, like ProtonVPN and Windscribe. When it comes to a user-friendly VPN for Linux, Proton has the edge, thanks to the GUI-based VPN app that’s simple to use. On the other hand, WIndscribe offers 10 VPN server locations (compared to three), but requires that you know your way around a Linux terminal. 

Does Linux Distro Matter for VPN Service Use?

To an extent, yes, but it has more to do with whether or not your distro is based on Debian or Red Hat, and less with the actual distro itself. Functionally, the main difference is the software management system, with Debian using .deb files, whereas Red Hat uses .rpm. This means you’ll need to be careful when selecting the installation files to download. 

Both types are, at their core, Linux distros. Chances are that if a VPN has a native Linux client with support for Debian-based distros, it will also have one that supports Red Hat. 

VPNs Linux Users Should Avoid

Not every VPN service provider has Linux support, and two popular VPN providers that don’t have it are TunnelBear and VyprVPN. Looking at both providers’ support pages, they do mention that you can try to configure them to work with Linux, but they didn’t work on our Ubuntu 20.04-based system.  

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, Linux users who want a secure VPN with a simple graphical user interface and rich feature set will find their answer in Private Internet Access. Its strict no-logs policy goes a long way toward protecting security-conscious Linux user data, and the price is reasonable compared to most of the competition. 

If you don’t want to spend any money, ProtonVPN is the best free VPN for Linux, but you only get three server locations to choose from. Users who don’t need Linux apps and would rather use the terminal have a variety of premium providers to choose from — ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark all spring to mind. 

Do you use a Debian-based distro like Linux Mint, or is Red Hat more your cup of tea? Which do you prefer, PIA’s and ProtonVPN’s graphical user interfaces, or ExpressVPN’s and NordVPN’s CLI-based apps? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thank you for reading. 

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