Surfshark is the best VPN for Linux, featuring a user-friendly GUI app, incredible content-unblocking ability, and unbreakable encryption.
After arming you with the Best Linux VPN, I’ll illustrate the procedure to set it up on Linux – so keep reading!
Top 3 VPNs for Linux (September, 2023)
ExpressVPN’s in-house Lightway protocol makes it the fastest VPN for Linux. It offers a browser extension for Linux users inexperienced with terminal commands. Plus, all of its servers support obfuscation and P2P traffic.
Surfshark offers a sleek Linux GUI with advanced features like Static IPs, CleanWeb, Multi-hop, and P2P sharing. It has the most widespread server library, making it the best Linux VPN for bypassing censorship.
NordVPN’s Linux client features a lucid command-line interface with Meshnet, custom DNS, and DoubleVPN/P2P servers. It delivers fast and consistent speeds via the NordLynx protocol.
Most Linux VPN services are underpowered, rarely updated, and only have a handful of the features present on Windows or macOS. Luckily, the ones on my list are the exception!
Browse the Internet Anonymously and Bypass Geo-Blocking With My Top Linux VPNs
Here are the top highlights of my handpicked VPN services for Linux:
- Surfshark: Best Budget-Friendly VPN for Linux With GUI
- ExpressVPN: Fastest Linux VPN for Uninterrupted Streaming
- NordVPN: Achieve Top-Grade Security on Linux
- Private Internet Access: Most Feature-Rich Linux VPN With GUI
- ProtonVPN: Linux GUI With P2P, Tor, & Streaming Servers
I calculated the average speeds of each VPN using a 100 Mbps connection.
Best VPNs for Linux: Comparisons and In-Depth Reviews
I did the leg work for you and evaluated 15+ Linux-compatible VPNs based on their graphical user interface/command-line interface, Linux-specific features, unblocking capabilities, connection speeds, privacy, P2P support, and other relevant criteria for Linux.
Surfshark - Best Budget-Friendly VPN for Linux With GUI
Surfshark is the best VPN for Linux, thanks to its slick GUI, which takes convenience and utility to a new level. There’s no need to memorize commands or cryptic settings, just a modern UI consistent with the rest of Surfshark’s range.
Linux loyalists now have access to advanced features like Static IPs, Multihop, and CleanWeb, previously available only to non-Linux users.
The Linux GUI currently supports Debian 11, Ubuntu 20.04, and Mint 30, though other distros are anticipated to be supported soon.
The official instructions made it easy for me to install the Surfshark GUI on Ubuntu.
The Surfshark Linux client, however, lacks some Windows-only features like Bypasser (split tunneling) and “Minimize upon startup.”
Interestingly, split tunneling on Linux is only offered by PIA.
The IKev2 protocol, supported by macOS, is likewise absent from Surfshark. Still, it isn’t a bummer since I faced no buffering while streaming UHD content via the WireGuard protocol at an average 86 Mbps download speed.
Furthermore, Surfshark is also the best Linux VPN for unblocking content due to its 3200+ servers in 100 countries, ideal for accessing international libraries of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video on Linux.
All these servers permit P2P sharing with unlimited bandwidth, so you can easily download files via qBittorrent.
Because security is the topmost concern for Linux users, Surfshark secures your connection with the industry standard AES-256-bit encryption and adheres to a no-logs policy. For additional security, activate the VPN kill switch and auto-connect feature.
Surfshark also offers infinite simultaneous connections per account, making it a fantastic bargain if you share the service with family or roommates.
Claim these exclusive Surfshark discounts, with a 30-day money-back guarantee to test it on Linux.
ExpressVPN - Fastest Linux VPN for Uninterrupted Streaming
ExpressVPN is the best Linux VPN to stream 4K content with zero buffering, download files rapidly, and experience load-time-free browsing.
It emerged as the fastest Linux VPN in my tests with 95 Mbps download speed, kudos to the proprietary Lightway protocol.
But unlike Surfshark, there’s no GUI, so you must configure everything through the terminal. However, this isn’t something an average Linux user will struggle with.
You can install the lightweight command line app by following these well-documented guides on several Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Raspberry Pi OS, Linux Mint, Arch, and more.
I could use all the advanced features of ExpressVPN on Kali Linux, like Threat Manager and Network Lock (kill switch). Port forwarding and split tunneling are the only features Linux users lack.
It took me a few seconds to connect to any VPN server with “expressvpn connect (country name)” terminal command. If you don’t want to rely on the terminal, install the Chrome or Firefox extension to switch the VPN servers from your browser.
Furthermore, I had a seamless experience switching between the TCP and UDP versions of Lightway and OpenVPN protocols, using simple commands like “expressvpn protocol lightway_tdp” or “expressvpn protocol udp.”
ExpressVPN users also get access to 3000+ servers in 94 countries, putting it second only to Surfshark regarding unblocking foreign content on platforms like BBC iPlayer, France TV, Hulu, Disney Plus, and more.
As all these servers support P2P transmission, I easily downloaded torrents via Tixati. It’s even crowned as the Best VPN for China and North Korea since every server has obfuscation activated by default.
Security-wise, ExpressVPN offers a great deal of protection against intruders with its AES-256-bit encryption, audited no-logs policy, and IP/DNS leak protection.
The only drawback is that it supports just five simultaneous connections despite being the costliest Linux VPN.
Luckily, I’ve got these limited-time discounts on ExpressVPN and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN - Achieve Top-Grade Security on Linux
NordVPN is among the finest VPN providers to offer a robust and intuitive Linux client. The lucidity of its command-line interface makes up for the absence of a Linux GUI.
It’s the only VPN client to offer an in-house protocol on Linux other than ExpressVPN, resulting in significantly faster speeds. I averaged an impressive 92 Mbps download speed on Arch Linux via the NordLynx protocol.
NordVPN can also be installed on Debian, Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Linux Mint systems, and RPM-based distros using this intelligible setup guide.
Once installed, Linux users can access advanced features like Meshnet (including traffic routing), Threat Protection lite, and custom DNS. However, some features absent from the Linux client include split tunneling, trusted WiFI, dark web monitor, remote access, and invisibility on LAN.
Thankfully, NordVPN’s Linux client does not miss out on a single protocol, so you can switch between TCP, UDP, and NordLynx protocols.
The server library comprises 5300+ servers in 60 countries.
Moreover, NordVPN is second to none regarding security due to its unbreakable 256-bit encryption and no-logs policy.
You can connect to the Double VPN specialty servers on Linux to achieve more security by simply entering “nordvpn c double_vpn” into the terminal.
Enter “nordvpn c p2p” for torrenting files to connect to the closest P2P server. Similarly, if you’re in a place with severe restrictions like China, type “nordvpn set obfuscate on” to enable obfuscation.
A single NordVPN subscription can safeguard up to six simultaneous devices, and you can reach out to chat support anytime you experience any issues.
Interested? Take advantage of this fantastic offer on NordVPN to get the best price.
Private Internet Access - Most Feature-Rich Linux VPN With GUI
Although some VPN providers don’t give their Linux apps much thought, Private Internet Access’s (PIA) offering stands out by offering a 64-bit full-fledged GUI Linux Client on Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, Arch, and other distros.
Instead of a typical DEB package, the download files have a unique .run extension. However, following these instructions will streamline the installation.
The PIA Linux version has everything that PIA’s other desktop apps are known for, including a VPN kill switch, PIA MACE (ad blocker), Split Tunneling, MultiHop, Automation, and more. This makes it more feature-rich than NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark.
However, speed is the department that makes it inferior to other VPN clients.
I averaged a mere 76 Mbps download speed via its WireGuard protocol.
While this is enough speed to handle any online activity you throw at it, it’s still behind the previously listed VPNs.
Furthermore, PIA’s headquarters are in the US (five eyes territory).
Nonetheless, privacy shouldn’t be a concern, as it doesn’t keep records of your online activity and leverages AES-128/AES-256 encryption to secure your connection.
Besides, all these servers permit P2P traffic, so you can effortlessly download torrents from The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and other sites on Linux.
The best part is that PIA is the most budget-friendly Linux VPN and supports unlimited simultaneous connections like Surfshark.
Here are some showstopper discounts to save more on PIA’s subscription and test it risk-free using the 30-day money-back guarantee.
ProtonVPN - Linux GUI With P2P, Tor, & Streaming Servers
ProtonVPN is another stunning Linux VPN for streaming and torrenting because it features quick access to P2P, Tor, and streaming servers.
The provider’s Linux client is compatible with several distros, including Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, MX Linux, Kali Linux, Elementary OS, Fedora, Archlinux, and Manjaro. It even demonstrates separate installation guides for all supported distros.
Although you get a GUI on Linux, it’s nothing like the PIA’s full-fledged GUI. Proton’s Linux app is a stripped-back version with limited settings like Secure Core, Netshield, and a permanent kill switch under a quick access menu.
The features I enjoy using on other versions, like alternative routing, moderate NAT, VPN accelerator, and LAN connections, are not included in the Linux client.
Moreover, Linux users are limited to only the OpenVPN protocol, which delivered an average of 73 Mbps download speeds in my tests (other versions have WireGuard, IKEv2, and Stealth too).
Fortunately, privacy remains the same across all versions, so your connection is secured by AES 256-bit encryption. It also offers DNS/IPv6 leak protection and adheres to a no-logs policy.
Plus, its server library, with 2,914 servers across 64 countries, can unblock geo-blocked content seamlessly. These servers facilitate P2P traffic, so I could download several torrents on Debian via Vuze.
Lastly, one ProtonVPN subscription covers up to ten simultaneous devices.
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How to Set up a VPN for Linux?
To install a VPN on Linux, you must run a few commands on the terminal.
I’ll demonstrate this procedure using ExpressVPN on Ubuntu.
Copy the activation code from this page, as you’ll need it for the setup later.
- Launch the terminal window. (Ctrl + Alt + T)
- Run the following command:
sudo dpkg -i [installer filename]
- ExpressVPN is now installed on your Linux system, but you still need to activate it by running the following command in a new terminal window:
Paste the activation code you copied in the third step here and hit enter.
- The VPN is now ready to secure your Linux system. Type in the following command in the terminal to connect to your preferred server location:
expressvpn connect (country name)
How to Set up a VPN Kill Switch in Linux?
To enable ExpressVPN’s kill switch (network lock) in Linux, paste the following command in the terminal and hit enter:
expressvpn preferences set network_lock on
Can You Use a Free VPN With Linux?
You could use a free Linux VPN, but it’s generally a bad idea since free VPNs usually come with limited bandwidth, speed throttling, and privacy issues.
Hence, it’s preferable to go with an economical and reliable VPN service like Surfshark.
If you’re cash-strapped, consider using ProtonVPN’s free version.
However, it has numerous restrictions, such as just three server locations and no P2P or streaming servers.
Therefore, it’s advised to stay away from the free version and invest in the premium plan to enjoy endless secure streaming/torrenting. To make things better, I’ve got a limited-time offer on ProtonVPN’s premium subscription.
Although many Linux distros offer a built-in VPN feature accessible through the Network Manager, it’s not the same as having a dedicated VPN.
It means you could set up a VPN connection without using a definite app.
Nonetheless, it’ll still require a VPN service provider, and the user must manually configure it. Plus, the experience won’t come close to a commercial VPN’s simplicity and flexibility.
Most users don’t have access to a spare VPN server, let alone one that would let them route their traffic through another country. So, the potential capability is present, but it can’t replace a dedicated Linux VPN client.
Elevate Your Online Privacy on Linux Straight Away!
Getting a VPN for Linux for complete anonymity is a wise move toward your data privacy. It enables anyone to bypass geo-restrictions and download torrents without consequences while protecting against cyber threats.
Surfshark is unquestionably the best VPN for Linux because of its user-friendly GUI, superior-unblocking ability, and impenetrable encryption.
So, what’s taking you so long? Get your hands on Surfshark and test it risk-free with these jaw-dropping discounts assured by a 30-day money-back guarantee.