Top 3 VPNs
It’s no secret that using a Virtual Private Network can greatly enhance your Internet security and protect your anonymity while online. A good VPN will hide your IP, encrypt incoming and outgoing data, and delete all logs of your activity. With all of the VPN products out there, it can be hard to choose the right one – fortunately, I’ve done a lot of testing and can help you narrow down your options.
To start, you need to make sure the VPN you are looking at is compatible with the operating systems and devices you plan to use it on. For Linux users, a lot of the big names are ruled out right off the bat – but there is still a veritable buffet of quality VPNs to pick from. This is great news, since Linux is the most secure desktop operating system, and use of a VPN can elevate your privacy to even higher levels.
Here, I have picked seven of my favorite VPNs for use with your Linux on your desktop or laptop. While not every feature of these VPNs is supported on Linux – and I’ll make note of what’s missing – they will all work without any hassle, and have customer support to help you navigate anything more complicated.
Not only have I tested each of these out to make sure they install easily and run smoothly on Linux, but I've also broken down the different features of each VPN to help you pick the one that best fits your needs. Some are better for international use (by virtue of thousands of servers worldwide), others have blazing fast connections, and others have top-tier privacy policies that put any doubts to rest.
Finding a Linux VPN Is Easy
With so many options, finding a Linux-compatible VPN is easy. With so many quality products, the hard part is narrowing it down to just one. Still, a good place to start is to make sure you are looking at reputable VPNs that have Linux support. I have tested all of the VPNs on this list, and think that each one has its place – it just comes down to what kind of features you want, your budget, and your specific needs. With the wide variety of options, the right Linux-compatible VPN is out there just waiting for you to find it.
It shouldn’t be surprising that ExpressVPN makes this list – it is one of the longest-standing and most reputable VPNs out there. On Linux, it has DNS Leak protection and SmartDNS, which will help unblock region-restricted content. Express also has servers in 87 countries, which is great if you like to travel a lot while still keeping your VPN consistently fast and connected.
That being said, ExpressVPN is not as fast as some of the newer services out there, although it should work just fine for normal Internet activity. Aside from that, everything else about ExpressVPN is well above average. Customer support is helpful and responsive, the Linux client is basic but serviceable, and no usage logs are kept. Security is also state of the art, and uses AES-256 encryption.
ExpressVPN is a little bit pricey – $8.32/month for a year of service – but leaves you wanting for nothing. Everything that has helped Express stay at the top of the VPN food chain for so long works just as well on Linux, so this one is easy to recommend.
- Servers in 87 countries
- Custom Linux client
- Great customer service and 30-day money back guarantee
- One of the most expensive VPNs – $8.32/month for the cheapest plan
- Performance and speed are only average
2. Private Internet Access
In the same way that ExpressVPN has been the leader among flashy and costly VPNs, Private Internet Access has dominated the niche of stripped-down and affordable services. The company recently updated its Linux client to work just like its Windows OS version, so you now have access to a VPN service with over 3,000 servers worldwide for as little as $3.33 per month (if purchased annually).
Private Internet Access – as its name implies – has one of the best policies for maintaining anonymity. The company keeps absolutely no usage logs nor connection logs, which is as private as you can get. Three different security protocols are also available, as is simultaneous connection on up to five devices.
Private Internet Access doesn’t have the sleekest interface or the fastest performance, but does provide the full suite of VPN options at a very low cost.
- One of the cheapest VPNs
- 3,000 servers around the world
- No usage OR connection logs – great privacy
- Customer service is below average
- Doesn’t perform well on speed tests
AirVPN is best in class when it comes to added features and options. While this can make it difficult to navigate and configure, its Linux GUI does a serviceable job of making it easy to use. If the ability to tunnel OpenVPN through SSH or SSL protocols, a firewall-based kill switch, and port selection mean anything to you – you fall in AirVPN’s target market.
All of these features, plus the company’s no-log policy, make the company an industry leader when it comes to both privacy and security. It will require some work to really take advantage of everything that AirVPN has to offer, but the payoff may be worth it if you are that serious about privacy.
AirVPN also allows for up to 3 simultaneous connections, and comes with a 3-day money back guarantee if it proves to be too overwhelming to use. While certainly not the easiest to install or navigate, AirVPN is certainly a high-quality product, and comes with a friendly price tag of $5.19/month for 12 months.
- No usage logs or connection logs
- Choice of VPN tunneling protocol and port forwarding for maximum security
- Linux GUI just as good as clients for other operating systems
- Not for the faint of heart – a complex VPN to install and configure
- Not as many servers worldwide – only in 16 countries
Despite only being around for a couple years, IPVanish is already a well-liked VPN with servers in over 60 countries. It’s supported on numerous platforms, including Linux, with useful tutorials for setting up either an OpenVPN or PPTP connection. IPVanish also has some neat features, like built-in IP cycling for added security, as well as a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
IPVanish also has great speed and performs well on most speed tests. The company maintains a no log policy as well, but be wary of its server locations – almost all of them are in countries with privacy-unfriendly regulations that put you at the mercy of government agencies.
While IPVanish does not have a dedicated Linux UI, all options can be accessed via your Network Manager. While the website is packed full of guides and a lot of other helpful information, customer service can be on the slow side. IPVanish is a good product, but really shines if you already feel confident in using a VPN to the fullest.
- Servers in over 60 countries
- High performance results
- IP cycling and advanced security options
- Customer service below average
- No dedicated Linux UI
5. VPN Unlimited
VPN Unlimited has been around for a while, and has continued to improve its service across all platforms, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Windows phone, Android and Linux. VPN Unlimited currently comes with OpenVPN protocol, anti-malware, stop tracking, and ad blocking.
VPN Unlimited also has dedicated servers for torrenting, and is above average for accessing content that is usually blocked if you’re connected to a VPN. Servers are located in over 50 countries, and the service has consistently performed well on all of my speed tests.
- Affordable – $3.33/month for 12 months, and $149.99 for a lifetime subscription
- Great performance on speed tests
- Dedicated Linux app, plus compatibility with almost any device
- Less configuration options – only OpenVPN protocol
- Keeps some connection logs
Buffered is a newer VPN that is quickly building a reputation for being a secure VPN that is easy to set up on a Linux OS. Servers are currently located in 16 countries – and are a bit on the slow side – but the company is continually adding more. Right now, only an OpenVPN protocol is available, so it might not work on some mobile devices.
Buffered is great for streaming, and on sites like BBC iPlayer and Netflix, you can bypass the usual proxy restrictions by easily connecting to the appropriate server. Buffered is so popular for streaming there there’s actually a page on the website dedicated to Netflix use to help you troubleshoot common issues that VPNs usually have. Add in Buffered’s compatibility with Smart TVs, and you have the best Linux-friendly VPN for streaming content.
While more expensive than the majority of other VPNs, Buffered fills this niche as a fast VPN that is great for streaming.
- Great performance for streaming and torrenting
- Designed to gain access to Netflix and other streaming sites
- One of the best Linux clients
- Keeps connection logs
- Only in 16 countries. Performance may suffer in exotic locations
- Pricey – $7.25/month for 1 year
Mullvad is a Swedish VPN that has a heavy focus on privacy and security. In addition to the company’s no log policy, features like DNS leak protection, a firewall-based kill switch, and port forwarding are definitely appealing. What makes Mullvad truly stand out, despite all of the configuration options, is a great Linux UI that puts you comfortably in control of its more nuanced features.
The company’s dedication to privacy knows almost no bounds. In addition to accepting Bitcoin, you can also mail in payments anonymously. This might sound ridiculous, but if you are going to be paying for privacy, the cost of a postage stamp is actually a pretty good investment. With AES-256 encryption and Ipv6 routing, this is one of the most secure VPNs from a technology standpoint.
That being said, it would be wise to take advantage of their 3-day trial. Performance on speed tests is mediocre, and with a limited server selection (mostly in Europe and North America), your Internet speed may become uncomfortably slow. If you are happy with the results, though, this is a great VPN product with Linux support.
- No user logs, based in Sweden, and anonymous payment – the most privacy available
- Dedicated Linux UI and support makes it a breeze to configure
- Packed with security features and extra protection
- Limited server selection means it might not be the best choice in every region
- Disappointing performance