Best VPNs for Linux (2023)
- Always evades internet control in the PRC
- Keeps ahead of the Netflix VPN detection algorithm
- Benchmark tests show excellent speed
- More locations in the USA, aims to provide a server in every state
- Makes excluding apps and sites from the VPN very easy
- Real customer service, not just a chatbot
- 3-day free trial
- Intuitive, straightforward interface and overall
- User experience
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 the 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.
- Installs on routers
- Simultaneous connection allowance of five devices
- Split tunneling
- Large choice of server location
- Very strong connection encryption
- One of the most expensive VPN services
- China blocks its main website (but not functionality)
- Live chat support is not always responsive
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.
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).
- PIA is one of the few VPNs to have a server in China
- Security features include malware, tracker, and ad blocker
- Good choice of dedicated IP address locations
- Antivirus add-on
- A strong no logs policy
- Easy to use VPN app functionality
- Can’t get into Amazon Prime or Hulu
- Doesn’t state how many servers it operates
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 are is private as you can get. Three different security protocols are also available, as is a 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.
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.
- 3-day free trial
- Intuitive, straightforward interface and overall
- User experience
- Logs are not stored
- Emphasis on security and privacy
- Transparent server statuses
- Limited number of server locations
- Blocks ipv6
- No prevention against adware and malware
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.
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.
- Good at dodging blackouts on US sports streaming sites
- A large IP address pool
- Split tunneling available
- Strong IP leak protection
- IPVanish support is available around the clock via chat and email
- No app for Linux
- No browser extensions
- 30-day money-back guarantee only for the annual plan
- Prices increase after the first subscription period
- No malware or antivirus service
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.
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.
- Very low priced service plans
- 300+ servers in more than 50 countries
- 5 connections simultaneously
- Torrenting supported on certain servers
- I honestly can’t think of any; VPN Unlimited was a pleasure to install, configure, and use.
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.
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.
- Three-hour free trial
- No registration, even for paid members
- Accepts anonymous payments
- No logs
- Solid security and doesn’t leak DNS
- Simple UI, cross-platform client
- Unblocks Steam US libraries
- Allows P2P and up to five simultaneous connections
- No native mobile apps
- Didn’t unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer in my tests
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.