Best VPN for Linux

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  • NordVPN
    Monthly price
    $11.95/mo.
    Security Protocol
    OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec
  • ExpressVPN
    Monthly price
    12.95/mo.
    Security Protocol
    OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTP
  • Surfshark
    Monthly price
    $11.95/mo.
    Security Protocol
    IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, Wireguard, and L2TP

Linux is the operating system you use if you care about security, personal freedoms from the constraints of commercial products, and lighting-fast speed. Many of the best distributions (as they are called) remove most of the clutter and bloatware found in Windows and Mac, streamlining the operating system in a way that makes it light, fast, and highly secure. That’s why a virtual private network is such a good match for Linux. While you do need more technical skills to use Linux—even installing a new app can be a bit tricky—there are some clear benefits in terms of speed and security.

The truth is, if you install a VPN on your home router, then any device on your internet connection will take advantage of it. Many VPN service providers offer instructions for using a VPN on your router. However, only a handful of these providers offer an actual Linux installer that allows you to then tweak all of the settings and choose the VPN server you want. Our picks for the best Linux VPNs not only include a Linux installer but provide added security protocols as well.

Best VPN providers for Linux price comparison
BrandPriceSecurity ProtocolUnique featureDetails
NordVPN$11.95/mo.OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSecFree malware protection softwareView Plans
Express$12.95/mo.OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTPHigh number of countries and serversView Plans
Surfshark$11.95/mo.IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, Wireguard, and L2TPOption to choose which sites bypass your VPNView Plans

Data effective 6/8/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

1: NordVPN

As expected, one of the top VPN services overall is Linux friendly.

The best VPN providers tend to offer the most versions of the main app, and NordVPN is no exception. You can download the installer for your version of Linux in a matter of minutes, sign in with your registered account, and off you go. You can then select the server you want for the VPN connection and adjust settings.

NordVPN also lets you set the security protocol you want that works best for your connection. This VPN service even includes a free malware client (and it works on Linux devices as well, not just Windows).

NordVPN plans and prices
BrandPriceSecurity ProtocolUnique featureDetails
NordVPN$11.95/mo.OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSecFree malware protection softwareView Plans

Data effective 6/8/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Why we like NordVPN

  • Easy Linux installs
  • Extra security protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec
  • Malware protection

Want to know more? Read our full-length NordVPN review.

2: ExpressVPN

Another top pick with a Linux version available.

ExpressVPN is another top pick, rated at five stars and lightning fast. Like NordVPN, it’s an ultimate VPN provider because there are so many versions available to install on everything from smart televisions to Android phones. A Linux version is available for those who want to use the operating system to avoid commercial wares.

As a bonus, there are several thousand servers available for connecting in many countries. ExpressVPN also supports a wide variety of security protocols, including L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTP.

ExpressVPN plans and prices
BrandPriceSecurity ProtocolUnique featureDetails
Express$12.95/mo.OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTPHigh number of countries and serversView Plans

Data effective 6/8/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Why we like ExpressVPN

  • Wide variety of protocols
  • High number of servers
  • Easy Linux install

Want to know more? Read our full-length ExpressVPN review.

3: Surfshark

One of the best VPNs with a Linux client to boot.

We’re big fans of Surshark, and it’s not just because this VPN company uses quirky cartoon sharks as a mascot. You can install it on just about any Linux distribution and adjust settings as needed. The VPN client supports a few alternative security protocols such as Shadowsocks, Wireguard, and L2TP. One unique feature is the ability to add specific sites that can bypass the VPN altogether.

Surfshark plans and prices
BrandPriceSecurity ProtocolUnique featureDetails
Surfshark$11.95/mo.IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, Wireguard, and L2TPOption to choose which sites bypass your VPNView Plans

Data effective 6/8/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Why we like Surfshark

  • Option to allow sites to bypass the VPN
  • Extra security protocols
  • Fun interface

Want to know more? Read our full-length Surfshark review.

What are the benefits to using Linux?

Linux is an operating system that has stood the test of time. Technical users still prefer it compared to the more bloated and commercial Windows operating system. They know they can install a wide variety of Linux apps, avoid most of the typical malware intended for Windows users, and experiment with custom apps that may never see the light of day on a commercial operating system (in part because they are designed and developed by other Linux users). That’s why a VPN client on Linux is such a good match.

Lighter operating system

Linux is a “light” operating system in that it runs fast on any laptop or desktop, especially compared to Windows. Even if you use something like Ubuntu with all of the graphics and flare of a Windows or Mac machine, you’ll notice a speed improvement. A VPN does add some overhead to the connection when it adds encryption, but overall running Linux with a VPN means you have a one-two punch against hackers and other security threats. The OS is lean, and the VPN client provides protection for your IP address.

Added security

Linux is a highly secure operating system. While Windows tends to be a catch-all for malware and viruses and a prime target for hackers, Linux is a different kind of beast. There are fewer viruses and malware clients, so it’s a good match for those who care mostly about security and protecting their online identity. With the added security you can experiment with how the new protocol impacts your speed for downloading files, streaming media, or visiting websites.

Recap: The best VPNs for Linux

Linux might be designed for more technical users and has built-in security, but that doesn’t mean a VPN is optional. Our top picks for Linux VPNs provide an installer you can load into Linux to select servers and tweak all of the settings.

  • NordVPN: Malware protection even on Linux
  • ExpressVPN: High number of server locations and countries
  • Surfshark: Extra security protocols

Additional contributors

Chyelle Dvorak