best vpn for linux

Linux has long been the preferred operating system of millions. It’s free, reliable, user-friendly, and very secure. But, despite having many advantages, the OS is also prone to getting compromised by hackers and other malicious third-parties

As such, you must use a VPN alongside it to remain 100% protected whenever you access the web. One problem is that countless services claim to be the best option for the operating system, making it hard for an average consumer to settle on the right VPN.

(In case you're in a hurry, our top recommendation for the Linux OS is NordVPN.)

What Are The Best VPNs For Linux In 2021?

We’ve narrowed down our picks to five wonderful VPNs that work excellently with Linux. These are:

  1. NordVPN
  2. ExpressVPN
  3. Surfshark
  4. CyberGhost
  5. Private Internet Access

The best VPN for Linux can be any one of the five mentioned above. However, each of them has a particular set of cons that might serve as dealbreakers to you. Because of that, we must take an in-depth look at each one of them.

1. NordVPN

logo nordvpn

Credit: NordVPN.com

NordVPN is one of the world’s most popular VPNs. With it, you’re guaranteed to remain safe online. Also, it’ll be possible for you to browse freely in China, torrent without limits, work around every streaming platform geo-restriction in place, and access banned web pages.

The security of NordVPN is great due in large part to its employment of AES-256 encryption and support for all leading protocols. Moreover, important features such as a kill switch, malware blocker, double VPN, as well as split tunneling are maintained on all platforms.

Many say that NordVPN’s speed capabilities are second to none. I personally have nothing but good connection speeds when using this product. Regardless of the server that I was paired to, never were there problems with loading times, buffering, lagging, and downloading.

Gaining access to the foreign libraries of popular streaming platforms like Netflix is beyond easy with NordVPN. Therefore, you shouldn’t have worries if you aim to use the service primarily to watch shows and movies that are otherwise unavailable where you currently are.

Torrenting is something that’s allowed on NordVPN’s network. Although not all of its servers are optimized, the VPN is still good for the job. How come? It detects any downloading activity then automatically connects you to the best P2P server based on your location.

NordVPN works spectacularly well in China. Because of its huge server network, it’s capable of consistently leaping over the Great Firewall. While it is possible to experience downtime, you’re guaranteed to get to surf the internet without limits with no interruptions for the most part.

Like other high-ranking services, NordVPN is compatible with many devices. Needless to say, it shines brightly in particular when used on Linux. The reason why is because the service boasts a wonderful app for the operating system that’s visually appealing and super easy to use.

NordVPN isn’t the cheapest VPN out there, which is why it’s best to try it before purchasing a subscription. Sad to say, there is currently no free trial available, so you’ll have to buy a basic plan then take advantage of the service’s 30-day money-back guarantee policy.

2. ExpressVPN

logo expressvpn

Credit: ExpressVPN.com

Ask most experts and they’ll say that ExpressVPN is the best. It’s extremely secure, decently fast, and has a superb application for Linux. Furthermore, the service boasts the ability to bypass most geoblocks and internet censorship systems like China’s Great Firewall.

ExpressVPN’s security is awesome mainly because it operates a RAM-based network. As a result, it isn’t capable of storing any piece of private user information. If anything, this makes trusting the service with all your sensitive data a complete no-brainer.

If you’re wondering, ExpressVPN utilizes military-grade AES-256 encryption. Besides that, it allows you to use most leading protocols. However, one disadvantage it has is that it lacks commonplace security features like an ad and malware blocker.

You’ll have a good connection no matter what ExpressVPN server you’re paired to. Thanks to that, there will be no issues with gaming, downloading, and streaming. Everything shall be completely seamless. In some instances, you might even forget you are using a VPN.

Each one of ExpressVPN’s 3000+ servers is P2P enabled. Consequently, moving over to an appropriate location before starting a torrenting session will not be necessary. The entire process is ultra-convenient since it’s free of any delays or hassles.

As mentioned earlier, ExpressVPN can work around many censorship systems. It’s perfect for those who have careers that make them travel to places like China, Russia, and Iran, where most mainstream websites and online services are banned altogether.

The developers of ExpressVPN have made sure to create excellent native apps. All of them have simple interfaces that are aesthetically pleasing and a joy to navigate. On top of that, they’re a breeze to download, install, then configure to meet your exact needs as a user.

ExpressVPN isn’t the best option for those with really tight budgets as it’s a bit pricey. To make things worse, there’s no free trial available. Therefore, the only method to test it is to buy a subscription then use the 30-day money-back guarantee policy that’s currently in place.

3. Surfshark

logo surfshark

Credit: Surfshark.com

Surfshark is a newcomer in the VPN industry that’s taken it by storm. It managed to do this by providing excellent value for money. While it’s not the cheapest service, it’s the only high-ranking one that allows for unlimited simultaneous device connections.

As expected, Surfshark uses AES 256-bit encryption and maintains support for a wide range of protocols. It also has a wide array of features that helps it protect subscribers. Prime examples of which include a kill switch, split tunneling, hacking alert system, and malware blocker.

Being one of the most coveted VPNs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Surfshark is blazingly fast. It can compete with the likes of NordVPN and ExpressVPN without breaking a sweat. You can blame the service’s unlimited bandwidth and quality servers for this.

Surfshark doesn’t have a fully enabled P2P network. Nevertheless, it’s still a viable option for those who frequently download torrents. Why? Like NordVPN, it automatically detects your downloading activity then moves you over to a P2P server.

Nothing shall remain out of reach with Surfshark. Because it unblocks all major streaming sites, web pages, and internet-based services, you’ll be able to access everything you need to. And yes, this also includes oppressive censorship systems like the Great Firewall of China.

You’ll be glad to know that Surfshark works flawlessly on Linux. It has a native application for the OS that certainly won’t disappoint. Aside from having a brilliant interface that’s not hard to master, it also runs very smoothly and is quite light on memory. Finally, it also doesn’t take up lots of storage space, making it suitable for anyone who’s got a low-end device.

Surfshark has a 30-day money-back guarantee that allows you to test it freely. Though it isn’t the most affordable VPN, it’s certainly the one with the greatest value. After all, it lets you protect everyone in your business or household using a single subscription.

4. CyberGhost

logo cyberghost

Credit: CyberGhostVPN.com

CyberGhost stands out because it boasts the largest network of any VPN. It operates more than 7000 servers around the globe. Thus, when using it, you’re guaranteed to not run out of places to connect to. It’ll be easy to stay away from the prying eyes of meddlesome third-parties.

Like all its major competitors, CyberGhost makes use of AES-256 encryption. While it supports all leading protocols, it only lets you toggle a few of them on Linux. Fortunately, the operating system is the only one where WireGuard is available. Hence, you’re still sure to stay safe.

It’s important to note that CyberGhost isn’t the fastest VPN. Nevertheless, you can still get a good connection when using it. Simply make sure to pair with the correct server as many locations can render your internet unusable, even for just general browsing.

CyberGhost is good for streaming and torrenting. All of its desktop applications provide a list of servers that are optimized for the two jobs. Thanks to that, you’ll not have to research or play a guessing game to find out where to connect to. From a convenience standpoint, this is superb.

An unfortunate thing about CyberGhost is that it doesn’t work in China. In spite of having the largest VPN network in existence and a presence in the country, it fails to bypass the Great Firewall. For that reason, you should get something else if you’re going to the country.

The app of CyberGhost on Linux is easy to use but somewhat difficult to master. Why? Unlike the native applications of competing services for the operating systems, its app does not have an interface that’s minimalistic in nature.

You won’t have any problems dealing with CyberGhost’s customer service. Whether on chat or email, the service’s representatives are quick in responding, knowledgeable, and very cordial regardless of when you contact them.

CyberGhost has a free trial. It maintains a unique money-back policy depending on where you have a window of 14 to 45 days to ask for a refund. Also, it is worth mentioning that the service’s prices are great and suitable for individuals who have really tight budgets.

5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

logo pia vpn

Credit: PrivateInternetAccess.com

Private Internet Access or simply PIA is the only USA-based VPN on this list. As such, it’s the only one that falls under Five Eyes Alliance jurisdiction. That means it must follow restrictive copyright and privacy laws or else run the risk of being shut down by the authorities.

Despite its disadvantage, many agree that PIA is very safe to use. It uses AES-256 encryption and even supports WireGuard. Moreover, the service boasts a zero-logging policy, capable malware blocker, kill switch, and reasonably-sized server network.

You shouldn’t count on Private Internet Access to unblock every streaming platform. During my time with it, bypassing anything besides Netflix USA was next to impossible. Consequently, it’s not worthy of recommendation to avid movie buffs as you’ll only get disappointed.

On the bright side, all of PIA’s servers are P2P enabled. Because of that, the service makes for an excellent choice when torrenting. This is especially true when you consider that there are thousands of servers to choose from and my tests have shown that it’s 100% leak-free.

Speed isn’t something that Private Internet Access is particularly known for. With that said, you’ll still be getting a good connection when using it. Gaming, streaming, downloading, and browsing will all still be possible. However, just don’t expect to have a seamless experience.

PIA’s app for Linux is simple-looking and user-friendly. It’s perfectly suited to people who aren’t tech-savvy such as children and the elderly. Furthermore, it isn’t difficult to download, install, and then configure. If anything, you’re sure to have a blast when using it.

Even if PIA doesn’t have a really large online knowledgebase, you’re sure to not have problems with troubleshooting. The reason why is because the service has representatives for chat and email that are a joy to deal with. Each one of them is quick, cordial, and very knowledgeable.

Private Internet Access is famous for being one of the most affordable VPNs on the market. It is a wonderful choice for anyone looking to spend little and gain large benefits. As with other services, there’s a 30-day money-back policy but no free trial currently available.

Why Use A VPN With Linux?

Why Use A VPN With Linux

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Even if Linux is widely regarded as the safest operating system, it’s still recommended that you use a VPN alongside it. That’s because, over the years, many cybercriminals have figured out ways to compromise its users. Via the OS, they can hijack your device and steal your data.

You can also use a VPN on Linux to gain access to geo-restricted websites or online services that would otherwise be unavailable in your region. 

In addition, many VPN services also work around the geoblocks of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. With them, you’ll be able to access the restricted foreign libraries of these platforms and watch all the content you want.

One final thing to mention is that VPNs can be used to bypass internet censorship systems. Any decent service can hop over China’s Great Firewall. Also, they can keep you 100% anonymous when browsing in places such as Russia, the UAE, and Turkey.

What Makes A Good Linux VPN?

What Makes A Good Linux VPN

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Consumers often have a difficult time when selecting a good VPN for Linux. That’s because the market is flooded with services that claim to work best on the OS. In reality, most of them aren’t optimized for it as they’ve got clunky apps, bad security, and abysmal speed capabilities.

When choosing a Linux VPN, it’s essential to consider a few things. Once that’s done, it’s likely that you won’t have any regrets and shall have a stellar experience.

  • Security

The main goal of every VPN is to provide online security to its users. Sad to say, many services fail to do this. Besides not adhering to robust encryption standards, they also skimp on essential features or don’t provide lots of connectivity options. 

Several even secretly collect your data and sell it to third parties for a profit. Hence, instead of keeping you safeguarded, they actually put you in harm’s way.

  • Speed

It’s an unfortunate fact that all VPNs hamper base internet connection speeds to an extent. On the bright side, many services do this to a very minimal degree. When using them, you’ll likely forget you’re utilizing a VPN since they provide such a smooth experience.

VPNs with good speed capabilities are perfect for individuals that frequently download all kinds of content, play online games, or stream movies and shows. They’re also great for people who have careers that are centered on the internet.

  • Unlocking Capabilities

Many VPNs are capable of providing you with access to Netflix USA’s library. However, beyond that, they’re practically useless for streaming. As such, it’s best to choose a service that’s able to unlock the libraries of other streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer.

With a VPN that has super unlocking capabilities, you’ll also get to browse geo-restricted sites and tap regionally-locked web-based services. Additionally, they also make easy work of censorship systems like the Great Firewall of China.

  • Torrenting Optimization

Not all VPNs are suitable for people who like torrenting. For one, many don’t allow the activity on their servers. On top of that, lots of services don’t have P2P servers that are necessary for the job to get done safely with zero leaks.

The best services for torrenting are the ones with fully enabled P2P networks. Besides that, a few like NordVPN and Surfshark automatically detect torrenting activity then connect you with servers that are optimized for the job.

  • User-Friendly Applications

Every VPN that’s natively compatible with Linux has an app for the operating system. The quality of some of these applications varies widely. Some are aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly, while others can give you a serious headache.

You must choose a VPN that has a great app for Linux. Or else, you just might find yourself frustrated every time you use it.

  • Pricing

Don’t just settle on a free VPN or the cheapest one around. Instead, invest and go with one that isn’t cheap yet provides excellent value for money. By doing so, you lessen your chances of having any regrets after making your purchase.

Apart from pricing, it would also be wise to get a VPN that offers a free trial. Moreover, it should also have a decent refund policy that may let you try it out longer without any risks.

How To Use A VPN On Linux?

How To Use A VPN On Linux

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Using a VPN on Linux is beyond easy. In fact, just about anyone can do it. Even those who are not tech-savvy are sure to have no problems. Simply follow these steps and you’ll be all set:

  1. Make an account
  2. Purchase a subscription
  3. Download your VPN’s application
  4. Install it
  5. Log in
  6. Connect to a server

An optional step that you can do is configure your VPN’s settings. Pick out the protocol that’s best suited for the job you’re doing. For example, go with WireGuard if you need a fast connection that’s also secure.

In Summary

Before finishing this article, I’d like to have a quick recap on all the services for Linux we talked about earlier. This is only right as the last thing you’d want to have after making a purchase are regrets about doing so.

NordVPN is all around an excellent VPN. It has a large network, great security, and excellent speed capabilities. Besides that, it’s blazingly fast, making it perfect for gaming, downloading torrents, and many other activities. Lastly, the service has an excellent Linux app.

Although it’s rather pricey, ExpressVPN remains a wonderful option for Linux users. Its having a network that is RAM-based makes it incredibly secure and trustworthy. Furthermore, the VPN can bypass any geoblock that’s thrown at it. Finally, it’s faster than most rivals on the market.

In terms of value for money, you can’t go wrong with Surfshark. It combines everything one would want from a VPN in a neat package. To make things better, it’s currently one of only several services that allow for unlimited simultaneous device connections.

CyberGhost is a prime option for Linux users that value connectivity and their anonymity above anything else. That’s because it has the most extensive VPN network in existence. Apart from that, it’s also worth mentioning that the service has an awesome Linux application.

Private Internet Access is most famous for being extremely affordable. Among all the VPNs on this list, it’s the obvious choice for those with the tightest of budgets. With that said, don’t think you’ll be skimping as the service has great security and a fully enabled P2P network.

VPNWhy Is It Good for Linux?PricesLink
logo nordvpnGreat unlocking capabilities,
Decent apps, blazingly fast speeds,
Works in China,
Excellent Linux app
$11.99/Month
$6.99/Month (1-Year)
$4.99/Month (2-Year)
$3.49/Month (3-Year)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo expressvpnTopnotch security,
Highly-optimized iOS app,
Fast speeds,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Easy-to-use Linux app,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$9.99/Month (6 Months)
$6.67/Month (15 Months)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo surfsharkEasy-to-use Linux app,
Fast speeds,
Excellent security features,
Unlimited simultaneous connections,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$6.49/Month (6 Months)
$2.49/Month (2 Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
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logo cyberghostUser-friendly apps,
Reasonable prices,
Decent security,
Lots of servers
$12.99/Month
14-Day Money-Back Guarantee

$7.99/Month (6-Months)
$2.76/Month (18-Months)
45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Click for BEST Price
logo pia vpnGreat security,
Awesome prices,
Simple Linux app
$9.95 (1 Month)
$3.33/Month (1-Year)
$2.69/Month (2-Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price

About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.

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