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Best VPNs for Linux

2018/10/10

Linux is a great option for privacy-minded users in general, due to its open source and transparent nature, and the fact that there are even specific distros for the privacy conscious. But you can take things a step further on Linux with a VPN that adds a whole extra layer of security to keep your internet connection private. Not to mention the other benefits of VPNs, such as unblocking content or circumventing censorship.

 

While Linux users routinely draw the short straw in terms of software support for their beloved OS, when it comes to VPNs, the situation isn’t so bad, with a decent amount of providers offering native apps for Linux.

 

If the VPN doesn’t have a Linux app, you could always tinker with OpenVPN or other DIY methods – although this route requires some technical know-how. And you likely won’t get the full range of features and benefits of a proper native client (like a kill switch, DNS leak prevention and so forth).

 

1.     AirVPN

AirVPN runs an OpenVPN-based service, and takes pride in being highly transparent and open about its network. The service is customizable and the native Linux app runs on 64-bit, 32-bit, and ARM/Raspberry Pi architecture. Debian/Ubuntu and openSUSE/Fedora, Portable and Portable Mono, and Arch Linux, are all supported either via the command line or a GUI. Don’t expect any fancy interface here, though, even with the latter.

 

Another slight weak point is the relatively small number of servers and locations, although that said, in our testing, we still found that AirVPN was pretty nippy when using local servers.

 

You also get a sterling effort on the privacy and security fronts. That includes a bunch of features such as a kill switch, along with an internal DNS solution. Also, every server directly supports OpenVPN over SSH, OpenVPN over SSL and OpenVPN over Tor. On top of that, there’s no monitoring or logging of your online activities.

 

2.     NordVPN          >>Get Deal

NordVPN just launched its dedicated Linux app in August 2018. The command-line app has no GUI (graphical user interface), but it’s still far easier to set up and use than manually configuring servers. The Linux app comes with most of the same great features you get on other operating systems, including an automated kill switch, ad blocker, and anti-malware filter. If you still prefer doing things the old-fashioned way, Nord boasts an extensive user base of tutorials including detailed Linux setup instructions for OpenVPN, IKEv2, and PPTP protocols.

 

Based in Panama, NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous connections, a zero-logs policy, and specialized servers for streaming, P2P, and added security. It can unblock geo-locked content on sites and apps like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Over 4,500 servers are on offer in more than 60 countries. Every connection is protected with 256-bit encryption, and the IKEv2 protocol features perfect forward secrecy to ensure no one can decrypt past sessions even if they discover the encryption key.

 

3.     Private Internet Access          >>Get Deal

Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of our best reviewed VPNs to date but does lose some points for not unblocking content such as Netflix and other geo-restricted content. It’s not pretty, but it’s remarkably affordable, lets you connect five simultaneous devices, offers acceptable (if not great) speeds, and is as secure as they come. PIA is one of the most popular premium VPNs among Linux users, and deservedly so. OpenVPN encrypted with 256-bit AES is the default protocol, but this can be tweaked to your heart’s content. PIA will work on both Debian and Fedora distros, but Fedora and OpenSUSE users will find the process a bit more complicated.

 

4.     CyberGhost          >>Get Deal

CyberGhost rounds up our list of the best VPNs for Linux. CyberGhost is a popular Romanian provider known for its stylish provider and intuitive use. Just because it’s easy to use doesn’t mean that it’s any less secure – it boasts excellent security features such as military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and perfect forward secrecy. Other attractive features of CyberGhost include its five simultaneous connections, fast speeds, and allowing P2P. What’s more, you can experience all these and more for yourself by taking advantage of the provider’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

 

5.     Vypr VPN          >>Get Deal

Vypr is the best Linux VPN. A VPN encrypts and secures your Linux device, preventing the government, hackers and third-party snoops from viewing your online activity, personal communications and data. With VyprVPN, the best Linux VPN, you are able to connect to any of our 70+ server locations worldwide and keep your IP address, location and Internet traffic private.

 

VyprVPN allows you to access your favorite social media sites from anywhere in the world with the best, easy-to-use Linux VPN server. Golden Frog's global VPN servers restore your freedom and help you bypass location-based IP blocking imposed by restrictive governments. By using the best VPN for your Linux devices, you can quickly share your memorable moments with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. VyprVPN is the leading VPN for Linux devices, and will improve your overall Internet experience by securing your connection and protecting your privacy.

 

When you access the Internet on your Linux device, you may do so on public, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots and networks. Using unsecured Wi-Fi networks puts you at risk of exposing personal information to third parties or snoops. VyprVPN, the best Linux VPN client, encrypts your Internet connection and keeps your data private when using your Linux device in any location.

 

6.     Mullvad

Mullvad’s open source Debian/Ubuntu client comes with a full GUI and an impressive range of features, including a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, IPv6 routing, port forwarding, as well as decent tech support.

 

The Sweden-based provider puts a heavy focus on security, supporting only OpenVPN along with the lesser known and still developing Wireguard protocol. There’s strong AES-256 encryption at work and tons of security features neatly explained on the firm’s website.

 

This provider doesn’t keep any logs, and you’re just about as anonymous as you can get using Mullvad, given that the company doesn’t demand any name, physical address, or even an email address when you sign up. You can also pay with Bitcoin or cash to further maximize your anonymity.

 

If there’s one area in which the service was slightly disappointing, it was in our performance testing, where we found the speeds achieved fell a little short of what we’d normally expect.

 

7.     HideMyAss

There are several methods you can use in order to connect to HideMyAss (HMA), including an OpenVPN client. The client is simple and barebones, which keeps things easy for beginners. The web knowledgebase has a special Linux category which comes in handy for manual configurations.

 

Owned by security firm Avast, HMA offers impressive global coverage with servers in close to 300 locations. Our performance tests showed above average speeds too, which is obviously good news.

 

Seeing as this is an Avast offering, you’d expect that HMA would perform well on the security front – and this is indeed the case. However, the privacy policy is a slight let-down, being somewhat confusing, and this provider does maintain some session logs (which are kept for several months).

 

HMA charges a bit more than your average VPN, although there is a 7-day free trial which basically works like a refund (you'll need to cancel it before 7 days or you'll be charged for the initial 12 months subscription period). Speaking of refund, the 30-day refund that is available, has some conditions attached – you can’t have used more than 10GB of data, or made more than 100 connections.

 

8.     TorGuard

TorGuard offers a 64-bit and 32-bit Debian/Ubuntu client (also Red Hat and Arch), along with a nifty guide on how to use it. Users have lots of options to fiddle around with, but the performance isn’t on par with this expert-level configurability. Our testing revealed only average performance with a rather high latency. However, there’s a massive server selection in more than 50 locations to choose from, which could well help in finding a better connection, if needed.

 

The complex level of configurability likely won’t appeal to casual users, but everyone will appreciate the tight security TorGuard offers. In the company’s own words, it is “relentlessly committed to security” which includes Perfect Forward Secrecy (TLS), multiple protocol support, AnyConnect SSL and OpenConnect SSL support, ad and malware blocking, as well as technology to avoid deep packet inspection. TorGuard doesn’t keep any kind of logs on its VPN and proxy servers.

 

9.     ExpressVPN

On Linux, ExpressVPN 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.

 

10.  Buffered

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.


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