As the world's biggest free and open-source operating system, Linux contains numerous advantages for its users.
However, Linux users still suffer some of the challenges that other mortals face. Namely, while you're connected to the internet on a Linux device, you're still at risk of government intrusion and restrictions from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
So, if you want to keep data secure online and access all corners of the internet, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a perfect solution.
But not all VPNs work with Linux operating systems. That's why I've researched and tested the best Linux VPNs in the industry - to give you some tips. These are the best VPN options for Linux:
- NordVPN (Packed with features at an affordable price)
- ProtonVPN (Industry-leading security features)
- TunnelBear (Supported by major US-based data security firm)
- ExpressVPN (Premium VPN loaded with performance and security benefits)
From $2.99 /month
If you've researched VPNs before, you've definitely heard of NordVPN - this Panama-based VPN provider is consistently one of the most popular VPN providers in the industry. It's no wonder this provider has such a large fan base: it's packed to the brim with features and has some of the most affordable price points on the market.
Security and Performance
Most people who want VPNs are looking for secure access to the internet without having to sacrifice their internet performance. With NordVPN, you'll gain some of the industry's leading security protocols without losing too much of your current download speeds.
First, NordVPN offers the gold standard of VPN encryption - AES 256-bit encryption. This is the same level of encryption once used by the NSA to keep data and information secure. It's the perfect solution if you want to protect your browsing history from ISP and avoid issues with unsecured WiFi networks - such as public WiFi hotspots.
NordVPN also has one of the only true no-log policies on the market. Unfortunately, most providers logging policies aren't what they advertise, so I always do a little extra digging to make sure that VPN providers don't retain any of your browsing information.
This factor, coupled with NordVPN's offshore jurisdiction, truly helps protect you from government requests for information.
And as for performance - NordVPN servers do an excellent job of retaining most of your WiFi download speeds. I tested its primary servers to ensure performance was up to par. My normal download speed of 80 Mbps reduced to around 71 Mbps. This speed retention rate of 90% keeps your online data and download moving swiftly.
Access to Media from Your Linux Device
If you're looking to use a VPN to access media and content, you won't have any issues with NordVPN.
This high-end VPN provider is one of the most reputable in the industry for accessing overseas content providers. I tested a range of its different servers and never had any problems accessing Hulu, YouTube, or Netflix.
Setup VPN Linux on NordVPN
If you don't know how to set up a VPN client on Linux, don't worry - NordVPN also includes detailed instructions on how to set up its platform on your computer. These step-by-step instructions will help you set up the OpenVPN protocol and get NordVPN in just a matter of minutes. Not all VPN providers offer such detailed instructions, so this is a true added bonus if you think you'll struggle to set up your VPN client without help.
- Works perfectly with Linux
- Step-by-step instructions for Linux set up
- Access media providers from overseas
- Strong download speed retention
- True no-log policy
- Excellent encryption standards
- Very affordable price points
- Need to pay for a multi-year subscription if you want to obtain solid price points
From $0.00 /month
ProtonVPN is a Switzerland-based VPN provider made famous by its founders - the same security experts that brought you ProtonMail. While ProtonVPN can be used across a wide range of different platforms, it's also one of the only VPN providers that offer extensive Linux support for its customers.
Custom ProtonVPN Linux Command-Line Tool
ProtonVPN has a custom command-line tool specifically built to help Linux users setup VPNs on their devices. The VPN provider also has step-by-step instructions on how to use the tool - a vital bonus for those who want help in setting up its service quickly.
High-Level Security for VPN Users
As previously mentioned, ProtonVPN is made by the same developers that created popular end-to-end encryption email platform ProtonMail.
If you're looking to keep your data secure online, ProtonVPN offers AES 256-bit encryption to create a solid encryption tunnel for all of your web traffic. This standard is the perfect defense against prying eyes and nosy ISPs.
ProtonVPN users also benefit from a true no-log policy. You won't need to worry about any of your IP address or browsing information being stored on its platform.
With ProtonVPN, security isn't the only benefit of this high-end service. You'll also receive seamless access to overseas content providers, a strong customer support team (limited hours), and strong performance indicators.
Also, you'll be pleased to know that ProtonVPN provided a top download speed 58.6 Mbps. This is around 75% speed of my 80Mbps speed retention.
Free VPN for Linux option
Many premium VPNs offer free trials and money back guarantees, but few offer permanent free subscriptions. ProtonVPN is one of the only VPNs in the industry that has a free service option. While its free version is limited - only three server options and one device - it's still an excellent way to try out a Linux VPN free of charge.
- Excellent support for Linux devices
- Step-by-step installation instructions
- Free Linux option
- Industry-leading security protocols
- Access to overseas media
- Great price points for paid plans
- Not as many server options
- Server speeds slower than NordVPN
From $0.00 /month
TunnelBear is a Canada-based VPN provider that was recently purchased by data security giant McAfee. While its association with such a prominent data security team is beneficial, McAfee is a US-based company - meaning it may need to comply with US requests for information. TunnelBear began offering Linux services back in 2014.
Strong encryption, great security
TunnelBear offers robust security options for its Linux users. While you can customize your encryption standard on TunnelBear, the default option is AES 256-bit encryption. This is the same military-grade encryption standard found in NordVPN and ProtonVPN. TunnelBear's name lends its origin to its security standards - you really do benefit from an encrypted tunnel with this provider.
TunnelBear also offers its Linux users a true no-log policy. This is a critical feature considering TunnelBear is located inside the Five Eyes Jurisdiction.
TunnelBear provided a top speed 38.3Mbps from my 75Mbps regular speed. This is over 50% speed retention. While this isn't as impressive as the first two providers in my review, it's still pretty ok.
Another Free VPN for Linux
While you'll need to pay for a premium subscription to take advantage of this provider's full feature list, its free service still allows you to securely connect to the internet.
With TunnelBear's free option, you receive 500MB of free data per month.
If you plan on using your VPN most of your internet activity, you'll need to upgrade to one of its premium packages.
While TunnelBear offers some of the best Linux support the industry, this VPN provider does have a few key downfalls.
Firstly, it doesn’t provide consistent access to overseas media providers - in fact, I ran into a few problems trying to connect to Netflix and Hulu on its servers. Secondly, TunnelBear doesn't support torrent use on its platform, so if you want a VPN that will allow you to use P2P networks on your Linux device, look elsewhere.
- Excellent support for Linux users
- Strong no-log policy
- Free, limited version available for Linux users
- Supported by strong data security company - McAfee
- Affordable price points for paid subscriptions
- Bad legislation - it's owned by an American company
- Doesn't allow easy access to overseas content
- Doesn't support torrenting on its platform
From $8.32 /month
ExpressVPN is one of the major players in the VPN industry. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN benefits from a truly offshore jurisdiction - the British Virgin Islands. This VPN provider comes loaded with various features that help VPN users get the most out of their secure connection. It's also one of a handful of VPN companies offering explicit support for Linux users!
Packed with Features
While ExpressVPN is the priciest VPN on this list, there's a reason for its higher price points - the features. ExpressVPN offers torrent support, access to overseas media providers, a true no-log policy, excellent customer support, strong server speeds, and AES 256-bit encryption. You'll also benefit from Linux VPN server locations in over 90 countries.
If you are wondering about the speed, wonder no more. Typically, my internet download speed clocks in at around 70Mbps - and after connecting to ExpressVPN, I barely lost any of connectivity performance.
Its best servers clocked in at 61.1 Mbps - this is an nearly 80% download speed retention rate, compared to my original download speed of 75-80Mbps.
Linux Setup Tutorials
ExpressVPN offers excellent support for its Linux users. As a customer, you will benefit from step-by-step guides on how to set up its service on Linux devices. ExpressVPN even offers a YouTube tutorial on how to quickly and effectively set this device up on Linux computers.
- Strong encryption standards for clients
- True no-logging policy
- Over 90 countries on the server list
- Access to overseas media providers
- Linux support for its platform
- Step-by-step Linux instructions
- Much pricier than many of the other VPN providers on my list
Which VPN for Linux is Best for You?
While Linux users don't have as many VPN options as regular PC or Mac users, there are still plenty of different choices available. If you want to choose the best VPN provider for your needs, it's essential to understand the primary benefits of each service.
Here are some recommendations to make your decision a little easier:
- NordVPN is best for those who want an affordable VPN provider with plenty of performance and security features
- ProtonVPN is best for those who want a VPN with industry-leading security features
- TunnelBear is best for those who want a reliable free VPN option from a major US data security team
- ExpressVPN is best for those who want a premium VPN loaded with features and excellent customer support options
Do you use a different VPN for your Linux device? If so, comment below with your experiences using your Linux-supporting VPN provider.