The Best VPNs for Linux 2024

Discover why NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark are the best VPNs for Linux, and learn more about their security features.
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Best for Security Fanatics

5.0
Editorial Rating
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On NordVPN's website

NordVPN
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Best for Linux Users on a Budget

4.6
Editorial Rating
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On Surfshark's website

Surfshark
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Best for Seamless Streaming

4.6
Editorial Rating
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On ExpressVPN's website

ExpressVPN
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Linux users are often ignored, so it can be challenging to find a virtual private network (VPN) that's compatible with Linux operating systems while meeting their needs for privacy, security, and fast speeds. We recognized this demand, so we decided to show Linux users some love by testing several VPN services and found NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN to be our top three contenders. Here’s a bonus: they all offer a GUI.

We’ll go into detail about why NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN made it as the best VPNs for Linux, as well as share our answers to commonly asked questions about VPNs for Linux.

In this article
The best VPNs for Linux
NordVPN: Best for privacy and security fanatics
Surfshark: Best for Linux enthusiasts on a budget
ExpressVPN: Best for seamless streaming
Honorable mentions
How to choose the best VPN for Linux
Best VPNs for Linux FAQs
Bottom line: The best Linux VPNs

The best VPNs for Linux 2024

  • NordVPN: Best for privacy and security fanatics
  • Surfshark: Best for Linux enthusiasts on a budget
  • ExpressVPN: Best for seamless streaming

Top 3 VPN services for Linux compared

VPN
Best Overall
Starting price Starts at $3.69/mo (billed biennially) for the first two years Starts at $2.19/mo (billed biennially) Starts at $6.67/mo (billed annually)
Server count 6,100+ servers in 60+ countries 3,200+ servers in 100 countries Servers in 105 countries
Linux compatibility All Linux distros except TailOS and TempleOS Debian 11, Ubuntu 20.4, Mint 20 or higher Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Arch, Raspberry Pi (armhf), Mint
VPN protocol NordLynx (built on WireGuard), OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec WireGuard, OpenVPN TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPsec Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPsec
No-logs policy No logs No logs No logs
Headquarters Panama The Netherlands British Virgin Islands
Learn more Get NordVPN
Read NordVPN Review
Get Surfshark
Read Surfshark Review
Get ExpressVPN
Read ExpressVPN Review

NordVPN: Best for privacy and security fanatics

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 71% off 2-year plans + 3 months extra
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

Who it’s best for

We selected NordVPN as our top pick as the best VPN for Linux users seeking a fast and dependable VPN that puts privacy and security at the forefront. With Nord, you can mask your IP address behind an encrypted connection or hide your online activity from your internet service provider (ISP) to prevent bandwidth throttling.

NordVPN has the most extensive support for nearly all Linux distros except three, which makes it the best choice for Linux enthusiasts. It’s also a great choice for users around the world who want to bypass any geo-restrictions due to its high number of servers spread throughout 61 countries.

What we liked

We liked that NordVPN prioritizes privacy and security by offering next-generation encryption while using secure protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec2, and its proprietary NordLynx built on top of WireGuard. Its powerful features include a kill switch, double VPN servers, smart and private DNS, Onion over VPN for torrenting, ad and malware blocking, and more. It is also headquartered in Panama and holds a true no-logs policy.

NordVPN Linux users will be impressed that nearly all Linux distros are supported. NordVPN provides .deb and .rpm packages for all Linux distros, except for TailOS and TempleOS.

It has Ubuntu NordVPN support and is compatible with many other Linux distros, such as Debian, Fedora, Elementary OS, Mint, RHEL, CentOS, openSUSE, and especially Qubes OS. Qubes OS is primarily aimed at security, which is why we think NordVPN is the perfect choice for the security-conscious Linux user.

Lastly, but still importantly, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested and also offers a user-friendly interface that makes it quick and easy to connect to the fastest available server.

What we didn’t like

We experienced connectivity issues with NordVPN when we tried to run it from the command-line interface in our Ubuntu distro. Sometimes, it would connect to the VPN server successfully. Other times, it would give us an error.

We found it a bit glitchy and were unable to test it on all Linux distros to make a detailed comparison of their connectivity performance across the board. Needless to say, it’s still a solid VPN, and with its 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s worth a shot.

NordVPN specs

Price range $3.69–$15.99/mo
Server count 6,100+ servers in 60+ countries
Linux compatibility
  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Elementary OS
  • Mint
  • RHEL
  • CentOS
  • QubesOS
  • openSUSE
VPN protocol NordLynx (built on WireGuard), OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
No-logs policy No logs; verified and last audited by Deloitte on Dec. 13, 2023
Headquarters Panama
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Learn more Get NordVPN
Read NordVPN Review

Surfshark: Best for Linux enthusiasts on a budget

Unlimited Device Protection and Large Server Network
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Surfshark's website
VPN
Surfshark
83% off + 3 months free
  • All-in-one VPN app with 24/7 protection thanks to 3,200+ RAM-only servers in over 100 countries
  • Real-time malware defense, webcam protection, alternative ID creation, ad blocking, and more
  • One subscription covers unlimited devices for your entire household with access to 24/7 support

Who it’s best for

Surfshark is the VPN of choice for Linux enthusiasts on a budget who want an affordable, secure VPN that can let them browse the internet anonymously with all the bells and whistles.

With its large list of 3,200+ servers in 100 countries to choose from worldwide, it’s also great for those who want to securely and anonymously bypass geo-restricted content on the web.

What we liked

We liked that Surfshark packs a punch with its security protocols and encryption, along with the additional features it offers, which makes it a perfect choice if you’re on a budget. Surfshark uses military-grade AES-256-GCM encryption with secure protocols such as WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPSec.

Surfshark also supports the more modern, fast, and secure WireGuard protocol on Linux. It even has additional features most of us would ask for in a VPN, such as a static and rotating IP, private DNS, ad blocking, and more. Moreover, Surfshark's unlimited simultaneous connections are a great bonus for its low price, which is rarely offered, even among more expensive VPNs.

What we didn’t like

Although Surfshark has a lot of benefits for Linux users, there are a few downsides worth noting. First, it currently doesn’t support the IPv6 protocol. Due to this reason, it’s recommended to disable IPv6 to prevent connectivity issues.

Second, Surfshark’s GUI app for Linux only supports the following Linux distros: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and newer, Debian 11 and newer, and Mint 20 and newer versions. Lastly, we found that Surfshark doesn’t let you do port forwarding or port mapping properly on Linux.

Surfshark specs

Price range $2.19–$17.95/mo
Server count 3,200+ servers in 100 countries
Linux compatibility Debian 11, Ubuntu 20.4, Mint 20 or higher
VPN protocol WireGuard, OpenVPN TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPSec
No-logs policy No logs; verified and last audited by Deloitte on Dec. 14, 2022
Headquarters The Netherlands
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Learn more Get Surfshark
Read Surfshark Review

ExpressVPN: Best for seamless streaming

Extensive Server Network Provides Protection Wherever You Go
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website
VPN
ExpressVPN
Save 49% (3 months free)
  • Hides intrusive display ads when browsing the web, improving page speed and easing data usage on mobile
  • Privacy and safety benefits of a VPN with best-in-class encryption and innovative server technology in 105 countries
  • Enjoy no activity logs, malicious sites and trackers protection, and more on up to 8 devices
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

Who it’s best for

Couch potatoes and movie buffs who enjoy watching Netflix for their favorite films and TV shows will love ExpressVPN.

What made ExpressVPN stand out were its seamless streaming capabilities and great compatibility with Linux operating systems. Although ExpressVPN may be more expensive than other VPNs, its speed and reliability make it an excellent choice for Linux users. (And as the saying goes, "You get what you pay for.")

What we liked

We liked that ExpressVPN is a fast, reliable, and secure VPN client. With its lightning-fast speeds, it's excellent for streaming content from various streaming platforms.

It also offers a wide range of support for popular Linux distros like the following: Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Arch, Raspberry Pi (armhf), and Mint.[1] Plus, it’s easy to install from a command-line interface, and we appreciated that ExpressVPN has a graphical user interface (GUI) for most 64-bit and 32-bit versions of most Linux distros.

ExpressVPN also has a wide range of security features such as a tracker blocker, smart DNS, and secure VPN protocols including OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec, along with its own proprietary tunneling protocol called Lightway.

Lightway is one of the fastest and most secure tunneling protocols in the modern world and was built on top of a lightweight SSL/TLS library called wolfSSL to improve connection times and speed. Just like WireGuard, it aims to improve upon the de facto standard VPN protocol, OpenVPN.

What we didn’t like

Although ExpressVPN’s Linux app has a lot of great features to offer, we didn’t like that it only supports up to a maximum of eight devices simultaneously — and is still on the pricey end compared with other VPNs that support an unlimited number of devices. Additionally, we wish it offered support for more Linux distros the way that NordVPN does.

ExpressVPN specs

Price range $6.67–$12.95/mo
Server count Servers in 105 countries
Linux compatibility
  • Ubuntu: 20.04 and above
  • Debian: 10 and above
  • Fedora: 37 and above
  • Arch: Latest rolling release[2]
  • Raspberry Pi (armhf): Pi OS 10 and above
  • Mint: Linux Mint 20 and above
VPN protocol Lightway (runs on wolfSSL), OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
No-logs policy No-logs policy; verified and last audited by KPMG on Sep. 1, 2022
Headquarters British Virgin Islands
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Learn more Get ExpressVPN
Read ExpressVPN Review

Honorable mentions

NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark were our top picks as the best VPNs for Linux. However, we did test a few other VPN providers with Linux if you're still looking at alternatives:

  • CyberGhost: CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs available, which is especially valuable due to its vast server network. It offers more than 10,000 servers in over 100 countries as well as servers optimized for streaming, gaming, and torrenting.

    Get CyberGhost | Read Our CyberGhost Review

  • Private Internet Access: PIA was a close runner-up, using strong encryption, secure VPN protocols, and relatively fast speeds. Similar to Surfshark, it also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, making it a great value.

    Get Private Internet Access | Read Our Private Internet Access Review

  • Proton VPN: We liked that Proton VPN is based in Switzerland, offers support for Linux, and has features such as split tunneling (on Windows and Android), Tor over VPN, and ad-blocker and malware protection, to name a few, It also offers a free plan, so you can test it out risk-free.

    Read Our Proton VPN Review

How to choose the best VPN for Linux

Because VPN services may have limited support for Linux, we suggest you research VPNs that support Linux distros of your choosing, which is a crucial first step.

Second, we believe your VPN service should provide robust privacy and security features, such as military-grade encryption like AES-256 and secure protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPSec, to name a few.

Third, server speeds and reliable connectivity should be highly considered because it can be frustrating when you try to stream content that gets interrupted by buffering. Lastly, check for advanced VPN features, great troubleshooting support and guides for Linux users, and a price that makes sense to you.

Need more VPN options? Check out more of our top VPN services that come highly recommended after our hands-on testing and research.

Best VPN services for Linux FAQs


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What’s the best VPN for Linux?

Based on our testing and research, we found that the best VPNs for the open-source Linux client were: 

These VPNs had strong encryption, fast speeds, advanced VPN features, and high compatibility with Linux distros. They also offered reasonable pricing plans for what they provided.


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What’s the best free VPN for Linux?

We don’t recommend a free VPN for Linux to use because free VPNs often come with a price to pay: they’re likely to track your data and often lack strength in the security department. In other words, they may have features that put your privacy and security at risk.

For example, a 2016 study of 283 Android VPN apps by The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia discovered that many VPNs “expose users to serious privacy and security vulnerabilities, such as the use of insecure VPN tunneling protocols, as well as IPv6 and DNS traffic leakage.”[3] The chances of using an insecure VPN increase when you use a free VPN.

With that said, we prefer steering clear of free VPNs and taking your time to research paid VPN services before selecting one. If you want the most security and privacy, we recommend solid VPN services with subscription plans, such as our top three picks: NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark.


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Does Linux have a built-in VPN?

Linux doesn't have a built-in VPN out of the box. Instead, Linux distros may have built-in support for VPN tunneling protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard, and others.


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How do I set up a VPN on Linux?

A VPN on Linux can be set up one of two ways: manually via a command-line interface or by downloading a GUI app that easily installs a VPN on your device.

Luckily, most VPN services provide instructions on how to set up their VPN on a supported Linux distro. Additionally, there may be VPN browser extensions available for your browser to download and use instead.

Bottom line: The best Linux VPNs

We tested several VPNs for Linux and narrowed our list to the top three contenders that stood out in terms of Linux compatibility, strong privacy and security features, great performance, and fast speeds.

NordVPN, Surfshark all have great Linux support, strong encryption, and advanced features that are great for Linux users who want to enhance their privacy and security.

With that said, NordVPN is our top choice for Linux enthusiasts who prioritize privacy and security; Surfshark is the most affordable option for Linux enthusiasts on a budget; and ExpressVPN is perfect for seamless streaming.

After all, Linux is safer to use than Windows, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enhance your online security with additional protection like a VPN.

3 best VPNs for Linux

Starting price Best for Learn more
Starts at $3.69/mo (billed biennially) for the first two years Best for privacy and security fanatics Get NordVPN
Read NordVPN Review
Starts at $2.19/mo (billed biennially) Best for Linux enthusiasts on a budget Get Surfshark
Read Surfshark Review
Starts at $6.67/mo (billed annually) Best for seamless streaming Get ExpressVPN
Read ExpressVPN Review


Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 71% off 2-year plans + 3 months extra
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
Author Details
Mars is a California-based cybersecurity professional and writer currently pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity. With interests ranging from OSINT to ethical hacking and threat intelligence, Mars leverages his two years of writing experience to produce informative content on topics such as Internet guides and VPNs.

Citations

Citations

[1] Difference Between ARM64, ARMel, and ARMhf

[2] Arch Linux 1.2 Modernity

[3] An Analysis of the Privacy and Security Risks of Android VPN Permission-enabled Apps