What is the Best VPN for Linux in 2018?
NordVPN is, in my opinion, the best VPN to protect your internet connection when using Linux. The provider’s high-speed connections and excellent customer support make it a great way for security-minded users to protect their internet connection on their Linux computer
Security-conscious road warriors who prefer Linux will particularly appreciate NordVPN’s ability to protect their internet connection when using open Wi-Fi hotspots.
In addition, they will enjoy the provider’s variety of servers in multiple locations around the world, allowing them to access websites and other online content that might not normally be available in the parts of the world they visit.
Linux is a Unix-like open source operating system originally created to run on personal computers based on the Intel x86 architecture. The operating system was first released in September 1991.
Linux has since been ported to more platforms than any other operating system. The popular Android smartphone OS is based on Linux. The OS has also been ported to Chromebooks, as well as embedded systems - including smart watches, network routers, TiVo digital video recorders and many other connected devices.
Linux is the perfect choice for computer users who are serious about privacy and security. Over the years, Linux has evolved into one of the most reliable operating systems available today.
Although Linux may present the average user with a higher learning curve than other operating systems, its low, low price of “free” has proved to be an attraction for users who are looking to keep costs down.
Linux is available as various distributions (“flavors” or “distros”), designed to fit specific users’ needs. Distributions include Ubuntu Linux, Linux Mint, Arch Linux, Fedora, Debian and many others. Most flavors are available in both desktop and server configurations.
Each distribution offers a different take on the desktop environment, with some offering a Windows-like experience, while others offer a more innovative interface.
Many Linux versions are available as a “Live” distribution, meaning you can boot and run the operating system directly from a CD/DVD or a USB stick, with no installation on your hard drive required. This allows you to decide which distro is right for you, without the need to completely reformat your computer’s hard drive each time you try a new distro.
When you find a flavor of Linux that you like, you can then use the same “Live” CD/DVD or USB stick to install the operating system on your computer. Linux can usually be “dual booted,” meaning it can be installed alongside your current Windows or Mac installation. You would then select which OS you’d like to use each time you start up your machine.
Top 5 VPNs for Linux
Why Do You Need a VPN for Linux?
While Linux is a more secure operating system than Windows, making it an attractive option for small businesses and other organizations lacking a dedicated IT support staff, Linux systems are by no means impenetrable.
Linux users suffer from many of the same security issues their Windows and Mac brethren do, such as online phishing attempts, man-in-the-middle attacks, online monitoring and more.
One excellent method of protecting yourself and your Linux-based computer is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will protect your internet connection by encasing it in a layer of encryption, ensuring hackers, ISPs and even government agencies can’t monitor your online activities.
The encrypted tunnel the VPN service provides to protect your online activities from prying eyes can also protect your personal information - such as login credentials, banking and credit card information, and more - from hackers looking to steal and sell it.
VPNs also offer the ability to make your internet connection look as if it’s coming from a location other than where you currently are. VPN providers station servers in countries around the globe. This allows users to connect to any of the available VPN servers, making their internet connection appear to be located elsewhere.
A user in New York City, for example, could seem to be connecting to the internet from London or another remote location. This allows VPN users to access websites and other online content that they normally would be restricted from accessing due to government or geographical restrictions put in place by the content owners
Choosing the Best VPN for Linux
Users looking for a VPN provider to use with their Linux installation will need to be aware of a number of requirements that make a VPN right for them. In this section, I’ll go over the various features any VPN should offer for it to be seriously considered by Linux users.
Support for Your Linux Distro
While most VPN providers offer Linux support, they won’t always provide support for your flavor of Linux.
All 5 of the VPN providers I rate in my “top 5” list - which follows this section - either offer versions of their apps for the major Linux distributions, or they provide instructions on how to manually set up your Linux computer to use their service.
While manually setting up a VPN provider on your Linux box will offer excellent protection, the steps required might be daunting to a beginning Linux user. Manual setup also means you might be missing out on important features, such as a kill switch and other important protections. So, be sure to take a close look at the features supported by any VPN provider you may be considering.
Because this feature is a binary “yes/no” notation, I’ve listed the VPN providers in the table below in alphabetical order.
Global Server Coverage
When you’re considering a VPN for use with Linux, always check to see how many servers the provider offers and where they are located. Naturally, the more servers they have, the better.
But, make sure the servers aren’t concentrated in just a few locations. If you need to access geo-blocked content, VPN server locations are critical. Ideally, you’d like to see a global spread, much like the one shown in the screenshot below.
Always look for a provider that offers fast connections and low ping times. You’ll want to be on the lookout for a VPN provider that offers speeds and latency numbers that are as close as possible to those that are provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Fast connections are always appreciated when gaming online, streaming video or music, or downloading files from torrents and other file repositories. A speedy connection will also improve your daily usage of the web, even if you’re just browsing the web or doing your banking or shopping online.
One of the reasons Linux users opt to use the operating system is the system’s excellent privacy protection. As such, when considering a VPN provider, how well it protects its users’ privacy is an important factor.
When I’m discussing privacy protections, I’m referring to whether a provider operates in a privacy-friendly country, keeps logs of your online activities and accepts anonymous forms of payment, such as Bitcoin. I’ve ranked the VPN providers accordingly below.
Most VPNs offer an automatic “kill switch” feature that disconnects your internet session if, for some reason, your VPN connection fails. This prevents your connection from being laid open to the prying eyes of hackers, your Internet Service Provider and the government.
As this is a binary, “yes/no” type of question, I’ve ranked the providers alphabetically in the table below.
Other Factors to Consider
While I’m sure there are those of us who are flush enough to believe price is no object, I’m also fairly secure in saying that that adage doesn’t apply to most of us. If you’re like me, you want a reasonably-priced VPN company that also provides excellent service.
Note: Many VPN providers offer special deals on subscriptions from time to time, significantly reducing your subscription costs. If you are a user who is willing to commit to subscribing for an extended period of time, you may benefit from even larger savings. Always visit the providers’ websites for current pricing and offers.
*The prices in the table reflect the monthly cost when paying for an annual subscription. (Annual Subscription Price / 12 Months.)
While Linux is great operating system for use by experienced computer users, even experienced folks might need some hand holding from customer support from time to time.
In the table below, I’ve ranked the VPN companies according to what types of customer support they offer, the promptness of their replies, and the accuracy of the support provided.
Note: Phone support is not provided by any of the VPN providers listed below.