Raspberry Pi is a series of single-board computers developed by the United Kingdom-based Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries. These tiny devices’ online capabilities make them a target for hackers and other online perils, making a VPN an important online security and privacy tool.
The tiny computers have become popular beyond the classroom, as hobbyists have embraced the computer for such projects as running emulators, robotics, home automation, and much more.
The Raspberry Pi can run numerous operating systems, including Ubuntu (and other Linux distros), Windows, and various specialized operating systems. However, the default OS – provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation – is Raspbian, which is a Debian-based Linux distribution.
The Raspberry Pi’s ability to run a Debian-based operating system makes the device easy to protect with apps available from various Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers.
A VPN encases a user’s internet connection in a tunnel of encryption, keeping online travels out of sight, much like a highway tunnel hides vehicle traffic. This keeps your activities safe from the prying eyes of hackers, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and even your country’s government.
A VPN is also an excellent tool for expanding your entertainment options. A VPN helps users access geographically restricted content (like that found on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services) by making it appear as if you are located in another part of the world. A VPN does this by spoofing your device’s IP address.
In this article, I’ll focus on 5 reliable VPN providers that offer native app support for Raspbian, the default operating system for the Raspberry Pi mini-computer.
What Is the Best VPN for Use With Raspberry Pi?
After researching and testing my top VPN providers, the 5 VPNs listed below have proven to provide the best protection and performance for Raspberry Pi devices running Raspbian.
For those in a hurry, here’s a short summary:
- NordVPN: This provider is my #1 pick for Raspberry Pi. Despite its low price, it offers an excellent service. Its speeds are phenomenal. While it lacks a graphical user interface (GUI), the app is powerful and easy to use.
- Surfshark: The low-price leader this time around, the provider’s Linux app lacks a GUI, but the app is easy to use. The app uses OpenVPN, which allows users to select between UDP and TCP connections.
- ExpressVPN: While the ExpressVPN Debian app is character-based, it’s easy to use and provides excellent protection and top download speeds.
- VyprVPN: App works well with Debian distros like Raspbian. The app lacks a GUI, but the commands are logical and easy to remember.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): PIA’s app is the only one in this top 5 list to offer a GUI, making it easier to use for Raspbian and VPN first-timers. The provider offers a reasonable price, although its server network could stand improvement.
In order to rank the best 5 VPNs for use with Linux, I considered these crucial factors:
- Provides a Raspbian-compatible Linux app
- Offers good connection speeds
- Strong security and privacy protections
- Offers access to geo-blocked content, like Netflix and gaming sites
- Good customer support
Here is my list of the top 5 best VPNs for Raspberry Pi:
NordVPN provides the best VPN protection for your Raspberry Pi thanks to native app support, excellent customer support, extremely fast speeds, and reliable content-unblocking power.
The value-priced provider offers a command-line driven app, which auto-suggests commands as the user types. This makes the app easier to use than many command line-driven apps, allowing new Linux users or new VPN users to make use of the apps.
NordVPN delivers fast some of the fastest speeds available from a VPN. Its connections are well protected by government-grade encryption and a kill switch. No data caps or bandwidth limitations mean your online sessions will never be cut short.
NordVPN keeps no server logs of any kind, ensuring no record of your online antics is available for outside perusing. Bitcoin is an available payment option, keeping your payment info incognito.
With a global server network of over 5,400 servers stationed in nearly 60 countries, NordVPN provides access to geo-blocked content in most regions, including Netflix and other streaming services.
Around-the-clock support is available through NordVPN’s 24/7 support chat, email support, and searchable support library.
- Native, Raspbian-compatible Linux app
- Around-the-clock support
- Great security and privacy protections
- Wide server network
- Linux app doesn’t offer GUI
BEST VPN FOR RASPBERRY PI:NordVPN’s Raspbian-compatible Linux service offers top-notch security and privacy, as well as above-average global server coverage. The provider offers astonishing download speeds at a very reasonable price. A 30-day money-back guarantee has you covered.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark’s Raspbian offering delivers speedy connections and a somewhat unusual unlimited concurrent connections allowance, and it offers its service for a bargain-basement price.
The provider’s character-driven app could be a bit off-putting for first-time VPN users, but Surfshark makes it a bit easier by providing informative instructions on their website and built-in help functionality in the app.
The provider’s connection speeds aren’t the best in this lineup, but they do provide more than enough speed for most online activities. No data caps or bandwidth restrictions to be found.
Security protections from the provider are top-notch, including military-level encryption and kill switch protection. Privacy is also of high importance at Surfshark thanks to their no-logs policy and acceptance of Bitcoin for subscription payments.
Surfshark has a great record of providing access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming providers thanks to its global server network that consists of over 3,200 servers based in 65 countries. That’s way up from the last time I updated this article when their count was a mere 800+ servers in 50+ countries.
Customer support is well-represented at Surfshark with their searchable support library, support contact form, and 24/7 live chat option.
Raspberry Pi users who own other connected devices, or who own a small business or head a large family, will appreciate the provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
- Native Raspbian app offering
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Top-notch security and privacy protections
- No GUI in app
BEST FOR BUDGET:Surfshark’s service can be yours at a bargain-basement price. The provider’s unlimited concurrent connections allowance makes the provider an optimal solution for small businesses and large families. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN ranks 3rd place in this roundup thanks to its wide global server coverage, which unlocks international streaming and other content in many places around the world.
The provider’s native app, while character-based, is easy to use and logical in its commands. The app is compatible with the Debian-based Raspbian Linux distro that the Raspberry Pi uses.
This provider delivers speedy connections, offering plenty of bandwidth for all of your online activities. ExpressVPN never imposes any monthly data caps or bandwidth limitations on your VPN usage.
Military-level encryption has those fast connections covered, keeping you secure online. If you lose connection to ExpressVPN’s servers, the provider’s kill switch drops your internet connection, preventing your online antics from being exposed.
The British Islands-based service also protects your privacy well with its policy of keeping no logs of any kind related to your online activities. A Bitcoin payment option keeps your payment information incognito.
ExpressVPN performs well when it comes to unblocking geo-blocked content like streaming services, gaming servers, and other apps and services, thanks to their 3,000+ servers in 94 countries around the globe.
If you require help with installing or operating the ExpressVPN app on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll have around-the-clock support available. The provider offers 24/7 live chat, email support, a searchable support library, and a trouble ticket tracking system.
- Offers Raspbian-compatible Linux app
- Reliably unblocks geo-blocked services
- Top-notch global server coverage
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Priced higher than many other VPNs
- Only 5 simultaneous connections
GREAT FOR STREAMING:ExpressVPN protects your Raspberry Pi adventures and gives you access to streaming content around the world at the same time. Fast speeds and excellent privacy and security protections are the rule with this provider. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
VyprVPN makes for an above-average choice for protecting your Raspberry Pi device. The provider offers comprehensive global server coverage, along with solid privacy and security, both online and offline.
The provider offers a character-based Linux app that is compatible with Raspbian. Although the app is not as easy to use as a GUI-based app, you can view all of the app’s commands by entering “vyprvpn -h” at the command line.
While the service’s fast connections are well protected with military-level encryption, no kill switch protection is available in the app. While VyprVPN doesn’t keep any logs, they also don’t accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as subscription payment options.
VyprVPN offers above-average global server coverage to unblock geo-controlled content, such as Netflix and other streaming services, with 700+ self-owned and -operated servers spread out among 70 countries.
The provider’s 24/7 support chat, contact form, and searchable knowledge base are available any time you need them.
- 700+ self-owned and -operated servers in over 70 countries
- Top-notch online security
- Unblocks numerous sites and services
- Raspbian-compatible Linux app
- More expensive than some other VPNs
- No anonymous payment option
SELF-OWNED SERVERS OFFER ADDED SECURITY:VyprVPN’s self-owned and -operated servers add an additional layer of security for your online activities and the accompanying precious personal information. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a popular, reasonably priced VPN that is well established in the VPN industry. The provider is the only VPN in this lineup to offer a GUI-based app for Raspbian/Linux.
The app’s graphical interface makes it easy to select a server and connect. The GUI makes the app an excellent option for first-time VPN users who might not be comfortable with the command-line interface found in other providers’ apps.
PIA’s connection speeds, the 2nd-fastest in this lineup, provide more than enough horsepower for streaming, gaming, and any other online activities.
Those fast connections are also well protected with government-level encryption and a kill switch, protecting your online travels from prying eyes. The app also offers the ability to block domains used for ads, trackers, and malware.
Your privacy is covered thanks to the provider’s no-logs policy and its acceptance of cryptocurrency for subscriptions.
The Private Internet Access global server network consists of 3,300+ servers in 32+ countries. To make sure the provider has servers located where you need them, check their server coverage before clicking the “subscribe” button.
PIA doesn’t offer live support chat, but it does provide a “contact us” trouble ticket form, a searchable knowledgebase, and searchable guides.
- Only GUI-based Linux app in this lineup
- Excellent security and privacy
- Allows up to 10 devices to connect simultaneously
- The number of countries covered could be better
- No live support chat
BEST VPN FOR FIRST-TIMERS:Private Internet Access deserves a close look from first-time VPN users because of the app’s graphical user interface. While the provider delivers excellent privacy and online security protections, its global server coverage could stand some improvement. A 7-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of Private Internet Access.
My Methodology for Assessing VPNs for Raspberry Pi
Not all VPNs offer support for the Raspberry Pi platform. Luckily, there are some reliable VPN providers that do offer support.
I have listed below the VPN features I consider when determining the best VPN providers for use with Raspberry Pi devices:
- App Support: The more devices supported by a VPN provider, the more flexibility the VPN offers. This is especially true when you’re looking at specific computing platforms, such as I’ve discussed in this article. All of the VPN providers I included in this article offer support for Linux on Raspberry Pi.
- Streaming: Streaming is one of the most popular pastimes for many VPN users. There are plenty of ways to stream video on Raspberry Pi devices. Each VPN on my list offers reliable access to streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other popular streamers.
- Server Network: The size of a provider’s global server network is an important consideration when considering a VPN. A larger global server network provides expanded access to geo-blocked content in other countries. The more numbers of servers in a country, the lower load that is being placed on VPN servers in that region, providing better performance.
- Connection Speeds: If you’re streaming or gaming (two popular uses for Raspberry Pi devices), you’ll want fast connections. never consider any provider that throttles your connection or that imposes data caps on your usage.
- Value: Any VPN provider’s true value can be calculated by comparing the VPN’s feature set to the price charged for its services. Any VPN that charges a high price but doesn’t offer top-notch services, should not be considered. All of the providers I recommend in my articles offer good value.
- Ease of Use: Ease of use is an important consideration for many users. The VPNs I recommend offer easy-to-use apps.
- Security and Privacy: If a VPN doesn’t provide comprehensive connection protection, such as government-grade encryption, a kill switch, and other online security and privacy protection, look elsewhere. Award bonus points for additional features like malware and virus protection. Don’t even consider any VPN that doesn’t follow a strict “no-server-logs-ever” policy.
Check out more information about my VPN testing methodology.
What Else Can I Do With a VPN?
In addition to protecting your internet activity from prying eyes, a VPN also has other talents that can enhance your online activities.
A VPN can make it appear as if you and your device are located in another part of the world. It does this by assigning your device a new, temporary IP address. This allows you to access online content, services, and websites that might normally be blocked in your area of the world.
A VPN is also an excellent tool to provide security for your internet connection when using an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot, like those found in coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels. Wi-Fi hotspots usually don’t offer an encrypted connection, making user activity on the hotspot an attractive target for hackers.
A VPN can also prevent your ISP from throttling your connection speeds when they detect a connection to certain services or websites, or when you’re engaging in certain activities (like file sharing).
Can I Use a Free VPN With My Raspberry Pi?
While you can probably find a free VPN provider that offers a Raspbian-compatible app, I’m willing to bet that you won’t be happy with the performance or security offered by the provider.
Many freebie VPNs throttle their users’ connection speeds. They also sometimes impose monthly or daily data caps on usage and impose bandwidth limitations on connections.
One of the best reasons for using a VPN is to avoid having your connection throttled. Why use a VPN that throttles your activities?
It also takes a while to connect when using certain free VPN providers. Some providers will force you to wait in a queue before allowing you to connect to their servers. Then, once you’re given the green light, your server selection is severely limited, or you’re auto-connected to a server at random.
In addition, when it comes to “free” services on the internet, you are usually the product that’s being sold, and “free” VPNs are no exception.
Many “free” VPN services keep the lights on and the servers humming by tracking their users’ online activities, saving that information, and then selling it to the highest bidder. Others inject ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browser sessions.
Sure, “free” is always enticing, but keep in mind that quality VPN service can cost less than what you paid for your Raspberry Pi setup.
How Else Can I Secure My Raspberry Pi Device?
Like any operating system, the Raspbian distro of Linux is not completely secure.
While a VPN does provide protection against hackers and other nosy nellies, it shouldn’t be the lone tool in your security toolkit.
Other security tools include:
- Antivirus software
- A firewall
- Anti-rootkit software
- Security-focused browser extensions
- A secure browser
- A password manager
Raspberry Pi VPN FAQs
How Do I Use a VPN for Raspberry Pi?
Here's how to use a VPN for Raspberry Pi:
- Subscribe to a Raspberry Pi-compatible provider.
- Download and install the VPN app to your Raspberry Pi device.
- Run the VPN app and log in to the provider's network.
- Select a nearby server to protect your online activities or a server in the country where you'd like to access geo-blocked content.
- Enjoy your newly protected and enhanced online activities.
What is the Best Free VPN for Raspberry Pi 4?
There is no "best" free VPN for Raspberry Pi 4. Unless you particularly like slow speeds, data caps, and having logs of your online activities being sold to advertisers and other nosy third-parties.
Can I Install the Best VPN Server for Raspberry Pi?
You can turn your Raspberry Pi into a VPN server that will increase your mobile security and access to your home or office LAN. This can allow you to bypass website restrictions at school or work and easily connect to resources on your home or office LAN, including file servers and printers. However, you cannot use it to access geo-blocked content in other regions of the world.
A VPN can protect your Raspberry Pi-oriented online travels, allowing you to enjoy your online activities with less worry of having your antics monitored by outsiders.
A VPN – like my #1 choice, NordVPN – provides optimal online security, protects your privacy (online and off), and provides access to online content that may normally be unavailable in your area.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
- What Is the Best VPN for Use With Raspberry Pi?
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. VyprVPN
- 5. Private Internet Access
- My Methodology for Assessing VPNs for Raspberry Pi
- What Else Can I Do With a VPN?
- Can I Use a Free VPN With My Raspberry Pi?
- How Else Can I Secure My Raspberry Pi Device?
- Raspberry Pi VPN FAQs
- How Do I Use a VPN for Raspberry Pi?
- What is the Best Free VPN for Raspberry Pi 4?
- Can I Install the Best VPN Server for Raspberry Pi?