Linux is a Unix-like open source operating system originally designed to run on personal computers running the Intel x86 architecture. Since its release in 1991, various organizations have released customized “flavors” of Linux to users, including Ubuntu and others.
While Unbuntu provides excellent localized security, there are plenty of security and privacy terrors waiting for Ubuntu users on the internet. Any time you’re connected to the web, you run the risk of a third party violating your privacy and stealing your personal and business-related information.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides optimal online privacy and security for Linux users while they’re engaged in online activities.
A VPN provides encrypted protection for your internet connection, protecting your browsing, downloading, streaming and other online activities from being monitored by the government, your Internet Service Provider and other Nosy Nellies.
A VPN also opens access to online content you might normally be restricted from accessing at your location. This includes geo-restricted streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu and others), online gaming arenas and other services.
While Ubuntu and other flavors of Linux are popular, their user numbers are nowhere near that of other operating systems, such as macOS and Windows. This means that many VPN providers don’t offer apps for use with the platform.
That means finding a VPN that does offer native Ubuntu app support is a true bonus.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on 5 VPN providers that offer native app support for Ubuntu.
What Is the Best VPN for Use With Ubuntu?
Extensive testing has shown that the following 5 VPNs are the best for use with the Ubuntu operating system. Here’s a summary:
- ExpressVPN: This provider is the #1 best choice for protecting your Ubuntu-related online activities. Although the app is character-based, it’s easy to use and offers help with just a few keystrokes.
- NordVPN: This provider’s native Ubuntu app also lacks a graphical user interface (GUI), but it is powerful and easy to use. The app is lean and doesn’t put a heavy hit on system resources.
- Surfshark: This is the bargain-priced option on this list, making it a good choice for Linux users looking to save a few bucks. The app offers no GUI, but the provider offers easy-to-follow usage instructions.
- VyprVPN: This provider’s character-driven app offers easy-to-remember commands and delivers excellent protection. Sadly, no kill switch protection is to be found here.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): While limited to use with the 64-bit version of Ubuntu, it is also the only app in this top 5 list to offer a GUI, making it an excellent choice for Linux and VPN first-timers.
In order to rank the best 5 VPNs for use with Ubuntu, I considered these important features:
- Provides an Ubuntu-compatible Linux app
- Fast connection speeds
- Optimal security and privacy protections
- Reliable access to geo-blocked content, like Netflix and other services
- Comprehensive customer support
Here is my list of the top 5 best VPNs for Ubuntu:
ExpressVPN is the top choice for Ubuntu users who are looking for the best way to protect their online interactions from prying eyes.
The provider’s Ubuntu-compatible Linux app provides a character-driven user interface, driven by logical commands, which only places a small hit on system resources.
The provider’s connection speeds, which ranked in at #1 in our most recent round of speed tests, provide more than enough bandwidth for any of your online activities. Plus, there are no monthly data caps.
Military-grade encryption and a kill switch protect your online activities from prying eyes, protecting them even if your computer loses contact with the ExpressVPN servers.
This British Virgin Islands-based provider isn’t required by law to keep any logs of its users’ activities, so it doesn’t. Plus, if you choose to use a disposable email address and pay using Bitcoin, your payment info is completely anonymous.
Streaming video and music fans will appreciate ExpressVPN’s content-unblocking abilities, as its 3,000+ servers in 94 countries around the globe efficiently unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services. It also unblocks other geo-blocked services and websites, including online gaming content.
Customer service is an around-the-clock proposition at ExpressVPN thanks to its 24/7 live support chat, email support, support ticket submission system and easy-to-search support library.
- Offers Ubuntu-compatible Linux app
- Reliably unblocks geo-blocked content and services
- Comprehensive global server coverage
- Fastest connection speeds around
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- More expensive than many other VPN options
BEST VPN FOR UBUNTU:ExpressVPN is the best VPN option for Ubuntu users. Their lightweight app provides super-fast connections and opens users to a world of online content while providing top-notch protection. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN delivers reliable VPN protection for your Ubuntu device, with solid app support and global server coverage.
The low-cost provider’s Linux app lacks a GUI, but the command line-driven app does auto-suggest commands as the user types, making it a bit more intuitive to use than some competitors’ Linux apps.
NordVPN’s connection speeds are the slowest in this roundup, but those speeds shouldn’t be considered slow overall. They’re more than up to streaming HD content or performing just about any other casual activity on the web. No bandwidth limitations or data caps here.
Connection security is well taken care of here, as NordVPN server connections are protected by banking-grade encryption, kill switch protection and an obfuscation feature with the ability to make your VPN traffic appear as normal internet traffic.
Privacy is another plus when you use NordVPN, as the provider keeps absolutely no logs of their customers’ online travels and offers an incognito payment option via Bitcoin.
NordVPN’s global server coverage tallies in at over 5,700 servers located in 60 countries. Those servers are known to do a reliable job of unblocking streaming services, websites and other services that might be blocked in your area.
Customer support is available 24/7 thanks to always-available live support chat, a searchable knowledge base and an email support option.
- Ubuntu-compatible app: CHECK!
- App offers command auto-complete
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- No GUI in Ubuntu app
BEST VALUE:NordVPN’s Ubuntu service provides top-notch online protection and privacy. The provider offers above-average global server coverage, and their pricing makes it a valid option for Ubuntu users who are watching their pennies. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark offers a character-based Ubuntu app that delivers speedy connections and unlimited simultaneous connections.
The provider offers a – say it with me – character-based Ubuntu app. While this type of app might repulse some users, the provider’s informative instructions on their website and the built-in help functionality in the app might help ease the pain.
Surfshark’s download speeds measure up well, delivering plenty of bandwidth for most any popular online activity – even yours.
Online security is well covered here, with military-approved encryption and kill switch protection to keep your online activities from being inadvertently exposed.
This provider also covers privacy well, as they record no server logs of any kind and offer a Bitcoin subscription payment option.
While Surfshark’s server numbers (800+) aren’t particularly impressive, they appear to use them wisely, with locations in over 50 countries around the globe. The servers do an admirable job of unblocking streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and others.
If you have a large business, a small company or even an island kingdom, everyone in your organization can use Surfshark at once thanks to their unlimited concurrent connections policy.
Customer support at Surfshark is always available and includes a searchable support library, a support contact form and a 24/7 live chat option.
- Native Ubuntu-compatible Linux app
- Simultaneous connections to infinity and beyond!
- Top-notch security and privacy protections
- Global server coverage spread a bit thin
- Linux app lacks features of other platforms’ apps
PERFECT FOR LARGE GROUPS OF USERS:Surfshark’s Ubuntu app delivers fast connections with reliable access to blocked services and sites. An unlimited concurrent connections allowance makes it the best choice for large families and small businesses. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
VyprVPN provides an Ubuntu-compatible, non-GUI Linux app that offers online help. The app provides secure access to its comprehensive global network of VPN servers.
The provider’s Ubuntu-compatible Linux app isn’t listed on their “apps” page, but the link to the app can be found here. The character-based app offers help with commands by entering “vyprvpn -h” at the command line.
VyprVPN’s connection speeds can handle all of your favorite online activities, offering smooth video streaming, fast file transfers and lag-free gaming.
The service handles online security well thanks to the app’s kill switch protection for its well-encrypted connections.
No logs are to be found on VyprVPN’s servers. Unfortunately, a cryptocurrency payment option is also a no-show.
With over 700 self-owned and -operated servers in 70 countries, VyprVPN does a good job of covering the globe. By owning and operating their own servers, VyprVPN provides an additional layer of protection between your information and third-party eyes.
Those servers offer reliable access to content around the globe, including Netflix and other streaming services, websites, gaming servers and much more.
VyprVPN customer support is available 24/7, with around-the-clock live support chat, a support request form and a searchable support and troubleshooting library.
- Ubuntu-compatible app offering
- 700+ self-owned and -operated servers around the globe
- Excellent online security
- No-logs servers
- More expensive than many other VPNs
- No extended 2-year or 3-year subscription deals
EXTRA LAYER OF SECURITY:VyprVPN’s Ubuntu-compatible app provides access to a network of VyprVPN-owned and -operated servers that keep third-party contractors away from your data. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of VyprVPN.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a well-known and respected VPN provider. PIA is also the only VPN in this top 5 to offer an app with a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
PIA’s Ubuntu-compatible Linux app boasts a GUI, making it easier to change options, select a server and connect. The app’s GUI makes it a prime choice for users who aren’t comfortable with remembering and manually entering commands.
Private Internet Access delivers impressive connection speeds, with enough horsepower for just about any online activity you might engage in.
Government-level encryption and a handy kill switch keep your online activities out of the sight of snooping third parties. The app also offers the ability to block domains used for ads, trackers and malware.
A strict no-server-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option keeps your online identity incognito.
Private Internet Access has an impressive number of servers (3,300+), but they’ve shoehorned them into a mere 32 countries. So, you might want to check the provider’s server coverage before making a subscription decision.
Private Internet Access lacks live support chat. However, it does offer a searchable knowledge base, a trouble ticket tracking system and a “Guides” section to guide PIA customers through the tasks of installing and using their VPN connection.
- Offers only GUI-based Ubuntu app in this roundup
- Excellent encryption and kill switch protection
- Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Servers packed into a limited number of countries
- Doesn’t unblock many streaming services
BEST VPN FOR BEGINNERS:Private Internet Access is an excellent choice for first-time VPN users thanks to its easy-to-use graphical user interface. The provider offers top-notch protection, but its global server coverage needs improvement. A 7-day money-back guarantee is available.
What Else Can a VPN Do For Me?
While a VPN is an excellent all-around security tool, it can also enhance your online experience in many ways.
A VPN can assign your device a new IP address, making it appear as if you are connecting from another region of the world.
This can open up access to online content from around the world that you might normally be blocked from enjoying. This includes content from streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, gaming servers and numerous other types of online content.
A VPN can also prevent your Internet Service Provider from throttling your connection speeds simply because it doesn’t “approve” of the content you’re accessing or sharing.
Last but certainly not least, a VPN offers excellent protection when you’re using an unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspot. The lack of encryption on most hotspots makes you an attractive target for hackers looking to steal your personal information or to inject malware onto your device.
A VPN protects your connection, putting a wall of encryption between you and the bad guys.
Can I Use a Free VPN With Linux?
First of all, good luck finding a free VPN provider that offers a native app for any flavor of Linux. Only two of the free VPNs I’ve tested actually offer a Linux app option.
Even if you do find a freebie VPN provider that offers an Ubuntu app, I’m willing to bet you’re not going to be satisfied with the service you receive.
First, many gratis VPNs will make their users wait in a holding queue before allowing them to connect to a server.
Once you’re allowed to connect, the server selection is greatly limited when compared with what a pay-for-play service offers. (Many of the providers automatically connect you to a server, allowing no choice on your part.)
Once you’re connected, you may find that your connection speed is slowed greatly. Many no-cost VPNs throttle their users’ connection speeds and also impose daily or monthly data caps on their usage.
While the word “free” is generally thought to mean “no cost,” freebie VPNs approach the proposition in a different way. Many sans-fee VPNs will log their customers’ online activities, selling that information to the highest bidder.
Plus, other free VPNs have been known to inject unwanted ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browsing sessions. The hidden cost here is that of your privacy.
Quality VPN service can cost as little a month as a combo meal at your favorite fast food restaurant, and it’s much healthier, at least for your online life.
How Else Can I Secure My Ubuntu PC?
Like any operating system, Ubuntu isn’t absolutely secure.
While most Linux installations do provide an admirable level of security, and a VPN certainly adds to that protection, there are other tools you should keep in your Ubuntu security kit.
Other security tools include:
- Antivirus software
- A firewall
- Anti-rootkit software
- Security-oriented browser extensions
- A secure browser, like Tor
- A password manager
By protecting your Ubuntu computing session with a VPN, you’ll be able to relax a bit while online, instead of worrying about outsiders monitoring your online activities and getting their hands on your precious personal information.
An Ubuntu-compatible VPN service – like my choice, ExpressVPN – offers comprehensive online security and privacy, opens up access to content that may normally be unavailable, and allows your online activities to go unnoticed.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.