Last Update: August 26th, 2016
Linux is the most popular Open-Sourced alternative to Windows. It has passed the test of time, originating from programmer Linus Torvalds back in 1991. A cult following of users and developers alike have helped shape Linux into the complete OS it is today. Linux has been and still is the standard OS for Servers and is known to be used by many Government and financial institutions. This shows how well this platform has developed. The performance and quality can surpass the cons of picking Linux over Windows, all depending what the user needs are. Nowadays, we see original applications such as Windows users opting to run a Virtual Machine instance of Linux dedicated for P2P file sharing and downloading files. Linux is here to stay and VPN service providers have made it readily available.
Beyond its’ server capabilities, Linux is unarguably the most secure OS consumers can use. Privacy buffs will tell you that commercial options such as Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX do not provide a secure or private environment for most applications. Even Android which is loosely based on the Linux kernel failed to retain the rudimentary principles that make Linux such a coveted gem of a platform. As of 2016, we are starting to see complete Linux kernel based mobile OS options start to surface, and we can expect the trend to continue.
Many distros are specifically designed for optimal security and/or privacy, but even popular mainstream options such as Ubuntu already provide better privacy comparably to commercial operating systems. Unfortunately, it should be known that Ubuntu does have functions that collect and share data with third-parties such as Amazon when searching on Dash. It is a well known fact, and is clearly stated in their user-agreement.
Being that Ubuntu is a very popular free version of Linux, most VPN providers concentrate their setup tutorials and support around that build. However, if you use a different version of Linux, it remains easy to quickly setup a secure VPN connection. Manual configuration is required for most providers and can prove difficult for many users. Although all of our reviews included setup for PPTP and OpenVPN, we highly suggest you always and only use OpenVPN.
VPN for Linux: Top Picks:
- Automatic setup configure files for Ubuntu
- Graphic tutorial setup guide
- Linux based router firmware
ExpressVPN is our close second pick for Linux users. Their setup guide include automatic configuration files and graphics to help out even the newest of beginners quickly secure their Ubuntu machines. Full support and development for the platform gives ExpressVPN an edge for Linux users.
Although they do have a higher rate cost, the service is impeccable. They keep a good track record of log free anonymity and provide a large network ensuring fast speed coverage to many. The speed and stability make it a good choice for all applications including streaming video. Linux users often setup servers and having this additional layer of security without sacrificing speed is a must.
For multi-platform users, ExpressVPN has an app for all with a clean interface rich in features. I recently tested their Android App and loved it! they have great 24/7 support. All-round great pick for all users included. Each account can now be used on 3 devices simultaneously, and they even provide their own custom network router firmware for easy VPN configuration for the whole network. If privacy is your priority, you can also pay by bitcoin.
- Graphical GUI client for Linux
*Important Update: The app has been reported not to work on encrypted Linux drives, opting for OpenVPN works as the best alternative.*
- Low cost, good value
An alternate, budget friendly option is PIA. Although Private Internet Access does not have as big of a global coverage as the previously suggested providers, the cost is hard to beat, while still having access to plenty of locations, more than most need. As for Linux users, an Ubuntu compatible client (works on multiple distros) available. The interface is the same as other platforms, easy to use and navigate, making them one of my favorite services to quickly setup and use on Linux computers.
Support is great, and speed performance remains respectable. Although not the best in the industry, PIA adds plenty of servers to keep up with bandwidth demands. The service provides coverage across 35 cities in 24 countries, with more than 3000 gigabit speed servers. P2P friendly, and good enough for streaming HD content, but more importantly, it is a secure and private service. Private Internet Access has a solid no log policy, and includes a VPN killswitch on their native apps to ensure no leaks occur.
Each account can be used on 5 devices simultaneously, and they also offer the most varied anonymous payment forms from Bitcoin to pre-paid gift cards. Although I consider Express or IPVanish more of a premium service, I can still rely on PIA for good speeds at a much lower cost point for yearly plans. Finally, you can test them risk free thanks to a solid 7-day money back guarantee.
- Best Graphical Setup Tutorial
- Great Ubuntu Support
IPVanish quickly caught our eye when it came to their extensive setup support for Linux Ubuntu build. As we mentioned, due to the popularity of the build, all providers have concentrated on this build. However, IPVanish will do everything to please their clients and help users having difficulties with other builds. Their amazingly friendly and quick customer service is notable. Multi-platform users can embrace the fast that IPVanish supports all platforms and even includes the best DD-WRT and Tomato setup guides including a full graphic step-by-step visual guide even a monkey can follow.
The cost of the service is amongst the lowest in the industry without sacrificing very much at all. Back in 2014, the company expanded and doubled the IP count to a total of 14, 000 across 47 countries with 110 VPN servers. As of 2016, they now cover more than 60 countries, with more than 500 servers and 40,000+ IPs. Performance has also seen improvements on their own tier-1 network for secure, anonymous, fast and reliable service.
The service now allows up to 5 simultaneous devices to be using a single account. Anonymous payment forms such as Bitcoin are available, and a 7-day money back guarantee allows you to test the service risk free for a whole week. IPVanish holds true to the promise of having very good speed performance and short routes, making the service ideal for streaming, gaming, or all high bandwidth uses.
- Easy automatic configuration files for setup
- Superior DNS servers capable of bypassing ICANN censorship
If you planned on using OpenVPN to encrypt your Linux computer, AirVPN might be to your liking. They provide a customized OpenVPN client that is compatible on all platforms with an automatic configuration generator available on the client portal. At first glance, AirVPN seems reserved to the techies, which certainly appeals to Linux users, but even beginners can quickly get the VPN setup done in no time with the automatic scripts available.
There are no compromises made on security and privacy, which is why AirVPN only operates through OpenVPN for the best possible encryption. VPN over Tor and more advanced features are available, such as DDNS port forwarding, advanced DNS routing, and even Perfect Forward Secrecy renewal timing.
Although AirVPN only covers 16 countries with multiple servers in a handful of cities, they do so in order to remain in full control of the network infrastructure. The no log policy is one of the best in the industry, and truly attests to keeping users private and secure. Private bitcoin payment is accepted and each account can be used on 3 devices simultaneously. However, be aware that they have a strict 3-day refund policy with a 5 Gig usage cap. You must inform them of why you are not satisfied as well. Instead, you can opt for testing out their free VPN service instead, albeit having bandwidth caps.
- Easy Certificate Configuration File Download
- Simple Ubuntu Setup Tutorial – Text Mode Only But Quick To Complete
VyprVPN does not have any bells and whistles for Linux users. They kept their guide simple, clear and effective. Easy to follow, even a newbie can quickly follow their 12 step guide and get quickly connected with the help of the automatic download certificate file. Goldenfrog and VyprVPN are known for their stellar customer service and an agent is available on chat instantaneously every time.
There are more reasons to be excited about their service. Although some price plans are costly, a yearly plan provides a very good value. Having one of the largest and we mean a massive tier-1 network operated to provide the highest level of security, speed and reliability, VyprVPN made the list for all the hardcore Linux and multi-platform users.
VyprVPN has great network speeds, multi-platform apps for mobile Android, iOS, PC windows and Mac OSX, but maybe not the ultimate privacy tool for some. Their 30-day logging and strict P2P policy means that you can be traced if doing anything illegal, otherwise it is a great tool for all law abiding users.
In conclusion, we found other providers to be very much Linux friendly as well and we invite you to check out our top VPN reviews. We ended up having to base our top 3 on overall security, speed, server availability and multi-platform support and features. As mentioned, PPTP is not secure and all Linux users should opt for OpenVPN at all times for the best encryption and speeds. Safe browsing to all.