Best VPN for Linux

Best VPN for Linux
Linux users aren’t like your typical Windows or MacOS users; they tend to be more tech-savvy and computer literate. As an operating system, Linux doesn’t use pretty GUIs such as start buttons and menus, instead focusing on functionality and control. This means it’s primarily used through command lines.

In general, Linux is a brilliant option for privacy. It is an open-source operating system that is wholly transparent and there are even specific Linux distributions for people who are particularly privacy-conscious.

Still, even the most secure operating system will benefit from having a VPN installed. Using the best VPN for Linux adds an extra layer of security to help keep you secure and private. Not to mention the additional benefits such as unblocking video content on streaming services and getting around government-backed censorship.

Choosing the Best VPN for Linux

Choosing a VPN for Linux isn’t the same as choosing one for Windows or MacOS.

This is primarily because of the way Linux works—remember, it sacrifices GUIs and other “intuitive” niceties in exchange for performance and control—installing a VPN is a case of choosing download installers from VPN sites or using the apt-get command.

Not all VPN providers offer this. Unfortunately, you can’t just go ahead and install a Windows VPN on a Linux operating system—it won’t work. Despite this, there is still plenty of choice for Linux users who want a robust VPN service.

Because Linux users tend to be quite tech-savvy and choose control, usability, and functionality over form and aesthetics, many don’t bother using a proper VPN service and will instead opt to use tools like OpenVPN, AnyConnect, and NetworkManager to protect themselves.

That being said, an even better option is to find a provider that makes a native plug-and-play VPN client especially for Linux. Why? Because there’s less need for configuration and they come packed with a lot more features such as several locations, server hopping, and torrenting support.

What Makes a VPN One of the Best?

No one VPN is the same; each one has its own merits and demerits. However, the best VPNs tend to share some of the same traits. What makes a VPN ‘good’ or ‘the best’ is open for debate, but it’s widely accepted that the best VPNs…

  • Allow torrenting and P2P activities and have servers fast enough to facilitate it;
  • Enable the bypassing of Netflix geo-blocking for cross-country streaming;
  • Provide high levels of privacy by hiding IPs and online activities (and not logging); and
  • Escape government restrictions and censorship.

These are the features that most people look for in a VPN. If a service can do all of this and more – and do it well – they will rank highly as one of the best in the market.

Our Picks: The 5 Best VPNs for Linux

As we write this, these are the very best VPNs currently available for the Linux operating system.

1. ExpressVPN: The best VPN all-around (yes, even on Linux!)

Yes, we know. ExpressVPN wins again. We love their service here at GoBestVPN, even when using Linux. It’s not just about the extremely fast 24/7 live chat support or the guaranteed Netflix…

ExpressVPN doesn’t have a desktop GUI,  but you’re probably used to it as a power user. A lack of a GUI doesn’t mean it’s bad. Setting up ExpressVPN on Linux is easy, and it’s managed through a command line.

Of course, this option doesn’t suit the two Linux users in the world who don’t want to mess around with command lines.

Users of Linux shouldn’t have any trouble with this since this kind of action is almost native them. If you need a helping hand, there are plenty of resources available online.

ExpressVPN supports Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. For users of other Linux distributions, you can manually configure OpenVPN using their setup tutorials that can be found on the ExpressVPN website.

Want to use a router? ExpressVPN supports routers via DD-WRT support.

This means that you can protect your Linux device as well as every other device that uses your network without having to install ExpressVPN on every device.

As for the quality of the service, ExpressVPN offers well over 2,000 servers that are located in almost 150 places around the world. When we tested out ExpressVPN, we found that their servers were consistently fast and worked with streaming services such as Netflix.

P2P support is available and ExpressVPN fully supports your privacy; it uses strong encryption, OpenVPN, and don’t log anything. Best of all, they’re located in the British Virgin Islands, which falls outside the 5, 7, and 14-Eyes agreements.

Pricing starts at $12.95 for a monthly subscription. You can sign up for 12 months for $99.95 and save 35%.

That’s not even the best price, though…

We’ve found an even better deal – you get 15 months for the price of 12 along with a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you try out ExpressVPN risk-free.

Try ExpressVPN

2. Mullvad: Protect yourself with uncompromising privacy

If privacy is your major concern, then you should check out Mullvad. The service is unlike most other VPNs in that it doesn’t operate on a typical accounts-based system.

When you sign up on Mullvad, you’re given an account number. It’s not tied to your email address or other personal information.

(*It’s important to keep this account number safe as it cannot be recovered.)

When you sign up for a subscription, you can use cash, check, and of course, cryptocurrency for further protection of your identity. Regular payment methods are also available.

Mullvad states they don’t keep logs. If you trust their word, it means you can remain anonymous.

Mullvad offers an open-source client for Debian and Ubuntu. These clients come with an intuitive and comprehensive GUI. For other distributions, however, you will have to install Mullvad and use it through the command line.

Again, their website has plenty of resources that can help you out with Linux installation.

As far as performance is concerned, our comprehensive testing of the Mullvad service impressed us—we didn’t experience a significant drop in speeds and some of their servers worked with Netflix. But not all of them. This makes Mullvad a decent choice for streaming and torrenting, but it’s not perfect.

Mullvad’s pricing is straightforward enough—the service costs 5 euros per month (around $6). They don’t offer any bulk discounts. However, there is a free trial that lasts for a few hours, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee. No refunds for cash payments, though.

But some things to note: their customer support is severely lacking and they’re based in Sweden (part of Nine Eyes Alliance).

3. NordVPN: A newcomer to Linux that doesn’t disappoint

NordVPN finally launched native support for Linux in August 2018 in the form of a dedicated app.

It’s quite simple to set up NordVPN on Linux through the command line. The Linux app comes with all the same features you get with other operating systems such as a kill switch and an optional advertisement blocker (which none of Linux users will use).

But if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, NordVPN can still be set up through manual configuration for OpenVPN, PPTP, and IKEv2 protocols. NordVPN’s website contains detailed guides on how to do this.

NordVPN is based in Panama, which means it falls outside the 5, 7, and 14-Eyes agreements. Its anti-logging policy will satisfy you if you’re concerned about your privacy and security.

It offers lots of specialized servers designed for specific activities such as P2P, streaming, and additional security. NordVPN protects every connection with 256-bit AES encryption alongside OpenVPN or IKEv2.

With thousands of servers in over 60 different countries, every major place in the world is covered by NordVPN. This makes the service suitable for a whole range of users around the world. Netflix works, torrenting and P2P is allowed, and the servers are consistently fast and perform well.

Pricing for NordVPN starts at $11.95 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Subscribe for 3 years and the service only costs you $2.99 per month, billed once at $107.55.

Try NordVPN

4. HideMyAss: A Great VPN for Linux?

If you just started using Linux and want a Linux-friendly VPN that’s easy to get to grips with, HideMyAss may be right for you.

Although there are far fewer servers available, the number of locations outstrips both ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Their client is straightforward and doesn’t over-complicate things, which is perfect for beginners too.

There are several ways you can connect to the HideMyAss’ network on Linux. This includes their OpenVPN client. While the client itself is a simple and stripped-down version of their native Windows app, it still gets the job done and keeps things simple.

Need more help? The HideMyAss website has a dedicated section for Linux-related queries.

In our testing of HideMyAss, we found that our speeds were not throttled or limited, which makes it a great service for activities that are heavy on download speeds such as torrenting or streaming video.

We also found that HideMyAss doesn’t operate an anti-logging policy; they take session logs which are kept for several months. This is disappointing given that HideMyAss is owned by the security company Avast. That being said, they don’t keep personally-identifiable information.

In terms of cost, HideMyAss is a little bit more expensive than most other VPNs. Their monthly subscription costs $11.99 but if you subscribe for two years, you can reduce that to $4.99.

You can try out HideMyAss free for 7 days, after which point you’ll be charged for a 12-month subscription unless you cancel. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee as long as you haven’t gone over 10 GB of data or connected to the service over 100 times (this is an example of their session logging in action).

Try HideMyAss

5. Private Internet Access (PIA): Possibly the Most Anonymous

PIA is another VPN service you’re likely to see close to the top of any VPN review site or listicle. While it doesn’t do everything ExpressVPN can, e.g. guaranteeing to unblock Netflix, it is a fantastic VPN if you’re conscious about your privacy.

Here’s why.

If you want proof that this VPN service won’t disclose your personal information even when challenged by the authorities, PIA has it. They’ve won not one but two court cases where the authorities were unable to get their hands on user information.

In fact, PIA is one of the most popular VPN services among Linux users due to the privacy guarantees. In addition to their proven anti-logging policy, PIA operates over OpenVPN alongside 256-bit AES encryption.

Add this on top of remarkable speeds, the ability to connect to five different devices, and lots of scope for customization, and you see why PIA has earned its spot on our list.

Month-to-month, the PIA service costs $6.95 (much cheaper than the other services featured here!). They have a 7-day money-back guarantee. This gives you full and unrestricted access to over 3,100 servers in 33 different countries.

Or sign up for two years and get a huge discount – you end up paying only $2.91 per month.

Try Private Internet Access

What VPN Do We Recommend for Linux?

It depends on what you want.

If you don’t mind playing around with command lines and want “the best,” then we recommend using ExpressVPN.

It’s the highest rated VPN across the industry and will suit just about any user. It’s fast, secure, has thousands of different servers to choose from, and has competitive pricing for longer subscriptions.

On the other hand, if you’d prefer to stay anonymous and safe, go for Private Internet Access.

This is by far the best VPN for privacy when you use it with an anonymous payment method.

Mullvad VPN Review

Mullvad has been in the privacy game for a while, even back when VPN wasn’t so “mainstream.”

When putting together this review we have been very cautious and have taken everything with a pinch of the salt due to the hype which exists around Mullvad as a product.

When we began reading some of the information online, we didn’t believe all of it.

However, after carrying out the research we can certainly see why it is such a talked-about VPN service.

Mullvad offers an anonymous and private service which will fully secure your internet connection and provide completely anonymous browsing.

Mullvad provides a comprehensive VPN service without compromising on features, using OpenVPN and WireGuard VPN protocols which are the industry standard.

Does Mullvad really deliver a VPN service to rival the bigger players on the market? Does it deliver complete anonymity? Does it reduce your downloading speeds?

We answer all these and more in our thorough review of this unique VPN service.

Mullvad VPN Specs & Offers

VPN Name Mullvad
Leak Test No Leaks
Logging Policy No Logs
Speed Average
Torrenting Torrenting & P2P Allowed
Netflix Unblocks Netflix
Jurisdiction Inside Fourteen Eyes
Servers / Countries 400 / 31
Max Connections 5
Kill Switch Has Kill Switch
Anonymous Payment Methods Crypto, Cash
Free Trial Available
Refunds 30 Days
Customer Support Email (Slow Response)
Price Starting From $5.50

Mullvad VPN Pros

VPN Speed & Performance: Superfast

Mullvad also provides live server updates

Common sense dictates that if you are using a VPN which routes your traffic through multiple servers then it is going to take longer to get results.

With Mullvad, there are absolutely no negative impacts on download and upload speeds…

No noticeable ones, anyway!

No VPN can deliver the same speeds you would get when you’re not connected to one. However, some do perform better than others, and Mullvad is one service which does just that. Whenever you use a VPN you are taking the long way round to your destination. While this is unavoidable, one thing you can avoid is using a VPN which has a serious negative impact on your speeds.

Connecting to a Mullvad server in Europe and a Mullvad server in the U.S., we tested my 300Mbps download speeds (which usually average out at around 280Mbps when not connected to a VPN) against Mullvad.

US Server (New York)

  • Ping: 102ms
  • Download: 213Mbps (29% slower)
  • Upload: 213Mbps (29% slower)

UK Server (London)

  • Ping: 70ms
  • Download: 210Mbps (30% slower)
  • Upload: 204Mbps (32% slower)

EU Server (Amsterdam)

  • Ping: 25ms
  • Download: 219Mbps (27% slower)
  • Upload: 225Mbps (25% slower)

Asia Server (Hong Kong)

  • Ping: 302ms
  • Download: 120Mbps (60% slower)
  • Upload: 114Mbps (62% slower)

These are very impressive results and we are still able to access the same high speeds we are accustomed to while being connected to their VPN service.

Torrenting Policy: You’re in good hands

Mullvad does not have a “torrenting policy” per se, however, they allow the use of their VPN service for torrenting and P2P-related purposes.

They even offer a handy guide about how to use BitTorrent securely on their network.

This is one of the main reasons for using a VPN, so it is hardly surprising that a service as liberal as Mullvad allows it.

We’re glad to say Mullvad made our list of top VPN recommendations for torrenting!

Pricing & Plans: simple, affordable, and anonymous

You can even buy a subscription at retail stores!

Mullvad offers only one plan and pricing level.

It is 5 EUR (around $5.80 US) per month for full access to their services.

This is a very budget-friendly price, even when you don’t factor in the fact that Mullvad is a VPN that offers the highest level of safety, security, and speed.

Usually, VPN providers, even the best ones like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, tend to charge over $10 per month if you want to subscribe to a monthly plan. It’s good to see there are still affordable options for those looking for monthly plans.

Payment Methods: Crypto and cash payments available

Mullvad offer ones of the widest range of payment methods we have ever encountered.

You can pay using any of these methods:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Credit Card and Debit Card
  • Wire Transfer
  • PayPal
  • Swish
  • Bankgiro
  • Cash

Yes, even cash – Mullvad takes postal orders for its service.

All you have to do is send your account number and cash to cover the amount of time you want access to the service in an envelope to their address. For example, sending over 17 EUR would buy you 100 days. But remember, there are no refunds on cash orders due to AML laws.

With Bitcoin, you may even receive a secret 10% discount which isn’t even stated on their website.

They generate how much you should be sending in like so:

And in reality, the exchange rates are quite favorable to you:

Sign-Up Process: Best in the industry?

No personal information is required.

Simply visit the Mullvad website and download their VPN to use it.

You will be assigned a randomly generated, unique account number.

You will need to write this down and keep safe as this is used for all correspondence with customer service and to sign up for their premium subscription.

No one can connect your username to you, there is no password to link to you, and you don’t have to provide any personal details.

For anonymity, this kind of sign-up process is the best.

Product Interface: Clean and modern

Their sleek yet simple-to-use website is a great preview of the product.

Mullvad is very simple to use on desktop and features a friendly click-and-go interface like other modern VPN services.

For use on mobile, again, you need to go through an OpenVPN setup process which is not user-friendly and is quite complex.

Product Documentation: Solid information

Mullvad’s website has a comprehensive knowledge base which, while helpful, does not go too in-depth about the product.

While the VPN is documented a little bit throughout their knowledge base, there are areas where it could be improved.

With more data breaches occurring now than ever before, it is super important to use a VPN where there is zero possibility of IP leakage, and by following standard VPN industry practices by utilizing AES-256 Encryption they can ensure this doesn’t happen.

No Logging Policy: Hooray!

Mullvad’s logging policy is helpfully summed up on their website.

In other words, absolutely no logging whatsoever.

They even went as far as to share their OpenVPN server log configuration!

IP and DNS Leak Test: Passed!

Mullvad’s DNS leak testing tool said we were all good, but what does a third-party tool show?

In addition to this, Mullvad offer all their users protection against DNS leaks as standard.

This is important because DNS leaks can create a map of your browsing history, defeating the point of using a VPN.

Attacking DNS servers is a major goal of cyber attackers and it’s good to see that Mullvad protects against it.

When we tested Mullvad against our third-party DNS leak checker, the results were good!

This demonstrates that you are fully protected against DNS leakage with Mullvad.

So far as DNS leakage is concerned, Mullvad gets full points all round!

Encryption and Protocols: Industry-level security

Mullvad uses three things:

  1. WireGuard VPN
  2. OpenVPN
  3. AES-256 Encryption

WireGuard is an open-source VPN tunnel protocol which creates secure point-to-point connections. It is extremely simple, fast and modern, using state-of-the-art cryptography to protect you while you are using the Mullvad VPN service.

OpenVPN is very similar to WireGuard and is used to create secure point-to-point connections.

When used in conjunction with WireGuard, OpenVPN provides a super-secure connection which cannot be interfered with by third parties.

AES-256 Encryption is one of the world’s most secure encryption methods after 128 and 192-bit, and is used in modern encryption protocols to encrypt and decrypt data packages and files.

Kill Switch: Check!

Mullvad does feature a kill switch in its advanced settings with options you can manually set to control how the VPN client operates.

A kill switch is a critical piece of VPN security and it is a feature which any VPN should have.

A kill switch prevents your IP address from ever being shown online if your VPN connection should drop and you lose connection to the VPN network.

Mullvad VPN Neutral

Servers & Locations: A fair count

At the time of writing this review, Mullvad servers are available in 31 different countries with close to 400 active servers (up from 265 since we last checked). The servers are neatly organized by the type of servers like OpenVPN, WireGuard, etc.

It is also a service which can be used in China (it’s not blocked by the authorities).

Mullvad lists all its live servers on their website.

This amount of countries covered means that Mullvad offers its users an unbeatable experience, and they are always updating their servers to counteract blocking and provide more options for its users.

Netflix Test: Check…?

Now, this is where things get a bit tricky.

Mullvad can be used to access Netflix on some of its servers, but not all.

This is inevitable as Netflix is always working to block servers they associate with being part of a VPN.

At the time of testing, I was able to access Netflix on its New York server, its San Jose server, and its Texas server.

However, on most of the other U.S. ones, it wouldn’t work.

With accessing Netflix, it’s going to be potluck whether you can access U.S. Netflix – and indeed Netflix in other countries – when connected to the Mullvad VPN service.

For a more reliable experience, we recommend these VPNs that can unblock Netflix.

Device Compatibility: It’s okay, but there’s no dedicated app

Mullvad supports Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.

This range of devices covers most users around the world.

While Mullvad VPN can be installed on smartphones, you need to go through a lengthy and complicated OpenVPN setup if you want to use it outside of a personal computer.

They have not developed a standalone app as of yet…

Which, when compared to other providers, means they’re trailing behind.

But in some cases, this may be beneficial since most apps ask for intrusive permissions.

There is also no word about whether Mullvad can be used on devices such as TVs and consoles.

And no official word on either their website or support channels in regards to this topic.

Mullvad VPN Cons

Customer Support: Erm…it’s not great

There is no live chat support service, and its email-based support service can also be a bit lackluster.

By emailing you are able to receive basic-level support, however, their responses, while quick, can be a bit vague.

Given that Mullvad is not the most user-friendly VPN out there then this lack of support could be a major problem for potential users.

If you think you may need to rely on their support service heavily then Mullvad may not be for you.

It has been commented that Mullvad also only reply during Swedish working hours and does not have a dedicated team of support staff. Whether this is something which will come in the future remains to be seen.

Mullvad as a Business

Amagicom AB CEO, Jan Jonsson

Mullvad operates under Amagicom AB, a Swedish company founded in 2007. The company’s newest CEO, Jan Axel Jonsson, joined in 2016. Being in Sweden they are under the Fourteen Eyes alliance, but let’s not forget they have a zero-log policy.

The Swedish authorities report that Amagicom AB had an annual turnover of just over 8 million Swedish Krona in 2017, which equates to just under $900,000 US.

What’s more interesting is, the company reported having only 9 employees in 2017.

It’s no wonder their customer support may seem lacking. But let’s remember, businesses often outsource, meaning they probably have more human resources than the reported 9 in 2017.

Born as a Scandinavian company, we can see they also operate with the utmost highest standards. After all, the Scandinavians like to do everything properly.

Mullvad VPN Conclusion: Fast & secure, but lacking support

Our final verdict: we would recommend some other VPN like NordVPN. The product is slightly lacking and customer support is non-existent.

If you are an individual looking for comprehensive, no-strings privacy provided by a VPN service which does not require any personal details or commitment, then Mullvad may be right for you.

That is, if you are quite computer savvy and are willing to work with a slightly unfriendly mobile app environment.

After all, it’s more about what’s under the hood, and Mullvad certainly delivers a quality product.

With over 400 servers across 31 countries, absolutely zero logging, no DNS leakage, compatible with Netflix and torrenting, all for the budget-friendly price of $5.80 per month, Mullvad VPN could be worth it.

But if something about this review has left you looking for other options, we recommend you start with our top 10 list.

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