Linux is a highly customizable and completely open-source operating system that gives you full control over your computer. The Ubuntu distribution takes that customizability and adds a layer of user-friendliness on top. You get all the security benefits of Linux, only you don’t have to be a command line expert to get things done.
Even though Ubuntu is more secure than other operating systems, out of the box it doesn’t do much to protect data leaving your device. VPNs bridge that crucial gap by providing encryption for every packet that exits your home network. You’ll get non-local privacy along with a high level of anonymity, all from the comfort of your own Ubuntu system.
What are the Best VPNs for Ubuntu?
- Subscribe to one of the VPNs in this guide.
- Download and install the VPN’s client software.
- Connect to the VPN no matter where you’re located.
- Now you can enjoy unrestricted access to any websites.
- 1 Selecting the Best Ubuntu VPN
- 2 VPNs on Linux and Ubuntu
- 3 Perks of Using a VPN on Ubuntu
- 4 Conclusion
Selecting the Best Ubuntu VPN
Choosing the best VPN for Ubuntu doesn’t have to be a months-long chore of researching and features comparisons. We’ve narrowed the criteria down to a handful of important features, things you absolutely can’t live without when getting a VPN for Ubuntu. Check out the list below, then read on for some of our recommendations to help keep you safe and secure.
- Compatible software – The VPN isn’t doing you any good if you can’t launch the software on your device. Some VPNs release custom apps for Ubuntu and Linux, while others rely on the OpenVPN software. Either way, make sure your chosen VPN supports Ubuntu before taking the plunge.
- Fast download speeds – Speed is everything when it comes to using the internet. VPNs have a reputation for being slower than unsecured networks due to encryption overhead. If you want high quality video streams or fast downloads, go with a VPN that puts a priority on speed.
- Zero-logging policy – VPNs can log your activity just like any ISP. To keep your data safe, go with a VPN that has a strict zero-logging policy on traffic, access logs, DNS requests, and as many other areas as possible.
- Unlimited bandwidth – Low quality VPNs restrict how much bandwidth you can consume during the day, week, or month. That’s no way to use the internet, so make sure your VPN offers unlimited downloads without any type of throttling.
- Unrestricted web access – P2P network traffic and torrent downloads are often blocked by VPNs, even high quality paid services.
ExpressVPN is fast, friendly, and easy to use. The service offers a wide range of privacy features to keep you safe and anonymous online, including 256-bit AES encryption on all data, a zero-logging policy to keep information secure, and both kill switch and DNS leak protection on most platforms. ExpressVPN’s server network also covers over 140 locations in 94 different countries, giving you plenty of options for a fast connection no matter where you live.
ExpressVPN delivers some of the best Ubuntu options around. Once you sign up, simply install the ExpressVPN app for Linux, then connect through the terminal window. You can call up the full server list by typing a single command, then connect with a second line of text. It’s perfectly integrated into Ubuntu’s native environment and sticks with the company’s philosophy of being extremely easy to use, no matter which platform you deploy it on.
IPVanish strikes a phenomenal balance between speed and security, two features that are usually at odds with each other. Increase the encryption, for example, and you get a slower connection. Speed up the servers and you often have to sacrifice data security. IPVanish manages to deliver fast downloads without hurting your online privacy, so you don’t have to choose one or the other. The service comes with 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch on all devices as a standard. A network of 950 servers in 60 different countries gives you plenty of connection options, too, and data is secured with a zero-logging policy on all traffic, just to make sure your activity remains untraceable.
IPVanish has a pretty easy installation process for Ubuntu and Linux systems. It’s a manual setup that includes both PPTP and OpenVPN protocols and requires creating and downloading a configuration file from the IPVanish website. It can look foreboding at first glance, but it really only takes a few moments to get started.
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NordVPN is best known for its massive server network. The list is growing on an almost daily basis, but at the time of writing it sits at over 2,400 servers in 56 countries, occupying every continent except Antarctica. This incredible variety lets NordVPN offer some unique services to users, as well. Want protection against DDoS attacks? Double encryption? Onion over VPN? Connect to the right specialized server and you’re set. All of this comes with 256-bit AES encryption for all connections, kill switch and DNS leak protection, and a thorough zero-logging policy that covers traffic, DNS requests, IP addresses, and even time stamps.
Like most VPN services, NordVPN doesn’t offer a dedicated app for Linux or Ubuntu users to download and install. Instead, you can connect to the service using OpenVPN and a handful of terminal commands. Once you get everything set up you can log in through Ubuntu’s connection manager for instant VPN protection.
VyprVPN has some of the best online privacy features of any mainstream VPN. The company offers over 700 servers in 70 different countries, a good distribution that covers most of the main areas of the world. VyprVPN owns and operates this entire network, as well, which keeps third parties out of the picture entirely. All data passing through these servers is secured with 256-bit AES encryption, while DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a zero-logging policy on traffic and DNS requests ensures your identity stays safe no matter what. Topping it all off is the incredible Chameleon protocol, an exclusive feature that wraps packet metadata in an extra layer of encryption to defeat deep packet inspection and strict censorship blocks.
VyprVPN supports Ubuntu in the same way most mainstream VPNs do: OpenVPN. You won’t find a dedicated custom app to download, but setup is still pretty straightforward with quick terminal installation instructions and a network manager script for fast connecting and disconnecting. Note that the VyprVPN free trial doesn’t apply to Ubuntu or Linux users since it’s tied to the custom software available for other platforms.
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PureVPN‘s main selling point is the array of non-standard features it offers. Want anti-virus protection, malware shields, app blocking, and DNS level website filtering in addition to your VPN service? PureVPN provides them all in a single convenient package. The downside is these extras are mostly confined to the custom software on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices. Linux and Ubuntu users can’t take advantage of them, as connections are handled through built-in terminal software and OpenVPN dependencies, not PureVPN’s program.
Even with these Linux limitations, PureVPN is still a solid choice for a VPN. The network is over 750 nodes strong, covering 140 countries and 180 unique worldwide locations. Data is secured by 256 bit AES encryption and backed by a zero logging policy on all traffic. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch hide your identity even in case of an accidental disconnect, as well.
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StrongVPN‘s main features are all centered around tough encryption and excellent privacy practices, enough to keep you safe in the most hostile of online environments. The service’s network includes a few hundred nodes in 45 different cities, enough to provide location variety while ensuring quality connections and reliable uptimes. These pair well with StrongVPN’s zero traffic logging policy, 24/7 technical support, and 2048-bit encryption on all connections.
StrongVPN leverages the OpenVPN software to provide service for Linux and Ubuntu users. Setup is a quick guided process that involves downloading a few configuration files and associating them with your OpenVPN installation via terminal. You’ll need to make sure you’re on Ubuntu 16.10 or above to use the preferred method, however.
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VPNs on Linux and Ubuntu
Linux users love the command line, and for good reason, too. It’s usually faster than a GUI, offers easier access to more options, and doesn’t require any weird installation procedures. Just fire it up and type in what you want, Linux takes care of the rest. VPN companies are well-aware of this preference and make it a point cater to the unique tastes of Ubuntu and Linux users.
Command Line VPNs
Why launch some bulky third party app when you can fire up your VPN from a terminal window? Several of the major VPN providers offer the option of using their service straight from the command line. To connect, all you have to do is type in the VPN’s name followed by a server location. No pointing and clicking or server sorting, just lightning fast connections every time.
Ubuntu and OpenVPN
The OpenVPN software practically runs the world’s VPNs, both directly and indirectly. Most custom apps are based on the OpenVPN architecture and use its protocol to transfer encrypted data. Others don’t bother with custom apps and let you configure things directly from the OpenVPN interface. Linux-based VPNs usually stick to the latter, as the platform’s audience is more comfortable getting their hands dirty with a few configuration files.
Alternative VPN Encryption
The OpenVPN protocol is always recommended for the right balance of speed and security. Some VPNs offer options to use different encryption methods, however, and most of them are pretty easy to use in Ubuntu. PPTP and IKEv2/IPSec are two of the most common alternatives to OpenVPN. Depending on your VPN service, you can use them by installing the right third party dependencies, no custom VPN software required. Unless you have a specific reason for avoiding OpenVPN, however, it’s best to stick with the basics.
Perks of Using a VPN on Ubuntu
Ubuntu is definitely a more private and secure platform than proprietary operating systems like Windows and MacOS. That doesn’t mean installing it makes you bulletproof, however. VPNs add an entirely new layer of privacy on top of Ubuntu’s built-in features, keeping your data safe outside of your desktop environment while providing some nice bonuses, as well.
Prevent Government Surveillance
Even the toughest Ubuntu installation can’t protect you from government-level mass surveillance programs. If you travel or engage in sensitive online activities, you’ll want to take basic precautions to keep your data safe. Running a VPN encrypts all traffic so no one can track your activity or discover your identity.
Defeat Region Locks
Ever tried to watch a movie on YouTube or Netflix only to see the message “This video is not available in your country”? That’s region locks in practice, and they can be especially frustrating if you’re traveling and want to access content from home. In most cases, a good VPN can help you bypass these geo-restrictions by assigning you a new IP address in any country you want. Can’t check out the latest Hollywood releases because you don’t live in the U.S.? Grab your VPN, pick a server in the country, and you’re set!
Similar to the region lock issue above, some websites serve up different content or prevent visitors from certain areas from accessing their pages, all based on IP addresses. Governments throughout the world also block URLs at a nationwide level. If you can’t visit a site because of these restrictions, all you have to do is connect to your VPN, pick a non-local server, then reload the site and browse happy.
Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi
Public hotspots seem like convenient resources, but they can harbor all sorts of online dangers, from malicious ISP logging efforts to hackers deploying man in the middle attacks. Logging into open Wi-Fi puts your data at risk no matter which operating system you run. With a VPN on your laptop, though, all data gets encrypted before it touches the network, locking out prying eyes and keeping your activity safe and sound.
Ubuntu made a name for itself by being one of the friendliest and easiest to use Linux distros. It brings all of the benefits of the Linux environment along with a fast, customizable GUI layered on top. You get the power and control over your device that you want, and you don’t have to use proprietary software to do it. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s even better with the right VPN installed! Got any VPN tips for your fellow Ubuntu fans? Let us know in the comments below!