There are a number of bespoke criteria we consider when ranking the best VPNs for Linux.
For Linux specifically, we test for:
- A full-GUI (graphical user interface), easy-to-use Linux VPN application. (35%)
- Compatibility with a wide range of Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Manjaro, and more.
- AES-128/256 encryption and a reliable VPN protocol like OpenVPN.
- Advanced features like a kill switch, port forwarding, and DNS server selection.
- Fast download speeds on all VPN servers.
Here’s a full list of the factors we look for when testing the best VPNs for Linux, along with how much of the overall rating they account for:
1Linux VPN Client: 30%
Minimum Requirement: Has a full-GUI app available for Linux.
We Recommend: An intuitive program that is easy to use and resembles its Windows counterpart as closely as possible.
Most VPNs don’t support Linux at all. Of the small number that do, even fewer actually maintain a proper Linux application.
Those VPNs will be content with offering a basic CLI (Command Line Interface) setup that’s unintuitive and slow to use.
Every VPN featured in this list has a Linux application with a full GUI (Graphical User Interface). This means that it looks and operates just like a VPN client on Windows or macOS.
This is the main criterion we use when rating VPNs for Linux. It should be easy to install (with minimal CLI work required), and simple to use.
The closer the VPN app is to its Windows or macOS counterpart, both for usability and features, the higher the score. All of the VPNs on this page treat Linux users with proper respect, delivering high-quality bespoke applications.
2Linux Distro Compatibility: 20%
Minimum Requirement: Has a 64-bit Debian installer available.
We Recommend: Has installers for as many distros as possible, including Ubuntu, Fedora, and Arch, in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
While the vast majority of the Linux market may use Debian or Ubuntu, there’s still millions of users on other Linux operating systems.
It’s important for VPN providers to cater to all of the most popular distributions. That means not just Debian variants, but Fedora/RedHat and Arch/Manjaro, too.
We also consider app architecture. There’s a good chance your PC runs the 64-bit version of Linux, but if you’re a 32-bit user we also make sure there’s a VPN that supports your build.
3Encryption and Security: 15%
Minimum Requirement: OpenVPN and AES-128 encryption.
We Recommend: A selection of protocols (including WireGuard), plus AES-256 encryption.
Regardless of your chosen operating system, a secure and properly encrypted VPN is always important.
Linux is compatible with all popular mainstream VPN protocols, so the ideal Linux VPN will give you a choice within the app.
The minimum we look for is OpenVPN – the most popular protocol on the market and one we believe to strike the perfect balance between speed and security. WireGuard and IKEv2 are also popular on Linux – both are excellent choices.
Every VPN featured on this page also offers encryption via AES-128, AES-256, or a choice between the two. It’s virtually uncrackable, meaning all your VPN traffic is protected.
4Advanced Features: 15%
Minimum Requirement: VPN kill switch to prevent IP leaks.
We Recommend: Useful extras like split tunneling, custom DNS configuration, tracker blockers, and more.
This is one area where making sure you have a proper VPN app for Linux makes a big difference.
The best Linux VPNs have a broad suite of extra features – just like their counterparts on more popular desktop operating systems.
A VPN kill switch is the very least we expect. Without one your internet connection and IP address could be left exposed should the VPN connection cut out at any time.
We look for more advanced features, too. Some VPNs offer privacy extras like built-in ad and tracker blocking. Others may have port forwarding to help you torrent faster.
5Logging Policy & Jurisdiction: 10%
Minimum Requirement: Minimal logs retained.
We Recommend: No personal information logged, with other data deleted promptly, from a company in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
Without a VPN your ISP can see every website you visit and every file you download. But with a bad VPN, all you’re doing is handing that information over to a different company instead.
The least we expect of any VPN is to not keep any logs that can tie your browsing activity back to you. It’s imperative that, in the event of a server breach of seizure, any information stored is completely anonymous.
The very best VPNs store no data whatsoever, although this is rare. A good number of them keep no more than aggregated metadata – general server usage statistics which are an anonymized combination of data from a large number of users.
Jurisdiction matters, too. Ideally your VPN of choice will be based in a privacy-friendly country. That means nowhere that’s a part of the Five, Nine, or Fourteen Eyes, or the EU.
6Connection Speeds: 5%
Minimum Requirement: Fast, stable speeds on local connections.
We Recommend: An unnoticeable drop in download speeds locally, with fast speeds when connecting to international locations.
A VPN will always impact your internet speeds, but the very best will do so by as little as possible.
Upload speeds are important for file sharing, and ping matter for gaming, but our main focus is on download speeds.
When connected to a server in the same country as you (or a foreign city close by) the speed drop should be practically unnoticeable as you browse the internet like usual.
Top-tier VPNs will also give you great speeds on long-distance connections. This can allow you to unblock region-exclusive websites or services as if you were in the country they’re based in.