ExpressVPN

5 Best VPNs for Ubuntu 2016

With all the hubbub over Windows 10 being fundamentally insecure (and Mac OSX  being little better,) more computer users than ever are looking for an Operating System that does not spy every file you own, and everything you do on and offline, and then send this information back to their parent companies.

This has fueled a general interest in free and open source Linux, and as a “Windows replacement,” Ubuntu has always proved popular. And of course, as with any platform, if you choose this OS you will need to know the best VPNs for Ubuntu!

Thanks to some of its own privacy concerns, however (discussed below,) many users now avoid Ubuntu. Although quite understandable, this is something of a shame, as there is still much to love about the once most popular Linux distro, and its privacy threatening“features” can be easily turned off.

Best VPN for Ubuntu Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

Buffered Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

3

AirVPN Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

4

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review7.8/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site

5

VPNArea Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

Best VPN for Ubuntu

  • ProsPROS
  • Servers in 78 countries
  • P2P: yes
  • Ubuntu OpenVPN setup guide
  • Two simultaneous connections
  • No Usage Logs
  • ConsCONS
  • Some connection logs kept for internal use
  • Slightly more expensive

ExpressVPN is a great all-round choice as it offers a balanced range of services perfect for the mainstream VPN user. Performance is top-notch, ExpressVPN keeps no usage logs (although some connection logs are kept,) and it provides an excellent manual setup guide for OpenVPN using Ubuntu Network Manager. It also has nifty apps for Android and iOS devices, perfect for protecting your internet connection on the move, with the Android app in particular deserving praise for its elegant Home screen widget. With a very generous 30 day no quibble money back guarantee, there is little reason not to give ExpressVPN a try.

Try the Best VPN for Ubuntu Today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

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2nd place

Buffered

4.8/5

Buffered

  • ProsPROS
  • Three simultaneous connections
  • P2P: yes
  • Fast connection speeds
  • No usage logs
  • Top quality customer service
  • ConsCONS
  • Doesn’t accept Bitcoins

This Hungarian provider impressed us with it’s no usage logs policy (although some connection logs are kept), high connection speeds, a no quibble 30-day money back guarantee, and servers in 16 countries.

The Windows client is easy to use, and the organisation seems to have a privacy-focused attitude. On a slight downer, Buffered is a little on the pricey side. Sadly, it does not accept anonymous payments via Bitcoins either. One of the major benefits of being based in Hungary, however, is that Buffered is outside the jurisdiction of UK, USA, and other over-reaching governments.

Also of unique value, the Buffered software client has an inspired feature called ‘port discovery’ that searches for open ports on password protected networks (such as in hotels and airports) allowing you to bypass the login stage (a code you often pick up from reception).

For a monthly fee of $15, Buffered customers not only get a high quality and secure VPN but the benefit of fantastic high speeds – perfect for streaming Netflix. Check them out for yourself and let us know what you think!

Visit Buffered »


3rd place

AirVPN

4.4/5

AirVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs
  • P2P: yes
  • Dynamic port forwarding
  • Real-time user and server statistics
  • Support for Tor over VPN and VPN
  • ConsCONS
  • A bit techy
  • Customer support could be better

AirVPN is an Italian company that was established in 2010. It operates in over ten countries (primarily Europe) and has servers in the US and over 40 worldwide in total. They have some fantastic features such as allowing Tor, SSH and SSL, which is great for really privacy minded people who want options. With fast connection speeds, this is a great option for unblocking content on your Ubuntu system

Air VPN  uses the top protocols. A slight downside is the fact that it only supports one connection, and does not provide 24/7 support (which the bigger VPNs do). Another positive aspect is its acceptance of Bitcoin payments, which is great for anonymity. Definitely a good VPN option for Ubuntu in 2016!

Visit AirVPN »


4th place

Boleh

3.9/5

Boleh

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • DNS leak protection & VPN over Tor
  • DNS leak protection
  • P2P: yes
  • Two simultaneous connections
  • ConsCONS
  • Fewer servers than some of the other options (still plenty)

Based offshore somewhere in Malaysia, BolehVPN is one of SE Asia’s most popular VPN providers, but thanks to the fact that it keeps no logs and now uses excellent encryption, it makes a great choice for any VPN users anywhere. BolehVPN is fast, and allows P2P downloading. Like AirVPN, it offers VPN over Tor, allowing for true anonymity. The fact that BolehVPN throws in a SmartDNS services free is also great. BolehVPN has a dedicated Linux support forum, which includes detailed setup guides for Network Manager (Gnome 2 is used as an example,) and in KDE.

Visit Boleh »


5th place

VPNArea

3.7/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Five connections allowed
  • Good speeds
  • Based in Bulgaria (no DRD)
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Fewer features than some

VPNArea is a (fairly) new and small Bulgarian company with lots of servers all over the place, a 7-day free trial, and fantastic connection speeds. It also features among the most friendly and helpful support I have come across, and Ubuntu users are supported through a Network Manger setup guide (the blurb on the website promises a Linux client  in 2014, which never seems to have materialized.) The fairly minor issues I did encountered with the service were largely due to it being new, but I was generally impressed (and these issues may have been resolved, as it is while since I fully reviewed VPNArea.)

Visit VPNArea »


Considerations for VPNs for Ubuntu

Although in recent years there have been growing privacy concerns about the level of security and confidentiality that Ubuntu provides, the truth remains that compared to Microsoft or Mac it is still a better option. The reason is that the invasive ‘features’ can easily be turned off. Of course, in order to make your system completely secure we do very strongly advise that on top of a high-quality VPN service, you do go ahead and turn off those problematic settings.

Another interesting development is that in March of this year Microsoft decided to support the Ubuntu interface on top of the Windows 10 kernel by utilizing Linux system calls as a subsystem – anyone interested in this should go ahead and do some research.

Ubuntu Privacy Concerns

When Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) was released in April 2012 it alarmed privacy activists thanks to a number of new “features” that leaked users’ data to third party advertisers, most notably to  Amazon. Unfortunately, these privacy concerns remain a serious issue.

The worst offender is a feature of the Unity desktop environment called Dash, a unified search bar that allows users to search for apps, documents, music, and other data locally, as well as to perform searches on the internet.

Thing is, though, that in its desire to monetize what is a free OS, developer Canonical Lmt., has struck a deal with the devil Amazon. All search queries are also sent to Amazon, and you will then be shown ads for Amazon products relating to your search terms! Even worse, these highly intrusive ads load in a very insecure way that can allow hackers to spy searches. As the EFF notes,

Technically, when you search for something in Dash, your computer makes a secure HTTPS connection to productsearch.ubuntu.com, sending along your search query and your IP address. If it returns Amazon products to display, your computer then insecurely loads the product images from Amazon’s server over HTTP. This means that a passive eavesdropper, such as someone sharing a wireless network with you, will be able to get a good idea of what you’re searching for on your own computer based on Amazon product images.

It’s a major privacy problem if you can’t find things on your own computer without broadcasting what you’re looking for to the world.

dash_porn_1

The problem goes deeper than just Dash, however, as Ubuntu’s Third Party Privacy Policies page makes it clear that all sorts of collected  data can and will be sent to third parties. As DistoWatch noted at the time,

“It has raised a number of privacy concerns in the community and, looking over Ubuntu’s legal notice about privacy does not provide any reassurance. The notice informs us Canonical reserves the right to share our keystrokes, search terms and IP address with a number of third parties, including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and the BBC.

The good news is that these privacy invading “features” and spam adware can be fairly easily turned off.  A good quick guide to doing this in Ubuntu 15.04 (Red Velvet) is available below..

Do this immediately!!!

A more nuclear option is to replace the Unity desktop entirely. GNOME 3 (Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 is now available,)  KDE, or Cinnamon are all good options.

Setting up OpenVPN in Ubuntu

As noted above, some providers have dedicated VPN clients for Ubuntu (or Linux), but others simply supply manual configuration guides for setting up Ubuntu’s native Network Manager (which absolutely fine, as Network Manager is a great VPN client.)

Even when providers do not have Ubuntu (or even Linux) specific setup instructions on their websites, OpenVPN is easy to setup. This means that any OpenVPN service can be used with Ubuntu, regardless of what support available for this from your provider.

  1. Download and install the Ubuntu OpenVPN packages for Network Manager by opening a Terminal window and typing:
    sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn openvpn
  2. Note that Network manager should already be installed. If for some reason it is not, install it by entering:
    sudo apt-get install openvpn network-manager-openvpn network-manager-openvpn-gnome
  3. Restart the Network Manager. This can be done by restarting Ubuntu or logging out and in again, but the easiest way is to enter the following at the Terminal command prompt:
    sudo restart network-manager
  4. Download the VPN provider’s OpenVPN configuration files (.ovpn and .crt), and Extract them to a convenient location.
    ub 13
  5. Open Network Manager and click VPN Connections -> Configure VPN.
    ub 11
  6. Click on ‘Add’.
    ub 15
  7. Select ‘OpenVPN’ from the drop-down menu and click ‘Create…’
    ub 6
  8. Ensure the ‘VPN’ tab is selected, and enter the VPN server address supplied by your provider in the ‘Gateway’ field. Under ‘Authentication’, select ‘Password’ from the dropdown ‘Type’ menu, and enter your account details.
    Then Click on the ‘CA Certificate Field’ and navigate to the .crt file at the location you unzipped the OpenVPN config files to in Step 2. Click on ‘Advanced’.
    ub 9
  9. Check ‘Use LZO data compression’. Note that is step may not be required, or may require different settings depending on your VPN provider. Click ‘OK’ and ‘Save’, and setup is complete!
    ub 10
  10. To start the VPN connection, simply go to Network Manager -> VPN Connections -> your connection
    ub 11
  11. You are now connected! Notice that the Network Manager taskbar icon now has a tiny padlock on the bottom right, to let you know the VPN connection is active.

ub 12

Conclusion for Ubuntu VPNs

Canonical’s cavalier attitude to privacy has driven many Ubuntu users to Linux Mint, which is a shame, as Ubuntu remains one of the most user-friendly  entry points for Windows and Mac refugees (especially when it comes to hardware support). OSX users in particular are likely to feel right at home with the Unity desktop.

Fortunately, disabling the spyware and adware crap is fairly straightforward. This should be done immediately, but once done you should be back in control of a secure operating system! The only thing left to do then, is to set up a good VPN service!

Best VPN for Ubuntu Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

Buffered Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

3

AirVPN Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

4

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review7.8/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site

5

VPNArea Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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5 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Ubuntu 2016

    1. Hi poop,

      Nope. There is no such thing, really, as a good free VPN. Running a VPN is a very expensive business, and the only way to run a good one is if customers pay for it.

  1. ExpressVPN is completely useless in Linux unless you want to type lots of command lines every time you use it. There is no GUI app and configuration in Linux for this app via the command line is awful. Also as soon as you mention you are using Linux, all their support staff just begin to quote the “we don’t support Linux” matra and won’t help further.

    ExpressVPN is great for Windows but is really awful for Linux. Did the authors of this article even try it? How did this get to be number 1 when it has no Linux app and the company says they don’t support Linux? If you like typing a command line for everything you do, you might be able to use this VPN. Otherwise avoid it.

      1. Hi wanna vpn (and Don),

        As discussed in the more recent 5 Best VPNs for Linux article, ExpressVPN now offers a basic custom Linux VPN client. It is Terminal command-line only, but when I tested it, I found that it worked well and was simple enough to use. It now also features DNS leak protection. The reason ExpressVPN was placed at the top if this list is that the BestVPN.com team decided that great speeds, 24/7 customer support, a genuinely no-quibble money back guarantee etc., offset the sightly flaky Ubuntu support (even for Ubuntu users).

        And I did clearly explain the limitations of ExpressVPN’s Ubuntu support (now improved, although not perfect) in the article. And yes, I did setup ExpressVPN manually using the excellent setup guide provided. TBH, if you are not happy typing a little text into a command line, then you should probably not be using Linux/Ubunutu in the first place!

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