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If you’re a user of Ubuntu Linux, then you have a slightly more limited selection of VPNs than users of other operating systems. This means that you have to be a bit more careful when you are choosing between VPN providers, to ensure that they offer software which is compatible with your system, and which will allow you to access the VPN as quickly and efficiently as users on other systems.
The other thing to keep in mind is that even if the software is available for the Ubuntu Linux operating system, it may not have the pretty GUI which is offered on other platforms. This means that you may have to use the command line to configure the VPN and get it up and running, at least the first time that you use it. The good news is that this is becoming less common as time goes on. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux platforms, and there is more and more demand for the big VPN providers to create easy to use software, that makes it simpler for users to get up and running with a VPN on the platform.
In this article, we will take a look at the best VPNs for the Ubuntu Linux platform, and let you know which features set them apart from one another. We will also run you through a few of the pitfalls which you will want to look out for when you are selecting a VPN, and highlight a few things that you can do, to make sure that you are getting the best possible price for your VPN.
There are two main reasons why people decide to start using a VPN service; privacy and access to content. From a privacy and security point of view, there are many advantages. The first is that all of the traffic which is sent to and from your computer will be protected with the latest 256-bit encryption. This means that there is no way for your ISP, or anyone else, to snoop on the pages that you are looking at when you are browsing the internet. Even if you are only surfing the web for common everyday purposes, and don’t have anything that you would explicitly want to ‘hide’ from the authorities, then using a VPN service can still be a good decision. This is because ISPs in several countries, including the United States, are now monitoring their users’ internet activities, to build profiles on their likes and interests, which can then be sold to media companies, so that ads can be more easily targeted towards them. If you want to avoid this type of profile being built on you, (which is probably sensible given the risks of this information being compromised in a cyberattack or some other kind of leak), then using a VPN service when you browse the web is a very sensible precaution to take.
The other significant advantage of using a VPN service is that it allows you to access content which would typically be unavailable to you. This is the case because many websites, particularly those which stream movies and TV shows, such as Hulu and the BBC iPlayer, are only available to users in certain countries because of rights restrictions. If you connect to a VPN server that is located in the appropriate country, you will be able to watch the streaming services as though you were actually there. The only problem that you may encounter stems from the fact that some of these streaming sites have moved to block IP addresses that are known to belong to VPN or proxy servers. If you choose one of the paid services mentioned on this page however, you are unlikely to encounter this problem, as they use techniques such as IP address scrambling to get around these types of blocks.
Naturally, the main factor we have used when deciding whether a particular VPN service deserves a spot on this page or not is how easy it is to get the service up and running on Ubuntu Linux. This includes whether or not the app offered has a GUI and the availability of extensions for popular browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Then, we have looked at other factors, such as the selection of servers which are available and the security features that are in place. We have also looked at pricing, the possibility of paying with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, or in your own local currency with a credit card, and whether or not discounts are available to users who commit to long periods of service in advance.
This provider tops our list of Linux VPNs because it is one of the very few providers which offers a GUI based app on the Linux platform. Most of the other providers offer a CLI (command-line interface based app). While this is perfectly fine if you are an experienced Linux user, it can be off-putting to first-time users of VPN services.
Getting started with AirVPN is a simple matter of signing up on their website and downloading the app. The site and signup process is not as pretty as for some of the other VPN services which we have looked at, but this is more than made up for by the GUI based client. Servers are available in about a dozen countries, which is lower than for some of the other services that we mention on this page, but should be sufficient for most of the primary streaming services that are out there. The US, UK, Canada and Singapore are all covered.
AirVPN operates a no-logs policy and does not collect any data about the websites which its users visit, or the servers that they connect to when they are using the service. Those who are looking for complete anonymity from their connection when they browse the web have the option of paying with Bitcoin, although AirVPN does levy an additional transaction fee for those who chose this payment method, in order to cover its costs and protect itself from the regular volatility of Bitcoin. All sorts of other payment methods are available, which should include more or less anyone who could want to sign up for the service.
Payment for the service is in euros and, as with most other services, discounts are available to users who commit to long periods of service in advance. These are not as substantial as for some of the other services we have covered, however. If you want to evaluate the service, you have the option of paying for two days of access to AirVPN for only €2 while you test it
This is one of the biggest and most popular VPN services which are currently available. Unfortunately, like many of its rivals, while it prides itself on offering a smooth and pretty user experience on most desktop and mobile operating systems, NordVPN still relies on a command-line based app on all Linux platforms. If you don’t want to use one however, you also have the option of using an extension to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to manage your VPN connection.
If you’re comfortable with using the command line to manage your VPN connection, then you may want to consider reconfiguring your router to connect to NordVPN directly. This is an excellent choice if you are looking to share the protection of a VPN around your family, as NordVPN restricts its users to six simultaneous connections. By reconfiguring your router, you can connect all the devices that connect to it using only one slot, and save the rest of your slots for mobile devices when you are out and about. If you’re not comfortable reconfiguring your router yourself, then you also have the option of buying a router that comes with NordVPN’s software preinstalled. Make sure that you know the details you need to connect to your ISP before you order one. If your ISP sent you a router when you joined, you might need to ask for them.
Pricing for NordVPN on a monthly basis is $11.95, which is relatively standard for a VPN service. Significant discounts are available however, for users who commit to long periods of service in advance. At the time of writing, these could be as much as 75% for users who pay for three years of service when they first join. If paying for this much service before you have had a chance to try out NordVPN puts you off, then you may want to consider taking advantage of the 30-day free trial offer. This offer means that if you decide NordVPN isn’t right for you at any point during the first month of your membership, you can contact the customer support team through their live chat service to cancel. When you do this, all of the money that you have paid will be returned to you, including the amount that covers the period of service that you have already used.
This VPN is not as simple to get going on Ubuntu Linux as some of the others we have mentioned. Nevertheless, so long as you are not put off by having to use the command line to manage your VPN connection, it remains one of the best options available thanks to its competitive pricing.
You can get started with SurfShark in one of two ways. If you use the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers, you can protect your connection by downloading one of the browser extensions which SurfShark makes available for the platform. This is our recommendation if you are new to Linux, and are not comfortable with setting up and managing software via the command line. Even if you are, it may still be worth considering this option, as it will give you access to many of the enhanced security and privacy features that make SurfShark such a good choice. The main drawback of choosing this method is that it will only protect traffic that is sent to and from the browser that you are using. Traffic that is generated by other apps on your computer, or by the operating system itself, will not benefit from the protection of the VPN.
If you’d rather use the full-fledged Linux app, then all you have to do in order to get started is download it and set it up using the instructions which are available on the SurfShark website. There are a few commands that you’ll need to know in order to set up and manage your connection, and SurfShark suggests that you print these out or note them down, in order to make using the app as simple as possible.
If you choose the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox extension, then you will also be able to protect your privacy using a feature called CleanWeb. This works by inspecting every page which you visit when it passes through the VPN server and removing any ads or tracking scripts that may be present on the page. This is even better than an adblocker extension to your browser, as it means that the tracking scripts never reach your computer in the first place.
Pricing for SurfShark is relatively standard for a VPN at $11.95 a month. Three things set it apart from its rivals, however. The first is your ability to protect your privacy and anonymity by paying for the service using a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. The second is the ability to pay in a range of currencies including euros and British pounds and the third is the level of discounts which are available for customers who sign up for long periods of service and pay in advance. These can be as high as 80% for users who commit to two years of service when they sign up. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee that will allow you to evaluate the service before fully committing.