Top Open Source VPN Software for Linux
VPN software for Linux systems can be difficult to find. But don't worry, take a look at the best list of open-source VPN software in Linux.
Internet privacy has recently been jeopardized since most websites attempt to obtain your information legally. VPN apps are in high demand because they allow you to browse the Internet anonymously and access blocked websites in your area. Although open-source VPNs are uncommon, they do exist. Unlike commercial software, these open-source VPNs now provide all their source code for everybody to see.
For most businesses and developers, Linux users are a low priority. In this article, we'll go through some of the best open-source VPN software in Linux that will suit all of your privacy requirements.
How VPN Works
In this image a LAN and a remote client have a connection to the Internet. These two connections are independent of each other.
While in this image a new network connection is established from the remote client to the LAN across the intermediary network. This new network connection is the VPN.
A VPN can operate securely over the Internet and still provide high levels of security through encryption. This allows inexpensive insecure links to replace expensive business-leased lines without sacrificing security.
Risks of using Internet over Wireless Networks without VPN
- Whenever possible, use a VPN —not only because it’s considered the most secure connection method available, but because people have made progress breaking the WPA2 standard wireless security protocol used in encrypted Wi-Fi networks.
- In 2017, Belgian researchers broke the WPA2 protocol by using a method called Key Reinstallation Attacks. Though many computing companies offered solutions to fix the problem in late 2017, it’s a reminder that encrypted Wi-Fi technology is still vulnerable.
- Ever heard of Wi-Fi Pineapple Karma Attack?
- The Wi-Fi Pineapple leverages a few exploits targeting mobile endpoints that are looking to connect to their trusted home networks. Most mobile devices store frequently used network SSIDs, such as home or corporate network SSIDs, so when the user is within proximity of those environments, the mobile device automatically establishes connectivity. This convenience opens up a mobile device to an exploit known as Karma. To take advantage of this exploit, a tool like the Wi-Fi Pineapple will listen for mobile devices sending probes for their trusted SSIDs and reply back as one of those SSIDs.
Why you need a VPN on Linux
- One common security vulnerability when using public Wi-Fi is called a “man-in-the-middle attack.” This involves a cybercriminal setting up a fake public Wi-Fi hotspot (in a public place, like a coffee shop, library, hotel or airport) that you unwittingly sign in to access the Internet.
- The internet services in public hotspots such as those found in coffee shops, airports, and hotels do not encrypt your data as it crosses the airwaves, which means that an attacker may be able to see the data you’re sending and receiving.
- After you’re connected to that fake Wi-Fi, the cybercriminal will track and record all your actions, and gain access to every username and password you type in as you visit various websites.
- The information collected—without your knowledge—can then be used to perpetuate online theft, fraud, or identity theft.
- If you need to send sensitive data in public places, you might want VPN for Linux software that encrypts your network traffic and keep it away from prying eyes while you are working on your Linux server.
- But VPN would protect you in this situation. Using a VPN, if you do accidentally sign in to a fake public Wi-Fi, all the data you send and receive, including your usernames, passwords, or credit card details, would be encrypted, so you’d thwart the cybercriminal trying to perpetrate the “man-in-the-middle attack.”
Widely acclaimed by users worldwide, this VPN app is viable for individuals and enterprises. Although this software is entirely open-source, it does come at a price. OpenVPN may be the ideal answer for you or your company if you can afford to spend some money.
OpenVPN allows users to deploy authentication, encryption, and certification features found in the OpenSSL library for security, delving deeper into this software. OpenVPN makes a one-stop solution for securing all of your data communications.
So, stop worrying about the security of your IoT-based systems, Cloud data centers, and employee remote access.
Apart from that, users also have the freedom to decide whether they want to deploy this application on the Cloud or on-premises with the help of virtual appliances or standard servers. OpenVPN is perhaps the best open-source VPN software in Linux.
- Better Security
- Good firewall compatibility
- Supports Perfect Forward Secrecy
- Cost advantages
- Limited server selection
- Requires additional software client
- Complex manual configuration
2. SoftEther VPN
This is a VPN solution for all individual users and companies on a budget who don't want to invest in buying software. This free VPN service does not mean that it lacks features, and SoftEther VPN is capable of so much that it can even give a hard time to OpenVPN.
SoftEther VPN is also a good alternative for low-end devices because the software doesn't use a lot of CPU power or memory space. All of this makes SoftEther VPN a safe choice for users who are a bit short on cash but don't want to compromise on security.
- Secure connections
- Fairly easy to setup
- A firewall cannot easily block it
- Many VPN providers don't offer access to this protocol
- May require an additional software client
If you want a fast, easy-to-use, and modern VPN application, then you can't go wrong by opting for WireGuard. It can give a tough time to OpenVPN when it comes to performance. WireGuard is a VPN that can be utilized on supercomputers and embedded interfaces in addition to individual users.
Moreover, WireGuard has been programmed so that even a single individual can make changes to its code easily. And what makes this an even better choice is that it is under massive deployment, so users can expect new features to drop frequently. Unlike OpenVPN, this is a free-to-use application for individuals and companies.
High speed and quality performance
Work in progress
Not usable without logs
OpenSwan, which has been operating since 2005, is one of the best open-source VPNs for Linux. While getting it to operate requires some effort, there is an extensive wiki and a helpful community to guide you through the process.
OpenSwan's source code is available on GitHub, where you can fork it and work on it. It's one thing to trust an open-source VPN; it's quite another to trust a VPN you built yourself!
- Strong community
- Problems are solved quickly as code is changeable
- Configuration is a bit difficult for a newbie
- Security is sometimes questionable
Users who want to keep their location, identity, and internet activities hidden should consider this free and open-source VPN. Mullvad includes many advanced capabilities in addition to basic VPN operations, such as allowing you to access prohibited websites and not leaving a trail while browsing the Internet.
Mullvad also has the feature of immediately disconnecting users from its servers if they forget to do so. Mullvad also prevents any website from seeing your IP address, allowing you to remain anonymous online.
Mullvad is based on some of the VPN protocols in WireGuard and OpenVPN, in addition to leveraging the most up-to-date encryption techniques. Mullvad also does not provide a premium edition; thus, customers will not miss any features.
- Strict no-logs policy
- Fast enough for most purposes
- Strong encryption and leak protection
- Limited server selection
- Not excellent for unblocking region-locked content
If you regularly watch YouTube, you want to have a minimum of heard of this VPN application. Using this VPN, users will browse the Internet without leaving a trace, increase their online privacy, and keep their online data to themselves only.
Another great feature of this VPN software for Linux is that you can use it to change your location while watching Netflix, letting you watch videos unavailable in your region. Although ProtonVPN also has paid versions, most individual users will be better off with its free one.
- Strong security
- No issues with Netflix
- P2P allowed
- No live chat support
- Small server selection
OpenConnect was developed to accommodate Cisco's own VPN software, AnyConnect. These days, OpenConnect has ascended past its roots and has no affiliation with Cisco.
OpenConnect has a fantastic range of features. It supports many authentication options for starters, including SSL certificates and OATH. It can connect via an HTTP proxy, a SOCKS5 proxy, and both IPv4 and IPv6. OpenConnect does require you to set up your VPN software for Linux server to connect to, and luckily OpenConnect offers its VPN server software to build a VPN software for Linux from the comfort of your own home.
- Safe to use
- Support is excellent
- Some configurations and errors are complex to see
8. Riseup VPN
Riseup is a non-profit that works to keep your data out of the hands of companies, internet service providers (ISPs), and governments, and this VPN is a result of their efforts. So, if you're seeking some privacy when surfing the Internet and you're also an individual user, Riseup VPN software for Linux is a good choice.
You will neither have to configure anything nor make an account to use this software, so you know you're going anonymous. What makes Riseup VPN software for Linux is a bit vulnerable is that it does not automatically log you out from websites, so make sure to do that on your own before closing the software.
- Offers encrypted chat, email, XMPP, and VPN services
- Uses full disk encryption
- Does not log your IP address
- Employees don't have access to the contents of emails or messages
- Messages are not end-to-end encrypted
- VPN service has limitations on privacy, as well as some bugs
- A single password protects the entire account
ZeroTier, according to its creators, is a network hypervisor that allows users to create virtual networks. Using this VPN software for Linux, you won't have to worry about different websites accessing your location or tracking down any other data. ZeroTier truly excels in that department's overall security, all thanks to its robust encryption algorithms.
And even though individuals can use this application, companies and other large-scale organizations will get the most out of ZeroTier. Moreover, even though there is a paid version of ZeroTier, most individual users would quickly get by without paying a penny.
- Very easy to set up
- Has no problem with secure connections over public networks
- Additional features make it more than just a VPN software for Linux
- User Interface could be better
- "Free" tier only for non-commercial purposes
Freelan VPN makes another excellent choice for users who don't want to compromise on their security and performance while not paying for software. Before we go any further, it's important to note that Freelan is a VPN software, not a Web proxy service.
However, this doesn't mean that you cannot anonymously browse the web using this application. Freelan is even better because it supports peer-to-peer and client-server communications and hybrid ones. This software is open source and also free, so users don't have to worry about paying a single penny while using it.
- Creation of networks without a server
- High-security standards
- No detailed documentation
- Complicated setup
- Low popularity
- Even though this software doesn't cost you money, normal users could face some difficulties during its setup.
Which VPN you should choose?
Our Recommendation: OpenVPN (paid)/ SoftEther VPN software for linux (free)
For the average user, if you have the budget, OpenVPN is the best service for you, with security, speed, and quality features. SoftEther provides a great alternative for the free user, with almost similar features to OpenVPN. Other users with specific requirements might consider the various other options given in the list as per their requirements.
Bonus Tip - Things to consider when buying VPN Software
- Determine whether your Internet service provider includes free VPN functionality and what’s required to activate it.
- Determine the number of servers the VPN uses and in which countries. This could impact the speed of your Internet connection. The more servers a service uses, the better.
- Determine whether the same VPN service supports all your computers and mobile devices, including Windows/Linux PCs, Macs, iOS mobile devices, and Android mobile devices.
- Determine the number of computers and mobile devices that can be used with each VPN subscription.
- Make sure the VPN does not slow down your wireless Internet connection speed after a certain level of usage per month. Unlimited bandwidth should be included.
- Determine the cost per month, and any discounts offered for prepaying for one or more years of service at once.
As you can see from our list, there is no shortage of VPN software for Linux in the open-source market. We opted to only list those that do not jeopardize user security and support all major operating systems. Our list of the top open-source VPN software for Linux comes to a close with this, and we hope you were able to find at least one VPN program that met all of your privacy requirements.