Most VPN clients don’t have a graphical user interface (GUI) on Linux – and generally the companies behind them aren’t even planning to develop one. VPN clients can be classified in three categories regarding their graphical user interfaces on Linux:
- VPNs with a GUI on Linux
- VPNs developing a GUI for Linux
- VPNs without GUI on Linux (and not developing one)
Most VPNs lacking a visual interface on Linux can be used without the command line via a network manager application (using OpenVPN).
Advantages of VPNs offering a GUI
Using NetworkManager (or Wicd) instead a native VPN client can have non-negligible drawbacks such as:
- constant switches to the command line connect to a server in a specific country or city,
- difficulties using WireGuard (or NordLynx if using NordVPN),
- trouble activating additional features (kill switches, CyberSec or equivalent).
→ Using the VPN provider’s Linux app (with or without GUI) can be easier AND offer more features than using a standard network manager.
VPNs with a GUI on Linux
Only a few VPN service providers offer a graphical user interface for their Linux clients, but the list is growing. Here are the winners!
Private Internet Access VPN (PIA)
TorGuard has more than 3000 servers in 50 countries and is one of the biggest VPN providers offering a GUI for Linux users.
TorGuard has been providing a visual interface for Linux users for years, but the old GUI was a design nightmare. In July 2019, TorGuard released its new graphical client since then offers .deb, .rpm and Arch Linux packages.
The TorGuard user interface is easy and user-friendly but offers a very limited set of options. TorGuard is a good choice for beginners looking for a hassle-free VPN experience on Linux.
AirVPN runs about 250 servers across 21 countries – not much compared to bigger VPN providers. Instead of trying to increase server location and quantity at all costs, AirVPN basically says they prefer to focus on quality.
Some reviewers consider AirVPN “very hard to use” because the user interface “has too many settings that confuse the average user with no technical knowledge”. This should not be a problem for the average Linux user though. On the contrary, Eddie (the AirVPN GUI) as the most complete visual interface of any VPN clients on Linux.
VPNs developing a GUI for Linux
The following VPNs will have a graphical interface for Linux in the future – or at least they pretend being working on it.
ProtonVPN does not provides a visual interface yet. However, the folks at Proton Technologies are developing one – although there are not revealing when it will be released.
In a service update post, a ProtonVPN staff member commented:
We do plan on adding a GUI to our Linux app in the future, we simply don’t have a timeline yet.
VPNs without GUI on Linux – and not developing one
The biggest bunch of VPN providers do not provide a visual interface for their Linux clients. Here is a list of VPN clients without a GUI on Linux.
NordVPN: not planning a Linux GUI
NordVPNs Linux app is fast and stable and offers plenty of options, but is command-line only. On November 28, 2020, I asked the NordVPN support if they had plans to offer a visual interface for Linux:
Me: Is NordVPN developing a GUI for Linux ?
AGENT (Jimmy): Unfortunately, we don’t have that in our plans at the moment.
If you want to use NordVPN graphically, try using Qomui (an open-source OpenVPN/WireGuard GUI for Linux).