In this guide, we briefly discuss the various ways you can use ProtonVPN on Linux and provide a guide to setting up and using the ProtonVPN Linux app, which is our recommended method.
There are a number of ways to use ProtonVPN on Linux:
1. The official ProtonVPN Linux app
The ProtonVPN Linux app is a fully featured desktop VPN application with a graphical user interface. It is the recommended way for most people to use ProtonVPN on their Linux systems. We discuss how to install and use this app in this article.
2. The official ProtonVPN CLI
The ProtonVPN CLI is a fully featured command line tool recommended for people who prefer to work in Terminal, want an app that uses minimal system resources, or work with Linux servers. Please note that the ProtonVPN CLI doesn’t yet support Split Tunneling and doesn’t run on headless servers.
3. Manual OpenVPN setup
The ProtonVPN Linux app and the ProtonVPN CLI use the highly secure OpenVPN protocol to secure the VPN connection to our servers. You can also configure OpenVPN manually in Linux using either NetworkManager or the command line. This may be useful on devices not supported by our ProtonVPN Linux app or the ProtonVPN CLI, but if we retire a server, you may need to download new OpenVPN configuration files.
4. Manual IKEv2 setup
IKEv2 is a secure and fast VPN protocol that you can manually configure in Linux using strongSwan. If we retire a server, you may need to re-edit the configuration file.
How to install the ProtonVPN Linux app
The official ProtonVPN Linux app lets you protect your Linux devices with ProtonVPN while controlling the VPN via an intuitive and easy-to-use graphical interface.
This app natively supports advanced ProtonVPN features, including:
- NetShield Adblocker
- Permanent Kill Switch
- Kill Switch
- Secure Core
Not only is the Linux app easy to use, but installing it is quick and simple, regardless of which distro you use. This article will explain how to use our official Linux app. We have separate installation guides for all supported distros:
If you are using the community-developed version of our Linux app, we recommend you uninstall it before installing the new app. Instructions for this are provided in each distro setup guide.
How to use the ProtonVPN Linux app
Once you have installed the ProtonVPN app, open it by using the application launcher and searching for ProtonVPN.
Then, log in by entering your Proton account credentials. (If you were previously using the ProtonVPN Linux CLI and upgraded, you will not need to log in again.)
Once you have logged in to the app, you can connect to the fastest VPN server available (as determined by your geographic location and server traffic) with one click using the Quick Connect button.
Search by country
You can search for VPN servers by country by scrolling through the country list or typing in the search bar. You can connect to the server of your choice by clicking the green CONNECT button.
P2P file sharing
You can share and torrent files while connected to ProtonVPN servers that have the two-way arrow icon (in the picture below). (Available only on Basic, Plus, and Visionary plans.)
You can use ProtonVPN to access your favorite streaming platforms. Servers that have a play arrow icon next to their name support streaming. (Available only on Plus and Visionary plans.)
You can also check the traffic load on any given server by hovering your cursor over the i icon.
The Quick Settings menu has three buttons that let you control our Secure Core, NetShield, and Kill Switch features.
The lock button on the left of the Quick Settings menu lets you turn Secure Core on or off. (Available only with a Plus or Visionary plan.)
Secure Core routes your online traffic through special, hardened VPN servers housed in countries with strong data-protection laws before sending it on to a second VPN server in your desired country.
Once you turn Secure Core on, you will see different options for multi-hop VPN connections.
The shield button in the middle of the Quick Settings menu lets you choose your level of NetShield protection. (Available only with a Plus or Visionary plan.)
NetShield is our adblocker that uses DNS filtering to prevent your device from loading malware, ads, and trackers, keeping your device safe and speeding up your browsing.
The switch button on the right of the Quick Settings menu allows you to turn Kill Switch and Permanent Kill Switch on or off.
- Kill Switch blocks all external connections from your device if your VPN connection is unintentionally interrupted. It does not block external connections if you manually disconnect the VPN.
- Permanent Kill Switch blocks all external connections from your device unless you are connected to a VPN. It will continue blocking external connections if you manually disconnect the VPN or restart your computer.
Note that if you activate Permanent Kill Switch, it will continue blocking external connections even if you log out of ProtonVPN.
To log out of ProtonVPN, click the arrow button on the status bar and select Log out.
System tray icon
Our Linux app can show a system tray icon that stays active when you close the main ProtonVPN window and allows you to easily Quick Connect or Disconnect the VPN.
Instructions for installing this system tray icon can be found in the Linux setup guide for your distro..
The ProtonVPN Linux app is currently officially supported on the following distros:
- Debian 10
- Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS)
- Mint 20
- MX Linux 19
- Kali Linux
- Fedora 31+
- Archlinux / Manjaro
We are working on adding official support for more distros. The Debian repository should work on many Debian-based distros, and we invite users to test-run our software on their systems. But we cannot guarantee support if things don’t work on these unsupported systems.