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Support Center / Download and setup / How to use the official Linux CLI

How to use the official Linux CLI

Proton VPN offers both an official Linux app with graphical user interface and an official Linux CLI. In this article, we explain how to install and use the Linux CLI.

The official Proton VPN Linux CLI is available for many Linux Debian-based distros, Fedora 34+, and Archlinux / Manjaro. If you are using the old community Proton VPN client for Linux, we recommend that you upgrade one of the new official clients. Please note that, at the present time, the new Proton VPN CLI doesn’t support Split Tunneling and doesn’t run on headless servers.

How to install the official Linux CLI

Debian-based distros

Our command-line tool officially supports the following Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions:

  • Debian 10
  • Ubuntu 18.04 (LTS) +
  • Mint 19.3+
  • MX Linux 19
  • Kali Linux
  • Elementary OS 5 (Juno) +

It also works with many distros based on these Linux versions (not Ubuntu Server or Raspbian), but we cannot provide support for these at this time.

If you are using an older version of our Linux client, we recommend that you uninstall it before installing the new CLI. Please see Note 1 at the end of this article for instructions.

1. Get the Proton VPN repo setup DEB package

Download the Proton VPN DEB package

2. Install the Proton VPN repository

Open a terminal and run the following:

sudo apt-get install {/path/to/}protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.1-1_all.deb

Replace {/path/to/} with the path to where you download the file. For example:

sudo apt-get install ~/Downloads/protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.1-1_all.deb

3. Update the apt-get package list

Enter the command:

sudo apt-get update

4. Install the Proton VPN Linux CLI

Last step! Type this command:

sudo apt-get install protonvpn-cli

Fedora 34+

Please note that our CLI does not work on earlier versions of Fedora (it may work on Fedora 31, 32, and 33, but these versions are no longer officially supported). To upgrade your system, run:

dnf upgrade

1. Get the Proton VPN repo setup RPM package

Download the Proton VPN RPM package

2. Install the Proton VPN repository

Open the terminal and run the following:

sudo dnf install {/path/to/}protonvpn-stable-release-1.0.0-1.noarch.rpm

3. Update the dnf package list

Enter the command:

sudo dnf update

4. Install the Proton VPN Linux CLI

Type this command:

sudo dnf install protonvpn-cli

5. Install required dependencies for the alternative routing feature

Enter:


sudo dnf install python3-pip

Then:

pip3 install --user dnspython>=1.16.0

Archlinux and Manjaro 19+

1. Update your local repository 

Open the terminal and enter the following command:

pamac update --force-refresh

2. Verify that Proton VPN is now in your local repository

Enter the following command to list all the Proton VPN packages in your repository:

pamac search --aur protonvpn-cli

Arch repo search

If no Proton VPN packages are returned, check your internet connection and repeat Step 1 and Step 2 to ensure the packages appear.

3. Build and install Proton VPN

Run:

pamac build protonvpn-cli

4. Import the PGP key

You will be prompted to Trust Proton Technologies AG <opensource@protonvpn.me> and import PGP key. Ensure the PGP key fingerprint exactly matches

 A884 41BD 4864 F95B EE08 E63A 71EB 4740 1994 0E11

If it does, then go ahead and click y to import it. If your package manager fails to fetch or import the key, please see Note 5 below.

How to use the official Linux CLI

1. Log in using your regular Proton/Proton VPN account details using the following command (please note that these are not the OpenVPN/IKEv2 login credentials used by the older community Linux client).

 protonvpn-cli login [Proton VPN username]

You will be prompted to enter your password. If you don’t have a Proton VPN account you can sign up for a Free plan for Linux.

The CLI will remember your login details between sessions. 2. Open a list of Proton VPN servers with:

protonvpn-cli connect (or protonvpn-cli c)

3. Select a server location and click OK. Select a server at that server location and click OK. 4. Select udp or tcp (we recommend udp unless you have a reason to choose tcp).

GIF for Linux login

A connection to the VPN server will now be established. To check your connection status, enter:

protonvpn-cli status (or protonvpn-cli s)

To disconnect, enter:

protonvpn-cli disconnect (or protonvpn-cli d)

Alternatively, you can disconnect using NetworkManager.

GIF for Linux connect

How to use the kill Switch

The Proton VPN official Linux CLI includes a kill switch. The basic kill switch will block all your internet connections when the VPN is running and the connection to one of our servers fails. To enable it, enter:

protonvpn-cli ks --on

The CLI also features a permanent kill switch. This prevents all internet connections unless the VPN is running and connected to one of our servers. To enable it, enter:

protonvpn-cli ks --permanent

You can disable the Kill Switch by entering:

protonvpn-cli ks --off

How to use Netshield Ad-blocker

NetShield Ad-blocker is a DNS filtering feature. You can choose between three levels of NetShield protection:

  • Off
  • Block malware only (default)
  • Block malware, ads, & trackers (only available if you have a paid Proton VPN plan)

To turn NetShield off,  use the command

protonvpn-cli netshield --off

or

protonvpn-cli ns --off

To block malware only:

protonvpn-cli netshield --malware

or

protonvpn-cli ns --malware

To block malware, ads, and trackers, use the command

protonvpn-cli netshield --ads-malware

or

protonvpn-cli ns --ads-malware

How to connect using the command-line

To see the full list of connection options, enter:

protonvpn-cli c --help

GIF for Linux disconnect

To connect to the fastest Proton VPN server for your location, for example, enter:

protonvpn-cli c -f

Or to connect to the fastest Tor server (Plus and Visionary users only), enter:

protonvpn-cli c --tor

Additional connection options, including specifying a custom DNS server, can be found by entering:

protonvpn-cli config --help

Entering protonvpn-cli h (or protonvpn-cli –help) will always show the latest commands supported by the command line tool.

How to uninstall the official Linux CLI

If you wish to uninstall the Proton VPN official Linux CLI, open Terminal and disable the kill switch (if it is running). To do this, enter:

protonvpn-cli ks --off

Then:

Debian distros

1. Uninstall the CLI with:

sudo apt-get autoremove protonvpn

3. Remove any leftover files:

rm -rf ~/.cache/protonvpn

And

rm -rf ~/.config/protonvpn

Fedora 31+

1. Uninstall the CLI app with:

sudo dnf remove protonvpn -y; sudo dnf autoremove -y; sudo dnf clean packages

2. Check if all Proton VPN packages are uninstalled:

dnf/yum list installed | grep proton

3. Check if any Proton VPN folders remain on your system:

ls -ld /usr/lib/python3.*/site-packages/proton*

If any folders are found then remove them using:

sudo rm -rf /usr/lib/python3.*/site-packages/proton*

4. Check again that all folders are removed (see Step 3 above).

Archlinux and Manjaro

Run:

pamac remove protonvpn-cli

Notes

1. Uninstall the older community Proton VPN app

To uninstall the older community Proton VPN app, run:

protonvpn configure

Select option 7) Purge Configuration. Then uninstall through the package manager you used for installation. For Debian, if the package is installed system-wide then use the command:

sudo pip3 uninstall protonvpn-cli

If not, then use:

pip3 uninstall protonvpn-cli

2. Disable the kill switch if you have uninstalled the app

The kill switch can be easily disabled from within the official Linux CLI app, but this will not be possible if you have uninstalled the CLI app first without disabling the kill switch. This may result in your system being unable to access the internet. To remove the kill switch after the CLI app has been uninstalled:

a) Identify Proton VPN connection names by running the command:

nmcli connection show --active

This will display a list of all your system’s active connections.

b) Look for any connections with the pvpn- prefix. This usually includes pvpn-killswitch and pvpn-ipv6leak-protection, and may include pvpn-routed-killswitch. Delete all these connections using the following command:

nmcli connection delete [connection name]

For example:

nmcli connection delete pvpn-killswitch

c) Re-run the following command to verify that Proton VPN connections have been deleted:

nmcli connection show --active

If any Proton VPN connections remain, delete them as described above.

3. Required dependencies

Our Linux CLI needs one of the following dependencies installed in order to work. Installing both of these dependencies is not recommended as it may cause problems:

  • KWallet  or
  • Gnome-keyring

Note that most distros come pre-installed with one of these dependencies, so usually no additional configuration is required. Also required is:

  • systemd

4. Supported distros

The Proton VPN Linux CLI is currently officially supported on the following distros:

  • Debian 10
  • Ubuntu 18.04 +
  • Mint 19.3+
  • MX Linux 19+
  • Kali Linux
  • Elementary 5+
  • Fedora 31+
  • Archlinux and Manjaro

We are working on adding official support for more distros, but we cannot offer support for unsupported distros and versions. The Debian client should work on many Debian-based distros, and we invite users to test-run our software on their systems. But we cannot provide support if things don’t work on these unsupported systems.

5. Manually install the PGP key in ArchLinux / Manjaro

If your package manager fails to fetch or import the key,  you can import it manually using the steps below. Please note that we use Pacman for this (not Pamac, as used in the main setup guide above).

a. Download our public PGP key 

Click the link https://repo.protonvpn.com/debian/public_key.asc to download.

b. Add the key to Pacman

In Terminal enter:

pacman-key --add /path/to/downloaded/public_key.asc

(Replace /path/to/ with the path to wherever you downloaded key)

c. Ensure that the key has been added to pacman keyring

Enter:

pacman-key --finger A88441BD4864F95BEE08E63A71EB474019940E11

d. Sign the key

Run:

pacman-key --lsign-key A88441BD4864F95BEE08E63A71EB474019940E11

6. Try out the early release version of this app

The early access version of our Linux CLI gives you access to new features before they are released publicly, but it is still in development. By using the early access version and sharing your feedback, you can help us find and address bugs. If you would like to install the early access version instead of the stable release of this app, please see here.

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