I want to use a VPN on my Raspberry Pi. Which VPN should I choose?

Question asked 5 months ago by Random Googler (email hidden)

The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic small computer for many kinds of projects and uses around the home and office, and even in the garden. I'm a huge fan of the Raspberry Pi and have four of them next to me right now, controlling CCTV and various aspects of my garden. For security I run most of them on a private LAN which isn't connected to the Internet.

Sometimes Internet connectivity is essential, and using a VPN is a great way to make that safer and more private.

So which VPN should we use? Truth be told - it doesn't matter. Here's why.

Several years ago VPNs used a myriad of different protocols. Some were specific to Windows computers, some specific to linux computers, and often they didn't play well with each other across different platforms.

Today OpenVPN is a protocol which unites all platforms and devices, and almost all commercial VPN providers support OpenVPN. You'll certainly want to use an OpenVPN service on your Raspberry Pi for almost all applications. It will be quick to install and set up, and reliable over the long term.

Installing the OpenVPN client on a Raspberry Pi is very simple. If you're using Raspbian or another Debian-based distribution, simply issue the command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install openvpn. The first command (before the &&) will update your package libraries to ensure you're installing the latest verion, the second command does the actual install.

It's important to keep OpenVPN updated on a regular basis. New exploits or security holes might be discovered and the OpenVPN team are quick to patch any problems. A simple sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade will update all software packages on your system.

Now to configure it. Your VPN provider will give a ZIP file or directory containing .ovpn or .conf files, which are configuration files for OpenVPN clients. They tell OpenVPN which server to connect to, how to communicate, and what credentials to use for authentication. Copy the configuration files to a sensible location (eg /etc/openvpn) and start OpenVPN with your chosen configuration file (eg sudo openvpn --config /etc/openvpn/Server1.ovpn).

These same instructions can be used for XBMC / OSMC, Raspbian, and other ARM-based operating systems.

So you can choose just about any VPN provider for your Raspberry Pi, you'll need to decide which features you need. Have a look at our best VPN list for some ideas, or best home VPNs if you're looking to use it on more than just the Raspberry Pi. Have fun!

Answered by Xander (staff)