Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 15:12

This tutorial explains how to use ProtonVPN with Ubuntu using both Terminal command line and GUI Network Manager (on GNOME, Ubuntu 18.04). ProtonVPN is a privacy-oriented VPN service hosted in Switzerland and is under the same organization with ProtonMail.

I use the free (no cost) service as example here so you can apply the same steps if you have purchased ProtonVPN paid service. Happy connecting!

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About Privacy and ProtonVPN

As our awareness toward online privacy increased since 2013 global surveillance case, many of us want a serious VPN service that works with our GNU/Linux system. One of them is ProtonVPN. ProtonVPN is from the same provider as ProtonMail, hosted in Switzerland by Proton Technologies AG, as both featured in (checked 5 July 2018).

1. Sign Up/Login ProtonVPN & Download Config

First, sign up a free ProtonMail Email account. If you already have one, login to ProtonVPN with your ProtonMail.

Go to ProtonVPN dashboard > Downloads > select platform: "Linux" > select protocol: "TCP" > select "Server Configs" > click Download All Configurations button > open the ZIP file with your archive manager > extract them.

Downloading the config files

You will find there are five or so .ovpn files with -free- word in their filenames. These are the config files you can use if your account is free.

The config files

2. Know Your VPN Username/Password

Yes, every config file you have downloaded needs ProtonVPN's special username/password to connect to the protected VPN network. They are available in your ProtonVPN Accounts page or under the OpenVPN/IKEv2 section. You can also change them to make them easier to remember.

Your special username/password for VPN

3. Option 1: Using Terminal

Type the command:
$ sudo openvpn --config vpn-file-name.ovpn

Copy and paste your special username and password from the Accounts page:

Finally, get connected once you see "Initialization Sequence Completed" message:

To disconnect, on the same Terminal press Ctrl+C.

Now you can browser the net or send emails securely using ProtonVPN established connection.

4. Option 2: Using GUI

Install needed software packages:
$ sudo apt-get install openvpn network-manager-openvpn network-manager-openvpn-gnome

Go to System Settings > Network > VPN section > click '+' Button > click Select from file > choose one .ovpn file you have downloaded > enter your special username/password > Add.

Configuring ProtonVPN using GUI Network Manager

Finally, connect to ProtonVPN by choosing your VPN from the Network Manager.

Connecting in one click

Once connected, you will see a lock over network cable icon besides your Wifi/LAN icon.


Happy connecting!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.