How to set up and use the ExpressVPN app for Linux

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This tutorial will walk you through how to set up the ExpressVPN app for Linux. These steps work for Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS.

Prefer manual setupSee the instructions for manual setup for OpenVPN (via Terminal), OpenVPN (via Ubuntu Network Manager), and PPTP.

Prefer video? You can follow along with the embedded clip.

Can’t access YouTube? Watch the video here.

Jump to section

Download the installer for your version of Linux
Command line install for the app
Connect to a server location
Disconnect from a server location
Choose a different server location
Switch to a different VPN protocol
Open the manual
Use the autocomplete feature
Use the auto-connect feature
Use the ExpressVPN browser extension
Uninstall your app
Troubleshoot your installation
Troubleshoot your connection


Download the installer for your version of Linux

Open the Welcome Email you received when you signed up for ExpressVPN. Click the link in the email.

Welcome email with Set Up ExpressVPN button highlighted.

If you cannot find the link, sign in to your account here.

Sign-in page with Sign In button highlighted.

Once you have clicked the link in the welcome email or signed in to the website, click on Download for Linux. Clicking this button will launch the file download and take you to the Downloads page.

Setup screen with Download for Linux button highlighted.

Alternatively, you can download the installer file from the Downloads page: Click on Linux on the left side of the screen and download the correct installer for your version of Linux.

Note: You can find out which version of Ubuntu or Fedora you are running by going to the terminal and inputting uname -m or arch

If you see a “64” (for example, “x86_64”), it means you are using a 64-bit Linux distribution. In this case, you should download the 64-bit installer.

Find out which version of ubuntu you're using.

Select the distribution of your machine and click Download.

download the correct linux distribution.

Copy the activation code. You will need to provide it later when activating the app. To copy, click on the copy information icon in the top-right corner of the box.

copy your expressvpn activation code to the clipboard.

Optional: Learn about downloading the PGP key and verifying the signature.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Command line install for the app

If you cannot run the installer directly to install the app, you can install ExpressVPN via the command line for Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS:

Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the installer file. For example: cd ~/Downloads/

Once inside the folder, run one of the following commands, according to your distribution:

Ubuntu / Mint / Debian: sudo dpkg -i [installer filename]

Fedora / CentOS: sudo yum install [installer filename] or sudo dnf install [installer filename]

run the installer command to install expressvpn for linux.

To activate the app, open a new terminal. Run the following command:

expressvpn activate

and paste your activation code from the Downloads page.

activate expressvpn via the linux command line.

You can help improve ExpressVPN by sharing anonymized diagnostic reports. Enter Y to accept or n to decline.

share anonymized diagnostic reports for expressvpn for linux.

If you choose to send diagnostics but later decide you want to opt out, run the following command:

expressvpn preferences set send_diagnostics false

turn off diagnostic sharing in ubuntu.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Connect to a server location

In the terminal, run the following command:

expressvpn connect

ExpressVPN will connect to the server location you were most recently connected to.

If you are connecting for the first time, ExpressVPN will connect to the Smart Location, which is recommended to you based on factors such as speed and proximity.

connect to expressvpn on ubuntu.

By default, you will see a notification indicating that ExpressVPN is connected.

VPN connected message.

Note: A single ExpressVPN subscription can be used simultaneously on three devices, regardless of platform. If you try to use more than three devices simultaneously on one subscription, you will see the below screen:

Terminal showing device-limit policy.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Disconnect from a server location

To disconnect from a server location, run the following command:

expressvpn disconnect

ExpressVPN will disconnect from the server location to which it is currently connected.

Terminal with disconnect command highlighted.

By default, you will see a message indicating that ExpressVPN is disconnected.

VPN disconnected message.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Connect to a different server location

To find a list of recommended locations to connect to, enter the following command in the terminal:

expressvpn list

By default, ExpressVPN will suggest the location that provides the most optimal experience for you, called Smart Location, at the top of the list.

Terminal with locations list command highlighted.

Connect to a specific server location

To connect to a specific server location, enter:

expressvpn connect [LOCATION]

or

expressvpn connect [ALIAS]

For example, to connect to UK – Berkshire, enter:

expressvpn connect "UK - Berkshire"

or

expressvpn connect ukbe

Terminal with connect UK Berkshire location highlighted.

Connect to a specific country

To connect to a specific country, enter:

expressvpn connect [COUNTRY]

For example, to connect to a server location in Germany, enter:

expressvpn connect Germany

Connect to the Smart Location

To connect to the Smart Location:

expressvpn connect smart

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Switch to a different VPN protocol

VPN protocols are the methods by which your device connects to a VPN server. Switching to a different protocol can help you achieve faster connection speeds.

The ExpressVPN Linux client uses OpenVPN in the background. Under OpenVPN, you can switch between the TCP or UDP protocols. By default, ExpressVPN will automatically pick the best protocol for you.

To switch to TCP, run the following command:

expressvpn protocol tcp

To switch to UDP, run the following command as shown in the screenshot below:

expressvpn protocol udp

Terminal with protocol command highlighted.

If you want ExpressVPN to automatically select the optimal protocol, enter:

expressvpn protocol auto

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Open the manual

To view a full list of the app’s functions, run the following command:

man expressvpn

Terminal showing full list of commands.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Use the autocomplete feature

When entering commands, you can get a list of all functions by hitting the “tab” key twice.

For example, typing expressvpn protocol and then hitting the “tab” key twice lists the protocol options available.

Terminal with all protocols highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Use the auto-connect feature

You can instruct the ExpressVPN app to automatically connect, on startup, to the last successfully connected location by entering:

expressvpn autoconnect true

Terminal with autoconnect command highlighted.

If you have not previously connected to a server location, this command will connect you to your Smart Location.

To disable this function:

expressvpn autoconnect false

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Use the ExpressVPN browser extension

If you are using Version 1.3 (or later) of the ExpressVPN app, you can download and use the ExpressVPN browser extension to remotely control the ExpressVPN app from your browser. The extension is currently available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

To get the ExpressVPN browser extension, run one of the following commands:

expressvpn install-firefox-extension

expressvpn install-chrome-extension

Terminal with install extension command highlighted.

This will open your browser to the page for downloading the extension. Click on Quick Install to proceed.

Download page with Quick Install button highlighted.

Learn more about the ExpressVPN browser extension here.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Uninstall your app

To uninstall the ExpressVPN app, run the following command:

For Ubuntu: sudo dpkg -r expressvpn

For Fedora: sudo yum remove expressvpn

Terminal with uninstall command highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Troubleshoot your installation

If you see the error message Cannot connect to expressvpn daemon, enter the following command to restart ExpressVPN:

For Ubuntu: sudo service expressvpn restart

For Fedora: sudo service expressvpn restart or sudo systemctl restart expressvpn.service

Terminal with restart command highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Troubleshoot your connection

If you experience any connection problems with your app, try these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Connect to a different server location
  2. Change your VPN protocol
  3. Reboot your computer and relaunch the ExpressVPN app for Linux
  4. Get the latest version of the ExpressVPN app for Linux

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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