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This tutorial will show you how to manually set up ExpressVPN on Linux via Ubuntu Network Manager.

Not all ExpressVPN locations may be available for manually configured connections. To use the full list of VPN locations, use the app setup.

Important: The OpenVPN manual configuration does not offer the same security and privacy benefits as the ExpressVPN app. If you are located in a country with a high level of internet censorship, you are recommended to use the ExpressVPN app for a more stable VPN connection.
Prefer app setupSee the instructions for setting up the ExpressVPN app for Linux or setup for other Linux distributions.

Jump to…

1. Find your ExpressVPN account credentials
2. Set up the VPN
3. Connect to a VPN server location
Disconnect from a VPN server location


1. Find your ExpressVPN account credentials

Go to the ExpressVPN setup page. If prompted, enter your ExpressVPN credentials and click Sign In.

Enter your account credentials, then click "Sign In."

Enter the verification code that is sent to your email.

On the right, with OpenVPN already selected for you, you will see your username, password, and a list of OpenVPN configuration files.

With "OpenVPN" selected, you will see your username, password, and a list of OpenVPN configuration files.

Click the location(s) you want in order to download the .ovpn file(s).

Next, scroll down to Optional, then click ZIP file to download the VPN keys and certificates.

Click "ZIP file" to download the VPN keys and certificates.

Keep this browser window open. You will need this information for the setup later.

After downloading the ZIP file, go to the Downloads folder (or the location you saved the file to). Locate the file, right-click it, and select extract here to unzip it for later.

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

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2. Set up the VPN

On your desktop, click ⋮⋮⋮. In the search bar, type Network.

Select Network.
Select “Network.”

Next to VPN, click Add icon..

ubuntu-20.04-network-select-add-icon

Click Import from file…

Click “Important from file…”

Select the ExpressVPN OpenVPN configuration file you downloaded earlier. Click Open.

Select the ExpressVPN OpenVPN configuration file you downloaded earlier, then click “Open."

In the Identity tab, under Authentication, enter the following details:

  • Type: Select Password with Certificates (TLS).
  • User name: Enter the username you found earlier.
  • Password: Enter the password you found earlier.

Next, click Advanced…

Click “Advanced…”

Under the General tab, enter the following details:

  • Use custom gateway port: Check this box, then enter 1195.
  • Data compression: Select LZO.
  • Use custom tunnel Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU): Check this box, then enter 1500.
  • Use custom UDP fragment size: Check this box, then enter 1300.
  • Restrict tunnel TCP Maximum Segment Size (MSS): Check this box.
  • Randomize remote hosts: Check this box.

Enter the details for the “General” tab in the “OpenVPN Advanced Options” screen.

Select the Security tab. Make sure the following options are selected.

  • Cipher: Select AES-256-CBC.
  • HMAC Authentication: Select SHA-512.

Enter the details for the “Security” tab in the “OpenVPN Advanced Options” screen.

Select the TLS Authentication tab. Under Additional TLS authentication or encryption, enter the following details:

  • Key File: Locate the folder where the ZIP file was saved earlier, then select the ta.key file. Click Open.
  • Key Direction: Select 1.

Click OK.

Click “OK.”

Click Add.

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

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3. Connect to a VPN server location

To connect to a VPN server location, go to Network, then toggle the new VPN profile on.

Toggle the new VPN profile on.

If prompted, enter the password provided for the OpenVPN configuration.

Once you are connected to ExpressVPN, you will see an icon that says “VPN” at the top right corner of your desktop.

Once you are connected to ExpressVPN, you will see an icon that says “VPN” in the top right corner of your desktop.

Check your location and IP address to confirm the VPN connection is working.

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

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Disconnect from a VPN server location

To disconnect from a VPN server location, click the VPN icon at the top right corner of your desktop. Select the VPN profile, then click Turn Off.

Select the VPN profile, then click “Turn off.”

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

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