How to Set Up and Use ExpressVPN on Manjaro

Manjaro is an open-source Linux operating system that has been around for over ten years. It is Arch Linux-based and uses the Pacman package manager. To secure your internet connections on Manjaro, you need a Virtual Private Network, and there is none currently better than ExpressVPN. This article will show you the different ways you can set up and use ExpressVPN on Manjaro

Setting Up ExpressVPN on Manjaro

While ExpressVPN does not support every Linux distribution, it supports Arch Linux. Since Manjaro is Arch Linux-based, you can easily use ExpressVPN on it. There are different ways you can use ExpressVPN on Manjaro. Let’s look at them below. 

  1. You can set it up via the ExpressVPN application. This method requires you to download the application via the CLI (Command Line Interface) and follow the instructions in this guide.
  2. You can set it up manually via OpenVPN. This method requires downloading the OpenVPN configuration file of the server you want to utilize and manually setting up a connection. 
  3. You can set it up via ExpressVPN’s available browser extensions. This is the easiest method and requires little effort. All you need to do is install ExpressVPN’s browser extension on your browser. 

We will guide you through all these ways of setting up ExpressVPN on Manjaro. So you don’t have to worry if you have little or no technical knowledge. All you need to do is follow the instructions carefully, and there will be no issues. Just in case you encounter any challenges, ExpressVPN’s support team is always available. 

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Setting Up a Connection Via the ExpressVPN Application

ExpressVPN’s Linux application does not have a GUI (Graphical User Interface). So, you have to interact with the CLI to install it, connect to a server, disconnect from a server, etc. Follow the steps below to install the ExpressVPN application on Manjaro.

1. Before anything, you need to be an ExpressVPN subscriber. So, go to the ExpressVPN website, buy a subscription package you can afford, and create your ExpressVPN account. You can ignore this step if you already have an ExpressVPN subscription account. 

2. After setting up your account, head over to your dashboard by clicking on the “Dashboard” tab. Click on the “Set Up Other Devices” tab. Select your operating system (choose Arch since Manjaro Arch-based) on the dropdown menu in this section.

3. Select the “Download” button to download the installation package. 

4. Afterward, stay on the same page and check for the activation code because you’ll need it later in the setup process. Once you find it, copy it somewhere or leave the page open. 

5. Next, you need to install the ExpressVPN application on your device. You can do this using the CLI. Open a terminal window in the downloads folder or open a terminal window and navigate to the same folder on your system (or wherever you downloaded the ExpressVPN installation package in step 3 above). The command below will navigate to the “Downloads” folder on your Manjaro. 

cd ~/Downloads/

6. Then, run the command below to install the ExpressVPN application.  

sudo pacman -U [installer filename]

7. The terminal will prompt you to input your user password (not ExpressVPN) to approve the installation.  Then, you’ll need to input “y” to proceed with the installation. 

8. After the installation is successful, you need to activate the ExpressVPN application. Run the command below and enter the activation code in step 4 above afterward. 

expressvpn activate

Note that the code won’t show when you type or paste it. Make sure you press the “Enter” button on your keyboard when you’re done. 

9. Next, you will see a prompt asking if you want to share diagnostic reports with ExpressVPN. The decision is up to you. However, you can enter the following command if you’re going to change that setting in the future. 

expressvpn preferences set send_diagnostics false (or true if you want to activate it)

10. Run sudo sytemctl start expressvpn to start the VPN application.

11. Run expressvpn connect to use a server. This command uses the best server available using ExpressVPN’s Smart Location if it’s your first time running the command. Otherwise, it’ll connect you to the last used server. A successful connection will show a confirmation message. 

12. To connect to a specific server, run expressvpn connect [location or ALIAS of server].

12. To disconnect, run expressvpn disconnect.

13. To list the servers available, run expressvpn list all.

14. To use Smart Location, run expressvpn connect smart.

15. To check the status of the ExpressVPN app, run expressvpn status.

That’s all you need to use the ExpressVPN app on Manjaro. You can run expressvpn -h to get inline help or contact ExpresVPN’s always available support if you need help.

Setting Up a Connection Using OpenVPN

Another way to use ExpressVPN on Manjaro is to use the OpenVPN protocol to connect to a server. Let’s look at the configuration process below. 

1. Log in to your ExpressVPN account and navigate to your dashboard. 

2. Select the “Set Up Other Devices” tab and navigate to the “Manual Configuration” section. 

3. Click “OpenVPN,” and you will see your ExpressVPN service username and password. Just below your credentials, you’ll see a list of OpenVPN configuration files for servers you can use. You can select a single server or the number of servers you intend to use and download the configuration files (.ovpn). 

4. Next, you need to install the necessary packages for OpenVPN. Open a terminal window, input the command below, enter your system password, and “Y’ to proceed with the installation.

sudo pacman -S openvpn

5. Go to settings on your computer and navigate to the connections section under the “Network” tab. Select the plus sign at the bottom to add a new connection. 

6. Choose “Import VPN Connection…” in the menu that comes up and click the “Create” button.

7. Navigate to the OpenVPN configuration file(s) you downloaded in step 3, select the server you intend to use, and click the “Open” button.

8. Select “Yes” when a pop-up window asks if you want to copy certificates.

9. Select the new VPN connection and input your service username and password (from step 3 above) under the “VPN(openvpn)” section.

10. Afterward, click the “Apply” button to save the changes. Now, you can easily connect to the ExpressVPN server by clicking the network icon on your desktop toolbar and connecting to the OpenVPN connection you just configured. Go through steps 5-10 if you want to establish a link to another server. 

Setting Up a Connection Via ExpressVPN’s Browser Extensions

Unfortunately, this method requires the ExpressVPN application to be active before you can use it. Additionally, you can only use it on Chrome and Firefox browsers. You can download and install ExpressVPN’s browser extension on Firefox or Chrome by navigating to their respective extension stores. Also, you can do that by running the commands below in a terminal window. 

expressvpn install-firefox-extension

expressvpn install-chrome-extension

Running any of these commands will open a new window/page on your browser. 

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Advantages of Using ExpressVPN on Manjaro

Below we look at the advantages that come with using ExpressVPN to keep your internet connection secure on Manjaro.

1. Security & Privacy

ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can use to secure your internet connection. Firstly, it does not record your browsing history. Additionally, it prevents data exposure by using TrustedServer to ensure its servers do not run on persistent storage. ExpressVPN has different security and privacy features, such as perfect forward secrecy, 256-bit encryption, a 4096-bit SHA-512 RSA certificate, robust VPN protocols, etc. These features make it challenging for malicious entities to have access to your data.

2. Speed

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services. Its Lightway protocol combines security and speed to give users the best experience. You don’t want to use a VPN that significantly slows down your connection and is highly unlikely to disappoint you. 

3. Server Network

ExpressVPN has a vast server network that spans multiple countries. This means that despite the boundaries that geo-restrictions mount, you will still have access to the online content of multiple countries. 

Conclusion

While ExpressVPN does not have a GUI for its Linux application, the commands required to use the CLI for operating the application are easy to learn. ExpressVPN’s support team is always available and ready to help you get past any issues you encounter in the setup process. We hope that this comprehensive guide is instrumental in helping you set up and use ExpressVPN on Manjaro.