How to install the NordLayer VPN client on Linux and connect it to a virtual network

If you’re looking to employ a solid VPN service for remote workers, NordLayer VPN is an outstanding option. Find out how to install and use the client on both Ubuntu Desktop and Fedora 36.

Image: NordLayer

NordLayer VPN (formally called NordVPN Teams) is a VPN-based network security solution that can serve just about any sized business and allows admins to manage connections from a remote, web-based dashboard. But on the user side, NordLayer is a VPN service with over 30+ global locations that offer strong AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, threat blocking, jailbroken/rooted device detection and auto-connect.

SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

As a NordLayer VPN admin, you can control the login method types, security configurations and more.

Understand, although the NordLayerclient application is free, the service is not. You can subscribe to different plans that start at $7/user/month and go up to $9/user/month. It also should be noted that NordLayer VPN isn’t a tool for consumers. Instead, this VPN solution is all about business and making it far easier for companies to remotely manage staff members’ ability to employ VPNs for their networks. So, if you need to ensure your remote staff is working with a secure network at home (or just about anywhere), NordLayer might be just the thing you need.

What I want to do here is walk you through the process of installing the NordLayer VPN client on Linux. Although the application can be installed on nearly every platform (Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS), the steps for installing and using it on Linux aren’t nearly as simple as on the other platforms.

With that said, let’s install.

What you’ll need

The only things you’ll get the client installed are a running instance of Linux and a user with sudo privileges. I’ll demonstrate the installation on both Ubuntu Desktop 22.04 and Fedora 36.

How to install NordLayer on Ubuntu Desktop

First, we’ll run the installation on Ubuntu Desktop. Log into your desktop, open your web browser to the NordLayer download site and download the .deb file. Save that file to your ~/Downloads directory.

Next, open a terminal window and issue the command:

sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/nordlayer*.deb

The above command doesn’t actually install the NordLayer client, but the repository housing the necessary packages. After the installation completes, update apt with:

sudo apt update

Finally, install NordLayer with:

sudo apt install nordlayer -y

Once the installation completes, add your user to the nordlayer group with:

sudo usermod -aG nordlayer $USER

Make the system aware of the changes with:

newgrp nordlayer

How to install NordLayer on Fedora 36

The installation on Fedora 36 is somewhat similar. Download the .rpm file from the Downloads page and save it to your ~/Downloads file. Open a terminal window and install the repository with:

sudo rpm -i ~/Downloads/nordlayer*.rpm

With that complete, install NordLayer with:

sudo dnf install nordlayer -y

Add your user to the nordlayer group with:

sudo usermod -aG nordlayer $USER

Make the system aware of the changes with:

newgrp nordlayer

How to use NordLayer

On Linux, everything is done via the command line. You can check the status of your NordLayer connection with:

nordlayer status

That command should report back something like this:

Login: Not logged in
VPN: Not Connected
Current network: wired connection

When the admin setup NordLayer for your company they will have created an organization. If you issue the command the following command, you will first be asked for the organizational name:

nordlayer login

Once you enter the organization name, you’ll be prompted to select which login method to use. The options will depend on what your administrator has allowed. Say, for instance, your admin has enabled email login. For that, you’d type the email associated with your NordLayer account followed by the password associated with your email address.

SEE: 20 good habits network administrators need–and 10 habits to break (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Upon successful authentication, your system will be connected but you then need to select a gateway to use. To list the available gateways, issue the command:

nordlayer gateways

Say, for example, you want to connect to the UK gateway. For that, you’d then issue the command:

nordlayer connect uk

At this point, you are now connected to the UK gateway of NordLayer and all of your network data is encrypted.

When you want to disconnect from the gateway, issue the command:

nordlayer d

And that, my friends, is how you install and use the NordLayer VPN client on Linux.

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