ExpressVPN and XFCE4

Having tired of Geo-blocking and wanting to protect my Meta-data, I have signed up to ExpressVPN.

I was looking for a VPN solution and after doing a lot of research, I decided on ExpressVPN. They support all of my devices (Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone/iPad), with access points in what must be every country on the globe. Windows and Mac was just a matter of installing an application and signing in. Same for iPhone/iPad, just get the app on iTunes, sync the device and sign-in. Linux had a few more steps.

Full credit to the ExpressVPN people – the Linux instructions were both detailed and comprehensive. The only problem for me was that they were based on the Unity desktop, whereas I am running XFCE4 (due to Unity not supporting remote access), so there were a few more steps to get ExpressVPN going.

Everything was going great, until step 6 (Click on your Network Manager icon on your desktop bar Notification Area) when I realised that I did not have a Network Manager icon. Since all my Linux machines are desktops or servers, I don’t normally need to change their network settings and I hadn’t even noticed that this icon was missing. After a bit of Googling, these are the missing steps.

First install the missing components

sudo apt-get install network-manager network-manager-gnome

sudo gedit /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf



To permanently add the nm-applet to your panel, go to Applications Menu>Settings>Session and Startup>Application Autostart tab and enable “Network”. This will add the applet upon next session start.

sudo gedit /etc/xdg/autostart/nm-applet.desktop

Change the Exec line to

Exec=dbus-launch nm-applet

Restart the machine.

The Network Manager icon should now be displayed and working as expected. Complete the ExpressVPN installation and happy private browsing.





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