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This paper presents design considerations and implementation of InGaP/GaAs HBT DC-20 GHz distributed amplifier with compact ESD protection circuits. The inherit benefits of both bandwidth and ESD robustness of distributed amplifiers are first compared to those of single-ended feedback amplifiers. Next, novel on-chip ESD protection circuits are introduced, featuring low capacitance loading for wide bandwidth, low leakage, and good linearity under high RF power. This paper discusses the principle of operation and performance of the ESD protection circuits, and the RF loading to the distributed amplifier. The RF performance and ESD robustness of the distributed amplifier are also discussed.