With over 2 billion active monthly users, Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social media apps. However, many offices and schools worldwide have blocked the app on their WiFi networks. Luckily, virtual private networks (VPNs) are great for bypassing such restrictions. The key is to choose the best VPN for Instagram, and in this guide, we’ll show you how to do that.
- Many schools and workplaces block Instagram to keep people focused and productive. In addition, some totalitarian countries like China and North Korea block Instagram, primarily for political reasons.
- With a virtual private network (VPN), you can unban Instagram and share your images, videos and stories without hassle.
- ExpressVPN is the overall best VPN for Instagram. However, if you want to save a few bucks, NordVPN is a good alternative.
- Surfshark and CyberGhost are cheaper options too, but if you need a free VPN for Instagram, opt for Windscribe.
We’ll also walk you through our top VPN picks to unblock Instagram, covering their features, pros and cons and pricing. To give you a head start, ExpressVPN is our top choice for bypassing Instagram restrictions because of its wide server network, strong encryption features and ease of use.
We recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for Instagram because of its fast connection and solid encryption features. If you’re on a budget, NordVPN is a decent alternative. Surfshark and CyberGhost are not as robust as ExpressVPN, but they have solid features and they’re cost-effective too. If you don’t want to spend a dime, go for Windscribe.
Yes, there have been reports of Instagram blocking VPN IP addresses because of suspected bot activity or misuse. Luckily, there are several workarounds. For starters, you can change your VPN service to a more reliable one, ideally one with obfuscation. You might have to turn off your VPN’s ad blocker as well.
Start by selecting a robust VPN service with a wide range of servers. Next, download and install the VPN. Most VPNs have apps for Android and iOS users as well as desktop clients for Windows, macOS and Linux. Open the installed VPN and choose a nearby server. Finally, log in to your Instagram account and start using it.
Top VPNs for Instagram
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed84 MbpsUpload Speed7 MbpsLatency158 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed64 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency44 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency3 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
What Makes the Best VPN for Instagram?
In constructing this list, speed was our foremost concern. We looked for Instagram VPNs that have great upload and download speeds as well as low latency. In addition, we considered the encryption and privacy features on offer.
From our testing and experience, these are the top five VPN picks for unblocking Instagram:
- ExpressVPN — Overall best VPN for unblocking Instagram
- NordVPN — Cheaper but decent alternative to ExpressVPN
- Surfshark — Best for uploading content on Instagram
- CyberGhost — Best VPN for bypassing Instagram blocks at school
- Windscribe — Best free Instagram VPN
Finding the finest VPN for Instagram starts with understanding how the app operates. Although Instagram allows texts, it focuses primarily on photo and video sharing. A slow VPN will make photos and videos load slowly, and livestreams will appear choppy. The fastest VPNs typically have an extensive network of servers, because the closer a server is to the user, the faster the connection speeds.
Overall, all of the VPNs on this list come with the security features you’d expect from a good Instagram VPN, including AES-256 encryption, leak protection, split tunneling, a kill switch and a host of protocols to choose from. This is crucial in allowing you to customize your experience to make the most of your VPN.
Further, a good Instagram VPN should have a clear no-logs policy. That way, you can be confident that even if the VPN is hacked or subpoenaed for any reason, your data will be safe. It’s also worth digging into the VPN’s history to see if there have been any hacks, and how the company responded to them.
The 5 Best VPNs for Instagram
Now that we’ve covered our criteria, let’s dig into each of our five best VPNs for Instagram.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.67 per month for the yearly plan, plus three months free
- Website: expressvpn.com
- Large server network
- Fast connection speeds
- 30-day money-back guarantee
If you’ve read a number of our articles, you’d have noticed by now that ExpressVPN takes the crown in a chunk of our reviews, but it’s not a coincidence. ExpressVPN’s collection of servers (3,000 servers in 94 countries) makes it an excellent choice for bypassing geoblocks for a wide range of apps, including Instagram.
When it comes to security, the VPN more than holds its own. Besides the military-grade AES-256 encryption, it has obfuscated servers, which make your VPN traffic look like a regular unprotected connection. If you want to ensure that your traffic is not exposed when your VPN connection drops, ExpressVPN’s kill switch will come in handy.
ExpressVPN Is Optimized for Speed
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for Instagram, period. With 160 server locations, there’s likely to be a lighter load on individual servers, so you can enjoy fast connection speeds. ExpressVPN also offers the Lightway protocol which offers fast speeds and minimal battery drain. In addition, ExpressVPN’s built-in speed test helps you decide which servers to choose.
ExpressVPN’s main downside is that it’s pricier (starting at $6.67 per month for a year) than other options like NordVPN and CyberGhost, but it’s well worth the money. In addition, it doesn’t come with extra features like malware and ad blocker, a feature that CyberGhost has, but these are not deal breakers.
Read more in our detailed ExpressVPN review, or make use of its 30-day money-back guarantee to try the service out.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.71 per month for the two-year plan
- Website: nordvpn.com
- Large server network
- Specialty servers
- Less-than-intuitive interface
- Dodgy hacking history
If ExpressVPN’s price tag is a turnoff for you, then NordVPN should be next on your list. Although it’s not quite as fast as ExpressVPN, NordVPN provides decent download speeds in particular, meaning that it’s a great choice if you’re just looking to scroll through Instagram stories. Its server fleet is also respectable: over 5,000 servers in 60 countries.
If you like to tweak your VPN, you’ll enjoy features such as the kill switch, app kill switch, double VPN and obfuscated servers. NordLynx, NordVPN’s take on the WireGuard protocol, gives a fine mix of speed and security (read our What is Wireguard piece). If you’re keen on keeping ads and malware at bay, you’ll love NordVPN’s CyberSec.
NordVPN Has a Slew of Specialty Servers
One of NordVPN’s biggest draws is its collection of specialty servers. The double VPN feature runs your connection through two VPN servers for added security. If your workplace or office has mechanisms to detect VPN use, opt for an obfuscated server because it veils your VPN use. Also, you can go for a dedicated IP address if you notice repeated verification requests such as CAPTCHAs when logging in to online services.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with NordVPN, though. For starters, NordVPN’s apps can be rather complicated to use. In addition, NordVPN recently announced in a blog post that they might log user activity with a court order. All things considered, it’s a decent and significantly cheaper alternative to ExpressVPN, with a two-year plan working out to $3.99 per month.
Read our NordVPN review to learn more or take it for a spin using the 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.30 per month for the two-year plan, plus two months free
- Website: surfshark.com
- Fast upload speeds
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Not expensive
- Poor latency
Surfshark is an excellent choice if you intend to upload content on Instagram due to having some of the best upload speeds. Although Surfshark only came on the VPN scene in 2018, it has assembled an impressive 3,200 servers in 65 countries, making it a good choice in far-flung countries. Its feature set is not lacking either, with useful tools like the kill switch, multi-hop connections and split tunneling.
It also comes with CleanWeb, which blocks pop-up ads, malware, phishing sites and trackers and a NoBorders mode, which lets you surf in locations where VPNs are banned. If you want to dodge VPN tracking, you can use the camouflage mode.
Unlimited Simultaneous Device Connections
If you want to access Instagram on multiple devices, we recommend using Surfshark. While many VPNs allow users to protect only five or 10 devices at once, Surfshark has no such limits. With one subscription, you can use the VPN on all your devices at the same time. For perspective, ExpressVPN limits your installation to five devices, while Nord has a limit of six.
If you want a VPN service that you can share with your family without incurring extra costs, Surfshark is worth considering. Besides, Surfshark is one of the best cheap VPNs on the market. You’ll only need to pay $2.49 per month to get started if you sign up for the 24-month plan.
Read our Surfshark review for more insights or to make use of its 30-day refund policy.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.15 per month for the three-year plan, plus three months free
- Website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Large server network
- VPN automation
- No multi-hop connection
- No obfuscation
Cyberghost has the largest server count we’ve seen yet: around 7,800 servers in over 90 countries. That said, CyberGhost VPN has a number of important features to help you access Instagram. The kill switch is crucial for ensuring that your data doesn’t leak when your connection drops. You’ll also get split tunneling, except that you can only exclude specific URLs and not apps.
Furthermore, CyberGhost’s “Smart Rules” let you automate your VPN use, so you can set it up to automatically connect to a specific server and open Instagram afterward. However, we’d like to see CyberGhost add obfuscation and double VPN to its feature list.
CyberGhost apps are generally intuitive and user-friendly. CyberGhost’s desktop app is clean, simple and organized. At a glance, you’ll see a large “on” button and a section of servers. Considering the number of servers CyberGhost has, we’re impressed by how they’re organized into several categories — by distance, load, function, etc. — making it easy to find what you’re looking for.
To get a CyberGhost subscription, you’ll need to fork out $12.99 per month. If you opt for the three-year plan, you’ll only pay $2.15 per month, and it includes three months free. This makes it one of the most affordable VPNs out there.
Read our full CyberGhost review for more, or use its generous 45-day money-back guarantee to try it out for yourself.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free plan;$1 per location per month, plus $1 for unlimited data
- Website: windscribe.com
- Excellent free plan
- Easy to use
- WireGuard protocol is only available on Android
If you want to unblock Instagram and you’re not ready to spend money on a VPN, then Windscribe is your best option. True, the free plan comes with a 10GB data cap, however, this is a very generous offer — one that not many free VPNs can match. To learn more about free VPNs, read our best free VPN guide.
What’s more, there’s no cap to the number of devices you can connect to with your Windscribe subscription. Further, you get the industry-standard AES-256 encryption alongside IKEv2 or OpenVPN protocols. It’s worth noting that the VPN comes with two encapsulated servers, “stealth” and “wstunnel,” which add a layer of encryption to your VPN traffic.
With Windscribe’s build-a-plan option, you can add a location to your free plan for a dollar per month. The best part is that if you buy access to the U.S., for example, you get access to all 30 server locations within the U.S. For every location upgrade, you get 10GB of data. You can also buy unlimited data and access to R.O.B.E.R.T. (its ad blocker) for an additional $1 per month.
Upgrading to Windscribe’s Pro plan is not expensive. The one-month plan will set you back around $9 per month; however, you can get 55% off by opting for the annual plan. This brings the price down to $4.08 per month.
Read our Windscribe review to learn more, or try its free plan for a firsthand experience.
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
Can I Use a Free VPN for Instagram?
Free VPNs can unblock Instagram, but they come with several drawbacks. First of all, free VPNs usually don’t even have a no-logs policy, and they often gather your data to sell it to advertisers or even malicious hackers. You should also expect these VPNs to perform poorly and slow down your connection. Worst of all, some of them even come bundled with malware.
That’s not to say that there aren’t reliable free VPNs out there, but it’s hard to find a trustworthy one in the deluge of free VPNs you see in the Play store and App store. However, we do place our trust in a few VPNs, namely Windscribe, ProtonVPN and TunnelBear.
In our opinion, Windscribe is the best free VPN for Instagram. It offers its full suite of features, including AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling and an ad blocker at no cost. Plus you get 2GB of free data, which can quickly rise to 10GB per month once you give your email address and agree to receive notices from Windscribe.
ProtonVPN offers unlimited free data as part of its free plan, but when you consider that it throttles your connection speeds, the offer isn’t as enticing. Besides, it only lets you connect to servers in three countries: Japan, Netherlands and the U.S. However, it still offers great security and privacy features, including AES-256 encryption and a strict no-logs policy.
Can I Use a VPN to Unblock Instagram at School?
School WiFi networks usually block Instagram. Thankfully, a VPN helps you bypass the firewalls your school sets by encrypting your data. Because your traffic is encrypted, the firewall won’t know you’re scrolling through Instagram and won’t block you from using it.
How to Unblock Instagram With a VPN
Unblocking Instagram with a VPN is child’s play. Here are three simple steps to unblock Instagram, using Windscribe as an example.
- Download and Install a VPN App
Go to the Play store or App store and download the app.
- Open the VPN and Connect to a Server
In the VPN app, find a server close to your location and connect to it. Simply clicking the power button will automatically connect you to the fastest server available.
- Enjoy Instagram at School or Work
We don’t endorse using a VPN to break school or company policy, but if you’re set on doing so, that’s all there is to it. The only thing left to do is fire up Instagram and get to scrolling.
If you’re an Instagram user, it can be frustrating to not be able to access it at school, work or when you’re on the road. Fortunately, with a VPN, you can bypass Instagram geoblocks in Russia (and other restrictive countries), schools or workplaces.
From our testing, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Instagram, particularly because of its blazing-fast speeds. It is also the best VPN for Facebook and other social media platforms. If you want to squeeze the most out of every dime, opt for NordVPN, which is also the Telegram VPN.
Surfshark and CyberGhost are worthwhile alternatives to consider, although they’re not as fast and reliable as ExpressVPN. We recommend Surfshark if you’re an Instagram content creator, while CyberGhost is a good choice for unbanning the Instagram app in school (read our CyberGhost vs Surfshark guide).
If you’re looking for a freebie, Windscribe is your best bet (see our Surfshark vs Windscribe guide).
Have you ever tried unblocking Instagram at work, school or in another country? Which VPNs did you use? Which ones gave you the best result? Share your experience with us in the comments section below, and as always, thank you for taking the time to read.