Despite often negative media coverage and an advisory for Americans not to visit, Iran is a great country. It has been home to some of the greatest ancient civilizations, and its people are kind and hospitable.
That said, Iran has a history of oppression, and its internet isn’t the most free or the most private. For those reasons, you’d be wise to install one of our best VPN for Iran picks before connecting.
In this article, we’ll recommend five of our top VPN providers that’ll keep you safe in Iran. For a quick answer, the best choice is ExpressVPN. However, if you still want to access content that’s available only in Iran, you’ll need an Iranian IP address. Our third choice, CyberGhost, can help you with that, but we’ll also note which of our other recommendations have servers in Iran.
Quick Guide: The Best VPN for Iran
- ExpressVPN — Excellent security and privacy, large server spread, fast
- NordVPN — Top security with double encryption, inexpensive
- CyberGhost — Great security, dedicated servers, cheap, servers in Iran
- PIA — Good security, fast, cheap
- VyprVPN — Great security and privacy, can be slow
Average speedDownload Speed72 MbpsUpload Speed8 MbpsLatency145 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed89 MbpsUpload Speed8 MbpsLatency140 ms
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed48 MbpsUpload Speed8 MbpsLatency136 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
Average speedDownload Speed46 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency134 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 30
Why You Need a VPN for Iran
It’s a good idea to use a virtual private network wherever you are in the world to keep you safe, but Iran’s internet freedom — or lack of it — provides a few extra reasons for needing one.
For starters, there is a high percentage of blocked websites and apps in Iran, including Facebook, YouTube, Telegram and Twitter (we have a guide on how to unblock YouTube). There are restrictions for what you can and can’t do online, too, and going against them can lead to punishment.
The internet in Iran is highly restricted and controlled, which means that the government often bans certain content and services. People all over the country live according to Sharia law, and those religious beliefs carry on through internet usage, with Iran trying to create a “halal” internet.
One example of that is with dating, gambling and porn sites; use them and you risk penalties, such as imprisonment, fines and floggings. To avoid embarrassment, you should use the best VPN for dating sites and other censored websites.
Plus, the government sees social media as a bad influence, and messaging apps have been banned due to their role in organizing protests. Websites that report on the protests can be banned, and the media have also been punished for covering the COVID-19 outbreak.
That’s not all, though. The government created censorship centers in 2019 that can identify users who try to access blocked content without using an encryption tool.
Users are sent a warning, and if they persist, they can be traced through their IP address and prosecuted. A VPN with strong security and privacy will protect you, though.
Other reports suggest that China would help Iran implement online restrictions. That’s long been in the runnings, but there’s also a more recent partnership agreement, which will see China invest in Iran’s telecommunications, as well as involve security cooperation and intelligence sharing.
If you’re not already familiar with China’s censorship and surveillance practices, you should read our piece on the Great Firewall to get acquainted.
Important VPN Features for Iran
- Security — Strong security is needed to ensure that you are protected from Iran’s surveillance practices, and it should include a kill switch for if the VPN fails.
- Privacy — A no-logs policy will ensure that there is no record of your online activities.
- Server network — A good server spread will ensure that you can access blocked content. You’ll need servers in Iran to access content restricted to the country, though.
- Fast speed — This will make sure content can be loaded quickly and in a decent resolution.
The 5 Best VPNs for Iran
We’ll now recommend five of the best VPNs for Iran. Remember that which one you choose will depend on your needs, such as requiring servers in Iran or accessing streaming platforms, like Netflix (you can also read our best VPN for Netflix piece).
1. ExpressVPN — The Best Iran VPN
- Excellent security & privacy
- Kill switch
- Servers in 94 countries
ExpressVPN is our top recommendation for an Iran VPN. That’s because it has some of the strongest security you can get. There’s a kill switch included, meaning you’ll be automatically disconnected from the internet if the VPN fails. It’s also great for privacy, having a solid no-logs policy by its side. You can read our ExpressVPN review for the full details.
It has thousands of servers that cover 94 countries, meaning you’re bound to find one that lets you access blocked content. That said, there are no servers in Iran, so you won’t be able to access content that’s restricted to the country. If that’s a deal-breaker, you should go straight to our third option, CyberGhost.
You don’t need to worry about speed because ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market. Plus, it’s our best VPN for streaming because it can access pretty much any platform. You also get unlimited bandwidth, five simultaneous connections and a very user-friendly interface for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and more.
ExpressVPN’s only downside is its price, but if you opt for a lengthy subscription, the cost comes down significantly. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on.
- Great security with double-hop encryption
- Kill switch
- Affordable long-term plans
- Can be slow
NordVPN — the best Telegram VPN — is another popular choice when top security is needed. It comes with the use of double-hop servers, which basically encrypt your connection twice over (you can read more about that in our NordVPN review). A kill switch is also included, and it has a strict no-logging policy, too.
If you like to torrent, you’ll be pleased to know that NordVPN is our best VPN for torrenting. Iran takes piracy seriously and blocks torrent sites. Although the punishment is mostly aimed at those who share copyrighted content, you should still be careful.
There are thousands of servers dotted around the globe, but like ExpressVPN, NordVPN doesn’t have servers in Iran. NordVPN’s speeds are inconsistent, but so long as you don’t mind switching servers, you’ll soon find one that’s fast. It’s also one of the best VPNs for YouTube, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services, if streaming is your cup of tea.
NordVPN is easy to use on any device, including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It also allows up to six simultaneous connections. The monthly price isn’t the best, but the longer plans make it an affordable option. Plus, there’s a 30-day refund window, in case you don’t like it.
- Good security & privacy
- Servers located in Iran
- Inconsistent speeds
Our next pick is CyberGhost, which has good security that includes a kill switch, and it doesn’t keep logs. It has a huge collection of servers that cover 90 countries, including some in Iran. So if you’re wondering how to get an Iran IP address by using a VPN, CyberGhost is your answer.
Not only that, but CyberGhost has an assortment of dedicated servers, too. That includes ones for streaming, which work well, and its No-Spy servers that are located outside of the 14 Eyes. Our CyberGhost review goes into more detail about those.
Whatever your activities will be, CyberGhost comes with unlimited bandwidth and its speeds are fast. However, similarly to NordVPN, some servers are slow. You can connect up to seven devices at one time, and it’s compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
CyberGhost offers a friendly pricing plan — so long as you don’t pick the monthly one — and there’s also a free trial available so you can take it for a test spin. Mobile users get seven days while desktop users get 24 hours. There’s also a money-back guarantee for extra peace of mind.
4. Private Internet Access
- Good security
- Fast speeds
- Not great at accessing streaming services
- Inconsistent speeds
Private Internet Access is another good choice for an Iran VPN. It has decent security, provided that you tweak it before connecting. That’s because PIA uses 128-bit encryption out of the box, rather than the recommended 256-bit encryption. Once you set it up properly, though, it’s a great service that comes with a kill switch and doesn’t keep logs.
That said, if you like to stream, PIA might not be a good choice. It’s not great at getting into streaming platforms, but it does work with Netflix, which is good. There are no data caps, and its speeds are mostly fast. You can also connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, and it can be installed on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
PIA’s servers cover 47 countries, which isn’t as many as our other picks, but it should still be enough. There are no servers located in Iran, though. You can read our PIA review for the full details, but if you want a cheap and feature-packed VPN, PIA is a good choice. You’re also covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee, in case you don’t like it.
- Great security
- Chameleon protocol
- No logs
- Sluggish speeds
Lastly, we recommend VyprVPN. It has excellent security with different protocols to choose from, including its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which adds even more security to the connection. There’s also a kill switch, and the company doesn’t keep logs, which you can read about in our VyprVPN review.
VyprVPN’s server network isn’t as big as our top choices, but it’s enough for bypassing Iran’s blocks. However, it also doesn’t have any servers located in Iran.
One area that VyprVPN lacks, though, is in its speeds. It has inconsistent speeds across the network and the overall experience can be sluggish. That’s a shame, too, because it easily gets into all of the major streaming platforms.
Back to the good bits: it’s easy to use, you get unlimited data and you can connect up to 30 devices at a time if you sign up through the website, or five if you sign up through the mobile app. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS — but didn’t make it onto our best iPhone VPN list.
VyprVPN’s monthly price is expensive, and while the annual plan cuts the cost by almost half, it’s still pretty high. It does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, though.
Is It Safe to Use a VPN in Iran?
Accurate information about VPN usage in Iran is hard to find, especially surrounding the question of whether VPNs are legal in Iran.
There are reports of the Iranian government blocking VPN ports and only allowing the use of “legal and registered” VPNs. The problem is that those VPNs are most likely monitored. The Iranian government has also throttled citizens’ internet speeds in the hope of deterring them from using VPN services.
Because accessing illegal content can result in punishment in Iran, it’s important that you use a secure VPN. Thankfully, reputable VPNs often keep an eye on their servers, meaning they’re likely to still be usable.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the use of VPNs in Iran, it’s important that you only use VPNs that have strong security and privacy.
What Is the Best Free VPN for Iran?
If you’re suffering from empty-wallet syndrome, you may be tempted to install one of the many free VPNs that are available. Although we can’t confirm that they’re all bad, we can say that the majority will probably do more harm than good. You can read our guide to the worst free VPN providers for some examples.
You see, although the VPN won’t cost you anything money-wise, it may cost you your privacy or security, and that’s especially bad in a VPN for Iran. It could infect your devices as soon as you download the service or it could sell your information to a third party.
The riskiest issue if you use it for Iran, though, is that the VPN might log your activity or not protect you the way it says it does.
If you absolutely have to use a free VPN, you’ll be happy to know that there are a couple of exceptions. That’s because some of the reputable services in our VPN reviews have free plans available.
Windscribe is one of them, and it’s also our best free VPN service. Its security is good, but the free version isn’t the best for streaming and has a data cap. You’re also limited to a handful of servers, but you can read more in our Windscribe review.
The take-home message is that so long as you make sure you choose a reputable VPN service, you’ll be fine. Keep in mind, though, that the free versions are limited, and you may need to upgrade to the paid version to get the features you need.
With the Iranian government’s internet restrictions and monitoring capabilities, using a VPN while you’re there is essential. Your safety comes first, though, and only a VPN with strong security and privacy can provide that. Along with that, the VPN should have a kill switch and plenty of servers.
ExpressVPN is the top VPN that meets all of those considerations and more. It’s also a top choice for streaming, in case that’s what you want to do. You can give it a whirl with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
That said, if you want to access content that’s blocked outside of Iran, then the VPN should have servers in Iran. If that’s an absolute must, our third option, CyberGhost, has some servers in Tehran. It also has great security and privacy, and plenty of other servers around the world.
Tell us about your experience with using a VPN in Iran in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading.