The internet in Iran is highly restricted and controlled, with some services and content often being banned altogether. Several social media and messaging apps have been banned due to them being used to organize protests, as well as any organizations that report the news. To get around these restrictions, we’ve put together a list of the best VPN for Iran.
There are a lot of risks involved when going online in Iran. Trying to access illegal content is dangerous and can lead to punishment if caught. Punishment in Iran ranges from imprisonment to fines to floggings.
On top of that, people can be persecuted for being gay, for gambling and even using dating sites. Sharia law is strictly imposed all over the country and this defines the day-to-day life of citizens. Their laws are based on religious beliefs and infringing any law could end up with severe penalties.
Iran’s Committee for Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice view social media as a bad influence and partial or total blocking of these services is becoming a common response. Plus, anti-government demonstrators use it to both organize protests and deliver messages to other citizens. Restricting access to such platforms is the Iranian government’s way of trying to stay on top of the situation.
To this end, Iran has set out to create what has been called a Halal internet. This is basically a localized network, disconnected from the global internet, excluding any content that the regime objects to and promotes the strict religious values of the Islamic Republic.
By having this domestic web, Iran can control the flow of information coming in from abroad. Authorities know users can get around the bans but they still throw up barriers as they know less savvy or more cautious people will not be a threat.
Iran’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced that China would help Iran in implementing the restrictions. China’s censorship program is the most rigid in the world and all these restrictions are bad for citizens and tourists, as well as businesses.
Private sector businesses put pressure to try and open the internet back up as there is money to be made online.
Despite all this censorship enthusiasm, Iran’s de facto leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other Iranian officials often blast social media as a spying tool for the West, yet have verified profiles on many platforms including Twitter. Regardless of the contradiction, they use social media to reach out to their supporters and circulate propaganda.
Best VPN for Iran 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for Iran?
To ensure your safety online, it’s important to make sure that the VPN service you select has some specific features. Security should be your top priority in this case to keep you from being tracked. You should choose one with high encryption for the best protection. Not all of our best VPN providers are secure enough to use in Iran.
Another crucial factor is privacy, and you need to make sure that the provider keeps no logs. This means that there is no record of what you have been up to online so, even if asked by the authorities, the company can’t give what they don’t have.
A killswitch is also essential for added protection. This will sever your connection to the internet should the VPN fail, stopping your data from being leaked to your ISP and the Iranian government.
Server locations also play a part in choosing a provider. The network needs to have servers located outside of Iran and other countries that are part of the Islamic Republic in order for you to access blocked sites and services. However, you also don’t want them to be too far away as this will slow down your connection.
All these features will keep you protected and stop ISPs, the Iranian government and hackers from snooping. With that said, while you might be tempted to use a free VPN service, we wouldn’t recommend it. By using a free VPN you could compromise your safety as some log your activity and may sell your data. Make sure you know what you are signing up to or you run the risk of playing into the government’s hands.
Best VPN for Iran: ExpressVPN
Our top pick for Iran is ExpressVPN. It is often ranked number one here at Cloudwards.net due to its fast and secure service. Other VPN services come close but ExpressVPN just has them beat. It’s safe to use for everyone so you can relax in the know that you are protected. You can read our full ExpressVPN review to find out more, or read why it’s our best VPN for Netflix.
It is one of the best providers for security with its 256-bit AES encryption, plus the added bonus of being able to increase it manually to 4096-bit for added peace of mind. The company also has a strict no-logs policy so you don’t need to worry about anyone finding out what you’ve been up to, plus it has the much needed killswitch.
On top of that it has a great network with plenty of servers to choose from. To keep speeds up you can find them close by in countries such as Israel, Uzbekistan and Armenia, so you should have no problem accessing the content you want.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
While its settings are tweakable for those in the know, ExpressVPN is great for people who have no idea how to use VPNs. It pretty much handles everything for you. The initial setup is easy, plus, once installed, it’s simple to use and gets you connected very quickly. All you need to do is make sure you choose the right server location, which is easy to do.
It has clients for Windows and Mac, as well as fully functional mobile apps for Android and iOS devices so you can be sure you’re safe on the go. Along with those it also offers browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Safari too.
Customer support is not the quickest available, however the staff are helpful and knowledgeable. The best way to contact them is via live chat and they will try to get you sorted as soon as possible. You can also contact them through email if you prefer, although this will take a bit longer.
ExpressVPN is a bit pricey compared to other providers, but it’s great value for money and we strongly recommend it to ensure you are protected in Iran. It does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out and see if you like it, which we are sure you will.
- Easy to use
- Split tunneling
- Slow switch time
A very close second to ExpressVPN is NordVPN. Its security is excellent and has the added feature of double-hop encryption, which basically means your data is encrypted twice over. It’s also more tweakable, however, we wouldn’t recommend this unless you know what you’re doing.
NordVPN has a no-logs policy to keep you even more protected from the authorities and also includes a killswitch for added peace of mind. Take a look at our NordVPN review for a more in depth look at the service.
It has a good network of servers and does have some located in neighboring countries including Israel and India. If connecting over a long distance it can be a little slow, which is why it misses out on the top spot, however, it is still decent. One area that it does beat ExpressVPN is its speed at switching servers.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
It’s quick to setup and you’ll be good to go within minutes. Its layout is simple too so it’s very easy to use. You can install it on Windows or Mac, plus it has an Android and iOS mobile app available too, so it’s great for traveling around.
If you run into any problems then support is helpful with live chat and email available. Responses are fast and thorough. It also has a handy knowledgebase available for the most common problems that may see you get sorted out yourself.
NordVPN is great value for money and has an affordable monthly price. However, to take advantage of its best prices you would need to sign up to the longer term plans. It offers a 30-day refund, just in case you decide it’s not right for you.
- Highly Secure
- Double-hop servers
- Well priced
- Lack of detail on server location
- No split tunneling
Third on our list is VyprVPN and, while not quite beating our first two choices, it does have great security to keep you safe. It has its own Chameleon protocol, which offers even more encryption to your connection and anyone looking at it can’t even tell it’s a VPN. We talk more about this in our VyprVPN review.
Privacy is good and you can rest assured no logs are kept by this provider either, so you can browse in confidence. Plus it includes a killswitch so you don’t have to worry about your data being leaked if the VPN fails.
Its speed is good and servers can be found not too far away in countries such as India, Tunisia and Egypt, so you won’t have a problem getting your connection out of Iran.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
It doesn’t take long to set up and although the desktop clients layout for Windows and Mac could be better, it’s still ok to use. The mobile app it provides for Android and iOS, however, is much better.
Support, should you need it, is available as live chat or email. Live chat is quick but if your issue is more technical we recommend going through the email route as the help given is more in depth and it’s still pretty quick. It also has a FAQ section that may help you get sorted by yourself, although it’s not as good as other providers.
Pricing is affordable but VyprVPN doesn’t have a refund policy. It does, however, have a free three-day trial, which is rare, and this should give you enough time to try it out and see if you like it.
- Chameleon Protocol
- No refund policy
Next up on our list is CyberGhost. Along with our other choices it offers great security, although it isn’t as customizable as NordVPN. It ranks well with privacy as it keeps no logs whatsoever, so there’s no record of your online activity.
A killswitch is also part of the service and, for added safety, it can’t be turned off.
While it’s not as fast as ExpressVPN, it’s still pretty quick and has a great network with servers nearby in India and Israel, so you should have no problem finding one to suit. For more info on this service, be sure to check out our full CyberGhost review.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
Installation and set up is easy and is available for Windows and Mac. It has a tiled interface which could do with being improved, but it’s still easy to see what you need to do. You can also download the mobile app for Android and iOS.
Customer support is great and it has an extensive knowledgebase for the most common of problems. If, however, you can’t sort it yourself you can contact them through live chat or email. The live chat is the fastest route and the staff are helpful and thorough.
CyberGhost has an affordable, monthly plan but by signing up for a longer term you can save more money. Before committing to something so lengthy you can take advantage of its seven-day trial and try before you buy.
- Easy to use
- Dynamic tile interface
- No split tunneling
Our final recommendation is TorGuard. This is another great provider that is highly secure so will keep you safe when browsing. It is tweakable for those in the know, however, the added security available comes at the cost of speed, so service can be pretty slow.
With that said, it has a massive network and servers can be found in Israel, India and Egypt enabling you to connect closely to help keep the service at a decent speed. Once again, it offers a killswitch and has a no-logs policy so you don’t need to worry about your privacy.
Other Reasons We Like TorGuard
It is easy to install and use, plus has apps available for both Android and iOS. However, while the mobile app is ok to use, it can be a pain to set it up initially. We speak more about this in our TorGuard review if you’d like to know more.
Help is at the ready if you need it with live chat. One thing to note with this though is it isn’t always manned and you may find yourself leaving a message, to which they will reply via email. You could always look through the resources they have available online to see if you can sort the issue yourself though. Plus there is a forum with support technicians often available.
TorGuards monthly plan is a bit pricey but, as with most providers, the cost comes down considerably if you opt for a long-term subscription. It also offers a seven-day money-back guarantee giving you peace of mind if you find it’s not right for you.
- No logs
- Simple to use
- Mobile app not great
- Service can be slow
Hopefully our list of VPNs will help you choose a service that’s right for you. No matter what it is you want to look at online, your safety should be priority. You should choose a provider that offers top security and privacy, along with a killswitch. Plus, you will need it to have servers outside of countries that are run by Islamic laws.
ExpressVPN is a clear winner here as it ticks all the boxes. Great security and privacy, a killswitch and servers located close by but outside of Iran. It is good value for money and with its 30-day money-back guarantee you can’t go wrong.
Having said that, any of our recommendations will get your internet signal out of Iran safely, so choose one that suits your needs. Whichever service you choose you must always check that you’re connected via your VPN before carrying out any activity online, and don’t tell people you don’t know.
Have you used a VPN in Iran before? If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them in the comments below. Thank you for reading and stay safe.