Best VPN for Iran in 2023: Bypass Social Media & Internet Blocks
The protests in Iran have triggered a major spike in VPN usage. If you’re in Iran, you might want a VPN to encrypt your connection and protect your privacy online. If you’re confused about which service to choose, we help you select the best VPN for Iran in this guide.
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini triggered widespread protests across Iran. The officials have since repeatedly shut down mobile internet and blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp, reports Wired. Other services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been banned for a long time in Iran. However, you can still access these services when you use the best VPN for Iran.
- A VPN can encrypt your connection, making it secure and anonymous. If you’re in Iran, the current situation and Iranian laws might be a great reason for you to use a VPN.
- ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Iran. However, if you’re on a budget, consider NordVPN or Surfshark.
- Windscribe is a great VPN service for Iran if you’re looking for a free service.
Iran has a long history of blocking internet services and social media sites. The Freedom on the Net 2022 report rates the Iranian internet as “not free.” The Iranian government has been known to use malware both within and outside the country to gather private information.
These factors make the use of VPNs even more of a necessity. No one, including internet service providers or the Iranian government, will be able to look at your online activity when you use the best VPN for Iran. In this guide, we discuss five VPN services that will secure your internet connection.
11/15/2022 Facts checked
Updated the article to add context about the recent protests and spike in VPN usage. List of providers changed to reflect changes in features.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to use in Iran. It offers excellent security, which ensures you’re always safe when surfing the Iranian internet. ExpressVPN also delivers top-notch performance and has a large server network, so you can easily bypass any blocks within the country.
Windscribe is a free VPN that works in Iran. Other free VPNs might work in Iran too, but we recommend staying away from most free VPNs since they can be unreliable and insecure.
You can get an Iran VPN by downloading one of the VPN apps listed in our guide. Install the VPN app on your device and connect to one of its VPN servers to use it.
Top VPNs for Iran
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms$6.66 / month(save 48%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency3 ms$3.49 / month(save 70%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed90 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency110 ms$2.49 / month(save 80%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed70 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency38 ms$2.37 / month(save 81%)(All Plans) 45-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
Average speedDownload Speed98 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency1 ms$5.75 / month(save 36%)(All Plans) 3-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
What Makes the Best VPN for Iran?
We looked at various factors like security and speed to find the best VPN providers for Iran. We selected these five VPNs on a few important factors that matter the most to VPN users.
Here are five services you should consider:
- ExpressVPN — Best VPN overall
- NordVPN — Fastest VPN for Iran
- Surfshark — Unlimited simultaneous connections
- CyberGhost — Massive server network, includes an Iranian server
- Windscribe — Free VPN for Iran
Security and privacy are generally the primary concerns for VPN users. This is especially true for Iranian citizens right now, as their data and online identities might be at risk. Good speeds ensure you don’t have to wait too long for pages or content to load. Connection speed is especially important for users who need a VPN service to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming websites.
A VPN’s speed is only good for streaming if it can effectively bypass the geoblocks on streaming websites like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The problem is that even though most VPNs can assign another country’s IP address, not all of them can effectively access the region’s content on streaming websites.
Not many VPNs have Iranian servers. However, note that you don’t need an Iranian server except in a few cases, like when you need an Iranian IP address to securely access your online banking website that’s geoblocked outside Iran. You can access any other Iranian websites using your unencrypted connection, though it’s best to stay protected.
The 5 Best VPNs for Iran
Here, we discuss the best VPN services that offer the features we discussed in the previous section, starting with our top pick, ExpressVPN.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Fast speeds
- Easy to use
- Great for streaming
- No Iranian servers
ExpressVPN is our best VPN overall because it offers an excellent combination of security, performance and VPN features. ExpressVPN encrypts your VPN connection with OpenVPN and AES-256. Other available protocols include IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and Lightway (ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol). Moreover, it also includes security features like a kill switch (called Network Lock), split tunneling and DNS leak protection.
ExpressVPN has a great server spread with servers in over 90 countries. However, Iran isn’t one of them, so ExpressVPN can’t help you acquire an Iranian IP address.
You can use ExpressVPN on almost any device, including Android, iOS, routers and even gaming consoles. This means you can access blocked apps like Facebook and Instagram by installing the VPN app on your mobile device and connecting to a country where such apps are available.
You can also share ExpressVPN with your friends who want to access these blocked websites, since ExpressVPN allows up to five simultaneous connections. Because you get unlimited bandwidth, sharing your account won’t negatively impact the performance on your end in any way.
Great for Streaming
ExpressVPN is also the best VPN for streaming. It can help get access to geoblocked content libraries on all popular streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus. The VPN servers also offer fast speeds, allowing you to stream high-definition content without any buffering.
ExpressVPN is a premium service and its pricing reflects that. It costs $12.95 on the monthly plan, but its best value plan costs $6.66 per month for one year. If you want the best VPN service available on the internet, spending a few extra dollars on ExpressVPN is worth it.
You can also give the service a try before committing for the long term using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Fastest VPN
- Excellent security
- Massive server network
- No phone support
- No servers in Iran
NordVPN is almost as good as ExpressVPN on most fronts, and even beats ExpressVPN in a few areas. For example, NordVPN is the fastest VPN as per our speed tests. NordVPN uses OpenVPN, IKEv2 or NordLynx (NordVPN’s take on WireGuard) and AES-256 encryption to create a secure VPN connection. It has a kill switch and split tunneling, and a strict no-logs policy.
Not that NordVPN is expensive to begin with (the best value plan costs $3.69 per month), but you can reduce the per-user cost by sharing the account with a friend. The app offers five simultaneous connections. Moreover, you can share your account with everyone in your household or office by installing NordVPN on your router.
The VPN provider gets into all major streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Combine that with its fast speeds and you’ve got a perfect VPN to stream with. NordVPN also has a massive server network, which means you can stream geoblocked content from just about anywhere. However, it doesn’t have an Iranian server, which means you can’t use it to acquire an Iranian IP. Read more about NordVPN in our comprehensive NordVPN review.
NordVPN offers several types of specialty servers to add an extra layer of security to your connection. The specialty servers include double VPN, P2P, Onion over VPN and obfuscated servers.
Of these, double VPN is the most commonly used. Double VPN involves two VPN servers through which your internet traffic is routed instead of just one VPN server. This makes your connection even more secure.
NordVPN’s monthly plan costs $11.99 per month. The yearly plan costs $4.99 per month, while its best value, the two-year plan, costs $3.49 per month. The best value plan translates to roughly half the cost of ExpressVPN, even though the feature set and performance is almost similar. Like most VPN services, NordVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Unblocks all big streaming apps
- Features NoBorders mode & CleanWeb
- No user forum
- No Iranian servers
Surfshark is a low-cost VPN service that hasn’t been around for as long as some other major VPNs on the list. However, it has managed to become one of the best VPN services available. It offers a ton of value with its top-notch security, fast speeds and an impressive server spread. However, it doesn’t offer an Iranian server, so Surfshark can’t help you acquire an Iranian IP.
You get three security protocols including OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard combined with AES-256 and ChaCha20. It also has all the basic security features like a kill switch and split tunneling.
More importantly, Surfshark is one of the few services that offers unlimited simultaneous connections. This means you can create one account and share it with any number of friends.
Technically, you can also share access to other VPN services with an unlimited number of people by installing the VPN on a router. However, this requires users to be within the router’s range, and that’s why Surfshark’s unlimited simultaneous connections are useful. Read more about Surfshark in our Surfshark review.
Surfshark packs in plenty of additional features. For example, the NoBorders mode allows users to bypass firewalls in countries with heavy internet censorship, like China.
You also get CleanWeb, a powerful ad blocker that blocks ads on both browsers and apps on your device. Surfshark’s rotating IP feature randomly changes your IP address every few minutes to ensure complete anonymity. Moreover, you also get double VPN for extra security.
Surfshark’s best value plan makes it one of the most pocket-friendly VPNs. The monthly plan costs $12.95, the yearly plan costs $3.99 per month, while the two-year plan (its best value) costs $2.49 per month.
Given its feature set and performance, the price is more than fair. You can try Surfshark risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.37 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Has an Iranian server
- Massive server network
- VPN automation features
- Slow on a few servers
CyberGhost has one of the largest server networks of any VPN, with more than 9,000 servers across 91 countries, including Iran. Unlike other VPNs on the list, CyberGhost can help you acquire an Iranian IP address when you need to access an Iranian website securely.
The VPN provider secures your connection with OpenVPN, IKEv2 or WireGuard based on your preference. Its security feature portfolio includes a kill switch, split tunneling, an IPv6 connection blocker and NoSpy servers. Read more about these features in our comprehensive CyberGhost review.
CyberGhost can be a little slow, but this isn’t always the case. The speed depends on the server, so you might need to try a few servers to find one that offers a good connection speed. CyberGhost makes finding servers easy with its exhaustive sorting options, which allow you to sort servers by distance and server load. Once you’ve found a server, you can access most streaming platforms, like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Hulu.
CyberGhost offers automation features — called “smart rules” on the app. The rules allow you to automate tasks based on triggers. For example, you can instruct CyberGhost to automatically connect to an Iranian server whenever you launch the app.
CyberGhost is the cheapest service on the list, costing $2.37 per month when you select its best value plan. Other plans are significantly more expensive, costing $12.99 per month if you opt for the monthly plan or $6.99 per month if you opt for the six-month plan.
You also get a longer-than-average 45-day money-back guarantee (14-days on the monthly plan) so you can try using CyberGhost risk-free before you commit for the long-term.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: 15GB free; Build-a-plan starting at $3; Pro for $5.75 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: windscribe.com
- Free plan
- Fast connection speeds
- Flexible pricing option
- 3-day money-back guarantee
- No Iranian servers
Windscribe is a reliable free VPN. Most free VPNs are unreliable, slow and insecure. A few exceptions exist, and Windscribe is one of them. The reason is that Windscribe’s free version is meant to be a preview for its paid VPN service.
The free plan understandably comes with a few restrictions. You get 15GB of free data each month provided you register your email address and tweet about Windscribe, and server access is restricted to a limited number of countries.
However, Windscribe performs just as well as other services. It offers excellent security. It’s also one of the fastest VPNs and even beat premium services like ExpressVPN when we tested its speeds on U.S.-based servers. In addition to great speeds, Windscribe also unblocks almost all major streaming platforms.
The free plan also offers limited access to R.O.B.E.R.T. — Windscribe’s powerful ad and malware blocker. However, R.O.B.E.R.T. is more capable than a regular VPN browser extension. Learn more about R.O.B.E.R.T. and other Windscribe features in our Windscribe review.
Flexible Pricing Option
If you decide to upgrade, Windscribe’s build-a-plan option might help you minimize your costs. The option has a $3 per month minimum checkout value.
You can choose three countries from the server list for $1 each per month, or add two countries and unlimited data — plus access to R.O.B.E.R.T. — for $1 per month. However, if you need access to all servers, you might consider one of the pre-built plans.
Windscribe’s paid plans are expensive. The monthly plan costs $9 per month, while the best value plan (the yearly plan) costs $5.75 per month. You can get services like NordVPN and Surfshark for less, but if you like Windscribe’s feature set and speeds, the service might be worth the price. Thankfully, Windscribe has a free plan with 15GB of data per month, as well.
- Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
- Unlimited GB
Why You Should Use an Iran VPN?
The demand for VPNs in Iran skyrocketed by 2,100% on Sept. 22, 2022. The Iranian government has been blocking apps and social sites in the wake of protests that started after Mahsa Amini’s death. However, even without any active protests, the Iranian government has frequently restricted internet freedom.
Using a VPN can help Iranian internet users protect themselves against an invasion of privacy and to access blocked websites and apps. VPNs encrypt a user’s connection, which means it also protects you against anyone snooping in on your online activities.
Are VPNs Legal in Iran?
VPNs are mostly illegal in Iran. However, the User Protection Bill proposed in 2022 might soon make selling VPN and proxy services completely illegal in Iran. The bill also prohibits ISPs from allowing unlicensed foreign services like VPNs to access an Iranian user’s data.
VPNs are illegal in Iran, except for a few government-approved VPN services. The law renders using the approved VPNs useless because they can’t access services like Facebook and YouTube. This is why you need a secure, reliable VPN service to protect your data from the government.
Can You Use a Free VPN for Iran?
Yes, you can use a free VPN in Iran. However, using free VPNs isn’t recommended. Most free VPNs can’t match a premium VPN’s security and performance. Keeping your connection secure is especially important in a country like Iran, and free VPNs are most likely not the best way to go.
However, a VPN like Windscribe might still help you protect yourself for free. The free version comes with a few restrictions, but the service will effectively secure your connection and ensure anonymity when online.
Using a VPN can protect you when you’re surfing the Iranian web. It can also help you access blocked apps and services like Facebook and YouTube and access another country’s content library on streaming websites.
Not all VPNs are equally effective when it comes to security and performance, though. We’ve discussed five of the best VPNs for Iran in this guide — ExpressVPN being the best VPN for Iran.
Have you used any of these services? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.