Best VPN for Pakistan 2023: Cabling Out of Karachi
You can’t ignore the negative press Pakistan gets, but the country is much more than how it’s sometimes portrayed. From the bustling streets of Lahore to the mountain towns of Hunza, there’s much to explore. Still, you’ll most likely want to stay connected, so we’ve put together the best VPNs for Pakistan to help you do so safely.
Though we’re focusing on the reasons to use a virtual private network in Pakistan for this article, it’s a good idea to do so regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.
Many countries impose some form of censorship. China is one of the worst examples, but Pakistan isn’t far off. Its status was “not free” in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net 2020 report. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority regulates what can be accessed online and removes or filters websites based on morality or obscenity, which it defines broadly.
With its wide range of filtering keywords, legitimate websites often get restricted. One example of that is the U.S.-based sex education website Scarleteen, which was a victim of the PTA’s attempt to block all pornographic content.
Authorities can order internet service providers to limit access to certain content. Blocks include news and human rights websites, pornography, blogs that express political dissent and content critical of Islam.
Pakistan and Internet Entertainment
Along with those, social media and communications apps can be affected by filtering and blocking and torrenting websites, including The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents, have been banned by ISPs (check out our alternative torrenting websites).
YouTube was blocked in December 2012 because of an anti-Islam video “The Innocence of Muslims” that fueled violent protests across major cities. The ban was lifted in January 2016 when Google launched a local version with content curated for Pakistani users. Unblocking YouTube is easy, though.
In August 2016, the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act established new legal grounds for censorship.
Section 34 authorizes the PTA to block or remove content it “considers it necessary in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court or commission of or incitement to an offense under this Act.” Plus, mobile internet was briefly suspended by the government to deter terrorists from using the networks to plan attacks.
Pakistan and Human Rights
Many online reporters self-censor, especially when writing about topics such as religion, civil-military relations, blasphemy, protests, women’s rights or LGBT issues.
In January 2017, five bloggers who were known to have criticized the military and militant religious groups were reported missing a few days apart from each other. Four returned at the end of the month after contacting their families. One claims he was tortured by a government institution. The fifth was not heard from again until March 2018.
The government denied being involved in the disappearances, but shut down websites associated with the victims shortly after they disappeared and a a court accepted a petition accusing Facebook of circulating blasphemous content published by the missing men.
Blasphemy is a criminal offense and can carry the death penalty, as one case in involving Facebook in 2017 shows. A teenager was even arrested for liking an allegedly blasphemous post on Facebook. People have tried to get others into trouble with accusations of it and vigilantes have been accused of murdering people tied to it.
In March 2017, a court ruled that those accused of posting blasphemous content on social media should be stopped from leaving the country until they are cleared.
Human rights groups say that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws enable abuse.
Online speech is under threat by other laws, too. There were cases in 2015 and 2016 in which individuals were sentenced to 13 years in prison for distributing hate speech on Facebook. Plus, the 2002 Defamation Ordinance allows for imprisonment up to five years. Though PECA replaced the ordinance, it was still used.
For another look at strict defamation laws, check out our best VPN for Indonesia and best VPN for Singapore pieces.
Government Surveillance in Pakistan
PECA includes provisions that permit the sharing of data with international agencies, which, in turn, grants broad surveillance powers to authorities in Pakistan and possibly others. It also requires ISPs to retain traffic data for at least one year and allows that period to be extended if a warrant is issued.
According to Privacy International, Pakistan has had mass surveillance in place since 2005 and authorities have expanded their monitoring activities in a bid to curb terrorism. It has been reported that its surveillance capacity goes beyond what local and international laws allow, though.
In 2013, Citizen Lab reported that it found evidence that the surveillance software FinFisher had been active in Pakistan.
Later, it was learned that the software was used to infect Microsoft office documents to steal files from targeted computers in Pakistan. Read our best VPN for Malaysia for another country that has been linked to FinFisher.
Security agencies can obtain a warrant to monitor communications under the Fair Trial Act if they have reason to believe there is a threat. Service providers face jail time or substantial fines if they fail to cooperate with the warrant.
Plus, ISPs’ SIM card vendors and telecommunications companies have to authenticate customer IDs with the National Database and Registration Authority before providing service. That is because untraceable services can become a security threat since they can be used to plan attacks anonymously.
Cybercrime in Pakistan
Cyberattacks are a global threat, with some countries being more vulnerable than others. Pakistanis are susceptible to fraudsters, scammers and organized online crime. Blackmail and online harassment are also issues, as well as encounters with malware.
A 2017 report from Symantec Corp. stated that Pakistan had been hit by a cyber spying campaign. It also listed Pakistan as one of the countries most prone to attack. Our best VPN for Thailand piece shows another vulnerable country.
Best VPN for Pakistan 2023
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What Makes a VPN the Best for Pakistan
Now that you’ve had your fill of reasons to use a VPN in Pakistan, we’re going to go through what factors are important when choosing a provider.
Given the online policing, government surveillance and cybercrime, you need to make sure the provider offers great security. That will keep you hidden and protect your data. We recommend choosing one that has a kill switch built-in so that your connection is severed from the internet if the VPN stops working.
Make sure it also has a solid no-logs policy to ensure that the provider doesn’t keep records of your online activity. That way, it won’t be able to provide them if authorities ask.
On top of that, a large server network is a good idea as it will give you a better chance of getting around censors and circumventing geoblocks. You might also want the VPN to have servers in Pakistan to get a Pakistani IP address and access local content. Plus, it should have good speeds, especially if you intend to stream.
Obviously, it needs to support your device, but you may also want to check if it allows others to be connected at the same time. Ease of use is something else to consider, particularly if you’re new to using a VPN.
Along with all that, good customer support is ideal in case you run into problems and prices vary by provider so your budget may play a role in your decision.
1. Best VPN for Pakistan: ExpressVPN
Our top pick for Pakistan is ExpressVPN. It’s a favorite here at Cloudwards.net and pops up frequently in our articles. Other VPNs are good, but it is one of the best VPN services available. Be sure to read our full ExpressVPN review to see why we like it so much.
Its security is among the best, with AES 256-bit encryption ensuring that you can surf safely. Plus, you can increase it to 4096-bit for extra protection, a must when visiting countries with strict rules, which is why ExpressVPN is also our best VPN for China. It has a kill switch, as well, and a strict no-logs policy.
ExpressVPN has a large network of servers to choose from, so you shouldn’t have problems finding one that suits your needs. Some of its servers are in Pakistan, so you’ll be able to access content restricted to that region if you need to.
ExpressVPN is our fastest VPN and, as an added bonus, it has unlimited bandwidth. Both factors play a part in being a good choice for streaming and helped it win in our best VPN for streaming piece, as well.
If you don’t have experience with VPNs, ExpressVPN is a good choice because it handles almost everything for you. All you have to do is select the server you want and make sure you’re connected. If you are more tech-savvy, you can play with the settings, just make sure you know what you’re doing first.
Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Plus, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. You can run ExpressVPN on up to five devices at the same time. That is fewer than some competitors, but still enough for most people.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has fantastic customer support. It’s slower than other services, but it tries to get your problem resolved as soon as possible through live chat. Email is also helpful and best for more technical queries. The support staff is knowledgeable and friendly.
A downside to ExpressVPN is its price, as it’s one of the most expensive providers on the market. Still, we recommend it because the excellent service is worth the cost. Plus, with its 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose.
- Easy to use
- Slow switch time
Our second choice is CyberGhost. While not as good as ExpressVPN, it has great security and includes a kill switch as part of the service. It also has a no-logs policy, so there’s no record of what you’ve been up to online. Take a look at our CyberGhost review for more details.
With around 7,800 servers spread across 91 countries, it gives you plenty to choose from. It also has 10 in Pakistan, which is more than any other provider we have looked at.
Speeds are good, but they can get slow when connecting over a long distance. There are no bandwidth caps for you to worry about, though, so you can stream or download as much as you like.
You can use it on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, and the recently updated interface is easy to use. CyberGhost allows you to run it on seven devices simultaneously, but limits the number of installs to seven, as well.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
CyberGhost’s customer support is one of its best features. There’s an extensive knowledgebase that should help with most common problems. If you need further assistance, you can contact a member of support via live chat or email. Live chat is the fastest route, but the staff are thorough either way.
It has an affordable monthly plan, but you can save some money by opting for a longer term. If you want to try it before making the leap, there’s a seven-day trial available for Android and iOS. Plus, there’s a money-back guarantee, which applies to all platforms.
- Easy to use
- Can be slow
NordVPN is another great service that offers top-notch security with excellent encryption protocols. It also has an option to use double-hop servers, which provide more protection to the VPN tunnel. It has a built-in kill switch and honors your privacy with a strict no-logs policy, too.
It has even more servers than CyberGhost and they’re in 60 countries, so there are many choices for getting around the restrictions you encounter. That said, it doesn’t have any in Pakistan, so if you want to access content limited to that country, you’ll have to go with another provider. It made our list, though, because of its excellent service.
Its speeds are good, but can get slow when connecting to a server that’s far away. Its server switch time is fast, though. Still, it’s a good choice for streaming and doesn’t have bandwidth caps.
Setup is a smooth process that can get you connected in minutes. You can install it on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS and the layouts are simple to use. Plus, you can use NordVPN on up to six devices at a time, which helps make it one of the best VPN for multiple devices on the market. Read our NordVPN review for more information.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
If you have problems, you can look through the large knowledgebase to try to fix them yourself. If that fails you can contact customer support via live chat and email. As with most providers, live chat is the quickest option.
Its monthly plan is affordable, but its longer-term plans are much more cost effective. If you try it and don’t like it, NordVPN offers a 30-day refund.
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Lack of detail on server location
VyprVPN has plenty of security to keep you protected. That includes its Chameleon protocol, which adds even more encryption to the VPN tunnel. There’s a kill switch built-in, too, and the provider has a no-logs policy.
Not only that, but you also get its Cyphr messaging app, which allows you to communicate without fear of being snooped on. The other person has to have it, too, for you to use it, though. You can read more on that in our VyprVPN review.
It covers more than 60 countries, which is good, but the total amount of servers is disappointing compared to our top choices. Even so, you should be able to bypass blocks and it does have servers in Pakistan if that’s what you need.
Its speeds are okay, but can get slow at times, and it doesn’t limit bandwidth.
Setup only takes a few minutes and you can use it on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It’s also easy to use. You can connect up to 30 devices at a time if you sign up through the website, but if you sign up through the mobile app, you’re limited to five.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
A help section with an FAQ is on-hand to get you back on track if a problem arises. If you still need assistance, you can contact the support staff through live chat or email. Live chat is quick, but we recommend using the email option if your issue is more complicated because you’ll get a much better response.
VyprVPN’s pricing is expensive, but the annual plan works out cheaper in the end. Plus, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee, which should give you enough time to see if you like it.
- Chameleon protocol
- Cyphr encrypted messaging
- Network disappoints
Finally, there’s TorGuard. While it’s a good choice, whether it is suitable for you will depend on your needs.
It has good security and, for those who like to tinker with settings, it’s one of the most customizable services available. It has different protocols to choose from, plus a kill switch for extra safety. You don’t need to worry about your privacy, either, as it doesn’t keep logs.
It has servers in 55 countries, but none are located in Pakistan, so you won’t be able to view content from there. Another thing to note is that it isn’t good at getting past the geo-restrictions set by some streaming services, which makes it a bad choice if you intend to stream.
You can use its dedicated IP feature, though. It’s guaranteed to work, which is why it’s our best VPN with dedicated IPs, but it comes at an extra cost.
Its speeds are okay, but they vary. To be fair, though, the extra security can slow it down. Even so, it’s fast enough and doesn’t have bandwidth limits. Read our TorGuard review for more details.
Easy-to-use clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The mobile app can be a pain to setup, though. You can have run TorGuard on five devices at once.
Other Reasons We Like TorGuard
Online guides and a forum are available, which should help with minor issues. You can also contact support through live chat, but you’ll be speaking to a general customer services company. For more in-depth help, it’s best to use the email support.
TorGuard’s monthly price isn’t great, but if you sign up for a longer plan, you’ll see some welcome savings. It also offers a , in case you find that it’s not right for you.
- Choice of VPN protocol
- Dedicated IP address option
- Performance speeds vary
We hope this article will help you choose a service that is suitable for Pakistan. Of course, you may be choosing one that has servers in Pakistan so you can access its content, but, for the most part, we’ve concentrated on those that will keep you protected in the country.
With your safety in mind, you should pick one that has good security to keep you hidden from government surveillance and other online dangers. A kill switch and no-logs policy are two of the main features to look for. You’ll also want a provider with a good server network to bypass blocks.
ExpressVPN takes the top spot with its excellent all-around service. It offers great security and has a kill switch and no-logs policy. It provides good value for money and, with its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can’t go wrong.
Do you have experience using a VPN in Pakistan? Tell us about it in the comment section. Check out our other VPN articles while you’re here, too. Thank you for reading.