Due to strict censorship in Iran, VPN services are a staple for internet users. A VPN will prevent the government, ISPs, and hackers from snooping on your internet activity. They will also help you to unblock content that is censored by the Iranian state. However, not all VPNs are suitable for the task. In this guide, we recommend five VPNs for Iran and give you some helpful tips on staying secure online both in Iran and other countries that enact high censorship levels. 

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If you are new to VPNs and online privacy in general, and you want to find out more information on the topic, then take a look at the guides listed below:

  • What is a VPN – In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about VPNs as a beginner, take a look at VPN beginners guide to find out more information.
  • Guide to Online privacy – This guide covers everything about online privacy, so, if you need more information about how to secure online check it out.
  • Secure browsers – Make sure you stay secure on the web with a secure browser, in this guide we list several recommendations for secure browsers.
  • Secure messenger apps– As the Iranian government has blocked telegram along with other messaging apps, you may want some alternatives. In this guide, we list the best-encrypted messenger Apps so you can stay in touch with people securely.

Top 5 VPNs to use in Iran

In the list below, we have called out the attributes that make each of these VPNs the best for Iran. Due to the current situation in the country it is vital you take time to choose a secure service, so if you need any more information about any of the VPNs listed below, either click through to the VPNs website or check out our detailed VPN reviews.

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For more information, we have looked at our five recommended Iran VPN services in more detail below.

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The best VPN for Iran

Our experts have listed the best VPNs for Iran below. We have chosen these services because they have fantastic privacy and security features, fast servers, and come at an affordable price. All the services below also offer a VPN free trial or a money-back guarantee so you can try the services for free before committing to a contract. If you want to find more information about the services below, click through to the VPNs website or scroll below the list for a summary of each service.

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The Iranian government is working hard to block VPNs and it could potentially use packet inspection to detect VPN users. Anybody found to be bypassing government blocks to access restricted content or to engage in the ongoing protests could potentially be singled out by the authorities. For this reason, we urge you to exercise extreme caution and to stick to using VPNs that provide all the vital privacy features mentioned in this article.

Iranian Protests

Over the last three years, Iranians have been engaging in regular protests due to growing unrest with the nation’s economic situation. From April 2018, and right through 2019, the Iranian general strikes have seen thousands of people protesting against austerity, the high cost of expenses, and inflation in the country. 

During the shopkeepers, truckers, teachers, and Bazaar merchants have all been arrested for engaged in strikes – while protesters have taken to the streets to complain about the nation’s economic, political, and social situation. 

The ongoing protests, which have often been met with force by the authorities have led to mass arrests of activists. Protests and strikes have spread throughout the country and have been seen in Sanandaj, Bukan, Saqqez, Marivan, Baneh, Miandoab, Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Chabahar. Those protests and strikes are heavily motivated by anti-government sentiment and by a stance that has led to chants like “death to oppressors – long live workers”.

However, the motivation for the protests has shifted from time to time from purely economic, to anti-government. With antiwar sentiment and dissatisfaction about military force being used against Iranian Kurdistan taking center stage at times.

For protesters who fear being monitored by the government, VPNs and secure messengers have been providing the digital privacy necessary for workers to coordinate strikes and protests without fear of being constantly monitored. 

Is it safe to use a VPN in Iran?

The answer to this question is yes. However, it is very important to make sure you choose the right VPN for Iran. Firstly, it is vital that users don’t use cheap local Iranian VPNs: these have been found to be honeypots belonging to the Iranian government. Please stick to VPN providers that are known to protect users’ privacy. In addition, it is essential that a good VPN for Iran has certain features:

Important VPN features for Iran

Due to the unnerving political situation in Iran, citizens should exercise extreme caution when using a VPN. All of our recommended services have been carefully selected because they have the vital advanced VPN features necessary to keep your data and identity safe. If you need more information about how to stay secure online take a look at our VPN encryption guide. 

  1. VPN Kill Switch

    A Killswitch is a technology your internet connection if the VPN connection drops out, this is a vital feature if you are using a VPN in a country like Iran. A kill switch works by not allowing any internet traffic to leave your device outside of the VPN tunnel, therefore making it very difficult for the Iranian government to find out what you are doing online. All of the VPNs on this page offer a killswitch with their service.

  2. DNS Leak Protection

    The VPNs in this guide have been tested and they have no DNS leaks. In addition, they provide specific DNS leak protection: so please turn on this feature in order to get the maximum protection from your service.

  3. VPN Obfuscation Technology

    VPN “stealth mode” disguises VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic. This stops ISPs from knowing a VPN is being used. Concealing this information stops Iranian VPN users from drawing unnecessary attention to themselves and helps prevent ISPs from slowing your internet speeds.

Why do I need a VPN?

Iran severely restricts access to the Internet. Websites that are considered hostile to Shia Islam or Iran’s regime are blocked by ISPs, and since 2013 a huge number of websites and services have been blacklisted.

 The good news is that with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Iran, anybody in Iran can pretend to be elsewhere in the world. With a VPN, subscribers can unblock any website they wish – by successfully circumventing government-imposed restrictions.

Iranian censorship

Since the Iranian general strikes and protests broke out in 2018, there have been growing efforts to censor content online. In August 2019, this led to a new law being passed that prohibits hosting companies from servicing websites that are blocked in Iran.  

Due to that new law, any websites containing censored news and information about political and human rights issues—must now host their content on foreign hosting companies.  Since 2013 around 50 percent of 500 most popular websites have been blocked, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. 

Sites blocked by the overreaching government include a surprising mix of topics including health and wellness, science, sport, news, and even shopping. 

The good is that a VPN service can easily allow you to exit Iran’s heavily controlled Intranet to access the Internet as it appears elsewhere in the world. Simply connect to a VPN server outside of Iran, and the blocks imposed by the government will disappear. And, as long as you use a secure VPN with obfuscated servers, you do not need to worry about your ISP knowing that you are using circumvention tools. 

Is Telegram blocked in Iran?

Yes, Telegram has been blocked completely for over a year. The government is aware that internet users are coordinating their strikes and protests using private messengers and this has led to the government restricting access to platforms such as Telegram. 

Telegram has been officially blocked by ISPs for over a year now, which means that the only way to download or use Telegram is to install a VPN. It is believed that half of Iran’s population – approximately 40 million people – continue to send encrypted messages on the Telegram app by using a VPN to bypass government blocks. 

It is worth noting that despite the government’s claims that Telegram blocks cannot be bypassed with a VPN, this is disinformation designed to put people off seeking out a reliable VPN service. 

For anybody having trouble getting hold of Telegram, there are other options on the market, the best of which is Open Whisper’s Signal. Signal, Whatsapp, and Telegram all provide encrypted messaging and are all viable options for sending private messages. 

Is it safe to use a VPN in Iran?

Using a VPN in Iran permits subscribers to pretend to be in a different country. However, due to risks involved in accessing illegal content and services, great care must be taken to select a trusted and secure VPN service. But don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you, so let’s get started…

How to use a VPN safely

A Virtual Private Network is an online service that lets subscribers conceal their real location. In addition, it protects their data by providing a strong layer of encryption. This stops ISPs, the Iranian government, and hackers, from being able to snoop on what VPN users are doing online.

There are two main reasons to use a VPN in Iran:

  1. To protect your digital privacy
  2. To access the uncensored web without fear of being persecuted

By connecting to a VPN server located outside of Iran, users can conceal their real Internet Protocol (IP) address. As soon as a user connects to a server, they appear to actually be in that country – and the internet behaves as if they were overseas. This allows them to access all the websites and services that are usually blocked by the government.

This has two effects: it permits people living in Iran to evade censorship – giving them access to websites that contain porn, dating services, and many other things that are blocked in Iran. In addition, it allows people to access geo-restricted services from foreign countries, for example, you can unblock YouTube videos restricted in Iran as well as unblocking Netflix content from all over the world.

A VPN’s encryption also stops landlords, workplaces, and universities (as well as Internet Service Providers and the government), from being able to tell what VPN users are doing online. This leaves VPN users free to visit any websites they want without fear of being discovered.

Due to strict censorship in Iran, VPN services are a staple for internet users. A VPN will prevent the government, ISPs, and hackers from snooping on your internet activity. They will also help you to unblock content that is censored by the Iranian state. However, not all VPNs are suitable...