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5 Best VPNs to bypass a TikTok ban at college in 2024

Numerous US states have banned the Chinese-owned TikTok app from their colleges and universities, following an increase in tension between the two countries. Students, staff, and visitors are all being prevented from using the platform on state-owned devices. Blocks are in place on campus WiFi networks, with additional recommendations that TikTok not be used on personal devices either. The good news for those who rely on the app is that the best VPNs can quickly help them bypass a TikTok ban at college or university.

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server. While using a VPN, the connection to TikTok is masked, which enables users to bypass any local restrictions.

 

We’ll get into more detail about individual providers later in this article. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of the best VPNs for evading a TikTok block at college or university:

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN to bypass a TikTok ban at college. Lots of speedy, RAM-only servers across the US. Market-leading security and privacy features. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. TIP

    In our testing we checked that all ExpressVPN plans work for Netflix. The one year plan is the best value: three months free and a 30 day risk-free trial.

  3. NordVPN - Best budget VPN to bypass a college TikTok ban. Global network of secure servers and an audited no-logs policy. One-click access to the Tor network and more than enough capacity for TikTok content.
  4. Surfshark - Plenty of fast, RAM-only server options in 25+ US cities. Offers unlimited device connections and GPS spoofing. Users also have access to static and rotating IP addresses.
  5. Private Internet Access - Demonstrable commitment to privacy and trusted, open-source apps. Works great with TikTok and offers US-based RAM-only servers and unlimited bandwidth.
  6. PrivateVPN - Affordable plans and solid customer service. Provider-owned hardware, with plenty of scope for customization. Great for torrenting, streaming, and apps like TikTok.

GRAB YOUR 30-DAY FREE EXPRESSVPN TRIAL

By signing up on this page, ExpressVPN grants you a no-strings-attached 30-day trial. Experience the unparalleled privacy of the #1 VPN, especially if you're curious about how to bypass a TikTok ban at college. 

Clear-cut terms—should you decide it's not for you within 30 days, contact support for a full refund. Initiate your ExpressVPN trial here. 

VPN subscriptions can be shared to cut costs.

Choosing the best VPN from the many on offer isn’t easy, which is why we used the following criteria to narrow the field.

  • Fast speeds
  • Plenty of US servers
  • Strong security and privacy
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use

TEST WINNER ExpressVPN NordVPN Surfshark Private Internet Access PrivateVPN
Website ExpressVPN NordVPN Surfshark Private Internet Access PrivateVPN
Ranking for TikTok 1 2 3 4 5
Performance 10
9
9
8
7
Reliability 9
8
8
8
7
Free trial
Total servers 3000
6200
3200
3386
200
Payment PayPal
Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency
PayPal
Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency
PayPal
Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency
PayPal
Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency
PayPal
Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency
Unblocks: Netflix
iPlayer
Disney+
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Netflix
iPlayer
Disney+
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Netflix
iPlayer
Disney+
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Netflix
iPlayer
Disney+
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Netflix
iPlayer
Disney+
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Supported platforms Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android

Best VPNs to bypass a college TikTok ban

We’ll now explore our recommended providers in a little more detail, and find out what else they can do beyond providing unrestricted TikTok access.

1. ExpressVPN
Editor's Choice | May 2024

ExpressVPN is one of the most secure and private providers for bypassing TikTok college bans. It’s a great choice for students in shared houses. Plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months + 3 months FREE + Backblaze backup: $6.67/mth
      49% OFF
    • 6 months: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Servers in the US
    • Onion site enables anonymous sign up
    • Large network of speedy RAM-only servers
    • App for routers
    • Independently audited software and infrastructure
  • Cons

    • Slightly more expensive than rivals
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Credited with consistently being at the forefront of new VPN technology, ExpressVPN is the provider of choice for those looking for market-leading privacy, security, and speed. It can provide students with access to TikTok within seconds and can make them as near as anonymous as it’s possible to be online.


The provider has thousands of RAM-only servers worldwide, with plentiful connections available in the US and 93+ other countries. Connection speeds are more than fast enough for live streaming TikTok – primarily thanks to ExpressVPN’s proprietary connection protocol.


Apps are available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire TV. Usefully, there’s also an app for routers. If you’re sharing accommodation with other students, this means you’ll be able to access TikTok from every connected device. Otherwise, you’re restricted to five simultaneous connections per subscription.


ExpressVPN protects internet traffic using 256-bit AES channel strong encryption, together with 4096-bit DHE-RSA keys and SHA512 hash authentication. The provider has an independently audited no-logs policy that’s been verified in court cases and has had separate, independent audits of its software. Those who want anonymity can sign up using the ExpressVPN Onion site and pay using cryptocurrency.


 


 

NordVPN has a large number of US-based servers and offers notably fast and secure connections. Its apps are packed with features to explore and it's a great option for streaming. Plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $3.69/mth
      70% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Lots of US servers
    • Fast connection speeds
    • One-click access to Tor network
    • Static and dedicated IP addresses available
  • Cons

    • No app for routers
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

As one of the biggest names in the VPN world, NordVPN is a reliable choice for any student seeking to bypass a college TikTok ban. The provider offers 1,970+ RAM-only servers spread across 15+ US locations, making it easy to find speedy uncongested connections.


Features of the software include one-click access to the Tor network; split-tunneling; multi-hop servers; and obfuscated servers. NordVPN also allows the creation of secure networks between devices via its Meshnet tool.


The provider works well with all of the major streaming platforms, including the notoriously anti-VPN services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. This is largely thanks to NordVPN’s SmartPlay feature, which automatically spoofs your device’s DNS location.


While connected, internet traffic is protected with 256-bit AES channel encryption, in conjunction with SHA384 authentication and a 3072-bit DHE-RSA key exchange. NordVPN has had both its software and no-logs policy audited multiple times.


Apps are consistent across platforms and are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV. Subscriptions allow up to six simultaneous device connections. Although this can effectively be increased by installing NordVPN on a compatible router.

Surfshark is a well-regarded provider with RAM-only servers across the US and secure, private connections. Plans come with unlimited device connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.3/mth
      83% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Lots of US server choice
    • GUI for Linux users
    • Unlimited device connections
    • Private, ad-free search engine
  • Cons

    • There are faster VPNs available
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

With servers in more than 25 US cities and unlimited device connections with every subscription, Surfshark is a good choice for students in college dorms who want to bypass the TikTok ban.


Surfshark plans are reasonably priced and come with a host of features. These include a private ad-free search engine; a GPS spoofing tool,an ad-blocker; obfuscated servers; a kill-switch; and access to both static and rotating IP addresses.


The entire Surfshark server network is RAM-only and provides fast connection speeds that can cope with any TikTok-related task. The provider also works well with all of the major streaming platforms, so if you want to watch Netflix content in 4K, then you can.


Apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and Linux. The GUI is consistent across platforms and easy to use – even with Linux. Surfshark can be installed on compatible routers, and the provider also offers fully audited browser extensions.


While connected, users’ internet traffic is protected using AES-256-GCM encryption, with ChaCha encryption an option for Android devices. Surfshark’s no-logs policy has been audited and it does not suffer from DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks.

Private Internet Access is strong on both security and transparency. It has open-source apps, owns its own RAM-only server network, and offers an independently audited privacy policy. Plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.19/mth
      82% OFF
    • 6 months: $7.5/mth
      38% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Servers in every US state
    • Open-source apps
    • Dedicated IP addresses available
  • Cons

    • GUI less attractive than some
    • Based in the US
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Private Internet Access is a US-based provider with servers in 50 US states. This makes it easy for students to connect to a server near their college when trying to evade the TikTok ban.


Features include a kill-switch in all apps; a SOCKS5 and Shadowsocks proxy; an ad-blocker; split-tunneling; and access to multi-hop and obfuscated servers. Subscribers also have the option to purchase a dedicated IP address.


Surfshark is a good option for torrenting as it’s one of the relatively rare VPNs to offer port forwarding. This allows users to connect to more peers in a torrent swarm and both download and seed files more efficiently.


Private Internet Access subscriptions are great value and offer users up to 10 simultaneous device connections. Its apps are all open-source and available for Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV. Browser extensions are available for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox.


Internet traffic is protected using 128-bit AES-GCM by default, though this can be increased to 256-bit for extra security. Private Internet Access owns all of its servers, which are all RAM-only. The provider has a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited as well as tested in court.

PrivateVPN is a small provider that nevertheless offers fast connection speeds, a secure network, and remote assistance to subscribers in need. Plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2/mth
      84% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • Servers in 12 US cities
    • Acts as own server host and ISP
  • Cons

    • Not the fastest
    • Based in Sweden
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

PrivateVPN offers reasonably priced subscription plans and servers in 12+ US cities. The provider owns all of its hardware and has plenty of scope for customization. Its customer service team can offer remote assistance to students struggling to bypass college TikTok bans.


Features include fast connection speeds, a program-specific kill-switch, split-tunneling, and a stealth mode that can help users get connected in countries where internet use is restricted.


PrivateVPN works well with the major streaming platforms and is also suitable for torrenting. It offers dedicated Swedish P2P servers and port forwarding to boost download speeds.


Users can tailor their connections, with the option to choose between 128-bit and 256-bit encryption. They can also switch protocols between OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP. Reassuringly, PrivateVPN provides protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks.


Apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. Subscriptions enable users to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. If this isn’t enough, there’s also the option to install PrivateVPN on a compatible home router – which only counts as a single connection, but protects every device on that network.

Methodology: Finding the best VPN to bypass a TikTok college ban

Students use TikTok as an educational tool as well as a way of fostering a sense of community both on-campus and beyond. Some even rely on it to fund their studies. It’s hardly surprising, then, that many wish to circumvent state bans by accessing the platform via a VPN.

Unfortunately for those students who wish to quickly reconnect, choosing a VPN isn’t easy. There is a huge number to choose from, and a combination of features is needed to make them a good option for use with TikTok. We ranked our choices using the following criteria:

  • Fast speeds:If you’re going to spend hours live streaming or uploading TikTok content, you need a VPN that won’t bog down your base connection speed. We prioritize VPNs that can cope with bandwidth-intensive activities. We test the top VPNs daily to ensure the speeds we report are up-to-date.
  • Plenty of US servers: The fastest and most stable VPN connections are made using the servers nearest your actual location. US students trying to evade the TikTok ban should connect to a server nearest their college. All of the VPNs we’ve recommended have multiple US servers to choose from.
  • Strong security and privacy: There’s little point in using a VPN if personally identifiable information can be gathered by third parties like your college. To this end, we value those providers that have independently audited no-logs policies. We also like to see providers with independently audited software and a host of privacy and security features. These should – at the very least – include 256-AES encryption, leak protection, and kill-switches.
  • Value for money: The average yearly cost of college in the US is $35,551, so it comes as no surprise that many students are on tight budgets. While there’s no getting around the fact that decent VPNs cost money, that doesn’t mean you need to spend unnecessarily. We only recommend providers that can justify what they charge.
  • Ease of use: US collegestudents already have enough to learn without having to spend precious time navigating complicated software. For this reason, we’ve only selected VPNs that are intuitive to use. If all you’re interested in is getting access to TikTok, our chosen providers can provide connections within seconds of opening the app – even if it’s your first time doing so.

Students might prefer VPNs that don't require more studying.

How to use a VPN to bypass a college TikTok ban

Follow these simple steps to bypass a college TikTok ban:

  1. Choose a VPN that is strong on both security and privacy. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Pick a subscription plan and sign up. Longer terms are usually cheaper.
  3. Download the relevant app for your device and install it.
  4. Restart your device once the installation is complete.
  5. Open the VPN app and choose a server from the list – those nearest you tend to provide optimum connection speeds.
  6. Click the "connect” button.
  7. Wait until the app tells you that a connection has been established.
  8. OpenTikTok and use the app as you normally would.

Can I use a free VPN to bypass college TikTok bans?

You can, but you’ll likely be frustrated with the result. Free VPNs tend to have relatively few servers and are heavily oversubscribed. The resulting congestion leads to slow connection speeds – or no connection at all.

Of more concern is the cavalier attitude many have toward user privacy. Most of the popular free VPNs have some form of logging policy and some will sell your data to third parties in an attempt to generate advertising revenue. The worst may unknowingly allow malware onto your device.

If you can’t afford a subscription from one of our recommended VPNs, some of the larger providers offer pared-down versions for free. These are very limited in what they can do, but they at least offer privacy and security on a par with the parent product.

VPN for TikTok bans: FAQs

Image credit: Franck on Unsplash & Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels

 

Written by: Justin Schamotta

Special interest in statistical modeling, cybersecurity and machine learning.

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