5 Best Iran VPN services in 2020 - Bypass censorship and blocks

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 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. 

What is the best Iran VPN?

We have listed the best Iran VPN services below. If you need more information about any of the services in the list, scroll below to see our detailed in-depth analysis.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for Iran. It has stealth servers which are great for bypassing blocks, 94 servers, and it's the fastest on the list.
  2. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for Iran. Although it's cheap it has Obfuscated servers in over 60 countries and great security features.
  3. Private Internet Access - Fast connections | No logs |Best for techy users
  4. VyprVPN - A great VPN for Iran. Has slick apps for all devices, has excellent privacy features, and secure stealth servers.
  5. IPVanish - Has XOR encryption, super-fast, and allows users to use it on an unlimited number of devices.

All the services in the list above have the following features:

All the Iran VPN services in this article offer a VPN free trial or a money-back guarantee so you can try the services for free before committing to a contract.

The best Iran VPNs | In-depth analysis

We take a closer look at our recommended VPNs for Iran below. If you still want more information about any of these services, then take a look at our detailed VPN reviews.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Iran because it is consistently one of the fastest services around. It has stealth servers and strong encryption to help you bypass blocks and it's reliable.

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Speeds

    • 75.04 Mbps
  • Security features

    • No logs
    • Kill Switch
    • Obfuscation (stealth)
  • Available for

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN for Iran for several reasons. Firstly, it has very strong encryption and an excellent privacy policy. Next, it has all the necessary features to keep your data secure: a kill switch, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection, and stealth mode (for bypassing government VPN restrictions). Servers are located all over the world and those servers are lightning fast, so perfect for streaming in HD or gaming.


Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting is permitted and this VPN will also keep you secure when you are on public WiFi. The software is available for all platforms, can be used on three simultaneous devices, and is extremely easy to use. Finally, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test the service risk-free.

Surfshark is the cheapest Iran VPN on the list. It's reliable, has fantastic privacy and security features such as obfuscated servers, and unblock just about everything.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.49 - $12.95
  • Speeds

    • 65.80 Mbps
  • Security features

    • No logs
    • Kill Switch
    • Obfuscation (stealth)
  • Available for

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands and it is a great option for anybody living in Iran who wants to bypass censorship and access more content. Servers are located in over 60 countries, meaning you can easily pretend to be elsewhere to access restricted news or services.


What's more, because Surfshark is cheap, it is an extremely affordable way to bypass government restrictions. And, despite offering value for money, this VPN provides all the most important privacy features including a kill switch, DNS leak protection, cloaking, and strong OpenVPN encryption. It also keeps zero logs, so you can trust it to keep your data secure at all times. You can give Surfshark a test run thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

A reliable and highly secure VPN with a lot of advanced features; including split tunneling and port forwarding

  • Pricing

    From  $2.84 - $10.51
  • Speeds

    • 66.22 Mbps
  • Security features

    • Kill Switch
    • Obfuscation (stealth)
  • Available for

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

Private Internet Access has more than 12,267 servers in 74 countries, it provides strong OpenVPN encryption and is one of the most popular VPN services among Reddit users. It also has live chat support and it works with Netflix US – which makes it a superb all rounder. While PIA might be considered a bit techy for VPN beginners, it is absolutely perfect for advanced users wanting to torrent, or who require split tunneling. Plus it has a kill switch and obfuscation, which makes it a good choice for those living in Iran.


PIA has apps for all popular platforms that provide strong OpenVPN encryption on all devices, and a trusted no logs policy. And it is a cheap VPN service that performs well above its pay grade. A superb all rounder that lets users customize their encryption levels inside the app. You can test it in Iran, risk-free, thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee.

VyprVPN is a great Iran VPN service. It has slick apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. It is is audited by a third part to prove it's as secure as it claims. keeps no logs and has stealth servers.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Speeds

    • 16.32 Mbps
  • Security features

    • No logs
    • Kill Switch
    • Obfuscation (stealth)
  • Available for

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

VyprVPN is a provider based in Switzerland that has proven itself to be extremely efficient at providing privacy for its users. Not only does it provide strong OpenVPN encryption, but it has a fantastic zero logs policy that ensures it never holds any connection or usage logs about its subscribers. What's more, this is one of the few VPNs that has proven the effectiveness of its service with a full third party audit of its software and server network.


The apps are available for all platforms, and because they provide high-end features like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and cloaking, you can use this VPN safely to get around government restrictions imposed by Iranian ISPs. VyprVPN can easily bypass all censorship, and this top-of-the-range VPN provider can give you access to sought-after content like Netflix US or BBC iPlayer. Finally, VyprVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test the service risk-free.

IPVanish is a fantastic Iran VPN. It has XOR servers to keep your data private and it's super-fast. It now lets you use it on an unlimited number of devices with one subscription.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.70 - $10.00
  • Speeds

    • 47.42 Mbps
  • Security features

    • No logs
    • Kill Switch
    • Obfuscation (stealth)
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Hulu

IPVanish is a VPN that provides good value for money. It is fast and fully featured, with a kill switch and DNS leak protection. This VPN is no-frills compared to the ones above. However, the SOCKS5 option can be used to bypass VPN restrictions in Iran.


Overall, this VPN is great, and will certainly be good for those who want to stream. There is no longer a cap on how many devices you can use IPVanish on, thanks to the providers "unmetered" efforts. Finally, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Iran VPN blocks

The Iranian government is working hard to block VPNs and it could 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.

 

Why do I need a VPN?

Iran severely restricts access to the Internet. Websites 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 2020, 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 the 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 need not worry about your ISP knowing that you are using circumvention tools. 

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 known to protect users' privacy. In addition, it is essential that a good VPN for Iran has certain features:

How to use a VPN and stay safe in Iran

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:

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 access 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.

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 kill switch 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 the VPNs on this page offer a kill switch 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.

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 2020, 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 engaging 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 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, so 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 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. 

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

20 Comments

m.b
on November 24, 2019
Reply
hi I'm from Iran.they shut off the internet. We could only connect to the Internet through vpn by adding a proxy. Unfortunately, most Iranians are not able to purchase non-Iranian pages (Because of the sanctions). Please introduce secure free software.
danny
on March 12, 2019
Reply
uh... but Iranians don't have any way to buy those vpns , that means no paypal or anything else like it .... yeah it sucks here ...
arzhang
on July 25, 2018
Reply
sorry but iranians have not anyway to purchase out of their country by internet, so they could not use any of this vpns they just can use free versions.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/ray-walshjpeg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-ima-7df05c2bafe5e85cb7cb582cd8351a9bpng-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Ray Walsh replied to arzhang
on August 2, 2018
Reply
So use a free VPN that you mention to then visit one of these! I don't understand the problem, can you elaborate?
Koorosh replied to Ray Walsh
on December 5, 2019
Reply
In Iran we don't have access to any of the global payment services and that means we can pay nothing for nothing globally! In other words non of the mentioned VPNs can be used in Iran
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Koorosh
on December 9, 2019
Reply
Hi Koorosh, All the VPN services listed here accept payment in cryptocurrencies, which should help.
Mimi
on July 8, 2018
Reply
Unfortunately, there is always a big gap between what some of the reports and review articles present and the actual reality and users experience! After reading the reviews by well-known sources, I subscribed to ExpressVPN for three years. I had, however, repeated problems and worst than, their customer service was inefficient, late to respond, and at times unfriendly. So, I canceled and switched to Nord VPN. With Nord VPN, I realized that ExpressVPN was certainly faster and had easier download and installation process! However, I had problems connecting to my bank and Amazon.com. They mentioned that they have problem with Amazon in US and they are working on it. However, it was finally resolved by suggesting the use of specific servers. Their customer service is definitely better than ExpressVPN! Unfortunately, Nord VPN mentioned that: “… in order to properly connect using macOS in restricted areas [mean Iran, china…] you would have to enable the Obfuscated Servers feature in our application's settings. However, this feature is only available if you are using OpenVPN version” not IKEv2 version. They also added that: “…our application for iOS devices does not work in restricted areas, so you would have to use the manual connection method. Here is a guide on how to set it up: http://support.nordvpn.com/#/path/1153001402” Could you please tell me if this is also the case with ExpressVPN? Many thanks in advance!
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Mimi
on July 9, 2018
Reply
Hi Mimi, Not that I am aware of, although you can always contact ExpressVPN's 24/7 live chat to confirm. Note that even with NordVPN, it only requires downloading the older OpenVPN Mac client or followings its iOS instructions.
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