The Best VPNs for Telegram Messenger - Telegram Is Not As Secure As You May Think

Telegram is an encrypted messenger service that is often opposed by security experts. However, the app remains wildly popular, especially within the Middle East. In Iran alone, Telegram has some 40 million monthly active users.

Several governments have blocked or tried to block Telegram - notably Indonesia, Russia, and Iran. By using a VPN for Telegram, you can unblock Telegram even if the government restricts its use. A VPN will also improve your online privacy and security, making it safe to access Telegram even when it is blocked.

In this guide, we list the best VPNs for Telegram and give you some tips to improve your Telegram security.

The best VPN for Telegram

The best VPNs for Telegram must have fast servers able to unblock VoIP apps. They must also have strong privacy and security features to let you use Telegram without being monitored. Below you can take a quick look at the best VPNs for the job, to find out more about why each service was chosen, simply scroll down for in-depth summaries.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for Telegram. It is consistently of the fastest VPNs out there and has strong encryption on all platforms.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - Great value for money and has easy to use apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android making it great for beginners.
  3. Private Internet Access - A private VPN service with a proven no-logs policy. Great for unblocking Telegram if it is blocked in your location.
  4. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for Telegram. It has excellent encryption, it's fast, and allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
  5. VyprVPN - Has slick apps for all major platforms and offers strong encryption which is great for unblocking Telegram.

Unblocking Telegram with a VPN - step by step

If you are living in a country where Telegram is blocked, you will need to use a VPN to pretend to be in a different country. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you unblock and use Telegram in Iran, Russia, or anywhere else it is blocked:

  1. Choose a VPN from this article.
  2. Click through to the VPN provider's website and subscribe.
  3. Download the VPN software onto your device.
  4. Connect to a VPN server in a country where Telegram is available.
  5. Log out of your app store and create a completely new account with a new email address. The new Google Play or Apple account will appear to be in the country where Telegram is available.
  6. Open the app store with your VPN connected and login using your newly created account.
  7. Download Telegram from the app store.

If you have any problems changing your app store region, you can also choose to sideload the Telegram .APK directly onto your Android phone. Simply download the version of Telegram that you need and install it on your device. However, remember to do it with your VPN connected and to always connect the VPN before using it.

Best VPN for Telegram - In-depth Analysis

We take a closer look at our recommended VPNs for Telegram below. If you want any more information about these services, check out our in-depth VPN reviews.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Telegram. This service has super-fast servers and excellent encryption across all of its apps. It has support for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is a superb provider based in the British Virgin Islands, a great location in terms of digital privacy. It is a secure service with apps for all platforms, which means you can use it to gain privacy and security on any device; both at home and on public WiFi. The VPN has a watertight zero-logs policy, which means it never stores any records about what you do online. And its apps have advanced privacy and security features, which makes it great value for money. Plus, users can install the VPN on up to 5 devices simultaneously.


ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries, and those servers are lightning fast for video calls or VoIP calls on Telegram, or even streaming. Plus, this VPN can unblock not just Telegram but any other VoIP app you might be interested in. We trust using this VPN to bypass government censorship, or for downloading torrents thanks to its kill switch, OpenVPN encryption, DNS leak protection, and obfuscation. Finally, this VPN is well known for unblocking the US Netflix catalog, BBC iPlayer, and other sought after international services. You can test it risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

CyberGhost VPN is great value for money. This service has easy to use apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac making it great for beginners. It has strong encryption on all major platform.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.81 - $13.47
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

CyberGhost VPN is a well-known VPN service from Romania that provides a zero-logs policy, OpenVPN encryption, and secure apps for all platforms. This makes it great for using Telegram, or other online services, with complete privacy. CyberGhost VPN has servers in 91 countries, and it can easily provide access to Telegram no matter where you live. And CyberGhost VPN has military grade encryption to ensure that your ISP never knows what you are doing online. You can use this VPN to access any censored content or apps privately, and it has a kill switch.


CyberGhost VPN lets its subscribers install and use the VPN on up to 7 devices, which makes it great for families. And this VPN has live chat support to help you troubleshoot any problems you might have. If you want to access Netflix US, or BBC iPlayer; this VPN is ideal. And it works with just about any other international services you might be interested in. It's an excellent, secure VPN that provides good speeds for Telegram or streaming. You can test it yourself thanks to its risk-free 45 day money-back guarantee. 

Private Internet Access lives up to it's name as it is a private and secure service. It has been proven in court that it does not keep VPN logs which is great for privacy.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.84 - $10.51
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based VPN provider that keeps zero logs. We know what you're thinking... The US isn't a particularly good place for a VPN provider with its intrusive stance on privacy, but PIA has proven its no-logs claim in court, meaning your privacy is safe! The VPN has advanced apps for all platforms that allow users to gain a lot of customizability.


This makes the VPN perfect for advanced users who have specific advanced needs. The encryption can be strengthened or weakened depending on what you are doing, and the apps have everything you need to bypass censorship or to download from torrents securely. This includes a kill switch, DNS leak protection, OpenVPN encryption, port forwarding, split tunneling, obfuscation, and a SOCKS5 proxy.


PIA has servers in 47 countries, which means you can unblock Telegram without issues - no matter where you are. And, this VPN is fast, which means you can make video calls or stream in HD without buffering. Plus, this VPN works with Netflix US and other popular international services. A superb VPN that also has live chat support. You can test it using its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Surfshark is the cheapest VPN for Telegram costing less than $2 a month. It has excellent encryption and you can use it on an unlimited number of devices with one subscription.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.49 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

Surfshark is a VPN that represents outstanding value for money. The service has a superb no logs policy, which mean you can trust it to provide privacy both now and in the future. In addition, it has apps for all popular platforms that come with advanced privacy features such as OpenVPN encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and obfuscation. This means it has the security and privacy features you need to use Telegram without being constantly monitored by your ISP.


With Surfshark, you get servers in over 60 countries around the world. This makes unblocking Telegram easy, and this VPN can unblock more Netflix catalogs than just about any other service. It also works with iPlayer, hulu, YouTube TV and anything else you can think of. We love that this VPN lets its subscribers install the VPN on an unlimited number of devices. This makes it outstanding value for money. And it even has 24/7 live chat support. Definitely worth comparing to our other recommendation using its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

VyprVPN has slick apps on Android, IOS, Mac, and Windows. It offers users strong encryption on all it's servers and it is great for unblocking Telegram.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

VyprVPN is a secure VPN that runs on a completely proprietary network of servers. The result is a service that is completely in control of your data at every step of its journey.


What's more, this VPN has endured a full third party security audit of its apps and infrastructure - which means you can trust it to deliver on the privacy assurances it makes. It is also based in Switzerland, which is considered an excellent location in terms of privacy. And, because of its robust apps and strong encryption, VyprVPN is a perfect for accessing Telegram in any country where it is restricted.


VyprVPN has apps for all platforms that offer a well-rounded selection of features. It also has servers in over 70 countries - which makes it good for getting fast speeds and unblocking Telegram. And, when it comes to privacy, it has all the important features you need to bypass government censorship of VoIP and video conferencing apps.


VyprVPN's “Chameleon” stealth technology is effective in countries such as Iran and China, meaning that you can access Telegram in countries that really don't want you to. Overall, a great all-rounder that you can test yourself thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

What makes a VPN good to use with Telegram?

If you live in a country where Telegram is blocked, a VPN is the only real option for accessing the app and sending messages. Not every VPN was created equal. Some are slow and insecure - which is why you must choose a service that actually works.

Below, we have included the criteria our experts used to pick the best VPNs for Telegram. That way you can see exactly why these VPNs are perfect for the job.

Why you should use a VPN for Telegram

If you are living somewhere that restricts Telegram, a VPN is the ideal solution. A VPN will let you visit Telegram's website to download the software and use it, even if it is being blocked by your ISP. If you are looking for the Android version of the app, and it is not available in the Google Play Store, you can use a VPN to access it privately using F-Droid.

It is important to remember that Telegram does authenticate all users using a valid phone number. As a result, it can, in theory, help to associate non-encrypted messages with individual users (more on this later). Whether it might share this information with government agencies depends on the kind of legal pressure it is put under, on a case-by-case basis.

Of equal concern is the fact that Telegram stores this information on its servers. This makes those unencrypted messages vulnerable to hacking and surveillance. Last year, two prominent Russian activists’ Telegram accounts were breached, probably by Russian security services with the cooperation of the activists’ mobile provider.

If any of Telegram's servers get compromised, all the users' data is up in the air. We know from the Snowden revelation and all massive hacks that no single computer can be protected from hackers. Especially if it's a juicy target with millions of people's conversations stored on it.

Nima Fatemi addressing the Committee to Protect Journalists

Can I use a  with Telegram?

Although there are some free VPN services on the market, the vast majority are cowboy series that you should not trust for gaining privacy online.

Free services have been found to lie about the encryption they provide, to suffer from critical leaks, and to collect data about their uses to sell to third parties. Studies have even found that free services contain spyware and adware. Free VPNs with terrible privacy policies and insecure apps will put you at risk, which means they are not suitable for use with Telegram.

There are a few free VPN subscriptions available that you can trust if you can't afford a premium service. These do not skimp on privacy or security, but they only offer a limited free plan to allow people to try out their service with hopes of graduating you onto a full subscription. These restrictions include:

  • Fewer server locations to choose from.
  • Monthly download limitations.
  • Bandwidth limitations that make the VPN slower.

To use Telegram safely and privately, we recommend getting a premium subscription with a trustworthy VPN for Telegram from this article. Our recommendations do not make a profit by selling their users, instead they provide watertight privacy levels and well-designed apps that have been developed to keep your online habits secure. Fortunately, you can try each of them out risk-free using their money-back guarantee.

Where is Telegram blocked?

We have included a list of countries where Telegram use is either currently blocked, or where it has been blocked at some point (and could suffer blocks again):

  • Bahrain
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Turkey 
  • Brazil
  • Sri Lanka

Is Telegram actually secure?

Despite its reputation for privacy and security, privacy and security experts are not fans of Telegram. Let's take a closer look at the app to find out if it is a secure way to send private messages...

End-to-end Encryption

To allow people to communicate securely, Telegram provides its Secret Chat feature. This uses end-to-end encryption, which means that messages sent by users are only ever accessible to them on their devices. As a result, Messages sent using Secret Chat should be secure even against hackers and Telegram Messenger LLP itself. 

This is an excellent security feature, but it is important to remember that it is not enabled by default; you must switch it on to begin using Telegram securely. Unless you activate Secret Chat, Telegram Messenger LLP and hackers could theoretically access your messages either now - or at some point in the future.

It's gravely concerning that many Telegram users don't know that their messages aren't secure by default. Some may simply forget to turn Secret Chat on.

When combined with Telegram’s method of authenticating users using their phone numbers, this makes it very easy for governments to seize accounts and access unencrypted messages.

Telegram Secret Chat

Always use the Secret Chat option when you want to keep your conversations private

Encryption Concerns

Additionally, even if you enable Secret Chat, researchers are critical of the encryption used by Telegram. Rather than use tried, tested, and fully audited encryption standards, Telegram uses its own MTProto encryption protocol.

As a detailed security assessment (.pdf) of MTProto notes:

Our main discovery is that the symmetric encryption scheme used in Telegram, known as MTProto, is not IND-CCA secure, since it is possible to turn any ciphertext into a different ciphertext that decrypts to the same message. The take-home message (once again) is that well-studied, provably secure encryption schemes that achieve strong definitions of security (e.g. authenticated-encryption) are to be preferred to home-brewed encryption schemes.

Security Assessment

This is a criticism endorsed by Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation, who has recommended not using Telegram because of "its lack of end-to-end encryption [by default] and its use of non-standard MTProto encryption protocol, which has been publicly criticized by cryptography researchers, including Matthew Green."

If you would like to know more about how encryption works, why not check out our ultimate guide to online privacy?

Open Source?

The only way to know if software can be trusted is if it is open source. This means that researchers can freely examine the code to ensure nothing malicious is going on. The Telegram client is primarily open source, but contains some elements (called binary blobs) that are not.

Some experts have also criticized Telegram for being slow publishing recent versions its open source code. This is a security problem, as the code could be modified without anyone being aware of it.

The server-side code is closed-source and proprietary. However, this shouldn't be an issue if you enable end-to-end encryption (Secret Chat).

Telegram 1

Signal is More Secure

If privacy and security are your main reasons for using Telegram, then you should consider switching to Signal. Experts widely regard Signal as the most secure means of remote communication currently available.

The WhatsApp app is based on Signal. Although not without issues, WhatsApp is also much more secure than Telegram.

Of course, you may simply want to use Telegram because your friends and colleagues use it. You may also want to follow particular Telegram users via the app’s mass-broadcast Channel function. This is absolutely fine, but please bear in mind Telegram’s limitations on the privacy/security front.

Telegram in Iran

Iran blocks mainstream media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and most international news sites. Telegram is widely used as a means to bypass state censorship and to access reformist viewpoints.

Telegram had a huge impact in Iran's last parliamentary election. Reformist activists had very limited access to major media outlets and the state radio and TV, so they used Telegram to send and spread their messages.

Amir Rashidi - Internet Security Researcher For The Center for Human Rights

In response to this, the conservative and authoritarian Iranian government has sought to regulate Telegram. It now requires all Iranian citizens by law to register Telegram channels with more than 5,000 followers with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Some 2,000 Channels (Persian) are now registered in this way.

According to a statement by Telegram, in advance of the 2017 elections, “internet providers in the country are blocking the protocol that is used to establish a connection between users before a P2P call can be activated.”

If you're looking to circumvent state restrictions on content in Iran, our best 5 VPNs for Iran should make for interesting reading.

Arrests

Iranian authorities arrested the administrators of 12 reformist Telegram Channels ahead of the May 2017 election. These Channels included Reform News, with more than 111,000 followers, and Assembly of Reformists, with 94,000 followers.

It is my understanding that the authorities later released the Channel admins. However, Radhidi argues that the arrests helped to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among liberals and progressives in the country.

Russia Bans Telegram

On Friday 19 April 2020 a Moscow court authorized Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications and technology watchdog, to block Telegram.

The move follows demands from the Federal Security Service (FSB) that Telegram hand over its encryption keys to the secretive KGB successor after claiming that it is widely used by terrorists. Telegram refused.

Good news, however, is that Telegram can still be freely accessed in Russia using a VPN. This is because a VPN hides the fact that you are connecting to the Telegram network from your internet and/or mobile provider (and therefore the Roskomnadzor).

For more information on this story, please see our full Russia Bans Telegram Messenger article.

Best Telegram Messenger VPNs: Conclusion

Telegram has proven itself to be a useful tool for defeating censorship and exercising freedom of speech. If you can't access the Telegram website, or your ISP attempts to block the Telegram protocol, a VPN will help.

Do please be aware, however, of Telegram’s limitations as a privacy tool. Most importantly, always remember to use the Secret Chat feature when participating in discussions that you would rather the authorities not access.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for Telegram. It is consistently of the fastest VPNs out there and has strong encryption on all platforms.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - Great value for money and has easy to use apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android making it great for beginners.
  3. Private Internet Access - A private VPN service with a proven no-logs policy. Great for unblocking Telegram if it is blocked in your location.
  4. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for Telegram. It has excellent encryption, it's fast, and allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
  5. VyprVPN - Has slick apps for all major platforms and offers strong encryption which is great for unblocking Telegram.

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

2 Comments

Rick
on May 1, 2018
Reply
The proxy for telegram can be taken here telegram-socks.tk or from the bot @tproxies_bot
Timothy T.
on September 21, 2017
Reply
That's a killer deal for Express VPN! Wish I would've read this before I updated my subscription....
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