Iran represents one of the most curious cases of Internet censorship in the world. While many people inside the government are very technically minded, and Iran has very strong technology programs, the general population is not allowed to do whatever they want online.
Internet censorship in the country has been increasing in a consistent manner. By 2013 alone, more than 50 percent of the top 500 websites in the world had already been blocked, a list that includes the likes of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Unfortunately, the West has not exactly helped matters. In 2010 the discovery of Stuxnet, a computer worm aimed to penetrate and cause damage to Iran’s nuclear program, led to widespread suspicion of foreign technologies and even more widespread censorship of online content.
So can you just use a VPN and bypass these blocks?
Well, not exactly. As we mentioned before, Iran has very good systems in place for its Internet censorship programs and this extends into the use of VPNs as well.
In Iran, the government has a list of approved VPNs that interested citizens can sign up to and use. As you might have guessed, however, those VPNs are monitored by the government and keep detailed logs of all Internet traffic.
What that means is that while you might be able to use them to visit some innocent websites, anything you do that is considered illegal or against the wishes of the government might carry with it strict punishments.
All other VPNs are heavily blocked by the government in a game of cat and mouse. More specifically, the Iranian government blocks IP addresses used by VPN providers and the VPN providers just get new IP addresses instead.
As such, using a VPN in Iran is risky in its own right. You should be very careful when considering this option. And if you plan on travelling there and want to bypass these filters, you should have a VPN up and running before you enter the country.
How to access blocked websites in Iran?
- Get a subscription to a good VPN provider like the ones we recommended above.
- Install the VPN client.
- Select a server outside of Iran like in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, or elsewhere.
- Unblock and access any website!
It’s not really a complicated process as you can see. The only difficult thing is finding a server that actually works inside Iran.
Which VPNs are best for Iran?
We have compiled a table with a few VPNs for Iran that we have reviewed and tested very extensively. We believe that these are great choices but you might have to work a bit to get them working.
All of these work in almost every Internet-connected device including Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows, macOS, smart TVs, streaming boxes like Roku, and gaming consoles like the PS4 and the Xbox One.
As mentioned before, the Iranian government might block VPNs so you might need to try multiple servers before one of them works. Try as many as you can and then if none of them works, make sure to contact the VPN’s support team as well.
Whichever VPN you choose, make sure to stay far away from the free ones. They will not only keep detailed logs about you but they will also not be secure which means that you are basically better off without them!
If you would like to share your own experiences in trying to get a VPN working in Iran, or would like to know more about internet censorship in the country, feel free to leave a comment below!