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5 Best VPNs for Iran – 2016

Iran is one of the least friendly sovereign powers when it comes to equal internet access for all citizens free from government censorship and punishment. The recent high-profile crackdowns and public shaming of Instagram models both in and outside the country for such devious crimes as “promoting Western promiscuity,” coupled with an often contradictory and unrealistic, not to mention stifling governmental restrictions imposed upon them. Our 5 Best VPNs for Iran list should help those in the country evade such issues.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the Iranian VPN services that are secure options for folks living in or passing through Iran on business or for leisure. At the end of this article, we will also go into some further considerations and insight into the levels of censorship currently in effect in the country.

Best VPNs For Iran Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

NordVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

SaferVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$7.50 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

VyprVPN Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$8.33 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

NordVPN

5/5

Best VPN For Iran

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Tor over VPN
  • Accepts Bitcoin as payment
  • Based in Panama
  • VPN kill switch
  • ConsCONS
  • Medium speeds

VPN users in Iran will be more than satisfied with NordVPN, a security-heavy provider based in Panama. The country’s lack of mandatory data retention laws means that the provider can deliver on its strict no logs policy. Secure browsing is improved all the more by excellent additional features designed to protect user privacy, such as DNS leak detection, a VPN kill switch, support for TOR over VPN, and the option to pay with Bitcoin.

NordVPN keeps its users off the radar no matter where they choose to browse, and they’re spoilt for choice thanks to the over 550 servers NordVPN has in 47 countries. The provider is not perfect, all those security measures understandably slow down things a bit.  However, given all its pros we truly think it’s a fantastic VPN for Iran.

Try the Best VPN for Iran Today!

Visit NordVPN »

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2nd place

IPVanish

4.4/5

IPVanish

  • ProsPROS
  • Tier-1 network
  • Hefty encryption
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • Good speeds
  • ConsCONS
  • A tad pricey

Another industry mainstay – with good reason – IPVanish has been at or near the top of our lists for awhile now due to a Tier-1 network that provides some of the best speeds we’ve ever come across that don’t sacrifice strong encryption. The Windows client which features include an auto IP scrambler that switches your IP address at a minimum of every 45 minutes (or sooner), might well be a major selling point for folks in Iran. We’ve thoroughly tested this feature against the killswitch and found zero IP leaks whatsoever. For those who plan to use a VPN extensively over long durations, this options-combo seems that much more appealing.

Support, on the other hand, is limited to ticket-based responses, so it’s not always the fastest. P2P is allowed, and anonymous Bitcoin Payments are accepted. A 7-day trial may very well dispel any worries about customer support.

Visit IPVanish »


3rd place

SaferVPN

4.2/5

SaferVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Price
  • Works With Netflix
  • P2P(NL) & Bitcoin
  • Performance
  • ConsCONS
  • Minimal connection logs
  • Occasionally slow support
  • No killswitch

The $4.99 Basic plan (with only one device connection) is excellent value for money for those looking for a quick VPN solution at a lower-end price point. It’s also a decent choice for those looking to stream or unblock content from the US market. Some connection logs are kept, and there isn’t yet a killswitch on the client, but updates are immediately forthcoming.

There’s a 24-hour free trial and a generous 2-week money back guarantee, that together give you ample time to try out over 150 relatively exotic server choices 24 countries throughout Latin America, Australia, and East Asia. Give SaferVPN’s website a look by clicking on the button below to see why the service is among the top VPN services for Iran.

Visit SaferVPN »


4th place

VPNArea

4/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • Based in Bulgaria
  • Accepts Bitcoin as payment
  • Excellent security
  • Very helpful support
  • ConsCONS
  • Can be a bit slow
  • Small issues here and there

This little Bulgarian company has always impressed us with its well-designed Viscosity-based client (with DNS leak protection, a per-app kill switch, auto-IP changer, and server statistics). Its customer support is great, and it has servers just about everywhere. Global servers are perfect for a client looking to use an Iranian VPN.

They also have a very strict no logging policy which means that they’ll never know what you get up to. All their great security features, matched with a relatively small long-term price, makes VPNArea an excellent choice as a VPN for Iran.

Visit VPNArea »


5th place

VyprVPN

3.7/5

VyprVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Chameleon encryption
  • VyprVPN server
  • Cross-functional Apps
  • Continually expanding network
  • ConsCONS
  • No P2P

Over 700 servers in 49 countries is evidence of another VPN provider with consumer demand firmly in its business model and consequently, leaves you well covered in Iran. The proprietary modified OpenVPN Chameleon encryption presents a robust barrier to data interceptions or DDoS attacks. Meanwhile, you may setup your own VPN server using the brand new free VPN server to put a further barrier between your connections and those who’d potentially penetrate your network.

P2P is categorically not allowed, though the Golden Frog Internet freedom conglomerate (VyprVPN’s parent company) are refreshingly clear on the matter. With no other downsides worth noting, now might be the time to see why VyprVPN is fifth on this list by checking out the 30-day money back VPN guarantee.

Visit VyprVPN »


Considerations for VPNs In Iran

Online Legal Landscape

What’s interesting to note is that the outlook seemed less grim when the incoming President Hassan Rouhani took over the reigns of power from incumbent President Ahmadinejad – a vocal critic of the West and anything deemed threatening to Islam in both his (and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s) rigorous appraisals on proper moral conduct. President Rouhani was elected amidst whispers of internet access expansion and reforms to the benefit of all citizens. On the one hand, those promises have materialized. According to transparency watchdog Freedom House’s 2015 Freedom on the Net Report:

“Most improvements to internet freedom that have come under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani relate to access and the ICT market. The ICT ministry’s budget reached its highest level in history, reflecting increasing investments in both internet infrastructure and censorship tools. National bandwidth increased by 2.5 times over the past year. The ICT ministry did not renew an exclusive 3G contract issued to mobile operator RighTel, thereby opening up licensing to all operators in a move that was not welcomed by the Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC) and hardliners, who regard internet-enabled mobile phones as “un-Islamic.”

VPN Iran

So far, so good, until you consider that 8 ‘Facebook Activists’ got slapped with 127 years in prison combined (15.8 per person) for expressing views contrary to the status quo.

“Despite these limitations, the internet remains the only viable means for Iranian citizens and dissenters to obtain news and organize themselves. Savvy users employ virtual private networks (VPNs) or other circumvention tools to access blocked content, turning to new services if existing ones are blocked by the authorities. This cat-and-mouse game largely continued over the past year.”

Cases of Outright Internet Repression In Iran

It’s admittedly difficult to take a positive outlook to a country’s internet policies when those policies are known more for their stifling properties than for fostering an internet freely accessible by all netizens with unfettered information flow.

The enforced blockade of dating websites and games such as the popular Clash of Clans, in addition to Facebook and YouTube (among multiple other widely visited websites), might seem relatively harmless to daily life activities. It could be termed as nothing more than a nuisance. That is until you stop to consider the ultimate result of such a slippery slope – unless or until it evolves into a strictly government-curated experience. If such a scenario were groupthink becomes the norm and bans are thought up and enforced seemingly on a whim, then consider the banning ‘come to eat’ by Iran’s second largest telecom provider, less than two years ago. What next, ‘I’m thirsty’ takes a hit on account of possible suggestiveness, or ‘I’m tired’ implies wanting a bed for purposes unrelated to sleep?

Banned Words

Either way – and beyond the relative merit or folly of the controlling structures currently in place, a VPN such as those listed above is one of the best ways to circumvent the pesky enforcement. Let’s delve into blocking methods in a bit more detail, and discuss how to work around them.

Bypassing Iranian Censors Using VPN Services

Iranian censors rely on a three-pronged approach, broken down into: Prevention, Interception, and Reaction, to enforce their mandates. Prevention is relatively straightforward by banning websites such as Facebook or YouTube or by outright adding them to blacklists, then redirecting any users who attempt to visit these sites.

Iran VPN Proxy

Furthermore, Iranian software firms have developed proprietary methods of analyzing keyword strings, and even metadata for traces of anything deemed illegal, inciteful, or outside the proper behavior outlined in widely held religious beliefs. Said content is then intercepted (even if it’s encrypted, but not hidden in SSL or obfSproxy) using Deep Packet inspection to analyze the data in real time. That’s still only the tip of the iceberg, as websites using SSL are also ‘hijacked’ in a sense, redirecting users to insecure, and thus more easily monitored and controlled mirror sites.

It gets even more nefarious with bandwidth restricted in times of political upheaval, so that organizers and grassroots movements are hamstrung before they can successfully organize, or, failing that, are arrested and jailed. If this applies to you, please do be careful and understand that no VPN service or any other obfuscation tool is completely foolproof against a resourceful enough state-level actor. That being said, a VPN for Iran is more than adequate for most individuals’ unblocking and security needs.

Iranian VPNs Conclusion

Now that we’ve gone over our list of the top 5 VPN services to circumvent censorship in Iran, let’s review. Governmental control over the Iranian internet is at an all time high, with various tools in place ranging from DPI and connection throttling to altogether the more unpleasant public shaming and jailings. Anyone residing in or traveling through Iran has both unblocking and security benefits to gain from using a VPN service. Choose any one of the excellent VPN services discussed above and reproduced for your convenience below. Feel free to browse through the rest of our website for further news, information, and guides.

Best VPNs For Iran Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

NordVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

SaferVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$7.50 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

VyprVPN Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$8.33 / monthVisit Site

Dimitri M Expat in Europe - pathos for good conversation and Italia's Grande Juventus.

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2 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Iran – 2016

    1. Hi Erin,

      Thanks for that input. If we receive more confirmation on IPVanish not working in Iran then we will remove it from this list.

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