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5 Best VPNs for Iran – 2017

Iran is not known for its liberal attitudes. In fact, its government is regarded as one of the most repressive regimes in the world. The Islamic-fundamentalist government tightly controls access to the World Wide Web from within the nation’s borders.

As you would expect, access to any sites that carry news that does not show the government, or Shia Islam, in the best light are inaccessible from within Iran. Sites that carry commentary critical of the government, that are owned by opposition groups, or that are run by political campaigners whose aims do not tie in with those of the Iranian government, cannot be accessed from within the country.

The main justification that the Iranian government uses for controlling access to the internet is that it is their duty to preserve the moral standards of the nation. This moral campaign gives the government the right to ban access to social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is also on the blacklist, and so is Google’s Gmail.

The Iranian government is very technologically advanced. In fact, in the league of those governments that quash freedom of speech, Iran is probably right behind China at the top of the list in stamping out dissent on the internet.

You would probably think, then, that VPNs are completely illegal in Iran. However, this is not so – you are perfectly entitled to use a government-approved VPN service within the Islamic Republic. The only problem with these providers is that they won’t let you access Facebook or Twitter, and they are obliged to decrypt and hand over to the authorities all the traffic they manage. Approved VPNs give users a false sense of security.

If you are curious to learn how the Iranian government can circumvent VPN security, read on after the review section of this report. However, for those who just want to crack on and use a VPN in Iran that actually works, take a look at this list of the top five.

Best VPNs for Iran: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review9/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

VyprVPN Logo
Read Review8/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site

5

VPNArea Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

Iran VPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Fast speeds
  • Easy to use
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • Great customer support
  • Strong encryption
  • ConsCONS
  • Pricey

The Iranian authorities order internet service providers to examine traffic and detect patterns of usage. ExpressVPN includes cloaking methods that make it a lot harder for their VPN traffic to be identified. It is also important to find a VPN provider that uses several different “tunneling” methodologies, because switching between these and layering protocols is another method that helps VPN packets get through ISP filters and detection techniques.

ExpressVPN runs “stealth servers” at its Hong Kong site, which manage to evade detection of VPN activity in China, so these should also work well for customers in Iran.

Encryption and additional security measures slow down the transmission of data because they involve extra stages in preparing the data before it is sent. More work also has to be done at the VPN’s exit point, in order to decrypt and forward data packets. Thus the high speed of services such as ExpressVPN is very important.

Several of the VPN services in this list claim to be the fastest on the internet. However, practical benchmarks and user feedback usually award this accolade to ExpressVPN.

Try out the best VPN for Iran today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee

2nd place

IPVanish

4.5/5

IPVanish

  • ProsPROS
  • Fast speeds
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • Great client across platforms
  • ConsCONS
  • Pricey
  • Slow customer support

This is a mid-range VPN service, which offers high speed without the high prices of ExpressVPN and VyprVPN. This provider has an important feature that will keep your identity a secret from vigilant Iranian ISPs.

VPN services sometimes break. This is because of lost packets on the long route over the networks of the world, or possibly a blip in the service levels of your ISP. In these instances a typical network card will automatically reconnect. An unprotected reconnection will reveal your IP address to anyone seeking to track you down, and in a country like Iran, such a slip up could prove disastrous.

This phenomenon of an IP address being discovered by third parties is called an IP leak. IPVanish allocates its clients temporary IP addresses and changes the active address at least every 45 minutes. This is called “IP switching.” That means your real IP address can never be revealed, which makes IPVanish a very good option for safe surfing in Iran.

Visit IPVanish »


3rd place

NordVPN

4.2/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs policy
  • Supports Tor over VPN
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • Kill switch
  • ConsCONS
  • Not very fast

NordVPN is one of the largest VPN services on the internet and it frequently makes it into the top five best VPNs for any country in BestVPN.com reviews. However, there are specific features that recommend this service to anyone accessing the internet in Iran.

Where IPVanish uses IP switching to prevent IP leaks, NordVPN uses a kill switch. This prevents your computer from automatically reconnecting on an unprotected line in the event of a dropped VPN.

The company is well known for its complete absence of activity logging, so even if the authorities in Iran had a way to lean on them, they simply wouldn’t be able to provide documentation of their customers’ browsing history.

The company also uses a cloaking method called obsfproxy to evade detection of its encrypted packets. A further layer of security is provided by its “double-hop” method of chaining VPNs on a connection.

Visit NordVPN »


4th place

VyprVPN

4/5

VyprVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Great customer service
  • Strong encryption
  • Exclusive proprietary technology
  • Good mobile app
  • ConsCONS
  • Pricey

The Iranian authorities hate internet-connected smartphones. One of their main methods for discouraging their usage is to make the WiFi networks accessible by these devices lousy. VyprVPN is universally praised by mobile device users because it is very fast and applies only to specified apps. This is important because the extra work involved in encrypting and packaging data for VPNs can really drain your battery. Systems that apply these methods to all communications can leave you standing in the street with a dead phone.

Most VPNs use a communications methodology called OpenVPN. The specifications of the procedures in this standard can be accessed by anyone, including the digital police in Iran. ISPs use their knowledge of the characteristics of this and other encryption methods used for VPNs to detect their traffic. VyprVPN uses its own proprietary modification of OpenVPN, so its VPN packets don’t contain the signatures that the Iranian ISPs look for in order to block VPN connections.

VyprVPN also operates “Chameleon” servers, which obscure the fact that they are running VPN services.

Visit VyprVPN »


5th place

VPNArea

3.7/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs policy
  • Good security features
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Optional dedicated IP add-on
  • ConsCONS
  • Mediocre speeds

This Switzerland-based VPN service has all the security features of the big boys, but at a fraction of the cost. This is by far the cheapest service in our top five. It has a per-app VPN structure, which will please smartphone users. It uses both IP switching and kill switches to prevent IP leaks. Like NordVPN, this VPN provider goes out of its way not to keep any activity logs.

The user interface is simple to manage and the customer support team gives rapid responses to queries.

All in all, this is a pretty good service that covers all the security measures you need to access the internet in Iran. The only drawback here is that, despite their claim to be fast, users report that the service can be a little slow.

Visit VPNArea »


Best Iran VPNs: Considerations

Detection Methods

Although Iranian attitudes may seem draconian, the government’s methods for controlling access to the internet are not uncommon in the Western world.

Most companies operate proxy firewalls that block access to websites that they deem harmful or offensive. This is considered perfectly acceptable and uses a method of keyword filtering. If any web URL contains a blacklisted word, the proxy simply refuses to pass on the request for the web page. If the incoming HTML contains blacklisted words, the proxy doesn’t pass that code on to the browser. The Iranian government gets ISPs to install those filters. However, it has a much longer blacklist, which includes the names of politicians, free thinkers and so forth.

VPNs are victims of the need for open protocols in order to communicate. This is why pure VPN services are no good in Iran. The ISPs have detection software in place, which reads through the contents of the payload of a packet looking for the signature bit sequences that are specified in the OpenVPN standard and other VPN protocols. This is called “deep packet inspection” (DPI) and is commonly used by firewalls all over the world to block viruses.

DPI is not complicated. It is quick to execute, and is generally accepted as being a valid method of protecting computers. The only problem in Iran is that the government uses this method to restrict access to information.

Best VPNs for Iran: Conclusion

Iran’s authorities don’t need to be sophisticated in order to stamp out access to porn. They simply don’t provide a very good infrastructure. In the days before broadband, most porn sites posted pictures rather than video. Anyone who wanted to download a porn video would probably have to sit up all night waiting for the transfer to complete, and streaming was almost impossible. That’s how the internet runs in Iran.

Periodically, the Iranian government orders a temporary block on all encrypted data packets. These blackouts block access to all HTTPS sites that use SSL encryption, as well as VPNs.

Ultimately, a VPN service is not going to get you a faster connection in Iran. However, selecting one of the recommended VPNs in our list will at least help you get through to sites that would otherwise be inaccessible.

VPNs for Iran: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review9/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

VyprVPN Logo
Read Review8/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site

5

VPNArea Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure

Katrina Power Canadian writer currently living in Hungary. Avid lover of travel, technology, politics, fashion, and French music.

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3 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Iran – 2017

  1. Hi,
    There is interesting thing about VPN usage in Iran.
    VPN Apps typically connect to specific server to be ready for vpn session ( before you hit connect button ). In Iran many VPN vendors blocked to do this Connection so That’s done ! You can’t use this vpn :).
    There is a solution : Connect to a proxy server before lunch vpn app but some of them not recognize proxy settings.
    I’m use many VPN services and from your list Vypr ( the only vpn I use from this list ) fail to Establish Connection .
    So I don’t think there is such thing as best vpn for Iran – There is worked and not worked VPN !
    Thanks for this article.

    1. Hi Siavash,

      Thanks for the info. If the IP addresses of known VPN providers are blocked you can either try a lesser-known provider, or try using obfuscation technology. Anotrher optio is to roll your own VPN on a VPOS. Please see How to Bypass VPN Blocks for more details.

      1. Thank you for response.
        I’m check the link.
        I want you to know (That’s not a surprise) bestvpn.com is blocked in Iran 😀

        Keep Up the great Work!

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