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5 Best Russian VPNs for 2018

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

February 8, 2018

In 2014, Russia introduced legislation that restricts citizens’ online freedom. Those laws diminish people’s ability to express their opinions. They also blacklist websites (causing severe censorship) and hamper people’s ability to run businesses without interference from the Kremlin.

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In addition, Russia introduced mandatory data retention last year, forcing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to retain web browsing histories and metadata for all Russian citizens. For Russians who don’t want to be under constant surveillance, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the ideal solution. A VPN for Russia unblocks restricted websites and bypasses censorship. It also conceals your real location. Furthermore, VPN software provides digital privacy and security, both at home and on public WiFi.

Unfortunately, since October, Russia has restricted access to VPN services. ISPs must now block access to VPN and proxy websites. That means that getting to the best VPN for Russia’s website may be tricky. However, if you can find a proxy or a free VPN that will allow you to get onto these VPN websites, these are the best of the bunch.

Best VPN Apps for Russia: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Chinese New Year Promo: 49% off today!
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Very fast connections
  • Strong and secure encryption
  • No usage logs
  • 24/7 live chat support
CONS:
  • A bit pricey – but worth it!

ExpressVPN is not only the best VPN for Russia but one of the best VPNs in the world. Encryption is very strong OpenVPN protocol – the industry standard for VPN protection. Servers are located in a whopping 94 countries and they all provide the very best speeds that the VPN industry has to offer. ExpressVPN will thus allow you to perform the most data-intensive tasks easily, including gaming, peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting and HD-quality streaming.

In addition, ExpressVPN has a 24/7 live chat team on standby, ready to help you set up the VPN to optimal levels, and to support with unblocking a website, TV show, or sports event that you want to access. ExpressVPN has its own custom software that is fully featured with all the most modern VPN services. A kill switch will stop you accidentally leaking data to your ISP, while auto connect makes sure you are always protected. Furthermore, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection means that even your DNS requests are always sure to be securely proxied.

ExpressVPN has it all, and it even provides a 30-day money-back guarantee to allow you to test the service risk free. Without a doubt the best VPN for Russia in 2017.

Get the best VPN for Russia now!

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IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Servers in over 60 countries
  • Lightning fast connections
  • Zero logs policy
  • Easy to use apps for all platforms
  • Strong encryption
CONS:
  • Based in the US
  • Customer care could be better

IPVanish is considered an excellent VPN for Russia because it has fast servers all over the globe, including in and around Russia. One slight drawback is that the VPN is based in the US (home of the NSA). However, the fact that it keeps zero logs nicely makes up for this fact – if the authorities asked IPVanish for any data, it would have none to hand over. The software is fully featured and very easy to use. In addition, it is available for all the popular platforms. One drawback is that customer care is only in US daylight hours, so if you want 24/7 availability of live chat then this isn’t the Russia VPN for you. Finally, it has a seven-day money-back guarantee.

3. Buffered

Buffered Homepage
PROS:
  • Servers in 37 countries
  • Fast connections
  • Strong encryption
  • Excellent Windows software
  • No usage logs
CONS:
  • Some connection logs (for internal use)

This Hungarian provider is impressive. Servers are located all over the world, including in Russia. Although it has fewer servers than some of the VPNs in this list, those servers are placed superbly in the most useful locations around the globe. Thus you will have no problem unblocking anything that you are interested in. The software for Windows is particularly excellent, so if a Windows VPN is what you are after, this is a really great option. The software is fully featured and even has unique features, such as the ability to scan ports in order to log into public WiFi without the need for a password. That makes Buffered awesome both at home and on public WiFi. Encryption is strong and the privacy policy is excellent. Finally, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Servers in over 50 countries
  • Secure encryption
  • Lots of privacy features
  • Good customer care
  • Zero logs
CONS:
  • Can get a bit slow sometimes (especially if using double encryption option)

NordVPN is excellent for people who want extra security features. It provides double hop, which bounces your traffic through two rather than one VPN server. VPN into Tor is also available, as are shared Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, a kill switch, auto connect, and DNS leak protection. The software is very easy to use and looks great. Servers are located everywhere you might need them, including Russia. Customer care is great and very knowledgeable. Finally, this VPN for Russia provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.

VPNArea Homepage
PROS:
  • Servers in over 50 countries
  • Excellent value for money
  • Outstanding customer care
  • Fast connections
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • Not much

VPNArea is a VPN for Russia that has plenty of fast servers located around the world. Although it doesn’t excel as much as some of the VPNs high up in the list, this Russia VPN is still an amazing all round service. Nothing in particular lets it down. Encryption is very strong and the privacy policy is watertight due to a zero logs commitment. The VPN is reliable, and customer care is among the best we have ever encountered. The software is a breeze to use and is fully featured with all the best VPN options. An incredible VPN for Russia.


What Is a Russian VPN?

A Virtual Private Network is a service that allows you to pretend to be in another country. By connecting to a VPN server in a foreign country, you appear to actually be in that country. This achieves two things. Firstly, it overcomes geo-restrictions, so that you can watch things that are usually reserved for citizens of foreign countries. Secondly, it allows you to overcome local censorship imposed by ISPs and the government. A VPN will also allow you to overcome network restrictions imposed by local administrators such as employers and landlords.

In addition, reliable Russian VPN apps encrypt all of your web traffic. By scrambling data with military grade encryption, a VPN for Russia stops ISPs from collecting web browsing data on behalf of the government. As such, a VPN app is the best digital privacy tool available.

Are VPNs Legal in Russia?

In October 2017, Putin’s government banned VPNs. However, the law doesn’t actually make it illegal to use a VPN for personal or business reasons. As such, it is legal to use a VPN in Russia. However, since Russia started banning VPNs, getting hold of VPN apps has become much more difficult. Thankfully, once you do manage to get VPN access, it is legal.

Russian VPN Laws

At the end of October, the law banning VPNs kicked in. It forces ISPs in Russia to block all websites that sell VPN services. Not being based in Russia, I’m not exactly sure which websites are currently blocked there. It is possible that some of the VPNs in this article are blocked. That puts you in the unusual position of needing a Russia VPN or proxy service to access the VPN’s website and subscribe to the premium VPN. If the VPN app you want to subscribe to is blocked in Russia, please inform us by leaving a message at the end of this article.

Why Do I Need a VPN in Russia?

In 2014, the Russian government passed a law requiring all bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to follow the same regulations as large-scale media outlets. This includes writing using their real name and official registration with Koskomnadzor, the nation’s media regulator.

Expressing dissenting political views can result in imprisonment within Russia. Thus the new law made it tougher for people to express themselves and release unbiased news.

Since the ‘law on bloggers’ came into effect, many Russians have begun to take their privacy more seriously. As a result, the use of VPNs in the country has vastly increased in the last few years. If you don’t agree with the government snooping on your every online action, a Russia VPN is the best solution.

Once you connect to a VPN, you’re free to look at any blog or news source that you wish, without fear of being flagged up as someone with dissenting opinions and views.

Russian VPN Website Blocks

The Russian government blocks hundreds of websites that it considers politically “unsafe” for its citizens. The government blacklists criticism of the Kremlin, pornography, religious material, and pro-western sentiment. Now, VPN and proxy websites have been added to that list.

If you want to get around the website blocks and censorship, a VPN’s secure connection is ideal. A VPN allows you to access the internet with the freedom that you deserve.

A VPN for Russia is a fantastic way to gain privacy from Putin’s invasive government. With a VPN, you can encrypt your web traffic. This makes it impossible for the authorities to know what you’ve been doing online. That’s why VPNs are considered to be the world’s best digital privacy tool.

What Can I Do with a VPN in Russia?

A Russia VPN is extremely useful. Not only can you overcome government censorship and regain access to blacklisted websites, but you can also access geo-restricted websites too. With a VPN, you can unblock and watch British TV, Italian football, and boxing from around the world. You can even subscribe to US cable on Sling TV and watch the world’s best shows the moment they come out. A VPN truly unlocks the internet, allowing you to visit any website or use any service, no matter where you are.

Does your workplace block Minecraft? With a VPN you’ll be playing the game again on your break without an issue, and nobody will have a clue that you’re doing it!

Note: BestVPN.com does not condone copyright infringement. While we are aware that VPNs can be used to spoof your location to another country, and thus overcome geo-restrictions, their primary purpose is to provide you with online security and privacy. First and foremost, this is why we recommend using a VPN.

How to Choose a Russian VPN

Due to the invasive nature of the Russian government and its VPN crackdown, it’s essential for a Russian VPN to have both strong encryption and a robust privacy policy. All of the VPNs in this guide provide the very best levels of encryption on the market. This means that neither ISPs nor the Kremlin can access the web browsing data coming and going from your machine(s). In addition, the VPNs we recommend don’t store usage logs. this means that even if the VPN provider is approached by the government for details about a particular VPN user, it has no records to hand over.

A good VPN for Russia should also have plenty of servers spread around the world. This allows you to conceal your real location (IP address) and pretend to be overseas. All of the VPNs in this article have a large selection of servers. This means you can easily overcome geo-restrictions to access region-specific websites and online services.

Finally, the Russian government imposes one of the world’s biggest internet blacklists. With thousands of websites censored inside Russia, a VPN is the only way to access the internet in a truly free way.

How to Set up a Russian VPN

Setting up a VPN might not be as easy in Russia as it used to be. That is because Russia is now actively blocking VPN websites. As such, it may be necessary to use a proxy or a free VPN in order to get VPN access. Sadly, it’s not clear at this time which VPN websites Russia has successfully blocked. As such, if any of the VPNs in this guide are blocked, please leave us a message at the end of the article so that we can help.

One option is to use a lesser known VPN in order to access one of the VPNs in this list. Once you’ve subscribed and downloaded the VPN software, you can stop using the lesser known VPN (which is likely to be slow and may not provide great privacy levels). For more details about getting around VPN blocks – and IP blocking – check out our article here. For an explanation of getting around app store VPN blocks, look here.

As long as you can access the VPN website, setting up your VPN is easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Subscribe to the VPN that you prefer by clicking on the link in this article.
  2. Once you’ve subscribed, you’ll be able to get the VPN software from the downloads page. Remember to get the right version for your devices.
  3. Install the VPN on your device. This won’t take long. Once you’ve installed it, run the software and log in using the credentials you created when you subscribed.
  4. Now that the VPN is up and running, simply connect to a server in the location that you want to pretend to be in.
  5. As soon as the VPN connects, it conceals your real IP address and you appear to be in the remote location of the VPN server.

Some of the VPNs in this guide provide VPN obfuscation technology (stealth mode) for getting around VPN blocks. For more information about getting over VPN blocks check out the article mentioned above.

How to Test a Russian VPN

Here at BestVPN.com, we thoroughly test and review VPNs. If you’re looking for detailed insights, check out our impartial, in-depth reviews. You can search for any VPN review in the top right of the website. We are proud to have the world’s most advanced VPN speed testing methodology. This enables us to provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate VPN speed results in the world.

We also understand that many people like to check their VPN’s performance themselves. If you want to do this, simply head over to this website to check your internet speeds. Test your internet speeds without the VPN first. Use a test server that is close to you. Following that, connect to your VPN and test it again. This will give you an idea of the difference in speeds that you are getting with and without the VPN. Remember, however, that online speed tests can’t rival our purpose-built VPN testing servers for accuracy.

Getting the Most from Your VPN for Russia

The VPNs in this guide have been selected for use in Russia because they provide the very best service available. Despite this, there are a few things you can do to make your VPN run at optimum levels.

Fastest VPNs for Russia

Ths VPNs in this article all have tier-1 server networks. This means they provide the very best VPN speeds on the market – no matter where you connect to. However, the longer the distance between you and the server that you connect to, the slower the connection will be. As such, it’s always worth connecting to a server that’s as close to you as possible. Do you need to connect to a server in the US? Then figure out whether a server on the east or west coast is closer to you and use that. If you just want to use a VPN for privacy, connect to a server in a country near to Russia – preferably one that has good privacy laws. That way you’ll get the very best speeds.

Best Russian VPN Protocols

Your VPN encryption protocol (also known as a tunneling protocol) is what keeps your data secure. There are a number of encryption protocols and they all provide slightly different levels of performance. The very best encryption protocol (which we recommend you use) is OpenVPN. OpenVPN is a military grade VPN protocol that will keep your data super secure. However, it is worth noting that some VPNs provide OpenVPN User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and OpenVPN Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Both are secure, but UDP is slightly faster for streaming, so if you want to stream, choose that.

Other protocols include Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol Security (L2TP/IPsec), Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2). All of those encryption protocols have their merits, apart from PPTP, which is now outdated and insecure. Generally, we recommend using OpenVPN. However, iOS users often use L2TP/IPsec. This is because L2TP/IPsec is supported natively on iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. Although it isn’t quite as secure as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec is fast and secure, so using this protocol isn’t a problem. For a full rundown on VPN protocols, check out our article here.

Free VPNs for Russia

If you’re looking for a free VPN for Russia, we recommend that you look at our article here. The vast majority of free VPNs are untrustworthy, have poor privacy policies that allow them to collect and sell your data, and have outdated or poorly implemented encryption. Having said that, rubbish free VPNs may be a good way to get around VPN blocks to access the VPNs in this article. At the end of the day, using an inferior VPN in order to subscribe to one of the VPNs in this article isn’t going to do any harm.

Please remember that very few free VPNs actually come recommended. As such, if you intend to use a free VPN for Russia for a prolonged period of time, only use the free VPNs that we recommend!

WiFi Protection in Russia

When you connect to any public WiFi hotspot, you’re at risk from hackers. Once you connect to public WiFi, anybody else connected to the same network can ‘sniff’ your internet traffic. This allows cybercriminals to steal your bank details, credentials and passwords. It’s even possible for them to ‘piggyback’ on your session to look at your social media accounts.

Furthermore, some hackers set up fake WiFi hotspots in locations where you would expect to find free public WiFi. A fake network called ‘Airport WiFi’ is almost impossible to tell apart from the real thing, but as soon as you connect, the hacker has access to all of your data.

The encryption provided by a VPN for Russia means that no matter where you are, or which WiFi network you connect to, your data will be secure. This is also true for people living in shared housing or halls of residence. Nowadays, it’s very easy to get software for piggybacking on other people’s sessions, so if you don’t want others snooping on you, subscribe to a VPN!

Best Russian VPNs: Conclusion

In Russia, just like everywhere else nowadays, the government is imposing an iron will on its people. Mandatory data retention, censorship, and pressure on firms to keep data about Russian citizens on servers located within Russia all make a VPN a very important security measure.

With a VPN for Russia, you get back the privacy that you deserve. You can use the internet without fear of being watched. Here at BestVPN.com, we strongly believe that people deserve to express their true beliefs and to read other people’s opinions without fear of persecution.

What’s more, a VPN is a practical security solution that will keep your data safe from hackers both at home and on public WiFi. For anybody who isn’t particularly troubled by the government’s invasive actions (if you’re not, you should be!), VPN usage is an awesome way of unblocking websites around the world. We’re sure there’s a perfect VPN for Russians of all walks of life in this article, so please take your time and look at the options carefully.

Best Russian VPN: Summary

ProviderPriceOur ScoreVisit
1Visit Site »
ExpressVPN review »
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/month

10.0

Our Score
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ExpressVPN review »
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2
IPVanish review »
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From
$5.20
/month

9.4

Our Score
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IPVanish review »
3
Buffered review »
Visit Site »
From
$6.60
/month

8.8

Our Score
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Buffered review »
4
NordVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$2.75
/month

8.4

Our Score
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NordVPN review »
5
VPNArea review »
Visit Site »
From
$4.92
/month

7.6

Our Score
Visit Site »
VPNArea review »

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