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5 Best VPNs for Facebook (December 2015 edition)

Facebook is without doubt a privacy nightmare. It hoovers up all your personal data, which it then uses to target you with ever more personalized ads. Regardless of this, most of us (over 1.5 billion in fact!) love the connection Facebook gives us to friends and family, and for central role it plays in our social lives.

Sometimes, however, access to Facebook is blocked, either by repressive governments or by your school or office. The simplest solution to such censorship is to use a VPN service, and after I have listed my choices for 5 Best VPNs for Facebook, I will discuss these issues at some length.

5 Best VPNs for Facebook Summary

Rank Provider Review Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review >
$8.32/mo Visit Site >

2

AirVPN Logo
Read Review >
$4.92/mo Visit Site >

3

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review >
$6.66/mo Visit Site >

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review >
$4.92/mo Visit Site >

5

CyberGhost Logo
Read Review >
$5.83/mo Visit Site >

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

5 Best VPNs for Ubuntu (December 2015 update)

  • PROS
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Servers in 78 countries
  • Great customer service
  • P2P: yes
  • 3 simultaneous connections
  • ‘Stealth’ servers in Hong Kong
  • CONS
  • Connection logs
  • A bit pricey

ExpressVPN is a great all-round choice for Facebookers, as it offers a balanced range of services, perfect for the mainstream VPN user. Performance is top-notch, ExpressVPN keeps no usage logs (although some connection logs are kept,) and it offers a great easy-to-use Windows and OSX client. The fact that ExpressVPN runs servers in 78 counties should ensure that if Facebook is blocked in your country then there will be a server quite close to you, and ExpressVPN reportedly works well out of China thanks to “stealth” servers located in Hong Kong.

We also like funky the Android and iOS apps, which allow you to stay secure and access Facebook (via its mobile website)  while out-and-about. ExpressVPN offers a very generous 30-day no quibble money back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to decide whether this top-rated service is the one for you!

Choose the best mainstream VPN for Facebook!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money back guarantee


2nd place

AirVPN

4.5/5

AirVPN Logo

  • PROS
  • No logs at all
  • Based in Italy
  • Transparent service
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Dynamic port forwarding
  • Real-time user and server statistics
  • Support for Tor over VPN
  • VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels
  • Very fast speeds
  • Reliable
  • Open source client with internet kill switch and DNS leak protection
  • 3-day free trial
  • Port forwarding
  • P2P: yes
  • 3 simultaneous connections
  • CONS
  • A bit techy
  • Customer support could be better
  • Limited number of servers worldwide (but server in Hong Kong)

This Italian provider offers among the best security and anti-censorship technology available on the web, allowing both SSH and SSL tunneling to evade governmnet blocks (and also supporting VPN through Tor for maximum anonymity, making it a great tool for dissidents.) Add in some of the strongest encryption around, and a Windows, Mac OSX and Linux client with built-in DNS leak protection and kill switch, and AirVPN should be on the top of every privacy fanatic’s wish list.

As with most of the providers listed here, the AirVPN website is blocked in China, but we are told that if you email AirVPN support they can provide access to the website through a URL that is not blocked there. The only real downsides to AirVPN are that it is definitely aimed at the technically-minded user, and that it has a fairly limited number of  servers worldwide (at least compared to the likes of ExpressVPN!)

Visit AirVPN »


3rd place

BolehVPN

4.1/5

BolehVPN Logo

  • PROS
  • No logs at all
  • Client with VPN kills switch and DNS leak protection
  • VPN over Tor
  • SmartDNS included
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • DNS leak protection
  • P2P: yes
  • 2 simultaneous connections
  • ‘xCloak’ servers
  • CONS
  • Not much

Based at an off-shore location somewhere off Malaysian coast, this provider offers ‘xCloak’ servers designed bypass government censorship. We love BolehVPN’s no logs at all policy, that it now uses excellent encryption, allows P2P downloading, and has great connection speeds. The Windows and OSX client is also very funky, and features a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection. Like AirVPN, it offers VPN over Tor, allowing for true anonymity while online. The fact that BolehVPN throws in a SmartDNS services free is also great.

Visit BolehVPN »


4th place

VPNArea

3.6/5

VPNArea Logo

  • PROS
  • No logs at all
  • Based in Bulgaria (no DRD)
  • 5 simultaneous devices
  • Good speeds
  • Great Windows client
  • Great customer service
  • Accepts Bitcoins
  • 7-day money back guarantee
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Some teething issues (but it has been a while since I last checked)

VPNArea is a (fairly) new and small Bulgarian company with lots of servers all over the place, which makes it handy for accessing Facebook in counties where it is blocked, as there should always be a server nearby. VPNArea features a 7-day free trial, fantastic connection speeds, and among the most friendly and helpful support I have come across, The fairly minor issues I encountered with the service were largely due to it being new, but I was generally impressed (and these issues may have been resolved, as it is while since I fully reviewed VPNArea.)

Visit VPNArea »


5th place

CyberGhost

3/5

CyberGhost Logo

  • PROS
  • No logs at all
  • Good free service
  • 14 (monthly) or 30 (yearly) day money back guarantee
  • Based in Romania
  • Good client
  • Accepts Bitcoins
  • Uses shared IPs
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Multiple simultaneous connections only allowed on most expensive plan
  • Finding a fast server can be pain

Based in Romania, CyberGhost keeps no logs, allows BitTorrent downloading, and has a great Windows VPN client with lots of features, including an internet kill switch. The 30-day money back guarantee is also unarguably very generous (for yearly customers, 14-days for monthly purchases.) My main issue with CyberGhost is that while some servers perform very well, others can be very slow, requiring some patience and trial-and-error to establish a good connection. An important feature for users in repressive countries who might struggle to afford even the modest fees charged by the VPN providers listed above is that CyberGhost also offers a very usable free service. Unlike many “free” VPN services this is transparently funded by its Premium offerings,  and is certainly good enough for accessing Facebook…

Visit CyberGhost »


Issues

How does VPN unblock Facebook?

When using a commercial VPN service you connect your device to the provider’s VPN server via an encrypted connection. So…

  • Because the connection between your device and the VPN server  is encrypted, no-one (including your ISP, government, school, or workplace) can see what you get up to online.
  • Because you can choose to connect to a server located overseas, local censorship laws do not apply, and blocks are rendered ineffective (those just wishing to evade office/school blocks do not require an overseas server for this, but the same principles apply.)

Using a VPN is therefore an excellent and highly effective way to access Facebook when it is blocked.

Accessing Facebook on your phone

In many parts of the world smart phones are people’s primary means of accessing the internet… and therefore of accessing Facebook. Most people using mobile devices access Facebook via its much hyped (and very intrusive to privacy) Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps.

Even when using a VPN, however, in repressive countries where ISPs and mobile carriers have been ordered to block access to Facebook, the mobile apps are unlikely to work. This is because apps leak a great deal more information to ISPs and telecoms providers than a browser does, and are therefore much more easily blocked.

In countries where the apps are blocked you should therefore use a VPN and access Facebook via its regular mobile website using your phone’s internet browser.

Government Censorship

In many more oppressive countries, Facebook provides a vital link with the outside world, allowing residents to interact normally with people from across the globe, form friendships, and to exchange and absorb new ideas

Facebook also provides a platform for expressing and disseminating dissenting ideas within restrictive countries, and for dissidents to meet like minded individuals. It was this aspect that allowed Facebook to play a key role in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.  I will stress, however, that such activity can be risky, and that those who engage in behavior on Facebook that could get themselves into trouble should exercise extreme caution.

Although Facebook is unlikely to cooperate in handing over users’ details to more repressive regimes, this should not be 100 percent relied upon. Furthermore, police regularly monitor posts on public Facebook groups, and use assumed identities to join closed groups or insinuate themselves into the Friends lists of subjects of interest to them.

Unsurprisingly, the governments of many authoritarian countries seek to simply prevent their citizens engaging in the “dangerous” activity of accessing Facebook. As of December 2015, Facebook is banned in the following countries:

China – Facebook is (at least in theory) completely blocked in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong. Most Chinese citizens are happy to use local alternatives (51.com, renren and 开心网 (Kaixin001) being the most popular), although an estimated half a million users do access Facebook using proxy servers and VPN to circumvent the Great Firewall of China. This is however a tiny figure compared to the 1.3 billion internet users (and thus potential Zuckerberg customers) in the country. Best VPN has dedicated articles on 5 Best VPNs for China and How to Access Facebook in China

Iran – despite one of the highest levels of internet penetration in the Middle East, access to Facebook from Iran has a troubled history. Prior to 2007 a ban of sorts appears to have been in place, but its implementation was very haphazard. The ban was lifted, but re-introduced prior to the 2009 elections, before being lifted again for a short while in response to heavy criticism, and then reintroduced again.

As far as I can determine this ban remains in place, and the Iranian government has instituted “cyberpolice units” to track down those visiting it (and other banned websites), some of whom have been arrested, interrogated, tortured,  jailed and even killed. There are also reports that local VPN companies, who many Iranians turn to in order to disguise their identity when on-line because they are cheap, are in fact run by the government, and provide no protection at all.

We therefore strongly advise that Iranian residents who wish to access Facebook (or any other banned website), do so using  non-Iranian VPN providers, and using servers located outside of Iran (and probably best outside the Middle East completely).

Kamenei FacebookAll of which makes the fact the Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, set up a Facebook page for himself in December 2012, and which now has over  126, 600 ‘Likes’, both bizarre and somewhat surreal!

North Korea – it goes without saying that Facebook is not available in North Korea, where the vast majority of the population are not allowed access to the internet at all. Selected government and Party officials probably do have limited access to the internet (China supplies some broadband lines to North Korea), but I seriously doubt that checking up on Facebook is an approved-of activity.

Syria – the Syrian government banned Facebook in 2007, although it did make conciliatory efforts to lift the ban just prior to the uprising in 2011. The reasons given for this ban included claims that Facebook was used to promote attacks on the government, and that it was open to infiltration by Israel.

Ever since the uprisings and Syria’s subsequent descent into war-torn chaos, the ban has been  firmly in place in government controlled areas. How enforceable this is, however, remains very unclear, and can anyway be easily evaded using VPN (as was common before the uprisings.).

As for the situation in areas controlled by ISIS or other rebel groups… who the fuck knows? I do not advocate self-censorship as a rule, but if getting caught accessing Facebook (with or without a VPN) might get you beheaded or your hands chopped off, then discretion may be the better part of valor…

Tajikistan – describing it at one point as a ‘hotbed of slander’, the government of Tajikistan periodically bans Facebook. In june this year (2015) the government ended its most recent blocks on Facebook, but this situation could easily reverse again at any moment.

Vietnam – Facebook is “unofficially” banned by the Vietnamese government, but implementation of this seems intermittent and patchy, varying by day and by  ISP. In addition to this, many hotels and internet cafes have installed VPN software to bypass the ban, although many of these computers (particularly those supplied by hotels for their guests) are liable to be infected with malware. Despite the ban, thirteen and a half million Vietnamese people (around 15% of the population) use Facebook.

Accessing Facebook at work, school, or college

Worried that employees or students might spend more time chatting to friends, posting pictures of cats, and playing Candy Crash Saga than … you know…. actually working… many workplaces and educational establishments block access to Facebook.

Although hardly life-threatening, this can be annoying, and is a restriction that many people try to evade. You could, of course, just your mobile data plan, but if want to use the free WiFi then VPN will let you evade such blocks.

It would be remiss of me, however, not to point out that your establishment put these blocks in place for a reason, and that it may take a very dim view of your efforts to evade them if caught… That said, you could always try arguing back that there is growing evidence that allowing staff to access Facebook at work (or students at college) actually increases productivity (although this is a topic which is hotly contested). Good luck with that!

Accessing Facebook via the Darkweb

In places where VPN is somehow being effectively blocked (as can happen in China when the GFW acts as advertised,) where getting caught accessing Facebook can have very serious repercussions, or if you are just plain super-paranoid, then you can access your regular Facebook page via the Tor Hidden Services darkweb

In order to access Facebook in this way simply visit https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/ using the Tor Browser. If you cannot access the Tor website to download the Tor Browser, then you can email support at help@rt.torproject.org and ask them to email you a direct download link. Please see my article on this for more information.

Conclusion

For all its many ills, there is no denying that Mark Zuckerberg’s creation is a vital lifeline to the outside world for many, and an enjoyable distraction for many others. As long as you access it via your browser (not the mobile app,) VPN is a very effective way to evade blocks on Facebook.

Do please remember that when it come to privacy Facebook is the spawn of the devil, and to therefore check out our article on 12 Facebook Security Tips You Need to Implement Today.

5 Best VPNs for Facebook Summary

Rank Provider Review Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review >
8.32/mo Visit Site >

2

AirVPN Logo
Read Review >
$4.92/mo Visit Site >

3

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review >
$6.66/mo Visit Site >

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review >
$4.92/mo Visit Site >

5

CyberGhost Logo
Read Review >
$5.83/mo Visit Site >


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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One response to “5 Best VPNs for Facebook (December 2015 edition)

  1. Thanks for the excellent article, they’re all good VPNs.
    If I may I’d like to mention ibVPN, I’ve been using their software for 3 years and can highly recommend it. Cheap and no logs are kept!

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