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5 Best VPNs for Nigeria

Internet censorship and government surveillance in Nigeria (home to one of the most free and outspoken press of any country in African) is officially totally unheard of, and there are no laws restricting access to online content or to freedom of expression.

However, in practice the government has acted against critics (for example in 2008 two people were arrested for posting photos and articles online that were viewed as critical by the government), and ongoing sectarian and tribal violence results in a high degree of self-censorship.

We will look in some detail at some of the main issues affecting VPN use in Nigeria after we listed our selection of the best 5 VPNs for the country.


Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

HideMyAss Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$6.55 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review9.4/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

AirVPN Logo
Read Review9.2/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

4

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review9/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

5

PrivateInternetAccess Logo
Read Review0/10
$3.33 / monthVisit Site
Winner

Hide My Ass

  • PROS
  • Servers in South Africa, Egypt, India and Europ
  • Great VPN client makes changing servers very easy
  • Lots of other freebies on-site to help maintain anonymity on the internet
  • 2 simultaneous connections
  • CONS
  • UK company
  • Keeps logs and has a history of collaboration with the authorities
  • A bit pricey

HMA’s slapdash attitude to privacy (and a history of handing over customer records to the authorities) means that we do not recommend HMA to users in Europe and North America. However, such privacy concerns are likely to be irrelevant to users in Nigeria, and the fact that HMA is a very large company with a global reach means that it can provide excellent VPN access to users in West Africa, with servers located relatively nearby in South Africa, Morocco and Egypt (plus of course India and Europe, which may be a preferable choice depending on how your provider connects to the rest of the world). HMA also has a quite funky VPN client with an internet kill switch, and allows you to connect two devices at once.

Try Out the Best VPN for Nigeria Today!

» Visit HideMyAss

30 day moneyback guarantee

2nd place

IP Vanish

  • PROS
  • Servers located in South Africa Egypt, India and Europe
  • Good VPN client
  • Great network speeds
  • CONS
  • Claims to keep no logs undermined by its actions
  • P2P: no
  • Only one simultaneous connection

Again, IPVanish is a good choice for users in Nigeria thanks to its large international presence, with servers in 41 countries worldwide, including South Africa, Egypt, India and all over Europe. As with HMA, that fact that IPVanish threatened to disconnect our service after DMCA complaints is unlikely overly worry users in Nigeria, although if you wish to P2P download you should choose another service.


3rd place

AirVPN

  • PROS
  • No logs
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Dynamic port forwarding
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Real-time user and server statistics
  • Support for Tor over VPN and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels
  • Good speeds
  • 3 day free trial
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • No simultaneous connections (but extra can be purchased)
  • Closest servers are in Europe

Going in completely the other direction, AirVPN is not particularly well set-up to serve users in West Africa, but it is a very secure service that really cares about your privacy. Its nearest servers are in Europe, but on the plus side it keeps no logs, uses shared IPs, accepts anonymous Bitcoin payments, uses 256-bit AES encryption, and supports exotic privacy protection technologies such as VPN over Tor, and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels, and the beautifully presented real-time server information should at least make choosing the fastest server available easy. Although only one device can be connected at once by default, additional devices can be added for $1.99/mo each.

» Visit AirVPN


4th place

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN_Logo

  • PROS
  • Funky Android app
  • No usage logs
  • Great speeds
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Great iOS support
  • Servers in Egypt and India
  • CONS
  • No simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN hits something of a middle ground (maybe even a sweet spot?) for users in Nigeria, as they are pretty good on the privacy front (they keep no usage logs, although some connection and billing logs are kept), and they have servers in Egypt and India, as well as in Europe. In our tests they were fast, and with a generous 30 day money back guarantee they really are worth giving a spin. Unfortunately ExpressVPN does not allow more than one device to be connected at once.

» Visit ExpressVPN


5th place

PIA

  • PROS
  • No logs
  • Great attitude to privacy
  • Very fast
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • VPN client has some great features
  • P2P: yes
  • Android app
  • Pre-configured routers available
  • 3 simultaneous connections
  • CONS
  • US company
  • Closest servers are in Europe

Although in our view almost certainly compromised by the NSA, PIA remains one of the very best providers around, with a great VPN client featuring DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, an internet kill switch, and on their newly buffed up Windows client (still in beta at time of writing), impressive level of  security (up to an impressive 256-bit AES OpenVPN encryption, with SHA-256 hash authentication and 4096-bit RSA handshake encryption). PIA keeps no logs, uses shared IPs to make individual identification of users very hard, and accepts payment in Bitcoins, and allows up to three devices to be connected at once. The biggest problem with PIA for users in Nigeria is that its closest servers are in Europe.

» Visit PIA


Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

HideMyAss Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$6.55 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review9.4/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

AirVPN Logo
Read Review9.2/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

4

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review9/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

5

PrivateInternetAccess Logo
Read Review0/10
$3.33 / monthVisit Site

Internet regulation efforts

The latest attempt to toughen up Nigeria’s cyber-legislation came when a new bill (the eight since 2005) passed a second reading in The House of Representatives, the lower house of the Nigerian National Assembly, in November last year (2012), although no further action has yet been taken.

The bill is aimed not at restricting or monitoring the internet, but at providing a framework for tackling gangs who use the internet to commit various crimes, such as the notorious case in July 2012, when Cynthia Osokogu, an army general’s daughter, was robbed, raped and killed after she was lured to Lagos by people she met on Facebook. Senate President David Mark called for a crackdown on social media sites, accusing them of being used by ‘demean leaders’.

While nothing has yet come of these demands (Mark has a long history of pushing for cybercrime legislation), worry about Nigeria’s commitment to internet freedom may be behind growing surge of interest in the use of VPN to protect internet users’ privacy.

vpn nigeria

Some internet users in Nigeria have suspected the Economic and Financial Crimes  (EFC) commission of monitoring cybercrime incidents, and a while an Open Internet Initiative report concluded this was not the case in 2005, a recent (January 2013) report by Toronto based human rights group Citizen Lab, asserts that US commercial surveillance and filtering software FinFisher (made by the shadowy Blue Coat Systems of Sunnyvale) has been deployed in Nigeria.

VPN for Nigeria

Whether or not FinFisher is being used to monitor internet use in Nigeria (a scary thought!), there are many reasons to use a VPN service.

Obviously VPN is very useful for protecting your data when connecting to a WiFi hotspot, as unencrypted data is highly vulnerable to malicious hacking. It is also useful for connecting to geo-restricted media services such as Hulu, Pandora and BBC iPayer.

More importantly, with Nigeria being a highly religious country (Christian, Islam and even ‘Chrislamic’), and having strong social taboos (such as rampant homophobia), there are plenty of reasons why many would prefer to keep their internet use as private as possible.

Perhaps the biggest problem with using VPN in Nigeria is the fact that it is a long distance away from where most VPN servers are located, which introduces a lot of lag into a system that is already reported as being very slow. Fortunately, the connection of a number of high capacity submarine cables (Glo-1, Main One, WACS and SAT 3) to Nigeria over the last few years, to supplement the satellite systems already in place, is set to change this.


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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6 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Nigeria

  1. Hi,
    1) Which of these VPN service best works with Spectranet NG, Etisalat, Glo, MTN or Zain and very fast.

    2) And is there any special app for the each to work on PC, MAC or Smartphones?
    Because I am aware that some guyz surf the net with these VPN stuffs without any subscription for internet service.

    3) Also can I pay for any of the above Providers with naira account?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Nego,

      1) All VPN services should work equally well on all networks
      2) Some providers offer custom desktop programs and mobile apps, some use generic open source alternatives. Check with the provider. Free services do exist, but these invariably have limitations. Please check out 5 Best Free VPNs.
      3) I doubt it, but PayPal is officially available in Nigeria, which should make things easy. Another option is to pay using Bitcoins.

  2. I just got express vpn so I can use my Amazon prime subscription. It works, just that streaming is slow, and the VPN connection trips off.
    I use Swift and Glo, and so far it works better with Glo (using my phone as a hotspot)
    I’ll see how the one month trial goes, and maybe I’ll switch to HMA. It’s better than nothing I guess. Thanks for the review.

    1. Hi Mide,

      Unfortunately, Nigeria’s distance from most VPN servers, combined with VPN adding an additional layer of slowness to the country’s already somewhat basic internet infrastructure, means that streaming will almost inevitably be slow. If simply streaming is your major concern, then SmartDNS may be a better option for you, as with less computational overheads it is faster than VPN (but provides no privacy or security).

  3. Can cyberghost work Nigeria zone, because it waste my time when run the software I don’t just know what to do need help

    1. Hi attalu,

      As far as I know, all VPN services should work just fine from Nigeria. I have found that some CyberGhost servers can be very slow, and it can therefore take a bit of messing around before finding a good fast one, but in my experience they do all work. Have you tried contacting CyberGhost about your problems – the website has a live chat feature which you might find useful…

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