Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson

January 6, 2015

Pakistan has some of the most restrictive internet laws in the world.  The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), along with the Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE), exerts heavy control over internet and mobile providers, and monitors internet traffic throughout the country, although it is unclear whether they have the capability to monitor all traffic.
Internet in Pakistan is heavily censored, and strict anti-blasphemy laws have been cited as reason to block many websites including a total ban on Youtube and Blogspot, as well as national security measures to curb political dissent, especially targeting sites that cover the Baloch separatist movement.   For more information, please read the discussion points at the bottom of the article.

Due to the ever changing situation in Pakistan, it is very difficult to say whether or not a particular service will work for a particular user, and we welcome comments from people in the country.  We have included several VPNs that offer a free trial or a money back guarantee so, if in doubt, go for one of these.

The PTA has requested ISPs to block access to anyone they notice using a VPN so for our list, we’re recommending services that provide high levels of security and can be set to mask the fact that a VPN is being used at all.  This is not foolproof, however, and for those who need maximum security, running a VPN over TOR is the best option. See our Ultimate Privacy Guide for more information.

Best VPNs for Pakistan Summary

Rank Provider Review Price Link

1

Best VPNs for Pakistan

Read Review >
$9/mo Visit Site >

2

ExpressVPN Logo

Read Review >
$8.32/mo Visit Site >

3

BolehVPN Logo

Read Review >
$7.08/mo Visit Site >

4

TorGuard Logo

Read Review >
$9.95/mo Visit Site >

5

PureVPN Logo

Read Review >
$9.95/mo Visit Site >
Winner

AirVPN

4,8/5

  • PROS
  • Very secure
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • VPN over TOR
  • CONS
  • TOR connections are very slow
  • Some aspects could be confusing for the average user

AirVPN is our number one choice for users in Pakistan as it is extremely secure and provides the option of connecting to servers an SSH or SSL tunnel, making it impossible to see you are even using a VPN.

It can also be run through TOR which is the most secure way of remaining anonymous available.  The drawback of this extremely high level of security is that using this option is very slow.

Visit AirVPN »


2nd place

ExpressVPN

4,6/5

ExpressVPN Logo

  • PROS
  • Stealth servers
  • Money back guarantee
  • Impressive speeds
  • 24/7 customer support
  • CONS
  • Not the cheapest option
  • Keeps some logs

Express VPN offers a 30 day money back guarantee and has stealth servers in Hong Kong, designed to hide the fact that a VPN is being used, which is great news for users in Pakistan.

Based in the US, they promise to keep no usage logs, and have servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and West coast US.  Although not the cheapest option, we believe they provide excellent value for money.

Visit ExpressVPN »


3rd place

BolehVPN

4,5/5

bolehVPN Logo

  • PROS
  • Hides VPN use
  • No logs
  • Outside US and EU jurisdiction (based in Malaysia)
  • CONS
  • Only on Windows
  • Limited customer support

For the average user, Boleh is an excellent choice as they have the option to cloak traffic to make it look like you are not using a VPN service at all and encrypts data with 256bit AES.

Boleh offers a one day free trial, although you have to email their sales department to get this.  A 7 day package is 3.70 USD, and is definitely a good option if you want to check speeds and software.

Visit BolehVPN »


4th place

TorGuard

4,2/5

TorGuard Logo

  • PROS
  • Stealth servers
  • 30 day money back guarantee (10GB limit)
  • Accepts BitCoin
  • CONS
  • Customer service could be better
  • Stronger encryption may be required by the most security conscious

TorGuard is an excellent provider that offers SSH tunnelling and has stealth servers located in Hong Kong that allow users to connect using an adaptation of obfsproxy, which acts as a bridge between client and server, making it seem to be normal HTTP traffic and virtually impossible to detect that a VPN is being used.

Visit TorGuard »


5th place

PureVPN

4,2/5

PureVPN Logo

  • PROS
  • Stealth servers
  • Money back guarantee
  • Great customer support
  • CONS
  • Keeps logs
  • Requires proof of ID to register

Pure VPN provides high performance and is overall a great VPN with 24/7 customer service and live chat on their website, which we tested during this article and got a response in under a minute.

This is a great option for those who just want to access censored material in Pakistan, although they do keep logs and state that they will hand these over if required to by law.

Visit PureVPN »


Discussion

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press, with over 50 journalists killed since 1992, and many more jailed.  Furthermore, many people are unable to get legal representation in blasphemy cases out of fear of reprisal attacks on lawyers.

Whilst far less common than attacks on traditional press journalists, online journalists and bloggers are increasingly being targeted by the government or other groups.  The most famous of which happening in 2012, when Malala Yousufzai, a schoolgirl from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen as she boarded a school bus.  Her crime was writing a blog detailing her life under Taliban occupation.  Yousafzai survived and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Needless to say, privacy for journalists and their sources is of paramount importance as it can be a matter of life or death.  For the average user, however, the threat is not quite as grave, although the blanket ban on Youtube and a number of blogging platforms inhibits freedom of information, and surveillance of email and instant messaging services greatly restricts the possibility of users to communicate freely and privately.

In practise, it remains unclear whether the PIA actually has technology capable of enforcing laws that prohibit VPN use with any certainty, and there are many reports of students being able to access VPNs with no trouble at all.

Conclusion

All the VPN providers on this list offer a great service, and individual choices can be made depending on user requirements.  For those wishing to simply access otherwise censored sites for entertainment, then any of these will do.

Anyone working in journalism or with politically sensitive material should make sure they understand which security measures should be taken, we recommend using TOR for those needing maximum security, although even this is thought to have been undermined.

Best VPNs for Pakistan Summary

Rank Provider Review Price Link

1

Best VPNs for Pakistan

Read Review >
$9/mo Visit Site >

2

ExpressVPN Logo

Read Review >
$8.32/mo Visit Site >

3

BolehVPN Logo

Read Review >
$7.08/mo Visit Site >

4

TorGuard Logo

Read Review >
$9.95/mo Visit Site >

5

PureVPN Logo

Read Review >
$9.95/mo Visit Site >
Joseph Robinson
May 20th, 2016

I'm a libertarian interested in human rights, technology, paradoxes and analogue synths.

14 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Pakistan

  1. PureVPN is unaccessible in Pakistan. They have blocked their website for Pakistan. And Pakistan is not their Target audience so Purevpn must not be in this list.

    1. Hi Pakistani,

      I have passed this on to Joseph, and I believe that an update to this article is in the works.

  2. Hello,

    My name is Ali and I am a Briton based Pakistani. I am software engineer and working in a IT company that also deals with betting sites fix-ups in the UK. For that reason, I sometimes need to login into betting sites to see the error or bug, which customers have complained about. Now, my question is that, can I access betting sites in Pakistan using the aforementioned five VPNz ? Because, I am traveling to Pakistan for two month to see my family and I will be working from home.
    Any suggestions would be highly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Ali

    1. Hi Ali,

      Yes. The above services should let you access UK (and other international) websites from inside Pakistan. Why not ask a friend or family member to try out a service before traveling there, just to make sure?

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