How to Safely and Freely Use the Internet in Iran with a VPN

Iran has been rocked by protests in 2022. The protests were ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody but are also motivated by unrest over Iran’s authoritarian government. Internet access and freedom of speech have always been heavily restricted in Iran. However, the government clamped down even further in an effort to quell online dissidence and to prevent protestors from using the internet to organise.

A VPN can help individuals bypass these internet restrictions as well as protect their online privacy and activity from government surveillance.

Are VPNs Legal in Iran?

The Iranian government heavily censors and restricts access to the internet. Like many other authoritarian countries, the government blocks access to international sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The authorities also carry out extensive surveillance, and anyone using the internet in contravention of the law can face harsh prison sentences.

Currently, VPNs are still legal in Iran, but their use is restricted and regulated by the authorities. It’s only permitted to use VPN software from government-approved VPN vendors. However, this makes VPNs useless for the majority of users because only VPNs that restrict access to banned websites are allowed.

Using an unapproved VPN is illegal and can carry a sentence of between 91 days and one year. The authorities don’t strictly enforce the law for mundane violations, like accessing Facebook. However, those using a VPN to speak out against the government face serious consequences.

A new bill proposed by the Iranian government may issue an all-out ban against VPNs. It also proposes many tighter restrictions to online access by Iranian citizens.

What Free VPNs Work in Iran?

Using a free VPN is inherently risky. Many free VPNs don’t have proper privacy policies, weak security, and low-grade encryption. This could leave your personal data and online activity vulnerable to prying eyes.

Some free VPNs even bundle malware and ad trackers into their software or even sell your data online. 

That being said, there are some trustworthy free VPNs. However, these usually have few servers, slower and less reliable connection speeds, little-to-no customer support, and may not be as secure as premium VPNs. They also usually have limits on the amount of data you can use.

If you do need a free VPN, here are some options you can consider:

  • ProtonVPN: Servers in 3 locations with no data limits.
  • Atlas VPN: Servers in 3 locations with a 10GB/month limit.
  • Windscribe: Servers in 14 locations across 11 countries with a 10GB/month limit.

VPNs with 30-day Free Trials in Iran

A better and much safer option is to use a premium VPN that offers a free trial or refund guarantee. Most good VPNs today offer at least a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try it out risk-free.

Tip: Cancel the free trial before it ends and take advantage of an offer from another provider.

Here are some of the top options:


CyberGhost has a huge server network with 9,000+ servers in 91 countries, (one of the largest VPN networks we have seen) including 26 servers in Tehran, Iran. The servers aren’t physically located in Tehran, which means that the government can’t raid the servers or force CyberGhost to hand over user data. CyberGhost also actually has a longer 45-day money-back guarantee.


ExpressVPN doesn’t offer any servers in Iran but has 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. ExpressVPN is one of the best and most popular VPNs worldwide, with fast connections, bulletproof security, and user-friendly apps for a wide range of devices.


NordVPN is another one of the most popular VPNs in the world, with 5,000+ servers in 59 countries. NordVPN doesn’t have Iranian servers but is a highly trusted VPN with great security features and privacy policies.


SurfShark is another one of the fastest VPNs in the world, with 3200+ servers in 100 countries. Surfshark doesn’t have Iranian servers but is a highly trusted VPN with great security features and privacy policies.


VPNs are one of the only ways to help protect your online privacy in a country with heavy internet restrictions like Iran. However, you need to carefully assess the risk of using a VPN, as unauthorised usage can land you in legal trouble. Your best bet is to use a highly trusted VPN with watertight policies and security features that won’t compromise your online privacy.

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