Countries Where VPNs Are Illegal

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Updated August 16, 2022

If you are new to the world of private networks, you may wonder about which countries where VPNs are illegal. The best VPNs, after all, allow for encrypted Internet use, which is not something every country in the world is enthusiastic about. So, where are VPNs illegal, and is there anything you can do to get around these restrictions? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Virtual private networks are legal throughout much of the world, including the United States, but not everywhere.
  • Certain countries restrict access to maintain a tight grip on online activities and illegal activity via an approved Internet Service Provider.
  • Countries that ban VPNs include the Russian government, the Chinese government, North Korea, Uganda, Iraq, Turkey, and several others.

Why Do Countries Ban VPN Services?

If you are looking for the best VPN for privacy, it’s easy to see why some countries may look to ban these services, as they don’t exactly love privacy. These countries restrict access to VPNs, even if you are learning how to get a VPN on an iPhone. As a matter of fact, they will ban even the best iPhone VPN services.

Insider Tip

Check the legality of your VPN service before traveling abroad to one of the aforementioned countries.

Telecommunication providers and content creators also don’t love VPNs, which may contribute to legal issues throughout the world.

Countries Where a VPN is Illegal

Unfortunately, there are plenty of places on this planet that look down on VPNs, banning them entirely in some cases. Let’s look at some.

China

China may be making great economic strides and, well, smaller human-centric strides, but the country still hates VPNs messing up its tightly controlled propaganda network. To that end, VPNs are totally illegal in China, except in rare cases in which they may be used by government agencies for security purposes. China has also created an extremely adaptable firewall that catches nearly any use of a VPN, so tread lightly.

North Korea

It should come as no surprise that one of the most authoritarian countries in the world would turn its nose up at VPN services. They are absolutely illegal throughout North Korea. There have been reports, however, that the nation’s privileged few have access to VPNs, but not the masses.

Russia

Another no-brainer, Russia hates VPNs, as they like to have complete control over any news coming into and out of the country. VPNs were officially banned in 2017, much to the chagrin of the world stage.

Other Countries

Those aren’t the only places that ban VPNs. These services are illegal in Belarus, Iraq, Turkey, and many other countries throughout the world. If you find yourself in one of these places, exercise extreme caution before using a VPN, as you may face legal fines or even jail time.

STAT: When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is protected because it is encrypted and routed through the VPN server, obscuring your IP address. This traffic can be stopped by blocking ports used by some VPN protocols, such as PPTP or L2TP, or outright blocking the IP addresses of VPN services. (source)

VPNs Illegal Countries FAQs

Why are there legal issues around VPNs?

Many governments, such as the Belarusian government, want to exercise more control over media, thus instituting bans to decrease online privacy.

How are VPN bans enforced?

Countries enforce VPN bans on Internet access via firewalls and legal searches, though the legality of VPNs and VPN usage is constantly in flux.

Where are VPNs legal?

VPN connections are legal in many parts of the world, as long as you avoid Internet activity laws mandated by the Ugandan government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, and the others mentioned in this article.
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