Best Free VPNs for Iran in 2021 (for Safety and Unblocking)

Iran is one of the countries with stringent internet censorship. People who have visited can testify that the Iranian government has blocked access to many popular websites.

Virtual Private Networks come to the aid of residents and visitors looking to bypass Iran’s heavy internet censorship. VPNs ensure they use a secure connection that ISPs in Iran cannot monitor, giving them access to a censorship-free Internet. What’s even more interesting is there are free VPNs you can use to achieve this. This article dwells on the best free VPNs you can use to combat internet restrictions in Iran.

Best Risk-Free VPNs for Iran

Risk-free VPNs require payment before you can use them. However, they have a risk-free timeline that you can use to your advantage and check out the services they offer. Most VPNs have a 30-day cash-back guarantee, but there are also other VPNs that have shorter or longer risk-free periods. Below, we look at the best risk-free VPNs you can use to bypass internet censorship in Iran.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN devices

Features

  • Number of servers: More than 3,000
  • Speeds: Unlimited
  • Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
  • Maximum devices supported: 5
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Fastest VPN out there
  • Strict no logs policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Few discounts
Visit ExpressVPN

There’s probably no service provider in the VPN industry that has a higher rank than ExpressVPN. This VPN has been consistently providing security and privacy to its users for several years. It has a server network that includes thousands of servers spread across 94 countries. However, note that it does not have servers in Iran. 

ExpressVPN will help people in Iran unblock several websites that the Iranian government blocked, including streaming and social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. Apart from that, it protects your connection from government or ISP snooping using AES-256 encryption and secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, IPSec, IKEv2, and a proprietary Lightway protocol.

Additionally, ExpressVPN has leak protection and a kill switch for maintaining users’ privacy. Furthermore, apart from a strict no-log policy, its servers run on RAM-only leaving no room for persistent storage of users’ data. ExpressVPN has its headquarters where the Iranian government has no influence–the British Virgin Islands. 

Like most VPNs, ExpressVPN’s risk-free period starts on the day you subscribe and ends 30 days after. You will get a full refund if you request one within that period. ExpressVPN allows up to six concurrent connections per user and works on several operating systems.

  • Pros: Fastest VPN out there; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.67

NordVPN

NordVPN devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
  • Servers: 5342 in 58 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Lots of pricing options
  • Netflix support kept up to date
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Slow app
Visit NordVPN

While NordVPN beats ExpressVPN in terms of sheer number of servers, its presence in 59 countries is significantly lower. However, it matches ExpressVPN in terms of consistency and reliability. Unfortunately, like ExpressVPN, it doesn’t have servers in Iran, but a server network of over 5400 servers is enough to help people living in Iran get past censorship. 

With NordVPN, you will have zero issues accessing sites that the Iranian government prevents its citizens from accessing. All you need to do is find a server in a country with no internet restriction and connect to it. Additionally, NordVPN has its head of operations in Panama. Furthermore, it has an airtight no-log policy, leak protection, and other privacy features that keep you anonymous online. 

NordVPN not only maintains your anonymity but also secures your internet and prevents your ISP or bad actors from monitoring your online activities. It achieves this using military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and world-class VPN protocols. In fact, it uses a proprietary NordLynx protocol that is arguably the fastest in the VPN industry. 

You can use NordVPN risk-free for 30 days. Additionally, it has affordable subscription packages, allows six simultaneous connections, and is compatible with various platforms.

  • Pros: Lots of pricing options; Netflix support kept up to date; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.71

Best Completely Free VPNs for Iran

While risk-free VPNs require payment before you can take advantage of their refund policies, these VPNs have no such requirements. Below, we look at the best free VPNs you can use to escape internet censorship in Iran.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN devices

Features

  • P2P support? Yes
  • 30-day money-back guarantee? Yes
  • Country of origin? Switzerland
  • Servers: 600+ in over 40 countries
  • Simultaneous devices: 5

Pros/Cons

  • Professional support
  • Modern interface and apps
  • AES-256 encryption
  • Lesser known provider
Try ProtonVPN

While ProtonVPN does not have servers in Iran, it has over a thousand servers globally. Its server network spans the borders of more than fifty countries. Unfortunately, only people that subscribe to its services can have full access to these servers. Free ProtonVPN users can only use servers in Japan, the US, and the Netherlands. 

However, ProtonVPN users in Iran don’t have to worry, as those three server locations are enough to bypass heavy internet censorship in Iran. In addition, they can subscribe and take advantage of ProtonVPN’s 30-day refund policy to use any server in its fleet. 

With ProtonVPN, your internet connection in Iran is secure. The Iranian government cannot monitor your online activities because of ProtonVPN’s secure encryption–the AES-256 encryption cipher and perfect forward secrecy technology. In addition, it uses OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec to ensure end-to-end encryption. 

Also, ProtonVPN has privacy features, including leak protection, an adblocker, and a kill switch. Apart from having its headquarters in Geneva, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has verified that ProtonVPN keeps your data safe. 

ProtonVPN only provides open-source applications and has installation instructions for devices that cannot host its app. Using its free version, users cannot have multiple connections. 

  • Pros: Professional support; Modern interface and apps; AES-256 encryption;
  • Lowest price: €4

Hide.me

Hide.me devices

Features

  • Number of servers: 1800+
  • Server locations: 72 locations
  • Maximum devices supported: 10
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Has free option
  • No log policy
  • Secure connection
  • Not very cheap
Try Hide.me

Malaysian-based Hide.me is another free VPN service provider that people in Iran can use. It boasts a presence in at least 72 countries worldwide. Unfortunately, it can’t cater to those looking to connect to servers in Iran as it doesn’t have any in the country. However, you can use it if you’re in Iran looking to use the internet without censorship.

Without paying for a subscription, Hide.me allows its users to utilize server resources in the US, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. These servers will give them access to blocked online services that are not available in Iran. Additionally, Hide.me uses 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and WireGuard. 

It employs all these technologies to improve the security of your connection and make it challenging for bad actors to find vulnerabilities. Hide.me is very privacy-friendly. Its headquarters in Malaysia is a statement that no one can ignore. In addition, it has a no-log policy and leak prevention features such as a kill switch and DNS/IPv6/WebRTC in-built leak protection.

Hide.me has a 30-day cash-back policy, which users in Iran can use to access all its servers. Unlike paid subscribers, free users cannot have simultaneous connections. Furthermore, a 10GB download cap limits their online activities.

  • Pros: Has free option; No log policy; Secure connection;
  • Lowest price: €4.99

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield devices

Features

  • Unlimited data? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Military grade encryption? Yes
  • Servers: Over 3200 in 80+ countries

Pros/Cons

  • Unlimited HD streaming
  • Blocks malware
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Unreliable support
Try Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield’s over 1800 servers globally will help Iranians overcome their government’s restrictions on the internet. These servers span eighty countries. Unfortunately, those looking to access servers present in Iran will have to find another VPN service as Hotspot Shield has no presence there. However, it will aid people in Iran in getting past internet restrictions. 

Free users of Hotspot Shield only have automatic access to servers in the US; they can’t choose the server they want to use. This shouldn’t matter much to people resident in Iran since any server in the US will get them past Iran’s internet censorship and monitoring.

There are a few limits free users have to consider, including a 2MB bandwidth limit and a  500MB daily download limit. However, Hotspot Shield ensures that your connection is always secure. It makes your network impenetrable using a 256-bit encryption cipher and secure end-to-end encryption. 

Hotspot Shield gives users options when it comes to secure VPN protocols. OpenVPN, IPSec, WireGuard, and a proprietary Hydra protocol are available. It is also a no-log VPN and is cross-platform compatible. Free subscribers cannot have multiple connections, but they can have a taste of its premium service using a 30-day money-back policy.

  • Pros: Unlimited HD streaming; Blocks malware; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.99

Trust.Zone

Trust.Zone devices

Features

  • Complete anonymity? Yes
  • Unblocking of all websites? Yes
  • Pricing options: 4
  • Servers: 164 in 80+ zones
  • Free trial: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Military grade encryption
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • App for mobile devices
  • Lesser known provider
Try Trust.Zone

Seychelles-based Trust.Zone has a server network that spans more than thirty countries. It has over 200 servers that accept and process internet requests from its users. Like the free VPNs on this list, Trust.Zone has no server in Iran. However, its servers outside Iran will help Iranian residents get out of the Iranian internet space to access more content. 

Trust.Zone’s free period is not indefinite; it only lasts for three days. In addition, free users have a download limit of 1GB and access to about 157 server locations. Users in Iran that want full access will need to upgrade to a paid subscription. Furthermore, Trust.Zone has a 10-day money-back guarantee, but you must not exceed the 1GB limit to qualify for a full refund. 

In terms of security and privacy, Trust.Zone has made available secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, WireGuard, IPSec, and IKEv2. In addition, it uses AES-256 and perfect forward secrecy to secure your internet. Other privacy features include leak prevention, a warrant canary, and a privacy-friendly environment. 

Trust.Zone works on almost every device, including Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, and Linux. Finally, it only allows a single connection per free user.

  • Pros: Military grade encryption; Bitcoin accepted; App for mobile devices;
  • Lowest price: €3

TunnelBear

TunnelBear devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes, bitcoin
  • Dedicated IP-adresses? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Locations: 28 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Unlimited browsing
  • Account manager
  • Military grade encryption
  • Free version allows only 500MB data
Visit TunnelBear

Canada-based TunnelBear is one of those free services that does not restrict access to any of its servers. While it does not have servers in Iran, it has servers in 41 other countries. This is especially useful to people in Iran that cannot afford to pay for a VPN service and want an internet space free from censorship.

Despite having free access to its servers, TunnelBear has a 500MB monthly data limit; tweeting about the company will add 1GB extra to the limit. Still, that is not sufficient for most people. Unfortunately, that will have to do, but free users can upgrade to a premium plan and take advantage of TunnelBear’s refund policy. However, note that, unlike most VPNs, TunnelBear does not guarantee refunds. 

IPSec, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 are examples of protocols TunnelBear uses to protect your connection. Additionally, it uses AES-256 encryption and uses perfect forward secrecy technology to ensure it’s a fruitless effort trying to break down your connection. TunnelBear also operates under a watertight zero-log policy that keeps its servers from logging your connection history. 

Furthermore, an annual audit is in place to ensure its systems are always secure. You can use TunnelBear on Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, and Linux-based systems. Finally, it allows five concurrent connections per subscriber.

  • Pros: Unlimited browsing; Account manager; Military grade encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.33

Is It Illegal to Use a VPN in Iran?

While the Iranian government has banned the use of many VPNs in the country, it is not unlawful to use a VPN. Iran is one of the countries that impose strict internet censorship and block access to many sites. However, there is no law that states that using a VPN is not allowed. In fact, the Iranian government only wants people to use government-approved VPN services. Such VPN services will not give you access to blocked websites, and the government is likely to monitor users’ online activities.

That being said, using a VPN that the Iranian government disapproves of can put you on their radar and possibly a jail term between 3 months to a year or a fine. However, there are very few cases where the Iranian government arrests residents for using a banned VPN. They are more interested in using it against people who oppose them on social media websites. 

Another critical thing to understand is that VPNs do not make illegal online activities legal. So, using a VPN to perform an unlawful act is considered illegal. It is why you have to know the laws of the country you visit. For example, torrenting might not be illegal, but downloading copyrighted materials from torrent sites can be unlawful. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Free VPNs for Iran

What are the things I should consider before selecting a free VPN for Iran?

The most important things include server network, security, privacy, simultaneous connections, and cross-platform compatibility. The server network is essential because an extensive server network gives people in Iran many options to escape online censorship. In addition, a server network in Iran is vital for people that want access to Iranian content. However, there are not many VPNs with servers there due to the government’s restrictions. 

Security and privacy are equally important because people in Iran need to prevent ISPs or other entities from monitoring their online activities. Simultaneous connections and cross-platform compatibility are also essential because they determine which devices people can use and how many they can use concurrently. 

Which blocked websites can a free VPN give me access to in Iran?

There are several websites the Iranian government has blocked. Using a free VPN can give you access to them. They are largely social media sites, streaming sites, foreign news sites, and porn sites. Examples are Google, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Telegram, Skype, Medium, Hulu, Blogger, and Twitter. In fact, Iran has blocked a significant number of the most visited websites in the world.

Will using a free VPN in Iran reduce my connection speed?

Yes, using a free VPN will likely reduce your connection speed. VPNs use system resources to ensure it encrypts data in transit. They use military-grade encryption combined with secure protocols and perfect forward secrecy. The use of these technologies will ultimately affect your connection speed. In most cases, you’re unlikely to notice it. However, the bandwidth and speed caps that come with most free VPNs could make it more noticeable. 

Conclusion

Despite Iran’s strong opposition to several foreign websites, residents and visitors don’t have to comply with its harsh internet restrictions due to the availability of VPNs. The risk-free and completely free VPNs above will get anyone past internet censorship in Iran with ease. In case you’re looking for a VPN with servers in Iran, you’ll have to search hard because the Iranian government has made its space an unfriendly environment for VPNs.