Table of Contents
This is no secret. Egypt is actively censoring the internet, blocking websites with blatant disregard for online freedom. However, the government now is also blocking VPN usage, taking away the only solution people had. There are still ways to get past this block in Egypt, though.
Egypt has been in turmoil in recent years. The situation in the country is getting tenser with no solution in sight. People all over the world are saddened by the state the country is in, especially when you consider how vibrant and thriving a culture it has had for thousands of years. A lot of things are problematic in Egypt, and the internet is one of them.
Situation Of Internet In Egypt
The list of websites blocked in Egypt is more than 400. Most of these websites are related to news articles about the country and the turmoil within. The government cites inciting terrorist feelings and activities as the reason it blocks these websites.
It basically prevents users from getting in touch with the world outside. In times when the economy and national security is in tatters, internet privacy is considered to fall behind in the pipeline of important things.
However, internet freedom is as big a concern in these times and in this situation as it was before. The government, though, thinks otherwise.
Egypt Blocks OpenVPN In October 2017
Since August this year, the Egyptian government began blocking PPTP and L2TP VPN protocols. Access to VPN websites itself was blocked, preventing users from downloading and using the software. While OpenVPN, the most secure VPN protocol as of now, continued to function well, the situation changed for the worse in October.
Using techniques like deep packet inspection, the Egyptian government started cracking down on OpenVPN usage in the country as well. There is active blocking of websites, and now, people can’t even use VPNs to circumvent the censorship. It is similar to what China and the UAE do, but a little worse.
Bypassing The Block From Egypt
While the Egyptian government has tightened its grip on internet usage within the country, there are still ways to have online freedom in the country.
A stunnel is an open source program used for setting up TLS/Secure Socket Layer (SSL) tunnels. This is the encryption that is used in the HTTPS protocol. HTTPS is used to make websites secure, making banking and online shopping possible. It’s the lock symbol you see in the address bar that denotes HTTPS is in use. Even governments like the Egyptian government cannot block HTTPS, and that’s why you can exploit it.
TLS/SSL uses the HTTPS encryption to hide OpenVPN traffic. While deep packet inspection renders OpenVPN encryption, stunnel can help you out. This is because once the OpenVPN traffic is placed in the TLS/SSL encryption, nobody knows that it is VPN traffic. Deep packet inspection is unable to penetrate TLS/SSL, so you can get past the internet block in Egypt if you use it.
To create stunnels, you need the stunnel software. This has to be installed on your computer as well as the VPN server you use. You can discuss this with your VPN provider to set it up and use it to defeat censorship in Egypt.
Obfspoxy is used to obfuscate OpenVPN traffic. The traffic is enclosed within an obfuscation layer, thereby guarding it against deep packet inspection. Although it is primarily used by Tor to defeat VPN blockage in countries like China, it is not dependent on Tor specifically.
You have to install it on your computer and the VPN server. Once that is done, enter the following command line to the server:
Obfsproxy obfs2 –dest=127.0.0.1:1194 server x.x.x.x:5573
Replace the x’s with your IP address, or 0.0.0.0. You can also contact your VPN provider to get a static IP address and use that in this command, which is the best option. This helps you hide your OpenVPN traffic from the authorities and use the internet freely. While it is a little less secure than the SSL tunnel, since there is no encryption in which the OpenVPN traffic is enveloped, it is also much quicker, for the exact same reason.
OpenVPN Over TCP Port 443
Egyptian authorities are blocking both TCP and UDP OpenVPN usage. The TCP Port 443, though, is used in the TSL encryption which is used by HTTPS. If your OpenVPN traffic goes through this port, there is no way to tell if it is VPN traffic, since deep packet inspection is useless against TSL/SSL.
This is a technique that VPN vendors have been using ever since countries like China started making life difficult for VPN users. It is therefore quite common to find VPNs providing this feature right out of the box using the software. On the off chance that this isn’t the case, you can quite easily request them to help out with this.
Using A VPN For Egypt
Using a VPN for Egypt is not as easy as it used to be. With the government devising new strategies to increase their stronghold on the way Egyptians can use the internet, VPN usage is becoming hard to manage.
Access to VPN websites itself is blocked. But when it comes to downloading and installing the VPN software, you can do so using email correspondence. VPN vendors aren’t blind to the internet situation in Egypt. Since VPN vendors are the protectors of your online freedom, they are always happy to help and provide the software via email. So you don’t have to worry about getting the software with access blocked to the websites.
But with the Egyptian government blocking PPTP and L2TP, and using deep packet inspection to drop OpenVPN packets when discovered, there aren’t a lot of VPNs that can help Egyptian citizens in using the internet freely. But don’t lose heart, because there are best VPN for Egypt that can help out.
ExpressVPN is one of the VPN for Egypt you can find on the internet. It is a comprehensive VPN service that allows users to do whatever they want from wherever they are.
ExpressVPN offers strong OpenVPN encryption, but that isn’t enough for Egypt. This problem is tackled by the offering of stealth servers, which use obfuscation and other techniques to hide your OpenVPN traffic from deep packet inspection. These are primarily Hong Kong based servers, and they work well for Chinese nationals.
There’s no reason why they shouldn’t work for those in Egypt. ExpressVPN goes out of its way to have a .onion extension for its website so that users can access it in countries where the website itself is blocked. While that isn’t of much use in Egypt, since Tor itself is blocked, you can request the software via email.
As for privacy, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy, meaning your activity is never recorded, so you never have to worry about it being shared with third-parties. With ExpressVPN, you get one of the fastest connections.
A wealth of connectivity options, a 30-day money back guarantee, an efficient and easy to use multi-platform and device service, as well as one of the best customer support services in the market make ExpressVPN arguably the best VPN.
30-Day Money Back Guarantee
HMA is a popular VPN service and one that has been around for many years. It is known for providing an overall good experience to users, which is why it enjoys widespread support.
HMA offers the standard encryption that all good VPNs offer, and it offers pretty good connection speeds as well. When it comes to servers, it offers close to a thousand servers in around 150 countries of the world, well above what other VPNs offer. Since it has the feature of OpenVPN over TCP port 443, you can use HMA in Egypt and use the internet freely without the government discovering you.
Privacy is a big ask for Egyptian nationals. HMA does record connection timestamps and IP addresses used to connect to the VPN server. This information is stored for 2-3 months, but never shared with anyone. While there are people who don’t have a problem with this, many do find it an issue, and we can’t blame them for it. But overall, HMA is a good VPN for Egypt.
30-day Money Back Guarantee
IPVanish is a top VPN service and is one of the handful of services that can compete, match, and best ExpressVPN in some regards.
IPVanish is a secure VPN service, so it offers OpenVPN AES 256-bit encryption. To make it useful for Egyptians, IPVanish offers features like OpenVPN obfuscation and IP cycle. The OpenVPN obfuscation is like the stealth servers offered by ExpressVPN, hiding your VPN traffic and the fact that you are using a VPN. The IP cycle feature, when turned on in the client, changes your IP every 45 minutes automatically. This comes in rather handy if the authorities try spying on your activity and IP address which you use.
The IP cycle feature, when turned on in the client, changes your IP every 45 minutes automatically. This comes in rather handy if the authorities try spying on your activity and IP address which you use.
While these security features make IPVanish a worthy candidate for bypassing the internet block in Egypt, its connection speed adds more power to the argument. IPVanish prides itself as the fastest VPN, which isn’t entirely false. The VPN clients it offers are one of the most feature rich and efficient clients.
There is a strict no-logs policy, which is good to see especially considering the fact that it is based in the US. Although it is slightly expensive, it is well worth the money. A 7-day money back guarantee is for an offer, and you can use IPVanish on 5 devices simultaneously.
7-Day Hassle-Free Money Back Guarantee
NordVPN is one of the most privacy friendly and secure VPN for Egypt you will find, if not the most. In its short run of operation, it has made quite a reputation for itself.
Nord is based in Panama, a haven for privacy enthusiasts. Although it has more security features than other VPNs, like double VPN and VPN over Tor, these are rendered ineffective by the tactics of the Egyptian government.
However, NordVPN manages to counter even the nullifying of these impressive features by also providing OpenVPN obfuscation and SOCKS5 proxies, both of which help you bypass the internet block in Egypt and browse the web freely. You can also request dedicated IPs from NordVPN, which is useful if you want obfuscation.
Despite being a security and privacy oriented service, NordVPN is quite easy to use. The connection speeds have improved a lot in recent times, which was something of an Achilles point for them in the past. With a 30-day money back guarantee and a reasonably priced service, NordVPN is right there among the best services.
30-day Money Back Guarantee
LeVPN is a service that is popular for being reasonably priced and offering a few useful features.
It has a good server count in over 114 countries and offers a good customer support service as well.
Visit Le VPN
7-Day Money Back Guarantee
Conclusion On Egypt Blocking OpenVPN
The situation regarding internet has worsened in Egypt since August. People can’t even use VPNs with ease to get past government censorship in the country anymore. However, you can use special methods designed for the very purpose of defeating these obstacles. VPN software can be procured by requesting the VPN vendors via email, and they are always willing to comply.
If your VPN service doesn’t provide TCP over port 443 directly, you can always ask them for help. Most of the VPNs use this technique to evade detection, so it shouldn’t be a problem. TSL/SSL is always useful, while SOCKS5 proxies are also known to work in countries like China, so they should work in Egypt as well.