In the last couple of years, the users’ privacy online has become the thing of the past. More and more countries have started joining the new trend that revolves around majorly increased online surveillance and censorship. Such trends are already known to affect Russian citizens, that have already started asking around for the best Russian VPN.
One by one, the largest forces of the world are starting to get paranoid and scared of their own citizens, which is the only explanation for such extreme measures. Countries like China, France, and the UK were well known for their strict censorship.
Lately, even the countries like Italy and France have decided to start implementing such measures. As for Russia, their censorship is the thing of legends, which is exactly why we’ve decided to see which is the best VPN for Russia.
Why Does Russia Need A VPN?
VPN is a solution for many problems that the citizens of Russia are currently facing. Russia is a strong, powerful country, that has intimidated many nations worldwide. However, this nation is also known for being the strictest to its own people.
When it comes to the history of Russia, these legislations and censorships are only the latest addition to attempts to try and control its citizens. The online freedom in Russia has gone from bad to worse, and most of it has happened in the last three or four years.
One of the biggest threats to the online privacy came in a form of a legislation that the Russian government introduced back in 2014. The laws that came back then were promoted as anti-terrorism measures, and the citizens didn’t realize in time just how much it would affect them as well.
The ability to openly express opinions was taken away from them, many websites were heavily censored or completely blacklisted, and it was almost impossible to run any sort of business in Russia without the interference from the government.
And let’s not forget the infamous ‘law on bloggers‘, that forced any blogger that has more that 3,000 subscribers to act like the regular large-scale media outlet. They were required to write under their real names and even had to register their blog with Koskomnadzor, which is Russia’s media regulator.
This made it even harder to express yourself in Russia, especially since having different political views can send you to prison. But the problems for Russian citizens didn’t stop there either. It’ll only get worse as we’re approaching today’s date.
In 2016, on July 7, another new law was passed by the government. This one concerned the telecom companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). All such services had to start recording and storing their users’ data, including the internet traffic, metadata, communication records, everything.
In accordance with the law, the telecom companies had to record and allow the government unlimited access to everything they could get their hands on. That includes info like emails, phone calls, texts, images, and even videos. The law also states that all of these pieces of info needed to be recorded and kept for at least six months.
Not to mention the metadata related to every one of these pieces of info, which included names of both senders and receivers, as well as their locations and the time of contact. Even worse, info like that needed to be kept for at least three years.
ISPs got pretty much the same orders when it comes to keeping their customers’ internet traffic and browsing history. They must keep this data recorded for six months, while the metadata that follows it needs to be kept for at least one year.
This law has also put many of the Russia’s companies in a difficult position as well. It requires all of the firms and corporations to decode any of the messages that they send over the internet.
Even the foreign companies that make money via the internet need to respect Russia’s strict rules, otherwise, their services won’t be allowed within the country. So, how can you keep your privacy, and be able to access blocked services with all of these strict rules and heavy censorship? The answer is simple – with a VPN.
What Is A VPN?
The first thing that you need to know is what a VPN actually is since the most important part of solving any problem is understanding how the solution works.
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. It’s a network of private servers that are located in different places around the world. VPNs are very useful when it comes to ensuring your online safety, privacy, and anonymity.
They offer many different features, and what you’ll get in your VPN package depends largely on which VPN will you choose, but more on that later. What’s important now is that, despite the fact that every VPN offers a different deal, there are still some features that are a part of any and all VPNs.
Things like encryption, for example, are something that defines VPNs. That makes encryptions and different protocols part of any VPN out there.
Encryption is the ability of a VPN to protect and hide your data. VPNs use different protocols to create secure tunnels through which your data flow will go, and encryption scrambles that data so that nobody else can see it, even if the tunnel is somehow damaged.
That is one of the most important things that a VPN can do because it makes the user completely safe and secure while using the internet, and their privacy is becoming theirs again.
The second important thing is anonymity, and VPNs can help with that too. The websites and your ISP are capable of tracking your and recording your data thanks to your IP address. IP addresses work as online signatures, and everyone has one. They can provide any website that you’ve ever visited with data like your exact location, your ISP, and alike.
So, by connecting to a VPN, you’re actually connecting to one of its servers that are located in different places around the globe. Once you reach one of those servers, your IP will be masked by another one, a fake one, that will be considered local in the area where the server is located.
For example, if you wish to access some of the online content that’s only available in the UK, and you’re located in Russia, all you need to do is connect to one of the UK’s servers. The server will provide you with a UK IP address, and the internet will suddenly start thinking that your location has changed and that you’re currently within the UK.
Does VPN Offer Other Features?
VPNs offer a lot of other features, but not every VPN has all of them to offer. There are so many different features that VPNs offer that you can hardly find two of them with the same combination.
The most common and most popular ones include things like:
- No logging policy
- Money-back guarantee
- Kill switches
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Ad and malware protection
- DNS leak protection
All of these features are designed to increase your speed and security, but there are other things that VPNs offer as well.
For example, many VPNs are known for supporting P2P file sharing, which includes torrenting as well. When choosing a VPN, you must be extra careful and pay attention to things like that, since not every VPN will offer torrent protection.
If you’re using a VPN that doesn’t cover torrenting and torrenting itself is forbidden by your country’s laws, you could end up having pretty big problems. To avoid that, we suggest a good amount of research before making any big decision.
Which VPN To Choose?
Choosing a VPN is the biggest issue you’ll have to face, and a lot of things depend on making this choice. If you use a VPN with a small number of servers or one with a faulty protection, it might prove useless to you. Even worse, it might not protect you properly, and you wouldn’t even be aware of it.
The main thing that you should know for now is that there are two different kinds of VPNs – free ones, and paid ones. You should never make the mistake of using a free VPN since those are exactly the ones that can’t provide you with decent protection and service. Not only are they often flawed, but most of the time, they’ll be the primary source of your leaked data.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense – you’re not paying for the use of that VPN, so it needs to get the money somewhere else. The only two things that they can do is offer to sell your browsing history to advertising companies, or they might bombard you with third-party ads. They would often do both of these things to increase their earnings.
On the other hand, paid VPNs are reliable and safe, and will provide you with a good service and decent protection. They are just another private service, and the better they are, the more work they’ll have.
There are still many of them out there, and checking out one after another can be very difficult and time-consuming. So, as a part of this guide, we’ve decided to make a list for you and to recommend the top five VPNs.
All five of them will have all of the features that we’ve previously mentioned, including the torrent support. That’ll make them ideal for pretty much anything that you need them for, so choosing one of them won’t make much of a difference.
Those providers include:
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of them and see what they have to offer.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs currently on the market, and it’ll definitely fulfill all of your expectations when it comes to providing access and protection.
It offers over 145 different server locations in 94 different countries, which makes its network one of the biggest in the VPN industry. You also get unlimited bandwidth, which makes it great for streaming, as well as four different security protocols.
ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any logs, and you’ll get the ability to connect up to five devices at once. Customer support is extremely pleasant and reliable, and they can be reached at any time.
30-Days Money Back Guarantee
Next one is IPVanish, and the speed that this VPN can provide you with would be enough to put it on the list even if it didn’t offer anything else.
If you choose IPVanish, you’ll get one of the fastest, and largest VPN networks that can be found. This provider has over 750 servers, in over 60 countries. In total, you’ll get more than 40,000 IP addresses to choose from.
And if that’s not enough, it also:
- Keeps no logs
- Offers unlimited bandwidth
- The strongest known encryption
- Many different protocols
- A non-stop customer support
- 7-day money return guarantee,
- Ability to switch servers an unlimited number of times
IPVanish is not only capable, but also very skilled at what it does, and so choosing it will never be a wrong choice.
The third one on our list is NordVPN. This VPN is known for its ability to eliminate any threat to your privacy, and the method it uses is a double encryption, which is a very rare feature even in the world of VPNs.
In addition to cheap prices, this VPN has a network of over 1000 servers in more than 59 countries, with the Antarctic being the only continent that it didn’t touch.
Its servers are super fast, which leads to great internet speeds. In addition to that, it also offers one of the easiest-to-use apps, as well as a no logging policy, automatic kill switch, amazing prices, and a 30-day of money back guarantee. NordVPN is one of the best choices, even when it comes to our very short list.
Our next stop is a VPN with an obvious sense of humor that can even be seen in its name, HideMyAss. This provider also has an amazingly large network that’s made of over 110,000 IP addresses that are coming from 860 servers located in 190 countries. The numbers that HMA VPN offers are impressive, even when the top providers are competing.
When it comes to features, it has many, most of which are shared with our previous entries. Those include great encryption, excellent customer service, great speeds, as well as unlimited bandwidth.
Other things that this VPN offers are a pretty well-organized FAQ, as well as a speed test tool. It has great prices too, it doesn’t keep logs, and there are several protocols for you to choose from. All in all, this is another great VPN and a good choice for you.
30-Days Money Back Guarantee
Finally, our last entry is LeVPN. It’s a seven-year-old provider at the time of writing, and it was created by a team of information security specialists. That alone can ensure you that your data will be as secure as it can possibly be, and thanks to the fact that this VPN doesn’t keep any logs, anything that you do is completely private and protected.
This VPN offers servers in 114 different countries, and many of the features that we’ve already talked about, like unlimited speeds and bandwidth, great encryption and protocols, support for many devices and systems, and even SmartDNS service.
In fact, this provider goes one step further than that, and offers even a combination of VPN and SmartDNS, creating the ultimate HybridVPN. No matter what you need to do online, this VPN will keep you safe and anonymous, and it does its job as good as any of the previous ones.
The situation in Russia becomes more and more desperate every year, and more online rights are being lost. Using a VPN remains the only option that the citizens of Russia have if they wish to keep their privacy or to have a greater amount of online freedom.
More content ends up blacklisted every year. and soon enough, the Russian government will be the one who can control what you can get access to and what you can see.
In the meantime, they’re constantly working on increasing their surveillance, so that they can follow your every step. It’s for these reasons that we suggest the use of VPN, and whether or not will you use them, and which one will it be, is entirely your choice.
June 13, 2017 at 7:57 am
russian government will recently be looking at a bill about vpns. not sure where that’s gonna take russia but the government is okay with vpns as long as sites explicitly banished and forbidden by the government aren’t accessed via it. with that said, vpns in russia like ivacy, hma and nord are still alright for stuff like kodi and its numerous addons
June 13, 2017 at 8:07 am
Dear Xian, thanks for your opinion. To put things in perspective blocking VPN is almost impossible, some VPN Providers like Express VPN are very good at obfuscating their traffic. On top of it if you pay with Bitcoin it makes it even harder to track your VPN usage. Also, let’s not forget that VPN usage is not only about anonymity. Many companies provide to their staff a VPN to access remotely to their company file server.
April 6, 2020 at 9:51 am
Not sure if there is a list of VPNs that are explicitly better for specific regions. I believe that if you have a subscription of a VPN that has good reviews and is recommended by other users, then you’re good to go. For example, I use Surfshark, which wasn’t mentioned in this article, but it worked nicely in all the countries that I visited while traveling so far.
April 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Hi Donny 72,
Generally speaking, what you say is true. However, certain countries have stricter censorship and many VPNs are banned. Therefore, having a good VPN is not necessarily a guarantee it will work in every country.
About Surfshark, I agree with you it offers a pretty good and reliable service.