There are plenty of advantages to using a VPN. It gives us the opportunity to maintain our privacy and virtually unlimited activity on the Internet around the world. By connecting through a VPN, we can bypass geographic blockades in various countries and thus attempts to censor information.
This is especially important when traveling to other countries, especially where content is massively filtered and access to the most popular sites and social media like Facebook and Gmail is blocked. However, it is important to keep in mind that not in every country the use of a VPN is legal, and that is what we will focus on in this post.
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Safe and legal use of a VPN
Thanks to the use of a VPN, we can safely and easily open any website whenever we want, check the world news, buy airline tickets, check our mail or stay in touch with friends and talk to them about any topics. About fey and instagram not to mention ;) It does not matter whether it will be China or even the United States. A VPN simply gives us a greater level of security even during our daily work, especially on public Wi-Fi networks.
Before traveling to the countries on the list below, make sure you have VPN software installed on your laptop or smartphone. You can download them from: https://nordvpn.com/pl/download/. We’ve been using NordVPN for several years now (including in China, Turkey, or “normal” countries like the US, Germany or even Poland) and can safely recommend it to you.
So let’s take a look at in which countries a VPN is most useful and in which it is illegal….
China is one of the countries with the strictest approach to censoring content posted online. Many major online applications and services are blocked, such as Google, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Spotify and many others. You can use a VPN in China, but it must be approved by the government.
China’s goal has become to create its own large-scale firewall. By blocking access to the most popular sites, the development of a distinct local Internet ecosystem is fueled. Popular apps and sites are being replaced by Chinese equivalents.
If you plan to visit China then you will 100% need a VPN, as such simple activities as checking your email inbox or listening to music can be significantly hampered, if not impossible. Before traveling to China, make sure that the VPN you choose will work in China. NordVPN works, although it requires proper configuration, which is best done before you leave (it can also be done locally, but it can be difficult).
The Russian government is increasingly censoring and shutting down its citizens’ access to the Internet. Sites unfavorable to the government, such as LinkedIn, are regularly blocked, and much content published on YouTube or TikTok is subject to censorship. Some experts say Russia is planning to shut down the local network along the lines of China.
The VPN topic is a legal gray area in Russia. Russia banned the use of VPNs in 2017, but this restriction does not prohibit the use of virtual networks for private purposes. It is illegal to use a VPN to access illegal content. Still, many VPN software companies are blocked in Russia. Despite the ban and blockades, VPN providers continue to operate their servers there Before traveling to that country, so make sure the software you use is allowed in Russia.
While in Saudi Arabia, you certainly won’t be able to visit sites that publish criticism of the country’s government. Moreover, it is the state that censors content reported by citizens as inappropriate. The list of unavailable domains is regularly updated, and the ongoing surveillance of Internet traffic is very high. It is filtered by IP address, site domain and keywords. Using a VPN in Saudi Arabia is not prohibited, but sometimes it is blocked.
In Pakistan, content considered “immoral” and those associated with the opposition are blocked. It is estimated that more than 900,000 Internet addresses have now been blocked, and the Pakistani government itself has high surveillance of Internet traffic. Sites are filtered based on keywords and then blocked if they are deemed unsafe. Using a VPN in Pakistan is legal.
Countries where VPNs are banned
A VPN is a powerful tool that helps avoid virtually all attempts to regulate the Internet and censor information, in addition to making Internet use more secure. However, many repressive governments around the world are making efforts to block or ban the use of VPNs. To that end, some countries have built firewalls that block VPNs or enacted laws making it illegal to use virtual private networks:
- Belarus – The Belarusian government has been restricting its citizens’ access to the Internet for many years. Nonetheless, Belarusians are using a number of ways to circumvent these bans. Since 2015, Belarus has banned the use of, among other things. Of Tor and VPN software.
- Iran – Only government-registered and licensed VPNs can be used in Iran. Advertising and selling illegal VPN software is considered a crime and is punishable.
- Oman – VPN use by individuals is officially banned here. The penalty for violating the ban is a fine of 500 rials, or nearly 5,000 Polish zlotys. The use of VPNs is allowed for companies, but they must apply for a special permit issued by the government.
- Turkey – this country uses modern techniques to detect and block VPN traffic. Using a virtual private network can attract the attention of authorities. Nevertheless, many Turkish citizens regularly use VPNs.
- United Arab Emirates – using VPNs to make connections is considered a crime here and punishable by astronomical fines of 2 million dirhams (over 2 million zlotys). While there are permitted uses for VPNs, VoIP connections and many websites, including some French TV channels and Netflix, are not allowed in the UAE, including Dubai. Using a VPN to access any of these sites or make prohibited connections is illegal.
There are countries that have significant Internet censorship, and using a VPN on their territory may involve risks, even if it is not officially prohibited by law. It is imperative to be extra cautious in countries such as North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Egypt and Burma, as the governments of all these countries may consider the use of a virtual private network hostile to them.
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