Using a VPN in Russia has become increasingly important in recent years due to growing government restrictions on internet access and online privacy. A VPN allows users to bypass censorship and access blocked content by routing connections through servers in other countries. It also encrypts traffic to help keep online activity private.
With authoritarian internet laws continuing to tighten in Russia, a secure and fast VPN is essential for accessing the open internet and avoiding surveillance. The best VPNs for Russia have servers optimized for bypassing Russian blocks, good speeds for streaming, strong privacy protections, and 24/7 customer support.
Top recommendations for a Russian VPN include NordVPN for its large server network, Surfshark for affordability, and CyberGhost for its servers tailored to defeating Russian censorship. But there are also some other great options worth considering.
Criteria for selecting the best VPNs for Russia
When choosing a VPN for Russia, there are several key criteria to evaluate:
Reliable servers with various locations to connect to
A VPN needs servers in locations that can reliably bypass Russian blocking and filtering. Varied server locations outside Russia give users more options to switch between if one isn’t working. Top VPNs will have 1,000+ servers across 60+ countries to maximize uptime and reliability.
A VPN that slows down speeds too much makes browsing very frustrating. The best VPNs for Russia will have good connection speeds across most servers to support activities like HD streaming. Features like unlimited bandwidth allow users to maximize their speeds based on their own internet plan limits.
Streaming access for popular platforms
Many streaming sites like Netflix block access when using a VPN. The top VPN providers can get around these blocks on multiple streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and YouTube. This gives Russian users access to much more content.
Privacy and security features
Russia has very invasive internet surveillance programs, so privacy protections are vital when choosing a VPN. Features like a kill switch to prevent data leaks if the VPN drops, RAM-only servers to leave no logs, and AES 256-bit encryption will help keep users secure and anonymous.
100% diskless server network and infrastructure audit
An independent audit confirms that a VPN provider actually follows through on its privacy commitments. Best practices around data storage and infrastructure security show a VPN offers reliable online protection needed in high risk environments.
III. Top VPNs for Russia
Based on the criteria listed above, here are the top recommended VPNs for bypassing censorship and protecting privacy in Russia:
NordVPN: Best all-around VPN for Russia
NordVPN tops most lists as the best VPN for Russia thanks to its combination of fast speeds, reliable access, and strong security. It has over 5,400 servers in 60 countries, including optimized locations to defeat Russian blocks. NordVPN gets excellent speeds for streaming with unlimited bandwidth and 6 simultaneous device connections.
All servers use diskless RAM, so no logs or personal data is retained anywhere. The infrastructure underwent an independent audit confirming it offers watertight privacy. NordVPN also provides Tor over VPN support, features like CyberSec ad blocking, double VPN encryption, and P2P support.
With 24/7 live chat support and extremely affordable plans, NordVPN checks all the boxes. It comes risk-free with a 30 day money-back guarantee on all plans.
Surfshark: Best budget provider
For budget-focused users, Surfshark offers many of NordVPN’s best features for a fraction of the cost. Despite cheaper pricing, Surfshark doesn’t compromise much on quality or security.
This VPN uses the WireGuard protocol and AES 256-bit encryption throughout its network of over 3,200 servers in 65 countries. CleanWeb ad blocking and MultiHop connections add useful privacy options lacking in some higher-priced competitors.
Surfshark allows unlimited devices at once. Features like NoBorders mode and Whitelister are designed specifically help bypass restrictions in severely censored countries. With apps for most platforms andLive Chat support, Surfshark is a very smart budget choice.
CyberGhost: Best for Russian-optimized servers
CyberGhost is another top VPN contender focused on overcoming censorship like Russia’s. It earns points for operating over 7,400 servers in 91 countries, with many specifically optimized just for Russia. CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers avoid locations in 5 Eyes countries.
Expect fast speeds with access to stream in HD and use torrents. CyberGhost has dedicated streaming profile support to defeat Netflix and other site blocks automatically. Useful extras include filtering sensitive data like ads, trackers and malware with features such as Ad Blocking and Data Compression.
Customer support options like live chat and email support provide reliable answers when needed. A generous 45-day money back guarantee makes CyberGhost almost risk-free to try out.
A few other VPNs deserve honorable mentions for Russian users, although they aren’t as fully optimized as the top recommendations above.
ExpressVPN: Best for hiding VPN usage
One of the most acclaimed VPN services worldwide, ExpressVPN has speed, power and technical chops that are hard to beat. It earns praise as the best VPN for hiding the fact you’re even using a VPN at all. The network has over 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
While ExpressVPN works very well in Russia, it doesn’t have quite as many dedicated obfuscated servers or specific tools to defeat Russian blocks compared to the top picks. But users still get excellent speeds and reliable access from ExpressVPN’s standards 256-bit encrypted servers.
The custom Lightway protocol used by ExpressVPN’s apps provide a very smooth and stable connection across all devices. Discounts can be steep for longer plan commitments. If budget stretches a little, ExpressVPN provides exceptional quality and service.
ProtonVPN: Great free VPN with unlimited data and strong privacy
Developed by scientists who met at CERN, ProtonVPN offers unmatched levels of privacy thanks to being based outside surveillance-friendly countries. It offers high-security features comparable with NordVPN like perfect forward secrecy (PFS), Tor support, and cryptographic key authentication.
ProtonVPN operates 1,700+ servers in 65 regions. While speeds can be slower than faster competitors, they work well for general browsing. Plans are affordable, especially considering its fully featured and truly unlimited free version.
While the network is smaller than other top VPNs, ProtonVPN’s hardened security and open support for freedom of information in oppressive regimes make it a great ethical choice. Paying users get access to faster speeds and more advanced features like multi-hop VPN.
Astrill VPN: Secure VPN that’s great for beginners
Astrill SecuredVPN meets essentials for privacy, able to bypass most censorship thanks to stealth protocols like StealthVPN. Getting online in Russia takes just a few clicks. Astrill operates 200+ servers across 61 countries, offering relatively reliable speeds with access to US Netflix.
What sets Astrill apart is its refreshingly simple apps that make getting secured very easy for beginners. It’s also decently priced but lacks some of the more advanced configurations and customizability of top providers. Strong AES-256 encryption and useful extras like geo-spoofing provide solid privacy protections.
Why use a VPN in Russia?
The Russian government engages in some of the most aggressive internet censorship and surveillance worldwide. VPN use goes against Russia’s data localization laws, but provides vital access to independent news sources and free communication. Without a VPN, Russians can’t access sites government censors block, or freely criticize authorities online without risk.
What is the best free VPN for Russia?
ProtonVPN has the best free VPN for Russia. All features are truly unlimited, unlike freemium plans that impose data caps or slow speeds. ProtonVPN Free offers strong encryption, unlimited bandwidth, good speeds for browsing, and unlimited server switching. While streaming sites are available only to paid users, it meets most Russian VPN needs.
How to get a VPN in Russia?
Downloading and installing VPN apps in Russia works much like anywhere else. The best VPNs all have user-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux devices. To get started from Russia, visit the VPN provider’s website to signup for the service, download their Russian-optimized app, install and connect through a local Russian server option. Paid plans can be purchased online with a credit card or alternatives like Bitcoin.
Finding a reliable VPN tailored for Russia has gone from a useful precaution to an essential tool for Russians to access and share information freely online. The best VPN services for Russia help citizens bypass authoritarian internet restrictions, avoid surveillance, and defeat censorship.
Top recommended providers NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN have all demonstrated the ability to consistently defeat Russia’s advanced blocking tools and stay several steps ahead of authorities. With their combination of fast connections, hardened privacy protections, and servers optimized just for Russia, these VPN services ensure Russians can tap into the open global internet.
With the increasingly repressive environment around Russian internet laws, it’s crucial for users in Russia to know their rights and options for safely navigating online. The ability to access independent news sources and avoid punishment for speech gives Russians more power against state authoritarian control.
No matter the VPN service chosen, take time to research Russian VPN restrictions and legal considerations before purchasing or downloading any apps. Despite growing crackdowns, VPNs remain one of the last available tools for Russians to freely and safely access the uncensored internet.