Use a VPN Service to Get The Most From Your VPN Russia Web Browsing

article by Laura K. author
In a frustrating turn of events, the Russian government is enacting new laws to force VPN providers to ban access to blacklisted websites. But what does this mean for internet users, both Russian citizens and tourists to Russia? Get the low down about what's really happening with VPN in Russia.

Internet censorship in Russia is increasing with every passing year. What began as a ban on ‘unlawful’ internet content, such as gambling and political extremism, morphed into an ever-growing internet blacklist of banned websites. In around 2014, there was a steep increase in internet censorship in Russia, with the passing of new data retention and monitoring laws. In 2016, laws about user data were strengthened once again with the passing of the ‘Yarovaya’ law, which forces telecom companies to store user data for six months. While Russian internet censorship doesn’t come close to the ‘Great Firewall’ effect of the massive internet ban in China, it is clear that online freedoms are slowly receding under the influence of the Kremlin.

Use a VPN for Russia

When you use a VPN, Russia becomes a place where you can access a free and open internet. VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’. It is software that obscures your internet connection and protects your data via a range of tunneling and encryption protocols. When using a Russian VPN server, you connect to the internet via remote servers in locations all around the world. This enables you to bypass local internet restrictions, and access websites that are blocked in Russia. For example, if you’re in Russia and want to stream Netflix, VPN is ideal. As all your browsing activity is anonymous and your traffic logs not stored, you can get around copyright infringement laws and the prying eyes of government watchdogs. In a country whose internet censorship laws are ever tightening, and where arrests and police beatings are not unheard of, a VPN is highly recommended when in Russia.

Best VPN for Russia

The best VPN for Russia must include a number of critical features. These are a combination of security and reliability that make the VPN Russia experience protected and efficient.

  • In Russia, VPN anonymity and privacy are key. Choose a VPN that does not keep logs of your browsing activity, and try to find a VPN that offers extra protective features, such as a kill switch that automatically kills your VPN connection if your privacy is at risk.
  • To maximize the benefits of your VPN Russia service. make sure the VPN has extra-tight security protocols including high-level encryption, and check that the VPN provider is regularly optimizing and maintaining their security levels.
  • Customer service. Whether using VPN for Windows, VPN Android, VPN iPhone, VPN Chrome, Linux VPN service, or if you are streaming Netflix, VPN must offer great customer support, via a range of channels such as chat, phone and email. In the event of a technical issue, you need to know that you’re covered by 24/7 technical support.
  • Geo-restricted content. If you want to access online content or websites that are banned in Russia, you need a VPN client that bypasses geographical restrictions. Make sure to choose a VPN that has a large number of servers in a wide range of countries, in order to keep your web browsing as open as possible.
  • Speed and reliability. If you’re visiting or living In Russia, VPN will be your go-to solution for web surfing. This means you need a VPN service that delivers on speed and reliability. When choosing a VPN, make sure to go with a service provider who has a good track record in speed with negligible downtime.

#1 ExpressVPN – The Best VPN to Use in Russia

ExpressVPN Logo

When it comes to VPN service in Russia, ExpressVPN meets all the requirements and more, including solid tunneling and encryption protocols, unlimited bandwidth and a good range of server locations, and outstanding customer support. Pricing for a one-month plan is $12.95, and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Additional features:

  • Security: 256-bit AES encryption and DNS/IPv6 leak protection, with split tunneling and kill switch feature
  • Server range: 94 server countries with over 1700 VPN servers
  • Customer support: Email, phone, chat and online query submissions

Price:

  • $12.95 a month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Save 49% with an annual subscription – plus, enjoy three free months and an extended money-back period of 45 days.

Try Now ExpressVPN – Risk Free – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.

 #2 Cyberghost VPN – Fair Priced, P2P limited

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost offers comprehensive security protocols, which are more than enough to enjoy web browsing in Russia. It’s got a good record in terms of speed, and it is also compatible with all platforms and offers a connection to five devices simultaneously. These features and more certainly give CyberGhost a place on the list for VPN Russia. Pricing for a one-month plan is a reasonable $10.99, and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Additional Features:

  • Security: 256-AES bit encryption technology, OpenVPN L2TP-IPSec and PPTP protocols, with DNS and IP leak protection
  • Server range: Access to more than 1000 servers worldwide
  • Customer service: Comprehensive online help guide and online chat support

Price:

  • $10.99 a month.
  • $4.99pm with an annual subscription.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Now CyberGhost VPN – Risk Free – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

For more information on IPVanish features, read our extensive  CyberGhost VPN review.

#3 NordVPN – Optimal Speed and Security Mix

nord-vpn

Maximize your online VPN security in Russia with what NordVPN calls its ‘military grade’ security protocols. Its double encryption method, which takes your internet connection through two different servers in different locations, certainly ups the ante in terms of privacy and security. Pricing for a one-month plan is a competitive $11.95, and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Additional features: 

  • Security: 256-bit AES encryption and high-level NGE (Next Generation Encryption) IKEv2/IPsec protection, with double encryption and kill switch feature
  • Server range: 61 server countries with over 1800 VPN servers
  • Customer support: Comprehensive help center

Price:

  • $11.95 per month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Save 52% with an annual subscription

Try Now NordVPN – Risk Free – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.

#4 Hotspot Shield – Great Customer Service

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HotSpot Shield is a long-standing and popular VPN provider, with a solid track record of delivering online security, making it a good choice for VPN in Russia. HotSpot Shield was the VPN used during the Arab Spring protests of 2010. Even with its impressive history, HotSpot Shield has been criticized in the past for its reliability and lack of technical features. Pricing for a one-month plan is $12.99, but it only comes with a 7-day money back guarantee.

Additional features:

  • Security: TLS 1.2 with 128-bit AES data encryption; No traffic logs or browsing history a
  • Server range: 25 server countries
  • Customer support: For basic plan, online portal with option to submit a help request

Try Now HotSpot Shield – Risk Free – 45 Money Back Guarante

For more information on HotSpot Shield features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.

#5 ZenMate – Not Just For English Speaking Users

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One of the great advantages of Zenmate as a choice for VPN in Russia is its incredibly simple user interface. For those who are not particularly tech-savvy, Zenmate presents a god range of security features, as well as unlimited bandwidth and decent speeds, without the technical hassles that would turn off a non-techy user. Pricing for a one-month plan is a very low $8.99, and it comes with a 14-day money back guarantee.

Additional features:

  • Security: AES 128-bit encryption; no traffic logs or browsing history is stored
  • Server range: Over 30 countries
  • Customer support: For basic plan, online portal with option to submit a help request

Cost:

  • $4.99 a month
  • $7.49 a month for a 3-month plan
  • $8.99 a month for a 12-month plan billed annually

Try Now ZenMate – No Risk – 14 Day Money Back Guatantee

For more information on ZenMate features, read our extensive ZenMate review.

Russia Blocks VPNs – The Latest News

Unfortunately for fans of VPN, Russia is starting to crack down on VPN use. But let’s not go so far as to assume that the statement ‘Russia bans VPNs’ is correct. Earlier this year, Russia required all VPNs to register with the Roskomnadzor, the state’s media and communications authority. Furthermore, VPNs are now required to block all websites on Russia’s internet blacklist. This effectively cancels out one of the major benefits of VPN. Russia is not restricting use of VPNs, however, in forcing VPNs to block these blacklisted sites, it is further evidence of encroaching monitoring and censorship practices in Russia.

In January 2018, the censorship will ratchet up a notch with a new law monitoring chat apps and messaging services. The service providers will be required to verify users’ identities via their phone numbers, and to curtail users’ online activity if they are deemed to be disseminating unlawful content. It’s all “part of a disturbing trend of increasing attacks on freedom of expression under Putin’s rule, with restrictions on and internet surveillance of online activity escalating rapidly over the past five years.”

Why You Need a VPN for Russia

Recently, there have been some misleading headlines screaming ‘Russia bans VPN!’, but that’s not actually true. Russia is not banning VPN, but rather enforcing the ban on blacklisted websites for each Russian VPN server. While this will limit the benefits of VPN, when in Russia, VPN is still your best answer to accessing the internet. The reasons are clear:

  • Privacy
  • Anonymity
  • Security
  • Protection from government watchdogs

Each of these alone is reason enough to make VPN in Russia a top priority.