Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Viber were blocked in Sri Lanka this week as the government sought to clamp down on hate speech and incitement of violence.
If you’re resident in Sri Lanka and trying to unblock Facebook, WhatsApp, or Viber, then your best bet is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It’ll spoof your location to a different country so that your internet service provider won’t be able to figure out that you’re actually located inside Sri Lanka. This will unblock all the aforementioned services.
In this article, we’ll take you through a list of the best VPNs to regain access to Facebook in Sri Lanka. They’re ranked on the following factors:
- Fast and reliable service
- Robust security standards so your location remains hidden
- Large number of server locations
- Apps for Android and iOS
- Easy to use
ExpressVPN ships with an easy-to-use interface and its core service — when judged on speed and the stability of connection — has always performed admirably. Encryption protocols are military-grade and will keep your location hidden.
Specifically, the company uses 256-bit AES-CBC encryption with utilization of both HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch temporarily halts all web traffic if the connection drops unexpectedly, keeping your connection secure.
There’s a vast repository of servers spread across the world — with more than 1,500 in total. This includes many options in Europe and North America so you should be able to mask your location without any problems.
Privacy and anonymity are important factors while trying to circumvent the ban in Sri Lanka. ExpressVPN doesn’t store any identifiable data so that should ease concerns. The only pieces of metadata logged are the date (not time) a user connects to the service, the servers they prefer, and total bandwidth utilized. Your individual IP address won’t be stored.
It’s also possible to register for the service via a burner email account and pay with Bitcoin if you want to completely eliminate your digital footprint.
There are apps for Android and iOS, and desktop clients for Windows and MacOS.
READER DEAL: Get 3 months free with ExpressVPN’s annual plan. The deal includes its 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee, so you’ll receive a full refund if unsatisfied. The offer represents 49% in savings over the monthly plan.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
IPVanish is another solid bet to access Facebook in Sri Lanka as it offers decent speeds and robust encryption. It won’t break the bank, either.
A reassuring factor is that the VPN is completely logless. All user web activity is hidden including session history, choice of servers, and bandwidth utilized.
Encryption standards are top-tier. IPVanish deploys 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048 key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is included, firming up your device’s security.
IPVanish operates 850 servers spread across 60 countries, including a large network in Asia, Europe, and North America.
There are apps for both iOS and Android, as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
Many people find IPVanish to be an excellent option for Kodi because it allows them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is also remote control friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse.
Read our review of IPVanish.
NordVPN has been in the VPN business for over ten years, so it’s a reliable performer that’s withstood the test of time.
The service is similar to IPVanish in the sense that it leverages a zero-logs policy. This means there’s no data retention of any sort related to user sessions, traffic, or timestamps.
The company has consistently refused to comply with official requests to hand over user data. The fact that it’s headquartered in Panama helps. This should please privacy enthusiasts.
NordVPN operates 1,081 servers in 61 countries, so finding a suitable connection will be straightforward. You can also select servers for more stringent privacy features such as anti-DDoS, double VPN, Tor over VPN, or dedicated IP.
Internet traffic is encrypted via the 256-bit AES protocol and 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled.
Apps for both iOS and Android are offered, along with desktop clients for Windows and MacOS.
Here’s our review of NordVPN.
Cyberghost has been investing in its service parameters for the past several months and this is beginning to have an impact. The company delivers quick speeds and tough encryption. It’s incorporated in Romania, hence out of the reach of mandatory data retention laws.
At the moment, Cyberghost offers more than 1,300 servers spread across 27 countries. Locations include Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.
The company deploys 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. An internet kill switch is included. The choice of encryption parameters propels it into the top-tier of VPNs.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS, and there’s desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
Here’s our full review of Cyberghost Pro.
PrivateVPN has a smaller network of servers than the others mentioned in this list, but the product is well-engineered and won’t let you down. Servers are spread across more than 50 countries.
You can opt for either 128 or 256-bit encryption depending on the chosen protocol. An internet kill switch and DNS leak protection are included as additional safeguards. PrivateVPN declines to store any logs of user behavior, so that’s a positive too.
It offers apps for iOS and Android as well as desktop clients for Windows and MacOS.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
VyprVPN is on this list because of its experience in evading government restrictions on the web. One of its popular use cases is in China, where it easily unblocks the Great Firewall, evading the best efforts of thousands of state-appointed government engineers that work around the clock. There are more than 700 VyprVPN servers spread across the world.
VyprVPN does have a bit of a logging policy. This is stated in full for transparency purposes. It will store “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and total number of bytes used.” The company maintains that all data is kept on servers for a period of 30 days and is used to improve the overall experience.
The choice of encryption standards is excellent: the company deploys the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys, and SHA256 authentication. There’s an internet kill switch included. A premium version of the package will allow access to the Chameleon™ protocol. This feature scrambles OpenVPN metadata so deep packet inspection cannot recognize it.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS and desktop clients for Windows and MacOS.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
Should I use a free VPN to unblock Facebook in Sri Lanka?
Free VPNs are tempting because they’re easy to install and don’t ask for any credit card details. Plus they’re heavily advertised on the web so users are often inundated with ads for these services.
Unfortunately, a free VPN will typically provide you with a fraction of the security standards that paid options offer. You also won’t get premium speeds or high-level customer support. Free VPNs may bombard you with ads while browsing and might also track and mine your data.
Even if you do decide to give a free VPN a try, it’s likely you’ll soon be revisiting paid options such as the ones above.
I’ve downloaded a VPN. What do I do next?
After you settle on a provider (we recommend one of the options on our list), follow these steps to safely access the web in Sri Lanka:
- Download the native software directly from the app store or the VPN provider’s website.
- Clear your cookies and cache to remove any lingering location identifiers. Restart your device.
- Log into the VPN app and select a server outside Sri Lanka. We recommend countries in the West because there are no restrictions on VPN usage there.
- Wait until a connection is established -this will be confirmed by your VPN client, often with a green light. If using a mobile device, you might also see a VPN symbol at the top of your screen.
- Open your phone or browser. Your ISP will assume you’re not present in Sri Lanka and sites like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Viber should be accessible.
The current social media blockage came after Muslims were attacked in Sri Lanka – a recurrence of previous ethnic conflicts in the South Asian country. While we can’t comment on the political situation, the knee-jerk reaction of the Sri Lankan government certainly gives us a precursor of what lies ahead – more blockage of sites and apps. We think it’s in your best interests to use a VPN while browsing the web in Sri Lanka.