beat the USA porn ban

If you’re an American citizen living in Virginia, Louisiana, Utah, Texas, and other states, you’ll likely have experienced additional verification steps when trying to access adult content. Lawmakers in these states have been cracking down on adult content for some time, making age verification mandatory when accessing porn sites.

So far the verification process is only required in some states but more and more are declaring pornography a “public health crisis”, so don’t be surprised to see more states enact similar laws. Understandably some US citizens are uncomfortable letting the government know which adult content they are watching. Others see it as a huge privacy issue in the wake of adult site breaches, like with Ashley Madison, in the past.

If the state you live in is requiring verification to access your go-to porn site, you can connect to a VPN to appear like you’re connecting out of state. And, as an added bonus, a VPN will encrypt all your internet traffic, hiding what you do online from the prying eyes of the government and your ISP.

How to bypass the porn ban in the USA

A VPN is the easiest, and most secure, way of accessing adult content in states like Virginia, where it is banned. To get started, simply follow the steps below before accessing your chosen adult site.

  1. Sign up for a reputable VPN. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download the VPN app. Our recommendations have simultaneous connections, so can be installed on any device you use for streaming adult content.
  3. Sign in to the VPN app.
  4. Select a server. You’ll usually get the best performance from one that’s nearby but for obvious reasons, you can’t use a server in Louisiana or any other state with restrictions on pornography
  5. Visit your adult site of choice. Because your IP address now points to a different location, the site should not prompt you to verify your age with a government ID (though they may still display an “I am 18” button or similar).

Now you know how to access your chosen adult site, take a look at the best VPNs to bypass the US porn ban. You can scroll down for a more detailed review of each or just take a look below for the quick version:

The best VPNs for bypassing US porn laws

  1. NordVPN: The best VPN for beating the US porn ban. Quick, secure, and known for its ability to unblock just about anything. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: The best budget VPN to securely stream porn in the US. A no-logs provider with strong performance and a fantastic security toolkit. Connect any number of devices.
  3. ExpressVPN: A well-respected VPN for the porn ban. With servers in almost 20 US cities, this is a great pick for streaming securely and is an equally good choice for torrenting or gaming.
  4. CyberGhost: A blazing fast VPN with user-friendly apps and servers specifically designed for maximum privacy. Has almost 1,500 servers in the US and works with most streaming services.
  5. IPVanish: This zero-logs VPN is one of the fastest we’ve tested and doesn’t compromise where security is concerned. No connection limit means you can stream securely anywhere.
  6. PrivateVPN: A newcomer-friendly service that offers steady speeds, strong unblocking ability, and a true commitment to your privacy. Secure up to 10 devices at a time.

WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?

NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for beating US porn laws with no restrictions for a monthgreat if you want to access adult content without providing personal information or having your activities monitored. 

There are no hidden termsjust contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

How we pick our VPN recommendations

Not every VPN is suitable for getting around online porn restrictions. To complicate things even more, you’ll also need a service that’s fast enough to handle HD video, secure enough to protect your browsing habits from snoopers, and versatile enough to deal with anything you throw at it. Here are a few of the non-negotiable things we looked for when choosing the best VPNs:

  • Servers in multiple US locations
  • Consistently high speeds
  • Uncrackable encryption and plenty of other security tools
  • A no-logging policy
  • Apps for all major platforms
  • Customer support, ideally available 24/7

Best VPN for getting around US porn bans

Let’s jump right in with our in-depth reviews of the best VPNs for beating American porn bans:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN Jun 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is our #1 pick for a few good reasons. First off, it has almost 2,000 servers in the US, with a total of 5,000 around the world. What’s more, this is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve seen, averaging more than 350 Mbps in our most recent testing. Finally, NordVPN’s specialized obfuscated servers can get around even the strictest online censorship – it’s one of the few providers that still works in China, so porn sites and streaming services pose no problems at all.

There are all kinds of features designed to keep you safe. These include uncrackable encryption, leak protection, automatic tracker blocking, and a kill switch that’ll stop sending data the moment your VPN disconnects. This provider even has its own protocol, NordLynx, which offers the speed advantages of WireGuard while addressing some of its privacy shortcomings. NordVPN follows a no-logging policy, and while it does collect advertising IDs on mobile devices, these can be easily reset to keep yourself as anonymous as possible.

NordVPN has its own iOS, MacOS, Android, Windows, and Linux apps. It can also be manually installed on a wide range of routers.

Pros:

  • Task-specific optimized servers
  • Excellent unblocking ability
  • Outstanding security credentials
  • Keeps no logs whatsoever

Cons:

  • Only able to select a location, not a specific server

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR BEATING BANS:NordVPN is the best option for evading porn bans. It’s fast, easy to use, and capable of accessing a huge range of content. Not only that, this service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee meaning you can try it totally risk-free.

Interested? Find out more in our full NordVPN review.

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2. Surfshark

Surfshark

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark is the best way to beat porn bans on a budget. This service offers access to around 3,200 servers in 100 countries and provides exceptionally high speeds, meaning you shouldn’t notice any lag or buffering provided your base connection is reasonably quick. This VPN’s NoBorders mode is designed to beat country-wide censorship, and we’ve had no issues using platforms like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock with it active. Best of all, Surfshark can secure all of your devices simultaneously.

This VPN protects your privacy using high-end encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. It’s also capable of stopping ads, malware, and trackers automatically. Surfshark follows a no-logs policy and has had its apps and infrastructure audited to prove this. If you’d like, you can even enable the rotating IP feature to make yourself even harder to track. Customer support is available around the clock over live chat.

Surfshark has apps for Linux, Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Select routers are supported too, but you’ll have to configure the service manually.

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Strong focus on security
  • Works well with services like Netflix
  • Offers 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Some advanced features require Surfshark One, which costs extra

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is our low-cost pick. It’s affordable but offers a suite of security tools most of its rivals can’t match. Top-tier performance and a true no-logs policy make it ideal for streaming porn anonymously. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Why not take a look at our complete Surfshark review?

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3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN has roughly 3,000 servers in 94 countries, including around 20 locations in the US. This service keeps things simple, minimizing clutter and allowing users to beat digital censorship without the need for any settings changes or manual configuration. Not only does it work in China, it’s particularly adept at beating the VPN-detection systems used by popular streaming services. It delivered average speeds of more than 450 Mbps in our latest testing and permits up to five connections at a time.

This provider has all of the tools you’ll need to access adult websites safely. These include 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch, as well as a custom protocol named Lightway. This is extremely lightweight, meaning it doesn’t drain your battery as quickly, and as a bonus, it’ll even keep your connection secure while switching networks. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any data that could personally identify you. Its split tunneling feature lets certain apps pass through the VPN. Support staff can be reached day or night using the live chat help desk.

ExpressVPN apps are available for iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Linux. This provider also has its own custom firmware that makes it very easy to use on a router.

Pros:

  • Excels at flying under the radar
  • Fast, P2P-friendly VPN
  • Ideal for anyone new to VPNs

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have as many security tools as its rivals

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

NO STRESS STREAMING:ExpressVPN is reputable, easy to use, and able to bypass just about any online blocking. Whether you’re looking to stream, torrent, or browse the internet anonymously, it’s a great choice. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.

We cover this service more fully in our exhaustive ExpressVPN review.

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4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost is famous for having a huge network. There are around 9,000 servers in 90 countries, with almost 1,500 in the US alone. Several of these are optimized for enhanced privacy and secure streaming. As if this wasn’t enough, CyberGhost performed exceptionally well in our testing, with an average speed of over 500 Mbps. Considering 4K video only requires about 25 Mbps, it should be more than enough for most people. This service can protect up to seven devices at a time.

This VPN has a wide range of security tools including uncrackable encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, as well as automatic tracker blocking. Although CyberGhost won’t work in China, its random port connection feature might help you bypass less-stringent VPN-blocking tools such as those used by some public networks. This provider doesn’t store any personally-identifiable information, as verified by an independent auditor. Naturally, you can get in touch with any issues using the 24/7 live chat service.

CyberGhost offers apps for Android, Windows, Linux, iOS, and MacOS. Users can follow manual setup instructions to get it running on their home routers too.

Pros:

  • Ultra-versatile and beginner-friendly
  • Works with most region-locked sites we’ve tested
  • Scores highly in terms of security and privacy

Cons:

  • Quite pricey if you subscribe for one month at a time

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BLAZING FAST SPEEDS:CyberGhost tops our list of the fastest VPNs and doesn’t disappoint where security is concerned either. Task-specific servers and a no-logs policy make this a fantastic option for beating American porn bans. Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Still have questions? You’ll find answers in our in-depth CyberGhost review.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish has more than 1,900 self-owned servers spread across around 60 locations, many of which are in the US. It has no issues with platforms like Netflix and HBO Max, which often stump competing providers. Although IPVanish doesn’t work in China or the UAE, it is absolutely capable of beating US porn bans. What’s more, this service is far faster than most and it’ll secure every device you own simultaneously.

There’s no need to worry about anyone monitoring your online activities since IPVanish uses uncrackable encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch to ensure all of your data is properly secured. You can also block local traffic, automatically reconnect, or have the app connect whenever you use an unsecured network. This VPN has a true zero-logs policy, which means it can’t reveal details of your activities under any circumstances. Customer support is on-hand day and night to help with any issues you might have.

IPVanish provides apps for iOS, MacOS, Android, and Windows. If you’d like to use it on Linux systems or home routers, you’ll have to configure it manually.

Pros:

  • Top-tier performance
  • Perfect for secure streaming, browsing, and gaming
  • Secure any number of devices

Cons:

  • Not quite as good at beating strict VPN-detection systems

Our score:

4 out of 5

GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:IPVanish isn’t just fast, it’s also secure. These characteristics make it ideal for browsing the web safely, hiding your activities from snoopers, and bypassing privacy-infringing age-verification tools. This VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Check out our comprehensive IPVanish review.

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6. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN might only have around 200 servers globally but don’t let that put you off. This provider owns all of these outright and even acts as its own ISP so that no third parties ever have access to user traffic. On top of all that, PrivateVPN is exceptional at getting around digital censorship – it works against China’s Great Firewall, so Louisiana’s age-verification requirements for adult content don’t stand a chance. Users can connect up to 10 devices at once.

This VPN prevents DNS and IPv6 leaks, secures your data with 256-bit AES encryption (though this can be reduced for higher speeds), and uses a kill switch to ensure you never browse unprotected. If you’d like, you can let certain apps pass through the VPN unencrypted, for instance, if you want to download an update as quickly as possible. PrivateVPN doesn’t keep any logs and has a stealth mode specially designed for beating online censorship.

PrivateVPN has Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS apps. Linux systems and wireless routers are supported, though you’ll need to follow manual setup instructions to get up and running.

Pros:

  • Possibly the most privacy-conscious VPN on the market
  • Beats even the toughest online restrictions
  • Versatile no-logs provider

Cons:

  • Only has a dozen US servers
  • Live chat support not 24/7

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

PRIVACY FIRST:PrivateVPN is a novice-friendly VPN with steady speeds, phenomenal unblocking ability, and a real focus on user privacy. In other words, it’s perfect for beating the US porn ban. Not quite sure yet? There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Take a look at our more in-depth PrivateVPN review.

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Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for beating porn bans

You’d be surprised how many VPNs struggle to bypass even simple online restrictions. Of course, unblocking ability is just one aspect of what makes a top-tier service. To ensure we only recommend the very best providers, we used a strict set of criteria to eliminate any less-suitable candidates. Here’s a brief look at some of the most important areas we considered:

  • US servers: Currently, Louisiana is the only state with mandatory age verification for adult sites but this could change. That’s why it’s important to have servers in multiple US states. This also ensures users can choose whichever server is closest to them, thereby minimizing latency and preserving as much of their speed as possible.
  • Cloaking ability: A VPN can’t help you beat online censorship if it’s detected by the sites you’re using. Most adult sites don’t check for VPN usage but to be safe, we prioritized VPNs that can fly under the radar of popular services like HBO Max, Prime Video, and Peacock. This way, even if restrictions are introduced, you should still be fine.
  • Performance: Slow speeds cause a variety of issues including choppy playback, long buffering times, and videos that fail to start. To qualify for a place in this list, providers had to have performed well in our most recent speed tests. We also looked out for streaming-optimized servers and speedy connection protocols like WireGuard.
  • Security: The whole point of a VPN is to protect you from surveillance. For this reason, we required providers to use as-yet-uncrackable encryption backed by a kill switch and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. A no-logs policy is another must-have, with additional security tools (such as tracker blocking) strongly preferred.
  • Ease of use: VPNs should be beginner-friendly, free from clutter, and available on all major platforms. Ideally, they’d also offer 24/7 live chat, an expansive help section on their website, and the ability to automatically connect in certain circumstances.
  • Price: Our team has reviewed a huge number of VPNs so it’s immediately apparent when one tries to charge more than is really fair. We only recommend services that are reasonably priced and even then, we’ll always keep you informed about any free trials, discounts, coupons, or money-back guarantees that are available.

If you’d like to learn more, we have a post that covers our full VPN testing process.

Which states have introduced restrictions on adult content?

Starting with Louisana, there are now a number of states that consider pornography a “public health issue” and actively impose similar age verification blocks on adult content.

The states that actively block porn through agree verification include:

  • Louisiana
  • Virginia
  • Mississippi
  • Utah
  • Arkansas
  • Montana

However, there are a further eight states whose representatives have come out against porn, citing it as a “public health issue. These include:

  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • West Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Iowa
  • Texas
  • Maryland

While these states don’t currently request age verification, it is believed they soon will.

Why are US states banning porn?

The primary reason for the porn ban is to tackle the impact on children’s mental health, hence it being declared a public health issue.

Now, you might be thinking that these laws are an infringement of your First Amendment rights. Civil liberties campaigners agree, with experts all but certain these restrictions will be challenged in court. However, Utah Senator Mike Lee has introduced a bill (Interstate Obscenity Definition Act) that aims to prevent this defense by defining what is “obscene” once and for all. This is important because existing law says obscene content is not protected under the First Amendment and cannot legally be transmitted. In other words, if this bill passes, it would effectively ban pornography across the entirety of the US.

Can I watch Pornhub in Texas with a VPN?

Beginning in March 2024, Pornhub has decided to implement blocks for users in Texas. This is due to the state’s new regulations focused on age verification, outlined in HB1181. The new law seeks to protect minors from exposure to adult content, highlighting potential impacts on neurological development, self-esteem, mental well-being, and possible connections to unlawful activities.

The decision to block Pornhub in Texas is a direct consequence of the challenges posed by complying with the law, which demands health warnings and rigorous oversight of user-contributed content. As a result, visitors from Texas IP addresses are greeted with an error message that says:

“We have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Texas. In doing so, we are complying with the law, as we always do, but hope that governments around the world will implement laws that actually protect the safety and security of users.”

The good news is that there is a workaround. By using a VPN, anybody living or visiting Texas can circumvent these frustrating blocks to gain access to Pornhub. A VPN masks your location, making it appear as if you are accessing the internet from a different US state, which means you can avoid the Texas-specific Pornhub blocks.

What’s more, using a VPN for Pornhub enhances your online privacy. When you use a VPN It shields your activities from local networks, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and any state-level surveillance, making your access to Pornhub in Texas undetectable.

For those in Texas wishing to access Pornhub, the following steps can be taken:

  1. Select a VPN service recommended on this page. Our top recommendation is NordVPN.
  2. Subscribe to the VPN and install its software.
  3. Connect to a VPN server located outside of Texas.
  4. Visit the Pornhub website to enjoy unrestricted access.

USA porn ban: Frequently Asked Questions

Are age-verification systems safe?

Age-verification systems vary greatly in complexity. For instance, a pop up that asks you whether you’re under 18 collects no personally identifiable information and also helps defend websites against legal repercussions. On the other hand, more robust systems usually require more decisive proof, such as a photo of your driver’s license or passport.

Even if this data isn’t stored or shared with other organizations, there’s always a risk. For instance, the system could be hacked or one of the employees responsible for verification could simply leak your information. The company that provides the age-verification service could even be bought over by someone with less noble intentions at a later date.

As such, while it’s understandable to want to protect young people from adult content, requiring users to upload their ID (which may reveal their home address, date of birth, and full name, all of which can be used by identity thieves) is not the way to go.

Can I use a free VPN to access porn sites securely?

Free VPNs might seem like a good way to protect your browsing from snoopers but in practice, they leave a lot to be desired. They often have very low bandwidth limits, which means you’ll usually only be able to use them for a short time each month. Additionally, because there are so many people all trying to access a small number of servers, you’ll almost always notice sluggish speeds. This leads to long buffering times, forced low-resolution video, and often, videos that refuse to play at all.

There are also security aspects to consider. While paid VPNs have been extensively tested, there are no such guarantees for free providers. We’ve even seen free services mislead or outright lie about how private they are in a bid to gain users at any cost. While pricing is an important factor when making a decision, it shouldn’t be the only one. We’d recommend choosing based on privacy policy and reputation, instead of using a VPN just because it’s free.

Are VPNs legal in the US?

Even though each state has different privacy laws, VPNs currently aren’t illegal anywhere in the US. You are still liable for any crimes you commit while connected to a VPN, and in some cases, this may actually be an aggravating factor. Still, as long as you don’t do anything illegal, there’s no reason you’d get into any trouble.

Disclaimer: Although we’ve spent hours researching this topic, we are not legal experts. As such, nothing we’ve said above should be taken as legal advice. We encourage you to consult local laws before attempting to access adult content in places where its access is restricted. 

Can I get in trouble for evading Louisiana's age-verification system for porn?

Louisiana’s Act No. 440 doesn’t actually say anything about evading its proposed restrictions or punishing individuals who get around them. In fact, the five-page bill states that its goal is to hold accountable “commercial entities who distribute material harmful to minors”, which is later defined as just about anything sexual that lacks “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”.

The act does lay out penalties for adult sites that fail to implement robust age-verification measures in Louisiana. However, if you’re using a VPN to evade these blocks, the site is not at fault. We believe it’s unlikely that penalties for individuals who work around the ban will be introduced. That’s because there’s no way to tell what sites you visit while using a VPN, and Louisiana’s limitations wouldn’t apply to someone who simply crossed into a neighboring state. Given that neither of these things is a crime, there’s very little chance of any repercussions.