Instagram continues to grow in popularity with a billion people using the photo-sharing app at least once each month. Unfortunately, the service is blocked by network administrators in many schools and places of work. In addition, the governments of some countries (such as China) block access to the social network. The best way to evade restrictions on Instagram is by using a VPN. So, if you want your social media fix, you’ll need one of the best VPNs for Instagram.
Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN service hides your real location by encrypting all the traffic flowing to and from your device and tunneling it via an intermediary server location of your choice. As such, system administrators will be unable to determine what you’re doing online. A VPN can also make it appear that you’re in a different physical location, enabling access to geo-restricted services, such as select Netflix and Amazon Prime Video libraries.
We get into detail later about each of the VPNs that made our list for unblocking Instagram, but if you haven’t got time to read the whole thing, here are our top choices:
Best VPNs for Instagram
- NordVPN: Our top pick for an Instagram VPN. Large network of extremely fast servers able to unblock Instagram and most other restricted content. Secure and private with easy-to-use apps. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best value VPN. No-logs provider that unblocks most platforms and doesn’t impose a device limit.
- ExpressVPN: Operates a vast network with secure and speedy server locations dotted around the globe. Tight online privacy and security and works in China.
- Hotspot Shield: A speedy VPN with an expansive network. Easily bypasses blocks.
- PrivateVPN: Secure and private VPN with great speeds. Unblocks sites from anywhere.
- Private Internet Access: Easy-to-use apps, speedy servers in 80+ locations, and 24/7 support available when you need it.
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The best VPNs for Instagram – At a glance
We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Instagram.
How to access Instagram with a VPN
Getting started with a VPN is really very simple, just follow the step-by-step guide below.
Here’s how to use a VPN for Instagram so you can get access anywhere:
- Select a VPN that’s best suited for you and submit payment. We recommend NordVPN.
- Download and install the relevant app for your device.
- Log in and connect to a server in a location of your choice.
- Once the connection is established, open Instagram and use it normally.
- If you’re still unable to access Instagram try clearing your browser’s cookies and reloading the app.
If you run into any issues, contact your VPN provider for help with troubleshooting.
While many VPNs work to unblock Instagram in most countries, there’s one region that remains touch to crack: China. With the government heavily restricting VPN use, not many providers can keep their service running there. All of the providers on our list work in China.
Read more on our methodology and how we test VPNs after our reviews.
Best VPNs for Instagram
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for Instagram:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top recommendation for an Instagram VPN. It has a huge network of servers with more than 5,000 in 60 countries. It pegs the fastest VPN speeds we’ve seen and you can pick a server based on preferences such as P2P and double VPN. There’s a large set of obfuscated servers which work well for bypassing VPN blocks such as those imposed by the Chinese government.
The company secures web traffic with 256-bit AES encryption in conjunction with perfect forward secrecy. DNS leak protection is enabled and there’s a kill switch in all apps except Android. NordVPN keeps no logs whatsoever.
Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android. A single subscription grants access to six devices.
- Exceptional speeds
- Vast network of servers
- Special obfuscated servers for bypassing blocks
- Military-grade encryption
- No-logs policy
- Apps for all major operating systems
- The desktop app could be refined
BEST VPN FOR INSTAGRAM:NordVPN is our top pick. It’s super fast, works well to unblock Instagram from anywhere, and allows up to six simultaneous connections. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee making this a risk-free deal.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a great low-cost alternative adept at unblocking Instagram and a ton of other platforms. It has a broad network of servers with roughly 1,700 in over 60 countries. Surfshark’s NoBorders mode is especially helpful for getting around network restrictions.
This is a true no-logs provider that backs its privacy focus with strong online security features. You can expect military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch on all platforms, and protection against leaks.
A major selling point of Surfshark is that it imposes no limit on the number of devices you can connect at one time. Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Enables access to Instagram from anywhere
- Strong encryption
- Keeps no logs
- Doesn’t have a device limit
- 24/7 live-chat support is included
- Network is smaller than that of many rivals
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is known for its unblocking abilities which are complemented with strong security and privacy features. This provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our in-depth review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN uses rugged encryption protocols, has fast internet speeds, and works reliably in China (with no special setup required). This VPN operates a vast server network comprising 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries. Apps include a ‘Smart Location’ feature, which selects the fastest connection based on your current location.
ExpressVPN’s encryption standards will keep you protected – this provider leverages 256-bit AES with perfect forward secrecy by default. A kill switch (dubbed a network lock) in the desktop apps will freeze web traffic if the connection drops, and leak protection is built into all apps.
A single subscription grants access to five devices simultaneously. There are apps for both Android and iOS as well as desktop clients for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
- Optimized for fast connections
- Operates over 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- Uses high-grade encryption
- Easy-to-use apps for major operating systems
- Allows five simultaneous connections
- Some rivals are slightly cheaper
- Limited advanced features in apps for power-users
UNBLOCK ANYTHING:ExpressVPN is a great unblocker. It enables access to restricted and censored services and has a vast network of servers optimized for speedy connections. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield is another VPN that’s excellent at circumventing detection measures. Its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol is very secure and masks VPN traffic, even in places like China. It operates an expansive server network with more than 3,200 high-speed servers covering over 70 countries.
Security parameters include 256-bit encryption and perfect forward secrecy. There’s protection against leaks and a kill switch in all apps. Hotspot Shield maintains minimal metadata logs but doesn’t record user-identifying data past disconnection.
You can download apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Up to five connections are allowed at a time.
- Bypasses VPN blocks
- Pegs very fast speeds
- Comes with a 45-day refund policy
- Customer support could be improved
FAST AND SECURE:Hotspot Shield provides super fast connections and works to bypass geo-restrictions and blocks across the globe. Subscriptions include a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Discover more in our Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is an even smaller provider but still a worthy contender as an Instagram VPN. It only operates around 150 servers in 60 countries but prioritizes providing access to blocked platforms and services. The VPN works well in China and other restrictive countries. Using the “Stealth VPN” mode will obfuscate your traffic to ensure it’s undetectable.
This provider employs military-grade encryption along with perfect forward secrecy by default. Apps have built-in leak protection and the Windows client includes a kill switch. No logs are maintained at all.
Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android, and desktop clients for Windows and macOS. You can connect up to six devices at a time.
- Stealth VPN mode obfuscates traffic
- Six-device limit
- A true no-logs provider
- Only has around 150 servers
- Support could be improved
MAINTAIN PRIVACY:PrivateVPN has a stealth mode to help you access all your favorite services. Plus it’s secure and private. Plans come with a 30-day refund policy.
Find out more details in our full PrivateVPN review.
6. Private Internet Access
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Private Internet Access and Instagram are an ideal match, with PIA effortlessly unblocking the social media platform from any of its servers in 80+ locations. PIA uses military-grade encryption to keep Instagram and other online activities safe from prying eyes like your ISP.
Private Internet Access gives users a 10 simultaneous connection limit and provides support 24/7. Its apps are available on desktop and mobile. Try Private Internet Access for 30 days risk-free today.
- Can connect up to 10 devices at the same time
- 10,000+ servers in over 80 countries
- Customizable encryption level
- Unblocking can be inconsistent
- Based in a Five Eyes country
MILITARY-GRADE ENCRYPTION: Private Internet Access has fast, reliable servers in 80+ locations. It offers 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Private Internet Access.
Finding the best VPNs for Instagram: our methodology
In deciding the best VPNs for Instagram, there are a number of factors to take into account. Aside from the ability to unblock the social media platform, a VPN should offer good speeds and strong security. Below, we outline our methodology which led us to the VPNs as listed in this post.
- Servers worldwide: Having access to servers worldwide makes it that much easier to unblock Instagram as well as find a fast server close to your physical location. All of the VPNs we’ve covered offer large server networks, some with thousands of servers across dozens of countries including the US, UK, Australia, and Japan.
- Speed: Server speed is particularly important if you’re streaming content on Instagram. VPNs offering fast connections and unlimited bandwidth (such as those listed in this post) allow you to watch without issues such as lag and buffering. Our speed tests helped us find the fastest VPNs for use with Instagram.
- Unblocking: Instagram is blocked in China as well as in many schools and workplaces. We’ve found the VPNs that are most reliable when it comes to bypassing restrictions. This was achieved by testing each VPN against a variety of region-locked websites and services, Instagram included.
- Security: In order to browse Instagram securely, you need a VPN that offers the following: high-end encryption (256-bit AES), protection from DNS leaks, and a kill switch. It may be that you’d like an extra layer of security in which case, you may wish to consider NordVPN and Surfshark, both of which offer Double VPN servers.
- Privacy: Without a VPN, your ISP (and possibly your government) can see what you’re doing online. If you’d like your Instagram and other browsing activity to remain private, you need a VPN which encrypts your data and operates a no-logs policy. We’ve looked at more than 140 VPN logging policies in order to find the very best.
- Ease of use: In looking for the above, we are able to try out VPN apps and find those that are particularly user-friendly. All of them make it easy to get started while 24/7 live chat and email support is at hand should you need it. Most of the VPNs also offer the option of browser extensions for even quicker access to servers.
- Value for money: We feel that the best VPNs for Instagram offer excellent value for money. Aside from these VPNs frequently running special deals, you can save even more on the price of a subscription with the VPN discount coupons provided in this post. Remember, all of the VPNs listed come with a risk-free money-back guarantee.
Of course, we don’t just look for the above features. In order to find out if a VPN offers the above (and to what extent), we need to try it out for ourselves as part of our VPN testing methodology.
Instagram VPN FAQs
Is it legal to use a VPN with Instagram?
Absolutely! VPNs are legitimate privacy tools that are used by millions of people around the world every day. There are a handful of countries that restrict the use of VPNs but in places, there’s no need to worry about getting into trouble simply for trying to stay safe online.
How can I access Instagram music from anywhere?
Instagram music allows you to really customize your stories, but for licensing reasons, this feature isn’t available everywhere in the world. However, as long as Instagram thinks you’re in a supported country, you should be able to make use of it. In other words, accessing Instagram Music is as simple as connecting to a VPN server that’s in a supported country, clearing your cookies, and logging in again.
Will Instagram know I'm using a VPN?
Instagram is owned by Facebook, so it’s a fair assumption that this service knows everything about you, your device, and your social circle. That said, if it can tell that you’re using a VPN, it doesn’t seem to care; users report being able to unblock Instagram Music fairly easily from abroad, and as yet, no major VPN seems to have been blocked outright.
If you’re having trouble accessing Instagram with a VPN active, check to see if it has an ad-blocker enabled; these have been known to occasionally cause problems with some sites.
Should I use a free VPN to unblock Instagram?
Free VPNs services are heavily advertised on the internet and can be tempting. However, we recommend against using them. These services can rarely bypass blocks, and even if they do, you’ll end up with poor performance.
Free VPNs typically operate a small number of servers that are shared among many users. You may have to join a queue to connect, and then have to deal with slow, unreliable connections.
As we know, no service is truly free, and with a free VPN, it’s more than likely that you become the product. It’s common practice for these services to keep logs of user activity and sell user profiles to third parties.
Security usually isn’t stellar either. If you’re lucky enough to have an encrypted connection (some free VPNs forgo this step), it will likely be weak, meaning you aren’t well protected from snoopers, including hackers.
Overall, we recommend paying a small fee to use a solid VPN.
Why is Instagram blocked?
If you find Instagram is blocked by network administrators in your school or place of work, it’s likely a productivity issue. Instagram is often blocked along with a suite of other social media platforms to prevent students and employees from idling away their time. Another possible reason for these restrictions is to avoid network congestion.
Instagram is also blocked in some regions, often by a country’s government, such as the case in China. The motives here are usually a little different. In China’s case, the government likely blocks popular media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, to censor the information and communication methods to which its citizens have access. In addition, the blocks pave the way for homegrown competitors to take over the market.
Instagram has been blocked intermittently in China since 2014 and it is currently blocked there entirely. It has also been banned in other countries including Iran and North Korea.
Can you use a proxy to change your Instagram location?
Much like a VPN, you can use a proxy to change your Instagram location (i.e. your location is spoofed so that Instagram believes you’re located elsewhere). Some people may do this in order to access Instagram from a country in which it is blocked or to bypass a ban. Whatever the case, a proxy can help you achieve this but it’s worth keeping in mind that it doesn’t offer the security of a VPN which encrypts your internet traffic in the process.
Can Instagram track you if you use a VPN?
Using a VPN ensures your data is encrypted and your actual IP address (and physical location) is hidden. This allows you to use social media platforms such as Instagram with a degree of anonymity. However, if you’re on mobile, your GPS location may still show Instagram where you are. To get around this, you’ll need to fake your GPS location. One of the most common ways to do this is with a GPS spoofing app.