Iraqi citizens, those in the country for pleasure or business, or expatriates who currently call Iraq home, may need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service when browsing the internet. VPNs have the advantage of keeping internet activity private, unlocking geo-restricted streaming media sites, and assisting with secure access to public wifi networks.
Similarly, Iraqi citizens living abroad can use a VPN for accessing local content, logging in to their online bank accounts, and more. In this article, we’ll discuss the best VPNs for Iraq as well as recommendations on how to maximize their value.
We get into a lot of details on each of the providers featured below, but if you only have time for a summary, here’s our list of the best VPNs for Iraq:
- ExpressVPN Our #1 pick as the best VPN for Iraq. Consistent performer with proven speed and quality. A large network is great for unblocking geo-restricted content. Includes 30-day money-back guarantee
- NordVPN Budget provider that checks all the boxes
- HideMyAss Can give you an Iraq IP address if you so desire
- PrivateVPN Excellent option for streaming and unblocking
Best VPNs for Iraq
VPN services are a dime a dozen but it’s somewhat foolhardy to place them in the same category. We’ve carefully chosen the best VPNs for Iraq, each one on this list is currently working in Iraq.
Our list of the best VPNs for Iraq is curated based on the following criteria:
- Maintains a substantial network of servers across the world
- Unblocks geo-restricted streaming services without breaking a sweat
- Offers a fast and reliable product with maximum uptime
- Uses stringent encryption parameters so your location remains obfuscated
- Allows for multiple connections with one account
- Provides helpful customer support
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN, operated out of the British Virgin Islands, is the best VPN for Iraq you can get your hands on. It delivers on privacy, speed, and customer service, providing military-grade encryption standards, a network of servers that traverses the globe, and round-the-clock online support.
This service has more than 3,000 servers to choose from in 94 countries around the world, with plenty of options in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is able to unblock a number of geo-restricted streaming media services including US Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, PlutoTV, and more.
World-class security standards are par for the course. Specifically, the service uses 256-bit AES encryption, also called ‘military-grade’. Additional security features include an internet kill switch, DNS leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy.
This provider only stores non-identifying metadata, which means data that could potentially pinpoint a user isn’t backed up on servers. Plus, it’s used to improve service levels like latency, bandwidth, and time of frequent connection.
There are clean, minimalist apps for Android and iOS, and similar versions for Windows and MacOS. A single subscription allows for three simultaneous connections.
- Fast, reliable speeds – streaming HD content or downloading/uploading large files
- Has no issues getting around censorship and geo-blocked content
- Comprehensive security and privacy features
- Great capabilities for unblocking geo-locked content
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Expansive server network with coverage in 94 countries
- Not as configurable as some power users would like
BEST VPN FOR IRAQ:ExpressVPN is our top choice for Iraq due to its speed, reliability, and efficiency. The deal includes a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee, so it’s a risk-free option.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN has an expansive network of more than 5,100 servers spread across 62 countries. Its registration in Panama means it doesn’t have to comply with data retention laws, boosting privacy.
NordVPN is able to give you access to several streaming sites such as US Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, and more. It doesn’t store any user details, traffic logs, or IP addresses so you can rest easy.
This provider is well-known for its customizability, including options for servers optimized for tasks such as streaming HD video, double VPN, Tor over VPN, and more.
Netizens valuing their privacy will be assured by the fact that NordVPN uses 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol to secure their traffic. This is the leading protocol available today and is designed to thwart all detection techniques. Additional perks include an internet kill switch and DNS leak protection. All of which are useful when considering the best VPNs for Iraq.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect at the same time.
- A fantastic option for streaming and torrenting
- Easily gets around regional blocks and censored content
- Operates a network of more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries
- No-logs policy
- Connect 6 devices concurrently
- 24/7 chat support
- The desktop app is a little clunky, could do with some modernizing
BUDGET OPTION:NordVPN is our best budget option for Iraq and doesn’t cut any corners. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
HideMyAss operates 930 servers in 190 countries, so there’s a lot of options around the world. A bonus factor is that this service includes two servers in Iraq meaning you can get an Iraqi IP address if needed. This is the only provider on this list that’s able to offer this option.
This service enables you to manage specific use cases such as unblocking streaming sites or engaging in P2P file sharing. It’s fast, stable, secure, and ships with an impressive ability to unblock geo-restricted sites, including Netflix and Hulu.
HideMyAss uses 256-bit AES encryption to secure all traffic. It also offers perfect forward secrecy, automatic wifi protection, and an internet kill switch (in the desktop app).
One area of concern is that this provider does log connection data (including IP addresses) by default. However, you can switch this setting off it in the app. There’s also an IP address shuffle feature, which switches your IP address for a different one at regular intervals.
You can find apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. A single connection allows for five devices to connect at the same time and there’s live chat support whenever you need it.
- A large number of countries covered
- Decent speeds for streaming
- 24/7 live chat
- Some data-logging concerns
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
IP ADDRESS FROM IRAQ:HideMyAss is fast, secure, and offers servers in Iraq. What’s more, it’s able to unblock several streaming services with HD-ready speeds. All plans ship with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of HideMyAss.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN doesn’t come with heaps of experience in the VPN game, but it’s definitely a provider that punches above its weight. We’ve ranked it as one of the best for Iraq based on the fact that it delivers high-quality service with fast speeds and impressive ability to unblock geo-restricted content.
The server network is relatively minuscule, and clocks in at around 150 servers. However, there are enough locations to span the globe with 60 countries covered.
This provider declines to log user data, includes support for torrenting, and offers unlimited bandwidth for HD video streams.
PrivateVPN gives you the option to select either 128- or 256-bit encryption and bundles perfect forward secrecy, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protection in all packages. That means your digital footprint is well covered.
PrivateVPN offers apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect simultaneously.
- Very fast speeds
- Unlimited bandwidth, high speeds, and P2P allowance also mean it’s suitable for torrenting
- Gaining a reputation for unblocking popular streaming sites
- Live chat is not around the clock
- A small but growing network of servers
STREAMING VPN:PrivateVPN unblocks several streaming sites and offers fast speeds. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Should I use a free VPN for Iraq?
Free VPN services are available in droves all across the interwebs and they might have even caught your attention. However, we should warn you that these options aren’t nearly as attractive as they seem to be.
Free VPNs often monetize users via advertisements, popups, and other methods to get you to click on a referral link so they can earn a bit of cash. That’s because they need to turn a profit at the end of the day. Others will use tracking cookies to track user behavior and sell the information to third parties.
You should also be aware that free VPNs typically come with poor encryption standards, an extremely limited choice of servers, limited bandwidth, and data caps. Customer support is usually non-existent.
Some free VPN providers have gone to the extent of willingly inserting malware in user devices. Depending on the type of malware, it may result in data loss, financial extortion, and more.
If you’re looking towards VPNs to help you safely and securely stream geo-restricted media services, access public wifi, or log on to blocked sites, then a free offering won’t do much to meet your expectations. A paid VPN gives you peace of mind and only sets you back a few dollars each month.
How do VPNs work?
VPNs work by putting in place an encrypted tunnel that has the capability to redirect all the internet traffic to and from your device. VPNs enable you to choose the location of the VPN server your traffic flows through and then replace your IP address with one from that location. If, for example, you pick a server in the United States, your actual IP address is replaced with a US one. The same process applies if you pick a server in Iraq, granting you an Iraqi IP address.
After you connect to a VPN, all websites and apps you log on to will assume you’re located in the same country as the choice of your server, enabling you to access geo-restricted streaming media apps such as Netflix. Bonus aspects of VPNs include the encrypted tunnel as mentioned earlier – making it very difficult for hackers or government agencies to snoop on your online behavior.
What’s the state of internet freedoms in Iraq?
Internet freedom in Iraq has been on the decline since the days of the Saddam Hussein regime and shows no signs of turning a corner. That’s despite the fact that the US forced a regime change into what was expected to be a pluralistic democracy.
The rapid proliferation of the internet in Iraq meant that the regime has tried to regulate and monitor its use. The Iraqi Council of Representatives – a legislative body of the parliament – has sought to draft laws that pertain to cyberspace. This has brought together committees in national security and defense, higher education, scientific research, culture and press, human rights, and even construction. But the ensuing law has sought to expand restrictions on rights, freedoms of expression, and access to public information.
Legal experts say that there are several poorly defined tenets and vague directives in the law. For example, article 3 of the draft laws restrict the “use of computers in any way that affects the independence of the country, its unity, integrity, safety, or any of its higher economic, political, social, and military interests.”
Another article, specifically 21:3, imposes a fine of up to 30 million Iraqi dinar (USD 25,000) on any entity that violates religious and moral values. Broad and sweeping powers to control and monitor any type of digital expression are pretty much guaranteed.
The status of torrenting in the Middle Eastern countries remains unclear. While we couldn’t find any specific laws that ban the practice, the unclear and vague nature of the nomenclature deployed in the draft guidelines means that people engaging in torrenting could very well be persecuted for other reasons. Hence, it’s best to protect yourself by connecting to a VPN first as that will hide your online identity.
DISCLAIMER: Comparitech does not encourage using a VPN to stream or download content illegally. Please consult local laws beforehand if you’re not sure of the ramifications and refer to a local lawyer for expert advice.
Tips for using a VPN in Iraq
Whether you’re currently present in Iraq or visiting the country, the use of a VPN will enhance your internet experience and protect your privacy.
How to set up a VPN in Iraq
- The first thing you need to do is settle and decide on a provider. We recommend ExpressVPN, but any of the providers above are worthy of consideration.
- Register for the service using either your credit card details or PayPal. Some providers accept Bitcoin.
- After successful authentication of the payment, you should receive a confirmation email from the VPN provider.
- Proceed to download the relevant app for your device from the official app stores; distrust all third-party sites.
- Restart your device once the installation is complete.
- Log in to the service and connect to a server outside Iraq (or use HideMyAss for an Iraqi IP address).
- Congratulations! Now your internet connection is encrypted and private and you will be able to access all the content you want.
Accessing Netflix libraries in Iraq
It’s likely that the Netflix library in Iraq is severely limited, but if you still want to access local content, then just connect to an Iraq-compliant VPN first. However, if you want to access US Netflix, which, coincidentally, has the largest roster of content, you will need to get a US IP address first. This means you need to connect to a US server first – not all are compliant with Netflix but you can check with a customer service representative if you run into any issues.
Netflix blocks VPNs because of licensing agreements it has in place with its media production partners. Not all VPNs, especially free ones, are compatible with the service. We’ve highlighted the ones that are in our mini-reviews, so you can use those as a reference point.