If you’re trying to access Telegram in Russia, Iran, India, or other parts of the world where it is blocked, your best bet is to log in via a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN encrypts all the traffic flowing to and from your device and tunnels it via an intermediary server of your choice. The encrypted tunnel also makes it very difficult for ISPs, hackers, and surveillance agencies to monitor your internet behavior.
By using a VPN you can obfuscate your location, thereby tricking state authorities in Russia by making it impossible for them to detect that you’re actually based inside the former communist state.
In this article, we’ll show you how to access Telegram in Russia, Iran, India, or anywhere else with a VPN and the best providers for this purpose.
We get into plenty of detail on each of the VPNs that we have made this list for Telegram, but if you are short of time and can’t read the whole article, here’s a brief breakdown of our top picks:
- CyberGhost Our #1 choice. Unblocks Telegram from just about anywhere that restrictions are in place. Has some of the fastest streaming and downloading servers that we have tested. Solid privacy and security features. Includes 45-day money back guarantee.
- ExpressVPN Great all-rounder with a vast server network that unblocks most geo-restricted sites and services including Telegram. Easy to use and great privacy features.
- IPVanish Security and circumventing blocked sites are their leading features. Good speeds but look elsewhere if you also want to unblock Netflix and Hulu.
- NordVPN Low-cost provider with a huge server network dotted around the globe. Privacy and security are solid.
- PrivateVPN Newest provider on this list with a growing network of servers. Impressed by their speeds and unblocking capabilities.
The best VPNs for Telegram
Our recommendations are based on the following reasons:
- Robust security parameters so that your location is guarded at all times
- Apps for Android and iOS
- Large range of server locations in Europe and North America
- No traffic logs
- Ease of use
- Unblocking content
Here is our list of the best VPNs for Telegram:
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is based in Romania and not subject to any mandatory data retention laws. It doesn’t record any user activity on its servers, either. The VPN company offers a varying range of privacy and security features.
All traffic is secured by 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is included.
The company has 3,787 servers online at the moment with the majority of them housed in Europe and North America. It should be relatively straightforward to find an adequate connection to unblock Telegram.
Additional security features include an ad blocker, anti-malware defense, and anti-tracking. Apps for both Android and iOS are available.
- Unblocks Telegram with ease
- Keeps no user activity logs and provides strong encryption to bypass activity detection
- Plenty of servers in Europe and North America
- Some of the fastest servers we’ve tested
- Easy to use, select activity type and be connected to the most appropriate server
- Live chat is available during European working hours
- Power-users may lament lack of advanced configuration options
THE BEST VPN FOR TELEGRAM:CyberGhost is our #1 Choice. Reliable for unblocking Telegram. We’d recommend CyberGhost to beginners who are looking for a fast, reliable connection, an easy-to-use interface, and a decent selection of server locations. It’s also ideal for torrenters. Stores no logs and streams HD video reliably. Try it risk-free with the 45-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our extensive CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN guards your data zealously. Military-grade encryption protocols are in place; specifically, the service leverages 256-bit AES-CBC as the default encryption standard as well as HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is included, which ExpressVPN refers to as a ‘network lock’.
The company doesn’t store any detailed traffic logs but does retain a bit of metadata in order to improve the service. It’s incorporated in the British Virgin Islands which means it’s out of the jurisdiction of government authorities in both the US and the UK.
When you sign up, you’ll find over 3,000 server locations spread across the world. There are plentiful options in Europe and North America.
The provider offers apps for both Android and iOS.
- Unblocks Telegram effortlessly
- Best-in-class encryption makes for solid security and privacy
- Superfast servers are great for streaming HD content
- DNS leak protection, shared IP addresses, and keeps no traffic logs
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Linux
- 24/7 customer support via live chat
- Not the cheapest choice on this list
GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:ExpressVPN is fast and reliable. Confidently unblocks Telegram. Also solid for all major streaming services. Great privacy features and keeps no logs. 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 7 DAYS
IPVanish doesn’t store user data of any nature so that should ease privacy concerns.
It offers over 1,300 global servers spread across 75 countries. The US occupies the bulk of this list and there are more than enough options in mainland Europe, too.
Encryption standards are top-tier. It uses 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy.
You’ll find apps for both iOS and Android.
- No issues with unblocking Telegram
- Keep no logs on user activities and have solid security settings
- Impressive server speeds
- Handles simultaneous connections well
- Works well with Kodi add-ons for remote control users
- Doesn’t reliably unblock Netflix, Hulu on all servers
GOOD BUDGET VPN:IPVanish offers strong privacy and security that works well with Telegram. Has a huge number of IPs and servers plus additional protection against DNS leaks. Struggles with Netflix and doesn’t work in China. 7-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
The provider has been in the VPN business for over a decade — helping it build a robust product along the way. It offers 5,202 servers spread across 60 countries with a large variety in the West.
Encryption standards are hardy and will keep you protected at all times. It uses the 256-bit AES protocol by default coupled with 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS.
- Great for privacy-conscious users with no logs and Bitcoin payments
- Achieves consistently good speeds
- 6 simultaneous connections keeps all users and devices protected
- Desktop app is a bit clunky compared to other providers
GREAT VALUE:NordVPN is easy to set up. Works well with Telegram. Solid security and privacy performer. Some servers can be unreliable and you can’t specify servers within countries. Includes a 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN popped up quite recently but that doesn’t mean its product is sub-par by any standards.
It’s based in Sweden and offers features and performance on par with the other providers on this list. 256-bit AES encryption is included along with perfect forward secrecy on the OpenVPN protocol. A kill switch is offered, too.
PrivateVPN doesn’t store any user logs, so any record of trying to access Telegram in Russia is scrubbed from sight.
At the moment, a little over 80 servers spread across 56 countries. This seems tiny as compared to the gargantuan options offered by other providers, but the range of locations in Europe and North America should do the trick.
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Very fast speeds
- Accepts Bitcoin
- Needs manual tweaking to work in China
- May need support assistance in locating the best server to choose
- Newer network with a smaller number of servers to chose from
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Unblocks Telegram. Also good for secure and private browsing and torrenting. Lacks 24/7 chat support. 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our review of PrivateVPN.
Should I consider a free VPN to access Telegram?
The first and foremost consideration of users trying to access Telegram where it is blocked should be the guarantee that their private data is protected at all costs. That’s because you’re trying to circumvent government restrictions, which puts you directly in the crosshairs of the state. And that’s no trifling matter.
Unfortunately, free VPN services carry the inherent risk of poor encryption and pitiful speeds. The fact that they’re free should be a dead giveaway—such services aren’t charities and are definitely in the business of making money. Many of them have been caught inserting tracking cookies in order to mine their users’ data and sell it to third-party advertisers.
If you opt for a free VPN, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive a premium experience. Expect frequent disconnections and a lingering concern that your digital footprint is being monitored.
For peace of mind, we advise you not to use a free VPN.
What else can I do with a VPN?
Popular encrypted chat and VoIP application Telegram has been under fire in Russia with the Kremlin demanding that its encryption keys be handed over to state security agencies.
A refusal to comply with these directives has resulted in an outright ban on Telegram in Russia, with authorities seemingly blocking 16 million IP addresses in order to stymie access to the service.
Internet users in Russia are under direct attack as the country slides towards authoritarianism and the muzzling of free speech. Rights activists have taken to the street in order to demand freedom of expression online, but it’s not clear whether such steps are leading to any noticeable change of stance by Russian authorities.
Telegram’s blockade is probably an indicator that such restrictions will only continue to get worse.
Tip: You can use this tool to check websites blocked in Russia.
Using a VPN to access the internet will help you obtain a version that’s free of all sorts of restrictions and barriers. It can also be used to blog online safely and access geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
Our guide to the best VPNs for Russia is a useful starting point.