If TikTok has been banned by your college, you’re not alone. In January 2023, The University of Austin at Texas was the latest to announce it would ban the use of TikTok on wired and wireless campus networks. In doing so, it joined the likes of Auburn University, Boise State University, and the University of Oklahoma to block the popular video-sharing app. The good news is that if you still want to access TikTok during breaks at college, you can use a VPN to bypass the ban.
So what is a VPN and how can it help? A VPN is a service that encrypts your internet connection and connects you to the internet through servers in other locations. This changes your IP address (and hides your actual IP address) and makes it look as if you’re accessing TikTok from elsewhere. The advantage of this is that you can navigate network restrictions such as your college TikTok ban. You can then safely access and use TikTok as normal.
We’ll review the best VPNs to bypass TikTok college bans further below. First, here’s a quick rundown of each in case you’re particularly in a hurry to get back to using TikTok:
- NordVPN: The best VPN to bypass the TikTok college ban. Over 5,000 servers and very fast speeds. Strong unblocking and specialty servers. 24/7 support included.
- Surfshark: Best value VPN. Servers in some 100 countries, the US included. Access TikTok and Netflix from anywhere. Unlimited devices per account. MultiHop servers.
- ExpressVPN: 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. High-speed connections for live streaming TikTok content. Excellent apps and 24/7 support. Highly secure with encryption.
- Hotspot Shield: Free version with unlimited bandwidth and data. Works well with TikTok. Servers across dozens of locations. Connect 10 devices with the Premium plan.
- CyberGhost: Vast network approaching 10,000 servers. Fastest speeds we’ve tested. Compatible with TikTok, Netflix US, and more. Independently audited no-logs policy.
- IPVanish: One of the fastest VPNs available. Successfully bypasses TikTok bans and can be used on all of your devices at once. Uses encryption to keep your data secure.
- PrivateVPN: Very strong unblocking of streaming services as well as TikTok. User-friendly apps and fast and friendly live chat and email support. No-logs policy.
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Best VPNs to bypass a college TikTok ban
You may be wondering why we chose these particular VPNs. After all, there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of VPNs on the market. However, not all are good quality. We’re only recommending VPNs that meet the following requirements:
- Successfully bypasses the TikTok college ban
- Global network of servers covering dozens of countries
- Fast speeds coupled with unlimited bandwidth
- High level of encryption to keep your data secure
- Strict no-logs policy that protects your privacy
- Live chat and email support around the clock
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for overcoming a TikTok ban at college:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN possesses very strong unblocking ability and bypasses the TikTok university ban with ease. Much of this is thanks to its extensive network of servers. At the time of writing, there are well over 5,000 servers available. These servers are located across 60 countries including the US and Canada. In our most recent speed tests, NordVPN averaged 369 Mbps. It also has unlimited bandwidth. Needless to say, NordVPN is more than fast enough for live streaming TikTok content. This VPN also works well with Netflix.
Aside from navigating network restrictions, NordVPN ensures the security of your data. All of your internet traffic is routed through a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel. Further security features include a kill switch and protection from DNS and IPv6 leaks. You don’t need to worry about third parties obtaining your information because NordVPN operates a no-logs policy. Various specialty servers are available, Onion Over VPN included. If you require any assistance, 24/7 support is available via live chat as well as email.
NordVPN lets you secure six devices at once and offers apps for the following: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. Browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox. You can also manually configure a connection with select wifi routers.
- Strong unblocking — works with TikTok, Netflix, and more
- More than 5,000 servers available worldwide
- Very fast server speeds and no bandwidth throttling
- Specialty P2P and Onion Over VPN servers available
- Includes live chat and email support, 24/7
- No-logs policy ensures the protection of your privacy
- Monthly plan is quite expensive
BEST VPN TO BYPASS THE TIKTOK COLLEGE BAN:NordVPN has plenty of servers across North America for unblocking TikTok while maintaining a fast connection. There’s no bandwidth throttling and you can connect to specialty P2P and Onion Over VPN servers. With NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it risk-free.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark has servers in some 100 countries which is far more than the vast majority of VPNs. One of the advantages of this is that you can unblock a wider range of online content, TikTok included. In fact, Surfshark also works particularly well with Netflix, securely accessing dozens of libraries. You shouldn’t have any issues using TikTok or other video-sharing apps because Surfshark has implemented the fast and efficient WireGuard protocol (and also has unlimited bandwidth).
This VPN service comes with 24-hour live chat and email support. You can connect to MultiHop (Double VPN) servers for an extra layer of protection. This is particularly useful when connecting to public wifi hotspots that are vulnerable to hackers and snoopers. Security features include 256-bit AES encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. Surfshark has a no-logs policy and is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands where there are no mandatory data retention laws.
Secure all of your devices simultaneously via the Surfshark apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. If you prefer, you can use a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. Use with compatible routers requires manual setup.
- Servers in 100 countries making it easy to unblock TikTok
- High-speed connections for live streaming
- Connect as many devices as you like simultaneously
- MultiHop servers available for an extra layer of security
- Operates out of British Virgin Islands (no data retention laws)
- Sometimes slow to connect when switching servers
BEST VALUE VPN:Surfshark is an excellent all-rounder available at a highly competitive price. It’s fast with consistent unblocking of TikTok and streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+. Unlimited devices per account and MultiHop servers available. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
3. Hotspot Shield
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield is highly suitable if you’re on a strict budget. The reason for this is that it offers a very competitive free plan with unlimited bandwidth and data, making it the best free VPN option for bypassing the TikTok college ban. However, the free plan isn’t ideal for streaming so if that’s something you want to do with your VPN, it’s worth checking out Hotspot Shield’s paid plans. Over 800 servers are available and there’s absolutely no bandwidth throttling.
With a single Hotspot Shield Premium account, you’ll be able to connect up to 10 devices at the same time. You’ll also have 24/7 access to this VPN’s customer support which is available via live chat and email. Hotspot Shield’s use of 256-bit AES encryption allows you to study without having to worry about security threats. This is backed up with DNS leak protection and a kill switch feature. Notably, Hotspot Shield doesn’t keep any logs by which you can be identified.
You’ll find Hotspot Shield apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. There’s also a Chrome browser extension. Various routers are supported although this does require manual configuration.
- Free plan with unlimited bandwidth and data
- Connect 10 devices at once via the Premium plan
- 24-hour support via live chat as well as email
- Doesn’t keep any identifying logs of its users
- No anonymous payment methods accepted
- Kill switch only on Windows and Android
BEST FREE VPN:Hotspot Shield offers a competitive free plan and a premium plan that allows 10 simultaneous connections. Servers available in dozens of countries and unlimited bandwidth for seamless TikTok video streaming. No identifying logs of users. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries. With it, you can connect to a fast server close to your physical location and stream TikTok content without restriction. It’s also worth knowing that ExpressVPN is compatible with many popular streaming services, Netflix and Prime Video included. This VPN offers unlimited bandwidth. It’s not uncommon for college networks to throttle bandwidth. Using ExpressVPN to avoid throttling means you can enjoy faster speeds.
With ExpressVPN’s security features, you’ll be able to stay safe online when connecting to campus networks. All data is 256-bit AES encrypted while a kill switch ensures no data is exposed should the VPN connection drop. There’s also protection from DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. You’ll be able to secure up to five devices simultaneously. ExpressVPN’s excellent 24-hour support makes it quick and easy to resolve any issues you might have.
You can download ExpressVPN for desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and mobile (Android and iOS). Apps are also available for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. Unlike most VPNs, ExpressVPN even provides custom firmware for routers for quicker and easier router setup.
- Offers servers in 94 countries including the US
- Works well with TikTok as well as popular streaming services
- Unlimited bandwidth for lag-free streaming
- Quality customer support around the clock
- One of the more expensive VPNs on the market
- Streaming platforms aren’t labeled
SERVERS IN 94 COUNTRIES:ExpressVPN servers cover 94 countries and you can use them to bypass restrictions surrounding TikTok. High speed connections. Works well with Netflix and Prime Video. Uses strong encryption and offers 24/7 support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is the fastest VPN we’ve tested, making it highly suitable for live streaming on TikTok. It averaged 548 Mbps in our most recent speed tests. Aside from getting around the TikTok college ban, it’s able to get around the geographic restrictions surrounding Netflix (not all VPNs can do this). However, just as impressive is CyberGhost’s server network. It consists of nearly 10,000 servers at the time of writing. These are spread across over 90 countries in all.
It’s possible to connect up to seven of your devices at the same time with CyberGhost. All of these devices will benefit from security features including 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. Thanks to CyberGhost’s strict no-logs policy, which has been independently audited by Deloitte, you’ll be able to maintain online anonymity on and off campus. While CyberGhost is very easy to use, live chat and email support are available around the clock.
CyberGhost provides apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Browser extensions can be downloaded for Chrome and Firefox. While there are no apps for routers, you can manually configure a connection should you wish.
- Fastest VPN we’ve tested — ideal for TikTok and Netflix US
- Huge network of servers (some 10,000 in 90+ countries)
- Supports up to seven simultaneous connections
- Independently audited no-logs policy
- Unable to bypass restrictions in China
FASTEST SPEEDS:CyberGhost is ideal for use with TikTok thanks to its fast, unthrottled speeds. It has nearly 10,000 servers in 90+ countries for unblocking a wide range of content worldwide. Use it on up to 7 devices at once. No-logs policy. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish continues to expand its network, which now stands at more than 2,000 servers in all. Of these servers, some 1,300 are located in North America. This makes it easy enough to find a server close to your college for a faster, more consistent connection. Not only will you be able to use IPVanish to bypass the TikTok ban, you’ll also be able to navigate restrictions surrounding streaming services, Netflix included.
IPVanish uses the WireGuard protocol and is one of the fastest VPNs you can use. You’ll appreciate IPVanish if you have a lot of devices that you’d like to secure. It allows unlimited simultaneous connections per account. There’s a high level of security thanks to 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. There’s also a no-logs policy. You can also expect 24-hour support to be available via live chat and email.
Once signed up with IPVanish, you can download apps for the following: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. However, there aren’t any browser extensions and you’ll need to follow manual setup instructions to use IPVanish with Linux or a wireless router.
- Plenty of servers in the US for bypassing the TikTok ban
- Secure all of your devices at the same time
- Also works well with streaming service such as Netflix US
- Very strong security offering with 256-bit AES encryption
- Headquartered in the US which is a Five Eyes member
- No browser extensions available
UNLIMITED DEVICES:IPVanish lets you secure all of your devices simultaneously. Very good speeds and some 1,000+ US servers for use with TikTok, Netflix US, and more. A highly secure VPN with encryption and kill switch feature. No-logs policy. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN stands out for its consistent unblocking of restricted websites and services, TikTok included. While it has a smaller number of servers just exceeding 200 in all, these servers can be found in dozens of countries. In particular, a dozen US cities are covered. This includes Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles. PrivateVPN’s speeds are more than fast enough for streaming and torrenting. There’s unlimited bandwidth and it works with Netflix and Disney+.
If you’ve never used a VPN before, you’ll likely appreciate PrivateVPN’s ease of use. The apps are quick and easy to navigate and there’s also live chat and email support (we’ve typically received replies to email enquiries within a matter of minutes). PrivateVPN offers all of the key security features expected from a top-rated VPN provider. This includes 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. It also has a true no-logs policy in that it doesn’t even keep connection logs.
With your PrivateVPN account, you’ll be able to access apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. It can also be manually configured to work with select wifi routers.
- Access TikTok, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and much more
- More than fast enough for streaming and torrenting
- Very easy to use apps and fast and friendly support
- No-logs policy is just that — not even any connection logs
- Smaller number of servers (just over 200 in all)
- Live chat support isn’t available 24 hours a day
CONSISTENT UNBLOCKING:PrivateVPN is a reliable choice for bypassing network restrictions. You can use it with TikTok while at college and unblock and stream Netflix from overseas. Fast speeds and easy-to-use apps. No-logs policy. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Methodology: Finding the best VPNs for TikTok at college
You can’t be expected to test many different VPNs to find one that successfully bypasses the TikTok college ban. This would be expensive not to mention time consuming! It’s also difficult to separate so many VPN providers, particularly when so many make big claims about their services. In order to narrow down the options, we tested VPNs in the following areas:
- Servers in countries worldwide: TikTok is available in most countries which makes it that much easier to access. However, we looked for VPNs that have servers across dozens of countries for a couple of reasons. The first is so you can unblock more online content and the second is so you’ll always have a fast server close to your location.
- Speed: TikTok doesn’t require you to have fast internet speeds but it doesn’t hurt. You may find that you suffer from slow speeds on the university’s network due to bandwidth throttling. We’ve identified the fastest VPNs, all of which offer unlimited bandwidth. This is ideal for TikTok live streaming as well as other bandwidth-intensive activities.
- Unblocking: You may find other content that’s blocked on your college’s network or across the US. Or you may travel abroad only to find you can’t access your favorite websites and services from home. Whatever the case, we’ve found VPNs that consistently navigate restrictions. This includes the geo-blocking of Netflix.
- Security: A VPN can also secure your data, protecting you from a wide range of threats. This is all the more important when you’re connecting to public wifi. At a minimum, we look for VPNs that use 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. Many of the VPNs include extras, for example, double VPN servers.
- Privacy: The trouble with some VPNs, particularly free VPNs, is that they don’t protect your privacy, potentially exposing your data (and by extension, you). A quality VPN encrypts data but also has a no-logs policy. It shouldn’t keep any logs by which you can be identified. We’ve looked at some 140 VPN logging policies to find those you can trust.
- Ease of use: You shouldn’t have to spend time figuring out how to use a VPN. The best VPNs are quick and easy to use from the outset. This usually means an automatic setup wizard, a quick connect button, and live chat and email support (usually available 24 hours a day). That way you can spend more time on your studies (as well as TikTok!).
- Value for money: It’s understandable for students to be on a budget. Finding a VPN that’s affordable becomes all the more important. We feel those listed further above offer the best value for money. Indeed, they all come with money-back guarantees while you can also take advantage of our discount coupons as listed throughout this post.
Want to know more? Our VPN testing methodology post provides even greater insight into how we analyze VPNs.
How to use a VPN to beat TikTok bans
You can use a VPN service to connect to a server in another location. This hides your current IP address and location, replacing it with that of the VPN server. It’s through this spoofing of your location that you can avoid network restrictions such as those surrounding TikTok. Best of all, it’s extremely quick and easy to do.
Here’s how you can use a VPN to bypass a TikTok college ban:
- Sign up with a trusted VPN provider. We particularly recommend NordVPN.
- Download and install the VPN app on the device on which you wish to access TikTok.
- Log in to the VPN app and connect to a VPN server (any country in which TikTok is available). If you’re in the US, you’ll get the fastest speeds connecting to a US server.
- Access TikTok as normal. You should now be able to use it without restriction.
- Having trouble? Clearing your cookies should do the trick. Failing this, we recommend you connect to a different server or get in touch with your VPN’s support.
VPN for TikTok bans: FAQs
Can I use a free VPN to bypass TikTok bans?
Some free VPNs may bypass your college’s TikTok ban but there’s a few reasons why we don’t recommend them. For starters, the average free VPN offers very few servers and IP addresses. This makes it more challenging to unblock content. You’ll often find that the free VPN IP address you’re assigned has already been identified and blacklisted by a website or service.
It’s also important to take into account the poor performance of free VPNs. With the exception of a quality free VPN plan such as that of Hotspot Shield, most free VPNs engage in bandwidth throttling. Needless to say, this is not ideal for use with TikTok, particularly when live streaming. It also rules out activities such as torrenting and playing online games.
Last but not least, free VPNs commonly lack key security features. It may be that your data isn’t properly encrypted. Or there may not be a kill switch leaving your data exposed whenever the VPN connection fails. While the best VPNs operate no-logs policies, some free VPNs do keep identifying logs of users. This data may be sold to third parties, compromising your privacy.
Is it legal to use a VPN to bypass TikTok college bans?
The good news is that it’s legal to use a VPN to bypass your university’s TikTok ban. Both VPNs and TikTok are legal in the US and Canada (and indeed most countries around the world). However, it’s your college’s network so they will have guidelines as to what you can and can’t do on it. If TikTok has been banned at your university and you use a VPN to get around this, there may be consequences such as your online account becoming suspended.
Of course, if you’re not willing to take the risk, you could avoid using the school’s network and use your mobile device’s data (depending on the extent of your data plan). You can then set up a wifi hotspot on your phone and connect to it via your laptop or desktop computer. This enables you to access TIkTok on all of your devices without having to break any rules.
Why else do I need a VPN?
Aside from allowing you to bypass restrictions on your university’s network, a VPN can help you access websites and services that aren’t available in your country. You’ll also be able to unblock content from your home country while traveling abroad. Restrictions may be due to geo-blocking on the part of the website (often due to copyright) or because of internet censorship in a country.
The content you unblock with a VPN may be a video-sharing site such as TikTok, a social media platform like Twitter, a streaming service such as Netflix, or an online banking account. You can even use a VPN to bypass the 4chan IP ban, as well as get unbanned from Fortnite.
It may be that your university throttles bandwidth in order to manage its network. If this is the case, a VPN that offers unlimited bandwidth may improve your connection, allowing for streaming, torrenting, and more. We also recommend you use a VPN to secure your data from hackers and snoopers, particularly important if you’re using public wifi on campus.