Egypt recently began blocking voice and video calls made over VoIP and messaging apps including Skype, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, and WhatsApp, according to Quartz. The government has effectively shut down access to those apps on the heels of a terrorist that killed 47 people in two churches. Egypt’s emergency law allows authorities to monitor and shutter online communication and media with no judicial oversight.
Text messages over these apps still works, according to reports, but there’s no telling how long the block on voice and video will last. Some critics speculate that national security is not the only motivation; Egypt’s telcos have complained to regulators about over-the-top calling apps that eat into their profits by using the internet in lieu of their legacy phone networks.
Whatever the reason, the future isn’t bright for Egypt’s internet. The government has incrementally tightened its grip on the web. Other than this latest act of censorship, Egypt’s other notable actions include:
- Officials blocked the encrypted voice-calling feature used by Signal, a secure messaging and VoIP app.
- A new law on the books would mandate a life sentence in prison for “anyone who creates or uses a website with the purpose of establishing a terrorist entity; promoting its ideology; exchanging its messages and assignments; or funding, owning, wiring and providing money, arms, ammunition or explosives to the benefit of such entities”
- A lawyer was sentenced to ten years in prison and a five-year ban from using the internet for Facebook posts deemed insulting to president Abdel Fattah El Sisi
Now, more than ever, it’s important for residents and travelers in Egypt to use a VPN. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. By using a VPN, users can unblock social media and apps including Skype, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, and WhatsApp.
VPNs also protect users’ privacy. Internet service providers and government snoopers cannot decipher the contents of the encrypted web traffic nor its destination.
There are no laws in Egypt prohibiting the use of VPNs as of this time.
With all of that in mind, we’ve made a list of the best VPNs for Egypt based on the following criteria:
- Fast speed and unlimited data/bandwidth for high quality and stable VoIP calls
- Strong and up-to-date encryption and authentication
- No traffic logs are stored on VPN servers containing contents of web traffic
- Both mobile and desktop apps available
IPVanish owns, rather than rents, all of the servers on its global VPN network, which means customers are ensured a sturdy connection for VoIP calls and streaming. By default, all connections use the OpenVPN protocol, uncrackable military-grade encryption, and perfect forward secrecy. The company keeps zero logs. Customers can connect up to five simultaneous devices on a single account. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. IPVanish is also a favorite among Kodi users due to its remote control-friendly design.
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Read our full IPVanish review.
ExpressVPN makes intuitive, easy-to-use apps. But don’t let the simple design fool you. The provider maintains the highest standards when it comes to encryption and authentication. ExpressVPN keeps no traffic logs and is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no mandatory data retention laws. A single subscription nets you three simultaneous connections. ExpressVPN is one of very few VPNs consistenly capable of unblocking US Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming content from abroad. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux (command line), and certain wifi routers.
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Read our full ExpressVPN review.
NordVPN makes privacy its highest priority. The Panama-based provider not only offers the speed and security of its top-tier brethren, it also packs several features specialized for privacy and anonymity. These include Tor over VPN and double VPN connections. NordVPN is a fantastic value, allowing up to six connections at the same time. It can unblock US Netflix and Hulu both in a browser and on their respective mobile apps. The company keeps zero logs on its users. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
VyprVPN boasts gold-standard encryption using the OpenVPN protocol, but users can also avail of its proprietary Chameleon protocol for added protection and unblocking capability. VyprVPN’s parent company, Golden Frog, owns all of its own server infrastructure around the world and even writes the software used on those servers itself. That gives the company maximum control over privacy and also means it can promise top-notch speeds around the clock. We’ve also successfully unblocked US Netflix and other streaming sources from abroad using VyprVPN. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
LiquidVPN is a relative newcomer, but it certainly meets the high standards set by the veteran providers. It sports uncrackable, future-proof encryption and authentication. It does not log user traffic. And it even features a “modulating IP” feature that will change your IP address periodically, making it next to impossible to trace any online activity back to your IP address. Speeds are excellent across its entire range of servers. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
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Read our full LiquidVPN review.
Avoid free VPN apps
All of the VPNs above require a monthly subscription (although some offer a money-back guarantee), but we recommend them for a reason. They are obligated to protect your privacy and provide the highest level of service possible. Doing otherwise is not in the best business interests.
Free VPNs often do not have your best interests at heart. They often use obsolete encryption suites, or even worse, no encryption at all. Some even inject advertisements or cookies into your web browser, making even less private than when you started off. The handful of free VPNs that don’t engage in these shady practices typically have data caps or bandwidth limits, making them unsuitable for VoIP calling and video streaming.
For these reasons, we strongly advice you go with a paid VPN service.
How to unblock Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and FaceTime in Egypt using a VPN
Once you’ve signed up for an account with a VPN provider, unblocking the app or website of your choice is easy. Just follow these instructions:
- Install your VPN provider’s app on your preferred device
- Run the app and sign in if necessary
- Select the option to choose a location. Choosing a server in a nearby country will ensure a faster connection, but if you want to unblock content that’s geo-locked to a specific country, then choose accordingly
- Press “Connect” and wait for the connection to be established
- Once the connection is established, just open the website or app as you normally would. It should now be unblocked!