Updated on: September 9, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best VPN for accessing content unavailable in Russia in 2023:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN (#1 VPN in 2023) — It’s consistently able to access the free and open internet from Russia, including social media platforms and news sites. It also has high-level security, maintains blazing-fast speeds, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Accepted payment methods include YooMoney (Yandex), Qiwi Wallet, WebMoney, Bitcoin, and many others.
To freely access global websites and apps from Russia, you’ll need a VPN that offers strong security features to keep your connection private, maintains fast speeds across all servers, and is able to bypass internet restrictions and censorship.
There are a lot of VPNs to choose from, but some of them don’t work as advertised — they provide insufficient security, have slow speeds, and are pretty inconsistent when trying to access restricted sites.
However, I found a few VPNs that work great in Russia and can consistently access websites around the globe. My favorite is ExpressVPN because it’s great at circumventing firewalls, is ultra secure, and has very fast speeds.
Quick summary of the best VPNs for safely accessing websites outside of Russia in 2023:
- 1.🥇 ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for accessing content outside of Russia.
- 2.🥈 Private Internet Access — Great speeds, high-level security & easy setup.
- 3.🥉 PrivateVPN — Great for P2P file sharing in Russia.
- 4. TunnelBear — Good VPN for beginners.
- 5. VyprVPN — Great for accessing streaming sites.
- Plus 2 more!
- Comparison of the Best VPNs for Russia.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Russia in 2023
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for accessing the free and open internet in Russia. It offers excellent security and a wide range of server options — including obfuscated servers, which are specifically designed to get past internet restrictions.
ExpressVPN has servers in 90+ countries, so you can easily connect to a server in your home country and access sites and apps outside of Russia. The large network also makes it easy to find a nearby server (ExpressVPN has servers in Norway, Finland, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine) and connect to it for faster speeds.
When it comes to speeds, ExpressVPN is difficult to beat. Even though all servers include obfuscation, which typically slows down your connection speed, websites loaded right away and HD videos began immediately in my tests.
ExpressVPN also has advanced security features, including:
- RAM-only servers. Wipe all data every time they’re rebooted.
- An audited no-logs policy. ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy has been independently confirmed multiple times.
- Full leak protection. Prevents all WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks to keep your data safe. I ran 10+ leak tests, and I never experienced any leaks.
- Perfect forward secrecy. Frequently refreshes your encryption key, so even if a bad actor gets ahold of one key, your past and future session will remain safe.
ExpressVPN’s apps make it really easy to connect to any server. I like that it divides its server locations into regions, so it’s much easier to find the server location you’re looking for. There’s also Shortcuts, which lets you create 1-click shortcuts for specific apps and sites.
ExpressVPN starts at $6.67 / month, and while it isn’t the cheapest VPN available, it’s certainly the best value (and it’s ranked #1 on our list of the best VPNs). Unlike some VPN providers, all ExpressVPN plans offer the same features, and each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN also accepts multiple payment methods, including Bitcoin, YooMoney (Yandex), Qiwi Wallet, WebMoney, Paypal, and many others.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for accessing restricted content from Russia in 2023. It is fast, secure, and able to access restricted websites 100% of the time. ExpressVPN also includes obfuscation, RAM-only servers, a strict no-logs policy, and extra security tools to ensure you’re safe online. It accepts multiple forms of payment, and all of its plans are covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥈2. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Highly Secure & Easy to Use
Private Internet Access (PIA) is incredibly easy to set up and use. Both its desktop app and mobile app are intuitive, with a nice layout and a well-designed user interface. It was a breeze for me to set up PIA on all of my devices, and I was also able to easily adjust all of the settings to suit my preferences. Plus, the VPN allows unlimited connections, which is really convenient.
PIA also has very good speeds, which makes it great for streaming live content (like news reports) and accessing your favorite sites quickly. In my tests, all sites and HD videos loaded instantly and 4K videos took just 2 seconds to load, which is just a tad slower than ExpressVPN.
The VPN provides very good security and privacy. It comes with advanced features like full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy. Plus, it provides obfuscation, has an audited no-logs policy, and includes open-source apps, which means everyone can inspect the code for security issues.
I also like PIA MACE, which is PIA’s ad blocker with a twist — it also protects against malicious sites. I visited multiple phishing sites and PIA blocked access to all of them. I was also surprised at how many ads PIA MACE blocked since I visited news sites that are known for having many ads on one page, and almost all ads were removed.
Private Internet Access is a very cost-effective VPN, starting at just $2.19 / month. It’s one of the best value VPNs available, and it’s a great option for both technical and non-technical users. Each plan is also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access is an easy-to-use VPN with a great range of security features. It provides fast speeds and the ability to bypass restrictive networks. It also comes with extra internet security tools, which help protect against malicious sites and websites that spam you with ads. PIA is also one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, and all of its plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
🥉3. PrivateVPN — Great for Torrenting in Russia
PrivateVPN allows torrenting on all of its servers and works great with all torrent clients. What’s more, it also allows port forwarding, which lets you connect to more peers to get faster P2P speeds.
PrivateVPN uses Stealth VPN to get around internet restrictions in Russia, which disguises your VPN traffic and allows access to the censored web. It also provides extra security via perfect forward secrecy. And there’s also Application Guard, which lets you pick which apps are shut down if the VPN disconnects — I tested Application Guard with 5+ P2P clients, and it always worked as intended.
PrivateVPN has servers in 60+ countries, which is fewer than ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. However, I like that there are plenty of servers in the countries surrounding Russia, like Lithuania and Finland, which help you get optimal speeds.
What I really like about PrivateVPN is its minimalistic design, which makes it super simple to find a server or a feature in the app. The interface is also really simple to navigate.
In terms of speeds, PrivateVPN is pretty good. In my tests, websites and videos didn’t take longer than 5 seconds to load, which is decent, and there was some buffering until the videos started. That said, ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are much faster.
PrivateVPN’s plans are very affordable, starting at just $2.00 / month. All of its plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN is a solid option for torrenting in Russia as it allows P2P file sharing on all of its servers and also has port forwarding. It also has pretty good security features (including obfuscation), good speeds, and really user-friendly apps. All of its plans are affordable and backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. TunnelBear — Beginner-Friendly VPN for Russia
TunnelBear has very simple apps that are great for beginners who need a VPN to access content outside of Russia. You can find all of its servers listed in one place, there’s an interactive map that lets you click on a country pin and connect to any server location, and its settings come with helpful explanations. You also get unlimited connections, so you and your entire family can use it on all of your devices.
TunnelBear’s obfuscation tool is called GhostBear, and it hides VPN traffic from your Russian ISP. What I like the most about it is that it’s very easy to find it in the app, and you can turn it on with just 1 click.
I had good speeds with this VPN, but it was a lot slower than ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. Sites took around 6 seconds to load, HD videos needed about 6 seconds to start, and there was minimal lag while playing online games.
TunnelBear has servers in only 45+ countries, but there are plenty of server locations to choose from that are close to Russia, including Latvia and Lithuania, so you’ll be able to get decent speeds.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear is missing some advanced security features, like perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers, but I’m happy to see that it has full leak protection.
TunnelBear’s plans start at $3.33 / month, but there’s no money-back guarantee. If you want to try out the service, TunnelBear has a free plan that limits you to 2 GB per month.
TunnelBear is a great option for people new to VPNs. It has a simple and intuitive interface, and it’s great that you can turn on obfuscation with just 1 click. It also has decent speeds and provides strong security. Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, but it has a limited free plan.
5. VyprVPN — Good Streaming Support
VyprVPN works with 45+ streaming services, including popular services like Amazon Prime and Netflix as well as DAZN and Crunchyroll, so it’s great if you want to catch up on your favorite shows while in Russia.
VyprVPN uses its own proprietary Chameleon protocol to bypass restrictions. This protocol disguises your VPN traffic as regular traffic and allows you to access the open internet from Russia. It also regularly changes your VPN IP address to avoid IP blocks.
In my tests, VyprVPN had good speeds. All sites I visited loaded instantly, and streaming content only took 4 seconds to start.
VyprVPN has servers in 60+ countries, including Finland and Lithuania, which are close to Russia, and it’s one of the only top VPNs that have Russian servers, so you can also access Russian sites while traveling abroad.
In terms of security, VyprVPN is great. It uses perfect forward secrecy and runs on RAM-only servers. However, it only offers DNS leak protection — I’d really like to see it add WebRTC and IPv6 leak protection like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.
VyprVPN’s plans start at $5.00 / month, and it backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is a great VPN for accessing streaming sites while in Russia. Its proprietary Chameleon protocol allows you to get around internet restrictions undetected, and you get access to servers in 60+ countries and good security features. VyprVPN backs all of its plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
6. CyberGhost VPN — Easy To Use + Great Automation
CyberGhost VPN has user-friendly features to automate your VPN connections. You can configure the VPN to automatically connect to any of its servers in 90+ countries every time you launch the app, so it’s a good pick if you want to set up the VPN and let it do its work in the background.
But CyberGhost doesn’t offer any obfuscation tools, so it can’t hide VPN traffic and doesn’t always work in Russia. CyberGhost encrypts your traffic, so your ISP still won’t be able to see what you’re doing online, but they’ll know that you’re using a VPN.
That said, it’s one of the fastest VPNs out there — in my tests, sites loaded instantly, HD videos took only 2 seconds to load, and there was no buffering or quality drops. That said, it’s still not as fast as ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.
You also get great security and privacy features. CyberGhost uses perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers, has a no-logs policy, and protects against DNS and IPv6 leaks. Plus, it releases transparency reports to show that it doesn’t provide any user information when it receives requests from authorities.
CyberGhost VPN offers a couple of plans that start at $2.19 / month. Its long-term plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee, and its shortest plan is backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN is a user-friendly VPN that comes with tons of convenient features. It doesn’t have obfuscation, but it has excellent speeds, servers in 90+ countries, and really good privacy and security features. CyberGhost offers a risk-free money-back guarantee for 45 days on its long-term plans.
7. Proton VPN — Advanced Security Features & Great Free Plan
Proton VPN is great for protecting your online privacy in Russia. It comes with Secure Core Servers that can route your connection through two servers for extra security, an audited no-logs policy, and perfect forward secrecy. Plus, each Proton VPN server comes equipped with full-disk encryption, meaning if the server itself becomes compromised, all data on it will be completely unreadable.
But where Proton really shines is its free plan, which is one of the best on the market. The free plan only includes access to 3 server locations (USA, Japan, and the Netherlands) and just 1 device, but it also provides unlimited VPN data — most free VPNs significantly limit the data allowance. And the free version also includes split-tunneling and a feature that helps you boost speeds on distant servers.
Proton VPN’s paid version starts at $4.99 / month and includes access to servers in 60+ countries, an excellent ad blocker, and 10 simultaneous connections. It also has a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans.
Proton VPN has advanced security features that ensure your online activities remain private. It also comes with a decent range of extra features, and its free plan is one of the best on the market. While Proton VPN isn’t as consistent at bypassing restrictive networks as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access, it still works pretty well, even on the free version. Proton VPN’s paid monthly and yearly plans are reasonably priced and come with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best VPNs for Russia in 2023
|VPN||Starting Price||Obfuscation||Number of Countries With a Server||Split-Tunneling||Money-Back Guarantee|
|1.🥇 ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||✅||90+||✅||30 days|
|2.🥈 Private Internet Access||$2.19 / month||✅||80+||✅||30 days|
|3.🥉 PrivateVPN||$2.00 / month||✅||60+||❌||30 days|
|4. TunnelBear||$3.33 / month||✅||45+||✅||❌|
|5. VyprVPN||$5.00 / month||✅||60+||✅||30 days|
|6. CyberGhost VPN||$2.19 / month||❌||90+||✅||45 days (long-term plans only)|
|7. Proton VPN||$4.99 / month||✅||65+||✅||30 days|
How to Choose the Best VPN for Russia in 2023
- Find a VPN that can bypass censorship. You want to look for a VPN that is able to consistently bypass network restrictions or strong firewalls that prevent you from accessing the entire internet. All of the VPNs on this list are capable of bypassing restrictions almost all of the time.
- Strong security. The VPNs I recommend all come with 265-bit AES encryption, which protects all of your online traffic from third parties. I strongly recommend picking a VPN that provides this due to its comprehensive protection.
- Prioritize VPNs that maintain fast connection speeds, causing only a marginal dip from your original connection speed. Each VPN on this list only had a slight impact on internet speed and I consistently had a reliable browsing experience.
- Consider extra features. Some VPNs include added extras to provide a better experience. Important extra features include split-tunneling or an ad blocker.
- Check for streaming and torrenting support. All the VPNs I recommend work with popular streaming sites and allow torrenting on all or some of their servers.
- Get a VPN that provides good value. You want to choose a VPN that provides a good value. All of the VPNs on my list offer a great range of features for a decent price, and they all come with money-back guarantees, so you can try them risk-free.
Why You Should Use a VPN for Russia in 2023
Russia has started to crack down on free speech, including on the internet. It’s also begun to limit Russians’s access to non-Russian websites. This trend has only accelerated since the beginning of Russia’s war with Ukraine. This means it’s more essential than ever to use a VPN while traveling to or living in Russia. Here are some specific reasons to use a VPN in Russia:
If you can’t access your favorite website, it may be because the Russian government has blocked it for people inside Russia. Facebook, BBC News, and Google News are among the popular Western platforms that are now inaccessible. Fortunately, a VPN will help you bypass these restrictions. It reroutes your internet connection through a server in a different country, effectively concealing your location and making it seem as if you’re browsing from somewhere else. This way, you can surf the web as freely as you would anywhere else in the world.
Regain Freedom of Speech
A VPN also empowers you to voice your opinions without fear. With strict regulations in place, it’s understandably daunting to express dissenting views online in Russia. However, by masking your IP address, a VPN allows you to communicate openly and anonymously. No longer do you need to worry about surveillance or repercussions for expressing your thoughts and beliefs.
Get Public Wi-Fi Protection
Public Wi-Fi spots in cafes and airports are prime hunting grounds for hackers — and in Russia, this could include government security services, which try to infiltrate your devices, steal your data, or monitor your online activities. By creating a secure, encrypted tunnel for your data, a VPN protects you from these potential cyber threats.
Download Torrents Anonymously
Recently, the Russian government has been trying to block downloading torrents and access Tor in the country. This is where a VPN can help you. It hides your real IP address, making it nearly impossible for anyone to track your online activities back to you.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- NordVPN. NordVPN is one of our top-rated VPNs, it has excellent streaming support, includes top-notch security features, and maintains very fast speeds, but its bypassing capabilities in restrictive countries are very inconsistent.
- Surfshark. Surfshark is secure, provides fast speeds, has a large server network, and offers very cheap plans. However, its reps confirmed it doesn’t work in Russia.
- IPVanish. IPVanish has good speeds, strong security features, and good P2P support, but it doesn’t work in restrictive countries like Russia, and it also can’t access most streaming sites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I access restricted social media sites using a VPN?
Yes, you can access restricted websites using a VPN. However, it may be against the rules of your home country or the policies of the website to access the site via a VPN. All of the VPNs on my list were capable of accessing social media websites without interruption, but ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN for Russia in 2023.
Is it legal to use VPNs in Russia?
Russia’s laws state that VPNs must allow federal services to view user activity. The laws also state that VPN providers can’t help Russian-based users access blacklisted sites.
These laws have seemingly been ineffective, as it’s almost impossible for the Russian government to track and block VPN usage. There are some network restrictions that block VPN connections, but they don’t always work, and it’s unlikely that a VPN user would face prosecution for using a VPN.
However, that doesn’t mean VPNs are 100% legal in Russia, and it definitely does not mean you can commit illegal activities while using a VPN in Russia.
Can I use a free VPN in Russia?
Yes and no. There are some good free VPNs available, but most free VPNs can’t bypass restrictive networks, have very limited data allowances, and sometimes have sketchy security policies.
I think using a paid VPN (like ExpressVPN) is the best option. Most paid VPNs consistently work in countries like Russia and they also provide unlimited data, strong security and privacy, and fast speeds.