David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He has published his articles on such online media as Hackernoon, Tripwire, Infosecinstitute, and Cybrary.
- The 5 Best VPN Services for Turkey
The 5 Best VPN Services for Turkey
Open internet access and online privacy in Turkey took a serious blow in 2016. A new law by President Erdogan mandated that internet service providers (ISPs) should block access to anyone using a VPN or other anonymity service.
This, coupled with an increase in restrictions to certain social media sites and arrests for posting materials against the current government, is fueling a worrisome trend of internet censorship in the country.
Even so, Turkey remains a top travel destination. For people who want to remain online while visiting, a VPN can circumvent all government and geographical blocks on content.
We have tested and compared the dozens of available VPN services to find the top 5 best VPN services for Turkey that give you the best access, while keeping you fully protected from government snooping.
Using a VPN in Turkey will help you unblock all restricted social media, websites and apps from any given location. Turkish Internet service providers block access to sites on behalf of government authorities. But they cannot restrict the final destination of your internet traffic nor what it contains.
Recommended VPN providers for Turkey use multiple server locations across the globe and re-route IP addresses from Turkey to anywhere else in the world. This allows for an anonymous, carefree and fast browsing experience.
Overview of the top 5 Best VPN services for Turkey
Turkey is one of the countries where the government is highly invasive. Many social media networks and foreign websites are blacklisted. News is often censored and pornographic and gambling sites are heavily restricted. But it doesn’t end there.
The government also places citizens under high levels of surveillance. This got even worse after a ban on VPNs in 2016. Fortunately, enforcing this ban is easier said than done.
As a result of the government’s move to restrict freedom of speech and the access to and sharing of content, the use of VPNs in the country has skyrocketed.
People living and traveling to Turkey increasingly rely on VPN services to avoid mass surveillance and access a censorship-free internet. Top VPN providers in Turkey quickly find workarounds as soon as they are blocked.
We’ll discuss each of the 5 best VPNs for Turkey in detail, but if you don’t want to stick around, here are our top picks:
- NordVPN: NordVPN is our number one choice of the best VPN for Turkey. It offers superior performance and reliability while maintaining privacy with solid security. NordVPN truly stands out when it comes to streaming and accessibility of all the major services including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
- Surfshark: A very solid VPN service, Surfshark offers some features that are especially useful for netizens in Turkey, the most advantageous one being its Shadowsocks protocol. Apart from that, this VPN provides great security and speeds to match.
- ExpressVPN: Coming in third place for the best VPN services for Turkey, ExpressVPN has the complete package. It boasts a strong collection of features for securing your online activities and an impressive global network of servers.
- CyberGhost: A good-value VPN for Turkey. It is user-friendly with fast servers and the ability to unblock Netflix and other streaming sites.
- IPVanish: We like IPVanish because it is torrent-friendly, doesn’t require a login and there are plenty of servers worldwide to connect to. It is fast and configurable, offering a good balance of power and performance.
Recently, Turkey has also started restricting access to VPNs and proxy websites. That is why we have selected only the best five VPNs that are still up and running in Turkey at the moment. Read on for a detailed overview of the best VPN providers for Turkey that guarantee speed, privacy and censorship-free browsing.
Why You Need a VPN for Turkey
Turkey is notorious for its strict censorship laws, network throttling, and website filtering. Social media networks like Twitter and foreign news sites are frequently blocked or disrupted. Content that is critical of the government regime and Islam or promoting “obscenity” (which includes LGBT content and any websites with words deemed to be sexual in their titles) is actively censored.
Over the last years, government crackdowns on independent bloggers and critical journalists have become more frequent and severe. Campaigning against the government and accessing prohibited sites, can cost you your job or even land you in jail.
Furthermore, in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, a new legislative environment has given government agencies more internet surveillance powers. This led to the 2017 Freedom of the Net report by international watchdog Freedom House classifying Turkey’s internet status as “Not Free”.
The combination of censorship and government monitoring bring severe consequences for citizens, bloggers, journalists and political opponents to the current regime. Several national protests since 2010 have made the situation worse, highlighting issues of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and laws encroaching on state secularism.
President Erdogan has called social media a “menace” for its supposed role in protests and the degradation of morals among younger generations. Many Turkish secular and opposition news sites shut down after the failed coup in 2016.
Raids of newspapers, mass firings, and detention of anyone seen to be sympathetic to the opposition followed restrictions of services like Facebook, Twitter, Tor and Wikipedia. After the 2018 elections, these restrictions were partly softened and access to social networks and Wikipedia from Turkey was restored.
However, ISPs continue to restrict VPNs and anonymity networks like Tor. With legislation on information access and censorship changing constantly in Turkey, it is imperative to keep your online activity safe and secure.
Evaluating the Best VPNs for Turkey
A Virtual Private Network for Turkey is the best way to overcome all government-imposed censorship. Whether you are traveling to Turkey for business or holiday or live there, a VPN can help you stay secure and anonymous online. Concealing your IP address with a VPN masks your identity, keeping your online activity from being monitored.
A good VPN service in Turkey provides encryption as well. This way all your sensitive data - passwords, credit card details, etc. – is kept safe from hackers, IPS, and the government. It also protects your data from being hacked by anybody exploiting the KRACK vulnerability found in many routers.
There are several things you should take into account when searching for the right VPN for Turkey. Encryption protocols are a high priority, as are things like server speed, logging policies, and encryption features exclusive to certain VPNs.
The top VPN services for Turkey we have selected stand out amongst dozens others their strong privacy policies, advanced VPN features, and well implemented military-grade encryption. Using any one of the recommended VPNs for Turkey will allow you to have the guarantee that your online activities are better protected from Turkey’s invasive government.
Using a VPN in Turkey
Both residents and travelers to Turkey suffer the impact of stricter Internet surveillance and censorship. Tourists are unable to access their go-so sites once they land at the Istanbul airport and people travelling for business to Turkey have issues with both access and privacy threats.
Because VPN providers are heavily restricted in Turkey, if you are planning a visit, it is best to subscribe to and install a VPN service before you enter the country. Doing so from Turkey can be more difficult, albeit not impossible.
When choosing a VPN for Turkey, consider the app’s encryption strength and security features. A kill switch, fast connections, a large network, and access to global servers should be your primary concerns when choosing a VPN to use in Turkey.
Using a VPN in Turkey is a necessity in light of recent government crackdown on foreign sites, social media networks and certain types of content. It allows you to go around government censorship and regain access to blacklisted websites. You can also access geo-restricted websites. With a VPN, you can unblock and watch foreign TV channels like ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer. A VPN unlocks the whole internet, allowing you to visit any website or use any service from Turkey.
The top VPNs for Turkey we have selected have been compared against dozens others based on the following criteria to give you a detailed overview of available options and their benefits:
A VPN’s logging policy determines the strength of your online privacy. If the VPN service providers stores records of your activity, that information can be matched to your account. This means you are essentially not anonymous and your privacy is compromised. If no logs are kept, your data can never be leaked.
Reputation is another critical component when looking for a reliable VPN. It is always better to go with a company that’s well-established and has a proven record of protecting the data and privacy of its users. Some VPNs have made a bad name for themselves for reselling user data to third parties, so you want to stay away from them.
Not all VPNs offer the same functionality in terms of security features. Some cover the bare essentials while others go the extra mile. While you may not necessary need certain features, it’s always better to have them and don’t need them than to need them and not have them. Security features like DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch are great additions as they keep your physical location a secret. Given the political landscape of Turkey, VPNs that go the extra mile in the name of privacy, are good to have.
It matters where a VPN company is registered as it can impact user privacy. Based on local regulations, some VPNs may be required to keep hidden data logs. Others must share information with government agencies without notifying users. The safest VPNs are based in countries with no data retention regulations.
Payment methods – Most people value convenience above everything else when it comes to accepted payment methods. But payment options like PayPal or a credit card automatically link your real identity to the VPN you are using. VPN providers that accept cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum or others, offer an extra layer of anonymity.
These and other features make VPN services in Turkey a reliable way to regain control of your privacy and browsing habits. In addition, a reliable VPN will keep your data safe from hackers both at home and on public Wi-Fi networks.
The 5 Best VPNs for Turkey
We narrowed down our list of the best VPNs for Turkey based on the following criteria:
- Network of servers in Turkey
- Capable of unblocking streaming services
- No traffic logs policy
- Fast speeds
Here is our list of the 5 best VPNs for Turkey:
NordVPN is our number one choice of VPN for Turkey. A top-rated VPN, it offers strong security features, such as Tor over VPN, Double VPNs, and anti-DDoS connections. A unique feature of NordVPN is that is allows up to six simultaneous connections, and a great value for money. There is no login required as the company is based in Panama–far outside the jurisdiction of governments that track the Internet traffic of their citizens and visitors.
The greatest advantage of NordVPN is the size of the company’s network, currently sitting at over 5,400 servers in 61 different countries. The large number of locations guarantees a fast connection in Turkey or any other country you are in. It also makes NordVPN perfect for streaming from popular foreign sites, such as US Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, Sky, and Sling TV. The VPN’s unique server offerings include features such as faster P2P downloads, dedicated IP addresses, and DDoS protection.
NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers in Turkey with dedicated servers that deliver faster P2P downloads with unlimited bandwidth and no speed throttling. Additional double encryption and onion routing servers guarantee complete privacy and open internet access even in countries that have especially tough Internet censorship regulations.
Another benefit of NordVPN is its zero-logging policy. It covers everything from bandwidth to traffic, time stamps, and even IP addresses. Users receive a perfect shell of privacy for all types of online activities. Additional software features back this policy.
An automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit AES encryption on all data make NordVPN an excellent choice for a fast and anonymous VPN for Turkey. Users can sign up using bitcoin and use it on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and other mobile devices.
A 30-day money back guarantee allows you to try NordVPN for yourself no-strings attached. It is a great budget option to bypass censorship in Turkey and surf anonymously.
+ Excellent unblocking ability
+ Largest server network
+ No-logs policy
- Slow connection speed for desktop app
Surfshark is an excellent VPN to use in Turkey. There are more than a few reasons for that: its strong security, superb affordability, great speeds, and additional features make it a very strong contender for the first place of this list. However, Surfshark doesn’t have as many servers across the world as NordVPN does – at least, for now.
Currently, Surfshark has more than 1040 servers that are located in 61 countries. Despite not being as impressive as those of other VPNs on this rating, this server network is more than enough for simple browsing as well as streaming geo-restricted content.
This provider is registered in the British Virgin Islands which is an offshore territory. It is great for its users’ security because it’s located outside of the influence of any intelligence alliances. Additionally, Surfshark does not keep any logs, which is especially appealing to the Turkish netizens. It’s always best to be safe than sorry, and when a VPN service doesn’t store your activity logs, it can’t give them to the authorities no matter what happens.
For extra protection, Surfshark offers the MultiHop function. It encrypts one’s traffic not once but twice, making it even harder for any malevolent party to access. Users should be warned, though, that enabling this feature leads to a decrease in speed.
Speaking of speeds, Surfshark is extremely fast even if the distance between the real location of the user and the server they are connecting to is very long.
Like any good VPN, Surfshark comes with a kill switch. Moreover, it offers the VPN obfuscation feature called Camouflage Mode that allows masking the very presence of the VPN so that websites that block it will not notice it.
The security of Surfshark is great: it has AES 256-bit encryption and the choice of the OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Shadowsocks protocols. The last one is really useful for Turkey where the government is increasing its control over the Internet. Like MultiHop, this feature is meant to make the VPN connection less obvious if a network blocks OpenVPN and IKEv2.
How Surfshark does a free trial is a bit strange. It is accessible via the Apple App Store and Google Play even though it can be used on platforms such as Windows as well. Regardless, it has to be downloaded from those stores. Another slight inconvenience is that one has to provide their credit card info to start the free trial. In any case, this period lasts for 7 days.
Apart from the free trial, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Anyone who takes a liking to this service during the trial period will not be disappointed by the prices when it runs out: Surfshark only costs $1.99 a month when subscribing for 2 years, which is by far the lowest price on this list.
+ Great security
+ Super-low price
+ VPN obfuscation
+ Good speeds
- Not the best free trial
- Server park a bit lacking
ExpressVPN is a popular choice of a VPN service for Turkey.. It offers superior performance and reliability when it comes to streaming, unblocking all the major services including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. ExpressVPN is the best all-in-one service of any VPN we’ve tested, with an unbeatable combination of speed, security, privacy and customer service.
While it is not the cheapest provider, ExpressVPN is well worth every cent. It boasts over 2000 servers in 148 locations across 94 countries for fast, reliable connections from Turkey. During our trial, ExpressVPN stood out as one of the few providers that reliably bypassed Internet censorship in Turkey as well as China and Saudi Arabia (check which VPN actually works in Saudi Arabia).
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN guarantees a completely private browsing experience. This VPN provider keeps no logs of user activity and remains outside the jurisdiction of major nations.
The full list of security features extends beyond the mere basics with add-ons such as military-grade encryption, forward secrecy, a kill switch, and leak protection. The combination of these features ensures that all your online activity remains off-limits to anyone. Torrenting is also allowed on all servers, and the unlimited bandwidth makes ExpressVPN suitable for P2P file-sharing.
Another area where ExpressVPN excels is the quality of its service. 24/7 customer support is more than many VPN providers offer and the average live chwindowst response times of less than 15 seconds is a golden standard for this type of service.
The basic configuration of ExpressVPN is sufficient for a safe, anonymous and unrestricted browsing experience but there are even more perks for advanced users. Additional security protocols allow for faster and safer connections in places like Turkey with tougher censorship regulations. A built-in speed test lets you compare the performance capabilities of each server to find the best speeds in any country.
By combining two major components - ease of use and fast downloads – ExpressVPN is able offer an incredible experience, no matter what you plan on using the VPN for. Available for a wide variety of modern devices, you can run ExpressVPN from Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs to Android and iOS smartphones in Turkey. All you have to do is sign in and click on a button to connect to the fastest server. No need for configuring files or encryption protocol settings, you get premium VPN level protection in Turkey with a single click.
ExpressVPN stands out as a premium quality choice. With a no-quibbles 30-day money-back guarantee and the option for bitcoin payments through BitPay for anonymous subscriptions, ExpressVPN is a safe choice for a quality VPN for Turkey.
+ High-speed connections
+ Suitable for streaming
+ Strong security features
+ Anonymous registration
- Limited advanced configuration
CyberGhost is an excellent VPN provider for Turkey with strong, unique features. Its large number of simultaneous connections and emphasis on video streaming make it one of the best VPNs on the market.
While CyberGhost is not the most user-friendly VPN for Turkey and its price is a bit high, it should not be overlooked. One of the best VPNs for torrenting and P2P file-sharing, CyberGhost has servers specially made for streaming. Unlike other VPN providers that limit this activity to certain servers or even consider such activities as a breach of service, CyberGhost marks its servers that allow torrenting in the app.
The popular VPN for Turkey even has a Netflix unblocking feature on top of its exclusive Netflix mode in its app that allows you to watch your favorite TV shows or movies anonymously.
To this effect, CyberGhost is in the premier league of VPNs that maintain a staggering number of servers with 3,000 globally. Some of these are highly optimized Netflix servers that allow optimum streaming speeds. This places CyberGhost right next to our front-runners ExpressVPN, and outmatched only by NordVPN with 5,293 servers at its disposal. Spread across 80 server locations available, across approximately 60 countries, including Turkey.
CyberGhost does not log user activity and it does not track the identity of the users connected to a given server. This provides a complete layer of privacy when you’re browsing from a country with a repressive Internet policy like Turkey.
The company behind the VPN service monitors server CPU load, available memory, the amount of server bandwidth used, and other metadata but that’s about all. What’s even more – CyberGhost is among the GDPR compliant VPN providers for its transparent data collection procedures.
It can be run on all operating systems, including Windows (read if Cyberghost is included in the rating of VPNs for Windows), OSX, Linux, Android, and iOS like other popular VPNs in Turkey. However, CyberGhost goes one step further to offer free proxy plugins for Chrome and Firefox. This way you can easily encrypt your browser traffic at the click of a button. These plugins can be used in Turkey as well as other countries with tougher Internet censorship laws like UAE, and Iran.
CyberGhost uses OpenVPN, which is the most secure protocol at the moment. Users are given the option to switch between protocols and opt for PPTP, which is pretty fast but not as secure as OpenVPN, or L2TP with IPsec. The company uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, which is the strongest on the market.
Extra features are available and greatly surpass offerings from other VPN services. They include an ad-blocker, anti-tracking, malware blocker, DNS leak protection, IP sharing, hidden IP and IPv6 leak protection.
CyberGhost is compatible with Tor, which is a real treat when browsing from any repressive countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey Russia and others. A ticket system, limited live chat option and extensive knowledgebase with tutorials and FAQs provide sufficient support if you have any questions or issues installing or running the VPN.
You can purchase a subscription with all major credit/debit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.
+ Ideal for HD streaming
+ Up to seven devices simultaneously
+ Accepts Bitcoin
- Few options for advanced users
- Higher price
Read the full CyberGhost review.
The server network of IPVanish is relatively large: it comprises over 850 servers in 60 different countries with a total of 40,000 shared IP addresses. That translates to tons of options for accessing geo-blocked content from Turkey. Unlimited bandwidth, no speed throttling, and unrestricted access to P2P networks and torrent downloads provide a smooth, secure and completely anonymous browsing experience under IPVanish.
User security is guaranteed thanks to the military-grade encryption protocol, AES-256 used by many of the world’s leading security agencies and government organizations. This means you can safely browse the net with your IP address and all personal data protected from hackers to the absolute maximum that technology currently permits.
On top of that, you’ll also be able to go around IP specific censorship of schools, employers, and governments alike.
The use of a special proxy server protocol known as SOCKS or Socket Security is an added benefit of IPVanish. This option allows you to enjoy the same benefits of a standard VPN without the need to download any software to your device. You can hide your IP address, hide personal information, and enjoy faster performance without downloading an intrusive third-party tool.
IPVanish’s ability to maintain privacy without compromising speed makes it ideal for torrenting and P2P file-sharing. And it allows up to 10 simultaneous connections.
IPVanish also offers TOR compatibility and doesn’t leak your IP or other data to third-party providers (check it with ‘’My IP address lookup tool’’). The company doesn’t stand out when it comes to customer support but in terms of features – their product is a high-quality VPN with solid performance.
+ Fast connections, perfect for streaming videos
+ Full anonymity when downloading through BitTorrent
+ Custom software for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices to use with VPN
- Full anonymity when downloading through BitTorrent
- 7-day money back guarantee
- Netflix compatibility issues
Read the full IPVanish review.
Start Using a VPN in Turkey Right Away
While Turkey is still not as strict in enforcing its VPN provider block as China, for example, it is a good idea to be prepared before visiting.
Privacy advocates warn against more drastic measures that will soon grip the Turkish internet, including keyword censorship, foreign website filters, and a complete ban on VPN providers and VPN traffic.
Freedom of expression will only get more difficult as time goes by, which is why it’s important to start using a VPN in Turkey as soon as possible to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
A VPN is useful as it can help keep your VoIP communications and messaging contents secure. That being said, you should pay attention to the privacy and logging policies of the VPN provider as well as the metadata laws in the country you are in.
Third-party messaging services work best as they don’t officially do business in Turkey and route that connection over a secure VPN. A decentralized chat program like BitTorrent’s Bleep or VyprVPN proprietary encrypted messaging service Cyphr are good alternatives.
Despite the Turkish government taking steps to block VPNs in the country, using a VPN service is still not illegal in Turkey. That being said, visiting certain sites or engaging in certain activities may be against the laws and regulations of Turkey.
Using a strong VPN for browsing, streaming and staying in touch with friends and family will not get you in trouble but it’s recommended to steer clear of any sites and forums that are used for illegal activities (think the infamous Silk Road on the Deep Web).
Since 2017 Turkish authorities have been started more proactively blocking access to VPN servers. As a result, free VPNs like TunnelBear, Zenmate, and Zero VPN or are no longer operating on the territory of the country. Still, you can use some of the VPN’s free trial versions of the services mentioned in the top list. Others like IPVanish have been able to circumvent the block and continue to operate, but users should still expect occasional downtime.
To navigate the web safely and securely, it’s best to go with one of the 5 recommended VPN services for Turkey we have reviewed. This way, you’ll know your identity online is kept private and your online activities can’t be traced.
Tips for using a VPN in Turkey
Now that you have read our guide on the most suitable VPNs for Turkey, it’s time to make a decision. Reading user reviews available online is the next step in narrowing down your choices for a VPN service.
Once you have settled on a provider, follow these steps to start browsing the web safely and anonymously in Turkey:
- Sign up and register with your preferred payment option for the plan you have chosen.
- Download the app from the device you’ll use for surfing.
- Restart all devices when installation is complete.
- Launch the VPN app, and sign in with your login information. Select a server in a location of your choice.
- Once you are connected, there will be an indication at the top of your taskbar on your smartphone screen. This means the internet connection is encrypted and private.
Using a VPN in Turkey gives you more freedom and will keep your identity hidden and safe from the government and hackers. No one likes to be monitored or told what they can and cannot view. What’s even more – it compromises your basic human rights.
A VPN service lets you safely watch whatever content you wish and not have to worry that you are under government surveillance. Virtual Private Networks ensure your private data is kept away from watchful eyes and you are free to express your opinions online without fear of repercussions.
The right type of VPN provider in Turkey can make your browsing experience a safe, anonymous and secure – just the way it is supposed to be.