The Internet is everything but free in Pakistan and in order to be able to access many of the world’s most popular websites and services, you’ll need a VPN.
For instance, you can’t (reliably) access popular social networks from Pakistan and this includes the “global” version of YouTube — cause Google has a special censored version for the local population.
Also, access to Facebook may be working one day only to be problematic (to say the least) the next one. Moreover, let’s not forget Twitter and TikTok — both of which have been blocked at some time. And who knows when they’ll be blocked again.
With a VPN, you don’t have to worry about any of that — plus you get to access popular video streaming services that may not be available with a local IP address.
We have just started explaining, but I’m sure you get the point. Here are the best VPNs to use in Pakistan:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Good for both torrenting and streaming
- Works in China
- Solid network with servers in 60+ countries
- Easy to use apps on multiple platforms
- Live chat isn't always available
- Fairly pricey
Whether you need a VPN for watching Netflix shows or downloading files via BitTorrent, Astrill can help you out — all while keeping your identity under the radar. And this is especially true if you live or work in China when the company's stealth protocols will kick in to let you access all the popular sites that are by default blocked by the country's censors.
Astrill's apps are easy to use and available on all popular platforms. Nevertheless, they still manage to provide a host of advanced features tech-savvy folks are used to get. Highly recommended, again, especially if you're looking to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- Fast download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.
- Great for torrenting
- Advanced privacy features (i.e. Tor over VPN)
- Relatively small number of servers
- There are no browser extensions
- Live chat support is not always available
Specifically, you can rely on PrivateVPN for both torrenting and streaming, without paying a premium. It is, in fact, one of the most affordable options in its league and we love it for that.
Customer support may not be on par with bigger players but it's not like you should experience many problems anyway. You will get the same level of security and privacy as with other services, and a single license will let you run PrivateVPN on up to 6 devices. Pretty cool.
- Works in China
- Many servers in Asia
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Advanced services like VyprVPN Cloud
- No browser extensions
- Torrenting could be better
It manages to bypass restrictions in high-censorship countries and elsewhere by relying on its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which can easily slide under the radar.
VyprVPN is also great for accessing video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and so on — delivering the true buffer-free experience every single time. It will also work with BitTorrent, and consequently - Kodi.
VyprVPN has a strict zero-logs policy. Period.
Internet censorship in Pakistan
The Internet is not free in Pakistan, it’s that simple. The country came into the spotlight after blocking Facebook and a few other websites back in 2010. The move came in response to a contest popularized on the social networking site to draw images of the Prophet Mohammad.
Today, Internet filtering in Pakistan is both inconsistent and intermittent, with filtering primarily targeted at content deemed to be a threat to national security and at religious content considered blasphemous.
In 2019, The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecom was informed by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) that 900,000 URLs were blocked in Pakistan.
Pakistan Internet Exchange
The Pakistan Internet Exchange, or PIE for short, is operated by the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) and its main goal is to facilitate the exchange of Internet traffic between ISPs within and outside of the country. Because the majority of Pakistan’s Internet traffic is routed through the PIE, it provides a means to monitor and possibly block incoming and outgoing Internet traffic as the government deems fit.
In fact, it has been suggested that PIA is monitoring all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic from Pakistan, as well as email and keywords, and stores data for a specified amount of time. This then enables law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance and monitor content.
Like that’s not enough, under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO), ISPs are required to retain traffic data for a minimum of 90 days and may also be required to collect real-time data and record information while keeping their involvement with the government confidential.
Speaking of ISPs, they are also involved in blocking torrent sites — including Pirate Bay, Kickass torrents, Torrentz, Bitsnoop, Extra Torrent and Torrent Reactor.
Social media blocking
Aside from Facebook, other social media was blocked in Pakistan as well. YouTube was blocked following a decision taken by the PTA in February 2008 because of the number of “non-Islamic objectionable videos.”
Two years later, YouTube was again blocked alongside Flickr, Facebook and even Wikipedia. And then in 2012, the situation escalated with PTA announcing it has blocked about 20,000 websites due to “objectionable” content.
YouTube continued to be the target of PTA’s activities throughout the years with Google ending up launching a local version of the service in September 2016 — without any offensive content.
However, for those without a local presence, the situation remained dire as reported by the NetBlocks internet shutdown observatory and Digital Rights Foundation. These two organizations have identified mass-scale blocking of social media and content-sharing websites at the end of 2017.
Finally, in October 2020, TikTok was banned for “immoral content”
You need a VPN for Pakistan
And not just any, but a rock-solid one. We’re talking about a VPN that can go through walls, meaning it not only has a massive network of servers but uses the latest and greatest technology to let you browse the web in its entirety while also allowing you to access some services that are reserved for people in the West.
In a nutshell, you’ll need a VPN that will:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, HULU, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
- Download files with BitTorrent anonymously
The top contenders that check all these boxes include the following: