Tanzania may not the worst place for the Internet but it also is not the best. Far from it. The government does weird things (to say the least) to keep its constituents on a short leash, all while impeding on their right to privacy.
However, it’s the journalists that get the worse treatment as they are “encouraged” to self-censor their writing or face harsh penalties, prison time included.
So yes, if you’re in or plan to visit Tanzania, you better have a VPN installed on all your devices, so you could access the Internet in its entirety. As well as to prevent anyone from snooping into your traffic.
Here are what we deem to be the best VPNs for Tanzania, which will also work in other situations and countries:
- 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.
Freedoms, censorship and surveillance in Tanzania
Although there are no government restrictions on access to the Internet, the government monitors websites that criticize the government. Also, police is monitoring the Internet to combat illegal activities.
Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution but the same doesn’t apply to freedom of the press. A permit is required for reporting on police or prison activities, and journalists need special permission to attend meetings in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. Anyone publishing information accusing a Zanzibari representative of involvement in illegal activities is liable to a fine of not less than 250,000 Tanzanian shillings (TZS) — about $158 — three years’ imprisonment, or both. Nothing in the law specifies whether this penalty stands if the allegation is proven true. Media outlets often practice self-censorship to avoid conflict with the government.
The law generally prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence without a search warrant, but the government does not consistently respect these prohibitions. It is widely believed that security forces monitor telephones and correspondence of some citizens and foreign residents.
Under the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018 – blogs, online forums, and internet radio and TVs must register with the government as online content providers, and pay an annual fee — which is roughly equivalent to the annual income in the country. Also, online content providers may not post obscene or explicit content, hate speech, content that “causes annoyance”, incites harm or crime, or threatens national security and public safety. Violators may be fined or have their licenses revoked.
That infamous law was revoked on July 17, 2020, but the law that replaced it — the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations of 2020 — enables the same kind of harmful internet censorship in Tanzania. Not only does the new law stifle Tanzanians’ freedom of expression, restrict their access to information, and interfere with their right to privacy – it also allows the government to profit from ratcheting up online censorship and control.
Numerous civil society organizations and individuals have pointed out the flaws in the previous regulation, while others have provided astute analyses of the many problems with the new regulation.
The bottom line is that the law isn’t good and is far from everything that people in the West take for granted. It takes the power from the people and gives it to the government, all while promoting the self-censorship of journalists.
You need a VPN for Tanzania
And you may even have to hide that you’re using it. Luckily the best services out there are up for the task and will make it next to impossible for the authorities to even know that you’re using a VPN.
A VPN will help you browse the Internet in its entirety, letting you access parts of the world wide web that would otherwise be outside of your reach. This includes both media organizations and other sites that are banned in Tanzania as well as popular video streaming services that have yet to open their virtual offices in the country. With a VPN, you get to choose your virtual location and unlock the Internet, while keeping your identity under the radar.
That being said, aside from letting you freely roam from Tanzania, here’s what a good VPN has to offer:
- Accessing content that could otherwise be restricted in your physical location.
- Preventing tracking and minimizing your digital footprint so that no one can track you online (at least not that easily).
- Avoiding throttling from your ISP – which is known to happen when you’re torrenting or accessing video streaming services.
- Bypassing firewalls in a workplace, university, school and so on.
- Bypassing censorship in places like China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East, and even Turkey and Russia.
- Securely connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots – with a VPN encrypting all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
The bottom line is – get a VPN that fits all your needs. The top contenders include the following: