The Russian government has recently imposed various bans and limitations on what users in the country may access online. As a result of Internet censorship, multiple restrictions on social media, essential online activity, tools, and various content and websites have been blocked. It is, therefore, essential to install and use a VPN service, also known as a virtual private network service, in Russia to access censored apps, sites, and services from around the world. 

In many countries, Internet censorship is quite prevalent. However, it’s worse in some countries like China that have implemented the worst forms of online censorship, known as The Great Firewall of China.

When it comes to the Russian online world, it isn’t quite as bad as the Great Firewall of China; however, over the last few years, Internet freedom has declined significantly, especially since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

Let’s take a look at how a reliable and secure VPN can help you gain more freedom online:

  • Strong encryption: VPNs that make use of AES-256 encryption is highly recommended and the most secure VPNs you could use. It is the choice of various military organizations and governments worldwide. AES encryption ensures that your Internet traffic is encrypted or hidden and, therefore, away from prying eyes and hackers.
  • No-logs policy: Many VPNs in the past have logged browsing activity, and authorities have seized specific user data in certain cases. This is usually the scenario when using free VPN service providers; however, it has also been known to happen with paid services. So ensure that when you’re signing up for a VPN service, it offers the best online privacy and has a verified no-logs policy.
  • Safer torrenting: While Russia tends to block torrent sites and trackers, torrenting is still not a thing of the past. In fact, with a safe and secure VPN service provider, you can still torrent in the comfort of your home. This is because a reliable VPN unblocks torrent sites and ensures that government censors do not detect your torrenting activity. Additionally, it obscures your IP address, so copyright trails cannot locate you.
  • Enjoy streaming services from anywhere: Let’s just say you are visiting Russia from another country and love watching Netflix. In that case, you may be unable to access the libraries you are familiar with due to licensing restrictions from abroad. However, the simple solution is to change your IP address to one of the server locations on your VPN software. This will allow you to watch all the content you love from anywhere in the world and not just be limited to Russian content.

VPNs are legal in Russia. However, users must use VPNs that are licensed and state approved by the government. Unfortunately, VPNs that are not state-approved are subject to blocks in Russia.

Additionally, while the Bills are not yet passed, they are being introduced in Parliament. Russian authorities intend to force VPN service providers operating in Russia to comply with a government-sanctioned list of blocked sites. These laws are currently being discussed and require Internet service providers such as proxy servers and VPNs to maintain a six-month list of websites users visit. However, this could be harmful to the VPN ecosystem in the country.

However, due to the current ongoing situation, the use of VPNs in the country is somewhat of a gray area. So you may feel free to use a VPN to engage in activities that are considered legal. However, when it comes to using a VPN to download from within Russia, this can be hard to do, so if you plan on traveling to Russia any time soon, consider getting a VPN subscription before your visit.

Additionally, it’s important to note that accessing any type of government content that is censored for political reasons could be a breach of the relevant laws, and you may be held liable for your actions.

Therefore, if you use the VPN servers to access information that the government views as controversial, then you should do so at your own risk.

Currently, the following websites and apps have been blocked in Russia:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • BBC News
  • Voice of America
  • Amnesty International
  • Ukrainian news sites
  • Foreign currency and cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Euronews
  • Radio Free Liberty
  • Messaging services like Telegram

How to set up a VPN in Russia (step by step)

Downloading and installing a VPN is quick and easy. Let’s take a look at how to install a VPN, step by step:

Step 1: Decide on a VPN service provider

The first step in using a VPN service is deciding which would be the best for you.

Step 2: Purchase a subscription

After that, make use of the available payment methods to register and pay for the VPN service.

Step 3: Download the companion apps

After purchasing your subscription, go ahead and download the companion apps for the relevant operating system for your smartphone. This may be for iOS, Android, etc., and then download the software for your PC, which may be chrome or Firefox.

Step 4: Clear your cookies

In this step, you’ll need to clear the cache and cookies on all web browsers to remove old location identifiers or your Russian IP address.

Step 5: Restart your device

In this step, restart your device.

Step 6: Download the software

In this step, you’ll need to download the software application and log in using the requested credentials.

Step 7: Select the relevant server

In this step, you’ll need to select the relevant server from the country you’re trying to obtain an IP address, such as the US or the UK.

Step 8: Wait for the connection to be established

Once a VPN connection is established, there should be a green notification icon in your taskbar on your computer or at the top of your smartphone screen.

Step 9: Browse the web

In this step, you can just go ahead and browse the web as the connection has already been established, and you are now logged into an IP address in your preferred country.

When looking for a reliable VPN for Russia, you should keep an eye out for security features, speed and stability of service, a large network of servers, strong encryption, ease of use, and unblocking capabilities. 

Best overall VPN for Russia

Our top pick!
  • Always evades internet control in the PRC
  • Keeps ahead of the Netflix VPN detection algorithm
  • Benchmark tests show excellent speed

ExpressVPN is the top recommendation for the best premium VPN in Russia due to its highly adept bypassing of content blocks online. It also works with windows and mac operating systems. ExpressVPN does this by using advanced obfuscation features. Additionally, this VPN provider employs a no-logs policy verified by TrustedServer tech.


  • Installs on routers
  • Simultaneous connection allowance of five devices
  • Split tunneling
  • Large choice of server location
  • Very strong connection encryption


  • One of the most expensive VPN services
  • China blocks its main website (but not functionality)
  • Live chat support is not always responsive

Although credit card payments and certain wallets may no longer be used as payment methods, there are plenty of other payment options, such as using Union pay and cryptocurrency. ExpressVPN has servers in more than 90 countries around the world, including Japan, the US, Australia, the UK, etc. Additionally, you’ll enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee, risk-free if you no longer want to use the service within 30 days of making your purchase.

Affordable VPN for Russia

  • Smart DNS service, understands the technology
  • Comprehensive security add-on package.
  • No data throughput limits and has a no-logs policy

Surfshark is another recommended VPN service for Russia that supports unlimited devices under one subscription, while other VPN service providers limit you to five to seven devices per account. So by purchasing a single subscription with Surfshark, the entire family can enjoy unrestricted VPN services and avoid Russian servers and Internet censorship.


  • A long list of locations in the USA
  • Dodges the Great Firewall of China
  • Virtual servers to access India
  • Add-on cybersecurity protection package
  • Smart DNS option for fast streaming
  • Unlimited devices can be connected simultaneously per account


  • 7-day free trial only available on mobile apps
  • Not as many VPN servers as NordVPN
  • Runs static IP servers but doesn’t sell dedicated IP addresses
  • Can’t get into BBC iPlayer or Hulu

Additionally, Surfshark has one of the most user-friendly VPN apps for iOS, Android, Linux, and other platforms such as Chrome and Firefox. Ultimately, Surfshark offers great privacy, security, and fast speeds and avoids content blocks by sites such as Netflix.

Excellent VPN with 6,000 servers globally

  • Precise locations
  • Very large VPN server network
  • Offers a 45-day money-back guarantee

Like the other two VPNs mentioned earlier, CyberGhost is another excellent VPN server ideal for bypassing and streaming online. You’ll also receive a decent number of simultaneous connections under one account and can connect up to seven devices on one subscription. Surfshark makes use of 256-bit AES encryption and has a zero-logging policy as well.


  • The cool VPN app design
  • A larger number of servers than most of its rivals
  • Split tunneling options
  • Proprietary nospy server technology that can avoid detection in places like China
  • A strict no-logs policy
  • A 45-day money-back guarantee


  • Some server locations are spoofed – the CyberGhost servers aren’t really where they say they are
  • The VPN has to be manually set up on routers
  • Not as fast as advertised

Additionally, there is a 45-day money-back guarantee, and you can make payments for your VPN services using bitcoin and web money payment options. Additionally, torrenting, Hulu, and Netflix are highly possible when using CyberGhost VPN, allowing you to bypass the Russian VPN ban.

How do VPNs offer online security?

VPN service providers use a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and VPN protocols such as OpenVPN to keep your information secure and private.

What do the Russian authorities have in store for ISPs?

Russian laws or bills regarding online activities have not been passed as of yet. However, there is talk of ISPs having to store user data for up to six months.

Is it safe to use public Wi-Fi?

Public Wi-Fi is not recommended as it contains very limited encryption and security. This means that your personal and financial information may be at risk.

What are some of the alternative VPNs for Russia?

Some VPN alternatives for Russia include PrivateVPN and Proton VPN.

What is split tunneling?

Split-tunneling allows you to route selected apps or traffic via an encrypted virtual private network while allowing other apps direct access to the internet.