Pakistan has one of the largest diasporas of any nation, closely following its border neighbors China and India. While the bulk of this diaspora lives in countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a similar proportion resides in the UK and the US.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have similar data privacy laws to Pakistan and thus provide little in terms of a culture shift. However, the US and the UK do not, and Pakistanis acclimatized to those more permissive online environments may find visits to Pakistan difficult.
As such, it’s wise for anyone traveling to Pakistan (as well as anyone living there) to invest in a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN disguises your real IP address by connecting you to a remote server and then encrypting said connection, meaning that your real identity becomes very difficult to trace.
The issues surrounding online freedom in Pakistan range from the obtrusive to the invasive. Most government interference in the nation’s online environment involves blocking religious, political, or pornographic content.
Indeed, almost half a million URLs are blocked on allegations of pornography alone, but the government’s overzealous filtering has led to some health websites (not even merely sexual health information) being caught in the crossfire.
More disturbingly, freedom of online speech is heavily regulated, and two individuals were sentenced to death for their online commentary in 2018. Quite simply, the added security provided by a VPN is necessary for navigating Pakistan’s repressive online environment.
In order to help you find the best VPN for Pakistan, we’ve assessed several VPN on the following criteria:
- Strong privacy and security
- Combination of price and features
- Location outside the 5/9/14 Eyes (surveillance groups of countries)
1. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $2.99/month
- Features: military-grade encryption, massive server list, 24/7 live chat support
If you need air-tight encryption for an affordable price, look no further than NordVPN – one of the most celebrated VPN services on the market today.
NordVPN is registered in Panama, which is well away from the prying gaze of the 5/9/14 Eyes surveillance network. Better yet, Panama has no laws on data retention, meaning that Nord has no legal obligation to store any of your browser activity.
With a huge fleet of servers, Nord users can be sure that they’re getting the best connection anywhere in the world, as well as the ability to access geo-restricted content in over sixty-five countries. Wherever you hail from, you’ll never miss an episode of your favorite TV show ever again!
Finally, we’d like to note the live chat support, which is available 24/7 and is often thought to be the best customer service team on the VPN market. With that, we can safely say that Nord is quite possibly the best VPN for Pakistan.
2. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $8.32/month
- Features: military-grade encryption, browser extensions, private DNS server
ExpressVPN loses out ever so slightly to NordVPN due to its pricing. With a starting price of $8.32/month, this VPN will cost you $5 more per month than our top choice.
However, those prices certainly go a long way. ExpressVPN comes with a private DNS server designed to prevent your identity from being leaked. All the while, it packs the same AES-256-CBC encryption to keep an extra tight grasp on your personal information.
One of its handier features is that it also offers custom extensions for every major browser (including Safari, which is often underrepresented in browser extensions more generally).
This allows for easy toggling of your VPN connection, meaning that you don’t have to navigate the app every time you wish to use it.
While it isn’t quite the best VPN for Pakistan, it’s certainly good enough to keep your information tightly under wraps.
3. VyprVPN ‣
- Location: Switzerland
- Pricing: starts at $5.00/month
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, download speeds
There are various facets to what a VPN can offer. As a result, different VPNs will be geared towards different demands. VyprVPN, for instance, is designed with security in mind.
The way it accomplishes this is through the custom-made Chameleon protocol, which is a modification of OpenVPN that prevents ISP blocking or throttling. These are common practices that ISPs deploy in order to cut down on bandwidth usage, which often happens during torrenting.
VyprVPN doesn’t merely excel at anti-throttling, however. One of its best advantages is its use of the AES-256-GCM encryption, which is faster than the -CBC model we’ve looked at elsewhere in our roundup of the best VPN for Pakistan – and more importantly, it’s just as secure.
Add to this the fact that VyprVPN is registered in the privacy haven that is Switzerland and you’re looking at a quality piece of software that is guaranteed to keep you safe while browsing the web in Pakistan.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $1.99/month (or $1.99 from affiliates)
- Features: great security, geo-unblocking, torrent support, download speeds
Surfshark is a relative newcomer to the VPN game, and unlike many new services that only end up flooding the market, the developers behind this VPN genuinely know what they’re doing.
For starters, it’s ridiculously cheap, which is always positive in anyone’s book. As well as this, it’s registered in the BVI – the same place as ExpressVPN – and therefore is not under the jurisdiction of any intrusive data retention laws.
Furthermore, Surfshark uses tip-top encryption measures (with a faster engine than usual) to keep your information locked tight and secure. It also supports StealthVPN, a newer version of OpenVPN that supports obfuscated connections.
In the future, Surfshark could very likely become one of the market leaders alongside NordVPN and ExpressVPN. For now, though, the VPN can be like your own private secret – much like the way it’ll treat your personal information.
- Location: Seychelles
- Pricing: starts at $8.33/month
- Features: military-grade encryption, obfuscated server, high-speed connections
Like the two that came before it on this list, Astrill VPN is a highly secure piece of software that makes use of the AES-256-CBC encryption cipher and registry in a land without intrusive data policies (Seychelles).
What gives Astrill the slightest edge, however, is its use of StealthVPN, an improved version of the standard OpenVPN protocol that obfuscates one’s connection and makes it harder to track – and, by extension, harder to crack.
At $8.33/month minimum, we understand that Astrill is quite pricey. If you’re willing to stretch your budget, however, you’ll benefit from the VPN’s higher-than-average connection speeds. Astrill has fewer servers than NordVPN, and less near Pakistan in general, so this certainly makes up for that.
6. Ivacy VPN ‣
- Location: Singapore
- Pricing: starts at $1.33/month
- Features: military-grade encryption, high-speed connections, split tunneling, kill switch
Ivacy is a low-cost VPN that offers high-speed server connections. While we’re initially put off by its Singapore registry – the city-state has been known to collaborate with the Five Eyes alliance in the past – the fact that Ivacy does not store user logs makes it a highly trustworthy piece of software, too.
It’s a great alternative if our other choices of best VPN for Pakistan don’t seem as though they’d suit your needs. With air-tight encryption and a reliable kill switch, the VPN ensures your connection remains totally private both when it’s up and running and when it isn’t.
What aids Ivacy’s higher-than-average connection speeds is its support of split tunneling, which allows you to select one channel for the VPN to encrypt (which is usually your browser). This allows Ivacy to work less overall and keep those speeds up to optimum levels.
7. PrivateVPN ‣
- Location: Sweden
- Pricing: starts at $3.82/month
- Features: great speeds, security, geo-unblocking, torrent support
PrivateVPN is very similar to Ivacy in that it’s basically a cheaper alternative to Astrill. It’s also very similar in the fact that it’s based in a country that isn’t ideal for cybersecurity.
Once again, PrivateVPN also uses the best encryption. This makes it as safe as any of the best VPN for Pakistan. It also supports P2P networking, meaning that internet users can enjoy their torrenting habits with no clawback from the authorities.
All in all, it’s a very user-friendly VPN that offers little remarkable in the context of this list, but in the context of literally every other VPN currently on the market, it’s one of the greats.
And the best VPN for Pakistan is…
Our vote goes to NordVPN. With a ton of market heft behind it and a considerable reputation for its services, there’s simply nothing that compares for internet users in Pakistan.
Those looking for something purely for torrenting, however, could do with trying Surfshark, which offers great P2P networking support.
Similarly, if you want to doubly ensure your connection is as secure as can be, there’s always ExpressVPN, which offers a private DNS server albeit at a higher overall price.
If you’re in Pakistan, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPNs for Pakistan? Let us know in the comments below.