Internet freedom in Ukraine is on a downward spiral. Ukrainian authorities have been bolstering their online defences in recent years due to tensions with Russia, especially since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the devastating NotPetya cyberattack of 2017.
Regardless of your stance on the present situation, the fact of the matter is that both sides are taking draconian measures to maintain authority. One the one hand, Ukrainian police violently raided the offices of several pro-Russian newspapers. On the other, authorities in the separatist-controlled Luhansk have sentenced several anti-Russian bloggers to fourteen years in prison – each.
It’s safe to say, then, that internet users in Ukraine could do with some added cybersecurity. The best way to do this is through acquiring a virtual private network (VPN), which conceals your identity by connecting you to a remote server and then encrypting all of your traffic.
Even when viewed through a less dystopian perspective, using a VPN in Ukraine provides several added bonuses. Chief among them is the ability to access geo-restricted content, which means users in Ukraine will be able to access different streaming service libraries or news outlets banned in whichever region they are located.
In order to help you find the best VPN for Ukraine, then, 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. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $8.32
- Features: military-grade encryption, browser extensions, private DNS server
ExpressVPN holds its status as one of the best VPNs on the market today…but is it the best VPN for Ukraine?
Well, it certainly holds no punches. ExpressVPN is loaded with military-grade encryption and a private DNS server; this means that it provides an impenetrable connection that is safeguarded against leaks.
In other words, ExpressVPN establishes your connection and secures it for the long run. While the VPN is up and running, there is no chance your browser activity could be monitored, and there is certainly no chance that it could be traced back to you.
Another bonus is that ExpressVPN is enormously user-friendly. This is aided by its support for browser extensions, of which it features one of the largest ranges on the market. VPN browser extensions function like a remote control, meaning it’s easier than ever to operate your VPN connection.
While the price is slightly higher than a lot of options we’ve featured here, ExpressVPN more than deserves the status it’s garnered over the course of its existence.
- Location: Seychelles
- Pricing: starts at $8.33
- Features: military-grade encryption, obfuscated server, high-speed connections
In many regions of Ukraine – particularly the separatist-controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk – using a VPN could potentially land you in trouble. That’s why we’re recommending Astrill VPN first and foremost: through its support of the StealthVPN protocol, it obfuscates your connection to Astrill’s servers.
As such, not only will Astrill protect your personal information using NASA-grade encryption and a strict no-logging policy, it will also make it impossible to tell that you’re using a VPN at all.
That no-logs policy is enabled by Astrill’s registry in the Seychelles islands, which means that it does not fall under any legal jurisdiction where data must be retained for observation by the authorities.
Besides, Astrill boasts some of the fastest connection speeds on the market today. This makes up for a smaller server fleet than some of the other VPNs we’ll explore in this list, but regardless, we feel confident vouching for Astrill as one of the best VPN for Ukraine.
3. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $2.99
- Features: military-grade encryption, massive server list, 24/7 live chat support
Being third on this list doesn’t mean NordVPN isn’t worth considering at all. Indeed, one could make the argument that it is just as worthy of being called the “best VPN for Ukraine” as Astrill or Express.
There are added bonuses too. For one thing, NordVPN is a lot cheaper than its competitors, coming in at roughly $5 less for each month of your subscription. Not that it scrimps on security features, either: its use of the AES-256-CBC encryption cipher makes it just as tightly-wound as the first two options on our list!
It is also based on Panama which, like Seychelles and the BVI, does not enforce data retention laws on its residents and citizens.
As well as this, the VPN also boasts one of the largest server fleets on the market. With over five thousand servers available in sixty-five countries, it is unlikely you’ll encounter any geo-restricted content you can’t unlock.
4. VyprVPN ‣
- Location: Switzerland
- Pricing: starts at $5.00
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, torrenting, download speeds
Torrenting fanatics in Ukraine may be under the impression that any VPN with a massive fleet of servers – Nord, for example – can sufficiently serve their needs. After all, Nord has servers in Moldova, Romania, and Poland, three countries that permit torrenting and with which Ukraine shares a border.
Indeed, that would allow for speedy connections for Ukrainian torrenting users. Nevertheless, those for whom torrenting is a big part of their life may wish to try VyprVPN as an alternative.
VyprVPN uses Chameleon, a protocol designed by parent company Golden Frog to prevent blocking and throttling which is general ISP practice when users are consuming a great deal of bandwidth.
As well as this, the VPN uses the AES-256-GCM encryption cipher, which is a much faster (and equally secure) version of the -CBC model used by all the VPN we’ve covered thus far.
While Nord may be a cheaper alternative, then, you may find VyprVPN to be a powerful option overall.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $1.99
- Features: great security, geo-unblocking, torrent support, download speeds
Surfshark is another great contender for the best VPN for Ukraine. With a company registry in the British Virgin Islands, this VPN is completely free from pressure to turn over its server data to the authorities – not that it stores your user data on them anyway!
At less than $3.50 per month (starting price), Surfshark also keeps your information nice and secure without hampering your budget too greatly.
Thanks to its excellent security software and the inclusion of StealthVPN, Surfshark provides obfuscated connections that no hacker in the world could trace.
As well as this, Surfshark offers support for geo-unblocking and torrenting, which it supplements with its genuinely impressive connection speeds.
6. Ivacy VPN ‣
- Location: Singapore
- Pricing: starts at $1.33
- Features: military-grade encryption, high-speed connections, split tunneling, kill switch
Although it is registered in Singapore, a known collaborator of the 5 Eyes alliance group, Ivacy is just as secure as any option featured in this list of best VPNs for Ukraine. The reason we can so confidently state this is because the reliability of Ivacy’s no-logs policy has been independently audited.
As well as this, Ivacy’s encryption cipher is of the same rock-solid calibre as our other choices. Its kill switch is also a huge selling point, as it makes doubly sure that your information remains private even when your connection drops.
Of course, one of the best things about Ivacy is its combination of low pricing and high speeds – these things can make all the difference when choosing which VPN to go for. As such, we’d still recommend this VPN even despite its Singaporean registry.
7. PrivateVPN ‣
- Location: Sweden
- Pricing: starts at $3.82
- Features: great speeds, security, geo-unblocking, torrent support
In many ways, PrivateVPN is the ultimate all-rounder. It covers all the essentials: impenetrable encryption, easy unblocking of geo-restricted content, reasonably great speeds, and support for P2P networking.
So what’s it doing all the way down here, second to last on this list of the best VPN for Ukraine? The simple fact that it’s registered in Sweden.
The problem here is that the Nordic country is part of the 14 Eyes alliance. This alliance has legal and mutually cooperative jurisdiction over the data traffic in their countries.
However, they will be able to see that you’ve used it. Seeing as Ukraine is not part of the 14 Eyes alliance, it makes it more difficult for Ukrainian authorities to be able to obtain that information.
Nevertheless, while we vouch for PrivateVPN overall, please exercise caution if you’re based in Luhansk or Donetsk where VPN users can be prosecuted.
And the best VPN for Ukraine is…
With the political situation in Ukraine being so rocky in recent years, it’s worth pushing the boat out budget-wise and protecting yourself with ExpressVPN.
Besides the obvious benefit of ultimate security, you can always count on ExpressVPN to outperform many of its competitors in terms of connection speeds, and users wishing to access geo-restricted content in other territories can rely on its powers to grant you such access.
If you’re in Ukraine, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPNs for Ukraine? Let us know in the comments below.