“But what about my files?!”
This was my first thought last year after I heard the news that the local courts have blocked Telegram. I’d been using the messaging app to exchange confidential documents for a few years before then.
Of course, I and my clients were disappointed, but I didn’t want to let them down.
I’d realized then that a VPN would be a must if I wanted to keep working.
To find the best VPN for Telegram, I’ve tested a few well-known providers.
What Is the Best VPN for Telegram?
Panama-based NordVPN has a very impressive server coverage – 5555 servers in 60 countries, to be exact.
However, the service doesn’t currently allow us to choose specific servers within a country.
For instance, if you’re in China and want to connect to a US server on the West Coast because it’s closer than the East Coast, you won’t be able to ask NordVPN to do that.
It does have an automatic “Recommended server” feature, but there’s no guarantee that it’d work the way you’d like.
The service offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and can boast about some solid security features. 256-bits encryption and OpenVPN protocol are a given.
In addition, NordVPN offers the options of Double VPN and Onion VPN.
With the first, your data is routed through not one, but two hoops for an extra layer of protection. The Onion over VPN option is for the fans of the TOR browser.
Keep in mind that both options could slow down your traffic speed.
NordVPN has an automatic kill switch option which you can customize.
If you only want it to apply to Telegram, you can set that up in settings.
The service works on most platforms, up to six devices at a time for your convenience. You might, however, find the interface a bit clunky.
That record was sufficient for me to confirm that my activities conducted over Telegram would indeed remain private.
The 256-bits encryption and the no-logging policy are on offer.
The service also has an option to tailor your tunnel connections – so you can encrypt your connection to Telegram but keep other programs VPN-free if you like.
ExpressVPN offers options for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android – popular choices for Telegram aficionados.
However, it can only be used on up to 3 devices at a time, although you can purchase an ExpressVPN-enabled router to have the protected VPN connection enabled by default.
The commercial terms of ExpressVPN (Click here & Save 49%) put the service in the upper-market category.
The price of $12.95 per month includes:
3. Surfshark VPN
Unlike other players I’ve tested, Surfshark is relatively new to the cybersecurity industry.
Whilst that means that it hasn’t registered on certain governments’ radar yet (Russian communications watchdog, for instance, hasn’t notified the service that it needs to register), it’s hard to judge their expertise in Telegram access yet.
They do, however, offer the 256-bits encryption and a kill switch, as well as 24/7 live chat customer support.
Surfshark’s interface is very easy to use, and there’s no limit on the number of devices you can run it on at the same time.
So, with this VPN, there’s nothing stopping you from simultaneously:
I can’t imagine doing that many activities at the same time, but it’s good to know there’s a VPN that allows for it!
For a new service, Surfshark’s commercial terms aren’t brilliant, however.
I’d have preferred a free trial, for instance, rather than a money-back guarantee.
A free trial for Surfshark is only available for mobile apps.
And you can get many more features from other providers for the price of $11.95 per month – although I did like the option to purchase 24 months’ protection for only $47.76.
Romania-based CyberGhost initially pulled me in due to its app protection feature which allows Telegram to be protected by an encrypted VPN connection upon launch.
Together with the kill switch, this feature ensures that you never use Telegram without a VPN, thus remaining protected at all times, wherever you may be.
There’s a choice of over 5700 servers in 90 countries.
CyberGhost offers 256-bits encryption and a genuine no-logging policy.
Since it’s located outside the 14-eye jurisdiction countries, your Telegram activities are safe.
Unlike other providers, the VPN connection didn’t seem to hinder the speed of file transfer across Telegram, which was an important factor for me.
I found CyberGhost set up instructions and tips for Telegram usage very transparent and helpful.
The website and the app had a sleek, user-friendly interface without any unnecessary features. I also appreciated having a Live chat customer support available.
You can receive all of the above across multiple platforms for about $12.80 per month, or $95 per three years.
CyberGhost does require a long-term commitment to spending less, so it’s important to know for certain this is the VPN for you.
That means it’s not immune to surveillance agents’ espionage on its users.
It does, however, promise a no-logging policy and doesn’t use third-party servers.
Together with the 256-bits encryption and a kill switch, the above security measures are what makes IPVanish a decent, budget-friendly option for using Telegram.
The proprietary servers across all continents help ensure that your activities are protected even when you’re traveling.
The speed I found to be quite reasonable as well.
For the price of only $58.49 per year, it’s not a bad standard at all.
However, there’s only 7 days’ money-back guarantee.
Telegram is a free messenger created by the Durov brothers in 2013.
I and many others love it because of the following:
All these reasons are why I was keen to continue using Telegram.
Before I tell you about the VPNs I tested and the winner, let’s take a look at what you need from a virtual private network service provider for Telegram.
What to Look for in a VPN for Telegram?
Range of Servers
Most countries that blocked Telegram are quite large and bordered by several states. Russia, for instance, is in the middle of the Eurasian continent and shares borders with 14 countries, not including its maritime borders.
Usually, the closer a VPN server is to you, the faster the connection.
This is because it would take less time for the data packets to pass between your device, the VPN server, and the sites you’re accessing.
It follows, therefore, that if you’re in Saint-Petersburg, for instance, you’d have an easier time with a server located in Northern Europe than Southern.
On the other hand, if you’re in Vladivostok or other Far Eastern cities, American or Japanese servers would likely work better than the European ones.
It’s important, therefore, to choose a VPN service with a wide range of server locations. With some, you can even specify servers within a country.
Encryption Strength & Security
Telegram positions itself as a messenger that protects your privacy and data from third parties. That’s a big reason for its popularity.
It, therefore, follows that any VPN you intend to use for Telegram access needs to prioritize security just as much if not more.
The 256-bit encryption is military-grade and is an important criterion for me when choosing a VPN.
This encryption, combined with Telegram’s, is what makes using Telegram through a VPN one of the most secure options of exchanging data.
Number of Devices at a Time
Telegram works on many platforms – Desktop, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and others.
In fact, it even has its API open for developers who might want to use it on other platforms. I might not want to do that yet, but I definitely understand the appeal.
So, if you’re using Telegram on many devices, you’d want a VPN that works on all of those devices. For instance, you might be texting your friend on your iPhone and at the same time, exchanging documents with your client on your PC via Telegram.
Both exchanges need to be protected. That’s why you should be looking for a VPN that works on several different devices at the same time.
No Speed Loss
Some VPN service providers can slow down your connection.
That can be frustrating and at times, can even be detrimental if you’re on a deadline. If you, like me, use Telegram for work, you probably want a high-speed and secure VPN connection when you exchange data with your clients.
For that reason, it’s important to have a VPN with a fast connection.
Favorable Commercial Terms
Of course, you want good-quality VPN services.
But they also need to have good value for money.
If you need a VPN for Telegram, I don’t recommend skimping – after all, secure data is an important asset of any business, and privacy is your fundamental right.
However, I suggest you check the terms of a VPN service thoroughly to see what exactly you’d be paying for and make use of a free trial.
That’d help you make an informed choice which is very important since you’d likely be using this service for several months or years.
Telegram and VPN – What You Need to Know
Using Telegram with VPN
InFoTel has made a video on how to use Telegram with a VPN in case it’s blocked.
You can find it below:
Why Free VPNs for Telegram Are a Bad Idea
Privacy, unfortunately, demands investment, since cybersecurity services make money by either collecting payment from users like you or by collecting your data which they then sell to advertisers.
Seemingly “free” VPN services tend to do the latter, since they have the capacity to see your activities.
It’s not that different from what Facebook tends to do with your data, in fact.
Telegram doesn’t have any annoying adverts, but if you use a free VPN, you just might, which would make the whole thing quite inconvenient.
Free VPN services also offer a limited range of servers, which might be inconvenient if you want to use Telegram.
Their encryption standards are also lower than those of paid VPNs.
It’s also been found that some of them even have malware.
Simply put, using Telegram with a free VPN isn’t the best idea if you truly want to ensure your activities are private and your data isn’t being sold.
Is It Legal To Use VPN for Telegram Access?
Short answer – yes.
Long answer – usually, users of VPN services aren’t targets of restrictive governments. Rather, it’s the services themselves or the search engines.
So, it might be possible that you’d have to do some trial-and-error research before finding a VPN that works in your country if you want to access Telegram.
All the options I tested had their own advantages and drawbacks.
But to me, the clear winner is NordVPN.
With its speed, security, simple instructions, and user-friendly interface, as well as the possibility to use 6 devices at a time, I’m glad I decided to invest in three years of keeping my Telegram activities secure.