Turkey is one of the rarest spots where you can enjoy four-season; inexpensive hotels and food; a mixture of culture and architecture. While you can get the taste of these opportunities freely, there are several situations worrying the travelers and ex-pats: your online privacy!
When you are in Turkey, you have to pay more attention to your privacy. According to the law, each website you visit has to be logged for at least two years. Furthermore, you cannot access any websites you want, as censorship is at its peak level at the moment.
In such a tough situation, I always prefer to use a VPN service to regain my privacy and bypass censorship in Turkey. Yet, there is one another problem. Turkey blocks VPNs!
Keeping this problem in mind, I have listed 5 best VPNs that really work in Turkey. However, pay attention to the pros and cons of the VPNs as each internet service providers block different VPNs.
If you do not like to read the whole article, here is the quick list of the best VPN services for Turkey.
1. SurfShark: Best of all. Budget-friendly, all in one solution. It works with all internet providers.
Website access ✓; No log ✓, Speed (Super Fast), Streaming servers ✓; Vodafone ✓, Türk Telekom ✓, Turkcell ✓.
2. ExpressVPN: Proven no-log policy. Worldwide server coverage. Not recommended for Turkcell users.
Website access ✓; No log ✓, Speed (Average), Streaming servers ✓; Vodafone ✓, Türk Telekom ✓, Turkcell ✕.
3. NordVPN: Amazing price/performance ratio. Dedicated apps for all platforms. Not recommended for Turkcell users.
Website access ✓; No log ✓, Speed (Average), Streaming servers ✓; Vodafone ✓, Türk Telekom ✓, Turkcell ✕.
4. StrongVPN: US-based provider. Limited coverage. It works with all internet providers*
Website access ✓; No log ✕, Speed (Super Fast), Streaming servers ✓; Vodafone ✓, Türk Telekom ✓, Turkcell✓
5. FastestVPN: Cheapest option. It works with all internet providers. Yet, the VPN apps may crash from time to time.
Website access ✓; No log ✓, Speed (Super Fast), Streaming servers ✕; Vodafone ✓, Türk Telekom ✓, Turkcell ✓
How to choose the best VPN for Turkey?
Choosing the right working VPN for Turkey is pretty hard. As a Turkish citizen, it is my job to lead to you the best options. To do so, I have enlisted several checkpoints. These are:
- Accessible websites: When you are in Turkey, the VPN website must be accessible. Otherwise, you cannot download proper apps or complete your purchase.
- VPN service is not blocked: Turkey started to block VPN connections. That is why we need providers whose servers are not blocked by ISPs.
- Clear log policy: In order to bypass 2 years of activity log law in Turkey, I made sure that you are using the right no-log provider.
- Speed performance: Good speed performance is a must. Otherwise, a slow VPN connection may ruin your online surfing and social media experience.
- Streaming servers: Our pick will help you enjoy streaming services, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, abroad.
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5 Best VPNs that really work in Turkey
SurfShark is not a well known, yet a working VPN solution in Turkey. Because of its being a new company, SurfShark has never been blocked by any ISPs. Therefore, you will have no issues accessing, purchasing and download their apps.
Furthermore, Surfshark features such as “NoBorder” and “ShowdowSocks” to bypass VPN bans in Turkey. As for now, we do not need them.
As SurfShark is founded in British Virgin Island, the company is not required to keep any logs. Therefore, your IP address, browsing history, total internet traffic, session information, and connection timestamps are in a blockhole. In other words, SurfShark is an amazing solution to deal with Turkey’s data retention law.
Because of data encryption, VPN may slow down your internet speed. So as to fix this problem, a decent VPN provider must have stable and fast servers. Only that way, we can have a smooth online experience. According to the recent speed test I ran with SurfShark, I got an average of 35+Mbps download and 10+ Mbps upload speed performance. This speed is good enough to download huge files and have a blazing fast online surfing experience.
Last but not least, SurfShark has dedicated streaming servers. When these servers are backed up with quality speed, it helps us watch our favorite shows in Turkey. Both Netflix and BBC iPlayer can be a good example of this.
What is more amazing is we can make use of all of these features starting from 1.99$/month.
- It works with all three Turkish ISPs (Turkcell, Türk Telekom, Vodafone)
- Strict no-log policy
- 1000+ servers in 60+ countries
- Superfast connection with dedicated streaming servers
- Unlimited simultaneous connection and traffic
- Unique “CleanWeb” feature to block ads and trackers on all your devices.
- Limited protocol options
- Desktop software is not user-friendly
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular paid VPN services in Turkey. Even it was blocked several times, the company manages to operate under a mirror website. Hence, if any version of the ExpressVPN site is blocked, you will be directed to the latest and working option.
We made sure ExpressVPN is always accessible in Turkey. However, there is an issue. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN cannot bypass the Turkcell/Superonline ban. It only works with Türk Telekom and Vodafone.
ExpressVPN is one another British Virgin Island-based VPN provider. Just like SurfShark ExpressVPN does not keep any logs either and it is proven in this article. Besides adopting a no-log policy, ExpressVPN runs all its infrastructure on RAM disk -which makes logging impossible on the server-side.
Along with Disk RAM infrastructure, ExpressVPN offers average speed performance according to our review. While the service is recommended for daily usage and streaming videos abroad; P2P server performance may let you down. If you are not happy with the server performance, try connecting to another server and use a less secure protocol.
Lastly, ExpressVPN servers in more than 90 countries will help you stream your favorite shows in Turkey. I have been using the service since 2013 and ExpressVPN is one of the rarest VPN providers bypassing Netflix and BBC iPlayer bans easily.
Under 30-day moneyback protection, you can purchase ExpressVPN starting from 6.67$/month.
- Accessible in Turkey and works with TurkTelekom and Vodafone
- A proven no-log VPN provider
- Decent speed for daily usage
- 5 simultaneous connection
- 3000+ servers in 90 countries
- Dedicated streaming servers
- One of the most expensive VPN in the market
- Does not work with Turkcell/Superonline users
- Poor P2P server performance
Panama based VPN provider, NordVPN is one another accessible and still working VPN provider for all Turkey ISPs. Yet, it does not work on all platforms.
First of all, if you are Türk Telekom and Vodafone user, you have to use NordVPN’s obfuscated servers. These obfuscated servers will make your connection look neutral. However, Turkcell/SuperOnline blocks all NordVPN connections. The only way to use NordVPN with Turkcell/Superonline is to connect to the VPN service through Google Chrome extension.
Now that we have a full understanding of the NordVPN’s connectivity issue. It is time to move forward to log policy.
Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN is also an offshore-based provider. This location sets the company free of data retention laws. Furthermore, NordVPN got its service audited by a third party company and shared it with its users.
Besides no-log policy and military-grade encryption, NordVPN offers acceptable speed performance to us. As for mobile users, the speed hits up to 30 MBps. However, you might not like the speed on your PC as it idles around 5 Mbps. For further performance tests, make sure to visit the NordVPN review.
Last but not least, NordVPN covers 50+ countries along with 5000+ servers. Such huge coverage will help you stream your local platforms abroad. NordVPN makes the streaming possible with its Smart DNS feature and I have approved the functionality of this feature with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Under a 30-day moneyback guarantee, you can have all these features starting from 3.49$/month and use NordVPN simultaneously with 6 of your smart devices.
- Accessible by all internet providers
- Works with Türk Telekom and Vodafone users (Only obfuscated servers)
- Audited no-log policy
- Covers 50+countries with 5000+ servers
- Dedicated streaming servers
- Does not work with Turkcell/Superonline (You have to use browser extension)
- Poor PC speed performance
- No protocol option
As it is not a popular VPN provider, ISPs in Turkey never targeted StrongVPN or blocked its apps. No matter what ISP you are using, you will be able to access the StrongVPN website, complete your purchase and download the service.
While the accessibility is not a problem, Turkcell/Superonline somehow blocks StrongVPN protocols. However, by enabling the “OpenVPN – Scramble” feature in the settings menu, you will be able to bypass the censorship. As for the Türk Telekom and Vodafone users, there is nothing to worry about.
Leaving the accessibility behind, StongVPN is a US-based provider operating under US jurisdiction. In other words, it has to keep users’ data. However, StrongVPN depicts they do not keep any activity logs. Just a friendly warning, do not engage in any illegal activity by using StrongVPN. Bypassing censorship and accessing the blocked website should be your main purpose.
One another thing I do not like about StrongVPN is the server coverage. The company provides VPN servers in 30 different countries. The coverage map may seem insufficient. However, you will love the speed! According to our detailed review, StrongVPN proved to be one of the fastest VPN services.
With the speed given, StrongVPN will help you have an amazing browsing and streaming experience. Yet, there is another important topic to cover. Even the VPN service worked with Netflix and BBC iPlayer, StrongVPN does not have dedicated streaming services. You might need to ask customer support in case the servers are blocked by the streaming platforms.
You can enjoy super-fast VPN experience with StrongVPN starting from 5.83$/month. You can use the service simultaneously up to 12 devices. In case you do not like the service, you are covered by a 30-day moneyback guarantee.
- Accessible in Turkey and works with all internet providers
- No activity logs
- Simultaneous connection up to 12 devices
- Superfast VPN service
- Several VPN protocol options
- A bit pricy
- US-based company. Keeps user data.
- No dedicated servers! You may not access Netflix or BBC iPlayer from time to time.
- Limited map coverage
FastestVPN is one another new VPN provider in the market. I have never encountered any news or tech blogs mentioning about their services. That is the reason FastestVPN’s website is still accessible in Turkey. Furthermore, FastestVPN works with all internet service providers.
What is more alluring about the company is FastestVPN’s jurisdiction. Based on Cymand Islands, FastestVPN does not keep any logs like any other provider on our list. With 256 bit strong encryption, you can bypass all censorship in Turkey and enjoy super-fast P2P experience.
So far, FastestVPN may appeal as an expressing option yet, we have problems. First of all the map coverage is not great. Secondly, do not let the word “fastest” fool you. FastestVPN offers inconsistent speed performance. According to our test, some servers might give you terrible speed performance.
Last but not least, FastestVPN’s streaming servers may let you down. It does not have dedicated servers and I could not watch Netflix US.
In case we go for FastestVPN for as low as 0.83$/month, we will get 10 simultaneous connections, free NAT firewall, AdBlocker, P2P allowed servers and unlimited traffic. Make your choice after evaluating the pros and cons of this service.
- Cheapest accessible and working option for Turkey
- No log policy
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Acceptable speed performance
- Free NAT firewall and ad blocker
- Buggy apps and inconsistent speed performance
- Not recommended for Netflix fans
Learn more about VPN ban and censorship in Turkey
A few years ago, the censorship in Turkey was so simple that we could use Google DNS to access any website we wanted. Yet, right after the 2013 scandal, the government took action and shut down access to Youtube and Twitter. Once the news websites started to publish VPN related articles to bypass such censorship, the DNS services and VPN companies became the number one target for BTK (Information and Technology Agency)
BTK created a unique filter (Turkish article) to block popular DNS resolvers and VPN providers. Right after the filter was ready, the government passed a law urging ISPs to apply this filter to their services. If any ISPs do not play by BTK rules, they might be fined for 50.000$
However, it was not enough! Blocking websites did not stop people from using alternative VPN services. BTK decided to block VPN connections by purchasing “Deep packet inspection” software from Sandvine. Türk Telekom (the biggest internet network in Turkey) was the first company trying this solution in 2014. Turkcell and Vodafone also joined the VPN fight in 2018.
As of today, each internet service provider in Turkey has to apply the BTK filter to their services and try to detect VPN connections. Related with the filter, BTK head adds up:
- …VPN apps, offering private access to blocked websites, can change their IP addresses and bypass methods. The very reason is that they are being used in this way: Bypassing censorship. This is a global problem. We took precautions on these apps and now we are testing new tools. Once the tests are done, we will move step by step…*
* Partial translation of Turkish news.
Here comes the most important question…
Why does Turkey go so hard on VPN services?
I will answer this question in the following topic. Probably you will understand why you should use a VPN service in Turkey.back to menu ↑
Why you need a VPN in Turkey?
Turkey is one of the most restricted countries when it comes to online freedom. The government wants you to access only to the information they see appropriate. If something is not in their interest, the service or the website will be inaccessible. Furthermore, they want to control your online activities so much that, they passed a bill** forcing ISPs to keep user logs for at least two years.
When we compile up all of the issues we are facing now, here is why we should use a VPN service in Turkey.
Using a VPN can help you:
Prevent ISP tracking
All of the websites you are visiting have to be stored by ISP in Turkey. When you use a VPN, your ISP cannot figure out which website you are visiting as your IP address is changed and your data is being encrypted. If privacy is your main concern in Turkey, a working, as well as no-log VPN, will be an amazing solution for you.
Accessing gambling and adult websites
Gambling is forbidden in Turkey. That is why you cannot access gambling sites during your visit. If you want to gamble with a local site (which is serving in your own country), you should connect to a local VPN server to bypass this restriction. This is the best and safest solution.
Furthermore, all ISPs have to block porn sites in Turkey. However, if you want to watch porn sites such as Xhamster, PornHub, RedTube in Turkey, simply connect to a VPN server deployed outside of Turkey. This will grant you access to all +18 sites.
BTK can slow down any website they want. After the Istanbul bombing in March 2016, and the assassination of Andrei Karlov, social media users experienced slowdowns on Twitter, Facebook, and youtube. In other words, BTK throttled the internet during that period. A VPN service can help you access any content you want by avoiding ISP throttling.
Lawyers of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (Tursab) say:
- Netherlands-based Booking.com was engaging in unfair competition in the marketing of hotels in Turkey.
When you visit booking.com from Turkey, you will get a notification that you cannot use it in Turkey. Using a VPN will help you change your Turkish IP address so that you can book your favorite hotel room as if you are in your hometown.
Access geo-restricted content
Enjoying the sun in Marmaris and want to access BBC.co.uk? then you must have a UK IP address, with the help of a VPN, you can easily switch your IP from TR to UK with a single click, and you can watch your favorite shows.
In this article, we took a close look at the best and working VPN services for Turkey. In order to come to the right conclusion, the first step was to find accessible VPN websites. Secondly, I downloaded and tested each provider with all internet service providers (Türktelekom, Turkcell/Superonline, and Vodafone). While you can use suggested VPNs with all providers, you may also need to use some techy features to bypass the VPN ban in Turkey.
Furthermore, I made sure that the VPN providers also offer additional features such as no-log policy, dedicated streaming servers and different kinds of protocols. Such features will help us stay away from two years of data retention law, bypass website censorship and watch streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer or HBO in Turkey.
Overall, SurfShark, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, StrongVPN, and FastestVPN turned out to be the best solutions. Still, please make sure you read the related topic as some VPN services may not work with Turkcell/Superonline providers.
*translated from original sources
** article is in local language
You cannot imagine how it feels living in a country where the censorship peaks to top level. That is why I decided to start VPNxD to fight for true online freedom not for my homeland but for all world. On VPNxD, I am responsible both for reviews and “how-to-do” articles.