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 and freedom!
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 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.
- 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 ✓.
- 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 ✕.
- 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 ✕.
- 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✓
- 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 check points. These are:
- Accessable 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, 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 the 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 reqired to keep any logs. The log files covers your IP address, browsing history, total internet traffic, session information, and connection timestamps. In other words, SurfShark is an amazing solution to deal with Turkey 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 smooth online experience. According to 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 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 all of these features starting from 1.99$/month…
- It works with all three Turkish ISPs (Turkcell, Türk Telekom, Vodafone)
- Strict no-log policy
- 1000+ servers in 60+ countries
- Superfast connection with dedicated streaming servers
- Unlimited simultaneous connection and traffic
- Unique “CleanWeb” feature to block ads and trackers on all your devices.
- Limited protocol options
- Desktop software is not user-friendly
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular paid VPN service for Turkey. Even it was blocked several times the company manages to operate under mirror website. Therefore, if any version of ExpressVPN site is blocked, you will be directed to the latest and working option.
We made sure ExpressVPN is always accesssiable in Turkey. However, there is an issue. Unfotunately, ExpressVPN cannot bypass Turkcell/Superonline ban. It only works with Türk Telekom and Vodafone.
ExpressVPN is one another British Virgin Island based VPN provider. Just like SurfShark ExpressVPN does not keep any logs either and it is proven in this article. Besides adopting no log policy, ExpressVPN runs all its infrastructure on RAM disk -which makes logging impossible on the server side.
Along with Disk RAM infrastructure, ExpressVPN offers average speed performance according to our review. While the service is recommended for daily usage and streaming videos abroad; P2P server performance may let you down. If you are not happy with the server performance, try connecting to another server and use a less secure protocol.
Lastly, ExpressVPN servers in more than 90 countries will help you stream your favorite shows in Turkey. I have been using the service since 2013 and ExpressVPN is one of the rarest VPN providers bypassing Netflix and BBC iPlayer bans easily.
Under 30 day moneyback protection, you can purchase ExpressVPN starting from 6.67$/month.
- Accessible in Turkey and works with Turktelekom and Vodafone
- Proven no-log VPN provider
- Decent speed for daily usage
- 5 simultaneous connection
- 3000+ servers in more than 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 in 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 extention.
Now that we have full understanding of the NordVPN’s connectivity issue. It is time to move forward to log policy.
Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN is also 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 encyrption, NordVPN offers acceptable speed performance to us. As for the 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 test, make sure to visit 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 functionaly of this feautre with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Under 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
- Audited no log policy
- Covers 50+countries with 5000+ servers
- Dedicated streaming servers
- Does not work with Turkcell/Superonline (You have to use browser extention)
- 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 access 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 “OpenVPN – Scramble” feature in the settings menu, you will be able to bypass the censorship. As for the Türk Telekom and Vodafone users, you do not have to worry about anything.
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. With StrongVPN, bypassing censorship and accessing 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 30 day moneyback guarantee.
- Accessible in Turkey and works with all internet providers
- No activity logs
- Simultaneous connection up to 12 devices
- Super fast VPN service
- Several VPN protocol options
- A bit pricy
- US based company. Keep 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 in Turkey.
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 in our list. With 256 bit strong encrption, 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. We get only get 30 countries. 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$/month, we will get 10 simultaneous connection, free NAT firewall, Ad Blocker, P2P allowed servers and unlimited traffic. Make your choice after evaluating the pros and the cons of this service.
- Cheapest accessible and working option for Turkey
- No log policy
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Acceptable speed performance
- Free NAT firewall and ad blocker
- Buggy apps and inconsistent speed performance
- Not recommended for Netflix fans
Understand VPN ban and censorship in Turkey
We used to use Google DNS servers to bypass censorship. Yet, a few years back, almost all of the free DNS servers were blocked by the ISP and they are not usable now.
The hunger for accessing blocked websites in Turkey increased so much that this led people to new alternatives: VPN and Proxy services.
Even though the main purpose of the VPN services is to encrypt your data, it can also be used to bypass censorship as it changes your IP address and makes you invisible in the online world.
Now in Turkey, millions of people prefer to use VPN services to access:
- Adult content and apps
- Betting and gambling websites etc…
Before listing the companies, we need to understand the problem behind the VPN blockage.
When did all start?
From the very beginning, it has been forbidden to access adult, betting and gambling websites. Such URLs were blocked by a single judge verdict and this still persists. As of late 2013, Turkey faced plenty of political crisis. That extended the censorship to social media: Youtube and Twitter.
Yet! How can a website be blocked without a verdict?
It all started with BTK (Bilgi Teknoloji Kurumu). The government gave all the strings to a couple of people to keep an eye on the internet. When they decide if something is not proper for the internet, all they have to do ask the ISP to block it. If the ISP does not abide by the decision, it might be fined for 50.000$.
Now in Turkey BTK can block any website it wants for a while or forever without having a judging verdict! Pretty easy ha!
BTK head says:
- …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…
Now that we do understand the problem. It is the right time to show off the five best VPN providers for Turkey. All these providers meet our overall expectations depicted below…
Before jumping into the list, there is one last thing you have to be careful about. In Turkey, there are three ISP providers: Turkcell, Turk Telekom, and Vodafone.
Besides the BTK filter, each provider has different VPN blocking systems. The hardest provider to bypass is Turkcell, followed by Vodafone and lastly, Turk Telekom.
If you are not sure which provider you are using, make sure to check whoismyisp.org.
Now that we know our ISP, it is time to pick VPN services.back to menu ↑
Why you need a VPN in Turkey?
There are several areas where you can use a VPN service in Turkey. Besides encrypting your data, a good VPN can kill your online experience headache pretty fast. Yet, how?
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.
Access any website you want
All of the gambling, betting, adult websites, as well as Wikipedia, are blocked at the moment. By using a VPN service, you can change your local IP address to another one and bypass this censorship easily.
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 filters.
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.
We now know how we can make use of a VPN service in Turkey. Furthermore, you might ponder if you will get into trouble when you use a VPN…back to menu ↑
Using a VPN in Turkey – Legal or illegal?
Do not let anything scare you while using a VPN service in Turkey. Even the government put a lot of effort to apply filters to some websites, using a VPN service is totally legal in Turkey as the banks, universities and the government itself uses for security purposes. Furthermore, there is no law related to VPN usage. Thus, there is nothing to worry about.
Yet, there is one and only problem in Turkey. By a new law passed on 9/11/2016, ISPs are being forced by a new law to take action if demanded by the Government or BTK. In short, authorities may ask ISPs to block VPN sites/protocols or throttle social media.
Censorship in Turkey peaked at the worst level. Blocked websites, two years of data retention law, social media throttling are only a few examples of the censorship we are exposed to. As an alternative solution to censorship, VPN service providers gained so much popularity. However, the government took further action and forced ISP (Vodafone, Turk Telekom, Turkcell) to block VPNs and make the VPN service connection impossible.
PureVPN, VyperVPN, CyberGhost, IVacy, HotSpotShield, Zenmate, IPVanish, Private Internet Access are some of the important providers currently blocked and you cannot use them under any circumstance. On the other hand, there are few other providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Perfect Privacy, StrongVPN, SurfShark working without any troubles. Still, some of them might also be blocked with different ISPs. That is why I wrote down detailed follow-up notes for each provider.
Now that we know which VPN works in Turkey, I also mentioned how a VPN can help you during your holiday. With a reliable provider, you can access any website you want, bypass booking.com blockage, prevent data retention law, and overcome social media throttling.
Note: If there is any case these services are not working properly, we will be updating our article and give you the most current, working URLs of the services.
Zenmate Hotspot Tunnel Bear Hola VPN PrivateInternet VyprVPN CyberGhost IPVanish
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.