If you’re a privacy advocate, then you’ve heard about Signal – a free end-to-end encrypted message app which gained popularity after receiving praise from the well-known whistleblower Edward Snowden. Although the app’s download numbers aren’t as impressive as other messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram, we’re sure this is going to change soon. Not only is Signal open sourced but it also provides self-destructing messages, stores almost no information, and doesn’t run ads. In short, if you’re looking for a way to safely message people without worrying about government surveillance or hackers, Signal is the app to use.
Best VPN Services for Signal of 2020
|Editor's Choice 2020|
Signal is available worldwide and, since it’s not as mainstream as some of its competitors, it’s still accessible in some countries with strict censorship policies like China. Despite this, there are a few countries where Signal has been blocked, such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, and Iran. Fortunately, Signal developers designed a workaround for you to use the app in these locations. They added domain fronting to their service, allowing users to circumvent censorship by making it look like they’re connecting to a different service.
Unfortunately, this is not something that you can expect to work forever. Initially, Signal used Google App Engine to apply this workaround. After Google decided to stop domain fronting for all countries, Signal turned to Amazon CloudFront. Sadly, Amazon also announced that it will make changes to prevent domain fronting, and Signal is still trying to figure out another way to enable people from censored countries to access the app. However, you can always use a VPN.
VPNs are known for overcoming geographic restrictions and protecting their users’ privacy from hackers and the government. That’s why in heavily censored countries, such as Russia and China, it’s of utmost importance to use one. That’s also true for other secure apps, especially when it comes to communication. You want to make sure nothing you say gets stored in a company’s server that can easily be handed to the government or get hacked by cyber criminals. But how do you use these applications if they’re blocked? That’s where VPNs come into play.
With VPNs, you can select a specific location from a wide array of countries located all over the world. The software creates an end-to-end encrypted connection between your device and the VPN’s server, allowing you to trick websites, apps, or ISPs into thinking you’re accessing them from another region. This is a standard procedure for anyone that wants to access streaming services unavailable in their countries. Crucially, VPNs can also change your app store location enabling you to download (and use) apps that aren’t ordinarily accessible in your country, including Signal.
Recommended VPNs for Signal
Considering that you’re getting a VPN to use Signal in countries where it’s banned, you want to make sure you get the top guns. Although it’s a bit more expensive, it’s essential to use software that won’t leak your actual location for even a fraction of a second.
NordVPN is a user-friendly VPN that has over 5,000 servers located in more than 60 countries. It provides fast speeds across the board, and it allows you to select servers dedicated to P2P and streaming. More importantly, NordVPN offers some of the best security features on the market. You can obviously count on industry-standard features, such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection, but the software goes a step further by providing unique double data encryption, which applies AES-256-CBC twice to data transferred between supported servers. In other words, NordVPN is a digital fortress that will let you bypass any firewalls and use Signal securely without worry. Prices start at $4.08 per month, and you can test everything through the 7-day free trial.
Although Surfshark is a more recent addition to the market, it quickly became one of the most popular VPNs due to its comprehensive features. On top of offering a kill switch function and a malware tracker, the app includes a built-in diagnostic feature and allows you to enable double encryption. Although the latter slows the connection considerably, it’s something to be aware of when you need extra security. What’s more, to help people from VPN-restricted countries overcome these constraints, Surfshark provides a ‘No Borders’ mode, which enables a special list of servers that can bypass more restricted firewalls like the one in China. The best part is that you can get Surfshark for as low as $1.99 per month by taking advantage of the company’s recurring discounts.
ExpressVPN might be one of the most expensive VPNs on the market, but it’s also one of the best. The company has over 160 server locations in more than 90 countries and provides best-in-class encryption. The software comes with a kill switch, zero-knowledge DNS, split tunneling, and is known for being one of the few that still work in China. This means that you can be sure that it will bypass any restrictions your country has in place. You can get ExpressVPN for as low as $8.32 per month, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee available, so you can try the VPN to your heart’s content risk-free.