Telegram is one of the many cloud-based instant messaging services, created by a team of Russian engineers who chose Dubai as the location of their headquarters for regulatory reasons. When asked what the main reason is for going with this app, users usually refer to the end-to-end encryption available on the so-called Secret Chat. This unique feature provides encrypted keys that are automatically destroyed over time, thus preventing man-in-the-middle attackers.
However, the app’s security protocol still raises some eyebrows, which is not helped by the fact that no competent authority has proven its reliability yet. In fact, security, the very thing stressed by the company, was one of the main reasons that led to the blocking of the app in certain countries. And to pour more salt to the wound, Telegram is most likely to face yet more blocks and bans in a near future, too.
Luckily, users still can get around these nonsensical blocks and come out on top regardless of their physical location. And all that needs to be done is opting for another service keen on encrypting connections: a VPN.
The first country to ban Telegram was Iran back in 2015: the reason why restrictions against the app entered into effect is that users shared satirical comments targeting the Iranian government. In fact, the ‘vendetta’ against Telegram went so far that by May 2017 the entire service was completely blocked within the borders of Iran. Shortly after the Iranian ban on Telegram was announced, other countries followed as well: Bahrain, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and China also declared war against the app.
Not surprisingly, all of the above countries had political motivations behind the decision, particularly China. In fact, Beijing banned the app following a Chinese newspaper article that ‘exposed’ human rights lawyers using the service to criticize the government and the ruling communist party. However – and thankfully – not all bans proved to be that powerful: some countries lifted bans entirely (e.g. Indonesia), while in other places it remains just partially blocked by some ISPs.
The Reasons for Blocking Telegram
It’s not hard to guess why countries with repressive regimes ban apps like Telegram: by using strong end-to-end encryption, it becomes virtually impossible for governments to monitor their citizens on that platform.
Strong encryption can indeed be useful, but there were some unexpected consequences, the most terrifying of which is that the terrorist group ISIS started using Telegram. The company immediately blocked dozens of public channels operated by ISIS in November 2015, but it proved to be too late: the terrorists carried out their deadly attacks in Paris that, according to a statement by CNN, were planned using Telegram. Although this was just a coincidence, the incident was more than enough for Russian communications regulator Roscomnadzor to announce that the country would likely block the app, too.
But it’s not just censorship and terrorism that could cut a service’s life short. Telegram, like any other similar app, is a way for people to communicate easily and without being spied upon. So there will surely be employers or schools that will add the app to a blacklist to keep their workers and students focused on their chores – even in countries like the U.S.
Best VPN Services for Telegram of 2018
Fortunately, a VPN can easily get around geographical blocks on Telegram in all countries – with the exception of China that continues its relentless battle against VPN services.
Although Telegram is available for computers and mobile devices, most users install it on the latter, meaning that you should look for a VPN suitable for mobile devices. Luckily, finding such a service is not hard at all, since many VPN companies already created their own native apps for devices running iOS, Android or even Windows Phone. Most of these apps look and work exactly like the desktop clients, which is a huge help since everything works in the same way as it does on a computer.
Telegram users living in or visiting countries affected by the blocks can enjoy the messaging app without restrictions by simply launching the VPN application, choosing a place where Telegram is not blocked and connecting to the selected server. VPNs are also quite useful when accessing a public Wi-Fi network: thanks to the encrypted connections VPN apps prevent your online sessions from being visible to other users in the same network. In simpler words, no one would be able to snoop on the chats you have on Telegram. Not to mention, public networks are a melting pot of hackers and other kind of attackers waiting for the right occasion to steal your credit card information or email password, so a VPN app is a must to effectively keep these wrongdoers out.
Recommended VPNs for Telegram
IPVanish is one of the world’s best VPN services that deserved a top spot on Best Reviews for very good reasons. For starters, it aces the unblocking of apps thanks to its wide server network, composed of 850+ servers in over 60 countries. Since IPVanish supports many platforms, unblocking Telegram is easy as pie: you can download the client for computers from the company’s site or the mobile app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, or you can opt for a manual setup using the well-rounded setup guides. IPVanish’s connections are perfectly secure, as the program provides not only AES-256 military-grade encryption but also all major security protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec and more.
Subscription plans are available for as low as $6.49 per month. All purchases are backed by a seven-day money back guarantee, there isn’t a free trial or free version of IPVanish available.
NordVPN can be considered the grand master of security in what VPNs are concerned. In fact, the service sports an extraordinary network of 1,590 servers spread across 61 countries. Additionally, NordVPN provides anti-DDoS, Onion over VPN, and something not all top-tier VPN providers use: double encryption. This means that once you’re connected to one of the so-called Double VPN servers, your information is encrypted twice: in other words, it’s impossible for anyone to decipher your connections. NordVPN has apps developed for computers (Windows and Mac), as well as for mobile devices running iOS and Android, making it ideal for Telegram users.
There are several subscription plans to choose from, but the best offer is the annual plan that costs $5.75 per month.
ExpressVPN’s is yet another great competitor with a gigantic server network consisting of over 1,700 servers spread across 145 cities in 94 countries. Computer and mobile apps are basically the same, and can be up and running in only a couple of minutes. Thanks to the app’s straightforward nature, your encrypted connection will start right after the desired server is chosen, giving you access to any blocked online content, including Telegram. To ensure the safety of these connections at all times, ExpressVPN relies on the high-standard AES-256 encryption and the best protocols in the market.
Subscriptions start from $8.32 per month.