Are VPNs Legal or Illegal in 2024? Detailed Guide on VPN Laws

Updated on March 22, 2024
Are VPNs Legal or Illegal in 2024? Detailed Guide on VPN Laws

VPNs are the best tool for protecting your online privacy and digital freedom. Nevertheless, many people debate about the legality of a VPN and how safe it is to use. 

It is legal and safe to use a VPN in most countries like the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.  However, there are certain regions where using a VPN is restricted because, apparently, they want to keep track of users’ online activity and maybe because they do not want to provide their citizens the digital freedom they deserve. 

How Does a VPN Work?

When you connect to a VPN server, your device and the internet connection are secured, and your traffic is encrypted. Also, your original IP and DNS are masked, and you are assigned the IP and DNS of the server you have connected to. 

This way, you become anonymous online, and no one can track your activity or control your bandwidth. 

Start Protecting Your Privacy...

Get AstrillVPN
Get AstrillVPN

How safe are VPNs?

A reliable VPN provider like Astrill is always safe because it has top-notch safety features and military-grade encryption. It protects the users’ privacy by making them anonymous over the web and protecting them from malware and hackers.

Another level of VPN safety prevents your ISP from tracking your activity and allows you to bypass ISP throttling. Many ISPs and free VPNs also track user activity and keep data logs. They sell it to advertisers, government agencies, and other data-mining companies to earn huge profits. However, AstrillVPN does not keep any logs nor track your activity, allowing you to surf the web freely. 

No Logs policy 

It is important to consider a VPN’s logging policy to determine whether it is safe to use or not. Unfortunately, there have been instances where VPN providers have been caught keeping records of users’ online activity and selling them to third parties such as advertisers and law enforcement agencies. 

People use VPNs to maintain their online privacy and anonymity, which can only be achieved if their VPN service does not track their activity. AstrillVPN is a top choice for those who value online privacy and anonymity because Astrill has a strict no-logs policy. This means that AstrillVPN does not track or store any information about your online activity, allowing you to browse the internet without worrying about being tracked or monitored. 

Strong Encryption

A VPN that doesnot provide strong encryption is not safe because encryption is the most important point of using a VPN. AstrillVPN uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to protect users’ data. This is the best in class encryption right now, ensuring that your traffic is impenetrable and you are safe and secure online. 

Dedicated IPs

By using a dedicated IP, you can browse the internet anonymously and use sensitive services such as online banking without the fear of getting blacklisted. Additionally, having a dedicated IP makes it easier to bypass intrusive CAPTCHAs and access other websites sensitive to IP addresses. This ensures that your internet activities are more reliably controlled. Another benefit of using a virtual private network (VPN) to obtain a dedicated IP address is the ability to bypass geo-restricted websites.

AstrillVPN makes the life of users easy as it offers Dedicated IPs that work with all of its security protocols and you can use it on all of your devices. With AstrillVPN’s dedicated IP address, you can have a unique IP address of your own and you can have true digital freedom. 

Where Are VPNs Legal?

VPNs are legal almost everywhere worldwide, including the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and almost all across Europe. In simpler terms, the countries that value users’ privacy and online freedom do not ban VPN use. Countries like Turkey, Iraq, Russia, etc., are involved in online surveillance and censorship, which is why they have banned VPN use. 

However, how you use the VPN can be a different thing! If you use a VPN to engage in illicit activity, you’ll face legal implications. The countries where using a VPN is restricted or banned, claim that VPNs are mainly used for illegal activities, which is why they have such a stance over it. 

Countries where VPNs are Illegal

Some countries have banned the use of VPNs straight away, while some regions have a bit different stance and have restricted the use of a VPN. Countries where the use of a VPN is ‘restricted’ rather than being banned or termed illegal. 

This restriction means that they are legal if the VPNs meet specific requirements. These requirements are exactly the things that a VPN protects the user from, and asking the VPNs to adhere to these requirements is something that makes a VPN useless. These requirements are related to collecting users’ data and tracking their activity. 

VPNs are the tools that ensure users’ privacy, but when authorities term their legality with certain requirements, the use of a VPN becomes unreasonable. 

are vpns legal

Following are the countries where using a VPN is illegal, but if you are using a premium VPN like Astrill, then you will find virtual servers from these regions as well:

1. China

In China, only the VPNs approved by the Government are legal. The Government approves VPNs that provide data logs and backdoor access.

China has set up a great filter that blocks VPNs, known as the Great Firewall. It not only blocks VPN access but also maintains censorship. Astrill VPN has the capability of bypassing the Great Firewall and providing access to the users to censored content and apps. Astrill VPN does not comply with nor believes in adhering to any of the requirements of the Chinese government, yet it has the capability of working perfectly in China. 

2. Russia

Russian ISPs block the websites of VPN providers as well as their affiliates. Just like in China, only the VPNs that are approved by the Government are allowed in Russia. They restricted VPN access back in 2017, and only the VPNs that are approved by the government are allowed to operate in the region. The approval from the government of Russia is only given to the VPN providers who are involved in data logging, which is something that is against user privacy. 

3. Turkey

VPNs are not illegal in Turkey but are restricted to keeping track of user activity to prevent terrorism. In Turkey, many social media platforms are also blocked for the prevention of terrorism and anti-government campaigns. Only a few VPNs including Astrill are allowed to operate in Turkey, providing government users’ activity logs.

4. Iraq

The country does not believe in online freedom and has banned the use of VPNs. Anyone found using a VPN is punished or fined but not as heavily as in China or Belarus. Iraq has imposed online censorship to a great extent. They have banned VPNs and placed censorship to prevent terrorist organizations from influencing the public. 

5. Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan’s ISPs block all proxies and VPNs, as they are banned and illegal in the country. The country has banned the use of VPNs in order to censor international media. Also, the internet is purposefully costly in the country, in order to deter people from utilizing it. 

The authorities keep thorough checks on the people and track their online activity. Anyone found using a proxy or a VPN is fined by the government. 

6. North Korea

The government of North Korea prohibits VPN usage and constantly monitors internet access. The country has an intranet and the people can use only that, which allows the government to spy on people easily. To stop people from accessing foreign media, the government of North Korea has termed using a VPN illegal. 

7. UAE

VPN use is restricted in the UAE, not banned or termed illegal. However, if you are using a VPN for any illegal activity, you will be slapped with a hefty fine of $136,129. The reason for the VPN restriction is unclear, but the UAE government does not encourage people to use VPNs. 

8. Oman

The Sultanate approves only a few VPN providers, and the rest are banned. Mainly the corporate VPNs are bound to maintain activity logs. The use of a personal VPN is banned in Oman to prevent people from accessing censored content. Anyone found using a VPN is fined $1,300, less than UAE. 

9. Iran

VPNs that are approved by the government of Iran or in other words, VPNs that monitor the users’ and keep their logs, are legal in Iran. You can go to prison for one year if you try using a VPN that is not approved by the state. 

10. Egypt

VPNs are not illegal in Egypt, but their use is restricted. If you use them for accessing blocked websites, then you might face jail time or hefty fines. The authorities have restricted the use of VPNs in Egypt to bypass censorship. 

11. Belarus

In Belarus, using a VPN is termed illegal as they believe it is a way of stopping anti-government information from circulating online. Anyone who tries to use a VPN in Belarus is fined heavily. 

How do countries enforce VPN bans?

There are a few different methods by which countries enforce VPN bans, like:

Technological Countermeasures

VPN providers continually develop new technologies and protocols to circumvent VPN bans. They may employ techniques such as obfuscation, where VPN traffic is disguised to appear as regular internet traffic, making it difficult for authorities to detect and block VPN usage effectively.

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

Some countries use DPI to analyze and categorize data packets passing through their networks. However, DPI can be resource-intensive and may not be foolproof, as VPN traffic can be encrypted, making it challenging to differentiate from other types of internet traffic.

Blocking VPN Servers

Governments may attempt to block access to VPN servers by blacklisting known VPN IP addresses or domain names. However, VPN providers can quickly switch to new IP addresses or domain names, making this approach ineffective in the long term.

Legal Measures

Some countries have enacted laws or regulations that penalize individuals or businesses found to be using or providing VPN services in violation of government restrictions. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, or other legal consequences.

Cooperation with ISPs

Governments may compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to VPN websites or throttle VPN traffic. However, this approach may face opposition from ISPs or encounter technical challenges.

Is it Safe to Use a VPN server located in a Country that Restricts VPNs?

Since regulations regarding virtual private networks (VPNs) vary per nation, it’s important to research any applicable restrictions before establishing a VPN connection there. Using a virtual private network (VPN) when physically present in a nation where doing so is prohibited is not the same as connecting outside of that country. You should still ensure that, even if a VPN is blocked, you can connect to a server in the nation in question.

It is impossible to tell what limitations will be in effect in a nation, even if your VPN client offers servers there.

The VPN’s logging policy is another important factor to think about. The VPN provider you use should not keep any records of your activity, as this would violate the “no logs policy” by the VPN provider. If your VPN doesn’t keep logs of your activity, then your data is safe from being stored or sold. 

In spite of the VPN service’s logging policy, data sharing may be mandated by some nations. Always ensure you comply with the laws of the nation in which your VPN server is located.

While most countries have some sort of VPN logging policy in place, individual countries have varying regulations regarding their use. Find a VPN not headquartered in one of the FVEY countries subject to data retention laws: the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. As a group, these five nations have more clout in demanding that VPNs hand over user data and more frequently share their online data.

Country that Restricts VPNs

Is it Legal to Download Content with a VPN?

One thing that needs to be understood is that using a VPN does not make your illicit actions any less criminal. Downloading movies, TV shows, music, games, and software via torrents is a known offense in almost all parts of the world. In Europe, it is illegal to download a file without the copyright holder’s consent, which is called piracy. 

Piracy is a growing concern as you can get pirated movies online for streaming. Popcorn Time, PrimeWire, and Kodi are unlawful sites where you can watch movies and TV shows online for free. Every country has its own set of rules, so it’s important to know the ones that apply to your location.

You can still be in trouble with the law if you download something without permission, even if you are using a VPN. No doubt that a VPN makes it more difficult for governments and other organizations to monitor your online activity, but it cannot make you completely invisible to authorities. Therefore, you should always give it some serious thought before deciding to watch a pirated movie or TV show on your computer.

What could happen if you use a VPN illegally?

There can be certain consequences that you might face for using a VPN illegally, like:

  • The ISP can bar your internet connection if they detect you using a VPN. 
  • You can be fined, as countries like Oman and UAE fine users found using a VPN. 
  • You can face jail time, as in countries like Iran and Egypt 

Is it legal and safe to use a VPN in the US and Canada?

Yes, it is completely legal and safe to use a VPN in the US and Canada. Various privacy regulation frameworks were also introduced in multiple US states, which enforce the use of a VPN.

Countries like the USA and Canada, value user privacy, allowing users to use a VPN and maintain their online privacy.  

Is using a VPN legal?

“Is VPN legal and can you get into trouble for using it?” is a question that you would see many people asking. The use of VPNs is legal in most countries, such as the US, UK, and Europe, and is recognized as an effective way to protect online privacy and security. However, VPN usage is banned in some countries like North Korea or Iraq, and those who violate the ban can face severe penalties. Moreover, the legality of VPNs can also depend on local laws and regulations.

While VPNs can offer numerous benefits, users should also be aware of the potential legal implications associated with their use. Engaging in activities such as streaming copyrighted content without proper authorization, participating in transactions on dark web marketplaces, or engaging in malicious activities such as hacking or cyberbullying could result in legal consequences, irrespective of VPN usage. Therefore, it’s important to understand and adhere to the laws and terms of service related to VPN usage to remain compliant and responsible online.

Is streaming with a VPN illegal?

Now that we have answered the question “Is VPN illegal or legal”, let us come to the point of whether streaming with a VPN is legal or not. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have different libraries of content depending on the region, due to the licensing agreements they have in place. Certain movies and TV shows may only be available to users in specific countries.

However, using a VPN can help you bypass these restrictions and access content from regions that are not available in your location. Although this is not illegal, it often violates the terms of service of the streaming platform, which can result in consequences such as having your account suspended or terminated.

How Streaming Platforms Restrict the Use of VPNs?

Streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and Hulu have smart VPN blockers. These VPN blockers cross-match the DNS and IP address of the user trying to access the service. If both of them match, then they grant access to the users, and if they do not correlate, then they detect that the user is using a VPN to access the service. 

Once the VPN blocker detects that a user is using a VPN, it instantly blocks the user’s access and blacklists that IP address. Astrill has the capability of bypassing this VPN blockage easily and enabling user access to the streaming service without being detected. 

Can the VPN server’s ISP track my activity?

The basic reason for using a VPN is to hide your activity from your ISP. However, the VPN server’s ISP can track your activity when you are connected to the VPN server. Nevertheless, if you use a reliable VPN like Astrill that does not keep user logs and has a strict no-logs policy, you do not have to worry about anything. 


The legality of a VPN has been made controversial by the countries that do not value user privacy and digital freedom. Every user has the right to use the internet the way they want to and should be given the right to privacy. 

Countries like Russia, China, Iran, Belarus etc. have banned the use of VPN because they think that this way they can control the anti-government narrative among the people.  They fail to understand that they are taking away people’s right to privacy. 

Astrill VPN advocates for the digital freedom of people and their right to online privacy. This is why we provide seamless and fast vpn service and top-notch safety of protocols to everyone, regardless of the country or profession. Astrill wants to empower people to overcome censorship and surveillance and enable them to use the internet as it should be.  

Are VPNs legal in China?

VPNs are legal in China, but their usage is heavily regulated by the government. While individuals and businesses can use VPNs for certain purposes such as accessing internal networks or conducting legitimate business activities, using VPNs to bypass China’s internet censorship (often referred to as the Great Firewall) and access blocked websites and services is illegal. The Chinese government actively monitors and blocks VPN services and penalties for unauthorized VPN usage can include fines, imprisonment, or other legal consequences. Only a few VPNs, such as AstrillVPN work in China effectively.

Is it illegal to use a VPN in Turkey?

VPN usage is legal in Turkey, but the government imposes restrictions on VPN services and their usage. Turkey has periodically blocked access to popular VPN providers and taken measures to prevent VPN usage for bypassing government censorship or accessing restricted content.

Is using a VPN to watch Netflix illegal?

Using a VPN to watch Netflix is not inherently illegal, but it may violate Netflix’s terms of service. Netflix employs geo-blocking technology to restrict access to content based on the user’s location. 

Was this article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!

About The Author

Arsalan Rathore

Arsalan Rathore is a tech geek who loves to pen down his thoughts and views on cybersecurity, technology innovation, entertainment, and social issues. He likes sharing his thoughts about the emerging tech trends in the market and also loves discussing online privacy issues.

No comments were posted yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Reload Image