Which websites and services are banned in Russia?

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Russia has significantly expanded laws and regulations, tightening control over internet infrastructure, online content, and communications privacy, Human Rights Watch said today. If carried out to their full restrictive potential, the new measures will severely undermine the ability of people in Russia to exercise their human rights online, including freedom of expression and freedom of access to information.

“Russian authorities’ approach to the internet rests on two pillars: control and increasing isolation from the World Wide Web,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe, and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government has built up an entire arsenal of tools to reign over information, internet users, and communications networks.”

Websites and Services Banned in Russia

Today, many sites and services are inaccessible in Russia by Roskomnadzor, the federal censorship department. It is no wonder that VPNs have become such a popular software piece for residents and visitors to download.

A cloud instant messaging application whose messages are extremely encrypted and can self-destruct, Russia blocked Telegram from 2018 until June 2020 because the business failed to give the government access to their encrypted messages database. The ban was finally lifted because the company agreed to help with extremism investigations.

BlackBerry

One more company that fell foul of Russian authorities for having a strict security policy is Blackberry. Its sites were outlawed in 2017 because the group wouldn’t turn over consumer data to Roskomnadzor. The block was shocking news for Blackberry devices owners because they could no longer access their online accounts.

LinkedIn

Another part of law directed at clamping down on prohibited content is the condition that companies that store data about Russian residents must keep it on servers found within Russia’s borders.

LinkedIn declined to comply (although they have done so in response to comparable rules in China), and as a result, it has been banned in Russia since 2016.

ProtonMail

Email service ProtonMail has a reputation for being the most secure email service provider with end-to-end encryption of all emails. Not being able to access the content of emails sent via the platform has become a problem for Russian authorities, who claim that the service has been used to send anonymous fake bomb threats that have led to numerous mass evacuations of Russian public buildings.

Also see: Netflix Proxy Error Code M7111-5059 – Quick Fix in 2020

How a VPN Can Help You Unblock Banned Content In Rusia

A VPN is a simple form of technology that gives you access to blocked content by redirecting your IP connection to a server that’ll not be affected by the restrictions imposed on your current location.

All you’d need to do is select the location, choose to connect, and all the available content in that region will be accessible to you. As an added benefit, you also get to keep your data private, even from government agencies, through complete encryption.

How to Use a VPN to Workaround Russian Ban

By using a VPN, you can easily change your IP address to any country IP address where your desired content is available, and you don’t have to be very tech-savvy to do it. Here’s how you can get-around Russian ban using a VPN:

  1. Sign-up with a VPN service provider that has servers spread across the world, like NordVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN app that works best with your device. Most VPNs will have apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
  3. Launch the app and sign-in with your account.
  4. Pick a server of the country where your favorite content is available and connect to it.

Is VPN Safe?

VPN’s main work is to add an extra layer of privacy and security to your online activities. In other words, you’re safer with a VPN than without it. All your Internet traffic is encrypted. Neither your ISP, hackers, or government agencies can eavesdrop on what you are doing online. That is as long as you are using a reputable VPN provider.

Unfortunately, not all VPN services have their users’ safety at heart. This especially applies to free VPNs like Hola. Instead of shielding their user’s Internet privacy and safety, they sell your private data and even bandwidth to third parties. You have to realize that all your traffic will pass through that server once you connect to a VPN server.

The bottom line is that a VPN is safe as long as you use the right VPN provider.

Best VPNs For Russia

Having decided that you need a VPN service to better do your work online better, the next step would be choosing which company you should sign up with. To help you out on this one, I’ve come up with a list of my top 5 recommendations. Have a look at the ones I think will serve you best:

1. NordVPN

VPN
NordVPN
Location
Panama
Servers
5,800+ in 59 Countries
Price
3.71$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
30 days
Website
  • Double encryption for added security
  • Automatic kill switch
  • A variety of platform support
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • 3-Day free trial
Get 68% off NordVPN (drops the price down to $3.71 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the NordVPN review for more test results and analysis.)

2. ExpressVPN

VPN
ExpressVPN
Location
British Virgin Islands
Servers
3,000+ in 94 Countries
Price
8.32$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
30 days
  • Unlimited Bandwidth with Ultra Speed
  • Provides all VPN protocols OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP
  • Dedicated VPN Apps for Android & iOS
  • High-End Security with OpenVPN 256-bits
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • 3 simultaneous connections
Get 35% off ExpressVPN (drops the price down to $8.32 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the ExpressVPN review for more test results and analysis.)

3. Surfshark

VPN
Surfshark
Location
British Virgin Islands
Servers
1,700+ in 63+ Countries
Price
2.49$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
30 days
Website
  • AES 256-Bit Network Encryption
  • Chrome Extension Available
  • Kill-Switch functionality
  • A variety of platform support
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
Get 81% off Surfshark (drops the price down to $2.49 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the Surfshark review for more test results and analysis.)

4. CyberGhost

VPN
CybberGhostVPN
Location
Bucharest, Romania
Servers
6,200+ in 87+ Countries
Price
2.75$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
45 days
  • Uses AES 256 Encryption
  • Supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP
  • DNS & IP Leak Protection
  • Uses 2048 Key & MD5 Authentication
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • Up to 7 Simultaneous Connections
Get 79% off CybberGhostVPN (drops the price down to $2.75 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the CybberGhostVPN review for more test results and analysis.)

5. Private Internet Access

VPN
Private Internet Access
Location
United States
Servers
3,320+ in 30+ Countries
Price
2.85$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
7 days
  • Offers all Protocols PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec including SOCKS5 Proxy
  • IPv6 Leak Protection & DNS Leak Protection
  • Kill-Switch functionality
  • Encrypted Wi-Fi Protection
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • 10 simultaneous connections
Get 71% off PIA (drops the price down to $2.85 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the PIA review for more test results and analysis.)

Conclusion

The challenges that Russians face in regards to their privacy rights are not unique to them alone, as there are countries where the level of censorship is much higher. There have also been consequences of trying to neglect the restrictions imposed by their government.

These restrictions could have been avoided had they relied on a VPN service and worked under anonymity. NordVPN is one of the services that would’ve guaranteed them both privacy and security online. Sign up with them for the fastest connections & the strongest levels of encryption. Once you do, let us know how it went for you in the comment section below.  

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