In 2013, Turkey was labeled as “not free” by the Freedom House – a U.S.-based organisation that researches political freedom and human rights. That same year, 40 journalists were jailed for speaking out on controversial political subjects – 8 people more than in China that same year. A year later, Twitter’s transparency report showed that Turkey filed more requests to remove ‘inappropriate’ content than any other country in the world. It’s safe to say that Turkey’s censorship blocks are some of the strictest in the world, including those placed on streaming sites. Specifically, 114,000 websites were found to be blocked in Turkey, including YouTube (temporarily) in 2014.
Whether you are traveling to Turkey for work or are located there permanently, facing these regional blocks and restrictions can be tough. Massive websites have been blocked or throttled in the past, including Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia. In order to ensure that these blocks don’t affect you, you need a VPN. A VPN will not only pierce through the harshest geoblocks on streaming sites, but keep your data safe throughout the entire experience. In this article, we will cover how to choose the right VPN service, give you our top provider recommendations, and explain why a VPN will benefit you everywhere, especially in Turkey.
What to look for in a VPN for Turkey
With so many VPN services on the market, it’s important to know what you are looking for before you sign up for a service. In order to access blocked streaming sites from Turkey, several features are particularly crucial. For example, you will need a VPN with strong security: since many VPNs are blocked in Turkey, the service has to mask the fact that you are using a VPN and keep all your personal information protected. Below, we have outlined the most important features in a VPN for bypassing blocks on streaming sites in Turkey.
- Strong encryption – To make sure your data is never snooped on by the government, ISPs, or hackers, choose a service with strong encryption. 256-bit AES encryption is considered to be the industry’s gold standard.
- Logging policy – When VPN providers keep records of your online activity, there is always a chance that the logs will get into the hands of interested third parties, which is rarely a good thing. Therefore, it’s important that the VPN you choose has a solid no-logging or zero-logging policy which stores no information on your account.
- Server network – In short, the more nodes your VPN provider has, the more connection options you have both in terms of location and speed. To access a wide array of international content, choose a provider with a large server network.
- Fast connection – Since your aim is to access blocked streaming sites, speed is of prime importance. Choose a VPN service that places no restrictions on bandwidth, doesn’t use speed caps, and if possible, has no restrictions on server switching, while optimizing their encryption and routing processes to burden your connection with as little overhead as possible.
- Device availability – in order to enjoy the service on all your devices, opt for a provider with wide software availability.
Our top VPN recommendations for unblocking streaming sites in Turkey
Considering all the factors we have listed above, take a look at our VPN recommendations for unlocking streaming sites from Turkey in 2018.
ExpressVPN is considered to be one of the most reliable VPN providers in the industry. As suggested by the name, the service provides one of the fastest connections. With a network of 2,000+ servers in 94 countries, you have plenty of options when it comes to accessing banned or restricted websites from all around the world. With ExpressVPN, you get unlimited bandwidth, no speed caps or throttling, and no restriction on P2P or torrents, which will allow you to download content quickly. Despite the advanced speed features, ExpressVPN’s lightweight software is very user-friendly, and you will be barely be able to notice that the VPN is operating in the background.
For users in countries with strict internet laws, like Turkey, the good news is that ExpressVPN is just as focused on security as it is on speed. The service uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is considered to be the industry’s gold standard. Furthermore, encryption protocols include OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP, as well as PPTP and SSTP, which beats harsh censorship blocks over HTTPS port 443. The no-logging policy ensures that no records are kept on traffic, DNS requests, IP addresses, and even browsing history.
For more details, read our ExpressVPN review.
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NordVPN is a solid choice when it comes to ultimate protection and high levels of security. The service uses 256-bit AES encryption, which generates more combinations of keys than even the world’s strongest supercomputer could sort through. NordVPN also offers a special double encryption feature that puts your data through two layers of encryption, making it even more secure. Encryption protocols include UDP, TCP, PPTP, and SSTP, which is often a better choice for countries with harsh restrictions, like Egypt. NordVPN also has one of the most complete zero-logging policies on the market, which ensures that no logs are kept on anything from traffic to timestamps and IP addresses.
Despite its impressive privacy features, NordVPN is best known for its massive network consisting of 5,232 servers in 62 countries (at the time of writing). This is the biggest network in the industry, which means you will have a myriad of connection options in terms of IP addresses and fastest available speed. NordVPN also has speciality servers that are particularly appealing to advanced users. These include P2P servers, which optimize the connection for torrenting and downloading, and obfuscated servers, which mask the fact that you are using a VPN. These advanced features make NordVPN ideal for unblocking services like Netflix or Hulu.
Read our full NordVPN review for more information on the service.
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CyberGhost not only focuses on privacy and security, but also on providing its users with an easy-to-use app so that it can be a great service for everyday use. The minimalistic display will offer you to choose from six simple configuration profiles that automatically apply VPN settings based on the specific case. These profiles include “surf anonymously”, “torrent anonymously”, and “unblock streaming”. These profiles can then be customised with simple toggles: for example, if you want to exchange some speed for the toggle “block ads”, you can do so within a few moments.
Don’t let the user-friendly software fool you: CyberGhost is just as secure as it is simple. The service uses 256-bit AES encryption via OpenVPN, which makes your data virtually unbreakable. Furthermore, encryption protocols include UDP, TCP, IPSec, and PPTP. The provider’s no-logging policy is considered to be immaculate because it stores almost no logs at all. This means that none of your information will be stored where it can be found and investigated by ISPs or authorities. Additional security features include an automatic kill switch, which protect you from switching to an unencrypted connection without noticing, and an online tracking blocker, which makes you untraceable online.
Check out our full review of CyberGhost for more details on the service.
PrivateVPN earned its reputation as one of the most respectable VPN services in the industry. Firstly, all of PrivateVPN’s advanced features are available with every package, therefore you’ll be able to bypass regional blocks and remain secure online regardless of which subscription you decide to sign up for. Furthermore, PrivateVPN is great to stream content online due to its speed. With 80+ servers in 57 countries, you have many options when it comes to connecting to the fastest available server. Furthermore, the provider offers users the option to downgrade to 128-bit AES encryption, which massively boosts connection speed, making it ideal for downloading films and other videos. The service allows you to connect to several encryption protocols, including PPTP and L2TP. Furthermore, the zero-logging policy ensures that the provider does not store your data for long periods of time.
While PrivateVPN offers a wide array of features, the service is very user-friendly. Whether you are looking to use the app on your smartphone, PC, or even router, the app takes a few moments to set up and there is no complicated setup required upon download. Furthermore, you have the option to connect six devices at the same time, which makes it an ideal choice for a group of friends or a family. PrivateVPN offers excellent customer service in case you are having difficulty with installation or verifying your VPN connection, therefore even if you are new to using a VPN, someone will be able to help you at all times.
Take a look at our full review of PrivateVPN.
PureVPN is an excellent service for users looking for extra security in a country with harsh laws regarding internet freedom (e.g. Turkey). PureVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, which protects your information the entire time you are browsing, streaming, or downloading. Furthermore, the no-logging policy on all your traffic – including IP addresses and timestamps – offers an extra layer of protection; it will ensure non of your activity or personal information is being stored. Additional features include an in-built app-blocker, DNS leak test, and virus protection.
PureVPN is not only a reliable service, but a user-friendly one, too. The app is very intuitive and easy-to-use, and most features are available with just a coupe of clicks. Furthermore, you get access to any one of their servers – with 2,000+ available in 140+ countries – regardless of the subscription you choose. Should you ever have any problems, the provider employs a 24-hour live chat service, so if you face any issues, you can contact support any time of day and they will answer within moments.
Why do I need a VPN in Turkey?
Due to the political situation in Turkey, where the government takes any measures necessary to block or restrict websites that may contain controversial content, a VPN is an essential tool. Whether you are a journalist or a layperson looking to stream content online, protecting your privacy is just as important as being able to pierce through censorship blocks and unlock banned streaming websites. Here are some of the reasons you should start using a VPN in Turkey.
Access streaming content
Geoblocking is a common practice for many streaming media providers. While some services, like Netflix, simply differ content libraries based on a user’s location, others block access entirely to users outside of the United States. Just to give you some perspective, this is the difference: in Turkey, there are 511 available films on Netflix, whereas in America, there are 4,579 available films. A VPN will allow you to manipulate the location of your IP address, and you’ll be able to unlock American Netflix without leaving the comfort of your home. Furthermore, you’ll be able to unlock services like Hulu and Pandora that are only available in the U.S. The best VPNs, like our recommendations above, can even get through the tough VPN blocks many sites are beginning to employ these days.
As we have mentioned earlier, Turkey has some of the harshest internet laws in the world. This means that the government restricts access to a wide range of content, including all of Wikipedia. A VPN will enable you to bypass these censorship restrictions and gain access to the internet with practically no limitations. Furthermore, you will be able to enjoy surfing the web and downloading knowing that the government or your ISP are not snooping around your personal information and activity logs. A quality VPN provider will make the difference between an encrypted connection and an unencrypted connection barely noticeable, so the streaming experience will hardly be affected.
Access personal accounts
If you are merely traveling or have temporarily relocated to Turkey, geographical restrictions may become a problem for accessing personal accounts. For example, many banks and credit card companies block access for foreign IP addresses, so it will be hard to keep track of your accounts while you are abroad. A VPN will allow you cloak your real Turkish IP address and switch to an IP address from your home country. This way, you can access all your accounts quickly and safely.
Can I use a free VPN?
When it comes to free VPN services, the ones that appear to cost you nothing in the beginning end up costing you in your privacy and security. This is why we strongly advise against free VPNs in Turkey.
Firstly, free VPNS do not employ no-logging policies, which means that the provider is free to log and keep track of all your personal information and activity. Furthermore, in addition to privacy issues, a free VPN is typically much slower, more unstable, and places speed caps on your data usage. This is bad news for users who are looking to stream content, especially from otherwise restricted websites. However, the biggest problem of all is that there have been many instances of ‘free’ services selling or just giving out your personal information to interested third parties. This could result in cyber criminals getting a hold of your private logs, passwords, and even browsing history. This is why we strongly suggest that you use a paid VPN service that not only pierces through censorship but prioritises your security.
Are VPNs legal in Turkey?
Generally speaking, the usage of a VPN service is not illegal in Turkey. However, if authorities find out that a person is unblocking banned content and hiding information from the government, there could be some consequences. This is why it is particularly important to use a VPN that has strong encryption and a zero-logging policy: this will make sure that you do not appear on the radar and, in turn, can browse or stream anonymously. This is particularly important if you use public WiFi hotspots which are known to be unsafe.
Due to the harsh internet laws and the current political situation in Turkey, accessing content from banned streaming sites can be tricky. Since websites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter have been a part of temporary social media blackouts, the idea of more and more websites becoming banned is not so far-fetched. In order to make sure that you are never under surveillance of government authorities, and your connection is fast and reliable, choose one of our recommended VPN providers for bypassing blocked streaming services. From now onwards, you won’t need to worry about geoblocks or your online privacy.
Do you have any experience with a VPN in Turkey? Which streaming services were you able to unblock with a VPN? Leave us your thoughts and comments down below!