Instagram probably needs no introduction. It is perhaps the most popular photo sharing social media platform. With Instagram, users can upload and share their photos with their friends and followers (and attract others by adding hashtags to their posts). At the time of writing, it has over 500 million active users.
This popularity is a double-edged sword, however. Some businesses, schools, and colleges had to take measures to stop users on their networks from using it. Some countries even completely block it to anyone. Fortunately, a VPN is a great solution to circumvent these limitations. And to add icing on the cake, it also increases your privacy and security.
What is the best VPN for Instagram?
- Subscribe to one of the VPNs in this guide.
- Download and install the VPN’s client software.
- Connect to a VPN server – you decide its location.
- Now you can enjoy unrestricted access to Instagram.
We’ve put together a list of the best VPN providers that can be used with Instagram. But before we begin, we’ll give you some background information on Instagram, what it is used for, how it works. We’ll also go into deeper details on why a user might want to use a VPN when using Instagram. Then, we’ll lay down the important features one must seek when selecting a VPN for use with Instagram. We’ll then dive into the core matter of today’s article and introduce you to four VPN providers we found to be particularly suitable for use with Instagram. We’ll present each’s main features and advantages. Finally, we’ll try to answer everyone’s burning question: Which one is the best?
- 1 What is the best VPN for Instagram?
- 2 Instagram in a Nutshell
- 3 What About VPNs? What Are They?
- 4 Why Do Instagram Users Need a VPN?
- 5 Important Features of VPN for Instagram Users
- 6 Our Picks:
- 7 Our Recommendation for Instagram Users
- 8 Conclusion
Instagram in a Nutshell
Not familiar with Instagram? Let’s try to see what it is all about. Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. This is the one-sentence description but there’s more to it. It is similar to Facebook and Twitter in that each user has a profile and a news feed. When you post a photo on Instagram, it is displayed in your profile. Also, users who follow you will see your posts on their news feed. Likewise, you’ll see their posts on your news feed.
You can think of Instagram as a scaled-down version of Facebook with a huge emphasis on mobile use and picture sharing. Just like with most other social media platforms, you connect with other users by following them, by being followed by them, by commenting, liking, and tagging posts and by using private messaging. You can also easily save any of the photos you see on Instagram.
Interesting (Albeit Trivial) Facts About Instagram
- 90% of the Instagram users are under the age of 35
- 60% of them are located outside of the US
- The top ten brand accounts are National Geographic, Victoria’s Secret, The Ellen Show, Nike, Forever 21, Louboutin, 9 GAG, Starbucks, MTV, and NBA
- Instagram is not just about pictures anymore. Since 2016, users can make minute-long videos and post them online.
- The most famous hashtag is #love
What About VPNs? What Are They?
Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are systems that provide users with the best privacy and security while using the Internet. They do that by encrypting all data transmitted using strong algorithms that render data undecipherable. They’re called virtual because they build a virtual tunnel between your computer and a VPN server. All data from our computer goes through the tunnel encrypted and is only decrypted before being sent on the Internet at the other end of the tunnel.
“But if my data is decrypted at the other end of the tunnel, how is it more secure?“, you may ask. And it’s a very good question. Some degree of security and privacy is achieved through the fact that, even though the data is not encrypted between the far end of the tunnel and its destination, it is still untraceable to you or your computer. Once the data exits the tunnel, it is seen as originating from the VPN server, not from your computer.
Also, the most “sensitive” part of the data transmission is your end. This is where someone (like your ISP, government agencies or malicious users) would be trying to intercept your traffic and spy on you. When using a VPN, this part of the communication is encrypted and anyone examining your usage would only see unidentified traffic between your computer and a VPN server.
Why Do Instagram Users Need a VPN?
There are several reasons why you might want to use a VPN while using Instagram. The two most important ones are unlocking country-based restrictions and circumventing academic or business restrictions. Both are very similar in the way a VPN helps provide a solution to the issue. Let’s examine each one in deeper details.
1. Country-Based Restrictions
Have you ever traveled to some exotic country only to find that some parts of the web are not accessible? It is common, for example, in China from where most of the Internet is inaccessible. The Chinese government has severe information-control policies and enforce them in any way they can. For instance, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most other social networking platforms are blocked in China. In fact, even Google searches are blocked. The government really controls what people in China can and can’t access.
Technically this is accomplished using several different technical means. They may block traffic based on destination IP address. And since it’s relatively easy to figure what the IP addresses of these services are, blocking them is easy. They could also block content based on a technology called transparent proxying where a computer is inserted in the communication stream and allows or denies traffic based on several criteria by examining the contents of the communication.
How a VPN Helps: A VPN offers a great solution to circumvent these restrictions. When using a VPN, all communications between your computer and the Internet goes through the VPN tunnel. All traffic, therefore, is addressed to the VPN server rather than to the resource that’s actually being accessed. That means that blocking based on IP address will fail as it won’t see your traffic as going to a blocked destination.
Some could argue that it would be feasible for enforcement authorities to add the IP addresses of all VPN servers in their blocked list, and this is true. But the fact is that this rarely happens for one simple reason: lots of legitimate traffic uses VPN. It does happen, though, and this is why picking the best provider for your particular situation is important.
A VPN also helps with proxy-based blocking. With traffic being encrypted, it is impossible to examine it to figure what sort of traffic it is. And while nothing could prevent authorities to block any encrypted traffic. this would be detrimental to tons of legitimate encrypted traffic and for that reason, it barely ever happens.
2. Workplace and Academic Restrictions
The exact same type of restrictions also takes place in many academic and workplace settings. And while the means of implementing the restrictions are often similar, the reasons are different. In this context, they are usually twofold. On one hand, organizations want to limit bandwidth usage. After all, they often have limited bandwidth available and it has to be shared equitably among all users while still protecting and prioritizing business-critical traffic.
On the other hand, businesses and educational institutions don’t want their users to waste their learning or working time on social networks. As we’ve probably all experienced, these platforms can quickly become a bit of a time waster.
How a VPN Helps: Corporations and institutions use the exact same type of means to enforce Internet usage restrictions. The exact same mechanisms that can help someone circumvent country-wide restrictions will also help get around corporate or institutional ones. The problem is the same and so is the solution.
3. How About General Security and Privacy?
VPNs not only help you bypass restrictions, they also increase your privacy and security. The level of encryption they typically provide is such that date is almost impossible to crack. Once you’ve established a connection with a VPN server, you no longer have to worry about it.
Feel free to type in passwords, enter credit card number of any kind or sensitive data. With a VPN, you know that your downstairs neighbor, the strange guy sitting next to you at the café, your ISP or the authorities can’t see what you’re doing. They might be able to intercept your traffic but all they’d see would be meaningless garbage.
Important Features of VPN for Instagram Users
There are way too many VPN suppliers out there–and they’re not all equal. With all this variety, choosing the best solution can really be a daunting task. Here are a few criteria you should consider when selecting a VPN to use with Instagram.
- Speed and stability of service. Using a VPN adds some overhead to the connection and could slow it down. It is therefore important to use a fast server. And since you want the service to be available when you need it, you’ll want to choose a reliable supplier.
- The number of servers and locations across the world. The more servers there are throughout the world, the better the chances to find one that works and to locate one that will permit the geographic bypass you need.
- Strong encryption parameters are important. This is what makes your data so hard to crack. The higher the encryption, the harder traffic is to crack.
- Apps for whatever platform you’re running Instagram on. Not all suppliers offer apps for Android or iPhone although one of these is probably the platform you’re using Instagram from.
- Provision for simultaneous connections. You may want to use your VPN on a computer when downloading torrents while you’re using Instagram on your smartphone. Each would benefit from a VPN.
- Ease of use. Who wants something that is complicated?
- No-logging policy. This is to further protect you. Even if your VPN supplier were forced to reveal information about your activity, they couldn’t if they don’t log it.
We’ve searched the web and tested several VPN suppliers and came up with this list of what we consider to be the four best VPN suppliers. And we’ve evaluated them specifically with Instagram in mind. Let’s see what each one has to offer.
ExpressVPN is known for its strong encryption protocols, blazing speeds, and server network spread throughout the world, with over 1,500 servers spread across 94 countries.
ExpressVPN uses OpenVPN with 256-bit AES with perfect forward secrecy as default. 4,096-bit DHE-RSA keys are protected by an SHA-512 hashing algorithm.
Express VPN has a partial no-logging policy. The only bit of metadata they keep are the servers users connect to and the dates they do. Similar to IPVanish’s kill switch, ‘Network Lock’ will freeze web traffic if the connection drops.
A subscription grants access to three devices simultaneously and there are apps for both Android and iOS as well as desktop clients for Windows and MacOS.
- Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Amazon Prime
- Reliable and fast connections
- OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2 Encryption
- Strict no-logs policy for personal information
- 24/7 Chat Support.
- High cost for month-to-month users.
Sign up for a year of service with ExpressVPN at just $6.67 per month and get a whopping 49% discount (3 months FREE)! Also take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day “no questions asked” money-back guarantee for a fast and secure risk-free VPN.
Headquartered in the US, IPVanish is a fast VPN that emphasizes security and privacy. They also don’t log anything and keep no metadata about users. Even the employees won’t be able to know what you’re doing.
IPVanish uses 256-bit encryption and the OpenVPN protocol by default. They have SHA512 authentication and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. This means that even if your account is compromised, all past activity remains out of reach.
IPvanish features a kill switch that will disconnect the network should the VPN disconnect unexpectedly.
They feature over 850 servers spread across 60 countries. The subscription allows five devices to connect simultaneously. Finally, there are apps for both Android and iOS as well as desktop software for Windows and MacOS.
EXCLUSIVE: Get 60% off when you sign up for the yearly package with IPVanish, just $4.87 per month! Each plan is covered by an amazing seven-day money-back guarantee, ensuring a risk-free trial for your new, private internet connection.
NordVPN appeals to power users because of its customizable features and servers bifurcated according to one’s specific requirements. The service offers speed and stability in an affordable package.
NordVPN is another log-less VPN – similar to IPVanish. NordVPN encrypts web traffic via 256-bit AES and 2,048-bit DH keys. Furthermore, DNS leak protection is enabled. The subscription allows access from six devices, one of the highest among our providers.
NordVPN allows users to pick a server based on preferences such as torrenting, anti-DDoS, or video streaming. They have 1191 servers spread across 61 countries. As for client apps, they offer iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS versions.
- Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
- Fast and stable connections
- DNS leak protection, kill switch
- “Double” data protection
- Live chat support is available.
- Very little
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
VyprVPN has an impressive reputation because of its encryption protocols–some might say they’re even the best in the business. The service includes 24/7 online customer support, free 3-day trial, and a large server network of over 700 servers spread out throughout the globe.
VyprVPN does some logging, though. They store “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and the total number of bytes used.” However, all data is retained only for 30 days and is mainly used to improve the service. Details of users’ web traffic remain out of reach.
Traffic is encrypted via the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy and SHA256 authentication. An internet kill switch is included. VyprVPN is also one of the few VPN providers that’s able to unblock Internet access in China.
A subscription to a VyprVPN Pro account allows up to three devices to connect at the same time and apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS.
Sign up with VyprVPN today and get 50% off your first month of service. You can also take advantage of the free three-day trial to test the VPN out before signing up!
Our Recommendation for Instagram Users
With such great VPNs as the four we just introduced, determining which is the best is next to impossible. They are all exceptional products that moreover all meet our selection criteria. The first three have similar performance, features, and capabilities. The last one might have a slight edge when it comes to bypassing Chinese restrictions but its logging policy could be a showstopper for some. We tend to have a slight preference for IPVanish as it has repeatedly proven to be a robust, secure, and reliable solution.
Is a VPN perfectly safe? Certainly not! Someone could be spying on your traffic past the VPN tunnel. They’d have a hard time tracing it back to you, though. A VPN sure helps make your Internet usage more private while allowing you to bypass all sorts of restrictions. We’ve introduced four excellent VPN suppliers that would be a great fit for protecting Instagram users and allowing Instagram from places where it normally can’t be used.
Are you an Instagram user? Do you use a VPN when using Instagram? Who’s your VPN provider? What are its best and worst features? We love to hear from our readers. Share your comments below.