Looking for the best VPNs for Tunisia? In today’s guide, we’ll recommend the best providers, why you need a VPN, and take an in-depth look at the state of Internet freedom in Tunisia.
If you were to ask a cross section of Tunisians what the current state of internet freedom is in their country, you’d likely get a perplexing mix of opinions. On the surface, things are vastly improved following the Tunisian Revolution, which culminated in the ouster of then-President Ben Ali in 2011. Indeed, the current Nidaa Tounes government touts free and open information and expression as central tenets of post-revolutionary Tunisia.
However, many privacy hawks are concerned by the disparity between what the government says, and what it actually does with respect to internet privacy and individual liberty. Today, we’ll be taking a critical look at the sometimes paradoxical reality of Tunisia’s political landscape, then show you how to stay safe using a virtual private network. Whether you’re a Tunisian citizen or simply there for a short-term stay, you’ll want to pay close attention to our recommendations for the best VPNs for Tunisia.
- 1 Best VPNs for online privacy in Tunisia
- 2 How did we make our recommendations?
- 3 What is a VPN? – A quick newbie’s guide
- 4 Internet freedoms in Tunisia – Then and now
- 5 Conclusion
Best VPNs for online privacy in Tunisia
Obviously, no one wants to be hauled off to prison simply for speaking their mind on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. However, when all domestic traffic is seemingly subject to governmental scrutiny, there is little for the common individual to do to fight back. That is, except, for using a VPN.
Here are the top 5 VPNs for Tunisia:
ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN for almost any occasion or location. No other provider balances speed, security, usability so well, and we’re happy to recommend it to Tunisian users. First off, Internet speeds in Tunisia aren’t the fastest, so you don’t want your VPN slowing you down more than absolutely necessary. This is where ExpressVPN earns its namesake, offering a robust network of servers located throughout the world (3,000+ nodes in 94 countries), zero caps on speed or bandwidth, and even a built-in speed test to help you dial in your connection.
Security-wise, ExpressVPN offers military-grade 256-bit AES encryption over OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and SSTP. What’s more, there’s a sterling no-logging policy that destroys any record of your connection or usage metadata–in other words, your VPN can’t ever rat you out, even if they wanted to. Desktop versions of the software offer an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and VPN split tunneling. Plus, with dedicated apps available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, game consoles, routers, and more, you’ll never have to go without protection on your favorite device. Each ExpressVPN subscription allows up to 3 simultaneous connections–perfect for families.
If that weren’t enough, ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands–an ideal jurisdiction that is exempt from all the cyber surveillance agreements between world powers. With a couple of quick clicks in their attractive user interface, you’ll have access to the fastest and most powerful VPN protection on the market.
Read more in our full ExpressVPN review.
- Works with US Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu and other services
- Super fast servers (minimal speed loss)
- Torrenting allowed
- No personal information logs kept
- Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
- High cost for month-to-month users.
NordVPN may not have the single biggest sever network on the planet, but it’s close. Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to 5,400+ servers in 60 countries, with thousands of IPs located throughout nearby Europe or anywhere else a Tunisian user might desire. But sheer size isn’t the sole reason to give NordVPN your consideration–there’s a well-developed array of specialty servers tailored to functionalities like double VPN, onion over VPN, obfuscation, anti-DDoS, P2P, and dedicated IP address. That means, no matter what you want to do online, you can do it safer and faster with NordVPN.
Speaking of security, NordVPN stands tall with 256-bit AES encryption over OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and SSTP–a standard so tough, it has more key combinations than stars in the known universe. Extra privacy protections include a kill switch, DNS leak protection, plus toggles for ad and malware blockers. Even better, NordVPN is located in Panama (a perfect location due to the country’s staunch privacy laws), and upholds a strict no-logging policy which has been independently verified.
Connections are fast and stable, and completely unencumbered by speed or bandwidth caps. NordVPN admittedly has a lot of features to pack into one software suite, but they do a good job of making the interface intuitive enough for anyone to use. Dedicated apps are available on all major platforms, and your subscription protects up to 6 devices at once.
Learn more in our full NordVPN review.
- Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat
- 5,400+ servers globally
- Strong encryption is used on all connections
- “Double” data protection
- 30-day money back guarantee.
- Some servers can be unreliable
- Sometimes slow in procesing refunds (but always do).
If you’re looking for a turnkey solution for greater privacy online, CyberGhost is well worth a look. In fact, among our recommended providers, CyberGhost is perhaps the most user-friendly of them all. Upon launching the app, you’ll be greeted by 6 plain-language options to automatically configure your VPN settings based on what you want to do. (These include: Surf Anonymously, Unblock Streaming, Protect Network, Torrent Anonymously, Unblock Basic Websites and Choose My Server.) This is ideal for people who might be daunted by the technical nature of a VPN; who just want the best protection they can get without the hassle.
Of course, power users will find a lot to love with CyberGhost as well. There’s 256-bit AES encryption, one of the industry’s best no-logging policies, wide app availability across major platforms, and a massive network of 3,700+ servers in 60 countries worldwide–spoiling you for choice when choosing a freer country to connect through nearby to Tunisia.
Get more info in our full CyberGhost review.
- Works with American Netflix
- 3,600+ servers, 55+ countries
- No leaks detected
- Private: Strong no logs policy
- 45-day no-quibble money back guarantee.
- Some streaming sites cannot be unblocked.
PrivateVPN’s server network looks small on paper (currently around 85 nodes in 60 unique locations worldwide), but PrivateVPN has purchased its capacity directly from the IP transit provider, rather than the overburdened hosting companies used by other providers. Users benefit directly from improved uptime, faster speeds, and more stable connection–all of which are relevant concerns to Tunisians.
Where PrivateVPN truly shines, however, is its ability to unblock streaming sites, even ones like Netflix that employ sophisticated VPN blocking methods. There are servers specifically labeled for this task, which are updated regularly to stay ahead in the game of cat-and-mouse. If that doesn’t work, try PrivateVPN’s “stealth mode”, which obfuscates your encrypted traffic to look like regular, unencrypted traffic.
Rounding out the package are 256-bit AES encryption, plus a solid no-logging policy. Apps available on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Check out our full PrivateVPN review for more.
How did we make our recommendations?
There’s no lack of VPNs on the market with advertising campaigns loudly exclaiming their superiority over the competition. So, how did we separate the wheat from the chaff for purposes of this article?
We’ve done extensive testing of all the best (and some of the not-so-best) VPNs on the market, and have come up with these recommendations for Tunisian internet-goers. Our choices are based on the following criteria, where VPNs:
- Must have a great reputation – Signing onto a VPN subscription is an act of trust that the provider won’t sell your privacy off to the highest bidder or engage in other shady practices. We’ve only recommend services with proven track records.
- Must offer industry-standard security features – There are certain mission-critical factors that must be in place in order for a VPN to be worth your money and trust. You’ll want to ensure your data is protected behind adequate encryption, and that you have access to a wide variety of proxy servers to connect to. Extra features like a kill switch or DNS leak protection never hurt, either.
- Must not keep logs – The promise of anonymity is rendered meaningless when your VPN keeps a tab on your activities. Even if they say they’ll never snitch on you to third parties, changing legislature can force them to. The best choice is to make sure they keep no logs at all.
- Must offer wide software availability – Fancy features and powerful protections are worth little to you if your device can’t actually run the VPN software. Our recommendations are available on all the major platforms, and then some.
Steer clear of free VPNs
It might be tempting to spring for a free VPN–after all, what is there to lose when there’s no monthly subscription fee? Turns out, quite a lot. It’s been proven that some free VPNs can make you less safe than using no VPN at all, with others going so far as to hijack your device for use in a botnet.
And really, it makes sense when you think about it: free VPNs still have bills to pay, and must collect money somehow. Often times, they’ll collect your user data and sell it off to advertisers–nothing new here. But, there’s nothing stopping them from passing that same data off to less trustworthy entities either. Even if they don’t do this, free VPNs may bombard you with ads of their own, severely limit your connection speeds or bandwidth, or just simply employ sub-par encryption or logging policies.
At any rate, it pays to invest in your privacy online. In countries like Tunisia, it can cost you dearly to cheap out.
What is a VPN? – A quick newbie’s guide
A VPN, or virtual private network, is an essential SaaS (software as a service) product designed to maintain your privacy online. It works by signing onto a subscription with a reputable VPN provider, which then nets you access to their software. Once downloaded and installed, this software wraps every packet of data that leaves your computer, phone or other internet connected device in a layer of encryption before routing it through a remote proxy server. The server then decodes this encrypted data and passes it onto its intended destination labeled with a fake IP address.
What does this mean in plain English? Essentially, a VPN builds a secure tunnel between your device and the rest of the internet. This tunnel makes it impossible for third parties to read the contents of your data stream. What’s more, the proxy server makes it appear as though you’re physically located somewhere other than where you actually are by “spoofing” your IP address. In the fight against cyber-surveillance and online oppression, there is no more powerful tool than a VPN.
Internet freedoms in Tunisia – Then and now
As is the case with almost any country, no conversation about internet freedom can be had without first taking a higher-level view of politics as a whole. The 20th century has seen Tunisia march steadily towards secularism, but the road there has not been without its bumps. Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali rose to power promising democratic reforms for the country, but nevertheless steadily consolidated power through authoritarian policies designed to undermine any form of opposition.
Ben Ali’s oppression
With the advent of the internet came new ways for people to skirt government censorship of the press and media. Ben Ali was not content to allow his critics to gain a voice, and enacted numerous concerted attacks on internet freedom. Internet filtering was a powerful method of suppression dissension, with Ben Ali’s government even coercing Internet cafés into doing their dirty work.
Internet users would have to provide photo ID to access public internet, where then their activities would be closely monitored. What’s more, all downloads and emails were run through a central server, which filtered out any content deemed subversive. This is just one of many ways Ben Ali kept his would-be opponents in check.
Fast forward to 2011, Ben Ali has resigned the presidency following the political abandonment of the military and key legislative members from his side. A rejection of the strong-arm tactics employed by the now-denounced leader, the provisional government soon thereafter declared all information and expression to be free and open, in accordance with the new and progressive philosophy of governance.
The Minister of Communication Technologies even went so far as to declare the 404 Error message (404 Ammar) dead in the water. This movement has been hailed far and wide as a major victory for internet liberties in the Arab world. Tunisia has gone on to join the Freedom Online Coalition, a group of 30 nations “committed to protecting and promoting online freedoms domestically and abroad.”
So, has Tunisia become a utopia of online freedoms? Well, not exactly. While progressive reforms continue to pass through parliament, such as the 2017 whistleblower protection law, there remain many obstacles and even setbacks still to overcome. Walid Zarrouk, for example, has been sentenced to a full year in prison for simply making a Facebook post criticizing members of a governmental counterterrorism agency.
Events like this stem from as of yet unreformed legislation within Tunisia’s existing penal code, which give the government the power to punish any speech deemed as defamation posted by its citizens online. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only countermeasure against free speech either, as in 2011 a group of lawyers secured a court order forcing the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) to block pornographic websites. The ATI has since begun an appeals process that has yet to be ratified.
Clearly, there is a substantial shortcoming of political will to push back against the encroachment of authoritarian internet policies. You’ll have to take matters into your own hands by using a VPN.
Tunisia is a country undergoing significant technological and political changes. It therefore behooves you to be prepared for whatever comes your way, be it crackdowns on social media and journalists, or outright censorship of entire swathes of the Internet. We’ve given you the lowdown on the best VPNs for Tunisia, so invest confidently in your privacy with our recommendations.
Do you live in or frequently travel to Tunisia? How will you use your VPN? Let us know in the comments below!