With so many VPN services to choose from, it can be challenging to make a decision for any purpose.
However, searching for a reliable service for use in Turkey brings about added headache as not all work well due to local restrictions.
Thankfully, it doesn't need to be like this.
We've done the research, so you don't have to.
Below you'll find the five VPN services recommended by experts. Not only are they endorsed by ourselves but other industry-leaders across the internet.
So if you're looking to stay safe online in Turkey, unblock restricted content or any other number of reasons, here are the five top VPN services to do just that.
Top 5 Turkish VPN Services
The following five services come most recommended for use in Turkey as a resident or a tourist.
The first on our list of recommendations for Turkey is ExpressVPN, which we (and many others) consider to be one of the best services available.
This VPN keeps no logs, and it offers robust security features, including the strongest encryption like AES-256 and security protocols such as OpenVPN.
It also features an industry topping server networks. The network offers more than 3,000 individual VPN servers in some 94 countries across the planet.
Servers are available in Turkey but also nearby in Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
As such, this VPN is perfect for allowing you to unblock anything on the internet even if it has been censored or blocked by the Turkish government.
ExpressVPN also comes with dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and more. Plus browser-extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
The monthly price is a little on the high side but you do get more for your money and big savings can be made if you subscribe for a year.
#1 Recommendation for Turkey
30-day money back guarantee
A close second on our list is CyberGhost, which features security tools almost as good as our top choice.
Its server network is only slightly smaller in terms of coverage, but twice in size when it comes to the number of individual servers.
CyberGhost offers 5,800 servers in around 89 countries around the world. It also offers many other additional security features, including a kill switch and private DNS servers.
The service doesn't offer servers in Turkey which could be a negative but nearby locations Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and Armenia are covered.
I especially like their 45-day money back guarantee which is 15 days longer than the closest competitor. This gives you plenty of chance to test it in Turkey to see if it's suitable for your needs.
Apps are available for all devices, including Windows and Mac, plus Android and iOS.
45-day money back guarantee
Next, we choose NordVPN. This is one of the most famous VPN providers in the world, and you'll have seen them everywhere from sponsoring sports teams to famous YouTubers.
As for its server network, NordVPN has over 5,500 servers in 58 countries around the world. While smaller than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, servers are available in Turkey and nearby in Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and more.
The service uses industry-standard encryption and has a no-log policy that has been audited to confirm it's authenticity.
As per the industry standard, NordVPN also has a money-back guarantee that lasts for 30 days. Pricing is generally cheaper than competitors, especially if you're prepared to sign up for their three-year deal.
30-day money back guarantee
Nearing the end of the list, we have Surfshark – a fresh, newer provider, when compared to the rest of the list.
But don't let that put you off. Surfshark has done most things right from the get-go which has earned them thousands of fans across the world.
Here you'll find industry-standard security and ample server coverage. Surfshark features 1,040 servers, which is smaller than the rest, but they cover 61 countries.
Turkish VPN servers are available as are all close locations including Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and more across the region.
A standout feature is their ability to unlock a dizzying 15+ regions of Netflix. So if binge-watching movies and TV shows is one of your main usages, then they have your needs covered.
30-day money back guarantee
Finally, we have VyprVPN – a service that has been around longer than most and built up a reputation for offering reliable and stable connections.
Server coverage spans 70 countries and more than 700 servers around the world. We like that VyprVPN owns all of their servers and network instead of renting them from third parties like many other VPN providers do, this adds an extra layer of trust.
While this server count seems small at first, remember that all you need to unblock foreign content is a new IP address, and VyprVPN offers 200,000 of them.
Other than that, you need servers in appropriate locations, and VyprVPN definitely does the job there. Turkish VPN servers are available plus Bulgaria, Greece and many others nearby.
30-day money back guarantee
How to choose a VPN?
To choose a VPN service for use in Turkey, it requires some careful consideration.
Here are some of the features you should consider before making a decision:
1) Apps for your device
You need to pick a VPN service that offers an app for a device you plan on using.
Nearly every single service out there supports Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS.
Most also support Linux, and many have browser extensions for the likes of Chrome and Firefox, and Smart TVs.
If you make use of a somewhat unusual device, make sure the service supports its use.
While it's possible to set up VPN services on most devices manually, this can be time-consuming and you'll miss out on some of the benefits of using dedicated apps like a Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling and Custom DNS servers.
2) Servers near Turkey
Considering the fact that we are looking for the leading VPN for Turkey, we would advise looking for a service that offers servers in the surrounding countries.
This is necessary because the proximity of the server can have a significant impact on your internet speed.
Therefore, you should use a server that is as near as possible but in a country that doesn't have the same censorship issues.
When it comes to geo-restrictions, you need to connect to the country where the desired content is available. Look to connect to countries like Bulgaria, Cyprus or Greece.
These all offer a mostly unrestricted internet allowing you to bypass any Turkish censorship. They're also physically close enough that you won't feel the impact of speed much.
3) Reputable no-log policy
Every VPN we mentioned above has a no-log policy, meaning that they do not store your browsing data and other information that could compromise you.
This is an essential factor to look for in a service, as it means that the service cannot provide the government with your browsing data, even if ordered to by the court.
Our recommended choice ExpressVPN found itself unintentionally caught up in in a high-profile criminal case where a Russian diplomat was assassinated in Turkey.
They couldn't help with the investigation because they don't store access logs. Although clearly a sad case, it goes to reaffirm their no-logging stance.
Look for services that have had their no-log claims audited by third-parties. ExpressVPN, NordVPN and VyprVPN are three providers that have.
4) Paid service – no free VPNs
Finally, we recommend always using a paid service.
Free VPNs do exist, but they are usually troublesome, as they offer a few overcrowded servers, lousy security, and they often keep logs which they sell to fund the service.
There are also risks of malware or being bombarded with adverts that can slow your device or drain your internet limits when using mobile data.
Why you need a VPN for Turkey?
If you've never been to Turkey but you are planning to visit or move there permanently, there are a few things that every local can tell you about why you need a VPN in the country, such as:
1) Unblock websites and apps
Turkey has quite a few sites and apps blocked, meaning that they cannot be accessed by using a regular internet connection.
2) Security from government snooping
Turkey has quite an issue with government surveillance, as you may already know.
The country was never an example of a privacy-friendly nation, but the situation has worsened considerably after the failed coup attempt in mid-2016.
Opposing views were suppressed strongly through mass surveillance, which puts the country's citizens in challenging circumstances.
They are prevented from releasing academic knowledge beyond what the government permits, which led to massive oppression.
Couple this with active monitoring of social networks and services like YouTube and it pays to stay secure using a VPN in Turkey.
3) Bypass censorship
Censorship in Turkey is strong, especially after the mentioned failed coup attempt.
The country's government has blocked foreign news websites, YouTube, social media, and many other sites in an attempt to suppress the spreading of information.
It also blocked mp3 sharing sites, adult content websites, and many others.
The only way to safely access any of these websites and their content is to use a VPN and connect to a server located in another nation.
4) Stream TV from abroad
Another big problem in Turkey, although not due to the country's government is geo-restrictions which affect everyone across the world.
If you wish to stream overseas TV, you need to connect to servers located there, as many services only offer their content in their original countries, such as the BBC iPlayer.
In other words, if you wish to stream UK TV from Turkey, for example, you need to have a VPN that has servers in the UK and is not blocked by the country's government and services.
The same is true for other regions of Netflix.
As you probably know, Netflix has a different catalogue for each country, which can be somewhat limited in some cases.
In Turkey, specifically, you can access Netflix, but you can only watch 194 shows and 511 movies.
Compare that to the US edition of Netflix, which has access to 1761 shows and 4091 movies, and the importance of a fast VPN with US-based servers becomes rather apparent.
Is using a VPN illegal in Turkey?
You can use a VPN in Turkey with no fears of breaking the law. The reason for this is that the government needs to use VPN, and so do its largest businesses.
As such, the government cannot make VPNs illegal without affecting its own agencies or influential companies.
With that said, the country does block many VPNs to prevent regular people from bypassing their censorship.
The country will also block VPN traffic if it manages to identify it, but some VPNs have taken measures to prevent that, so in most cases, you will be able to use it without issues.
It pays to enable additional features, such as using NordVPN's Obfuscated Servers or enabling VyprVPN's ‘Chameleon' mode.
Is there a Free VPN for Turkey?
As we mentioned before, using free VPNs is not recommended.
First of all, you're unlikely to be able to access most of them due to the VPN ban. Many people search ‘free' VPNs first, meaning that thousands of users will have tried them before yourself.
However, even if you can, remember that they are extremely limited, with inadequate security features, small server networks, overcrowded, and generally slow speeds.
Not only that, but most free VPNs will either record your browsing data in order to sell it to advertisers or even malicious entities.
Or try to bombard you with ads in order to make a profit that would pay for offering their technology ‘free' to you in the first place.
However, the worst-case scenario is to use a VPN that might be owned and controlled by hackers themselves, who would record every scrap of data and use it to steal your money, identity, and more.
As a result, it is always much safer to simply use a premium VPN that you know is operated by a legitimate service, such as the ones featured above.
The situation regarding online freedom in Turkey is complex.
Many services like social media and chat apps that are common in other countries are often blocked in Turkey, and government surveillance is nearly that of China when it comes to severity and intrusiveness.
As a result, if you are a local or visitor, you are constantly under watch, while unable to access the content you desire.
The best way to deal with this is to use a VPN and to use a premium one. We recommend using ExpressVPN as the best choice.
Not only will that protect you from the government, but it will also allow you access to information, knowledge, foreign TV, and many other benefits.
Don't forget ExpressVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee to allow you to test it risk-free. Plus if you sign up for their 12-month package, you get an additional 3-months completely free making it 49% cheaper than paying monthly.
Illustration © Vladimir Polikarpov