Skip to main content

Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia follow close behind China in VPN blocking

China led the ranking, blocking about 73% of all attempts to access VPN providers, with Iran and several Gulf Arab countries following close behind.
A photo illustration taken on March 30, 2018 in Beijing shows the screen of a laptop with the word "VPN" written in the search field of the Chinese Baidu website. Chinese authorities had announced that all unrecognised VPN services would be blocked by March 31, meaning that Chinese and foreign companies must choose from a limited number of state-approved VPNs. / AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Middle East nations took seven of the top 10 slots in a ranking of the top blockers of virtual private networks (VPNs) globally, according to an investigative report released on Tuesday. 

The report by the nonprofit monitoring site Top10VPN relied on data from more than 100 countries collected from Jan. 1 to May 15 by the censorship watchdog Open Observatory of Network Interference. The report focused on access to the most common privacy tool for internet users.

China came in first, blocking about 73% of all attempts to access VPN providers, while Iran blocked 69% and several Gulf Arab countries followed.

VPNs and other privacy tools allow internet users to bypass firewalls, keep their data more secure and hide their internet protocol addresses — an online identification code — from government agencies, corporations and hackers. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.