We use a unique, exhaustive testing process to make sure we only recommend the safest and most reliable VPNs for Russia.
We test every VPN service in five key categories, and use these results to calculate an overall rating for Russia.
For Russia specifically, we test every VPN for:
- Bypassing censorship in Russia
- Effective obfuscation technology
- VPN servers in nearby countries
- AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN
- Safe no-logs policy & no IP or DNS leaks
- Fast download & upload speeds
Here’s a more detailed list of the five testing categories, along with how much of the overall rating for Russia they make up:
1. Bypassing Russian Censorship: 50%
Minimum Requirement: Some VPN servers work in Russia.
We Recommend: All VPN servers reliably work in Russia.
The most important attribute of a top Russian VPN is its ability to bypass censorship.
We use remote servers to test every VPN on its ability to access restricted websites and services.
The most effective VPNs will work to bypass website blocks on all servers, without limitations. However, we also reward the services that can work to bypass censorship almost all of the time.
2. Obfuscation Technology: 20%
Minimum Requirement: Some obfuscation functionality.
We Recommend: Multiple advanced obfuscation tools.
Obfuscation is a type of technology designed to disguise or camouflage your VPN traffic.
Typical encryption stops third parties from being able to see your activity. Obfuscation prevents them from knowing it is VPN traffic at all.
This type of technology is vital if you’re looking to bypass online censorship safely and effectively.
For this reason, we test every VPN for the ability to select an obfuscation protocol from the settings menu. VPNs with multiple obfuscation options, AES-256 encryption, and IP leak protection are rewarded.
3. Privacy & Logging Policy: 10%
Russia has banned unauthorized VPNs, which means it’s important there are no logs of your internet connections in the country.
4. Speed: 10%
Minimum Requirement: Average download speeds over 60Mbps.
We Recommend: Average download speeds over 80Mbps.
We regularly test for local speeds from the US, and international download speeds while connected to Australia, Singapore, the UK, and more.
After recording speeds connected to a VPN, we compare them to speeds without using a VPN to figure out the percentage drop.
The best VPNs only have minimal speed loss when connected to servers in the same continent. It’s likely that the further away the server you connect to, the slower your internet speeds will be.
5. Nearby Servers to Russia: 10%
Minimum Requirement: VPN servers in some countries near Russia.
We Recommend: A wide range of VPN servers in Russia and nearby countries.
Finally, we test every VPN to assess the number of server locations on offers both within Russia and its neighboring countries.
The closer these servers are to your physical location, the better your VPN speeds will be.
VPN services with multiple server locations in a wide range of neighboring countries are rewarded, while those that cater only to Western countries are penalised.
Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction
Almost all free VPNs come with a data cap. Like with most limitations on free VPNs, this is imposed to encourage users to upgrade to a premium subscription.
If you use up your data cap, the rest of your internet activity will be outside of the VPN tunnel. Consequently, your ISP can monitor the webpages you visit and you won’t be able to access blocked websites in Russia.
We apply a penalty to the VPN’s final overall rating for Russia based on its data cap:
- 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
- 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
- 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
- 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
- 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
- 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating