What Is The Best VPN for Ukraine in 2018?
NordVPN is the best choice for Ukrainian internet users to protect their internet usage from prying eyes and open up content that might normally be blocked in the country.
The service offers excellent speeds, top-rated customer support and privacy protections, as well as wide server coverage, all making for the best way to keep your online antics secure while online in Ukraine.
Internet Freedom in Ukraine
Freedom House’s internet freedom score is currently “partly free.” Internet freedom in the country declined due to the widespread blocking of popular Russian websites and social platforms, which were blocked on “national security grounds.”
Between June 2016 to May 2017, the following key internet liberties-related developments occurred in Ukraine:
The 2017 Freedom House overall internet freedom score for Ukraine was 45/100. (0 = Most Free, 100 = Least Free.)
Why You Need a VPN in Ukraine
Internet freedom in Ukraine is partly free but has deteriorated in recent years following the extreme censorship of Russian online social platforms and the murder of online journalist Pavel Sheremet.
In this section of the article, I’ll explain what types of content are blocked and what’s available in Ukraine. During my research, I didn’t see evidence of any civil or criminal consequences users could face for accessing outlawed content.
In previous years, Ukrainian officials did not block online content in any great numbers. However, due to the conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, several Russian-owned online platforms have been blocked on security grounds.
The government ordered ISPs to block Russian social media platforms, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, which were both popular in Ukraine. ISPs also blocked Russian search engine Yandex, and mail.ru, a popular Russian mail service.
Voice Over IP
Voice over IP (VoIP) is legal in Ukraine. However, keep in mind that it is subject to the same security issues that any internet service is.
Despite the crackdown on Russian social platforms, international social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are still available.
A Ukrainian cyberpolice unit was established in 2015, which immediately ordered blocks on pirated materials, including popular file-sharing services.
Recently, the country has faced pressure from other countries over its lax approach to cracking down on file-sharing services that are hosted inside the country, including The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent.
There is a lack of regulations in Ukraine that protect citizens’ privacy, protect them from being monitored, or to otherwise prevent them from having their online rights abused. Mechanisms for monitoring online communications are known to have been in place in the past and may still be in place.
Ukrainian ISPs are not required by law to keep logs of their customers’ online travels. However, ISPs may do so anyway.
YouTube and other video streaming sites are available inside Ukraine.
A Ukrainian version of Netflix is available, but as can be expected, the content is different on the local flavor of the service due to content agreements.
Viewing of Hulu content is restricted to residents of the U.S. and Japan. BBC iPlayer content is restricted to United Kingdom viewers.
Legality of VPNs
Using Virtual Private Networks is allowed in the country.
Gambling is not allowed to be licensed in the country. However, offshore gambling sites are happy to take wagers from Ukrainians - if the government hasn’t blocked them, that is.
How a VPN Protects Your Internet Usage in Ukraine
Online users residing in Ukraine will find that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an excellent tool for keeping their activities and personal information safe from prying eyes.
A VPN encrypts a user’s internet connection, keeping all online activities and accompanying information safe from the prying eyes of outsiders.
A VPN can also make it appear as if a user’s connection is originating from another location, allowing the user to access content and services that may normally be blocked to them. (Think Netflix content from the U.S. or other countries.)
How to Choose the Best VPN for Ukraine
When deciding on a VPN for use in Ukraine, keep in mind that you’ll want a provider that offers comprehensive global server coverage, fast connection speeds and top-notch privacy protections.
In this section, I’ll take a look at each factor, explain them, and reveal how each provider performs in that particular category.
Global Server Coverage
Wide-ranging global server coverage is the VPN feature that opens up content that might normally be blocked to a user inside Ukraine. The map below is a good example of useful global server coverage.
Once you have all of that unblocked content at the ready, you don’t want to have to wait forever for it to start playing. That’s why fast connection speeds are so important.
VPN’s average connection speeds are tested as follows:
Avg. DL Speed
Avg. DL Speed
Privacy is an important consideration when deciding on a VPN provider. You want to make sure there are no records of your online activities that could come back and bite you later.
Make sure that any provider you consider is located in a country where they respect the privacy of their citizens, doesn’t keep user activity logs and offers privacy-enhancing payment options, like Bitcoin.
The Best VPNs to Use in Ukraine
#1 - NordVPN
NordVPN’s location in privacy-respecting Panama allows it to keep no logs at all connected to their users’ online travels. Customers can protect their payment information by using Bitcoin.
NordVPN came in 1st place in the connection speed race, with connection speeds coming within 8% of my usual connection speeds.
This provider keeps things running smoothly for their customers with a live support chat option, a trouble ticket system and a support library.
A NordVPN monthly subscription will cost you $5.75 (payable at $69.00 annually), which is around the same price as your morning Venti Mocha-Frap-Espresso-cino at Starbucks.
NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Global Server Coverage
Global server coverage of 3,348 servers in 60 countries isn’t the best around, but the provider did a good job of locating them, which should lend you some decent unblocking power.
NordVPN’s native app support covers macOS, Android, iOS and Windows devices. Setup support is available for Raspberry Pi, Linux, Windows Phone and other devices, as well as DD-WRT routers.
NordVPN is the top dog in this roundup. The provider scored well with blazingly fast connections, all-around customer support and privacy protections, as well as adequate global server coverage. A reasonable price just makes it all even sweeter.
#2 - Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access (PIA) is perhaps the best bet on this list for bargain hunters. In addition to a rock-bottom price, PIA’s surprisingly fast connections and top-notch privacy protections may outweigh their underwhelming server coverage and lack of live support chat.
#3 - PureVPN
PureVPN’s 3rd-place finish was thanks to its optimal global server coverage, excellent privacy protections and great customer support, all delivered at the next-to-lowest price on this list. Better connection speeds might have bumped them up to 2nd place.
#4 - IPVanish
IPVanish gets two thumbs up for their speedy connections, above-average global server coverage and top-notch privacy protections. A lower price and better customer support would have led to a higher finish.
#5 - ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN offers great global server coverage, top-notch privacy protections, comprehensive customer support and good connection speeds. A cheaper pricing structure might have bumped them up a spot or so.
Optimizing Your VPN Connection in Ukraine
Before using your new VPN service, let’s take a pause and consider a few ways to optimize your setup.
Step #1 - Use an Ethernet Cable (Optional)
When connecting to your local network, consider using an Ethernet cable to connect to in place of the usual Wi-Fi signal. A wired connection provides improved performance.
If your device doesn’t have an Ethernet port, you can most likely buy an adapter from Amazon or your local computer store.
Step #2 - Manually Select a VPN Server
If you’re looking for the best way to unblock content from around the globe, always select a VPN server in a location as near as possible to the content you have your eye on. It’ll increase your chances of success.
Step #3 - Test Your Connection Speed
Last but not least, make sure you’re getting the most out of your VPN by testing your connection speed at a website like the Speedtest website. You can check the ping time, connection speed and “spoofed” location.
My Final Verdict
Any of the providers I’ve told you about will protect your internet activities from prying eyes and open up access to the content of your desire. However, only one of these VPNs will offer optimal service.
NordVPN provides optimal protection for users looking to protect their online activities from inside Ukrainian borders. Fast connections, optimal server coverage, as well as top-notch customer support and privacy coverage at a reasonable price? It’s all here for you.