A Virtual Private Networks, or VPN, is a great tool for keeping yourself safe and anonymous while browsing online. VPNs allow you to hide your IP address and bypass blocked or censored websites, which makes them ideal for parts of the world with strong government censorship or online surveillance.

But for users in countries where the web is routinely monitored and opinions are suppressed, the legality of VPNs can be concerning. In fact, while VPNs are generally considered to be legal, there are a number of areas where their use falls into a gray area, legally speaking.

In order the better explain the complex legality of VPN use, particularly in places where they may be banned or government-controlled, TheBestVPN examined the laws and regulations of 196 countries. Check out list countries that have restrictions around VPN use below, and learn more about why and how they ban VPNs in the full TheBestVPN’s VPN legality guide.

Countries where VPNs are government-controlled:

China
Iran
Oman
Russia
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Countries where VPNs are banned:

Belarus
Iraq
North Korea
Turkmenistan