Many Bulgarian residents and visitors wonder how they can get a foreign IP and protect their online connections while in the country. In this article, we’ll address why you might need a VPN and a foreign IP in Bulgaria, what the benefits of a VPN are, and why you shouldn’t use a proxy if you value your security. We’ll also tell you which 2 popular, free VPNs you need to avoid – and which paid VPN providers are the best fit for the Balkan nation.
What to look for in a VPN
The specific features you should look for in a VPN are:
- Server network – the more countries a VPN provider has servers in, the more nationally restricted content repositories you have access to. It’s also convenient to have a lot of servers that can help you overcome censorship blocks and filters, e.g. on gambling websites.
- Encryption protocols – strong encryption protocols help make sure that nobody can view your data. Without encryption, everything you do online is relatively easy for anyone else to access – which can be problematic in a country like Bulgaria.
- Ease of use and installation – the best VPNs make it easy for users to install and use their service. Look for apps that are compatible with your household devices. With a top-rated provider, you can install a VPN on your tablet, smartphone, desktop, TV, router and more.
- Zero-logging – some VPNs keep records of everything you do online, from your browsing history to your real IP address. Most do their best to keep this information private – but buckle under pressure from governments, corporations and ISPs. To make sure you’re safe, look for VPNs that offer zero-logging wherein they don’t track or record your data.
The best VPNs on the market for use in Bulgaria
Here, we present the top VPNs on the market for anonymous internet use in Bulgaria:
ExpressVPN regularly ranks as the single best VPN on the market, and Bulgaria is no exception. There are several reasons for this. First, the network is one of the biggest in the business. You can choose from over 2,000 servers in 94+ countries, meaning speeds are high, latencies are low, and virtually any content library you want is readily accessible. Another strong suit is security. ExpressVPN lets you choose from a suite of encryption protocols, from fast UDP to censorship-beating SSTP. All encryption is 256-bit, and cracking it would involve trying more password combinations than there are atoms in the known universe. Between this and a strong zero-logging policy – no records of traffic, DNS requests, IP addresses or browsing history – ExpressVPN is strong on all the fundamentals.
ExpressVPN is easy to install too, since it comes with a suite of lightweight, easy-to-install apps that work on macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, WiFi routers, and even video game consoles. The interface is intuitive and single-click, meaning any and all features you’re likely to need are readily available whenever you need them. Last but not least, the company itself is based in the British Virgin Islands, which makes it exempt from takedown requests. Even if someone tries to force ExpressVPN to give up your information, they’ll find it extremely difficult to do so – and since the BVI don’t cooperate with major world governments, the state won’t give your information up either.
You can learn more in our 2018 ExressVPN review.
NordVPN is a service that specializes in two things. First is security; NordVPN is one of the safest VPN products on the market for several reasons. First, it uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. Its protocols include OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP, which combine speed and safety. They also include SSTP: a technology that beats tough censorship blocks by using HTTPS port 443. This is especially relevant in Bulgaria, where one of the main reasons to get a VPN is to browse the web freely, with no limitations. In addition to strong encryption, NordVPN has a variety of specialty servers – including obfuscated ones, that hide the fact you’re using a VPN, and Double VPN ones that route your data through 2 servers and 2 layers of encryption. Between these features and a zero-logging policy that doesn’t keep your traffic, IP address, bandwidth or browsing history logs, NordVPN is a superior choice for anyone who values privacy and internet freedom.
That’s not all NordVPN is good for, though. With 5,000+ proxy servers in 62 countries, NordVPN has one of the biggest server networks in the industry. You can get an IP from virtually anywhere, and access most (if not all) of the world’s local content libraries using the service. You can also block ads and malware using built-in cybersecurity features, and that’s not all. NordVPN’s apps are available for all common devices – including routers, game consoles. macOS, iOS, Android, Windows and Linux. With so many features, an intuitive single-click interface, and the ability to connect up to 6 devices at any given time, it’s hard to go wrong with this provider.
Read more in our full NordVPN review.
CyberGhost is a brand well-known to users who want to get a large number of powerful features in an easy-to-use package. The service is easy to install, with a selection of lightweight apps for video game consoles, routers, smart TVs, desktop computers (Linux/Windows/macOS) and mobile devices (iOS/Android). The intuitive interface is easy to use, and stylish too. Most importantly, the apps minimize the number of choices you need to make. All you have to do is pick one of 6 configuration profiles, and any number of simple toggles – including “Extra Speed”, “Compress Data” and “Block Malicious Websites”. Once you have, CyberGhost will automatically find the best servers and settings for your use case.
Despite being this easy to use, CyberGhost is very powerful. It uses 256-bit AES encryption, including OpenVPN technologies (UDP and TCP). It has one of the best no-logging policies in the VPN sector, to the point that it doesn’t even record your e-mail. Bandwidth, speed and server switches are all unlimited. The server network is fast, with a whopping 2,700+ proxy servers in over 60 countries. Last but not least, there are extra features, like a connection guard and a kill switch that protects you when your VPN connection drops. Put simply, Cyber Ghost is as feature-rich as it is easy to use, which makes it one of our top recommendations.
Learn more in our full CyberGhost review.
If you’re living in (or visiting) Bulgaria and you want to stream, play video games or use P2P apps (including torrents), PrivateVPN is an excellent choice. The service comes with 6 simultaneous connections, meaning you can connect your video game console. your Smart TV, your smartphone, your tablet and your desktop computer – and still have one connection left over. Bandwidth, speed and server switches are all unlimited. The service is P2P friendly, meaning they’ll never stop or punish you for using torrent clients, P2P Kodi extensions, etc. All of this makes the service perfect for casual applications, including streaming and gaming.
In addition to the above features, PrivateVPN is strong on fundamentals. The encryption standard used is 2048-bit AES-256, which has more password combinations than there are atoms in the known universe. There’s a free remote setup that helps users of all levels install PrivateVPN quickly and easily. Servers span 52 countries, meaning you can use this VPN to unlock virtually any content library from inside Bulgaria.
If you want to learn more, check out our full Private VPN review.
PureVPN is an excellent choice for more advanced users who want specific features. The service comes with split tunneling, which lets users choose which data goes through the VPN, and which – through an ISP. There’s also port forwarding: an add-on that stops criminals from exploiting loopholes and vulnerabilities. IPV6 and Web RTC protection is built-in, as is an internet kill-switch that makes sure your privacy is protected, even when your VPN connection drops.
In addition to these features, PureVPN is strong on its core technology. There are 2,000+ servers in over 140 countries, meaning you get high download speeds, low latencies and an immense selection of countries to get an IP from. There are no bandwidth, speed or server switch limits. Encryption is 256-bit, with a selection of protocols to help you protect your data and beat censorship. All in all, if you want specific advanced features, PureVPN is one of your best options on the market.
Why you need a VPN when in Bulgaria
At first glance, Bulgarian internet laws are excellent. They cover freedom of speech and press – and as a rule, the government respects them, as well as broader EU-wide laws. For example, the constitution bars government and law enforcement representatives from interfering with your privacy, as well as that of your business. Security services can get a judge’s permission to investigate serious crimes and cyber criminals – but they rarely do.
Unfortunately, international non-government organizations often feel that Bulgaria isn’t as liberal as it appears to be on paper. Specifically, Freedom House gives the country a 42/100 for Press Freedom – and other NGOs report that members of the press and the public often face restrictions on what they do online. What’s more, Bulgarian ISPs are known to track users’ online activities and block or restrict certain websites and content. As a result, you may want a VPN that can help you do the following while in Bulgaria:
Two free VPNs to avoid
Be wary of free VPNs. These services are decent, and a few are good – but they often do unsavory things to make money. For example, free VPNs often sell your data to third parties. Others show you ads, entice you to buy their (expensive) full versions, turn your devices into botnet units used by criminals. Unless you’re absolutely sure a free VPN checks out, try to avoid them, as they can undermine your security.
Two popular free VPNs that can put you in danger are covered below:
HideMyAss is a popular free VPN. While its technology is not bad, their security policies leave much to be desire. There have been several cases where HMA gave up users’ logs to the authorities, with one case leading to a LulzSec hacker getting arrested. The service claims not to store logs – but a close look at its logging policy reveals that it monitors usernames, real IP addresses, and time stamps. It also has measures that detect and prevent fraud, network abuse and other “illicit activity”. In other words, if you’re believed to be breaking the law – even if you downloaded one song illegally – using HideMyAss could lead to law enforcement finding and punishing you. Since the service is based in the UK, which cooperates with governments around the world, it’s best to give this service a wide berth.
Hola is a P2P service that’s something between a VPN and a service like Tor. Instead of operating its own servers, it lets users use each others’ devices and connections to mask who’s doing what. Unfortunately, there are two problems with this system. First, using Hola means a criminal might be using your IP and computer, leaving you to face the consequences. Second, the company itself has been accused of selling off users’ computing power and bandwidth to power botnets. In short, if you want to stay on the law’s good side and avoid trouble, we strongly recommend you think carefully before using Hola.
There are many reasons to get a VPN in Bulgaria. Security, privacy and anonymity are a few; more content, better streaming and faster, more reliable gaming are some others. Now that you’ve read this article, you know exactly what to look for in a VPN, and which specific providers are likely to give you a convenient user experience.
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