TikTok VPN: How a VPN could evade TikTok bans and which services to use

TikTok VPN
(Image credit: Kon Karampelas)

Interest in TikTok VPNs is surging thanks to the news that Pakistan has banned TikTok for a second time in six months. Initially banned on October 9, 2020, the ban was lifted ten days later. However, in the past few days the ban has been set into affect once more.

Users in the US are luckier, with the new Biden administration putting WeChat and TikTok bans on the backburner for the time being. However, we can't be sure if and when things may hot up again, and users in India and Pakistan are still without access.

Most users aren't bothered with the details going on behind the scenes though – all they want is access to their favorite app.

So, thanks to this worldwide uncertainty of the fate of TikTok, interest in the best VPN is surging as users seek out a working TikTok VPN as a way of evading blocks on the service.

Skip ahead to our top TikTok VPNs – all have a 30-day money-back guarantee

Why is TikTok being banned?

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The most recent ban in Pakistan concerns 'indecent', 'immoral' and 'unethical' content that's available on the platform. And, although the majority users may not agree, the government has had the final say and the app is now unavailable in app stores across the country.

TikTok was given a chance to better moderate content last October, and after a 10-day ban it was made available again, with the understanding that the owner, Chinese tech giant ByteDance, would put more effort into removing unacceptable content.

However, between now and then, it seems ByteDance has not done enough. Whether that stems from differing views on what is acceptable or that ByteDance simply didn't do what was promised is yet to be announced (and we doubt it ever will be), but the short answer is that TikTok is now banned in Pakistan, and remains so in India.

While there's much talk about a US-based takeover of TikTok, the reality is President Biden has shelved the US ban indefinitely. However, elsewhere TikTok could soon be history – and to concerned users, a TikTok VPN might look like a potential solution.

How might a TikTok VPN work?

A VPN works by encrypting and rerouting your internet connection through its own servers located all across the world. In effect, this means it can make you appear to be in any country of your choice. 

Also, seeing as a VPN routes your traffic through its own servers and makes it invisible to your ISP, any restrictions or blocks imposed by said ISP can be avoided. That means you can access things like torrenting sites which, while legal, are blocked by most providers.

Most commonly used to access blocked streaming media (check out our Netflix VPN guide for more info), some users think that the same technique might also grant them access to TikTok. However, we simply can't say for sure if any VPN will do the trick.

Tiktok VPN - tiktok ban

(Image credit: Visuals)

The downsides of TikTok VPNs

Because the TikTok ban is very new, it’s difficult to say how the process will work. Reports of TikTok VPN usage in India – where it’s been banned for some time – are unclear. Some say that VPNs are perfectly effective, while others find the restrictions impassable.

It all depends on how the Pakistan ban is implemented. While TikTok is inevitably fighting the decision, we believe Pakistan to have followed much the same route as the Indian government, which means the mobile apps will be removed from app stores and service may degrade as time passes and updates can't be installed.

However, we highly recommend you seek out the most recent information about the legalities of the situation yourself to fully inform yourself of any risks, and no VPN services mentioned on this page claim to be either foolproof ways of accessing TikTok, or specifically designed for this purpose.

What VPNs have the best chance of unblocking TikTok?

If you live in a country where TikTok is banned (or may soon be banned) and you want to try to access the service withy a VPN, it’s worth seeking out a service that has a good track record of evading government censorship. 

Also, it's worth noting that all the following services provide 30-day risk free guarantees. So, if it turns out the VPN can't access TikTok, you can claim you money back risk-free.

Big name offers excellent security-focused experience (opens in new tab)

Big name offers excellent security-focused experience (opens in new tab)
Possibly the most famous VPN around, NordVPN (opens in new tab) provides a watertight security with really usable apps – plus an excellent track record of accessing restricted content in authoritarian regimes. With over 5,000 servers you’re bound to find one that provides great connection speeds, and you’ll also be able to install it on pretty much any device you own, too.

Incredible value yet fully-featured VPN (opens in new tab)

Incredible value yet fully-featured VPN (opens in new tab)
If you’re looking to save money but still get one of the best VPNs on the market, Surfshark (opens in new tab) could be your best option. It works great as a streaming VPN (opens in new tab) and also unblocks restricted content when used as a UAE VPN (opens in new tab), so it may give you a good chance with TikTok. Plus, for less than $2.50 a month, it’s also one of the cheapest services on the market.

IPVanish – great value plus cheap monthly plans (opens in new tab)

IPVanish – great value plus cheap monthly plans (opens in new tab)
US-based IPVanish (opens in new tab) could be worth a test if you're thinking of using a VPN to evade the TikTok ban. With tons of US servers plus great privacy and security, it's one of the best US VPN (opens in new tab) services on the market. Plus, it's only $2.40 a month – and its monthly VPN (opens in new tab) plans aren't bad, either.


Will a TikTok VPN be illegal?

Depending on breaking news, it's difficult to estimate exactly how and when TikTok has been banned – but we're comfortable saying that VPNs themselves are unlikely to become illegal.

However, using a VPN doesn't make any illegal activity legal, like downloading pirated software.

We're unlikely to see TikTok use criminalized, and if you do get access we doubt you'll be punished. After all, the legislation is about the protection of data rather than illicit content, so the end user should be at very little risk. 

What else could I use a TikTok VPN for?

Other than potentially accessing TIkTok, there are tons of other VPN uses.

One of the most popular reasons for having a VPN is to access geo-restricted streaming content. Netflix, for example, serves different shows to people in different countries, so you'll be able to watch content that's not available at home. Also, if you're on holiday, you'll be able to watch the shows you're used to at home.

The main reason for having a VPN, though, is to maintain privacy and anonymity online. You'll be able to avoid trackers and targeted adverts, and your internet service provider won't be able to see what you're browsing on the web.

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Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.