Can tourists use internet in Iran? Which websites and social Medias are banned in Iran? Is it possible to use portable internet in Iran? Which Iranian SIM card is better for tourists and has faster internet with lower price?
How fast is Iran Internet?
According to the latest update of the speed test website in May 2022, which presents its statistics based on the average real internet speed of users, the average internet download speed of mobile SIM cards in Iran is 26 Mbps and ranks 71st in the world.
According to this ranking, Iran's portable internet speed is better than countries like Russia, Brazil, Egypt and India.
It should be noted that the quality of internet access in Iran has improved significantly in recent years. Not only the services of private companies can be offered on the Internet, but almost all administrative and government tasks are also online.
A significant part of people's purchases in Iran are done online and Internet TVs are also well established.
Which websites and Social Medias are restricted or banned in Iran?
It may be strange, but the lack of access many sites in Iran are not only from the Iranian government! In Iran, we cannot see some of the sites due to the filtering of the internal government of Iran, and we cannot open some sites due to the strict sanctions laws of the United States of America.
Based on this, there are two types of restrictions for internet access in Iran:
1- Internet limitations defined by the Iranian government
The restrictions that Iran's internal government has defined for internet access include political, cultural and artistic sites opposed to the ruling system. News agencies like CNN and BBC are also counted as such. Violent content, illegal trade, and pornography are other topics covered by Iran's internet filtering law.
2- Restrictions created due to the US government embargos on Iran
The sanctions imposed by the American government after the Iranian revolution in 1978 have become stricter day by day to the extent that they include not only commercial activities but also cultural and scientific activities.
When you are in Iran, you cannot do business online and connect to banking portals with the IP of the geographical region of Iran. Access to credit cards, Mastercard, Visa card and PayPal is blocked in Iran.
The embargo laws have gone even beyond this and the access of Iranians to the websites of some important universities in the world, some art service platforms and music and film websites is also limited in Iran. Spotify is one of the latest companies that cannot be accessed in Iran.
Copy right in Iran
If you want to know whether the copyright law is observed in Iran or not? The answer is no, but it needs a little explanation.
Iran is affected by American sanctions and this makes it very hard for Iran to connect to the international community, for this reason observing copyright law is practically not possible in Iran. In recent years, the Ministry of Culture and Arts of Iran has enacted laws to protect books, software, music, films and other works of art and tries to ensure that copyright is respected at least within the borders of Iran.
For this reason, you have the possibility to buy the latest soft wares, movies and music of the world for free and illegally on Iranian websites or even from street vendors.
How to access Facebook or Twitter in Iran
If you are an influencer or a digital marketer and a constant connection to Facebook and Twitter is vital for you, you must be worried about the lack of access to these specific sites in Iran.
The embargo laws have gone beyond this and the access of Iranians to the websites of some important universities in the world, some art service platforms and music and film websites is also limited in Iran. Spotify is one of the latest companies that have blocked access to this app from inside Iran.
Anyway you will see millions of active Iranians on Twitter and Facebook, while access to these applications and sites is prohibited! And the obvious answer to this problem is using a VPN.
Is it legal to use VPN in Iran?
This is the question of most travelers; can tourists install and use a VPN in Iran? The answer to this question is clear, according to the law, no, but you will be able to easily use VPN in Iran because normally official authorities do not investigate this issue.
However, let us emphasize once again that this is not legal and illegal work by a foreigner in any country can be troublesome. Iran is no exception to this rule and it is better not to take such a risk if there is no necessity.
YouTube access in Iran
The same conditions that were previously explained for Facebook and Twitter in Iran also exist for YouTube. Especially uploading a video on YouTube is time-consuming even with a VPN. Your internet speed will decrease drastically while using a VPN, especially while uploading! As a result, if you don't want to change your YouTube channel's regular update schedule during your trip to Iran, it's better to upload your videos in advance!
Internet access quality in mountains, nature and roads of Iran
In addition to cities, internet coverage is good in most Iran villages. A national telecommunication plan was implemented two decades ago for rural and remote areas of Iran, and as a result, rural communications, including telephone, mobile and internet, became better ever since.
This plan made even some touristic nature routes and mountain climbing routes that are close to rural population centers to have the Internet. But in general, you can't expect good and stable internet in Iran's nature routes.
Using satellite mobile phone is the best way that we suggest to our travelers for support of mountaineering and eco group tours.
Free Wi-Fi in Iran hotels and restaurants
Usually, the request for internet access in good cafes and restaurants in big cities like Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd, Tabriz and Mashhad is met with a positive response from the owner of the cafe and restaurant, but do not expect to get access to internet anywhere.
If you are staying in a 3-star or higher hotel or hostel, you can expect internet support, but if the quality of the internet is important to you, be sure to check this item before choosing a hotel or hostel by reviewing the comments of previous travelers or consulting Trip to Persia’s experts.
In Iran, there is almost no free Wi-Fi in public areas, and almost none of the tourist attractions or sites have free/chargeable Wi-Fi.
W i-Fi in Iran buses or trains
None of the public transports within the Iran cities have Wi-Fi, but some intercity transport companies offer free Wi-Fi and internet on the bus. You can check the availability of Wi-Fi on the bus with the driver. The internet may be available on bus is based on the internet of the mobile phone SIM card and as a result, it will have fluctuations in the mountain or desert roads of Iran.
Except for a few railway companies and on limited routes such as Tehran-Mashhad, none of the intercity trains in Iran have internet. Since the Iranian railway passes through remote areas, even if you use your SIM card data, you will not have internet coverage in many places.
Buying unlimited internet packages in Iran
One of the frequent questions of travelers is the possibility of buying unlimited internet.
Like many countries in the world, there is no such thing as unlimited internet in Iran. You can buy internet packages with a certain data limit, usable only in a fixed time period from any of the companies that provide home internet, corporate internet or portable internet.
If you use internet a lot then you will need portable internet, and you should go for solutions other than SIM cards. Companies such as Mobinnet, Shuttle, High Web and Asiatec offer good quality portable internet in Iran.
Voice and video call with WhatsApp, Skype and Google Meet in Iran
The most popular known international messenger that is legally used in Iran is WhatsApp .All the audio and video call features work without restrictions in Iran.
Also, if you have a business meeting or online appointment via Skype or Google Meet, you can connect to these programs without any problems.
Zoom and Telegram filtering in Iran
The bad news for travelers is that messengers such as Zoom and Telegram are filtered and it is not possible to access them normally through the Iranian Internet. However, many applications are used as an interface to access Telegram in Iran, which do not need a VPN! Telegram messenger is the most popular application in this regard and by 2021, it had about 50 million users in Iran.
Instagram in Iran: most popular social media
After Telegram, an important part of Iranian people's time on the Internet is spent on Instagram. Fortunately, access to Instagram is free in Iran and a high percentage of people are active on this platform. I suggest that if you don't have an Instagram account, make sure to create one and activate it during your trip to Iran.
Iranians like to communicate with you through their Instagram page and they will definitely ask for your Instagram page Id!