Popular VPN launches free plan to help users at risk of censorship

IPVanish VPN running on a Macbook Pro

One of the best VPN services on the market has just launched a new initiative to empower people at risk to take back their internet freedom.

This means journalists and other eligible users battling against online censorship and surveillance can now apply for a 3-month IPVanish subscription without spending a penny.

The IPVanish Emergency VPN scheme was designed to help people at risk in situations of relief, political unrest, turmoil, or subject to other restrictions on internet access, said the provider. To access the 3-month free VPN plan, which can be renewed as needed, you have to submit a support request with your credentials to validate eligibility. Let's see when and why you should consider signing up. 

The need for IPVanish Emergency VPN plan

"Increasingly, citizens around the world are being silenced for fighting against oppression, which stands in stark contrast to IPVanish’s commitment to a free and open internet," said Doug Haden, VP of customer success at IPVanish.

Freedom House recorded yet another decline in internet freedoms in 2023 across the world. This was for the 13th consecutive year, and a record 55 out of the 70 countries analyzed had people facing legal repercussions for expressing themselves online. According to Reporters Without Borders, nearly 800 journalists (779) were arrested at some point last year for doing their job. 

At the same time, digital rights group Access Now described 2023 as the "worst year of internet shutdowns ever recorded." Alongside widespread fixed and mobile connectivity blackouts, 53 platform blocks were enforced across 25 countries throughout the year—and 2024 looks to be even worse. For instance, people in Pakistan have been unable to access the X app for four months, unless they use circumventing software.

A VPN, short for virtual private network, is security software that encrypts internet connections and spoofs your real IP address. While the former makes you more anonymous and less vulnerable to tracking, the latter grants you access to censored sites and services by tricking your ISP (internet service provider) into thinking you're browsing from entirely a different country in no time.

This means that now, with IPVanish Emergency VPN, you can reclaim your privacy and right to access information at no cost. 

On this point, Subbu Sthanu, chief commercial officer at IPVanish, said: "We recognize that privacy isn’t just a convenience for some; it’s a requirement to maintain their safety. We’re proud to provide free Emergency VPN access to those helping to distribute vital information."

VPN encrypting a flow of data

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Besides a wealth of security features such as strong encryption, a reliable kill switch, and DNS leak protection, using IPVanish is also a guarantee that none of your identifiable data will ever be recorded. That's because the provider enforces a strict no-log VPN policy, which it regularly puts under the scrutiny of independent auditors.

IPVanish also implements obfuscation technology across its network of 2,000+ servers across over 75 locations worldwide. This tech seeks to hide the fact you're using a VPN in the first place, minimizing the risk of potential blocks—counties actively restricting the internet often try to restrict VPN usage as well. Obfuscated servers are likely the main reason IPVanish boasts great unblocking results overall.

The provider is also one of the founding members of the VPN Trust Initiative, alongside other big names within the industry including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. The coalition is aimed at improving consumers' digital safety by building understanding, strengthening trust, and mitigating risk for VPN users.

The company is also a long-time supporter of digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as of the US National Security Alliance.

The provider urges everyone in need to apply for the Emergency VPN immediately. It also recommends people at risk who are planning to travel to a location affected by internet censorship file the request beforehand. 

To know all the details on how to apply, I recommend heading to IPVanish’s Emergency VPN Page here.

Chiara Castro
Senior Staff Writer

Chiara is a multimedia journalist committed to covering stories to help promote the rights and denounce the abuses of the digital side of life—wherever cybersecurity, markets and politics tangle up. She mainly writes news, interviews and analysis on data privacy, online censorship, digital rights, cybercrime, and security software, with a special focus on VPNs, for TechRadar Pro, TechRadar and Tom’s Guide. Got a story, tip-off or something tech-interesting to say? Reach out to chiara.castro@futurenet.com