Instagram not working with VPN

Trying to use Instagram with a VPN in a country where it is banned? It’s usually one of the best ways to access the social media app, but it can run into some issues.

If Instagram is no longer working with your VPN, it may mean your internet service provider (ISP) has managed to block your VPN. All is not lost, though, as there are several fixes you can try so you can jump back on Instagram.

In this guide, we’ll help you find out how to fix Instagram not working with your VPN. If all else fails, our list of the best VPNs will help you out.

Which VPNs work with Instagram?

ExpressVPNNordVPNPureVPNSurfsharkPIA
Instagram
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps31 Mbps27 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%31%27%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$3.78$2.49$2.03

Instagram not working with VPN: Checklist

  1. Check if Instagram works with your VPN on another device
  2. Connect to a server with a low user count (if possible)
  3. Clear Cookies and Cache: Remove old location data from your browser/device
  4. Verify VPN IP Address: Use whatismyip.com to check you have an IP address provided by your VPN
  5. Disable GPS and/or location services on mobile devices
  6. VPN Software Update: Make sure your VPN software is the latest version. Try uninstalling and reinstalling
  7. Switch VPN protocols
  8. Reach out to your VPN’s customer service for Instagram-specific recommendations
  9. Upgrade VPN: If all else fails, consider switching to a known VPN that can get past restriction for Instagram, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN

Remember, this checklist will only work if your internet service provider (ISP) hasn’t blacklisted your VPN’s IP addresses.

Instagram not working with VPN: Fixes

To get Instagram working with your VPN again, try out these fixes below:

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Check if your VPN works on another device

    Instagram not working with VPN

    If you VPN works with Instagram on your smartphone, but not on a different device, then you know your VPN isn’t the problem. If your VPN does work on one device, jump to Step 3 below.

  2. Contact your VPNs live chat service

    Instagram not working with VPN

    Cycle through your VPN’s available servers. If you only have a few options available to you, go to your VPN’s website and find the Live Chat feature (if they have one) and ask for a specific server number that works with Instagram.

    If they can’t point you towards a server that works with Instagram, then you know that your VPN is the problem.

  3. Delete your cookies

    Instagram not working with VPN

    Deleting your cookies can potentially fix VPN issues. Accumulated or corrupted cookies in a browser might interfere with the way websites and online services function, especially when using a VPN.

    Clearing these cookies removes any old or problematic data, thereby ensuring a cleaner slate for your VPN connection to operate. This can help in establishing a more stable connection and resolving conflicts between the VPN and certain apps like Instagram.

  4. Connect to a different server

    Instagram not working with VPN

    If your VPN has suddenly stopped working with Instagram, it might be because the IP address your VPN has given you has been identified and blocked by your ISP.

    Changing to a different server will give you a different IP address, and if that one hasn’t been blocked, your VPN will work with Instagram again.

  5. Reinstall or update your VPN

    Instagram not working with VPN

    If an update is available, updating your VPN can solve many issues its experiencing, and offer improved tools to get past any blocks.

    Another method is removing your VPN, and its settings, from your device and starting again, as it is a good way to get the most up-to-date settings configured on your devices without much effort.

  6. Switch VPN protocols

    Instagram not working with VPN

    VPN protocols determine how a VPN works. When you use a VPN, the protocol is responsible for hiding your data and rerouting it via VPN servers.

    If Instagram isn’t working with your VPN, it might be because the protocol you’re using is no longer working with the service. If your VPN allows it, try changing to a different protocol to see if that fixes the issue.

  7. Upgrade your VPN

    Instagram not working with VPN

    If nothing is working, don’t fret yet. You should consider upgrading to a high-end VPN.

    We recommend ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.79/month) for Instagram. For more information, check out our VPN list below to see which VPN suits your needs and budget.

Does Instagram block VPNs?

No, Instagram doesn’t block VPNs.

The reason your VPN is no longer working is because your ISP has likely figured out you’re using a VPN and has blocked the IP address it has given you.

If you’re using a VPN to access Instagram, you’re probably in a location where Instagram is banned or restricted. These bans or restrictions can change regularly. Here are a few example of countries banning Instagram:

  • China: Instagram has been blocked in China since 2014 as part of the government’s internet censorship efforts, which includes the Great Firewall.
  • North Korea: Instagram is not accessible in North Korea, where internet access is heavily restricted and tightly controlled by the government.
  • Iran: Instagram has faced intermittent blocks and restrictions in Iran, particularly during times of political unrest or protests. However, many users still access the platform using virtual private networks (VPNs) despite government censorship efforts.
  • Russia: There have been reports of Instagram being temporarily restricted or blocked in Russia during times of political tension or protests, although it’s not banned outright.

How do ISPs block VPNs?

ISPs can employ various techniques to block VPNs, especially when restricting access to apps like Instagram. Although, it’s an ongoing cat-and-mouse game between VPN providers and those seeking to block them.

Some common methods ISPs use to detect and block VPN traffic include:

  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI): DPI involves inspecting the data packets transmitted over the network to determine their contents. By analyzing the headers and payloads of packets, ISPs can identify VPN traffic based on recognizable patterns or characteristics associated with VPN protocols. Once identified, ISPs can choose to throttle, restrict, or block this traffic.
  • Port Blocking: Many VPN protocols use specific ports for communication. ISPs can block traffic on these ports, making it difficult for VPN users to establish connections. However, this method is often not effective against VPNs that offer obfuscated or stealth VPN protocols that can disguise VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic.
  • IP Address Blocking: ISPs can maintain lists of known VPN server IP addresses and block connections to these addresses. VPN providers often use a large pool of IP addresses, making it challenging for ISPs to maintain up-to-date blocklists. Additionally, VPN providers can regularly rotate or add new IP addresses to circumvent such blocks.
  • DNS Filtering: Domain Name System (DNS) filtering involves intercepting DNS requests and preventing access to certain domains, including those associated with VPN services. By blocking access to VPN websites or DNS servers used by VPNs, ISPs can discourage users from accessing VPN services. However, users can often bypass DNS filtering by using alternative DNS servers or VPNs that offer DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) or DNS-over-TLS (DoT).
  • Packet Dropping and Throttling: ISPs can selectively drop or throttle VPN traffic, making it slower or unreliable. This method can be more subtle than outright blocking and may not be immediately apparent to users.

Lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs, struggle to get around these techniques and subsequently all of their IP addresses get blocked. This is what has most likely happened to your VPN and it’s why you can’t access Instagram with a VPN anymore. 

Does Instagram still work with VPNs?

Instagram generally works with VPNs, but it may not always be reliable or consistent. Countries where Instagram is restricted or banned may attempt to block VPN traffic as well, making it more challenging for users to access the platform through VPNs.

However, VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN regularly update their servers and technologies to bypass such restrictions, allowing users to access Instagram and other blocked content.

As an example, if an IP address provided by ExpressVPN and NordVPN is blocked by your ISP, these VPN services will close that IP and open a new one. This means there will always be an IP address for you to connect to, allowing you to use Instagram from anywhere in the world reliably. 

For more of the best VPN services to get past region restrictions, check out our list below.

Best VPN services we recommend for Instagram

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. It consistently performed well in tests with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Servers: ExpressVPN is highly regarded for its lightning-fast speeds and impressive server coverage, with over 3,000 servers in 104 countries that facilitate reliable and swift access to Instagram, even in regions with strict digital censorship.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s advanced encryption and privacy features ensure that your online presence and activities remain secure and anonymous, making it an excellent choice for those who take their digital privacy seriously while scrolling through their Instagram feed.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

2. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: NordVPN brings over 6,000 servers spanning 60 countries. While this isn’t as many countries as other VPNs, it’s still more than enough to get around region blocks for Instagram. Its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections.

Privacy: NordVPN stands out with its unique Double VPN technology, which routes your connection through two separate VPN servers, doubling the encryption and security of your data. This, along with its Threat Protection feature that blocks ads and malicious websites, makes NordVPN a robust option for Instagram users who want extra layers of security without sacrificing performance

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: Private Internet Access works well with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, although it initially faced some difficulties with BBC iPlayer, which were resolved after some fixes.

Servers: PIA has over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, which is above the average of 71 countries. That’s more than enough for anyone trying to use Instagram. However, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. Its easy-to-use interface allows for detailed settings adjustments, and the automatic kill switch ensures your Instagram activity is always protected, even if your VPN connection unexpectedly drops.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark performs well with most streaming services but faces challenges with some, like Hulu. This could be a drawback for users who heavily rely on VPNs for streaming content from various regions.

Servers: Surfshark boasts over 3,300 servers in 100 countries, which is well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage for anyone using Instagram.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasises its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy for Instagram. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN has shown improvement in its ability to unblock streaming services. While it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer, its performance improved during less busy times. PureVPN can unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers over 6,000 servers in over 65 countries, making it an ideal, robust network for users trying to get past region blocks for Instagram.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy. If you’re using Instagram and privacy is a must, you may want to look elsewhere.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

Instagram not working with VPN: FAQs

Q: Why isn’t Instagram working with my VPN?

Answer: Instagram may not work with your VPN because the platform often restricts access from VPN servers to prevent misuse and ensure security. If the VPN server’s IP address has been flagged by Instagram, it could lead to access issues.

Q: Is using Instagram with a VPN legal?

Answer: Depending on where you are based, using a VPN with Instagram is legal. There are certain countries where using a VPN or Instagram is illegal, but it’s important to note that a VPN encrypts your internet connection and can provide anonymity online.

Q: What should I do if Instagram stops working when I connect to a VPN?

Answer: If Instagram stops working upon connecting to a VPN, try disconnecting and reconnecting to a different VPN server, as this can often resolve the issue. If problems persist, check with your VPN provider for any specific settings that could help.

Q: Will using a VPN with Instagram affect my account?

Answer: Using a VPN with Instagram shouldn’t affect your account as long as you’re not engaging in activities that violate Instagram’s terms of service. However, if Instagram detects suspicious activity from your VPN’s IP address, it may temporarily limit or block access to certain features.

Q: How can I choose the best VPN for Instagram?

Answer: To choose the best VPN for Instagram, look for one with a large selection of servers, strong encryption, and a reputation for reliability. It’s also beneficial to select a VPN that offers dedicated IP addresses and has received positive feedback from users for social media access.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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