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    Table of Contents

    • List of Countries That Have a WhatsApp Ban
    • Why Do Some Countries Block WhatsApp?
      • China
      • UAE
      • Iran
      • Brazil
      • India
      • UK
    • How to Unblock WhatsApp With VPN Services
    • Best VPN for WhatsApp: ExpressVPN
    • Final Thoughts
    • Comments

    Since launching in 2009, WhatsApp has become the world’s most popular instant messaging application, boasting over 2 billion users and counting . However, there are a few countries where WhatsApp is banned. 

    Key Takeaways:

    • Only five countries in the world have banned WhatsApp in some capacity: China, North Korea, Syria, Qatar and the UAE.
    • Most of those countries ban WhatsApp for security and political reasons, while others want to promote local telecommunication companies. 
    • You can get around a WhatsApp ban by using a VPN to spoof your location to another country. 
    • ExpressVPN is the best VPN for unbanning WhatsApp because of its extensive server network and strong encryption. 

    Certain countries have banned WhatsApp for political and national security reasons, while others claim they want to promote their local telecommunications industry. In this guide, we’ll list the countries that have outlawed WhatsApp and their reasons. We’ll conclude by showing you exactly how to bypass such geo-restrictions .

    • Over 180 countries allow WhatsApp; only five countries forbid WhatsApp use.

    • WhatsApp is banned in China, North Korea, Syria, Qatar and the UAE.

    • Yes, WhatsApp is banned in China and will not work there; you will need a VPN to get around the ban. However, VPNs are also banned in the country unless you have government permission, so you might need to install both WhatsApp and the VPN before you visit China.

    • WhatsApp isn’t fully banned in Dubai or the other Emirates. You can’t make WhatsApp video and voice calls in Dubai, but you can send and receive texts.

    List of Countries That Have a WhatsApp Ban

    The following countries forbid access to WhatsApp from within their borders:

    • China
    • North Korea
    • Syria
    • Qatar
    • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

    It’s worth noting that the UAE only prohibits WhatsApp voice and video calls, but you can still send and receive text messages. 

    There are also some countries that have temporarily blocked WhatsApp. Countries that have extended online censorship to block WhatsApp and other social media apps during protests include Brazil , Cuba , Iran and Venezuela .

    Why Do Some Countries Block WhatsApp?

    Many countries have shut off WhatsApp due to the app’s end-to-end encryption — a feature that allows people to communicate without detection. Local authorities claim that blocking the app is key to maintaining a stable and secure political climate. In reality, this kind of control is usually exercised to stifle political opposition.

    Other countries have banned WhatsApp to promote their local telecommunications industry. This move is typically expected to boost government revenue in the long run.

    Does WhatsApp Work in China?

    The Chinese government has blocked WhatsApp, and essentially has a stranglehold on the internet services in the country. Since 1998, the Great Firewall of China has been used to restrict access to any app that the Chinese government deems noncompliant. In September 2017, WhatsApp fell victim.

    Why Is WhatsApp Banned in China?

    Initially, observers thought the app was temporarily shut down because of a Chinese Communist Party meeting in October. However, the ban has not yet been lifted. Be sure to check our guide on how to unblock WhatsApp in China .

    Chinese authorities banned the app because of its end-to-end encryption, a feature that prevents them from reading messages sent through the app. For perspective, the Chinese government does allow Skype — a similar communications app — because it doesn’t have such encryption.

    Why Is WhatsApp Banned in Dubai?

    Like many other Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, WhatsApp’s video and voice calls are banned in Dubai for two main reasons.

    First, UAE authorities fear that terrorists and extremist groups could take advantage of WhatsApp’s encryption. Second, Dubai is hell-bent on ensuring that their local telecommunication services do not lose revenue as a result of people using free communication apps. Read our guide to learn how to get around the WhatsApp ban in Dubai .

    Is WhatsApp Banned in Iran?

    The app isn’t currently banned in Iran, but it has been in the past during protests and times of unrest. The Iranian government has plans to build a “ national internet ” featuring an internal search engine and internal messaging apps — a potential threat to WhatsApp.

    Is WhatsApp Banned in Brazil?

    WhatsApp isn’t banned in Brazil, though there have been several restrictions in the past. The latest of these was the Brazilian Central Bank’s ban on WhatsApp’s payment feature in 2020, which was lifted in 2021.

    There’s no telling if Brazil will ban WhatsApp in the future, but with the Brazilian National Congress considering legislation that would make messages traceable, it seems there’s no truce just yet. 

    Is WhatsApp Banned in India?

    India is WhatsApp’s biggest market , with over 480 million WhatsApp users. There has been a tussle raging between the Indian government and WhatsApp regarding privacy, but there’s no clear indication of an imminent ban. 

    Is WhatsApp Banned in the UK?

    WhatsApp is thriving in the U.K. with over 40 million users. The only thing close to a restriction so far has been WhatsApp moving the legal age for accessing the app from 13 to 16, in accordance with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A full-blown ban of the app is very unlikely.

    How to Unblock WhatsApp With VPN Services

    If you live in or you’re traveling to a country that’s banned WhatsApp, there’s good news: You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass geoblocks. Here’s how.

    1. Download and Install a VPN

      Go to your app store and download a VPN service. For this example, we’ll use ExpressVPN . Hit the “install” button and it should download quickly.

    2. Connect to a Server

      Sign in to the app and connect to a server. Make sure the VPN server is in a country where WhatsApp isn’t banned, but is geographically close to you. The closer the server, the faster the connection speed.

    3. Access WhatsApp

      Once you’re connected, open WhatsApp to start texting or calling.

    The Best VPN to Unban WhatsApp: ExpressVPN

    ExpressVPN is a great choice for unbanning WhatsApp.

    To get past a robust WhatsApp censorship, you need a top-shelf VPN. Enter ExpressVPN . Because ExpressVPN has 3,000 servers in 94 countries, your chances of finding a server close to a WhatsApp-restricted country are high. This should yield faster and more reliable connections.

    Some of these countries, like China and North Korea, also ban the use of VPNs. ExpressVPN’s obfuscated servers ensure that governments can’t detect your VPN traffic and see it as just normal internet traffic. 

    Aside from its strong encryption protocols, ExpressVPN supports IP and DNS leak protection — features that ensure your data never leaks. Read our full ExpressVPN review for more information.

    ExpressVPN Plans

    • : Unlimited GB
    • : 5
    • :

    Final Thoughts: Countries Blocking WhatsApp

    A handful of countries have WhatsApp restrictions, often for political and security reasons. Fortunately, VPNs can help you bypass such restrictions with ease. ExpressVPN stands out as the best choice, but you can also try other top VPN options like NordVPN and Surfshark . 

    Have you ever tried to get around a WhatsApp ban? Which VPN did the trick for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below, and as always, thanks for reading!

    Which countries do not allow WhatsApp?
    Only five countries in the world have banned WhatsApp in some capacity: China, North Korea, Syria, Qatar and the UAE. Most of those countries ban WhatsApp for security and political reasons, while others want to promote local telecommunication companies. more
    How many countries allow WhatsApp?
    180 countries With more than 2 billion users across 180 countries, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world and the messaging market leader in all but 25 of the world's countries — outperforming competitors Facebook Messenger and WeChat. more
    In which countries WhatsApp is available?
    WhatsApp's market penetration, by country Position Country % of WhatsApp users 1. Kenya 97% 2. South Africa 96% 3. Nigeria 95% 4. Argentina 93% more
    Does WhatsApp make money?
    WhatsApp started as a 'freemium' service, where users were able to send messages for free for the first year and then renew at an annual $0.99 fee. They have shifted from this business model and stayed away from in-app advertising. Instead, they make money through WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp Pay. more
    Who own WhatsApp now?
    The client application was created by WhatsApp Inc. of Mountain View, California, which was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for approximately US$19.3 billion. It became the world's most popular messaging application by 2015, and had more than 2 billion users worldwide by February 2020. more
    Is WhatsApp banned?
    Amid pressure to identify the original source of unlawful and inflammatory messaging, Facebook-owned instant messenger WhatsApp said on Thursday that it has banned over 20 lakh users in India during the month starting May 15, taking them down for “harmful behaviour”. more
    Which countries use WhatsApp the most?
    According to eMarketer, India has more WhatsApp users than any other country, with 390.1 million monthly active users. The combined user base located in the top 3 WhatsApp countries exceeds half a billion, with 573.6 million monthly active users based in India, Brazil, and the US. more
    Where are WhatsApp servers?
    The 700+ servers used by WhatsApp are currently spread between data centers in California and Washington D.C., costing Facebook up to $2 million a month. more
    Has WhatsApp crashed? is UP and reachable by us. more
    Who runs WhatsApp?
    Jan Koum was born and raised in Ukraine before he moved to the United States when he was 16 years old. Brian Acton grew up in Michigan. While many app developers were young college students, Koum and Acton were in their 30s while creating WhatsApp. more
    WhatsApp heads India?
    Abhijit Bose WhatsApp announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Abhijit Bose as head of WhatsApp India. Bose, who joins WhatsApp from Ezetap where he has served as co-founder and CEO will build WhatsApp's first full country team outside of California and will be based in Gurgaon, the company said in a statement. more


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