The Indian flag on a keyboard.
karen roach/

ProtonVPN announced that it has pulled all its VPN servers out of India, citing the government’s imminent introduction of strict censorship rules aimed at revealing who is behind VPN accounts. However, Indian customers will still be able to use Indian IP addresses through virtual servers based in Singapore supplied by ProtonVPN.

The rules, put together by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in a bid to fight cybercrime, will force VPNs—among other computer service providers—to implement know-your-customer protocols. This includes registering each user’s full name, address and telephone number, as well as customer activity while using the network.

This flies directly in the face of what VPNs are supposed to do, so it’s small wonder, then, that ProtonVPN—among others—is leaving India. The only way to avoid the restrictions is to abandon any presence in India, which includes servers. That said, users can still sign on and use the service from India, they just won’t be able to use servers based in the country.

However, ProtonVPN seems intent on making sure that their customers can still anonymously use the internet with Indian IP addresses. To do so, it will “replace” its abandoned Indian servers with Indian IPs on virtual servers in Singapore using what it calls “smart routing.” ProtonVPN users will still be able to spoof Indian IPs, they’ll just be doing so through Singapore instead of somewhere on the subcontinent.

ProtonVPN’s decision to give up its Indian servers is the latest in an exodus of VPN providers. ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN, to name just three, upped sticks back when the new VPN crackdown was announced in June.

The Best VPN Services of 2023

Best Overall VPN
Private Internet Access
Best Budget VPN
Private Internet Access
Best VPN for Windows
Best Free VPN
Proton VPN
Best VPN for iPhone
Proton VPN
Best VPN for Android
Best VPN for Streaming
Best VPN for Gaming
Best VPN for Torrenting
Best VPN for China
Mullvad VPN
Best VPN for Privacy
Mullvad VPN
Profile Photo for Fergus O'Sullivan Fergus O'Sullivan
Fergus is a freelance writer for How-To Geek. He has seven years of tech reporting and reviewing under his belt for a number of publications, including GameCrate and Cloudwards. He's written more articles and reviews about cybersecurity and cloud-based software than he can keep track of---and knows his way around Linux and hardware, too.
Read Full Bio »