Access Skype: What to Do If Skype is Blocked in Your Country

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Unblock Skype: A Quick Guide

In certain countries, VoIP services such as Skype are blocked. The best way to circumvent VoIP restrictions is by using VPN software. A VPN allows you to redirect your Internet traffic so Skype thinks you’re in a different country, not one where Skype is blocked.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Subscribe to a good VPN and create an account.
  2. Download the VPN software onto your device.
  3. Log in to the VPN software.
  4. Choose a VPN server in a country where Skype isn’t blocked.
  5. You are now able to chat on Skype. In addition to Skype, you can also access other services that may be blocked by your country of residence, such as WhatsApp.

Do you want to start using a VPN for overcoming Skype restrictions? We recommend NordVPN. This VPN has a lot of privacy options, offers fast and secure services, and has a large number of servers worldwide.

For more information on why Skype is blocked, how a VPN works, and tips on how to bypass Skype blocks, read our full article below.

skype logoLaunched in 2003, Skype boasts about 300 million users monthly and over a billion downloads on Android. It’s become so popular that the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software has entered our language: “Skyping” has long claimed its place in the Oxford English Dictionary,

The bad news? Skype is also one of the most widely restricted VoIP services in the world. In over 20 countries, Skype is either blocked or restricted, along with other VoIP alternatives. Thankfully, Skype being blocked in a country you’re in isn’t the end of the world.

In this article, we look at which countries block Skype (and similar services). More importantly, we explain why they’re blocked and how to unblock VoIP, including Skype. You’ll be chatting with your friends and family again in no time.

How to Unblock Skype and Bypass VoIP Blocks

There’s more than one reason that Skype might be blocked for you. On the one hand, your country’s government might have placed restrictions around Skype or VoIP products in general. However, it could also be down to something as simple as your computer’s firewall.

Skype needs access to specific ports (data channels) on your network to work properly. So, below, we’ve covered how to unblock Skype on Windows, Mac, and a restricted network.

If you’re in a country that restricts or blocks VoIP services like Skype, don’t panic. There are ways to get around those restrictions. Virtual private network (VPN) software is arguably the best way to bypass VoIP restrictions, allowing you to connect to blocked services and websites.

You’ll also avoid bandwidth restrictions and latency issues that are associated with Tor or proxy websites. A VPN lets you connect to the internet through a proxy server and change your IP address. If you choose a VPN server in a country where VoIP is allowed, then you can bypass VoIP blocks.

How to use a VPN to unblock Skype

VPN shieldWith a VPN, you’ll be able to change your IP address and make it appear as if you’re located in a country where Skype isn’t blocked. Here’s our simple, step-by-step guide that’ll only take 5-10 minutes of your time:

  1. Find yourself a trustworthy VPN provider. If you’re new to VPNs, we recommend NordVPN for Skype.
  2. Download NordVPN or another VPN of your choice. There are plenty of other awesome VPNs out there!
  3. Install your VPN, then log into the VPN client software. Don’t forget, most premium VPNs offer mobile apps for your smartphone and tablet.
  4. Find a VPN server in a country where Skype’s not blocked, such as the US or UK. Some VPNs like ExpressVPN will find you the fastest server in a given location; otherwise, use the software to select your location.
  5. Once you connect to the VPN, you’ll be changing your IP address. Your new IP will mirror the server’s IP address, so it’ll look like you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away in your chosen location!

How to unblock Skype on a blocked network

firewall-laptopWhen you’re at work, your company’s firewall is busy keeping you safe from cyberattacks. However, it might also be killing genuine software applications, which includes Skype. If you’ve found Skype blocked by your network, don’t worry — there’s still a way around it. Just follow our quick guide below:

Unblock Skype on Windows Firewall

The first few steps of unblocking Skype on your Windows Firewall are the following:

  1. Go to Control Panel by looking for its icon in the Start menu or typing “control panel” or “cp” in Windows’ search function.
  2. Go to System and Security then click “Windows Defender Firewall.”
  3. Click on “Allow an app through Windows Firewall.”
  4. Look for “Skype.exe” in the list of programs shown and make sure the box beside it is ticked. There should also be ticks in the columns named “Private” and “Public.”

The next few steps are a little trickier. You’ll need to unblock ports — data communication channels — on your router. Usually, Skype uses a port number higher than 1024 for inbound connections, but if they’re blocked, it reverts to 80 and 443.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

    1. Check the back of your router for its IP address. Type this address into your web browser, then hit Enter.
    2. In your router’s admin menu, select “Settings,” then look for an option that should be named “Ports” or “Port Forwarding.”
    3. Input the number of the ports that you want to use to unblock Skype: 10 and 443. If you have the documentation that came with your router, you can also refer to that for help. This will help you unblock all ports higher than 1024.
    4. Finally, input the IP address of your device to forward traffic from that port to your computer. If you need to check your IP address, you can do that using our handy tool.

Unblock Skype on MacOS

The built-in firewall that comes with Mac OS X might prevent Skype from working. The software is normally off by default, but you might have to open ports in the firewall if you’re having trouble accessing Skype. If you’re trying to unblock Skype on Mac, here’s a quick guide on opening ports for Skype:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences.”
  2. Click “Security & Privacy.”
  3. Choose “Firewall” and then “Firewall Options.”
  4. Click on “Add.”
  5. Choose the Skype application from your list of applications, then click on “Add.”
  6. Make sure that the option beside Skype is ticked to allow incoming connections and click “OK.”

Note: This guide relies on some basic technical knowledge. It also requires you to change some computer and router settings. You may or may not have access to these things if you’re trying to change settings on a company-owned device, for example. For best results, ask your company’s support team for assistance.

The Best VPNs for Skype

If you want to start using a VPN to unblock Skype, you need to make sure you pick the right VPN provider. Below you can find some of our recommendations.

1. NordVPN: The best Skype VPN for speed and VPN server availability

NordVPN PNG Logo Large

NordVPN offers a fantastic package for a competitive price. Renowned for its fast and secure service, NordVPN has more than 5,000 VPN servers worldwide, offering you a range of options for routing your traffic. You’ll also be able to connect to VPN servers in around 60 countries.

Using Obfsproxy to avoid Deep Packet Inspection and operating a “no-logging” policy, NordVPN enables you to access all the blocked content you want. And if you aren’t entirely happy with their service, or you want to test it out first before committing, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Where NordVPN truly excels is in its provision of advanced security features. For the security-conscious business user making calls through Skype, this is hard to ignore. For example, each VPN server is assigned multiple IP addresses, which means you won’t always share the same IP as every other user connected to the server, further increasing your anonymity.

NordVPN also offers a split tunneling mode, which lets you choose exactly what data you’re routing through your VPN connection.

Finally, another option built into NordVPN is the double VPN mode. With this feature enabled, which is also known as VPN chaining, you’ll have twice the protection against hackers as you would with a single VPN server connection.


2. Surfshark: Unblock Skype in China and the UAE for less!

Surfshark Logo PNG Fallback

Surfshark boasts over 3,200 servers in more than 60 countries across the globe. You’ll be able to unblock Skype from pretty much anywhere.

That’s right — you can even unblock Skype in China and the UAE with Surfshark. This is thanks to Surfshark’s NoBorders mode, which lets you get around geographical restrictions that block websites.

VPN connections with Surfshark are protected by 256-bit AES encryption, in addition to WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. There’s also no logging involved, meaning your browsing is private.

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Surfshark’s user interface is simple and easy to understand for newcomers, too. However, this VPN takes second place due to having approximately only 3,200 servers worldwide in comparison to NordVPN’s 5,100+.


3. ExpressVPN: The best Skype VPN for cheaper prices and routing options

ExpressVPN helps you to bypass geo-blocked content from around the world. With around 96 countries supported, they have the biggest network of VPN servers in the industry.

Whether it’s YouTube, Netflix, WhatsApp, Skype, or blocked news websites, any website can be accessed from anywhere in the world when using ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN’s user interface is simple and user-friendly, and its connections are among the fastest in the industry next to NordVPN.

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That said, it’s also one of the most expensive premium VPN providers. If all you’re looking to do is unblock Skype, then you’ll find it cheaper to use Surfshark. However, for long-term VPN use, you should definitely keep ExpressVPN in mind.


Countries Where Skype is Blocked or Restricted

We’ve compiled information about countries where Skype is blocked. Please note this list is constantly changing, so you might find that countries block Skype or lift a block when policies change.

Blocked Entirely

  • Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE

Service Restrictions

CountryService Restrictions
BelizeCurrently blocked by Belize’s Telemedia Limited, Belize’s only telecoms provider that also offers its own VoIP calling service
BrazilCurrently blocked by Brazil Telecom, Brazil’s largest telecoms provider that also offers its own VoIP calling service
CaribbeanCurrently blocked by LIME, Caribbean’s most popular telecoms provider
ChinaAll VoIP services are blocked, except those provided by China Unicom and China Telecom
CubaSkype is available in Cuba, but calls cost $1.15/minute, and extremely slow internet speeds further restrict its usage
EgyptThe Egyptian government regularly disrupts or blocks all VoIP services that cannot be directly monitored by them
IranSkype seems to be available, but connectivity is so bad that the service is basically unusable
IndiaFree Skype-to-Skype calls are available, but Skype to mobile and landline is not
JordanAll VoIP services are blocked
MyanmarAll VoIP services are available only at certain times and only in specific regions
PakistanAll Skype calls are heavily monetized, costing at least $0.14/minute
PanamaPanama’s government imposes a 12% tax on all VoIP calls
SyriaSkype access is limited and is not available in internet cafes
VietnamSkype access is limited, but a proxy service that facilitates Skype calls is available in some internet cafes
VenezuelaLocal ISPs block VoIP services in specific areas but offer their own alternatives

Why is Skype Blocked in Certain Countries?

There are many reasons why Skype is blocked or restricted in certain countries. However, in the vast majority of cases, it comes down to one of three factors: protectionism, government surveillance, or regulatory restrictions.

1. Protectionism

Skype Blocked LaptopThe majority of VoIP blocks and restrictions are implemented as a form of protectionism by telecommunications companies.

Skype’s ability to offer free global voice and video calling has a potential negative impact on the profits of telecoms companies. For this reason, they block the use of Skype and similar platforms.

This is particularly true of South and Central America, where telecom companies also often handle telephone and internet access. Skype is blocked by telecoms providers in Belize, Brazil, and Venezuela. This way, people are forced to communicate via telephone or using the telecoms company’s own VoIP service.

The lack of telecoms competition in these countries only increases the problem. For example, in Belize, government-owned Belize Telemedia Limited is the only telecoms provider. They block Skype to protect their telephone revenue and to promote their own VoIP service.

2. Surveillance

In some countries — notably China and a number of Middle-Eastern states — the government enforces restrictions on Skype and other VoIP services. They claim that the platform’s independence and its “no phone tracking” policy pose a security risk.

As a result, Skype was removed from all local app stores in China in December 2017. The software joined Google Mail, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Line, and Pinterest on the list of non-state-owned software that has been censored by the Chinese Government. Similarly, the Egyptian government has an official policy of blocking services they cannot monitor, including Skype.

3. Regulatory Restrictions

In certain countries, VoIP services such as Skype have to obtain a license to operate. An excellent example of this is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which requires VoIP services to be licensed by their Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. Skype is currently unavailable in the UAE because they have been unable to obtain the correct license to operate.

Unblock Skype

If Skype is blocked in your country, you can use a VPN to change your IP address and overcome VoIP restrictions. This way, you’ll be able to access VoIP services like Skype.

VPNs represent the best mix of speed, utility, reliability, and security. What’s more, a VPN can help you access many blocked apps and websites, such as TikTok, for example. To help you pick the VPN services that are right for you, we’ve put together a list of the best VPN providers on the market.

Of course, you might simply be blocked from Skype due to a militant network router. With the steps above, you should be able to unblock Skype on a blocked network or on Windows and Mac. Then, you can chat with your friends and family without restrictions.

Access Skype: Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question on how to bypass Skype blocks while traveling or living abroad? Take a look at our FAQs below, and click on a question to see the answer!

Skype is one of the most well-known VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) video calling platforms. The software uses something called peer-to-peer connection. This makes it straightforward and user-friendly; you simply log into your account and connect to anyone you choose.

However, if your country has blocked Skype and other VoIP software, you’ll have to unblock Skype by using a VPN to change your IP address. Our full article has a guide to the best Skype VPNs.

The majority of VoIP service blocks and restrictions are implemented as a form of protectionism by telecommunications companies. Skype’s free voice and video calling features might negatively impact the profits made by telecoms companies.

Skype and other VoIP services are also blocked by some governments. They claim that the platform’s independence poses a security risk. If you find yourself coming up against a Skype block, consider using a VPN to change your IP address and bypass these restrictions.

Most VoIP services use end-to-end encryption to protect your privacy and stop people listening to your calls. Still, you can — and should — use a VPN with VoIP services. Many governments block VoIP software because of this privacy benefit — not to mention the cost-effective benefits when compared to telecommunications suppliers — but by using a VPN, you can bypass geographical restrictions.

To get Skype working again, you can use a VPN connection. Once you connect to a VPN server in another country, you’ll be assigned a new IP address. This IP will mirror the location of the VPN server. Armed with your new IP address, you’ll be able to access Skype, as long as you’ve chosen a country that doesn’t block Skype.

Below, you’ll find a list of countries where Skype traffic has recently been limited or is completely blocked:

Blocked Entirely

  • Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE

Service Restrictions

  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Caribbean
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Myanmar
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Syria
  • Vietnam
  • Venezuela
Author
Cybersecurity journalist
Chris is a tech journalist with many years' experience covering the latest news in online privacy and cybersecurity. He's also a published author and works as a Product Manager for some of the most innovative software development companies.
Author
Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. She has broad experience developing rigorous VPN testing procedures and protocols for our VPN review section and has tested dozens of VPNs over the years.