David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He has published his articles on such online media as Hackernoon, Tripwire, Infosecinstitute, and Cybrary.
- Best 5 VPNs for Australia 2020
Best 5 VPNs for Australia 2020
In recent years, Australia has seen alarming developments in data retention laws, geo-restrictions, website blocking, and ISP as well as government monitoring. All these changes have led to the Great South Land being a ripe market for Virtual Private Networks, and here we’ll help you choose the best VPN for Australia.
From there, you can restore your internet freedom and enhance your privacy as well as security. You will no longer have to worry about:
- Geo-restrictions imposed by streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Blocking of torrent sites by Australian ISPs
- ISP throttling
- Your ISP snooping on your online activities, among others.
However, there are hundreds of VPNs in the market, and you need to choose carefully to get the best VPN for Australia. We have thoroughly tested various VPNs and below are the best 5 VPNs for Australia.
1. Best VPNs for Australia
During our analysis, we rated the VPNs using the following criteria:
- Ease of use
- Size of the server network (and servers in APAC)
- Speeds of the VPN
- Privacy and security levels
- Features offered
- Streaming services it works with
- Overall performance
Considering the above and various other factors, here’s our list of the best VPNs for Australia.
1.1 NordVPN – The best VPN for Australia
NordVPN is known for having the largest number of servers in the industry, and it’s also the best VPN for 2020 The VPN has 5,000+ servers distributed across 62 countries. A whopping 549 of these servers are located in the Asia Pacific region, with Australia having 224 of them.
Apart from the huge server network, NordVPN also offers excellent privacy and security. The VPN is registered in Panama which is a privacy-friendly country. NordVPN maximizes this and keeps zero usage as well as connection logs.
The VPN has hundreds of servers in 45 countries dedicated to torrenting, and you can use them to unblock any torrenting site in Australia. Apart from torrents, this is also an excellent VPN for streaming thanks to its SmartPlay feature which combines the best features of the VPN and SmartDNS technology. You can watch Netflix US even when connected to a server in Australia, making NordVPN the best VPN for Netflix in Australia.
NordVPN can be installed on Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Chrome, and Firefox. You will be able to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously, and your subscription will also be covered with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Keeps absolutely zero logs
- Has the biggest number of servers
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Offers SmartDNS services
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- High cost for month-to-month users
1.2 Surfshark – The most affordable VPN
Surfshark may not have as many servers as NordVPN – 1040+ in 61+ countries – but it makes up for it with its affordability. You’d be hard-pressed to find another VPN as cheap as this one that offers features at least half as good as Surfshark’s.
The cheapest price of this service comes to 2.75 AUD per month on a 2-year plan. While 24 months is a pretty large commitment, the total sum equals only 66 AUD.
Despite not having a super impressive server park, Surfshark does provide pretty good coverage. For example, there are 13 countries in the Asia Pacific region where it has servers and 5 locations in Australia alone.
Such a good distribution of servers means that speeds are consistently high enough for streaming video in high quality. It is a great thing because Surfshark allows unblocking geo-restricted content of such services as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, among others.
Surfshark takes its customers’ safety very seriously. First off, it’s located in the offshore jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. Secondly, it has a kill switch function and an ad blocker in its app. Thirdly, it uses the AES 256-bit encryption. And finally, it keeps no user logs at all.
+ Good speeds
+ Safe jurisdiction
+ No logs
+ 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee
+ Very affordable
- Limited server network
1.3 CyberGhost VPN - Dedicated streaming mode, modern apps
CyberGhost VPN has greatly improved within the last year, and it’s now one of the best VPNs for Australia. It currently has a server network of 5944 servers in 90 countries. 76 of these servers are located in Australia.
The new CyberGhost VPN clients have a streaming mode that allows you to choose from servers dedicated to various tasks. One of modes is torrenting, from which you can choose a server to unblock torrent sites in Australia. Streaming servers are labeled as to which service they unblock, and so you will have an easy time picking one.
CyberGhost VPN is also a fully-featured VPN, and it comes with some advanced features such as malware and ad blocker. The VPN can be installed on Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Firestick / Android Smart TVs, Chrome, and Firefox. A subscription gives you up to 7 simultaneous connections and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
- 1-day free premium trial
- Keeps absolutely zero logs
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Dedicated streaming mode
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Allows payments with bitcoin
- Live chat support is not available 24/7
1.4 ExpressVPN - Largest number of countries
ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands which is a region without any invasive privacy laws. This is great as it helps the VPN maintain a strict zero-logs policy and offer superb privacy.
The VPN has an impressive server network that consists of 3,000+ servers spread across 160 locations in 94 countries. This is a very impressive server network, and the Asia Pacific region is covered with more than 40+ servers.
The VPN has consistently performed well when it comes to torrenting. You can unblock any torrent site in Australia and torrent safely and anonymously. You can also unblock any streaming service and watch in full HD and UHD thanks to the VPN’s excellent speeds.
When it comes to Netflix, you can choose from the various libraries offered which include Netflix US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, France, Netherlands, and more.
ExpressVPN can be installed on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Firestick, and routers. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. You will be able to connect up to 3 simultaneous devices, and your subscription will be covered with a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Excellent client apps
- Zero logs & solid security
- Works with Netflix, iPlayer, Australian and other streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Offers SmartDNS services
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Relatively costly
- Only 3 simultaneous connections
Find more information in our detailed ExpressVPN review.
1.5 IPVanish - Super fast VPN
IPVanish is one of the few tier 1 VPN providers and is among the best VPN services in Australia. Tier 1 VPN services fully own and control their server network, which means that no third-parties are involved. This server network consists of 1,300+ servers in 75+ locations across 60 countries. Oceania alone has 70 servers, and there are 55 others spread across Asia.
IPVanish is one of the best VPNs for streaming in Australia thanks to its super-fast speeds, and the fact that it unblocks most streaming services. The VPN will let you watch Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and many other services in full HD and UHD. Further, their whole server network supports P2P and torrenting and so you can also unblock any torrent site.
Though registered in the US, IPVanish doesn’t keep any logs of your activities or connections. The VPN’s security is also solid thanks its AES 256-bit encryption and features such as obfuscation, automatic Kill Switch, and IPv6 & DNS Leak Protection.
You can install IPVanish on Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Linux, Windows Phone, Fire TV, Chromebook, and Routers. You’ll be able to connect up to 10 simultaneous devices, and you can get all your money back within the first 7 days.
- Zero logs
- Excellent speeds
- Own their network
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Super apps
- Kill switch
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the US
- No bitcoin payment
Find more information in our detailed IPVanish review.
2. What makes the best VPN for Australia?
Getting the right VPN generally depends on what you want to accomplish, as VPNs have different strengths. However, there are some conditions that a VPN needs to meet to stand a chance of being the best VPN service for Australia.
Since torrent sites are blocked in Australia, you have to use a VPN to get access. However, some VPNs don’t allow P2P and torrent traffic on their network. This means that you need to ensure that the VPN you choose has servers dedicated to P2P, or it exclusively declares that it supports torrenting. Note that some VPNs only allow legal torrenting, and you can receive a warning for torrenting illegal files. NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and IPVanish are all good for torrenting.
Works with popular streaming services
Unblocking content on streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc. is one of the main reasons for using a VPN in Australia. However, these services block VPNs on their sites. Still, some VPNs manage to evade this blocking by regularly refreshing their IP address range.
Has Fast Speeds
VPNs are known for negatively affecting your internet speeds. However, some VPNs only have minimal impact, and therefore still provide excellent speeds. Ensure that the VPN you choose lets you watch in HD and UHD without lags. Surfshark and IPVanish are the fastest VPNs listed above, but the others also offer great speeds.
Keeps zero logs & has solid security standards
Privacy and security are some of the most important reasons for using a VPN. The best VPN for Australia should offer you zero logs and use excellent security standards. VPNs located off-shore are the best for privacy, and AES 256-bit encryption is the recommended security standard.
Huge Server Network
A VPN with a large server network ensures that you can’t be congested in the same server with many other users, and so your connections will be fast and reliable. You will also get the chance to unblock content from any region, depending on the server locations that your VPN offers.
Money-back Guarantee/ Free Trial
Since there are many VPNs in the market, a good VPN should give you the chance to test it risk-free. This is either through a VPN free trial or through a money-back guarantee.
3. Why use a VPN in Australia?
If you are an Australian or you stay in the country, you need a VPN now more than ever. Here are a few reasons why you should consider getting one of the best VPNs for Australia.
To Restore your Privacy
Australia is currently one of the most privacy-invasive countries in the world. First, it is a member of the UKUSA agreement which permits the 14 eyes countries involved to commit surveillance over its citizens. Though this movement was formed to share intelligence meant to combat terrorism, it has always been used to monitor citizens’ online activities.
Further, the government imposed a data retention law in 2015 countries that requires Australian ISPs to record and save metadata for two years. According to the law, here is the metadata always collected from users:
- Contacts who you called, sent a message or e-mail
- Dates of calls, e-mailing and texting
- E-mail addresses
- How much data you pass through the network
- Location logs
- User IP addresses
Apart from that, there’s no law that prevents ISPs from going all the way and collecting data about your online activities, and this data is not always secure from security breaches.
The only thing you can do to prevent your ISP and government from snooping on you is using a reliable VPN. Since a VPN encrypts your activities, your ISP won’t be able to make sense of your traffic as all they’ll see will be some garbled mess.
Further, your DNS requests will not pass through your ISP anymore as long as you use a VPN with IPv6 and DNS Leak protection.
Torrenting copyrighted material is a crime in Australia, and the government has implemented various policies to prevent illegal downloads. One of the policies is the ban of 180+ torrenting sites through Australian ISPs.
To access sites such as ThePirateBay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt, SolarMovie, etc. you need to use a VPN. When you connect to a VPN, your traffic is securely tunneled to a remote server of your choosing. This server then spoofs your real IP address and gives you a new online identity.
Your internet traffic now appears to be coming from the new region. For example, if you have connected to a server in Thailand, you will now have a Thai IP address. From there, torrent sites will be unblocked, and you can stream or download files anonymously.
However, note that some VPNs don’t allow torrent traffic pass through their servers, and others only allow you to torrent legal files. Since drawing a line between legal and illegal is near impossible, opt for a VPN that doesn’t limit what you can access.
Note: Bestvpnrating doesn’t promote access to illegal content, and the information provided here is only meant to be educational. To stay safe, always use a secure VPN for torrenting.
Unblock Netflix US and other Streaming Services
Australia is often left out when it comes to streaming content, and that’s why most Aussies rely on torrents for movies and TV shows. For example, services like Hulu, HBO GO, CW TV, Sky Go, BBC iPlayer, ITV, and more are not accessible within the country.
While Netflix is obviously available, the Australian Netflix only has 445 TV Shows and 1599 movies according to Finder.com latest statistics. The American Netflix on the other hand has 1326 TV Shows and 4339 movies. This is quite a huge difference, and it’s the reason why most people always look for how to unblock US Netflix.
You can easily unblock Netflix US with these best VPNs for Netflix.
The most important step is just to make sure that you choose a VPN that can actually unblock Netflix since the streaming service blocks the use of VPNs on its platform. While all the above-listed VPNs unblock Netflix US, Surfshark and ExpressVPN also give you the chance to unblock Netflix content only available in other countries.
Get an Australian IP Address
If you are an Australian expat or you have traveled abroad for holidays or for business, you know that you can no longer access some Australian services. For example, you can no longer watch Australian TV, and if there’s a TV show you were watching which is not available in your current country, you won’t have access anymore.
You won’t have to worry about those geo-restrictions as you can get an Australian IP address with a VPN. Just by connecting to a server in Australia, you’ll be able to access streaming platforms such as Channel 7, 9 Now, Stan, Foxtel Now, etc.
4. Is a VPN Legal in Australia?
Yes, VPNs are completely legal in Australia. Even though The Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 can be a little scary, there’s nothing in Australian laws and regulations that forbid the use of VPNs.
However, it’s important to note that though VPNs are completely legal in Australia, this doesn’t mean that you are allowed to do illegal activities under its cover. As long as you just use it to increase your privacy and security, unblock restricted content, overcome ISP throttling, etc., you’ll be fine.
5. Can I use a free VPN for Australia?
Free VPNs can be tempting since, after all, you won’t have to pay to use it. Scratch that. You won’t have to spend money to use it.
Before you consider using one, the first thing you should know is that nobody runs a VPN for charity, and so every VPN, free or not, is out to make money. They have to pay their bills to keep the VPN running, and they have to gain some profit either way.
To do this, some of these VPNs end up selling your data to third-parties which compromises the whole idea of using a VPN. Apart from that, a study conducted by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found free VPNs to be very dangerous. Out of the 234 ‘Free’ VPN Android apps they tested, 38% of them contained some form of additional malware.
Even with the best free VPN for Australia, the experience you’ll get won’t be anything near that of a premium VPN.
Here are some compromises that you’ll have to deal with:
- Slow speeds;
- Inadequate data transfer;
- Few privacy and security features;
- Few servers;
- Inability to unblock streaming services.
If you only want a VPN for a short period, then we suggest taking advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll get the best paid VPN for Australia, and you can ask for a 100% refund even without having to give an explanation.
6. How do I setup a VPN for Australia?
If you are new to the VPN world, setting up a VPN can sound like a job for technical experts. However, that is not true as the best VPNs are designed to be easy to set up and use even for newbies.
Here’s what you need to do to get started:
- Create an account with one of the best VPNs for Australia (we suggest ExpressVPN). Note that you will need to pick a subscription plan.
- Download the VPN app for your device and then install it just like any other app.
- After installation, log in using your credentials from step 1. If you are using a PC, you’ll need to get your ExpressVPN activation code from the dashboard or from your registration email.
- Connect to a server in a location of your choice. Note that choosing a server in a nearby country will help maximize your speed.
In case of any trouble during this process, ExpressVPN provides 24/7 live chat support. Through their website, you can talk to an agent within just a few seconds and get any assistance you need. There are also set up guides for any of the compatible devices under their support section.
After setting up your VPN, you can now enjoy the many benefits of using a VPN in Australia.
7. What if my device doesn’t support a VPN?
You may be using a Smart TV that doesn’t support VPN installation (e.g., Samsung and LG TVs) or even streaming using a device like your PS4 or Xbox One. These devices won’t let you install a VPN directly but you will still have several options.
Choose a VPN with SmartDNS
SmartDNS is a service that lets you unblock content without encrypting your traffic as a regular VPN does. This means that with one, you can still change your location without even taking a speed cut.
To use SmartSNS, all you need to do is whitelist your network’s IP address and then change your Smart TV’s DNS. You’ll unblock services like Netflix US without a sweat.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer SmartDNS.
Use your VPN on a Router
You can also install your VPN on a router. ExpressVPN has a router applet that is easy to use. All other VPNs on our list can be set up on a router manually and provide guides on how to do that. From there, you’ll be able to share an encrypted connection to any device in your house and even exclude others from the encryption.
If you don’t want to go through the technicalities of flashing your router, you can also head to flashrouters.com and buy a pre-configured one. However, it’s important to note that these cost significantly higher.
Share your PC’s VPN Connection
You don’t need to have a VPN-enabled router to use to share your VPN connection. After installing your VPN on a PC, you can easily share this connection through a Wi-Fi hotspot and use the encrypted connection on your PC. Unfortunately, the process of doing this is beyond the scope of this guide.
8. Best VPN Australia - Bottom Line
Australia doesn’t enjoy the best content distribution and most torrent sites have been blocked in the country. When you combine this with the harsh data retention laws in the country, there’s every reason to look for a VPN. This is why we have tested and reviewed the best VPNs for Australia 2020. Any of the above VPNs will let you restore your internet privacy, security, and freedom. If you are not sure which one to choose, we suggest you go for the all-round and risk-free NordVPN.
We hope this guide was helpful!