While you were surfing the Internet and reading this article, were you connected to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) If not, you must be…
These days, computer hacks and cyberattacks are occurring with alarming frequency. Add to that the fact that the world is becoming increasingly mobile, with travel and remote work quickly becoming the norm.
As more and more of our personal data moves to the cloud, we become more connected, but also more vulnerable. Simply put, VPN allow you to connect to the Internet through a private, encrypted tunnel, which greatly reduces your chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
VPN are easy to use and cheaper than you might think. I’ve personally tested all the best VPNs in Australia and abroad and summarized my findings in this guide.
NordVPN tops the list of the best VPNs for Australia. This VPN stands out from the crowd with its feature set, secure apps, and lightning-fast speeds. It is strategically located in Panama, which is an excellent privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
One of the biggest advantages of NordVPN is its WireGuard VPN protocol. The WireGuard protocol offers a huge speed advantage over OpenVPN and other traditional protocols. It also provides next-generation encryption on a lean, lightweight code base. With WireGuard and NordVPN, we have achieved speeds of 445 Mbps.
Another advantage of NordVPN is its large network of servers built on a high-quality infrastructure. NordVPN has 5,400 servers in 59 countries, including five locations in Australia alone. All NordVPN servers run on dedicated hardware (no virtual sites) in RAM disk mode. These RAM servers provide a higher level of data security and run without a hard drive, so no data can be stored on any server.
For those interested in data protection in Australia, NordVPN offers a number of features
- Dual VPN servers – These encrypt traffic across two separate VPN servers for added security (see our multi-hop VPN guide for benefits).
- Tor-over-VPN servers – These VPN servers go onto the Tor network for an extra layer of anonymity.
- CyberSec – This feature blocks domains for ads, trackers, and malware. In addition to improving security, blocking ads and trackers helps websites load faster and save bandwidth.
- Audit – NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that has been audited by a third party. It has passed Versprite’s security audit and its no-logging policy has been tested and verified twice.
If you want to stream Australian media, NordVPN is another good option. It unlocks Australian Netflix and many other Netflix libraries around the world (US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and others). NordVPN also works well for file sharing and is the best VPN for torrenting according to the latest tests.
CyberGhost operates a huge network of over 6,400 servers, including 104 in Australia and over 1,000 in the US. It is very focused on unbundling streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It’s also popular with torrent fans, with a special “anonymous torrent” option in its app. The speed is also good, making it a great all-rounder.
CyberGhost does not log user activity or record IP addresses. The app is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN with a huge network of hidden servers in 94 countries, including Australia and the US. Their VPN client features AES-256 encryption, the OpenVPN protocol, and SmartDNS, so you can unblock Netflix or any other streaming service on almost any platform.
ExpressVPN also drops the ball when it comes to anonymity, and doesn’t log any traffic data or DNS requests. Conveniently, they are based in the British Virgin Islands, where they are not subject to 14 anti-spying and anti-piracy laws. It supports unlimited P2P torrenting and gaming at consistently high speeds.
The downside is that you can only install ExpressVPN on three devices, which is a bit too restrictive if you ask me. Still, the apps are elegant and flexible and feature kill switches, automatic connections and DNS leak protection.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day refund on all plans, and the annual subscription for $99.95 per year is a pretty good deal. Their six-month plan is cheap at $60, while the monthly subscription costs $13.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access (PIA) has 1,535 servers in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, but it’s not limited to local use: With an impressive global network of servers in 77 countries, PIA has had some success unblocking streaming services around the world. I was able to access Netflix UK, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video without any issues.
Streaming was great, with no buffering. I tried all the nearby servers (in Australia and New Zealand) and often got well over the 5 Mbps needed for HD streaming, but when testing VPN speeds I found that connection to remote servers was somewhat inconsistent. When connecting to a US server, my speed dropped by 63%, which is still quite fast.
PIA has top-notch security features to protect sensitive data and anonymity. This makes the service a good option for privacy-conscious users in Australia and other countries. Its strict no-logging policy and multiple encryption protocols ensure that your online activities cannot be tracked and your identity is protected, whether you are torrenting, streaming or browsing.
PIA’s MACE feature provides additional protection – a built-in malware, adware and tracker blocker. When I tested MACE on some ad-heavy torrent sites, it worked well. You can connect up to 10 devices to one package. PIA is compatible with a wide range of devices, so the whole family can try out everything it has to offer.
To learn more, try it for free with our 30-day money back guarantee. After contacting 24/7 customer service to request a refund, they took immediate action and I received my money within 10 days.
Looking for a cheaper VPN in Australia? Try Surfshark. For almost half the price of the previous options, you get a very similar experience and five Australian locations – this is no bargain basement torrents.
You get great speeds, a simple but effective app, and excellent streaming service unlocking performance that rivals the best. So much so that Surfshark even specifies exactly what you can watch on its website. Not all VPNs do this.
Unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, however, Surfshark hasn’t been fully independently verified, and while it claims to be truly log-free, we can’t be sure until it is. There is nothing to suggest otherwise, but it would be good to know for sure.
For its price, however, Surfshark is very good value for money, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee to help you test the service, you don’t have much to lose.
What Makes a Good VPN in Australia?
Privacy and Anonymity (Agreements, Payment options)
Privacy is the most important aspect when dealing with VPN providers, and this includes two aspects: whether they keep records of your usage activities (logs) and what payment options they offer you.
Some VPNs, and nowadays many, offer the option to pay with vouchers or cryptocurrencies. This leaves no trace on the user, which is an advance over traditionally available methods.
Security (Encryption, Blocking Trackers, etc.)
There are two aspects to security – the protocol used to establish the connection and the encryption method used to protect the data between your device and the VPN server.
Each protocol has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as being fast but having security vulnerabilities, or having a different ratio of security to performance. From an encryption perspective, it is often the case that higher levels of encryption result in slower performance because more data must be added to the packet.
Other security additions are usually just icing on the cake, such as built-in ad blockers or the ability to block tracking data from certain websites.
Speed and Stability
Speed is the next issue, because you obviously don’t want to pay for a service that slows down your internet speed too much. I would say that a good VPN should be able to provide at least 70% of the actual (not theoretical!) line speed.
Another issue is the location of the server, as this contributes to geolocation spoofing. Let’s say you are in Italy and want to use BBC’S iplayer service to stream videos. Subscribing to a VPN that doesn’t have a server in the UK is a bit of a technical hassle.
The last point is about P2P file sharing. p2p file sharing puts a lot of strain on internet lines and is not supported by some ISPs and even some VPN providers. This is unfortunate because p2p file sharers are often prosecuted in some countries like the US and Singapore. I once had a friend who received a warning letter from his ISP for downloading a movie there!.
While it may be unreasonable to expect all VPN providers to cater to P2P file sharing users, there should at least be more servers dedicated to their use. This would greatly open up the customer market and serve an underserved group of users.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are VPNs legal in Australia?
Despite the government’s commitment to limiting internet privacy, VPNs are completely legal in Australia.
There are no legal consequences for using a VPN in the country. However, it is still illegal to do things that are illegal while using a VPN. Only Belarus, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and North Korea have made VPNs illegal.
What are the best VPNs for Netflix Australia?
Netflix Australia is still one of the most restricted directories. It offers less content than Netflix in the US, UK, Canada, India, and Japan.
Whether you want to access US Netflix or Australian Netflix, ExpressVPN is the best choice. It’s fast, easy to use, and allows you to access 19 different Netflix libraries. It also unlocks Netflix on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Is torrenting legal in Australia?
Torrenting is legal in Australia. However, torrenting copyrighted material is not legal.
In fact, Australia is one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to punishing copyright infringers. Anyone caught distributing copyrighted material faces fines of up to $117,000.
Australia is also known as the “piracy capital of the world” and the government is quite active in preventing illegal torrenting. With the help of corporate allies and the courts, many Australians have gotten into serious trouble for something as trivial as downloading a movie. Many Australians now use VPNs to hide their IP addresses and keep their online activities secret.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about restoring your privacy in Australia, let’s review our top VPN options.
NordVPN – An easy-to-use VPN in Australia. It has a great smartphone app for Android and iOS that offers the same protection as desktop users.
ExpressVPN – The best VPN for use in Australia. fast, secure and versatile service – perfect for unblocking, streaming, torrenting and gaming.
CyberGhost VPN – The best VPN in Australia at a good price. It’s a slick app that works great on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. It is perfect for all your devices.
Private Internet Access – One of the most secure VPNs in Australia. You get amazing privacy features and no logging policy. Ideal for secure torrenting.
Surfshark – Cheap VPN for Australia. For $2.49 per month, you get great streaming speeds and excellent blocking features.
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in the eastern lowlands of south-central Europe. It consists of nine federal states, one of which is Vienna, the capital and largest city of Austria. Check out the Best VPN for Austria to surf the web and access social media apps with safe and secure.