12 Best VPNs In Australia For 2024 [Rated & Ranked]

4.8
(35)

(35 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)

Finding the best VPN became a priority for Australians after news broke out that Optus, Medibank Private and Latitude Financial were all hacked in recent years. Moreover, credit card numbers of over 50,000 Australian donors were published on the dark web after 70 charities were hacked. I've picked the 12 best VPN services in Australia for 2024 to alleviate your privacy concerns and upgrade your internet security defences.


Last updated: February 2nd, 2024

Best overall VPN in Australia

NordVPN

Best VPN for Australian private individuals and businesses, offering blazing fast server speeds, 24/7 support and 2-year plans starting at a cheap $2.99/month.

Visit NordVPN

Best budget VPN in Australia

Surfshark

Ridiculously cheap, but based within the Nine Eyes jurisdiction, making the VPN potentially vulnerable to government data requests.

Visit Surfshark

Best "free" VPN in Australia

Atlas VPN

Genuinely useful to free subscribers and legitimately powerful on paid tiers, but it won't unblock Netflix and the small-ish server fleet continues to let it down.

Visit Atlas VPN

Good alternative to NordVPN

ExpressVPN

Excellent server infrastructure rivals that of NordVPN, but offers no split tunnelling at slightly higher prices. Eight simultaneous connections is a nice bonus.

Visit ExpressVPN

Opinions in this review are based on my personal experience with the products. Brands don’t get to offer editorial input nor see the review before it goes live, but may compensate me at no cost to you, if you choose to purchase a product on this page. Can you trust this review? Read the financial and editorial disclaimers.


Last updated: February 2nd, 2024

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Until a few years ago, I’ll wager most people barely knew what a VPN service was. But then the pandemic happened, and VPN use in Australia exploded. Businesses and private individuals realised they needed the best VPN services to keep them secure and anonymous online.

However, VPN adoption in Australia is disproportionately lower than in other Western nations.

The percentage of Aussies who have downloaded VPN services in the last three years is 10.1%, compared to countries with much bigger populations like France (13.6%), the USA (14.7%), the UK (18.2%), and the Netherlands (23.9%).

Are we browsing in a false sense of security? Perhaps. The famous Australian “no worries” attitude probably spills over our view of online privacy.

The decision to use a VPN presents another problem: not all VPN services are the same. The Australian market is saturated with great premium VPNs and dreadful cheap ones.

How to separate the best VPN services in Australia from the rest?

I’ve gone down the online privacy rabbit hole to create this VPN service bible. It’s worth bookmarking this page and returning to it later if you don’t blast through in one sitting.

Important!

Do you want a quick answer? NordVPN is currently my “Best Premium VPN of 2024”, with Surfshark in second place as “Best Budget VPN”.

1. NordVPN.

Best VPN in Australia.

The best VPN of them all is NordVPN, and it stands on the top of our podium, covered in confetti and bowing gracefully, owing to its security capabilities and user-friendliness.

Important!

NordVPN operates in Panama, outside of the Five Eyes Alliance (Australia, USA, UK, Canada, and New Zealand), which means the company can’t be stiff-armed into sharing data with intelligence services. This also helps keep you safe from privacy breaches and leaks (see FAQ below for details).

Pros.

NordVPN is a beast. Think of it as your comprehensive internet security toolkit.

For example, in addition to scanning and encrypting your internet traffic, it has antivirus features that check downloaded files for malware.

Password manager is also available (albeit for an extra fee).

Top-tier privacy tools are included at no charge.

If you need Tor-level anonymisation, you’ll appreciate NordVPN’s push-button access to the proprietary Onion over VPN feature.

Important!

Meshnet is also at your fingertips, allowing you to create and manage your own encrypted network with 60 devices (great for file sharing and business communication).

Speaking of buttons, the user-friendly app has a simple “Quick Connect” button that works almost instantaneously – the first time.

Some apps (like Surfshark’s) can be a tad buggy and take a few times to establish a connection.

Impressive performance is NordVPN’s constant theme. It emerged as one of the fastest VPNs in our hands-on tests, providing seamless browsing, streaming and downloading experience.

The speed at which you connect, by the way, has a lot to do with the number and quality of VPN servers available.

NordVPN offers a whopping 5,725!

Expert Tip.

That’s the second-highest server count in this review, which means faster speeds because the servers aren’t oversubscribed.

And NordVPN is on a mission to bring all those servers into colocations. That is, purpose-built data centres owned exclusively by NordVPN.

So many other VPNs rely solely on virtual servers, but bare-metal servers are less susceptible to breaches (which are rare in all fairness).

If you ever need further information or support, NordVPN has 24/7 live chat support. Although, in my experience, I’ve never had any problems with dropped connections or lag.

You’ve got 190+ servers across 5 locations in Australia to choose from, too.

This might sound complicated, but it’s intuitive to use, even for a newbie.

There are other security features too, like ad-blocking, smart DNS service, dedicated IP addresses, and Socks5 proxies.

Cons.

Back in 2018, NordVPN was hacked via a third-party server in Finland, and they didn’t even know about it until a year after it happened, and they conceded that:

“Server access might have enabled the hacker to monitor the traffic of anyone using that server.”

Disturbing, but not catastrophic.

Any encrypted traffic was protected.

But after the tiny breach, they’ve doubled their network expansion of colocated servers (owned exclusively by NordVPN).

Another thing that bugs me is that while the number of VPN servers is vast, you can only access 60 countries, much less than the 105 offered by ExpressVPN and 100 by Surfshark.

Being able to have only six separate devices sucks, too. Very connected families may need to buy a second license.

So many others – like Atlas VPN, Surfshark, and Windscribe – offer unlimited connections (but come with their own downsides that I’ll discuss below).

Expert Tip.

The map interface on the mobile app can be a bit fiddly when you’re trying to pinch to zoom in and out. Not ideal if you have stubby fingers, and nowhere near as user-friendly as TunnelBear’s animated UI.

Verdict.

How Does NordVPN Stack Up?Score
Price5/5
User Interface4/5
Security5/5
Speed5/5
Privacy5/5
Unblocking Streaming4/5
Extra Features4/5
OVERALL4.5

NordVPN is a fast and extremely secure VPN. Blistering speeds, audited no-logging policy and (annual) plans starting at $2.99 /month make NordVPN the best VPN in Australia.

Minor app usability glitches exist, and monthly plans are less budget-friendly, but these are small quibbles.

This is a premium VPN with plenty to offer.

You get an intuitive interface, compatibility with almost every device on the planet and responsive 24/7 support.

✔ Excellent speed test results
✔ Most feature-rich VPN provider
✔ Super streaming powers
✘ Minor app interface and usability issues
✘ Above-average monthly prices

Specifications.

Download speed196 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connections6
Server locations in Australia5
Number of servers in Australia190
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$12.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$2.99 / month
Free planNo
Kill switchYes!

2. Surfshark VPN.

Best budget VPN in Australia.

You can be forgiven for thinking Surfshark is an Aussie company, given its name contains “surf” and “shark”, but it’s headquartered in the Netherlands – part of the Nine Eyes Alliance.

Does that mean you can surf the web without a care in the world, much like you would when in Byron Bay or Bondi Beach?

Pros.

Surfshark is a relatively new company, founded in 2018, and they reached a whopping one million customers in their first 30 months of trading – faster than Netflix, which took 42 months to reach that same milestone.

Why are VPN users flocking to Surfshark?

Important!

Surfshark has a similar number of locations and servers to ExpressVPN, yet its lowest monthly cost is around four times cheaper at $1.99 versus $8.32 (USD), respectively.

For the price, Surfshark offers ridiculous value.

Okay, you have to pay for a 24-month plan up front, but it works out at less than a bag of chips from Woolies.

What’s more impressive is that you can have unlimited simultaneous connections.

NordVPN and ExpressVPN only allow up to six and eight devices to be connected simultaneously.

Most people in a household wouldn’t need more than that, but you can share with friends and family and operate your business on a cheap-as-chips subscription.

It also yielded the fastest average speeds in our daily test, around 263 Mbps, around 25% faster than industry giants NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Surfshark also gives you the option of a static IP, which you don’t have to share with thousands of other users across the world, for an extra $3.75 per month.

Cons.

I’m kind of on the fence with the fact that NordVPN’s parent company has acquired Surfshark.

It’s true that they operate independently and don’t share IT infrastructure or anything like that, but it does make you wonder if you’re paying the same service, albeit in a different skin.

Brace yourselves.

Surfshark is part of the Nine Eyes Alliance (a bigger international club than the Five Eyes Alliance).

Based in the Netherlands, they can share data with eight other countries, including the US and Australia.

Is your online privacy really safe?

Important!

Surfshark reckons they don’t keep logs, but so do all VPNs in this review, and yet some have been known to provide intelligence to the FBI.

Look, it’s none of my business if you like to engage in the occasional torrenting or access streaming services, like the occasional boxing PPV (let’s be honest, the heavyweight boxing division has been robbing us blind this last decade or so, anyway).

But whenever you’re using a VPN based in the jurisdiction of the Five, Nine, or Fourteen Eyes, you’re at greater risk of being rumbled.

Important!

Operationally, Surfshark can sometimes take around 15 to 30 seconds to establish a connection and take multiple attempts to establish.

And in my experience, I found that many common sites had blacklisted IPs and were blocking access to content. I couldn’t even access Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

Some of the servers are just plain wrong too.

I’ve had experiences when I connected to a Singapore VPN only to find that my search results were throwing up localised results for Pakistan.

Verdict.

How Does Surfshark Stack Up?Score
Price5/5
User Interface4/5
Security4/5
Speed4/5
Privacy4/5
Unblocking Streaming4/5
Extra Features3/5
OVERALL4.5

We recommend Surfshark as a budget-friendly, all-rounder VPN.

Yes, it’s located within the Nine Eyes Alliance, but this may not be important to people who are more worried about private hackers than governments.

Unlimited connections are Surfshark’s main selling point. You’ll appreciate this if you have four children, each of whom has three devices.

Apart from that, Surfshark offers everything a top-notch VPN should: consistent unblocking abilities, advanced security features and fast customer support.

✔ Best cheap VPN with a superior server network
✔ Unlimited simultaneous connections
✔ Whitelister feature
✘ The logging policy is not audited
✘ Minor kill switch issues

Vital Specifications.

Download speed263 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Server locations in Australia6
Number of servers in Australia100
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$15.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$10.99
Free planNo
Kill switchYes

3. Atlas VPN.

Best free VPN in Australia.

Atlas VPN is one of the three VPNs in the “Cyberspace” group (along with NordVPN and Surfshark). So what makes Atlas different to its brothers, and how does it measure up against them?

Pros.

With Atlas VPN, there’s a solid free version you can access before you buy.

It comes with up to three premium locations and unlimited devices.

So, you’re telling me the free plan on Atlas gives you access to unlimited simultaneous connections, and NordVPN and Express VPN cap this at six and eight, respectively?

It’s also ad-free!

So you won’t be forced to sit through frustrating ads for the privilege of using.

Important!

Many free VPN services make their money by selling your data and internet activity, but Atlas VPN has a strict no-logs policy.

Even with the free version, you have access to state-of-the-art tunnelling protocols.

My favourite feature is MultiHop+, which gives you access to multiple rotating VPN locations and uses several layers of encryption to protect your anonymity.

What’s the catch?

Well, Atlas hopes you love their VPN so much that you’ll take out a paid plan.

At $1.70 per month (for the 36-month annual subscription), that’s the cheapest deal from any of the reputable VPN services featured in this review.

Absolutely stellar deal.

Cons.

Don’t expect much in the way of advanced features with Atlas VPN.

The server locations are limited, with only 42 countries available for the paid plan.

It sucks for Aussies since there’s a distinct lack of available countries and cities nearby. You’ve got New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand, but that’s about it.

You have a tonne more choices with ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

Being so limited, internet traffic is as congested as the junction at Anzac Parade and Boyce Road in Sydney during rush hour.

Having only a little more than 1,000 servers worldwide, I can’t say I’m surprised.

Important!

Private Internet Access VPN has over 35,000 servers worldwide, for crying out loud. Now that’s like driving on the German Autobahn – true freedom right there!

At peak times, you can expect some drops in your connection. And you need to go into the VPN app and manually click connect again to reconnect.

Their biggest drawback is that it’s based in the US.

That’s a huge red flag for me.

Law enforcement agencies in the US can request access to VPN logs from VPN services.

Now, I know many VPNs reckon they don’t collect logs, but in one case, PureVPN assisted the FBI and revealed the IP addresses that Ryan Lin used to carry out cyber threats.

If PureVPN was truly a zero-log VPN, how the heck were they able to provide that kind of intelligence?

Verdict.

How Does Atlas VPN Stack Up?Score
Price5/5
User Interface4/5
Security4/5
Speed3/5
Privacy4/5
Unblocking Streaming3/5
Extra Features3/5
OVERALL4.1

Atlas VPN is the runt of the litter compared to the other VPNs in the Cyberspace group due to its basic infrastructure. But it is free, after all.

At the very least, it’s worth downloading and taking for a test drive. However, being based in the US is a red flag you just cannot ignore.

✔ Cheap 3-year subscription package
✔ Unlimited simultaneous connections
✔ Zero-log policy
✘ Headquarters in the US
✘ Small server network

Vital Specifications.

Download speed147 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Server locations in Australia42
Number of servers in Australia190
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$17.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$6.99 / month
Free planYes
Kill switchYes

4. ExpressVPN.

Good alternative to NordVPN.

With a no-logs policy, ExpressVPN is another solid VPN service recently acquired by Kape Technologies in 2021 (although some have reservations about that, which I’ll discuss shortly).

As far as the operational aspects are concerned, you’ve got access to a great selection of countries and servers and super-fast download speeds – but it’ll cost you more than most VPNs.

Pros.

Much like NordVPN, ExpressVPN features a giant power button to turn on (or off) your VPN, and it operates in the background inconspicuously.

You don’t need to be a tech wizard to use it.

It’s also one of the best VPNs in Australia for server locations, with 5 across the country.

Other VPN reviews erroneously cite this number as 7 because they miss that ExpressVPN offers 3 server locations in Sydney alone (Sydney 1, Sydney 2 and Woolloomooloo).

Expert Tip.

This means that server locations are identical to NorcVPN’s (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide), but Sydneysiders are more likely to get the best speeds and lowest latency with ExpressVPN (especially during peak hours).

In case you were wondering, ExpressVPN offers a robust zero-logging policy, meaning your internet traffic data isn’t retained, unlike Hotspot Shield, which logs the domains of sites accessed with a timestamp.

Not cool.

Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that with ExpressVPN.

Exclusive to ExpressVPN is TrustedServer technology, which prevents the operating system and apps from writing your traffic to the hard drive.

ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers, which cannot store any data when powered off.

Stored data means you can be vulnerable to hackers.

Aside from the online security aspects, ExpressVPN has a decent arsenal of other privacy ammunition, such as a kill switch, split tunnelling, and smart DNS service for faster streaming.

Cons.

I’m going to cut to the chase here.

ExpressVPN’s credentials on paper are strong, so I won’t waste time nitpicking its qualities. But what about its ethics and the behaviour of its ambassadors?

Have you ever heard of Edward Snowden?

The American whistleblower who leaked highly classified information?

Love or hate him, his word carries much weight in the intelligence community. He’s been urging ExpressVPN users to ditch the service.

Why?

It’s due to ExpressVPN’s appointment of Daniel Gericke as CIO.

He was involved in Project Raven, a spying operation on behalf of the UAE, and he’s since been charged by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

ExpressVPN has stood by his appointment, saying,

“To be completely clear, as much as we value Daniel’s expertise and how it has helped us to protect customers, we do not condone Project Raven.”

What’s also damning is that ExpressVPN was acquired by Kape Technologies, a company that has a history of allowing third-party developers to inject malware into users’ browsers and slurp up their browsing data.

You’re here because you’re concerned about privacy, right?

That comes down to trust.

It’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to risk your privacy by using a VPN with questionable links.

Apart from the obvious doubts you may have, it sucks that you can only have eight simultaneous connections.

So you’ll be pretty much limited to protecting the devices in your household and you won’t be able to share with your friends and family – or within your small business.

And ExpressVPN doesn’t offer static IPs like NordVPN and even more budget-friendly VPNs like Surfshark.

Verdict.

How Does Express VPN Stack Up?Score
Price4/5
User Interface4/5
Security4/5
Speed4/5
Privacy4/5
Unblocking Streaming5/5
Extra Features4/5
OVERALL4.4

ExpressVPN is known for reliability, fast speeds (especially if you’re in Sydney) and the ability to unblock just about any streaming platform.

Like NordVPN, it has a strict no-logs policy and is headquartered outside of the Five Eyes alliance (in the British Virgin Islands, to be exact).

The main downside is cost.

It’s slightly more expensive than NordVPN (especially on annual plans), but given the comprehensive privacy and security chops, it’s definitely worth it.

✔ Extensive Australian and global server network
✔ Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu
✔ Offers an effective no-logs policy
✘ Only five simultaneous connections
✘ Not cheap

Vital Specifications.

Download speed196 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connections8
Server locations in Australia5
Number of servers in Australia106
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$10.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$12.99
Free planNo
Kill switchYes!

5. Private Internet Access.

Excellent VPN service.

Like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access is owned by Kape Technologies, though it offers much better value for money, but it’s based in the US, inside the Five Eyes Alliance.

Pros.

The sheer number of servers available on Private Internet Access exceeds ExpressVPNs, NordVPNs, Surfsharks, and Atlas VPNs put together.

Allow me to spell it out for you: thirty-five thousand servers!

Important!

That’s more than 30 times as many as Atlas VPN.

The more servers there are, the more it eases the flow of global traffic. With fewer servers, all that traffic gets congested and bottlenecks occur.

I rarely, if ever, experience a drop in connection with PIA.

Private Internet Access comes with unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can cover all your devices (and those of your associates if you wish).

And 30% of those servers are colocated (owned by the company rather than leased). NordVPN are working on scaling up their colocation servers, but they still only represent 10% of their total servers.

Colocated servers are less susceptible to hacking.

PIA also offers dedicated IPs in Australia, the UK, the US, and a few other countries for an extra $5 (USD) per month.

That way, you’re much less likely to find yourself on a blocked list and hitting Google’s verifications every time you perform a search.

Even ExpressVPN doesn’t offer dedicated IPs.

Cons.

Private Internet Access is owned by Kape Technologies.

You know, the same parent company that owns ExpressVPN. You know, the same company Edward Snowden has warned us against.

Important!

At this rate, it seems as though just about every VPN service has been or is about to be swallowed up by a bigger fish.

Pango, Nord, Kape Technologies, McAfee and a few others own several VPNs and are buying them up like they’re going out of fashion, and most of us don’t even know it.

It’s not quite an oligopoly (yet), but there are some smaller businesses like Proton VPN, which is an employee-owned company (based in Switzerland) and Windscribe, which is based in Canada, which is owned by its three founders and Windscribe employees.

Ownership matters.

Owners have a duty of care and responsibility with your privacy and intellectual property, and my view is that smaller entities are less susceptible to internal corruption since there are fewer members who can go rogue.

Private Internet Access is US-based.

Important!

I won’t repeat why I think that’s a red flag, but those concerned should consider a VPN outside of the Five Eyes Alliance, like Proton VPN.

PIA’s browser extension is a joke. I’ve had persistent connectivity issues with it, and the customer support just told me to clear the cache and cookies and reinstall the VPN.

That inept response reminds me of the troubleshooting advice from IT departments of the companies I’ve worked in: “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

It’s not a user error this time. They need to fix their own extensions.

Split tunnelling is temperamental too, and I’ve noticed in the forums that there are complaints almost daily.

Glad it’s not just me complaining.

If you want to subscribe to Private Internet Access, you should look into getting your own static IP address. Otherwise, you’ll get sick and tired of hitting Google’s verification checks.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to click on busses, bicycles, zebra crossings, and bloody fire hydrants.

Important!

That’s partly Google, though. And you might want to consider using a different browser like DuckDuckGo (where you can search the web without being tracked).

Verdict.

I immediately have my guard up with any US-based company, especially any that is owned by Kape, but the biggest gripe for me is the number of IP addresses that are being blocked by Google.

You wouldn’t expect that from a VPN company with almost 30,000 IPs.

✔ Unlimited simultaneous connections
✔ Fast overall speed results
✔ Competitive long-term pricing
✘ Only okay for streaming
✘ No manual server switching

Vital Specifications.

Download speed129 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Server locations in Australia2
Number of servers in Australia120
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$22.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$9.99
Free planNo
Kill switchYes

*Average download speed over multiple global locations based on daily speed tests.

6. UltraVPN.

Another good VPN service.

UltraVPN is another provider based in the US, but there’s a very good reason for its inclusion here: it has 830 bare-metal servers across the world.

Granted, they don’t have tens of thousands of virtual servers like Private Internet Access, but they’re much more secure and reliable when it comes to performance.

Pros.

UltraVPN is the cheapest VPN for those who don’t want to commit to an annual subscription.

I mean, it’s getting silly with all these two-, three-, and four-year subscriptions.

Whatever happened to good old monthly payments for just a few bucks? Or better still, lifetime memberships?

Gone are those days.

Anyhow, at $7.99 (USD), it’s almost half the price of Surfshark ($13.99) and NordVPN ($12.99).

After a year, you’ll have saved around $70.

It’s much simpler to use than some of the other advanced VPNs out there.

Important!

If you’re overwhelmed with all the jargon, you should check out UltraVPN.

It has everything you need, like fast download speeds, a kill switch, and even a Passwatch password manager.

You can have up to 10 simultaneous connections too!

That’s four more than NordVPN and two more than ExpressVPN – the ones all the fanboys seem to plug on Reddit.

Also, we don’t know how many bare-metal servers other VPN services have. They’re not transparent about that. Except UltraVPN, of course.

That’s the gold standard when it comes to servers.

Cons.

Despite the fact that UltraVPN has 830 bare-metal servers, having less than 1,000 is pretty poor considering the size of the digital real estate of Private Internet Access (35,000) and NordVPN (5,725).

At peak times, fewer servers are less apt to cope with large volumes of traffic.

Overcrowding on UltravVPN is the worst.

Don’t get me wrong, the speeds are generally strong (211 Mbps) – better than ExpressVPN (198 Mbps).

When it’s good, it’s great – but when it’s under strain, the internet speed limps on like some maimed gazelle.

Ironically, UltraVPN is available in more countries (125) than any other featured in this review – so if you really want to obfuscate your internet history, you’ve got more choice than NordVPN (60).

What frustrates me is the lack of a WireGuard protocol (check out the FAQs if that’s drawn a blank in your mind).

WireGuard is one of the most highly regarded open-source protocols that provides high speeds and security.

Important!

Worst of all, UltraVPN has never been independently audited – so we don’t know for certain how strict they are with their no-logs policy.

Verdict.

In case you’re unfamiliar with how big VPN services operate, the likes of NordVPN and ExpressVPN are independently audited – to ensure they do what they say they do (that is, maintain no logs).

The fact that UltraVPN has never been independently audited is a little sus, if you ask me.

✔ Intuitive and user-friendly app interface
✔ Free password manager
✔ Split tunnelling feature
✘ No WireGuard protocol
✘ Based in the US

Vital Specifications.

Download speed211 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connections10
Server locations in Australia2
Number of servers in Australia125
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$8.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$5.99 / month
Free planNo
Kill switchYes

7. Proton VPN.

Solid all-rounder VPN service.

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, outside the Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes alliances, and it’s a private company owned by its founders and employees – not some Big Tech conglomerate.

Spoiler alert: it’s hands down one of the best free VPNs.

Pros.

Proton VPN, like the rest, boasts of a no-logs policy, but they go one step further than the likes of UltraVPN because they’re open-source, and all their infrastructure has been independently audited.

Being based in Switzerland gives me extra peace of mind.

VPN providers that exist within the Five Eyes alliance give me the ick.

Expert Tip.

The security-conscious among us can also opt for one of Proton VPN’s Secure Core servers, based in some of the most privacy-friendly servers in the world (Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland), where data retention laws are the loosest.

Even if you want to use a VPN in, say, the Philippines, you’d be rerouted through a safer server first.

Proton VPN even offers a free plan, and they’ve recently expanded their free network from 29 servers to over 100.

During testing, we reached average speeds of 243 Mbps, which is impressive considering we’re based in Australia and further away than US-based servers.

Important!

The free plan is the most generous, with unlimited bandwidth and no data limits on VPN usage.

Cons.

While we experienced excellent speeds with the WireGuard protocol, our download speed dropped to around 130 Mbps when using OpenVPN.

The difference between which protocols you use won’t mean much to the average Joe, but it does limit your ability to toggle different settings if one of them decides to go to sleep suddenly.

Important!

Proton VPN has a reasonable number of servers (2,724) but nowhere near the scale of Private Internet Access (35,000).

I can’t get overly excited about that given that the annual subscription is way more expensive than other VPN providers.

The standard rolling monthly plan is only around $10, if that’s any consolation.

Verdict.

Proton VPN is very transparent about its ownership and structure, and being open-source makes it a must-have for those suffering from some healthy paranoia.

The Secure Core servers feature is a great additional layer of security.

✔ Great for gaming
✔ Competitive pricing
✔ Decent free version
✘ Download speeds aren’t great
✘ Patchy customer support

Vital Specifications.

Download speed243 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connections10
Server locations in Australia5
Number of servers in Australia190
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$2.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$2.99
Free planYes
Kill switchYes

8. Windscribe.

Pretty good free-ish VPN.

Windscribe is a Toronto-based company (yup, inside the Five Eyes Alliance); tisk, tisk (*shakes head). But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Pros.

When a VPN offers free services, you can’t throw too much shade at it.

Most free VPNs will share your data and sell it to make a quick buck, but not Windscribe. Their servers don’t store logs.

It operates seamlessly, and you can run it 24/7 on your phone, forgetting that you even have it switched on.

Yet, my battery seems to drain about 20% quicker, but that’s the same with most apps.

If you’re new to virtual private networks, and you want to familiarise yourself with the user experience, you have nothing to lose by taking out a free plan.

In fact, you don’t have to be a fanboy (or fangirl) and exclusively stick to one VPN – not when there are providers out there like Windscribe offering their services for free.

Important!

If you’ve run out of devices for simultaneous connections with ExpressVPN or NordVPN, why not install the free Windscribe plan on your smartphones and tablets? Leave the heavy lifting for your laptops and computers to the big boys.

Cons.

I like the user interface of Windscribe. It has a serious business intelligence look.

Dark and sophisticated.

So, it completely threw me off when I started receiving emails with memes in them.

For me, a VPN is a serious business.

Okay, it’s not a funeral director, but I want my VPN to be the digital version of Fort Knox. I get my memes and banter from WhatsApp groups and down ad the pub, thank you very much.

Time and a place, guys.

Regarding download speeds, it was one of the slowest in this review (96 Mbps).

That really sucks, to be honest.

There’s also no bloody kill switch. So if your internet connection drops momentarily, your internet traffic will be exposed to your internet service provider.

Verdict.

Windscribe is a great entry-level VPN for those who are getting to grips with using a VPN. But the lack of a kill switch could leave you exposed.

Those involved in top-secret work need a VPN that has you covered 24/7 and during any drops in connection.

Vital Specifications.

Download speed96 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Server locations in Australia1
Number of servers in Australia200
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$14.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$6.99 / month
Free planYes
Kill switchNo

9. Bitdefender.

Very good all-round VPN service.

Bitdefender is based in Romania, outside the jurisdiction of any international intelligence-sharing alliances.

Perhaps that’s why it’s home to “Hackerville”, dubbed the hacking capital of the world.

Even so, “Romania is one of the largest pools of talent in the IT&C space,” according to Bogdan Botezatu, senior analyst at Bitdefender.

Pros.

Should you be more dubious about a Romanian-based company or a US-based company?

Important!

We haven’t got time to debate politics here, but the fact that they’re based in Romania is an overwhelming positive for me.

But you can make up your own mind regarding the track records of corruption of the two countries.

Ethics aside, it’s the fastest VPN provider in this review – achieving 276 Mbps compared to NordVPN’s 196 Mbps.

Clearly, the Romanian tech wizards are doing something right.

They’ve got a solid infrastructure with over 4,000 servers. The price of a standard monthly plan (with no strings) is by far the cheapest in this review ($6.99), half the price of NordVPN ($13.99).

There’s even a free plan, too!

Cons.

Free plan, lowest monthly cost, super-fast speeds, 256-bit AES encryption – it’s pretty hard to pick fault with Bitdefender’s virtual private network.

Even so, the free plan is such a diluted, watered-down version.

You can only access one server and use 200 MB per day. Bear in mind that you’ll use up to 500 MB of data per hour for a standard-definition video.

Pretty stingy, huh?

Windscribe’s free plan starts with 2GB of data per month, but you can upgrade this to an additional 15GB by providing your email and tweeting about it.

A monthly package works better than a daily one, as you’re not as limited.

Important!

You won’t get through a full movie on Bitdefender.

Obviously, you’ll have unlimited data with any paid plan.

Verdict.

Don’t waste your time with the free package.

The paid package is worthy of consideration if you have the need for speed and don’t want to fork out for a two- or three-year annual subscription upfront.

Vital Specifications.

Download speed276 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connections10
Server locations in Australia3
Number of servers in Australia298
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$7.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$7.99
Free planYes
Kill switchYes

10. Hotspot Shield.

Good all-around VPN.

Hotspot Shield is based in the US (*sigh), but it’s one of the best all-rounders available on the market. The promise of privacy is a complicated affair, too, as they do collect logs.

Pros.

Hotspot Shield is a little cheaper than the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN by a few bucks per month.

But you can have up to 25 simultaneous connections. Sometimes six connections just aren’t enough – not when you have laptops, smartwatches, tablets, TVs, and game consoles.

You can protect every device in your household without worrying about disconnecting certain devices.

The free version of the plan restricts you to US VPNs and only one connection with up to 500 MB per day. That’s generous when compared to TunnelBear’s free plan, which gives you a measly 500 MB per month.

Cons.

What’s super annoying, however, is that Hotspot Shield throttles free accounts and restricts their download speeds to just 2 Mbps. That’s ridiculously slow, even for handheld devices.

I don’t get it.

It’s a terrible advert for their services and will likely repel would-be paying customers. This throttling is no reflection of the fast speeds we saw when using the paid version (197 Mbps).

They’ve shot themselves in the foot.

Anyway, that’s only a minor complaint when you consider that Hotspot Shield collects logs.

What the hell is the point of using a VPN if you’re not anonymous?

Okay, your ISP won’t see your traffic, but how can you trust that a US-based company won’t ever hand over your data? And those who do collect logs are a greater target for hackers.

Hotspot Shield reckons they log the domains (but not the URLs) and timestamps of every site each VPN user accesses.

Despicable.

Verdict.

Collecting logs raises a serious question mark over their motives for doing so (not something they divulge).

It also means your data is much more susceptible to falling into the hands of a hacker – which isn’t even possible with a VPN provider with a strict no-logs policy.

Avoid any VPN that stores logs.

Vital Specifications.

Download speed197 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connections25
Server locations in Australia2
Number of servers in Australia250
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$16.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$6.99
Free planYes
Kill switchYes

11. IPVanish.

Another good VPN service.

IPVanish is another VPN service based in the US, and while it presents nothing out of the ordinary, it offers a robust network of server locations and includes a kill switch and IPv6 and DNS leak protection.

Pros.

One of the standout features of IPVanish is the iOS app’s ability to automatically connect when you access a public Wi-Fi network.

That should be a given with most.

Proton VPN doesn’t have an auto-connect feature, even with the unlimited subscription.

With IPVanish, you also have unlimited simultaneous connections. ExpresVPN and NordVPN have caps on the amount of devices you can connect at any one time.

You’d expect more from the industry giants, but the small fries like IPVanish have raised the bar as high as it can go.

As far as speed is concerned, it performed at 238 Mbps, better than ExpressVPN and NordVPN (198 Mbps and 196 Mbps, respectively).

Cons.

IPVanish is another one with a shady history of cooperating with the FBI.

The problem isn’t that it supported law enforcement agencies per se, but that it provided information that IPVanish told users it never collected.

IPVanish has since been acquired by two other companies.

Does that mean they’re now honouring their zero-logging policy?

Well, they’ve been independently audited recently by a cybersecurity firm that verified this.

Say what you want about Romanian-based VPN provider Bitdefender, the US authorities have less sway over the way they conduct their business.

It’s a shame that there’s no free plan with IPVanish.

I know many users won’t feel comfortable having to pay just to get a feel for the product.

Verdict.

While snitches don’t get stitches in the digital world, they ain’t getting my hard-earned money. VPN services are built upon trust.

There is some way to go before IPVanish restores that trust.

Vital Specifications.

Download speed238 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Server locations in Australia5
Number of servers in Australia180
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$4.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$4.99
Free planNo
Kill switchYes

12. TunnelBear.

Yet another VPN service.

TunnelBear is, of course, Canadian. I know I said earlier that I like my VPN to be serious and professional-looking – that’s just my preference.

But I can’t deny I have a soft spot for the cutesy little personality of TunnelBear.

They’ve done a great job of distinguishing themselves from the plethora of carbon-copy VPN services out there.

Pros.

The animated user interface of TunnelBear is a delight to navigate. Not only is it colourful, but it’s responsive too.

You can view the map (rather than a never-ending list) for selecting your VPN location, and each location is marked with a Super Mario-style pipe.

Unfortunately, you can’t hook up to a VPN in Mushroom Kingdom.

Still, the animation will appeal to younger users (and Peter Pans like me who refuse to grow up).

If you’re trying to educate your kids about online safety, this is the VPN that will get their attention (while helping them brush up on their geography at the same time).

TunnelBear comes with a free plan, too. It’s quite limited, but it’s better than a kick in the teeth. At least you can try it before you buy.

Cons.

Bizarrely, TunnelBear withholds information about how many direct servers are utilised within the 47 countries they operate in.

That can only mean one thing: it’s embarrassingly low.

Regardless, what we do know is that a limited number of servers inhibits your browsing experience. We saw that TunnelBear had sluggish speeds, just north of 100 Mbps, almost the slowest in this review.

Even though they allow unlimited simultaneous connections, I would prefer if they capped it to free up some bandwidth for the entire network.

That would stop others hogging the network.

Allowing unlimited connections is all well and good if the servers can handle the volume of traffic, but TunnelBear’s servers can’t.

Verdict.

TunnelBear’s lack of transparency over how many servers it has suggests it has a lacklustre infrastructure.

Your options are limited, and your download speeds are at the butt-end of what you’d pay for. Being based in Canada (a Five Eyes Alliance territory) is also offputting.

Vital Specifications.

Download speed104 Mbps
Encryption256-bit AES
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Server locations in Australia5
Number of servers in Australia25
Price of standard monthly plan (AUD)$9.99
Cheapest annual subscription (AUD)$5.99
Free planYes
Kill switchYes

What Is A VPN, And Why Do I Need One?

A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, tunnelling it through an intermediary remote server controlled by the VPN company. From there, your traffic enters the open internet as normal.

Confused?

Yeah, I was too.

Here’s a translation in plain English.

Imagine a global network of servers that can be used by both businesses and individual consumers.

Instead of sending your data to the open internet, you send it directly to the nearest server.

The server masks your device details and encrypts the data to prevent unauthorised access during transmission.

1. Australian ISPs Are Giving Your Data To The Government.

The “Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015” mandates Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to collect and retain telecommunications data for a period of two years.

Important!

Some of your information will be retained for the life of your account. If you close your account, it will be kept for another two years.

This law has good intentions and will help police and Australian federal agencies investigate and prosecute complex and serious offences.

The Act states that the retained data “must be encrypted and protected from unauthorised interference and access”.

Some VPN services amplify the threat, suggesting that the ISPs are going through your internet traffic with a fine tooth comb. This is misleading. The table below shows what ISPs are – and are not – interested in.

Data ISPs Are CapturingData ISPs Are NOT Capturing
Account identifiers (your email address, payment provider, phone number)Your web browsing history
Location of your device (phone, wifi hotspot, cell tower) at the start and end of each callYour social media activity
Features you used (call waiting, call forwarding)
Type of communication that you used (SMS, phone call, email)
Duration of phone calls and sizes of emails

Yes, everything from your physical location to the size of your email is getting recorded.

If these measures make you uncomfortable, you must pick a VPN provider unlikely to cooperate with the Australian government. See below for details.

Important!

A VPN won’t prevent an ISP from capturing your metadata (e.g., location and device details). VPN providers and review sites that claim this are telling you lies.

Above: Quite a few Australian government agencies and bodies can access your metadata at any time.

2. Security On Public Wi-Fi.

You walk into your local cafe, airport, coworking space or hotel lobby and connect to “Guest_Wifi”.

How do you know that the network doesn’t belong to a hacker sitting right next to you and waiting to connect?

Once you do, he (yes, it’s almost always a “he”) can monitor your internet traffic, look at unencrypted data and steal your banking information.

3. Your Apps And Services Are Tracking You.

Do you like the idea of Facebook cookie-ing your online activity with the aim of showing you targeted ads?

I know people who find this practice creepy.

A VPN can limit a website’s ability to see your browsing history and prevent it from placing cookies on your computer.

4. Stream Any Content in Any Location.

Netflix and Hulu don’t sometimes delay the release of binge-worthy series like The Americans in Australia.

A VPN offers you a quick workaround.

Log in via the UK server, grab your significant other, make some popcorn and enjoy the perfect evening together.

Expert Tip.

VPNs and streaming services are in a perpetual game of cat and mouse. Netflix does its best to block subscribers who use VPNs, while VPN providers continuously roll out new methods for avoiding detection.

5. Security For Remote Employees.

Remote and hybrid work arrangements can make enterprise ERPs, CRMs and Workforce Management software vulnerable to hacks.

Your employees may log in without realising they have phishing software or malware installed on their computer, compromising sensitive data.

Optus, Australia’s second-largest telecommunication company, suffered a data breach in 2022, leaking 10% of its customers’ data – or 40% of Australia’s population.

Important!

Experts are calling it the worst data breach in Australia’s history. It caused a political storm and highlighted the need to protect business internet traffic via VPNs.

What Are The Limitations Of VPNs?

VPN services are not omnipotent and can’t help against viruses, ransomware and phishing attacks.

Check that your computer isn’t already compromised and create extra layers of defence by:

  • Installing antivirus software on your computer.
  • Enabling two-factor authentication on all your logins.
  • Using a password manager like Dashlane (plus unique, strong passwords on each login).

For ultimate anonymisation of your traffic, look for VPNs that give you access to the Tor network. By bouncing your traffic through several volunteer nodes, Tor makes tracking you almost impossible.

Expert Tip.

NordVPN – our #1 best VPN in Australia – and ProtonVPN offer Tor access on select servers. (NordVPN call its service Onion Over VPN). The setup is pre-configured so you can browse anonymously from the get-go – without the Tor browser.

Who should be using a VPN with Tor?

Tor greatly extends the intermediaries between the server you’re contacting and your device, making it useful if you:

  • Work with sensitive data.
  • Reside in, or plan to visit, an autocratic regime (e.g., Melbourne). 🙂
  • Are an international or Australian political journalist.
  • Are a political activist or whistleblower.

Why Should You Avoid Using Free VPNs?

Free VPNs usually impose limits on the number of simultaneous connections, restrict your data, the number of servers or all of the above.

I strongly advise against using a free VPN.

Nothing in this world is free.

Free VPN providers (albeit not those featured in this review) will sell your data to third-party companies for marketing purposes. You become the commodity.

The irony is that you’re trying to protect your privacy. So, you should spend a few extra bucks to remain completely anonymous.

Expert Tip.

Expensive VPNs become borderline free when you pay 2-3 years in advance. For example, NordVPN on a 2-year contract is only $2.99 /month.

How Did I Choose The Best VPN?

All VPNs claim to be the best, but that’s rarely the case. Most have distinct strengths and weaknesses that you must balance for your specific use case:

Some VPNs are useless for unblocking content on popular streaming sites, while others are slow, with buggy, unintuitive apps.

I’ve been using ExpresssVPN for years without giving it a second thought.

It works well, and apart from dropping out a few times, rarely let me down. But is it the best? I didn’t know for sure, so I decided to find out.

Important!

I evaluated 50+ VPN providers, assessing their privacy and security features, server network seizes and their ability to unlock restricted streaming services.

I then shortlisted the top 12 VPNs, highlighting the top 4 of those at the top of this review.

Compare Specs Of The Best VPNs In Australia.

Let’s see how each VPN looks on paper.

VPNAverage Connection Speed
(Mbps)
Australian VPN ServersSimultaneous ConnectionsDevices Supported
NordVPN100+190+6Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux
ExpressVPN100+4 cities5Windows, iOS, MacOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers
Surfshark100+90+UnlimitedWindows, iOS, MacOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV
Atlas VPN100+30+UnlimitedWindows, iOS, MacOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV
Private Internet Access90+40+UnlimitedWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux

My Scoring Criteria For The Best VPNs In Australia.

You probably noticed that each VPN service in this review has a scorecard. Here’s what each score means:

PriceIs the VPN good value for money? How flexible are the pricing plans?
User InterfaceIs the app user-friendly, intuitive and without bugs?
SecurityHow secure is the VPN? (e.g., kill switches, DNS leak protection).
SpeedHow fast is the VPN (e.g., number of Australian servers, connection speed).
PrivacyDoes the VPN offer good privacy features (e.g., no logs, encryption)?
Unblocking StreamingCan the VPN unblock Netflix and other streaming services?
Extra FeaturesThe icing on the cake (e.g., torrenting, extra protection protocols).

Frequently Asked Questions About VPN Services.

Is your mind boggled yet? My answers to the most common questions below will break down the subject into smaller pieces.

Is using a VPN legal in Australia?

Yes. VPNs are legal in most Western countries, including Australia. China and Russia, meanwhile, frown upon VPN usage, passing laws that prevent users from using VPNs to protect their data.

Important!

A VPN connection doesn’t make an illegal activity legal. Resist the temptation to take part in nefarious acts – a VPN will not protect you from the long arm of the law.

Will a VPN slow down my Internet speed?

A VPN adds an extra step to your internet connection by routing your traffic through a VPN server. 

If you choose the best VPN, the impact will be barely noticeable.

You can test the impact of a VPN on your internet speed using a free tool like Ookla.

First, obtain a set of baseline baseline speed readings by running the speed test 3-5 times without a VPN. Next, connect to a VPN (preferably one in your city) and repeat the test. 

Above: My internet speeds when connected via ExpressVPN from a mobile hotspot in Sydney.

The difference on paper is obvious, with the slowest speed with a VPN being less than 50% of the maximum speed I got with a VPN.

Real-world difference is harder to quantify.

Are you likely to notice it while emailing and blogging from a wireless connection? Probably not.

But low speeds could mean trouble if you plan to stream content, take part in a video call or play games. Here’s how to speed things up while using a VPN:

  • Connect to a different server. The further the server is from you, the longer it needs to transmit and receive the data. Server load also matters – speed drops when too many users connect to a server.
  • Enable split tunnelling. Reduce congestion by choosing which sites, apps, and networks you want to run through the VPN, and which you want to access the open internet directly.
  • Choose a different VPN provider. If your VPN of choice isn’t able to deliver speeds that meet your needs (that rhymes, ha), consider making a change.

Expert Tip.

Overload and (therefore speed) issues are common on free and cheap VPNs. They usually cram too many users on a single server to keep their overheads low.

How do I set up a VPN?

This is the easiest part. You can access foreign websites, enhance your privacy and transfer sensitive information by following these steps:

iPhoneDownload and install the VPN app from the App store, go to “Settings” and select the correct type of VPN you’ve installed in “Add VPN configuration. Go to the VPN app, choose a payment plan, enter your username and password and hit “Connect”.
AndroidDownload and install the VPN app from the application store, go to “Settings”, choose “VPN” in the “Network & Internet” -> “Advanced” menu. Choose “Add VPN” and fill out the details. Go back to the VPN app, choose a plan, enter username and password and hit “Connect”.
DesktopThere’s an elaborate method for doing this via your computer’s “Settings” menu, but in most cases, you can download the client, create an account and hit “Connect” whenever you want to tunnel your traffic through the VPN.
RouterProtect all your devices by setting up a VPN on your router. While every router is unique, you generally do so by logging into your router using its IP address and password, finding the VPN option in settings and entering your VPN’s details.

What are WireGuard and Catapult Hydra?

The best VPN services in Australia tend to be powered by one of these proprietary protocols.

Important!

They are incredibly efficient at establishing connections and deliver blazing-fast download speeds. Other highly rated protocols are OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and SSTP.

What is the purpose of a VPN kill switch?

If your VPN connection drops, a kill switch automatically disconnects your device from the internet.

Expert Tip.

If your VPN software provider doesn’t have a kill switch, you risk exposing your actual IP address and revealing your true location and internet traffic.

When your connection is restored, the kill switch is disabled, and you’ll be hooked up to your VPN immediately.

How important is encryption when choosing a VPN provider?

Most VPN service providers use a 256-bit key length to encrypt data.

Important!

It’s virtually impenetrable to brute-force attacks because there is a mindboggling number of possible combinations (a number that’s 78 digits long).

There isn’t even a name for such a number.

Some other programs use 128-bit encryption (a number that’s 39 digits long).

But that doesn’t mean the 256-bit key length is twice as hard to break in (just because there are twice as many digits).

It’s actually 340 billion-billion-billion-billion times harder to break into a 256-bit key length than a 156-bit (considered very secure)

My head hurts.

What’s the biggest disadvantage of using a VPN?

The loss of speed is the biggest trade-off in exchange for anonymity and security because VPNs encrypt your traffic.

If you already have slow download speeds (<50 Mbps), a VPN will interrupt your connection and hinder your ability to access content such as streaming sites.

Speed drops of around 20% are commonplace.

Before investing in a secure VPN, you should ensure you have a plan that delivers a download speed of >100 Mbps.

What in tarnation is the Five Eyes Alliance?

The Five Eyes Alliance is an international intelligence-sharing alliance comprising Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, and Canada.

  • The Nine Eyes Alliance includes Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway.
  • The Fourteen Eyes Alliance includes Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, and Spain.

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but all these eyes sound a little sus – like some Illuminati thing. I wouldn’t trust them any more than I’d trust Rolf Harris to babysit my kids.

What is split tunnelling in a VPN service?

Split tunnelling works by splitting your internet connection and allows you to pick which apps and services are covered by the VPN.

You may be a remote employee who needs to access geo-restricted content in Europe when browsing on Google Chrome, but you may also want your VPN to access Australian streaming services.

Basically, you can tap into Australian servers while simultaneously using a European VPN.

Split tunnelling allows you to encrypt the confidential data of certain programs rather than everything.

The biggest benefit is that it improves internet speeds for non-VPN traffic, reduces the load on the VPN server, and eliminates latency.

Remember, though, that your ISP has data about your unencrypted browsing.

How many devices can my VPN protect at once?

Premium VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer you the ability to protect 5-6 devices simultaneously from a single account.

Most couples and small families will find this to be plenty.

Very connected families own a collection of iPads and laptops in addition to the usual personal phones and desktop computers may need to buy two VPN licenses.

Expert Tip.

VPNs that offer unlimited connections (e.g., Surfshark, Atlas and PIA) are gaining popularity. These are great services but use unlimited connections to compensate for the lack of other features.

Why are VPN server counts important?

Server counts matter, but not as much as VPN providers would like you to believe.

Let’s say the VPN has a single server in Sydney. This means every person in the world will connect via the Sydney server. The implications are:

  • All users will get assigned an Australian IP. This creates a problem for people who want to unlock specific content based on their IP.
  • Users in the UK will experience much lower speeds due to the large physical distance between their device and the server.
  • The Sydney server will reach its maximum capacity very fast. Congestion ensues.

You solve all these issues by adding more Sydney servers, then adding more in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and overseas.

Expert Tip.

A huge server fleet is useless if its infrastructure is dated and slow. Servers aren’t created equal, so check that your VPN uses fast 1Gbps ports and load-balanced 10Gbps servers.

What can I stream with an Australian VPN?

If you’re like most people evaluating a VPN for streaming purposes, you’re interested in one of two things: binge-watching the entire Netflix catalogue or following

NetflixMost Australian subscribers are restricted to a fraction of Netflix’s available titles. The company has complex licensing rules that limit access based on geography. You can access overseas Netflix libraries from Australia, but keep in mind that doing this violates Netflix’s terms of use.
AFL & CricketWatching Aussie Rules Footy and The Ashes is a favourite pastime of a lot of Australians. You can watch both on-demand with a $25/month subscription to Kayo Sports, and you don’t need a VPN.

Important!

VPN providers and reviewers mislead the public by claiming that a VPN unblocks your access to Kayo Sports. This is incorrect. Kayo Sports is available to all Australians – and does not allow VPN traffic.

Do Download Speeds, Encryption & Server Locations Matter?

You don’t necessarily need to be concerned with understanding encryption when choosing one of the VPNs featured in this review.

All VPN services I chose provide military-grade 256-bit AES encryption (more details on that in the FAQs section).

That’s why I didn’t give too much airtime to encryption. The best VPN providers are pretty homogenous in that respect.

As for server locations, you need to avoid comparing apples and oranges. The term “server locations” is ambiguous and can mean the number of countries, server regions, or individual servers.

Important!

For ease of comparison, I’ve differentiated between the total countries and the number of servers in the specifications sections of each VPN service.

More VPN servers mean greater connectivity options and better uptime.

As for download speeds, tests were carried out in Sydney, Australia, on a connection averaging 300 Mbps (without VPN).

The actual download speed depends on the strength of your own connection and on how close you are geographically to your VPN.

That’s why in Australia, we sometimes get slower speeds when using a European VPN versus a South-East Asian VPN.

Why You Should Never Use A VPN Based In Australia.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Australia is part of the Five Eyes Alliance, meaning the government can collect your personal data and share it with members of the alliance.
  • Australia passed a law in 2018 that allows the country’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to demand access to encrypted digital communications. The legislation compels tech giants like Apple and Facebook to make backdoors in their platforms and includes services like iMessage and WhatsApp.

Final Word On Choosing The Best Virtual Private Network In Australia.

Don’t overthink your decision. The best 4 VPNs I highlighted in this review are excellent, and differ in very small ways.

Remember that most VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Use it to verify that your VPN of choice allows you to bypass geo-restricted content that you want to watch.

Tommy

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