Of all the reasons you may want to live in Australia, the internet isn’t one of them. Australia presents a unique set of challenges to internet service providers because of its topography and size. Getting the infrastructure in place to cover a country as big as Europe, but with far fewer people, is a daunting task. The best VPN for Australia will need to help you stay connected wherever you go.
There are other reasons to use a virtual private network in Australia, as well. Multiple reports have surfaced that Australia snoops on its own citizens and Reporters Without Borders lists it as a country under surveillance alongside 10 other nations.
Following the Telecommunications Amendment Act of 2015, companies are required to keep data on their customers for two years. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies can view this data without a warrant.
While you might think this is a reasonable way to monitor criminals, these powers have been used to target journalists working with asylum seekers. The government can use internet or phone records to track down a journalist’s sources, should it care to do so.
It is also possible for copyright owners to force ISPs to hide websites but, in the past, these powers have been applied too broadly, blocking legitimate websites.
Surveys show that Australians have serious concerns regarding their online privacy. Those that share these concerns might want to look into getting a VPN. Let’s take a look at a few to find the best VPN for Australia.
Best VPN for Australia 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for Australia?
Because of Australia’s size, you’re going to have to consider the distance from your server if you’re travelling. Speed is the biggest issue in remote parts of Australia. The scale of the country presents challenges from a networking point of view as finding a connection can be difficult and outages are likely.
The further you get from major cities, the more difficulty you’ll have. You may not be able to take an internet connection for granted, let alone a speedy one. You’ll want a service that can handle slow speeds and intermittent connectivity. Features like a killswitch are a major plus here.
Australia has some issues with privacy so a service with comprehensive online security features is a wise choice. Security and speed do not typically go together, so getting this balance right is going to be key to picking the service you need.
Last, we considered price. It’s not as important as speed and security when it comes to using a VPN in Australia, but we don’t want to run your wallet dry either.
The Best VPN for Australia: NordVPN
With such great distances to traverse in Australia, you’re going to want something with a large server selection. NordVPN’s coverage is second to none with over 3000 servers in its network. That’s a big reason why you’ll find it close to the top in our best VPN for streaming list. It connects to every service we tried during testing, so if you want to get out of the sun for a bit and watch a movie, it’s ideal.
In addition to its top network coverage, it has your security and privacy covered. Its 256-bit AES encryption combined with the default OpenVPN protocol will keep snoopers and hackers at bay. There are also SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies to keep you extra safe. NordVPN doesn’t keep logs, so if anyone does access your information, they won’t have much to look at.
It has fast, reliable customer support with a comprehensive knowledgebase and responsive live chat service. Email support is not as fast as it could be, but, since live chat is always available, that doesn’t matter much.
One downside is that it isn’t always easy to find the best server. Speeds can vary, but if you look around you can almost always find one that suits your needs.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
The free CyberSec tool is another useful way to protect yourself from online gremlins. NordVPN is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It takes a bit of work to get it running on Linux, though.
It is also one of the best value options, if you sign up to it long-term. Its three-year deal for $99 is almost as tempting as an open packet of Tim Tams. Take a look at our NordVPN review for more, or try it out yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Great for streaming
- Excellent value
- Lots of servers
- Hard to pick the best server
- No dedicated Linux client
As you’d expect, Private Internet Access specializes in privacy. With the Australian government’s nosy reputation, it’s an ideal VPN to use there. It keeps no logs, which ensures your business stays your own, and has strong security. It uses the OpenVPN protocol and passed all our leak tests. In addition to privacy, its main strong points are speed and cost.
Connecting to streaming services can be a mixed bag, as we detail in our Private Internet Access review. Still, speeds are top notch. We were able to connect to Netflix U.S. in our testing, but had trouble with other services. BBC iPlayer and Hulu both kept us out.
One reason PIA is fast is that the default security settings aren’t that tight, though you can adjust this manually. 128-bit encryption is the default setting, but you can change it to 256-bit for an extra cushion. Doing this will result in a speed drop, so you’ll have to decide what your priorities are and select accordingly.
It features instant server switching, a killswitch and a malware and ad blocking software called MACE. We would like to see split tunneling which is sadly absent.
Customer service is patchy, with no live chat, but fast email support.
Other Reasons We Like PIA
PIA is unusual in offering a full Linux client and is our best VPN for Linux. Clients are also available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
PIA offers real value for a quality VPN at $39.95 per year and you can pay in bitcoin should you choose to remain anonymous. At $6.95, its monthly payment option is one of the best around. That includes five device connections at once.
PIA is a great choice for privacy, with fast connections and a low price tag to boot. Try it out yourself with a seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Great for privacy
- Good value
- Weak default security
- Patchy streaming
- No split tunnelling
ExpressVPN is a big favorite here at Cloudwards and topped our list of best VPN providers. As well as being easier to setup than a beach barbecue, ExpressVPN is jam packed with features and its versatility is just what you want when traversing a country with variable connectivity.
The split tunneling feature enables you to send some traffic through the VPN and some through your regular connection, which is a handy way to keep secure when needed while making full use of your bandwidth at other times.
You’ve got 256-bit encryption keeping you secure, as well as ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy. Your browsing and torrenting history are kept private. There’s a killswitch in case your connection drops, which is a strong possibility on those long drives through the outback.
On the downside, you are limited to three connections with ExpressVPN, so you might want to pick another service if you have several devices. It is also pricey with an annual fee of $99, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, if you just want to dip your toe in the water.
Users in Australia will appreciate the speed test, which allows you to assess available servers. That’s just what you want, as the best server for you will change as you travel the nation.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
It has clients for Windows, Mac and Linux, although the Linux client has some limitations. Overall, ExpressVPN is a fast and easy to use service that we highly recommend.
- Easy to Use
- Limited Connections
With a team of 50 security enthusiasts working on it, CyberGhost is a strong all-around VPN, easy to use with a range of useful features. It’s got you covered when it comes to privacy and security.
In addition to keeping no logs, it passed our privacy tests, as noted in our CyberGhost review. It has several useful features such as adjusting its settings based on your running apps, automatic activation when connecting to wireless networks and specialized secure servers should you require extra strong encryption.
It has improved its Australian network recently and now boasts 50 servers in the country, as well as over 2,000 worldwide. This network should serve you well when accessing streaming content. It connected to everything we tried during testing, earning places in our best VPN for streaming and best VPN for Netflix lists.
It has a special “unblock streaming” tile in the UI to help you, if you have trouble connecting to any particular service.
The UI is bright and brash, but easy to use. Though the interface prioritizes simplicity, there are some juicy features hidden away, if you probe its depths carefully. It has a lot to offer those serious about their VPN usage, but doesn’t force you to get your hands dirty unless you’re inclined to do so.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
CyberGhost comes in at $99 for three years of service, which is good value. It has a 30-day money-back guarantee as well, if you just want to try it out.
CyberGhost resolved our gripe with its limited device connections and now allows a fantastic seven connections at once on its standard plan.
- Affordable pricing
- Easy to use
- Lots of connections
- No split tunnelling
TorGuard is big on privacy features and has a strong global network of servers. It is also easy to use with clients available for most platforms.
Customer support is a strength, with a knowledgebase, forum and live chat. Email support is available when the live chat isn’t manned. Our inquiries were all dealt with in good time and problems resolved.
TorGuard claims it keeps no logs of any kind and uses a shared VPN setup to prevent any IP address from being matched to an individual user. That’s reassuring, if you’re worried about Australia’s snooping laws. They will comply with the law and hand over your information if required, but since they don’t keep any records, it doesn’t matter.
Our only gripe with it is a security issue that forced us to switch off IPv6 leak protection in testing and left us vulnerable. Hopefully, TorGuard will fix this bug soon.
Streaming can be patchy. We were able to access BBC iPlayer without problems, but ran into issues when trying to connect to Netflix. It is possible to buy dedicated IP addresses in particular countries for an extra $7.99 a month, but that shouldn’t be necessary.
Other Reasons We Like TorGuard
TorGuard offer apps for all major platforms, including Linux. As mentioned in our TorGuard review, many of its features are accessed through its website, rather than the app, such as IP location testing and tests for DNS and WebRTC leaks.
The app is nice and simple to use. You can connect up to five devices at once, which should be adequate for most people.
At $59.99 per year, TorGuard is neither the cheapest nor most expensive service out there. If its strengths match your needs you should give it a go, but do be aware of its weaknesses before signing up. If you want to take a stab at it, try out TorGuard with a seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Apps for most operating systems
- Strong privacy protection
- Helpful customer support
- Ipv6 leak glitch
- Issues with streaming services
Australian internet users have a pretty tough time online, but you have options if you want to improve your experience. We tried to find services that have dependable networks in Australia, but due to the size of the country, you may not be able to access them everywhere.
Any of these VPNs should give you a leg up in the fight for online privacy, though, as well as connecting you to services around the world.NordVPN is our favorite because of its strong network and ability to connect to anything. PIA is a great choice for those that need extra privacy and ExpressVPN is fast and easy to use. CyberGhost and TorGuard are also great options, but be sure to check out our other VPN reviews if you need to do some shopping.
If you’ve tried using these services in Australia please let us know what you thought of them in the comments below. Thanks for reading.