Even though South Korea offers one of the fastest and most reliable internet services, surveillance and censorship can limit and ruin the online experience, making a VPN a must-have app for security and privacy. Keep reading for the best South Korea VPN options.
Key Takeaways: Best VPNs for South Korea
- ExpressVPN is the best VPN for South Korea. It is a secure, private VPN with an unmatched unblocking ability and blazing-fast speeds.
- However, if affordability is a priority, NordVPN and Surfshark are reliable alternatives. CyberGhost is cheap and easy to use, but its streaming performance is hit or miss.
- Proton VPN is an excellent choice if you need a free, secure VPN in South Korea.
South Korea is a binge-viewer’s paradise, as it has one of the fastest internet services in the world and streaming services — such as Wavve, TVING and Coupang Play — spew out an endless repertoire of K-dramas. Still, if you need to access international streaming services, you’ll need the best South Korean VPN.
You’ll also need a VPN to circumvent censorship and surveillance while in the country. South Korea isn’t as strict as China and North Korea, though there are credible reports that it spies on its residents’ private messages and can subpoena ISPs to share your data without a warrant. These security and privacy risks should compel you to get the best VPN service.
We’ll walk you through the best VPNs for South Korea, shedding light on their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, we’ll reveal the pricing details for each service to help you pick a VPN service that meets your needs while being easy on your pocket.
02/09/2023 Facts checked
Rewrote the article. Removed HideMyAss and VyprVPN; replaced them with Surfshark and Proton VPN. Reordered the VPN services to reflect their most recent performances across relevant fronts.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to use in South Korea. It offers top-notch digital security, unmatched unblocking ability and excellent speeds, making it the perfect service for any online activity: streaming, gaming, torrenting or secure web browsing.
Yes, South Korea allows the use of VPNs. In other words, it’s legal to use a VPN in South Korea and you won’t be prosecuted for using one unless you use it for illegal activities.
TunnelBear offers servers in South Korea, and all its servers are included in the free plan. However, TunnelBear’s free plan is limited to 500GB of data per month, which means it won’t be great for streaming South Korean content.
The Top VPNs for South Korea
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed95 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency200 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed81 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency38 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, cash
- : 10
What Makes the Best South Korea VPN?
The best South Korea VPN packs the features you need to stay safe online and access international streaming platforms. Whatever your needs are, here’s a list of the best VPNs for South Korea.
- ExpressVPN — Best VPN for South Korea
- NordVPN — Affordable Korean VPN with double VPN servers
- Surfshark — Korean VPN with unlimited simultaneous connections
- CyberGhost — Pocket-friendly VPN with smart rules
- Proton VPN — Best free VPN for South Korea
These VPNs have the security and privacy features you need to stay safe and private in South Korea. The VPNs come with tools, such as strong encryption, solid VPN protocols, kill switches, DNS leak protection, double VPN and a strict no-logs policy.
Moreover, some VPNs come with excellent unblocking ability and fast connection speeds, the perfect combination for a VPN for streaming. Some VPNs don’t unblock all streaming services, but make up for that with other excellent usability features.
Lastly, if you need a South Korean IP address to watch your favorite local K-drama, you’ll need a VPN with servers in the country. The good news is that most of these VPN services come with servers in South Korea. Not to mention that some have an expansive global server network, in case you need to access content in other countries.
The 5 Best VPNs for South Korea
Let’s get straight into the best VPNs for South Korea, starting with our number one pick, ExpressVPN.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Website: expressvpn.com
- Great unblocking ability
- Excellent security & privacy
- Lightning-fast connections
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN is an all-around performer that gets the job done, whether your most pressing need is unblocking streaming platforms or staying safe in South Korea. The VPN offers servers in South Korea, so you’ll be able to get a local IP address.
The excellent speeds and unblocking ability catapults ExpressVPN to the top of the best VPN for streaming charts. It unblocks Wavve, Coupang Play, TVING and international streaming sites without struggle. You can also use its split tunneling feature to have some apps use the VPN while the rest stay on your local network.
Even better, the British Virgin Islands–based provider posts blazing-fast local and international speeds. The local speeds, coupled with the fast internet in South Korea, means you can stream movies in full HD while in the country. The streaming performance is interruption-free, whether you’re accessing BBC iPlayer in the U.K. or U.S. streaming services, thanks to fast international speeds.
Security-wise, ExpressVPN doesn’t disappoint. Solid encryption and VPN protocols encrypt your traffic, making it impossible for South Korean agencies to monitor it, even with tactics such as TLS downgrading. Plus, the kill switch and DNS leak protection ensure that no accidental VPN traffic leaks can expose your personal information, even when the VPN connection flickers.
Perfect forward secrecy (PFS) is another excellent addition to ExpressVPN’s toolbox. PFS changes encryption keys regularly, such that even if authorities get hold of one key, they can’t use it to decrypt your past or future messages.
Enjoy High-Level Privacy
Pricing is the only downside for ExpressVPN. The monthly plan costs $12.95, which is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. You can bring the price down to $6.66 per month when you subscribe to the yearly plan. Learn more in our detailed ExpressVPN review. You can also try ExpressVPN using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.19 per month (two-year plan + three months)
- Website: NordVPN.com
- Lightning-fast speeds
- Specialty torrenting servers
- Strong security & privacy
- Suffered a server breach in 2018
NordVPN’s blazing-fast speeds will give you lag- and buffer-free streaming. When it comes to torrenting, NordVPN supports torrenting via its specialty P2P servers. With these servers, you can access blocked torrent sites in South Korea and download torrents faster and more securely.
If you’re looking for a South Korean IP address, NordVPN also has servers in the country. NordVPN unblocked popular streaming platforms during our testing, but struggled to access BBC iPlayer. It should unblock Disney Plus and the South Korean Netflix library, but don’t be surprised if you’re forced to switch servers to access one of the South Korea streaming platforms.
Security is NordVPN’s real forte. It has all the essential tools: AES 256-bit and ChaCha20 encryption, solid protocols, a kill switch, split tunneling and leak protection. The threat protection tool fends off web trackers, ads, malware and other internet threats. If you’re a digital nomad, the Meshnet feature will help you access and share files with teammates over encrypted connections.
Privacy-wise, NordVPN is quite robust. It adheres to a no-logs policy and is headquartered in Panama — a country with no mandatory data retention laws. Even though NordVPN suffered its 2018 server breach, the silver lining is that user data wasn’t exposed during the breach, proving that the provider truly adheres to the no-logs policy, and the company was upfront about the breach.
Get Extra Protection With Double VPN
The double VPN isn’t for streamers and gamers, but is indispensable for journalists, political activists and whistleblowers who share sensitive information online.
It routes your traffic via two servers in different countries. Although it impacts connection speed, it adds an extra layer of protection, preventing hackers or government agencies from intercepting and monitoring your data, even if they were to seize a server.
NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN on extended plans. The monthly plan is still pricey at $12.99, but long-term plans offer significant discounts. The one-year plan costs $4.99 per month and the two-year plan costs $3.19 per month, making it NordVPN’s best deal. Read our full NordVPN review to learn more, or try NordVPN with the 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Website: surfshark.com
- Unlimited device connections
- Budget-friendly service
- Fast international speeds
- High latencies
Surfshark gives ExpressVPN a run for its money as far as streaming performance goes. During our testing, it unblocked all major streaming sites — Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus and Max — on the first attempt. This performance means Surfshark is well-equipped to unblock any South Korean TV and streaming service you throw at it.
In our latest round of automated speed tests, Surfshark continued to demonstrate excellent download speeds, both on the local and international front. Whether you’re accessing South Korean TV channels with its Korean server or international streaming services, you will enjoy buffer-free HD streaming.
Regarding security, you get all the basic features, including modern VPN protocols, solid encryption, a kill switch and DNS leak protection. You also get 14 multi-hop servers (a version of double VPN) for extra protection. It also offers split tunneling, called “bypass.”
Another tool that comes in handy in South Korea is the NoBorders mode. The tool is automated such that when it detects internet restrictions, it offers up a list of servers that can bypass the restriction.
Enjoy Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
Surfshark’s standout feature is unlimited simultaneous connections. You need just one subscription to protect all your devices at home, making Surfshark ideal for device-heavy households who want to split the bill. The good thing is that even if everyone is connected simultaneously, the speed won’t dip, thanks to Surfshark’s unlimited bandwidth.
Like NordVPN, Surfshark offers affordable long-term plans. The monthly plan is expensive, at $15.45, as it is with other VPN providers. Thankfully, extended plans are dirt-cheap: The one-year plan costs $3.99 per month and the two-year plan costs $2.49 per month. Learn more in our detailed Surfshark review. You can also try Surfshark using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker.
- Unlimited GB
- Everything in Starter, plus Antivirus protection, Identity protection, Email Breach and Credit Card Alerts, Online Alias
- Unlimited GB
- Everything in One, plus Data removal
- Unlimited GB
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.37 per month (two-year plan)
- Website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Pocket-friendly VPN
- Customizable security
- 45-day money-back return
- Streaming is hit or miss
- Slower speeds
Next on our list is CyberGhost, a great choice if bypassing internet surveillance and censorship in South Korea is your priority. The service has all the basic security features, from VPN protocols and encryption to an automatic kill switch and leak protection, and can keep your online activity and data private.
In addition, CyberGhost offers privacy-centric NoSpy servers. The provider owns and operates these servers, mitigating the chances of server seizure or intrusion by unauthorized persons. This, coupled with the no-logs policy, means that not even CyberGhost can monitor your digital trail and data. You also get torrenting servers to download torrents faster without compromising your security.
When it comes to streaming, CyberGhost is a safe bet only if you want to watch movies on Netflix or BBC iPlayer. During our testing, the two streaming platforms were no match for CyberGhost. Sadly, it struggles to unblock other streaming services and could be hit or miss with South Korea streaming sites. However, it does have more than 24 South Korean servers.
Get Always-On Protection
CyberGhost ranks as a top VPN for beginners, thanks to its intuitive interface and “smart rules” feature for always-on protection. With “smart rules,” you can dictate how the app responds to different situations. For example, you can set it to connect to your favorite location on launch or open a preferred app once it establishes a connection.
If you’re on a tight budget, CyberGhost is hard to beat. The monthly plan is usually expensive at $12.99 and offers a 14-day money-back guarantee. Thankfully, long-term plans are cheap and come with an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee. The best deal is the two-year plan, which costs $2.37 per month. Learn more in our full CyberGhost review.
5. Proton VPN
More details about Proton VPN:
- Pricing: $4.99 per month (two-year plan)
- Website: protonvpn.com
- Excellent security & privacy
- No data limit on free plan
- Easy to use
- Slow during peak hours
- 3 servers on the free tier
We rank Proton VPN as the best free VPN for a reason. It comes packed with features that include solid protocols and encryption, a kill switch and DNS leak protection — Proton VPN provides security levels few free providers can match. Plus, like ExpressVPN, it supports perfect forward secrecy to secure your present and future traffic.
Besides the WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols, it supports “smart VPN protocol,” which automatically picks the safest protocols to beat internet censorship. It also supports port forwarding on the Windows app, a great tool to supercharge torrenting and gaming speeds. Sadly, the free tier doesn’t support torrenting, meaning that port forwarding would be helpful only to online gaming enthusiasts.
As far as streaming goes, Proton VPN can unblock major streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Max, BBC iPlayer and Disney Plus. Going by that performance, it should get you into South Korea streaming sites.
Unfortunately, Proton VPN puts free users on the busiest servers, so during the peak hours, you might experience lackluster speeds and, therefore, a poor streaming experience. Plus, free users get access to only three server locations, which does not include South Korea. If you want a South Korean IP address, you’ll need to spring for the paid plan.
Enjoy Unlimited Data for Free
If you’re lucky enough to find a fast server, you’ll enjoy unlimited movies and TV shows. Thanks to Proton VPN’s unlimited data, you don’t have to worry about getting cut off in the middle of a curiosity-provoking movie.
Proton VPN is free. However, when you subscribe to a paid plan, you can remove all the usage limits and access features such as servers in South Korea, Secure Core servers and NetShield.
The monthly plan is slightly cheaper than our other picks at $9.99. The one-year plan costs $5.99 per month, whereas the two-year plan will set you back only $4.99 per month. Learn more in our full Proton VPN review.
Is There a Free South Korea VPN?
We’ve highlighted Proton VPN as the best free VPN for South Korea, but it’s not the only one. You can read our best free VPN for South Korea guide to find other reliable options. One thing you’ll notice with these free VPN services is that they come with usage limits.
Take Proton VPN, for example. While it offers unlimited data (an excellent addition for binge-watchers), it gives free users a limited number of servers, which can affect their speeds. It also offers servers in just three countries, limiting the number of movie libraries you can access.
Moreover, since it doesn’t offer South Korean servers, it can’t assign you a South Korea IP address, meaning that you can use it to access South Korean content from abroad. The story is the same with other free VPNs for South Korea — they have their strengths, but come with caveats.
TunnelBear stands out for South Koreans living abroad because, unlike the other free services, it offers free servers in South Korea. It can assign you a South Korean IP address, meaning you can use it to access Korean content from abroad. Sadly, its sluggish speeds and 500MB monthly data cap rule it out for binge-watchers.
Final Thoughts: Best VPN for South Korea
We hope this guide has made it easier to pick a VPN service that satisfies your needs. If you’re still undecided, we recommend getting started with ExpressVPN, as it offers great all-around performance. NordVPN, Surfshark and CyberGhost are cheaper alternatives, whereas Proton VPN is great if you don’t want to spend any money.
Which one do you think is the best VPN for South Korea? Have you used a VPN in South Korea? Did you use the VPN for streaming, gaming, torrenting or other online activities? Which VPN did you use and did it meet your needs? We’d like to hear about it in the comment section below. As always, thank you for reading.