People around the globe are resorting to VPN service providers to protect their privacy against invasive laws, and Australians are no exception.
With new, yet draconian, laws being introduced ever since October 2015, Aussie Internet Service Providers have been given the green light to collect the browsing history and metadata of their customers, and hold it for a period of two years.
What does VPN stand for?
VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network – basically, this means a software technology that lets you access the internet through an additional layer of protection which protects your privacy.
Your computer sends and receives data from to and from the VPN service’s computers, which are in turn connected to the internet and forward your data to the world as needed.
What does a VPN do?
A VPN service can save you from this breach of privacy through strong encryption, besides letting you get past regional censorship that prevent you from accessing your favorite websites. With a VPN, you are truly able to surf the web anonymously, without any fear of ‘big brother’.
While VPNs are great in theory, there are black sheep here as well – some VPN providers collect your data on their own and may share it with the government on demand, some have poor connection speeds, and some may even have lacking encryption standards.
With that in mind, this article will explain to you why it is important to choose a great VPN service, and introduce you to possibly the best VPN for Australia, alongside several other VPN reviews.
Why do you need a good VPN service in Australia?
The geo-restriction policies that won’t let you watch BBC online, Netflix US etc. are undoubtedly a nuisance, but the real reason why you need a dedicated Australia VPN lies in the new internet monitoring legislations passed in 2015.
The term used in the legislation is metadata, which isn’t a concept that can be easily understood. Simply put, metadata is data pertaining to your data.
For instance, if you were to make a phone call, the metadata about it would cover the identity of who you called, how long you called but not what you talked about. While this is tolerable, when it comes to metadata about your internet activity, it could include the addresses of the websites you visit, the subjects / recipients of your emails, photo locations, and other personal information.
The government has justified this by claiming that the laws are intended to protect the country from the recent upsurge in terrorism, but they could easily be misused to vilify an Australian, especially since a whole lot of government agencies have access to it.
This may seem great on the service, but compromising the rights of millions of peaceful Australians just to catch a few crooks goes against the fundamentals of democracy, and makes the news laws nothing more than glorified spying to scare the public.
VPN providers can help you out by providing you an encrypted communication layer for accessing the internet, which means the powers that be won’t be able to tie in your activity on the internet to you in person. You’ll be safe to continue browsing the internet like you always did, with no one being able to collect metadata about your activities.
Factors that you must consider in the best VPN
Now that we’ve answered what does a VPN do and why it’s necessary, it is time to consider the things which make a VPN great: the best VPN for Australians won’t be an especially cheap VPN or the fastest VPN (although these factors do count), but the one which provides them the maximum in terms of utility and security.
- Data retention policies: The most important aspect to consider when choosing a VPN is their stance on keeping data logs of their users. Since you are subscribing to the VPN service to keep yourself anonymous, it is only intuitive that you choose a service that won’t keep records of your internet practices that it would be compelled to hand over to the authorities due to a legal notice.
- Server location: Server locations, also called virtual locations or exit locations determine whether you’ll be able to get past a geo-block. For instance, if you want to access Netflix US from Australia, you’ll need a VPN that has endpoints in the US.
- Provider location: Where the service provider is physically based will determine the laws they are subject to. As an example, you should stay clear of aVPN service Australia, since they will be forced to collect data about your activities by the government.
- Encryption: The kind of encryption standard employed by the VPN router Australia will determine how secure your communication is. L2TP and PPTP protocols are the ones to avoid because of inherent vulnerabilities that could expose your online activity to prying eyes. Ideally, you should consider the L2TP/IPSec or OpenVPN protocols, which are regarded as the most secure nowadays. SmartDNS is another technology you may want to consider: smart DNS proxy works by changing your DNS servers as opposed to encrypting your IP address, to make it seem that you are using the internet from another country.
- Price: When you’ll be subscribing to a VPN service, you’ll be paying extra cash on a monthly / annual basis to browse the internet the way it’s meant to be. This will be a cost in addition to your regular internet subscriber bill. You must seek a VPN service which provides you quality security and anonymity features while staying within your budget. Free VPN services are usually of low quality.
- Speed: To carry out torrent downloads, video and voice chat, and even to browse content laden websites, the VPN provider has to provide you with decent bandwidth. Even top VPNs are known to slow things down a bit, but this shouldn’t be excessive or it would make the whole thing pointless.
- Device / OS support: Make sure to subscribe to a service that actually supports the device(s) you’ll be browsing on. Even the fastest VPN among the Top 10 VPNs will be useless if it doesn’t work on your iPhone and that’s the only device you use!
The best VPN service for Australians
Singling out the best VPN service is tough since there are many top VPN providers such Private Internet Access, VyprVPN, HideMyAss VPN and so on – but the crown goes to Express VPN for its blazing fast speeds, diverse range of server locations, P2P support, and excellent customer service.
Express VPN uses the secure OpenVPN standard for encryption and dependable connectivity through its 78 servers strong global network.
Its extensive server presence in the US makes it the best VPN for Netflix US access, and when you also consider its fast speeds and P2P support, you’ve got the best VPN for torrents too! Plus, it is based in the British Virgin Islands, it isn’t subject to invasive privacy laws of the EU and the US.
Costing around $8.32 monthly if you subscribe to the annual package, it may be a bit expensive, but when you consider the quality of its intuitive client software that works with PCs and mobile platforms alike, its excellent core features, its friendly customer support and a 30 day money back guarantee, you’ve got the makings of the best VPN service Australia, trusted by thousands of internet users in the country.