Virtual Private Networks, often shortened to their acronym VPN, are a special kind of network that lets you securely connect to the internet from your home.
All traffic from your private network (i.e. home) goes through a ‘virtual tunnel’ to the VPN provider’s servers. This means that your communication over the internet is safe from eavesdroppers, and your identity is completely masked.
VPN services have become especially relevant to Australians ever since the new data monitoring and meta data collection legislation was approved in 2015.
These laws have been put in place, in theory, to protect the country from terrorism, but on the ground, they give government agencies the power to view your internet activity without consequence – they also compel your ISP to retain logs of your meta data for a period of two years.
Since VPNs encrypt your communication and mask your identity, they can assist you in protecting yourself from abusive exploitation at the hands of these laws.
The problem is that there are so many VPN providers Australia that choosing the best one can be hard. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top VPN services operating in the country to help you make an informed decision.
Express VPN Review
ExpressVPN has quite the reputation for simplicity and security. It has a huge collection of servers all over the world, excellent surfing, and downloading speeds, and intuitive applications across several platforms, making it one of the most popular VPN solutions in Australia.
As an added bonus, express VPN torrenting speeds are quite decent as well – something that can’t be said for all providers (some may even throttle the P2P protocol!).
VPN express client software doesn’t take a lot of effort to setup, and normally operates without a hitch.
There are dedicated apps for both Android and iOS platforms, and clear instructions on setting it up on other devices. The OpenVPN standard it uses for encryption is one of the most secure available right now.
Even though its pricing isn’t exactly cheap, a 30-day money back guarantee ought to dispel any doubts about the commitment of the service provider. This is the best VPN solution in Australia if you want reliability and ease of use, albeit at a bit more cost.
Buffered VPN Review
Based in Hungary, Buffered is a relatively new VPN provider that provides a great user interface and access to servers in 15 different countries.
The software supports all major platforms, the encryption employed is the leading OpenVPN standard, and customer support is excellent in terms of technical know-how and assistance. Buffered also supports the P2P protocol, which means you can download torrents without any restrictions, something that many providers deny on legal grounds.
The VPN service has blazing fast connection speeds and is free from the surveillance laws in effect in Australia. It may not be the cheapest service around, but you can definitely give it a try with its trial offer.
Private Internet Access Review
True to their namesake, Private Internet Access Australia claims to maintain no data logs whatsoever – this means information on internet traffic, DNS data and session data (metadata) is not maintained, making this perfect for Australia.
As you’ll find in many other PIA VPN reviews, PIA has quite the reputation when it comes to encryption strength. They support OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec, both of which are recommended by security experts as the best VPN encryption standards right now.
Another thing worth mentioning in this Private Internet Access VPN review is that the service provider supports shared IP technology, which mixes your data with other users’ to keep things, even more, untraceable.
Another highly useful feature I’d like to mention in thisPrivateInternetAccessreview is the software’s Bittorrent support. PIA clearly states that it does not censor or meddle with any user activity, and this includes Bittorrent.
Some users have had issues with speed drops, and the support leaves something to be desired, but, all in all, a solid VPN solution.
Well known for being, perhaps, the biggest global presence in the VPN industry, Hide My Ass VPN has over 770 servers operating in 151 countries across the globe – so as far as numbers go, it is unrivaled.
Based in the UK, users are largely satisfied with the core VPN client, with its global network ensuring access to any geo-blocked service, anywhere in the world. The VPN is both simple to operate and has enough advanced features that make it suitable for VPN veterans.
While it may be competitively priced and maintain an unmatched global presence, the UK-based physical address of this VPN service can be a problem because of data monitoring laws passed in the country.
Hidemyass.com also has somewhat sluggish live support, but the extensive FAQ section, and the generally reliable service will keep these encounters to a minimum.
Strong VPN Review
StrongVPN began its journey in 1994; today, it is an international enterprise with customers from across the globe. The VPN service supports a number of secure protocols, such as OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and SSTP, giving it extensive compatibility on major platforms like Windows, Linux, MacOS X, Android, and iOS.
This VPN has a 300-strong server presence in 19 countries. One of the coolest features is that it lets you acquire a static IP, which is something most of its competition cannot provide.
StrongVPN keeps only temporary logs of your activity, which can’t be used against you by government agencies, and their package pricing starts from as low as $7 per month.
The customer support for this VPN is also quite commendable, with live chat, email, and remote desktop assistance all part of the package.
Astrill VPN Review
Astrill VPN employs state-of-the-art military grade encryption on your communication to make it extremely difficult for hackers to gain entry and pry on your information.
Besides their regular VPN features, Astrill also provides services such as IP filtering, WebCache, and video acceleration.
They’ve got servers in 49 countries, and can even work with VOIP and P2P protocols without problems. The torrenting support, especially, is a big deal since most providers don’t allow it for legal reasons.
Astrill does have some issues in terms of service reliability, compared to other top-notch providers such as ExpressVPN.
PureVPN boasts simplicity, security, and reliability to protect your from eavesdroppers and get you past geo-restrictions. PureVPN boasts some unique offerings, such as a tool that lets you select the best server based on several factors, and a split tunneling feature as well. The PureVPN server list is pretty impressive as well.
However, PureVPN has an overly complicated installation process, does not support the de facto OpenVPN standard for encryption, and may confuse you with its encryption settings.
To conclude this Pure VPN review, this service has a nice mix of both basic and advanced functionalities, but it isn’t up to par with more established VPN services.
CyberGhost VPN review
Cyber Ghost VPN lets you conceal your online activity through its easy to use, and reliable service.
One of the biggest plus points of this service is that it has a free version that actually works. In fact, if you’re willing to put up with a time restriction per session, and are using it on a desktop only, you will be fine with the free version.
The downside is that CyberGhost’s servers are mostly located in Europe, and you’ll need to buy its paid version to get support on more than one devices.
All in all, this CyberGhost review finds it to be the best free Australian VPN service.
Unblock US Australia
Unblock US is a service that departs from the methodology employed by traditional VPN services to get you past geo-restrictions.
While conventional VPNs utilize encryption protocols and tunneling to give you an anonymous IP that masks your location and activity (and as a consequence, allows access to many geo-blocked websites and services), Unblock US utilises Smart-DNS technology which assigns your computer special DNS numbers to make it appear that your computer is in another country altogether.
Netflix Unblock US viewing is quite popular with Australians who want to access the US version of the popular online streaming service.
Unblock-us DNS supports a whole host of devices on a variety of platforms – basically, any device which has configurable DNS settings can employ this service. The service is quite cheap as a monthly subscription but gets even more so if you take the annual package.
Smart DNS technology being what it is, you won’t experience any speed drops as compared to VPN technology. This is the big advantage associated with this technology, but you must remember that your communication is not encrypted any more.
Having gone through the top VPNs mentioned above, you will be more knowledgeable about the type of service to expect from these products.
Remember that this list is not exhaustive – there are other options you can try, such as Air VPN, Hamachi VPN and Torguard VPN. In fact, the best thing about VPN services is that they are so cheap, that you can keep on trying them month after month until you find the perfect one for yourself. With that in mind, happy safe surfing!