The Best VPN Services for Australians

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.

ExpressVPN BadgeNordVPN BadgeVisit IPVanish

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 best VPNs also allow you to bypass geo-blocks and access content not currently available to Australians such as the streaming service HBO Go and the amazing Hulu Plus.

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.

What is the Best VPN Service?

ExpressVPN

1. ExpressVPN

  • Speed: Very fast
  • Netflix: Unblocks Netflix
  • Torrenting: Supported with optimised VPN servers
  • Number of Connections: 3
  • Jurisdiction: BVI (British Virgin Islands) outside 5-eyes.
  • Logging Policy: Strict Zero-logging policy

Pricing

ExpressVPN is now offering 15 months for the price of 12 on their year plans. 30 day’s money-back guarantee. Payment options are extensive with Credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and countless other online methods.

Security and Privacy

The ExpressVPN app delivers military-grade 256-bit encryption and DNS/ IPv6 leak protection. With an effective kill-switch, user privacy is well catered for. Users can mask their IP address and use the most secure protocols in OpenVPN and L2TP/ IPsec.

Performance and Features

With optimised servers, the ExpressVPN download speeds are at the highest levels no matter where users are located. In ExpressVPN reviews, they always mention customer service, and this provider delivers the best and most speedy service with their 24/7 live chat.

Split tunnelling allows users to choose which apps go through the VPN, and which go through their ISP. It is also the best VPN for bypassing geo-restrictions and content streaming.

ExpressVPN Review

It was a pleasure to test for this ExpressVPN review. There was no struggle in signing up or setting up the client apps. If you want a VPN that can run on almost any device, then this is the one. There are native apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS, Blackberry, routers and many others. There are also dedicated extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Once you sign up to this virtual private network, which takes a few minutes, you have full protection and access to all the benefits as soon as you perform your ExpressVPN login. There is no messing, and the client software is among the easiest to use.


NordVPN

2. NordVPN

  • Speed: Fast
  • Netflix: Unblocks Netflix
  • Torrenting: Yes
  • Number of Connections: 6
  • Jurisdiction: Panama – connected to US company for payments
  • Logging Policy: Zero-logging

Pricing

When signing up for this VPN service, you have plenty of payment options. However, with no NordVPN free trial, you will need to pay either for a month to test the service, or commit to one-year. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, but reports claim this takes a further month to process.

Security and Privacy

This NordVPN review found that although the company is based outside any 5-eyes jurisdiction, they do have connections to a US based payment company.

The service sticks to their zero-logging policy and has an automatic kill switch and full DNS leak protection. Nord also supports Onion over VPN for full anonymity, but this has a severe impact on connection speed. On the encryption side, it delivers the same military-grade encryption and protocols as other market leaders.

Performance and Features

Geo-restrictions are easily bypassed with the company’s SmartPlay feature, and the NordVPN download speeds were excellent over local servers, but they showed signs of drop-off over long distances.

One of the most significant downsides is the company support. It has improved, but still they lag behind what users expect.

NordVPN Review

The Nord VPN review saw another provider that has lots of platform support. It covers most devices from Android, Windows, Mac, iOS and others along with browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. It delivers decent performance, but excels in their privacy and security.

With torrenting and Netflix and BBC iPlayer support, this VPN connection covers most of what users require, but there are still areas they can improve, or they will remain in second spot with other providers catching up.


IPVanish

3. IPVanish

  • Speed: Fast
  • Netflix: Unblocks Netflix
  • Torrenting: Supported
  • Number of Connections: 10
  • Jurisdiction: USA inside 5-eyes
  • Logging Policy: Zero logging. Old owners have a history of keeping data

Pricing

When users sign up for an IPVanish account, they need to be sure this is the service for them as the VPN offers only a 7-day money-back guarantee. However, users can have up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is very generous.

Security and Privacy

As users expect from top-tier providers, and as you can see from any other IPVanish review, they take security seriously. Using the same 256-bit AES encryption, and OpenVPN, L2TP/ IPsec protocols, no one will spy on a user’s activities. The company also adheres to their zero logging, but the old owners were caught handing over user data.

Performance and Features

IPVanish servers are their own equipment. This allows them to maintain them, and there is no chance of them being used by any other party. IPVanish download speeds are some of the best, and they support both Netflix and torrenting without a hitch.

One feature is the inclusion of the SOCKS5 web proxy for masking IP addresses. This performs well, but using this does nothing for encryption.

IPVanish Review

The IPVanish VPN has a large network and delivers top performance when needed. With 24/7, customer service and plenty of device support it is easy to see why so many users download IPVanish VPN.

It has issues with usability, and some of their advertised servers are not in the server locations they claim. The mobile apps also have no kill switches, so if using these to stream over mobile devices or even Fire TV, you may find your IP address being exposed when watching TV shows or movies.


Cyberghost

4. Cyberghost

  • Speed: Slow over a long distance
  • Netflix: Unblocks Netflix
  • Torrenting: Supported
  • Number of Connections: 7
  • Jurisdiction: Romania, outside 5-eyes
  • Logging Policy: Zero-logging but suspicious

Pricing

Cyberghost VPN is expensive when you do not sign up for an extended period. Additionally, for the monthly, you only get a 14-day money-back guarantee. Users who commit to a year or above receive 45 days money-back guarantees. Users can also make use of the 24-hour free trial, but this nowhere near long enough to find how to use Cyberghost VPN effectively.

Security and Privacy

How safe is Cyberghost has been a question for ages? While offering top-level encryption and protocols like other leaders, it is the company itself that lets users down. Someone found session recording scripts on their website, and the claims of zero-logging look to be false. Third-party apps such as InstaBug and Mixpanel collect user stats.

Performance and Features

Cyberghost covers the main platforms with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. The user interface is simple to use and users can delve into the settings to change the Cyberghost proxy settings among other things.

However, while doing this Cyberghost review we found network performance to be mediocre at best. This makes it one of the poorest performing VPN’s for Australia. With Netflix access and torrent support, users may become frustrated with buffering and slow download speeds.

Cyberghost Review

This Cyberghost VPN review went into everything. Customer support is poor, and some of their features do not work, as they should. The ad-blocker will block nothing on HTTPS; also, it appears to work by manipulating traffic rather than DNS requests. There are far better alternatives than this VPN for the price.


Tunnelbear

5. TunnelBear

  • Speed: Slow
  • Netflix: No Netflix support
  • Torrenting: Supported
  • Number of Connections: 5
  • Jurisdiction: Canada – inside 5-eyes
  • Logging Policy: No logging but questionable

Pricing

  • 1 month: $9.99
  • 12 months: $4.99

Users can download the TunnelBear latest version to try for free. With a 500 Mb cap on data, this gives users a brief chance to test the service before committing. Because of the free version, users need to try it, or have faith in a TunnelBear premium account because there are no refunds of any kind.

There are only two payment options unlike other popular VPN’s which come with lots of ways to pay. You can compare this to Hotspot Shield, but that delivers more features and works with Netflix.

Security and Privacy

TunnelBear focuses on being easy to use, and sometimes, they have taken this too far. They deliver the same secure encryption and OpenVPN protocols, but there is little chance for users to tweak anything.

They keep users secure, and external auditors can verify this, but with devices and platforms, they fall down for anything outside of Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.

Performance and Features

When you create a TunnelBear account and password, you expect decent performance from a VPN that is so popular. Sadly, this is not what you will get, as the network speed is slow. With a low number of servers in only 20 locations, their network is tiny by comparison. One feature they have is their oddly named GhostBear.

This masks you from anyone knowing you are using a VPN. This is ideal for geo restrictions and Netflix, or it would be if Netflix access was supported. For some redemption, they do now support torrenting.

Tunnelbear Review

The TunnelBear VPN services are easy to use. They have good TunnelBear support in their customer service, and user data will be secure. However, they offer little when you compare them to alternatives.

With slow connections, limited plan options, and no chance of installing the VPN on a router. It was not a great result when testing for this TunnelBear review.


StrongVPN

6. 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.


Private Internet Access

7. 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.


HideMyAss

8. Hidemyass Review

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.


Astrill

9. 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

10. PureVPN review

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.


Conclusion

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!