In this guide we'll be taking a look at the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) choices for Australia.
We've tested a whole range of services and weighed up some of the features that make certain providers stand out for use down under. We've also ranked ten of the best of them to help you make a decision when choosing.
Australia is fast becoming a country where a VPN is an absolute necessity for everyday internet use.
With some of the strongest privacy-invasive laws being passed both in relation to data retention and weakening encryption, Aussies are certainly vying for the title as one of the most surveilled countries in the world.
If you're not overly concerned (we really recommend you should be) then there are hundreds of other uses for VPN apps in Australia.
Everything from accessing overseas content such as US Netflix or BBC iPlayer to bypassing Internet Service Provider restrictions which slow you when you carry out certain tasks.
Our favourite VPN right now for Australia is ExpressVPN but it's worth taking a look at the competition so we've ranked ten of the best below.
How to choose a VPN in Australia
Before we delve into the Virtual Private Network provider list, it's worth taking a few minutes to consider some of the features you should be looking for.
While choosing a VPN in Australia is much the same as choosing a VPN for America or the UK for example, there are one or two unique factors to consider.
Based outside Australia
Ideally, you want a VPN service based outside Australia. There aren't many homegrown Aussie networks but they do exist and the ones that do could be more easily required to comply with local logging laws than those overseas.
Nearby server locations
Australia, as you'll already know, is geographically isolated. So it's worth considering which nearby VPN servers are available. Good server coverage is vital for all VPNs.
New Zealand is the obvious server choice but further afield Hong Kong is a worthy privacy location too. Although Indonesia and other Asian nations may be available they could be subject to their own restrictions or censorship.
Almost all VPN services charge in US Dollars. The Aussie Dollar is generally strong but depending on world markets, prices can fluctuate.
Locking into a 12-month or longer deal when you see a price you're happy with makes good sense.
Money back guarantee
Get a service with a decent money back guarantee. Many offer 30 days. This gives you loads of time to test it for multiple purposes.
Top VPN for Australia
Below are our recommended ten VPN services for Australia.
- ExpressVPN – Top pick for Australia
- CyberGhost VPN
- Private Internet Access
Below you'll find a more in-depth round up of the features of each service.
When looking for a VPN product for Australia start with ExpressVPN. They're not only our Editor's Choice VPN service for 2021 but they're also the best choice for use in Australia.
The service offers masses of server locations – in 94 countries to be exact! Australia is well covered with servers in Syndey, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. This makes it one of the most well covered across Australia for a VPN service and ideal for good speed.
Further afield you've got New Zealand and much of Asia. Servers in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are just a few more. All of these can be used for streaming, P2P file sharing and downloading from torrent sites, and more.
ExpressVPN works well with US Netflix, other Netflix services, and services like BBC iPlayer. They're also useful for homegrown TV like SBS, 7Plus, Kayo Sports and Network Ten amongst others. If you venture off on your travels you'll still be able to access your favourite TV services.
The service claims to be fully ‘no-log' retaining no data about your connection or activity which is helped by its location in the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. This has been proven to be sound in a high-profile criminal case.
There are also some great security and privacy features including a kill switch and DNS leak protection on top of the 256-bit encryption that comes as standard.
Throw in great customer service that includes 24/7 live chat support, 5 simultaneous connections, and you have the top VPN in Australia
With prices starting from just $6.67 per month for a one year plan, ExpressVPN really is a great deal.
Best VPN for Australia
30-day money back guarantee
NordVPN is another forerunner for VPN services for use in Australia.
There are some 300 NordVPN servers in Australia alone covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
In fact, they're the only VPN service we know of that has servers in Adelaide so it's definitely a bonus if you need local servers and a good download speed.
Nearby servers are available in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and a host of other countries across Asia. There's also some 62 countries covered across the world with well over 5,100 individual VPN servers available.
NordVPN stores no-logs of your activity which has been confirmed by an audit and they're registered off-shore in Panama so should be able to safeguard you from any of the privacy-invasive regulations of Australian law.
The service works well for US Netflix, other Netflix services, BBC iPlayer and many other services across the world. They're also able to unblock many of the most popular Australian TV services should you go overseas and are good for P2P file sharing too.
There is 256-bit encryption as standard as well as a kill switch, DNS leak protection and various other security features. You also get 6 simultaneous connections with every account.
There's a 30-day money back guarantee available giving you plenty of time to test the service for your needs. Prices start from £2.74 per month for a two year plan.
IPVanish VPN is a product up there with the best of them and is another useful one for any user in Australia.
Servers are available in both Sydney and Melbourne which is slightly less than ExpressVPN and NordVPN above but should cover the majority of your needs, although if you're in Perth you'll probably be better with one of the earlier services as speed could be an issue.
There are also nearly 50 other countries covered across the world which includes nearby locations such as New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Korea. But unfortunately, IPVanish is not great at unblocking US Netflix, Amazon Prime video and other streaming services.
The service claims to store no-logs of what you do and while this hasn't been proven the company did recommit themselves to this in 2018 after a blip in the previous owner's history. (Read more about that here)
The service costs $3.49 per month for an annual plan and offers a 30-day money back guarantee which is shorter than the competition but they make up for it with a unlimited simultaneously connected devices limit which is far more than most. If you've got many devices or a large household then this is a great feature.
4. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN stands out for Australian use if you're an avid streamer and love your entertainment content.
They've got specific servers across their service that unblock all the most popular services from across the world, including US Netflix, other Netflix services, and Amazon Prime video. If you're after accessing media not available in Australia or before it's Australian release then consider CyberGhost VPN.
Server wise their network is large spanning 59 countries across the globe. Australia is covered with servers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane giving plenty of choices and with over 59 individual servers there's plenty of power to go around and decent speed wherever you're located.
Nearby servers are available in New Zealand and much of Asia. Again Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea make good choices for hopping outside Australian restrictions.
CyberGhost VPN is a Romanian company covered by European Union laws. They claim to store no-logs of your activity or connection and while this is yet untested there have been no negative reports to suggest otherwise.
CyberGhost VPN costs from $2.25 per month for a 3 year plan and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Local servers are available in Australia in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The rarely supported west coast is covered which is great if you're over on the Perth side.
Nearby you've got server locations in New Zealand and surprisingly the Marshall Islands. If you're looking for something a little different then that will tick the box. The usual scattering of Asian servers are available with Hong Kong top of our privacy list.
In our recent review of their service, we commended them on their speeds and reliability of connection. They are ideal for streaming content on US Netflix and other streaming services. Owning their entire network is definitely a factor in this case and they're one of the most reliable services we've tested.
VyprVPN is available from $5 per month and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee as standard.
Surfshark is a young VPN that has made a big impression in the VPN market very quickly. It already offers users a huge range of apps and a dependable VPN service at a low price.
Surfshark's VPN server network consists of more than 3,200 in 65 different countries which is a lot for such a young provider. It gives users plenty of choice and means they can unblock content from a wide range of countries. There are 69+ servers in Australia located across 5 cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide) and also options in neighbouring countries such as New Zealand too.
The service works well at unblocking streaming services like US Netflix, Amazon Prime video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and more. Connections speeds are fast and consistent enough for streaming and the apps are extremely easy to use.
Surfshark also comes with 256-bit AES military grade encryption as standard. Its privacy protections are OK (like ExpressVPN it is also headquartered in the British Virgin Islands) but it does collect a little more connection data that we would like. Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections too.
There are areas for improvement but with a 30-day money-back guarantee and low prices (from just $2.49 per month for a 2 year plan) as standard as well as user-friendly customer service, Surfshark has plenty to offer Australian VPN users.
7. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is another excellent VPN service provider that offers a cost-effective option for Australian users.
The PIA server network consists of 29,162 VPN and Proxy servers in 99 locations across 77 countries. This includes 1,787 servers across three Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth) as well as 132 more in New Zealand and plenty more locations across south-east Asia too.
Private Internet Access delivers fast connection speeds, a decent range of impressive apps, and a good selection of security and privacy features. It is able to unblock Netflix, although only the US and UK versions and it is not as reliable as some others on this list. Other premium streaming services like US Disney+ and BBC iPlayer are patchy too, unfortunately.
PIA prices are extremely competitive (from as little as $3.33 per month) and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee available too. Another good options for Australian internet users.
VPN.ac is one of the fastest VPN providers on the market right now and an interesting option for Australian users.
The server network is a modest one, with locations in just 20 countries and the majority of these being in Europe. But there are servers in two Australian cities (Sydney and Melbourne). The only other nearby servers are in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Connection speeds are extremely fast and they also offer neat and well designed VPN apps for all major devices.
Prices are competitive and with a 30-day money back guarantee on offer you have plenty of time to test them out. There is no 24/7 live chat customer support but the ticketed service is both helpful and responsive.
WeVPN is a torrent-friendly, fast, and secure VPN service. It has a modest server network with a mere 100+ servers located across more than 40 locations. The good news for Australian users is that this includes Sydney and Melbourne as well as New Zealand and a number of Indo-Pacific nations too.
WeVPN offers some excellent VPN apps, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. These apps are simple to use and perfect for a beginner.
Connection speeds are good, encryption is sound, and the privacy policies are not too shabby either.
With reasonable prices and a long money-back guarantee as standard, this is another good, dependable VPN for Australian VPN users to consider.
The only drawback is it's a newer provider with an unproven logging policy but initial customers seem pleased and our tests showed a reliable service.
ZenMate VPN boasts 60 servers in Sydney and 60 servers in Melbourne. For a provider with a relatively modest server network, this is quite a commitment to its Australian customers.
ZenMate also boasts decent apps that are both easy to use and nicely designed. It is also able to unblock most streaming services too, including Netflix, although we found the speeds a little inconsistent meaning it wasn't always ideal for watching content online.
The encryption offered by ZenMate is a robust 256-bit AES level but their privacy policies are a little unclear and we would like to know more about exactly how they are keeping their users data private.
If you want a solid VPN with a clear dedication to Australia, ZenMate is a good option. But there is definitely room for improvement with this VPN service too.
How we selected our choices
This is a long list of best VPNs and you might be wondering how we chose these best VPNs. After all, there are literally hundreds of VPNs on the market and all of them will state somewhere on their website that when it comes to Australian VPNs, none are better than they are.
Well, we test VPNs for a living so we know exactly how to identify the best VPN services for Australia.
We also factored in feedback from users of VPNs in Australia and identified the key criteria that was needed for best VPNs to cut the mustard with Australian users.
The key criteria that we considered when selecting the top VPNs for Australia were:
1) Local servers
Australia is very geographically remote and it is well know that the further your data has to travel to reach a VPN server, the more your connection speeds are going to be affected.
We have therefore stuck to VPNs that have a server presence in Australia. The more Australian servers that are available, the better the service they will be able to offer.
We are also acutely aware of the size of Australia and have therefore prioritised VPNs that are able to offer servers across a wide range of Australian cities. If you live in Perth, a server in Sydney is still an awfully long way away.
Speed could suffer if you live on the other side of the country and you don't need to suffer slow speed just to increase your online security.
Perth is actually closer to Singapore than Sydney which is why we have also considered VPNs which offer a good selection of VPN locations in other countries in the region too.
2) No-log policy
Online privacy is one of the main reasons people are turning to VPNs in their droves these days.
This is especially true for Australian's where the Government's draconian Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act has challenged the use of encryption and made online privacy increasingly difficult to obtain.
But we all have a right to privacy when using an internet connection and a good VPN can help you to achieve that by hiding your IP Address to stop anyone tracking your web traffic.
The key to this is a no user logs policy where a VPN guarantees that it doesn't collect any information about your internet habits. A no logging policy means that regardless of what legal pressure a VPN provider might be put under it simply doesn't hold data about its users' internet traffic.
A no user logs policy is great but it is also helpful to know that it is dependable.
That's why we have paid extra-special attention to VPNs that can offer evidence of an independent audit which proves that their no-user logs guarantee ideally means they have a no logging policy you can trust.
3) Range of apps
The days when we just went online when sat at a computer have been consigned to history. These days, we are going online all the time and everywhere. We need a VPN that works on our smartphones, tablets, our TVs, and more.
Online privacy and security are no less important on these devices than on our computers, which is why it is important to look for VPNs that can protect the widest possible number of devices.
We have looked closely at the apps offered by VPNs recommended in this guide. As far as we are concerned, VPNs that offer more apps on more devices, offer more choice and a better service to their Australian users.
4) Strong security
The Australian government is like a hacker. It doesn't like encryption because it wants to see what you are doing online.
This is where VPNs come in. They can stop hackers and your own Government from accessing and logging your online data.
Encryption is the means to do this and if you are using VPNs, you want them to be able to offer the most robust encryption possible. A top tip is not to trust your online security to a free VPN since they rarely offer sufficient protection.
256-bit AES encryption is considered to be unbreakable and military grade. If VPNs offer this, they will be keeping your data secure so that has been set as our minimum benchmark.
It is also important to look for a choice of VPN protocols that let you strike a balance between security and speed. Bonus security features are important too, especially things like a kill switch that let you ensure your data doesn't leak if your VPN connection goes down.
5) Refund policy
Sad to say, but the free trial option on VPNs is, largely speaking, a thing of the past. But in its place has come the refund policy.
Generally speaking, this takes the form of a money-back guarantee and is a promise by a VPN provider that if you are not completely happy with their service, they will return all your money back to you, no questions asked, within an agreed timeframe.
The minimum that the industry seems to have settled on these days is a 30-day money-back guarantee so that is what we have looked for when assessing VPNs for this guide.
Some offer as much as 45 days, but this is a bonus really and 30-days should give you long enough to decide whether or not a VPN is working for you.
Which Australian VPN should you choose?
Without question, as an overall VPN service to use for multiple purposes you really can't go wrong with our Editor's Choice, ExpressVPN.
However, choosing the best VPN services for Australian users will be dependant on how you use a VPN.
To help you choose the best for your needs we've broken it down into typical usage scenarios below. Pick the one that matches your usage closely and you can't go wrong.
If you want to use a VPN that is the best all-rounder, choose ExpressVPN. With good privacy protections, the ability to unblock plenty of services and a reliable service they're suitable for almost all needs.
If you want great privacy protections, opt for VyprVPN. They've recently announced they're a ‘no-log' VPN service and they've got an audit to prove it. Coupled with their registration in Switzerland they couldn't do much more.
If you want to unblock TV content galore, get CyberGhost VPN. With specific servers to unblock TV content, they unblock more than most. It's also super-simple to find the right server for your needs via their helpful apps.
If you want a huge range of apps, sign up for ExpressVPN. With apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Apple iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV devices and select Routers there's more selection than most. In fact, it's pretty difficult to find a device they don't have an app for.
If you want to try before you buy, get CyberGhost VPN. With a 45-day money back guarantee it's long than any other provider.
If you want to use a VPN on the most devices, get IPVanish. They've got an unlimited device limit. That's more than most and unbeatable.
Why you need a VPN for Australia
There are many reasons why Australians should be using a VPN and most of those mirror that of the rest of the world.
However, there are four critical reasons why a VPN is essential in Australia and below we've listed them.
Data Retention Laws
In 2017 new data retention laws came into effect that requires all internet providers to record and store metadata from every Australian internet connection.
Metadata is things like the time you talk to someone, or who you spoke to. It's not the content of the conversation. It can also include the likes of the websites you visit and the time you visited them.
Metadata is important because it can link you to your activity. No one needs to know what you did at a service, only knowing that you used the service can point the finger of suspicion.
A VPN allows you to encrypt all of your data which makes it unreadable and hides you IP Address to stop your internet service provider tracking what you are doing online.
Essentially this means your metadata can't be recorded. Your internet provider could record that you connected to a VPN server at a specific time but they won't know what you did while connected.
Data retention is a big reason why is why VPNs for Australia are so important for privacy and why you should avoid VPN companies based in Australia.
Data Encryption Laws
Hot on the heels of data retention laws are data encryption laws. These new laws passed at the end of 2018 will force companies to grant backdoors or weaken encryption so that government agencies can read the contents of your communications.
It's essentially a world-first and makes Australia one of the most surveilled countries in the world.
By using VPN services registered outside Australia you should, in theory, be able to put yourself outside this data encryption intrusion. It's one of the main reasons why choosing a VPN service that has no base in Australia is so critical.
Unblock TV and media content
Australia has long been at the back of the queue when it comes to media content. Everything from TV shows, Netflix content, movies and games either got released late in Australia or cost way above what they would elsewhere in the world.
While things have got somewhat better it's still the case that Australians have limited choice when it comes to content or where to get that content. Even the local Netflix library has limited content.
By using a VPN you can access overseas TV and movie services and get more content, often for less. Even Malcolm Turnbull clarified a few years ago that using a VPN to access overseas services wasn't against copyright law.
However, we're not Australian copyright lawyers so you should seek your own clarification before carrying out any unblocking activities.
Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is an increasingly common way for people in Australia to get online. But it is also very insecure.
A public Wi-Fi network will typically lack all but the most basic security and privacy protections and leave your data exposed to anyone who cares to look at this. This means that anyone can see your personal data.
A VPN connection makes public Wi-Fi secure by encrypting all your data and masking your identity.
A free VPN will generally not be able to do this but take your pick of the VPN companies listed above and you can use public internet networks with confidence in all countries including Australia.
Is using a VPN in Australia legal?
The simple answer to this question is, Yes. Using VPNs for Australia is 100% legal.
That is not to say that the Australian authorities are big fans. The country's data collection and anti-encryption laws are excessive and overbearing but considered essential by many in authority.
A VPN helps you to evade both of these by encrypting all of your information and hiding details of what you are doing online from the authorities.
The government would love to stop this, I'm sure, but so far they have not legislated to make VPN use illegal.
There are some activities that can be done while using a VPN that are illegal, however. For example, streaming content from an overseas provider might be considered a copyright offence while the legal uncertainties around downloading torrent files is well known.
We certainly wouldn't encourage any of this activity but if you use your VPN wisely and ensure the kill switch is enabled, there is realistically no way that the authorities can see whether you are doing this or not.
VPN use is legal in most countries including Australia and we strongly recommend it.
If you've got limited time and want the best VPN option for Australia for a multitude of purposes then choose ExpressVPN.
They've got a huge network of servers, many which span Australia and neighbouring countries. They support almost all devices you can think of and they work with many domestic and international TV and movie services.
Couple that with their huge 30-day money back guarantee and you've got plenty of time to test the service risk-free.
If you do have a little more time to search around then it's worth taking a look at all ten recommended VPN services above as you may find some features more beneficial.
Whichever you choose there's no need to overthink it because they're all suitable for use in Australia.