The Best VPNs for Australia
Whether you’re visiting Australia or you’re a resident, a VPN is a great way to protect you from public Wi-Fi networks, among other capabilities.
Known for its beautiful beaches and wild outback, we loved traveling to Australia. However, one of the things we didn’t love was the number of restrictions and overreach the Australian government has when it comes to their citizens’ internet access. We weren’t fans of the other-worldly animals, either, but that’s not the point here: we care about internet privacy. To safely traverse the country/continent of Australia, a reliable, secure VPN should be added to your travel checklist.
In an attempt to combat online piracy, the Australian Senate passed a measure that allows it to determine which websites its private citizens can and can’t access. Additional legislation requires the Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to store their users’ browsing data for up to two years, and hand it over to the government if requested.1
That sounds like a lot, but it’s really just the norm for all countries that fall under Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes jurisdictions. Those intelligence agencies can force companies operating in their parameters to hand over users’ data, which can include names, addresses, dates of birth, billing details, and other identifying information in addition to time, date, destination, and duration of communications, IP addresses, and bandwidth consumed. In order to hide your information from these prying eyes in Australia, consider using the following VPNs.
Comparison of the Best VPNs in Australia
Private Internet Access VPN
|Servers in Australia||Over 190 in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney||134||137 in Sydney, 138 in Melbourne, and 38 in Perth||44||128 in Sydney, 79 in Melbourne, 76 in Perth, and 77 in Brisbane|
|Servers Worldwide||5246||3157||Over 3194||568||6500|
|Member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Logs Traffic/Web Activity||No||IP address, when and where VPN was used||No||Collects timestamps||Collects total bandwidth consumed|
|Split Tunneling||No||Yes, but with exceptions||No||Yes||Yes|
|Monthly Plans||$3.71 - $11.95||$2.95 - $12.99||$2.19 - $11.95||$0 - $29.12||$1.32 - $10.95|
|Customer Support||Live chat support 24/7||Live chat, tickets, phone number||Online form, live chat||Email, social media||24/7 support|
|Contract Lengths||Monthly, yearly or 2 years||Monthly, yearly, and 3 years 3 months||Monthly, yearly or every 3 years||Yearly||Monthly, yearly or every 5 years|
|Location of Headquarters||Panama||Bucharest, Romania||Greenwood Village, Colo., USA||Geneva, Switzerland||Hong Kong|
|Read Review||NordVPN Review||CyberGhost Review||Private Internet Access VPN Review||ProtonVPN Review||PureVPN Review|
Detailed List of the Best VPNs for Australia
1. NordVPN - Best VPN for Streaming in Australia
What We Like
- 190 servers in Australia
- Kill switch
- Strong torrenting capability
- Ability to connect to servers specific to Australian cities
What We Don’t Like
- No free trial
- Kill switch doesn’t shut off all connections on iOS mobile app
- Static IP addresses
- No customer service phone support
Offering streaming capabilities that supports Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer on all platforms, NordVPN provides uninterrupted, lightning fast streaming. In Australia, the provider’s offering of over 190 servers across four major cities helps spread users out so that there’s not too many people on the same connection, bogging speeds down. It also includes SmartPlay, a free and seamless feature that helps you access secure content more easily, without any manual configuration needed. Additionally, there’s no monthly caps on data and streaming, so users don’t have to worry about their ISP throttling them.
FYI: Throttling is when ISPs intentionally interrupt and slow down internet connection. It’s expensive for ISPs to provide superfast connections at all times, due to high-bandwidth activities like online entertainment, gaming or 4K streaming.2
Also known as multi-hopping or VPN server chaining, this feature provides an extra layer of security that routes web traffic through two or more VPN servers (as opposed to one), encrypting data twice. NordVPN offers multi-hop, which includes double encryption, enhanced security, IP protection, and complete privacy. Plus, this feature didn’t cost any more money, as you can see on our NordVPN pricing page.
Good Mobile Apps
Have you ever taken a second to think about how much personal information we unintentionally have saved on our mobile phones? Whether it’s as complex as banking apps or just the run-of-the-mill Gmail app, there’s a crazy amount of personal information hidden in plain sight. And don’t even get us started on the dangers of connecting to public Wi-Fi. Mobile security is something that most of us forget to take seriously, but it’s no joke. Mobile phones have already become hand-held computers, after all. Accessing a VPN through NordVPN’s mobile app (available on iOS and Android devices) is easy. All we had to do was click the “Quick Connect” button and the app’s algorithm connected us to the server best suited for us.
2. CyberGhost - Best VPN for Torrenting in Australia
What We Like
- Live chat support
- Strong VPN protocols and encryption
- 134 servers in Australia
- Private IP address available for $5
What We Don’t Like
- Logs IP address, time and country of use, and other sensitive information
- Only a 24-hour free trial
- No split tunneling
- High-security servers come at higher costs
Given Australia’s strict anti-piracy laws, it’s no secret that many ISPs are required to block certain torrenting websites. Additionally, many popular streaming websites (including Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Now) are unavailable in Australia,3 meaning that we couldn’t get our Big Little Lies fix while we were there unless we used a VPN. Of course, our location is all tracked through a device’s IP address. CyberGhost hides our IP address and replaces it with one from their roster, so it appears that you’re in the country of the content you’re trying to access. Binge watch away!
Access to NoSpy Servers
Though it comes at an additional cost ($4.99 per month compared to $4.15 per month), CyberGhost offers access to NoSpy Servers. If you’re thinking, “but, wait, I thought all VPNs were NoSpy Servers?”, then you’re somewhat correct. However, the regular membership program only provides dedicated torrenting servers and blocks online tracking. The NoSpy server, on the other hand, has more levels of privacy, including end-to-end management for faster speeds. Additionally, NoSpy servers are only accessible and managed by the CyberGhost team, while the company’s regular servers are managed by third parties. To learn more, read about CyberGhost’s costs.
Shared IP Addresses
While the name “shared IP addresses” sounds like it’d do more harm than good, it’s actually a beneficial feature. Instead of assigning us our own IP address, CyberGhost gave us one shared address that we shared with a bunch of other users. If a hacker managed to bypass all of CyberGhost’s safety protocols, there were many other active users on the IP address that it would become nearly impossible to pinpoint what we were sending.
3. Private Internet Access - Best VPN for iOS in Australia
What We Like
- Supports up to 10 simultaneous devices
- Anonymous payment options (read more on our Private Internet Access costs page)
- 313 servers in Australia
- Unlimited bandwidth
What We Don’t Like
- No split tunneling
- No third-party security audit
- Slow customer service response times
Highly Rated in Apple’s App Store
Being that we just mentioned the crazy amount of information that you keep on your mobile phone, did you know that iPhones (and Instagram accounts) are a primary target for hackers?4 Add in the fact that iOS devices feature a variety of security vulnerabilities and it’s only logical to ensure an extra layer of protection when using Apple smartphones. Private Internet Access comes in at 4.7 stars on the Apple App Store, which slightly edges out NordVPN as the highest-ranked VPN provider for iOS.
Port forwarding re-routes incoming connections so that they can bypass the NAT firewall, a network address translation that protects private networks. It’s a useful option that diverts internet traffic to a certain device. For example, when we were in Australia, we realized we left one of our travel itineraries on the laptop computer in our hotel room. With the help of port forwarding, we were able to access our home network and secure the information we needed. Port forwarding can also help improve connections during streaming or torrenting.
Private IP Addresses
As we all know, internet privacy without a VPN is a thing of the past. When we pulled up Private Internet Access’s website on our Macbook, we had a banner at the top that told us our IP address and ISP, as well as our general location. Clearly, IP addresses are easily found for those that have the tools to access them. To that end, Private Internet Access masked our device’s IP address with a dynamic one. Once a secure server connection was established, we were issued a new IP address, which made it seem like our connection originated from a different country or location.
4. Proton VPN - Best VPN for Encryption in Australia
What We Like
- Swiss-based, outside of privacy jurisdictions
- 44 Australian servers
- Free option (learn more on our page on ProtonVPN’s subscription costs)
- Double VPN
What We Don’t Like
- Customer support only accessible by email
- Slow streaming and torrenting
- Higher security levels have to be purchased
- Limited device compatibility
Unique Encryption Features
ProtonVPN offers Perfect Forward Secrecy, which means we didn’t have to worry about our encrypted traffic from a previous session being captured and decrypted if it was compromised. Every time we connected to one of ProtonVPN’s Australian servers, the provider generated a new encryption method depending on what we were doing. In terms of encryption protection, ProtonVPN used AES-256 to encrypt network traffic, 4096-bit RSA for key exchange, and HMAC with SHA384 for message authentication.
As reliable as VPNs are, they’re not 100 percent foolproof. There can be some weaknesses, and DNS leaks are one of them. First, let’s get some context. DNS stands for domain name system, which are the names of websites. This collection of DNSs allows ISPs to see what websites we visited. While VPNs encrypt our DNS, there have been a few instances where our DNS was leaked and exposed our internet activity. Luckily, ProtonVPN passed the DNS leak test we conducted with flying colors.
The more you know: If you manually configured your VPN connection, your connection to your VPN server was interrupted, or if you suspect an intruder is controlling your router, you can run a quick, easy, and free test at DNSLeakTest.com.
This is an underrated feature, as it allowed us to save our settings to make logging on and accessing our desired server even easier. Personalized profiles allowed us to keep track of the servers with the best connections. It was easy to do, too; there’s a green link in the top left corner labeled “Set as Profile”. One click and voila: we could keep track of servers that ran especially fast for us. It’s that simple. There was also a quick connect button that automatically sent us to the fastest server available in Australia, and it was easy to jump around servers once we were in.
5. PureVPN - Fastest VPN in Australia
What We Like
- Hundreds of Australian IP addresses
- Throttle-free streaming and torrenting
- 56 servers in Australia
- Third-party audited no traffic logging certification
What We Don’t Like
- No free trial
- Only allows for five simultaneous connections
- Unhelpful customer support
- History of DNS and personal data leaks
Fastest VPN Connection in Australia
PureVPN is at an advantage over other VPN providers because its network of servers is self-engineered and self-run. It also boasts 360 servers in Australia alone, the largest number out of the 40 plus VPNs that we’ve tested. The large number of servers means that there’s more options, so users are not overloading the same couple servers and slowing the collective speed down. And, due to PureVPN’s self-engineering, its VPN service and apps are specifically optimized for the company’s evolving broadband connections. Other VPN providers that use ready-made setups or that bring in third parties to control and manage their servers experience weaker broadband connections.
A kill switch is just as dramatic as it sounds; if a user’s network disconnects from the VPN, the kill switch will automatically kill whatever web software or websites the person was using. For example, “interactive gambling” is illegal in Australia;5 if someone was hitting an online casino through a VPN, the kill switch will cease connections so the user’s IP address and web activity wouldn’t be exposed. Other useful features for a kill switch include protecting sensitive data when visiting a country with more intense internet censorship. Finally, the kill switch doesn’t cost any extra money, as you can see on our page on PureVPN’s pricing.
Split tunneling is a useful feature that allows us to route some of our device’s traffic through the VPN while other devices or apps are directly connected to local networks, a process that uses less bandwidth overall. When we enabled split tunneling from Australia, we had access to Netflix platforms from out of the country, which widened the library of shows and movies that we could watch. Additional benefits of split tunneling include sharing P2P files without compromising online privacy and accessing devices on our local network while using a VPN.
How We Test VPNs: Methodology
Testing the VPNs is a painstaking but rewarding process. In a nutshell, we don’t take what the VPN providers’ websites say at face value. We believe in testing each VPN service ourselves across iOS, Android, MacOS and Windows devices to ensure that they deliver on all of their promises. Don’t worry, our research goes beyond user-friendliness and levels of privacy. We look at where the company is based to determine if it will be under the jurisdiction of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes. As a refresher, those are intelligence agencies that have the power to force VPN providers to share their customers’ personal and browsing information with the government upon request. Of course, the number of servers they had in Australia was also a huge factor, and with 1,012 VPN servers in Australia available from the five providers on this list, we put all the VPNs through a series of tests to test their strengths.
We test all of the VPNs from our Brooklyn office on our private Optimum network. We go device by device to set a baseline for our internet speed without a VPN, and then compare speeds with VPNs against our initial numbers. The devices we test include a Macbook Air and a Windows Vivobook to ensure that we’re not favoring one manufacturer or operating system over the other.
Our testing process is relatively easy. We test download and upload speed along with ping (latency) with and without a VPN. While download and upload speed are measured in megabits per second, latency is measured in milliseconds. We then calculate the difference between the two measurements as a percentage, and take into account how the operating systems affect speed. We prefer VPNs that have no more than a 40 percent difference in any of the categories. While we stand by our results, we understand that there’s differences (such as distance to the server, operating system, and device used) that could impact others’ speed test results, so we encourage all readers to conduct speed tests of their own.
The main purpose for using a VPN is to protect browsing data and web traffic, which is made up of websites visited and the IP address of the device who visited them. We want to verify the information and make sure users’ private IP addresses are not leaked due to WebRTC, which enables default browsers, like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera, to directly communicate with each other and share information. We test for WebRTC leaks on ExpressVPN’s website, so we can look at the local and Public IPv4 IP addresses to determine if there were any WebRTC leaks.
We then focus our attention on each VPN provider’s privacy jurisdiction and data-logging policy. We try to avoid companies that are based in areas that fall under Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes jurisdiction. However, not all VPN providers are based in countries outside privacy jurisdictions. Don’t worry, though: we’ll always let you know the location of the provider we’re reviewing.
In terms of data-logging, we only recommend companies that don’t hold any overly-sensitive information. Keep in mind that almost all VPNs log a user’s basic account information, such as their name, email, and payment information. However, we draw the line at VPNs that keep any information about when customers use their VPNs, for how long, or their web activity and IP addresses.
We examine the VPN’s encryption methods and internet protocols to see if they conform to industry standards, which include AES-256 and OpenVPN, two of the most secure methods. Additionally, we search for dynamic IP addresses, which are difficult to track. Then, we make sure all recommended VPNs include a kill switch.
Torrenting and streaming access are important to us, as we understand that media libraries differ from country to country and that some countries have stricter laws in place than others. VPNs allow us to mask our location so it appears as if we’re accessing the content from somewhere else. We also look for VPNs with split tunneling, which allows private and public network access simultaneously. We prefer double or multi-hop VPNs, as they encrypt data multiple times through multiple servers for additional layers of protection.
We provide our readers with comparative pricing between VPNs and supply unbiased information about subscription options. The price range of VPNs varies, but they’re typically around $5 to $10 per month. However, on the extreme ends, there are free VPN options and those that go up to $15 per month.
Monthly plans offer greater flexibility, while annual plans typically come at better prices. Furthermore, we include information about trial periods and money-back guarantees, along with contract lengths. We cut through marketing language and put each subscription’s offerings into layman’s terms so our readers know exactly what they’re getting in terms of server switches, simultaneous connections, and how many devices are allowed overall. On average, VPNs allow unlimited server switches and devices.
Most VPN companies provide a free live chat feature, an email address, phone number or online ticket submissions. Being that VPN companies aren’t known for their customer service, we’ve found some VPN providers that provide 24/7 live chat, and we award extra points if the company provides a phone number.
We test the company’s VPN app on both iOS and Android devices and examine their ratings on each platform. If any apps have below three stars, we don’t recommend it to our readers with that type of device.
Why do I need a VPN for Australia?
You need a VPN for Australia because the country has some of the strictest internet privacy laws. The Australian government restricts the content that private citizens are allowed to access. Additionally, ISPs are required to save metadata for up to two years and hand over browsing information if requested by the government.
What can I do with a VPN in Australia?
With a VPN in Australia, you can mask your IP address, unblock access to streaming websites and other countries’ libraries, protect your browsing history and personal information, and securely stream and download content.
Will a VPN slow down my internet connection?
A VPN might slow down your internet connection. It’s dependent on many factors, including the amount of servers a provider offers and how many people are on the servers, but it’s generally unnoticeable.
Are VPNs legal in Australia?
Yes, VPNs are legal in Australia. However, VPNs can’t be used for copyright infringement or piracy.
Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs. (2021). Data retention obligations.
NordVPN. (2020). What is bandwidth throttling and how to stop it.
Can Star Blue. (2020). What streaming services are there in Australia?
Ciso Mag. (2020). Hackers Prefer iPhones and Instagram Accounts: Study.
Australian Government. (2001). Interactive Gambling.