Australians know the real value of a good VPN because they routinely rely on VPNs not only for the sake of better Netflix or Steam accessibility, but also for proper privacy and security. So, when going to Australia, do as the Aussies do.

Why Use a VPN in Australia

A quick look at the news headlines shows that Australia is no stranger to cyber threats, state surveillance, content restrictions, and censorship.

Traditionally, Australia is the last priority amongst filmmakers, streaming services, and game developers when it comes to releasing a new product to an English-speaking market. This means you get fewer options when you want to stream TV shows, play PC or mobile games, or listen to music with an Australian IP.

On top of that, you have to pay an extra tax on your Steam and Netflix purchases. The Online Goods Tax - also called the Netflix Tax - mandates an additional 10% on digital goods Australians buy from foreign vendors on the Internet. Netflix seized the opportunity to roll out a new pricing structure for the region, with one tier of their subscriptions increasing by a whopping 20%. And as if all of this isn’t quite enough, Netflix libraries available to the Australian audience are significantly trimmed in comparison to US libraries.

Piracy is also an issue, as the Australian federal court ordered ISPs to block many popular torrent sites. Torrenting copyrighted content is a serious crime, and it comes as no solace that the ‘three strikes’ rule that obliged ISPs to notify torrenters on behalf of copyright holders was canned last year because it was too expensive to implement. When they find a cheaper way of penalizing the offenders, they’ll unleash the wrath of copyright Titans and trolls on torrenters. If this is you, beware!

Last year, Freedom House compiled a laundry list of laws that impose state surveillance and censorship, and grant state agencies unprecedented powers to snoop on your private life. For example, the Australian Data Retention Act requires ISPs and mobile carriers to retain your metadata for two years. Let that one sink in for a minute.

Law enforcement, spy agencies and a ridiculous amount of state entities like the Post Office, Taxi Services Commission, and the National Measurement Institute enjoy warrantless access to the metadata of an entire nation. All they need to do is fill out a short request form, and your telco discloses everything they have on you.

Top that off with booming cyber crime – Australia is one of the top 10 most targeted nations. So, with the widely-adopted public WiFi hotspots across the country, there’s a whole load of reasons to use a VPN.

That’s not to say you only need a VPN to spoof into the US or UK. You also need one to spoof into Australia, as the censorship of video games and websites hosted in Australia is one of the strictest in the western world. So if you are an Australian traveling abroad, you may find that your favorite Channel 9 - whose slogan is, ironically, Welcome Home! - is unavailable.

You absolutely need a VPN for Australia if anything from the following list is important to you:

  • Protecting yourself from hackers and secure your Internet connection

  • Enjoying anonymity

  • Securing your privacy from state surveillance

  • Avoiding Australian Site Blocking Bill and Data Retention Law

  • Accessing geo-restricted content

  • Avoiding the notorious “Netflix tax”

  • Accessing Australia-only content from abroad (Channel 9, Stan TV)

Ranking Criteria:

My top seven picks of VPNs for Australia are based on:

  • Wide server availability, including locations outside the 14 Eyes territories, and fast speeds

  • Rock-solid security and transparent zero-logs privacy policies

  • Reproducible and consistent performance when unblocking geo-restricted content and P2P file-sharing

  • User-friendly cross-platform clients

  • The best price per value proposition and a reputation of excellence


1. NordVPN

NordVPN is at the best in the market, with 830+ server locations and a decisive pro-privacy zero-logs stance. It's one of the few providers that can bypass Netflix' VPN blocks with reliable consistency, and their Australian servers come handy when you need to spoof into Australia.


NordVPN supports any desired protocol including OpenVPN, and it manages its own DNS servers to avoid leakage. They’re also based in Panama, which means no 14 Eyes surveillance and fairly lax anti-piracy laws. Top that off with a kill switch, double encryption, VPN into Tor, and you’re in for safe surfing.


NordVPN lets you enjoy P2P torrenting, gaming and HD video streaming, powered by blazing-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. Understandably, double encryption connections can be slower than the AES 256-bit.


The software suite is hands down one of the most intuitive and comes pre-configured, so you can easily pick ultra-fast servers for gaming and streaming, or ultra-secure when working with sensitive data. It also offers cross-platform support, and you can use it on up to six devices.


Monthly plans are $12. Their bi-annual subscription drops down to $42 and an anuual plan comes in at $70. By far, NordVPN’s long-term plan offers the best value for the money, especially since it’s backed by a generous 30-day refund policy.

Pros:

  • Panama-based, robust encryption, zero-logs policy
  • Connect 6 devices simultaneously
  • P2P with unlimited bandwidth
  • Wide selection of servers
  • Outstanding speeds
  • Great customer service
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • 30-day refund

Cons:

  • Does not block ads
  • Double encryption affects speed

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs out there, with a huge network of stealth servers in 94 countries, including Australia and the US. Their VPN client comes packed with AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN protocol, and SmartDNS, so you can unblock Netflix or any other streaming service on virtually any platform.


ExpressVPN is also watertight on anonymity and does not log any traffic data or DNS queries. They’re conveniently based in the British Virgin Islands, which is exempt from the 14 Eyes spying and anti-piracy laws. It supports unlimited P2P torrenting and gaming with consistently great speeds.


On the downside, you can only install ExpressVPN on three devices, which is a bit too tight if you ask me. That said, the apps are sleek and flexible, and come with a kill switch, auto-connect, and a DNS leak protection.


ExpressVPN offers a 30-day refund on all plans, and an annual subscription lands you a pretty good deal for $99.95 per year. Their bi-annual plan is reasonably priced at $60 while the monthly subscription comes at $13.

Pros:

  • Intuitive cross-platform apps
  • Zero-log policy, solid encryption, OpenVPN, BVI jurisdiction
  • Speeds ideal for P2P, gaming, streaming
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Kill switch
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Doesn’t block ads
  • 3 devices only
  • Logs non-identifiable metadata
  • Monthly plan is expensive

3. IPVanish

IPVanish is an all-around top-drawer VPN for Australia, with hundreds of servers in 60+ countries (including Australia). So expect lightning-fast connections for your HD streaming, gaming, and P2P file-sharing. They keep no logs and let you connect up to five devices.


IPVanish ships a feature-rich cross-platform software complete with 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited bandwidth, and SOCKS5 web proxy. Being one of the top contenders on the list that let you spoof into the US and UK, IPVanish has no issues unblocking the US libraries of Netflix, Steam and BBC iPlayer.


They also own their servers, which means no third parties manage your data. On the downside, they're based in the US, so data retention laws apply, but then again, they keep no logs in the first place.


IPVanish is also relatively affordable. Their monthly subscription is positioned at $10 per month, but the annual plan cuts that down to $6.49 per month, while all subscriptions have a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Great support, intuitive cross-platform software
  • Zero logs
  • P2P, unlimited bandwidth
  • Protection from DPI
  • Fast connection
  • SOCKS5, OpenVPN, 256-bit AES encryption
  • 5 simultaneous connections

Cons:

  • US-based

4. SlickVPN

SlickVPN offers one of the best price-per-value deals, with 150+ servers in 124 locations, Melbourne and Sydney included. They keep no logs and deploy a Hydra technology to route your traffic through multiple gateways.

The speeds might not be stellar, but they’re reasonably decent, and you can have it on up to five devices per subscription. The downside is they don’t have mobile apps, so that leaves you with Mac and Windows only, and you need to make sure you follow the installation instructions carefully to avoid setup hiccups.

On the bright side, they don’t cap your bandwidth and allow unlimited P2P torrenting. SlickVPN also works remarkably well when unblocking streaming sites, and it’s by far one of the most conveniently priced VPNs with a 30-day refund policy. Their monthly plan starts at $10/month, while the 3-month subscription will set you back $20. The $48 yearly subscription is, quite frankly, dirt-cheap.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • 30-day refund policy
  • 5 devices simultaneously
  • Zero logs
  • P2P, unlimited bandwidth
  • Decent speeds
  • Hydra technology

Cons:

  • No love for the mobile devices
  • Setup is a bit awkward

5. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access offers massive server coverage, including Australia, so you get a pretty good and reliable connection. PIA is a property of the US-based Trust Media, so unfortunately US data retention laws and subsequent surveillance apply.

On the other hand, however, they use robust encryption, OpenVPN, ad and malware blocking, and keep no traffic logs. They even pulled out of Russia because they could no longer guarantee their customers’ privacy under the new Russian data retention laws.

That said, their software is easy to get the hang of, and comes with a bunch of extras and customizable perks. Most of you will love how they have no restrictions on P2P and allow up to five simultaneous connections, so you can stream, torrent and play all you want.

All subscriptions ship with a 7-day refund policy and the $39.95 annual plan is a clear winner if you’re on a tight budget. The monthly subscription comes at a fair $6.95, and the bi-annual drops down to $36.95. You can pay anonymously using gift cards, which makes it even easier to stay below the radar.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • No-fluff, minimalist and user-friendly client
  • Decent speeds, lots of servers
  • Solid encryption
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Blocks ads and trackers
  • Unlimited bandwidth, P2P
  • Keeps no traffic logs
  • Accepts Bitcoin and gift cards

Cons:

  • US-based

6. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is a big player in the VPN market, and owns/manages all of its 700 servers. As a result, they boast quite impressive speeds and performance, effortlessly unblock streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix, and offer an intuitive, clean-cut, cross-platform client complete with 24/7 support.

VyprVPN is the property of Switzerland-based Golden Frog, so count on rock-solid privacy here: no data retention laws, zero logging policy, OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit encryption and a proprietary Chameleon encryption topped with a VyprDNS. Even though Vypr supports P2P file-sharing and does not limit your bandwidth, they have spoken out against illegal torrenting.

Recently they revamped their pricing structure, and now offer two plans that can be billed on an annual or monthly basis. They offer no refunds, but you can test the service for free with the three-day trial. The Basic plan covers three devices and comes at $60/year billed annually, and $120/year billed monthly. The Premium plan covers five devices and comes with a bag of goodies like a kill switch, Chameleon protocol, VyprVPN Cloud and DPI protection, and costs $80/year when billed annually or $155.4/year when billed monthly.

Pros:

  • Switzerland-based
  • Premium plan covers 5 connections and has great security features
  • Unlimited bandwidth, P2P
  • Cross-platform client
  • 3-day free trial

Cons:

  • Does not block ads
  • No money-back guarantee
  • The Basic plan covers only three devices
  • Does not accept Bitcoin

7. Buffered

Buffered VPN has servers in 37 countries, which might be less than what the other providers offer, but their servers are in really useful locations if you’re browsing from Australia. The company is headquartered in Hungary, where there are no data retention laws, unlike many other EU member states. They maintain a no-logs privacy policy, support HD streaming, and provide great speeds and performance.

Their software comes with a wealth of bells and whistles you are likely to need – a DNS leak protection, a kill switch, OpenVPN protocol and reliable encryption. You will love its Port Discovery Mode, which lets you connect to public WiFi hotspots without a password.

Even though you can use up to five devices simultaneously, you can also install Buffered on as many devices as you wish – all using a single subscription. This makes Buffered an ideal bundle for families. Notably, they will automatically refund you if you haven’t used their VPN during the first seven days, which speaks volumes of their business ethic.

Buffered’s three subscription plans come complete with a 30-day money-back guarantee and only differ in the discounts granted to long-term subscribers. Other than that, all plans come with the same level of service. The one-month plan comes at $12.50; a bi-annual plan will set you back $57, and their annual subscription runs $93 per year.

Pros:

  • Fast speed, great for streaming
  • Intuitive UI, robust security
  • Awesome Port Discovery Mode
  • Allows P2P file-sharing
  • 24/7 live support
  • No-logs policy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Affordable yearly plan

Cons:

  • Monthly plans are expensive
  • Keeps some connection logs for 30 days
  • Does not accept Bitcoin
  • No kill switch