The best VPN services available in Australia

The best VPN services with the most features, perks, and protection.
  • NordVPN
    Price
    US$11.95/mo.
    Servers
    5,760
  • Hotspot Shield
    Price
    US$7.99/mo.
    Servers
    3,200+
  • ExpressVPN
    Price
    US$12.95/mo.
    Servers
    3,000+
  • CyberGhost
    Price
    US$12.99/mo.
    Servers
    6,200
  • PureVPN
    Price
    US$10.95/mo.
    Servers
    2,000+

A virtual private network (VPN) provides a basic service for all online activity: namely that you can protect your internet connection, IP address, as well as personal information from hackers and criminals trying to steal your data.

At the most basic level, as long as the VPN is turned on and functioning normally, you can trust that your privacy and anonymity are safe. A VPN adds encryption to your connection and makes it almost impossible to hack your IP address. Employers and government agencies won’t be able to find out what you’re doing online. If you’re worried about someone stealing your credit card number, date of birth, or other personally identifiable information, a VPN protects you.

Interestingly, while every VPN provides this basic security function (e.g. encrypting your connection), they’re not all created equal. And even though they tend to be charged in US dollars, the best VPNs are absolutely available to use in Australia.

Budget-minded VPN services tend to only offer the basic encryption: it’s either on or off. They might cost less but they don’t provide any other perks or advanced features, and they typically don’t offer too many servers for connecting when you travel or have other needs. They’re also a bit slow, mostly because a budget-minded VPN might not be capable of handling the added encryption.

Money icon

What about free VPNs?

It’s hard to find a good free VPN service. The whole point of using VPN software is to protect your identity, and free VPN service providers tend to be a little sketchy. If you’re unsure, we recommend trying out a VPN free trial of one of the more reputable VPN providers.

The best VPN services go the extra mile. Each of these VPN services is top-rated, offers extra features, uses a clean and professional interface, and just has that “something extra” that makes them worth the extra price on a monthly basis. Check out our top picks for the best VPN services of 2021.

Best VPN services price comparison
BrandPriceNumber of VPN serversMost powerful featureDetails
NordVPNUS$11.95/mo.5,515
(59 countries)
Free malware protection softwareView plans
Hotspot ShieldUS$7.99/mo.1,800+
(62 countries)
Free password managerView plans
ExpressVPNUS$12.95/mo.3,000+
(94 countries)
Best interface that’s clear and easy to useView plans
CyberGhostAU$5.55/mo.6,500+
(89 countries)
Access on up to seven devicesView plans
PureVPNUS$10.95/mo.6,500+
(140+ countries)
Includes innovative "mode" settingsView plans

Data effective 11/2/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

NordVPN: Best VPN service

NordVPN is an all-around top VPN with a high number of servers.

NordVPN just has an ‘ultimate’ vibe. The interface is clean and professional, there are a high number of servers (5,515 total), and it even includes a free malware service. There’s an extensive amount of information on the NordVPN website for curious VPNers. Some of the specs don’t quite match up perfectly: for example, CyberGhost has more servers available worldwide but it’s cheaper than NordVPN. Still, the NordVPN interface and extra features are more compelling. You’ll get the second-most servers for the best price and free malware protection. It’s also a fast and user-friendly VPN, which connects and disconnects faster than the others we tested.

NordVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
NordVPNUS$11.95/mo.5,515Free malware protection softwareView plans

Data effective 11/2/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

NordVPN top features?

  • Free malware client
  • High number of servers
  • Clean and professional interface
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length NordVPN review.

Hotspot Shield: Best VPN for speed

A top pick that’s incredibly speedy.

Hotspot Shield has one of the best and most user-friendly interfaces we’ve found, and the VPN service includes a free password manager as well. While Hotspot Shield has the lowest server count of the VPNs featured on this page, it has a reputation for being one of the fastest. Hotspot Shield is a great first VPN and has support across range of devices (including mobile and compatible routers).

Hotspot Shield plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
Hotspot ShieldUS$7.99/mo.1,800+Free password managerView plans

Data effective 11/2/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Hotspot Shield top features

  • Incredibly speedy performance
  • Free password manager included
  • Very clean and professional interface
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length Hotspot Shield VPN review.

ExpressVPN: Best VPN interface

A well-designed interface with a loyal fanbase that’s slightly spendy.

Our only ding against ExpressVPN is that it’s slightly expensive at US$12.95 per month. Price aside, it’s one of the best options around with a moderately high number of servers, a clean interface, and it’s incredibly easy to use. We like that the website has meaningful guides and information. In our tests, ExpressVPN is a great companion for everyday use and stepping around geoblocking.

ExpressVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
ExpressVPNUS$12.95/mo.3,000+In-depth website guidesView plans

Data effective 11/2/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

ExpressVPN top features?

  • Great user-friendly VPN interface
  • Plenty of meaningful website guides
  • Moderately high number of servers
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length ExpressVPN review.

CyberGhost: Best VPN for gaming

The fastest VPN service with more VPN servers than anyone.

With 6,700 servers available for connecting all over the world, CyberGhost is a true powerhouse VPN and deserves high accolades. This VPN lets you have up to seven simultaneous connections, unlike the more typical five-device limit. CyberGhost scored high on our list and it’s a faithful gaming companion for those looking for an optimised online experience (including on consoles).

CyberGhost plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
CyberGhostUS$12.99/mo.6,700Access on up to seven devicesView plans

Data effective 11/2/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

CyberGhost top features

  • Highest server count
  • Great for gaming (including consoles)
  • Access on up to seven devices
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length CyberGhost review.

PureVPN: Most customisable VPN

Highly-rated VPN client with a few unusual perks.

PureVPN doesn’t quite rank as high on our list but still rates higher than the vast majority of VPN clients (those that didn’t make the cut on this page). That’s due to the intuitive and professional interface, which provides different modes that match your needs. With 6,500+ servers worldwide, you have stacks of options around the globe with the second highest server count on this page (second only to CyberGhost).

PureVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
PureVPNUS$10.95/mo.6,700Includes innovative 'mode' settingsView plans

Data effective 11/2/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

PureVPN top features

  • Reasonably priced VPN
  • High server count
  • Modes for connecting the way you want
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length PureVPN review.

What makes our VPN top picks the best?

When we evaluate what makes the best VPN service, we look at the interface, number of VPN servers available, extra features, and pricing considerations.

Interface

It all starts with the interface. Two of our top picks, ExpressVPN and NordVPN, have a professional look and feel. You can easily find the features you need and trust that there was some care and attention involved in making the clients. It gives you the confidence that the client is not the side project of a developer working in his or her basement but there’s an actual company supporting it, improving it, and backing it.

Number of VPN servers

A high number of servers means you can always find a connection, even if you travel overseas and even if you need to access a service remotely. One example of this is if you decide to watch a Netflix movie while you’re in Europe. You can still connect to a server in Sydney and watch your shows and movies. You can also try out different servers close to you and then test the speed and see which server works best—even for a specific download or streaming media you’re viewing.

Extra features

Another reason a VPN is rated as “the best” has to do with extra features. One good example of this is with Hotspot Shield which includes a password manager. That extra layer of security—being able to use long and complex passwords and letting the password manager do the hard work of remembering them—means you are less likely to get hacked when you type in a credit card or other personal information. (Remember that a VPN encrypts your connection and protects you, but if you type in data at any website or using an app, you are still exposing that data to the website.)

You may want to consider things like simultaneous connections, mobile app integration, or whether a VPN service has a browser extension.

Pricing considerations

Anything rated as “ultimate” can seem like it is also expensive or even includes features you might not use. That’s not the case with a VPN. What you will quickly discover is that a VPN tends to cost around $10 per month, although you can sign up for a one year contract or a three-year contract and pay far less. We’ve tested VPN clients that cost only about $3 per month when you sign up for a three-year plan.

Final thoughts

A lot of this is about peace of mind. VPNs work in the background and protects everything you do, including gaming, streaming movies, watching Netflix, visiting websites. You can use one with your smartphone, laptop, or even a smart TV. Our top picks are flexible enough to work for you on just about any device and for any need.

We can’t list out every reason they are ultimate picks, but the cumulative reason is that these VPN service providers rise above the rest of the pack. Each one includes extra website info and instructions, good technical support, and worked reliably in all of our tests.

You can pick a VPN software for various reasons: you might be drawn to the fact that a VPN claims to never record any of your logs on their server, for example. Yet, for the best overall picks, the five VPN clients on our list will meet most if not all of your online security needs.

Recap: What’s the best VPN service?

Our pick for the best VPN provider is NordVPN.

All in all, the best VPNs include all of the most important features—a high number of servers, the best interface, a company that backs the product, and extra features like a free password manager or a malware client to protect you online. NordVPN checks all of these boxes and remains affordably priced among its competitors. But you really can’t go wrong with any of these VPN top picks.

Best VPN FAQ

Here are the answers for some of the more common VPN questions in Australia.

What does VPN stand for?

VPN is short for ‘virtual private network’.

What is a VPN?

A VPN creates a secure connection between your device and the internet. Once connected, all of your online data on that device is routed via an encrypted virtual tunnel for as long as you stay connected. Connecting to a VPN changes your wide area network (WAN) IP address, which can either be a local server in Australia or servers from around the world.

Why use a VPN?

Using a VPN creates a secure connection between your device and the internet, which means you’re effectively using the internet connection of an external server. The benefit of this is you’re creating a barrier at a connectivity level between your VPN-connected device and potential threats. This is why it’s advisable to use a VPN whenever connecting to a public WiFi hotspot.

The other benefit is it makes your device appear as though it’s connecting from another country. This can be used to access Netflix libraries in other countries or access streaming services that are geoblocked.

Is it illegal to use a VPN in Australia?

No, it’s not illegal to use a VPN in Australia, and only a handful of countries have regulated or banned the use of VPNs. While there are many legitimate uses for a VPN, they can also be used to circumvent regional copyright regulations, including geoblocking. For example, certain VPNs like
NordVPN can be used to access Netflix libraries from other countries from the comfort of your couch in Australia.

How much does a VPN cost?

VPNs have different prices, as you can see in the VPN price-comparison table at the top of this article. Despite being available in Australia, they tend to be charged in US dollars, so factor that in when paying. Also, the longer the payment term, the cheaper the monthly cost, with discounts sometimes on offer for those willing to pay annual or multi-year amounts. More expensive isn’t always better, though, but you should treat AU$17 as the upper limit for how much you should pay per month.

How to set up a VPN?

VPN installation is usually as easy as downloading the software onto a computer and following the installation steps. You’ll need to enter your login details to access the full features of a VPN beyond a trial. Outside of picking the country and/or region you’d like to connect to, configuration is as simple as hitting connect and remembering to hit disconnect when you’re done. Certain VPNs also support iOS and Android, which means you can install the corresponding VPN app on a compatible smartphone or tablet.

How do I use a VPN on an iPhone or Android phone?

If the VPN provider offers an iOS or Android app, you’ll be able to find it on the App Store or Google Play Store, respectively. Install the app, then enter your login credentials. From here, pick a country, region or specific server you’d like to use, then connect. The VPN app will run in the background until it’s disconnected.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is software that’s designed to store all of your passwords behind a single ‘master password’ in an encrypted environment. That way, you only have to remember one password to access the app, while the password manager takes care of the rest. Password managers are sometimes included with VPN software and are best used to generate new randomised secure passwords.

Additional contributors

Chyelle Dvorak and Nathan Lawrence.