The best VPN services available in Australia

The best VPN services with the most features, perks, and protection.
  • NordVPN
    Price
    US$11.95/mth
    Servers
    5,440
  • ExpressVPN
    Price
    US$12.95/mth
    Servers
    3,000+
  • Hotspot Shield
    Price
    US$12.99/mth
    Servers
    3,200
  • CyberGhost VPN
    Price
    AU$18.49/mth
    Servers
    7,000+
  • PureVPN
    Price
    US$10.95/mth
    Servers
    6,500+

You don’t fully need to understand how a virtual provide network (VPN) works to know that it’s a good idea to have one. And while free VPNs are a thing, they tend to be a bandwidth-restricted, ad-filled, watered-down taste of the power of a premium VPN. If you want to try before you buy, you’re better off going with a VPN trial.

There are dozens of viable VPN options available for purchase, and while we’ve reviewed more than a dozen on this site, this page is dedicated to our current pick of the top five. You can expect these picks to change as we add more VPN reviews and update our existing reviews. The good news is that VPN services are improved all the time. There are regular improvements to server counts, number of virtual locations, pricing tweaks, user-friendliness upgrades and a host of other additions that help justify buying an annual (or longer) subscription over paying a jacked-up month-to-month VPN cost.

What makes a VPN great?

There’s enough variety in VPN services to mean there are multiple viable choices depending on what’s most important to you. Ease-of-use is a great place to start, closely followed by some of the numbers: servers, virtual locations and total simultaneous connections allowed on a single account. The higher these numbers are, the more versatile the VPN service.

Military-grade encryption tends to be the norm, which is exactly what all of the VPNs featured on this page have, as well as 24/7 support if you have any issues. All of the VPNs on this page also include additional features like split tunnelling for greater control over what internet traffic is and isn’t connecting via VPN.

Cost is also a key consideration, and while VPN services like Hotspot Shield offer an actual free version, the trend in the VPN space is towards money-back guarantees. Around 30 days is standard, but you should also factor in that month-to-month costs are almost always pricier than a six-month, annual or multi-year commitment, though the trade-off is those are paid upfront.

Below is a table that compares the monthly price, number of servers and locations, as well as the most powerful feature of each of the top five VPNs on this page.

Best VPN services price comparison
BrandPriceVPN numbersNoteworthy featureDetails
NordVPNUS$11.95/mo.5,440
59 countries
6 connections
Gold standard user-friendlinessView plans
ExpressVPNUS$12.95/mo.3,000+
94 countries
5 connections
Helpful user video guidesView plans
Hotspot ShieldUS$12.99/mo.3,200+
62 countries
5 connections
Incredibly fast downloadsView plans
CyberGhostAU$18.49/mo.7,000+
91 countries
7 connections
Loads of serversView plans
PureVPNUS$10.95/mo.6,500+
140+ countries
10 connections
Stacks of countriesView plans

Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

NordVPN connected to an Australian server

NordVPN: Best VPN service for Australia

The best place to start if you’re new to VPNs.

NordVPN top features:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Connects really, really quickly
  • Free CyberSec ad blocker
  • Streaming services-friendly

If you’re new to VPNs, NordVPN should be at the top of the list of services you consider. Open the software or app, hit the ‘Quick Connect’ button, and that’s as hard as it gets for near-instant VPN protection. Alternatively, select a country from the list of 59 options (not the biggest number, but it covers the popular locales), which NordVPN will remember and conveniently store in a list of recent servers. There are 5,440 servers, so don’t expect much in the way of downtime. More advanced users can tap into a Smart DNS, specialty servers (Onion and P2P) and split tunnelling, too. Plus, the price is right, particularly if you pay upfront for one or two years.

Would you like to know more? Read our full NordVPN review here.

NordVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversStandout featureDetails
NordVPNUS$11.95/mth5,440Free malware protection softwareView plans

Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The many screens of ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN: Best VPN service for user-friendliness

The gold standard for easy-to-use VPNs.

ExpressVPN top features:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Handy website video guides
  • Included Smart DNS service
  • Deep focus on user privacy

ExpressVPN is another VPN that’s incredibly user-friendly, particularly for first-time VPNers. Open the software or app, then tap the big power button to get connected. Tap the three dots next to ‘Current Location’ to browse recommended or a full server list. You can even customise it with site or software shortcuts once connected. It’s pricier than its peers with the least number of servers, but the servers are in 94 countries, which offers plenty of geo-unblocking freedom. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN has 24/7 tech support, an included Smart DNS service for faster (albeit less protected) streaming, and a robust zero-logging policy for privacy peace of mind.

Keen to dig deeper into this VPN? Read our full ExpressVPN review here.

ExpressVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
ExpressVPNUS$12.95/mth3,000+In-depth website guidesView plans

Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield: Best VPN service for speed

An impressively speedy VPN for Australian and US servers.

Hotspot Shield top features:

  • Super-fast download speeds
  • Basic version costs nothing
  • Included software suite
  • Family plan savings

If you want the speediest VPN around, you want Hotspot Shield. It’s not as affordable as its other top-five peers, and if you do split costs on a Family plan, you miss out on some great features. Still, it’s unmatched in download speed for Australian and US servers. The server count (3,200) and number of countries with virtual locations (80+) aren’t particularly wide-reaching, but that hasn’t stopped Hotspot Shield from being my go-to for the last few years without any major hiccups. There’s a Basic version if you want to try for free, but the Premium subscription comes with additional security add-ons, including 1Password password manager and spam-call-blocking Robo Shield.

To see the speedy test results, check out our full Hotspot Shield review here.

Hotspot Shield plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
Hotspot ShieldUS$12.99/mth3,200Incredibly fast downloadsView plans

Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

CyberGhost VPN: Best VPN service for versatility

A versatile VPN service with a huge server count.

CyberGhost VPN top features:

  • 7,000+ servers
  • Impressive upload/download speeds
  • Included Smart DNS service
  • Streaming, gaming, torrenting servers

CyberGhost is a VPN for those who care about the numbers. A CyberGhost subscription covers seven simultaneous connections on the expected supported devices, with 7,000+ servers in 91 countries. If that sounds like your kind of VPN, pony up for an annual or three-year subscription to avoid the steep month-to-month cost. You can always take advantage of the generous 45-day money-back guarantee if it’s not for you. While the download speeds aren’t top-tier, they’re still respectable; CyberGhost also has bragging rights to the best upload speeds of the top five. If you want a VPN for streaming US content, though, go with one of the options above.

To see the full breakdown of how it fared in Australian tests, check out our full CyberGhost VPN review here.

CyberGhost plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
CyberGhostUS$12.99/mth6,500+Loads of serversView plans

Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

PureVPN connected to an Australian server

PureVPN: Best VPN service for families

A single subscription to cover a lot of devices.

PureVPN top features:

  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 140+ countries for connectivity options
  • VPN-level antivirus and antimalware
  • Dedicated P2P and streaming servers

PureVPN is at the bottom of the list of our current top five VPNs because it has aggressive anti-peer-to-peer (P2P) systems that get in the way of basic web functionality at times. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if this wasn’t the case on popular servers like Australia and the US, both of which are important VPN considerations Down Under. Still, PureVPN ticks some impressive boxes, most notably with an allowance for 10 simultaneous connections per account and it’s the only VPN in this list to offer more than 100 countries. For those who value privacy above all else, PureVPN also has an admirable zero-logging policy as well as VPN-level antivirus and anti-malware protection.

If you want to see the full breakdown of where this VPN succeeds and where it falls short, check out our full PureVPN review here.

PureVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
PureVPNUS$10.95/mth6,500+10 simultaneous connectionsView plans

Data effective 29/04/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.