The best VPN services available in Australia

The best VPN services with the most features, perks, and protection.
  • Best overall

    NordVPN

    4.75 out of 5 overall
    Incredibly user-friendly
    Speedy connection
  • Best for VPN newbies

    ExpressVPN

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Great installation guides
    Server/country count
  • Best for speed

    Hotspot

    4 out of 5 overall
    Incredibly speedy VPN
    Free version for basics
  • Best for families

    Surfshark

    4.25 out of 5 overall
    Unlimited connections
    Great perks
  • Best for versatility

    CyberGhost

    4 out of 5 overall
    Great value pricing
    Lots of servers

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, potentially tracking 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 pick of the best ones.  Thankfully, 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.

Note that VPN prices (particularly around promotional times), country counts and number of global servers tend to change, but this information is accurate as of 11 August 2021.

Our top pick: What is the best VPN you can buy?

NordVPN is the best VPN you can buy in Australia. It’s got a great range of all of the box-checking features you want from a VPN. Monthly pricing isn’t the best, but that gets better if you opt for an annual fee. The server count is decent and the expected countries (and then some) are covered. There’s an okay number of simultaneous connections (six) with a good range of supported devices. NordVPN also has an admirable zero-logging policy, top-tier encryption and some great perks.

If things go wrong or you have questions, there’s 24/7 tech support. Additionally, if you’re hesitant to potentially waste money, NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee for its plans. All of this combines to make what’s arguably the most renowned VPN service, and it more than earns its popularity.

NordVPN connecting
Best VPN services in Australia comparison
VPN servicePriceServers and countriesSimultaneous connectionsStandout feature
NordVPN logo with transparent background
NordVPN
From US$3.30/mth5,224
60
6Gold-standard user-friendliness
Express VPN Logo
ExpressVPN
From US$8.32/mth3,000+
94
5Helpful user video guides
Logo for hotspot shield
Hotspot Shield
From AU$11.99/mth1,800+
80+
5Incredible fast downloads
S in a turquoise rectangle with surfshark written next to it
Surfshark VPN
From AU$3.39/mth3,200+
65
UnlimitedUnlimited device connections
CyberGhost Logo
CyberGhost VPN
From AU$3.11/mth6,000+
88
7Balance of countries/servers
Windscribe logo
Windscribe VPN
From US$4.08/mth187
65
UnlimitedStreaming powerhouse
VPN Unlimited Logo
VPN Unlimited
From US$4.99/mth500+
57
5Lifetime subscription
Private Internet Access VPN Logo (Review)
Private Internet Access
From AU$3.03/mth28,429
78
10Stacks of servers

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

Buying guide: What to look for in a VPN service

There are a lot of similarities between VPN services, which is why it tends to come down to personal preference and specific use-cases. Pretty much every VPN service we’ve reviewed has an admirable zero-logging policy, which helps reinforce the underlying privacy that VPNs are supposed to provide. Compared to other subscription services, VPNs don’t tend to cost a lot—and the more time you sign up for, the cheaper the price tends to be (except for Mullvad)—but most VPNs tend to be priced for US dollars, which may mean factoring in currency conversions and associated fees.

Have a look at our list for what you should take into account whether you’re in the market for a new or replacement VPN service.

Light Bulb icon

Basic VPN features to compare

  • Price: Keep an eye out for US vs UK vs AU currencies
  • Duration: Paying for longer equates to cheaper monthly costs
  • Trial: Free services are rare; 30-day money-back guarantees are standard
  • Servers: More servers means more connectivity options
  • Countries: Fewer countries means less versatility
  • Locations: How many places in a country are factored in
  • Devices: PC, iOS and Android are standard, but more devices means more flexibility
  • Simultaneous connections: Five is standard, more is better
  • Logging: Explicit zero-logging policies best protect your privacy
  • Browser extensions: VPN protection applies on a per-browser basis, rather than the entire PC connection
  • Encryption: Military-grade AES 256-bit is standard; 4096-bit RSA keys add additional security
  • Support: 24/7 support is best for when things go wrong at odd hours

There are additional features to consider if you’re wanting a VPN for more than just the basics.

Light Bulb icon

Advanced VPN features to compare

  • Anti-malware: Some VPNs have inbuilt anti-malware protection
  • Antivirus: Inbuilt antivirus is rare, but a great inclusion (PureVPN)
  • Split tunnelling: Feature that lets you determine specific apps/services covered by the VPN
  • Smart DNS: A great feature that offers faster streaming albeit not VPN protected
  • Static IP: Usually costs more but offers a dedicated (rather than changing) IP address
  • Manual server switching: Automatic server switching is user-friendly, but manual offers greater control

All of these features are factored in when we review and score VPN services.

Best VPN overall

NordVPN

NordVPN logo with transparent background
Servers: 5,224
Countries: 60
Connections: 6
AU speeds: Fast
NordVPN connected to an Australian server

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 60 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 5,200+ 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. As the big-name VPN, streaming services sporadically target NordVPN and make it trickier to access international streaming sites, but when it works, NordVPN covers a decent range of options.

Read our in-depth NordVPN review here.

Pros

  • Incredibly user-friendly
  • Zero traffic logs
  • Invisible background protector
  • Next-level encryption

Cons

  • Odd interface quirks
  • Multiple clicks to disconnect
  • Targeted by streaming services
  • Comparatively lower country count
NordVPN at-a-glance features
VPN featureNordVPN
PriceUS$11.95/mth
US$59/year
US$89/2years
Servers5,224
Countries60
Simultaneous connections6
LoggingZero
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareYes
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingYes
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 4096-bit
Tech support24/7
Trial30-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds4% d/l change
3% u/l change
1ms ping change
US speeds14% d/l change
87% u/l change
156ms ping change

Best for VPN newbies

ExpressVPN

Express VPN Logo
Servers: 3,000+
Countries: 94
Connections: 5
AU speeds: Fast
The many screens of ExpressVPN

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. The bit we love most for newer VPN users is the wealth of video guides on the ExpressVPN website. Everything from how to download and configure through to setting up ExpressVPN on specific devices is covered (as well as more advanced tutorials, too).

Read our in-depth ExpressVPN review here.

Pros

  • Lots of countries
  • Solid server count
  • Handy video guides
  • Zero traffic logs

Cons

  • Only five simultaneous connections
  • No beyond-annual payment option
  • Comparatively pricey
  • Browser extension limitations
ExpressVPN at-a-glance features
VPN featureExpressVPN
PriceUS$12.95/mth
US$99.95/year
US$59.95/6mths
Servers3,000+
Countries9460
Simultaneous connections5
LoggingZero
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareNo
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingYes
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 4096-bit
Tech support24/7
Trial30-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds6% d/l change
4% u/l change
1ms ping change
US speeds16% d/l change
29% u/l change
148ms ping change

Best VPN for speed

Hotspot Shield

Logo for hotspot shield
Servers: 1,800+
Countries: 80+
Connections: 5
AU speeds: Fast
Hotspot Shield

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 (1,800+) 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 it for free, but the Premium subscription comes with additional security add-ons, including 1Password password manager and spam-call-blocking Robo Shield. Really, though, Hotspot Shield is the VPN service for the person who doesn’t want compromises on download speed, which makes it great for everyday use (including video calls), peer-to-peer software and it’s a speedy companion for most popular streaming services.

Read our in-depth Hotspot Shield review here.

Pros

  • Very speedy VPN
  • Free version for the basics
  • Included software suite
  • Family plan savings

Cons

  • Low server count
  • Some session logging
  • Limited simultaneous connections
  • Slow-ish support
Hotspot Shield at-a-glance features
VPN featureHotspot Shield
PriceAU$19.99/mth
AU$143.88/year
Servers1,800+
Countries80+
Simultaneous connections5
LoggingPartial
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSNo
Anti-malwareYes
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingYes
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 2048-bit
Tech support24/7
TrialFree version
45-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds0.4% d/l change
6% u/l change
11ms ping change
US speeds3% d/l change
27% u/l change
148ms ping change

Best VPN for families

Surfshark

S in a turquoise rectangle with surfshark written next to it
Servers: 3,200+
Countries: 65
Connections: Unlimited
AU speeds: Moderate
Surfshark VPN server list

When looking for a VPN that’s a great fit for all of the devices in your home, you want one that allows for plenty of simultaneous connections. The entry-level standard is five simultaneous connections, while contenders like PureVPN and Private Internet Access VPN double that to 10. Surfshark, on the other hand, does what IPVanish VPN and Windscribe VPN do: it allows for unlimited simultaneous connections. Those two VPN services aren’t as impressive as Surfshark, though. Surfshark impresses us with decent Australian speeds (most notably no change in latency) and impressive download speeds to US servers. Still, the upload speed leaves a lot to be desired for US connections, and streaming is a mixed bag unless you just want Netflix US, Hulu and Stan. Ultimately, Surfshark is incredibly easy to use and does a great job at being an invisible background protector, with a solid range of supported devices.

Read our in-depth Surfshark VPN review here.

Pros

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Good range of supported devices
  • Easy to use
  • Decent speeds and great latency

Cons

  • No manual server switching
  • Slow international upload
  • Payment amount discrepancies
  • Password-changing woes
Surfshark at-a-glance features
VPN featureSurfshark
PriceAU$17.64/mth
AU$81.39/year
AU$53.04/6mths
Servers3,200+
Countries65
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
LoggingZero
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareNo
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingYes
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 2048-bit
Tech supportYes
Trial30-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds13% d/l change
13% u/l change
0ms ping change
US speeds11% d/l change
73% u/l change
151ms ping change

Best VPN for overall versatility

CyberGhost

CyberGhost Logo
Servers: 6,000+
Countries: 88
Connections: 7
AU speeds: Fast

CyberGhost is a VPN for those who care about the numbers. A CyberGhost subscription covers seven simultaneous connections on the expected supported devices, with 6,000+ servers in 88 countries. If that sounds like your kind of VPN, pony up for an annual or three-year subscription to avoid the comparatively 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 as brag-worthy as Hotspot Shield, they’re still great for Australia and the US; CyberGhost also has bragging rights to the some of the best upload speeds if that’s important to your ’net needs. If you want a VPN for streaming US content, though, there are better options (like Windscribe below). For most other VPN tasks outside of streaming, CyberGhost has you covered. Ultimately, CyberGhost has solid numbers for servers, countries and simultaneous connections with 24/7 tech support if you have any questions or things go wrong.

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

Pros

  • Fast AU and US speeds
  • Lots of servers
  • Heaps of countries
  • Servers for streaming, gaming, torrenting

Cons

  • Expensive monthly subscription
  • Confusing privacy policy
  • Sometimes clunky apps
  • Servers sometimes overloaded
CyberGhost at-a-glance features
VPN featureCyberGhost
PriceAU$18.49/mth
AU$66.60/year
AU$116.40/2years
AU$121.29/3years
Servers6,000+
Countries88
Simultaneous connections7
LoggingPartial
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareNo
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingYes
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 2048-bit
Tech support24/7
Trial45-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds7% d/l change
4% u/l change
1ms ping change
US speeds14% d/l change
15% u/l change
149ms ping change

Best VPN for streaming

Windscribe

Windscribe logo
Servers: 187
Countries: 65
Connections: Unlimited
AU speeds: Fast
Windscribe

Every other VPN service on this page has disclaimers when it comes to streaming. For some, they can handle certain streaming services but not others. For other services, they may be able to stream on most or all tested services, but they suffer from incredibly slow buffering speeds. That’s not at all the case with Windscribe. While you may balk at the paltry server count and there are inconsistent international speeds at times, Windscribe is a streaming powerhouse. It handles gimme services like Netflix US as effortlessly as it tackles Peacock TV, which has a knack for sniffing out and geoblocking VPNs. Most impressively, Windscribe handled both Stan and even Kayo—the latter of which is very good at detecting VPNs—in our tests. All of the respective libraries load quickly and the services buffer and stream as if you’re not using a VPN, which is no mean feat for a VPN server with hundreds of servers rather than the typical thousands.

Read our in-depth Windscribe VPN review here.

Pros

  • Limitless simultaneous connections
  • Speedy streaming powerhouse
  • Fast Australian servers
  • Free option to try before buying

Cons

  • Unreliable PC connectivity
  • Seriously limited servers
  • Disconnection/reconnection delays
  • Inconsistent international speeds
Windscribe at-a-glance features
VPN featureWindscribe
PriceUS$9/mth
US$49/year
Build custom plan
Servers187
Countries65
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
LoggingPartial
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareNo
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingLimited
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 4096-bit
Tech supportYes
TrialFree version
3-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds4% d/l change
10% u/l change
0ms ping change
US speeds24% d/l change
30% u/l change
148ms ping change

Best value VPN

VPN Unlimited

VPN Unlimited Logo
Servers: 500+
Countries: 57
Connections: 5
AU speeds: Fast

If you’re looking at VPN Unlimited as a monthly or annual option, there are better alternatives. But the real value kicks in via VPN Unlimited’s unique lifetime subscription, which is regularly offered at half price during promotional periods. While simultaneous connections are limited to five, this is a great option to pay for a VPN service once and not have to worry about paying again. For comparison, other VPN services like Hotspot Shield have only offered lifetime subscriptions for a limited time, but the lifetime sub is a standard payment option for VPN Unlimited. While VPN Unlimited falls short on server count and supported countries, it has a great user-friendly setup process and is easy to use afterwards. The Australian server (yup, there’s only one) is a speedy performer, too. It also helps that it’s a decent at sidestepping geoblocked international streaming services, even if it falls short on letting you stream Kayo and Stan.

Read our in-depth VPN Unlimited review here.

Pros

  • Lifetime subscription for five devices
  • Great user-friendly onboarding
  • Great for international streaming
  • Fast Australian server

Cons

  • Only one Australian server
  • Not a lot of other servers worldwide
  • Limited country selection
  • Incompatible with Stan and Kayo
VPN Unlimited at-a-glance features
VPN featureVPN Unlimited
PriceUS$9.99/mth
US$59.99/year
US$199.99/lifetime
Servers500+
Countries57
Simultaneous connections5
LoggingPartial
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareNo
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingLimited
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 4096-bit
Tech support24/7
Trial7-day trial
30-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds7% d/l change
4% u/l change
2ms ping change
US speeds15% d/l change
31% u/l change
186ms ping change

Best VPN for server count

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access VPN Logo (Review)
Servers: 28,429
Countries: 78
Connections: 10
AU speeds: Fast

If you want lots of servers, then Private Internet Access is the VPN for you. While the trend is for VPN services tend to compete with thousands of servers, Private Internet Access blows the competition out of the water by offering closer to 30,000 servers worldwide. While it’s a shame you can’t manually switch between them, which can lead to frustration when an automatically selected server location isn’t up to snuff, tens of thousands of servers means you’ve got a good chance of connecting to any country or specific supported location. It also helps that this VPN service allows for 10 simultaneous connections to get most or all of the devices in your home protected, even if those device options are limited to the basics: computers, Android devices, iOS gizmos and web browsers. Still, high-end encryption keeps your connection private alongside a zero-logging policy, plus there’s 24/7 support if things go wrong.

Read our in-depth Private Internet Access VPN review here.

Pros

  • Stacks of servers
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Great value annual pricing
  • Sold in Australian dollars

Cons

  • Inconsistent local speeds
  • No manual server switching
  • Not great for streaming services
  • Basic device support only
Private Internet Access at-a-glance features
VPN featurePrivate Internet Access
PriceAU$13.99/mth
AU$56/year
AU$109/3years
Servers28,429
Countries78
Simultaneous connections10
LoggingZero
Browser extensionsYes
AppsAndroid
iOS
Smart DNSYes
Anti-malwareYes
AntivirusNo
Split tunnellingYes
EncryptionAES 256-bit
RSA keys 4096-bit
Tech support24/7
Trial30-day money-back guarantee
AU speeds6% d/l change
6% u/l change
10ms ping change
US speeds14% d/l change
15% u/l change
150ms ping change

More VPN services to consider

There are a handful of other VPN services that we’ve reviewed that didn’t make the cut, some of which are worth considering more than others. Mullvad VPN, for instance, is a simplified VPN service with a great emphasis on truly anonymous internet usage and it boasts some speedy Australian servers. Still, it doesn’t have a whole lot of servers or supported countries (766 and 37) and it’s not the best for streaming.

PureVPN is another decent contender that’s okay out of the gates care of 10 simultaneous connections as well as an impressive number of servers (6,500+) in plenty of countries (140+). Included antivirus and anti-malware are also attractive features. That said, using PureVPN in Australia feels unnecessarily restricted because of aggressive peer-to-peer blocking that interferes with everyday online software.

TunnelBear is the last of the decent runners-up, helped along by its cutesy personality and a viable free version if you want to try before you buy. Still, the lack of a money-back guarantee, zero transparency around total servers and minimal country options hold it back. It also doesn’t help that ‘GhostBear’, one of its unique perks, interferes with everyday internet usage.

The two VPN services we had the worst experiences with were Norton Secure VPN and IPVanish. If you nab Norton Secure VPN as part of Norton 360, it’s a decent bolt-on service, but purchased separately it’s an expensive and underperforming VPN. IPVanish, on the other hand, provides speed, protection and unlimited simultaneous connections, but it has bare-bolts interface and is slow for international services as well as bad for streaming.

Final VPN thoughts

Even if you don’t use it all the time, having a reliable VPN service in your back pocket is the right approach for this day and internet age. Whether you’re after online anonymity, bolstered internet protection, removal of geoblocks on streaming services, or want to see if you can dodge the dreaded Australia Tax and pay less for online goods and services, a VPN has you covered.

They don’t tend to cost an arm and a leg, and while we’d advise avoiding free versions, the trend towards a month-ish money-back guarantee means you can put an option (or few) through its paces before you commit to an ongoing subscription. NordVPN and ExpressVPN are our two picks for the all-rounders, but there are other VPN services well worth weighing up if you’re after a specific function.

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.