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The best VPN services available in Australia
The best VPN services with the most features, perks, and protection.
You don’t fully need to understand how a virtual private 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, and while I’ve reviewed 17, this page is dedicated to my pick of the best of the ones I’ve reviewed. Thankfully, VPN services are enhanced all the time. There are regular improvements to server counts, number of virtual locations, promotional pricing periods, 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 and location counts, as well as number of global servers tend to change, but this information is accurate as the last page update.
- : Best VPN overall
- : Best cheap VPN
- : Best VPN for newbies
- : Best VPN for speed
- : Best VPN for families
- : Best free VPN
- : Best VPN for streaming
- : Best value VPN
- : Best VPN for gaming
Best VPN services in Australia comparison
Number of VPN servers
|View Plans||AU$2.89/mth $75.14 2-year plan||28,429|
|View Plans||US$3.49/mth US$83.76 2-year plan for new visitors||5,224
|View Plans||US$4.99/mth US$59.88 1-year plan||60+
|View Plans||AU$3.87/mth AU$92.98 2-year plan||3,200+|
|View Plans||US$3.99/mth US47.89 1-year plan||1,600+|
|View Plans||US$6.67/mth US$99.95 1-year plan||3,000+|
|View Plans||AU$11.99/mth AU$143.88 1-year plan||1,800+|
|View Plans||AU$3.19/mth AU$124.41 3-year plan||6,000+|
|View Plans||US$4.99/mth US$59.99 1-year plan||500+|
|View Plans||US$2.29/mth US$54.95 2-year plan||6500+
|View Plans||AU$4.99/mth AU$59.99 1-year plan||3000|
|View Plans||US$3.33/mth US$120 3-year plan||500+|
|View Plans||US$4.08/mth US$49 1-year plan||187|
Data effective of last page update. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Best VPN overall
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 5,725 servers, and you can manually choose which one you want, 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. I also like the new Threat Protection anti-malware feature. While not overly competitive, there’s plenty of value with the price, especially if you pay for 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 great selection of local and international options.
Alternatively, consider Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN as top-tier contenders.
Best cheap VPN
Atlas VPN is set to impress on the price front. For starters, there’s a viable free version so you can try before you buy. Atlas VPN also offers competitive monthly, annual and two-year subscriptions, which are among some of the lowest of the 17 VPNs I’ve reviewed. While there are plenty of VPN competitors with better speeds, Atlas VPN is good for international streaming and offers unlimited simultaneous connections. Don’t expect a lot in the way of advanced features with Atlas VPN. That said, if you’re after a reliable service that’s competitively priced and easy to use, it’s a great place to start comparisons.
Alternatively, check out Mullvad for cheap monthly pricing, PureVPN for affordable annual pricing and Private Internet Access for competitive multi-year pricing.
Best VPN for newbies
ExpressVPN is another VPN that’s incredibly user-friendly, particularly for first-time VPN-ers. 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 servers or a full server list. You can also customise ExpressVPN with site or software shortcuts once connected. ExpressVPN is pricier than its peers but still has a solid server count with 151 locations, which offers plenty of geo-unblocking freedom.
Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN has 24/7 tech support, an included Smart DNS service for faster streaming and a robust zero-logging policy for privacy peace of mind. The best inclusion for newer VPN users, though, 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, alongside more advanced tutorials.
Alternatively, NordVPN, Private Internet Access and Hotspot Shield are all very easy to use.
Private Internet Access
Best VPN for speed
Full disclosure: the fastest overall VPN I’ve tested is just above—ExpressVPN. While ExpressVPN doesn’t have the best overall latency, it’s up there for download and upload speeds. Private Internet Access is a not-so-distant second, with faster overall latency than ExpressVPN as well as speedy download and upload speeds. Admittedly, Private Internet Access isn’t the best VPN for streaming, but it has come a long way in the last few years, offering a competitively priced and fully featured service that’s well worth considering. Private Internet Access includes unlimited simultaneous connections to cover all your devices and a big selection of global locations to choose from.
Outside of ExpressVPN, consider VPN Unlimited, NordVPN and PureVPN as speedy alternatives.
Best VPN for families
When looking for a VPN that’s a great fit for all 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, follows a more recent trend of offering unlimited simultaneous connections.
Of the VPNs that offer unlimited connections, Surfshark is one of the best. Surfshark boasts decent Australian speeds 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 is great as an invisible background protector, with a solid range of supported devices.
For unlimited-connections alternatives, consider Private Internet Access, Windscribe, Atlas VPN, TunnelBear and IPVanish.
Best free VPN
All of the VPNs above are better all-rounder contenders than PrivadoVPN, most notably when it comes to server infrastructure, location counts and speed. But the main area where PrivadoVPN has the wood on other VPNs is its free service. Typically, free VPNs are extremely limited, but PrivadoVPN offers a good range of inclusions. There’s 10GB of data to use each month, which is a great way to get a feel for PrivadoVPN and VPNs in general. If you do choose to upgrade, PrivadoVPN offers decent monthly and annual pricing, plus 10 simultaneous connections for protecting a range of devices.
For other VPNs that include a free version, consider Hotspot Shield, Windscribe, Atlas VPN and TunnelBear.
Best VPN for streaming
Every other VPN service on this page has at least one disclaimer when it comes to streaming. For some, they can handle certain streaming services but not others. For others, they may be able to stream on most or all tested services, but they offer slower buffering speeds. That’s not the case with Windscribe. While you may balk at the lack of transparency around the number of servers and pause at the occasionally inconsistent international speeds, Windscribe consistently proved itself as a streaming powerhouse in multiple tests.
During my tests, Windscribe handled gimme services like Netflix US as effortlessly as it tackled Peacock TV, which has a knack for sniffing out and geoblocking VPNs. Most impressively, Windscribe worked with Stan and even the tricky-to-bypass Kayo Sports in my tests. All of the respective streaming libraries load quickly, buffer fast and stream content as though you’re not using a VPN.
For solid streaming alternatives, consider ExpressVPN, PureVPN, NordVPN and Atlas VPN.
Best value VPN
If you’re looking at VPN Unlimited as a monthly or annual option, there are better alternatives on this page. 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 stock-standard five, this is a great option to pay for a VPN service once and not have to worry about paying ever again.
For context, 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 the number of global locations, it has a great user-friendly setup process and is easy to use afterwards. Wherever you connect, VPN Unlimited should offer great speeds. It also helps that VPN Unlimited is decent at sidestepping geoblocked international streaming services.
For competitively priced multi-year VPN subscriptions, consider Atlas VPN, Private Internet Access and PureVPN.
Best VPN for gaming
NordVPN, Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN are the top three when it comes to VPNs. But there are areas where contender VPNs like Proton VPN can become more attractive. For online gamers and international video callers, low latency is critical for seamless performance. Proton VPN offered fantastic latency for my Australian and UK server tests, as well as decent US latency. Outside of low latency, Proton VPN also boasts competitive monthly pricing, speedy connectivity, decent streaming and some great advanced features. With support for up to 10 simultaneous connections across a solid range of supported platforms, Proton VPN is well worth considering for any home craving a low-latency solution.
For low-latency alternatives, also consider Mullvad, Windscribe and Atlas VPN.
More VPN services we considered
There are other VPN services I’ve reviewed that didn’t take out the top spots for the categories above, some of which are worth considering more than others. Mullvad VPN, for instance, is a simplified VPN service with competitive monthly pricing and a great emphasis on truly anonymous internet usage. Still, Mullvad doesn’t have a whole lot of servers or supported countries and it’s not the best for streaming.
PureVPN is another decent contender that’s okay out of the gate thanks to 10 simultaneous connections as well as an impressive number of servers in a decent number of locations. PureVPN is also easy to use and includes manual server switching (on Windows devices). That said, it’d be nice if that manual server switching was available across devices and being forced to use specialist peer-to-peer (P2P) servers for torrenting is frustrating.
Hotspot Shield is the first VPN I ever purchased and it’s one I still have in heavy rotation today. It boasts blistering download speeds for Australian and US servers, plus there’s a decent free version. While you can technically have up to 25 users (with a family plan), Hotspot Shield is comparatively pricey and has a five-device limit. The best way to use Hotspot Shield is as part of a subscription to Dashlane password manager.
CyberGhost is another VPN that’s worth considering. It boasts lots of international servers and has a great selection of global locations, with speedy downloads and uploads. Admittedly, CyberGhost isn’t particularly competitive with its pricing and it also has mixed streaming results.
TunnelBear VPN 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.
The three VPN services I’ve had the worst experiences with are Hola VPN, Norton Secure VPN and IPVanish VPN. If you nab Norton Secure VPN as part of Norton 360, it’s an okay bolt-on service, but purchased separately it’s an expensive and underperforming VPN. IPVanish provides speed, protection and unlimited simultaneous connections, but it has a bare-bolts interface and is slow for international services as well as bad for streaming. Meanwhile, Hola is an expensive VPN whose free version comes at the cost of system resources.
Buying guide: What to look for in a VPN service
Have a look at our list for what you should consider whether you’re in the market for a new or replacement VPN service.
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: Quality free services are rare; 30-day money-back guarantees are standard.
- Servers: More servers mean more connectivity options and better uptime.
- Countries: Fewer countries means less versatility.
- Locations: More locations offer more options for popular VPN destinations.
- Devices: PC, iOS and Android are standard, but more devices mean 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; up to 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:
- Anti-malware: Some VPNs have inbuilt anti-malware protection.
- Antivirus: Inbuilt antivirus is rare, but a great inclusion (e.g. Surfshark).
- 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.
How we choose the best VPNs
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’s fixed monthly pricing)—but most VPNs tend to be priced for US dollars, which may mean factoring in currency conversions and associated fees.
All of those items listed in the buying guide above are considered as part of our VPN reviews. We start with price and security, then consider whether a VPN offers an actual free version or practical free trial. Server, country and location counts are important, while the number of simultaneous connections also helps increase the overall value proposition of a VPN.
The number of supported devices and how easy it is to use is also factored in, alongside advanced features. We also perform speed tests and streaming tests for popular local and international streaming services, alongside extended everyday functionality tests with a VPN enabled to see if a service interferes with basic software.
Best VPN frequently asked questions
Here are the answers for some of the more common VPN questions in Australia.
VPN is short for ‘virtual private network’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.