With all of the alarming developments in data retention, blocked websites, and internet providers recording your browsing history, many people are looking for the best VPN for Australia. Whether you need an Australia IP address for accessing content, or you are simply looking for more privacy in the land down under, this Australia VPN guide will give you the answers.
VPN usage continues to grow around the world, particularly in Australia. Australia has seen a massive surge in people using VPNs for these reasons:
- Privacy concerns – Various surveys indicate that Australians are more concerned about their online privacy than ever before. Data retention laws in Australia now provide authorities with every website you view online (unless you are using a VPN).
- Streaming content – Using a VPN to stream Australian media remains a popular hobby for many, and it’s a cheaper alternative to standard TV subscriptions. Online streaming has only accelerated with the COVID developments and people staying home.
- Data security – With many people working on public WiFi in cafes, hotels, and airports, there is a growing need to secure your connection and data. Public WiFi hotspots come with many risks, but a VPN will encrypt and secure your connection.
- Australian IP address – There are many reasons to get an Australian IP address. Aside from streaming Australia media, you may also need an Australia IP address for accessing certain servers or websites, such as banking sites.
Whether you are residing in Australia and looking for the best VPN or perhaps you are living abroad and needing an Australian IP for streaming content, a VPN is the best solution.
Here are the topics that we’ll be covering in this Australia VPN guide:
- The 5 Best VPNs for Australia (overview of each service)
- 4 Reasons why Australians need a good VPN
- Australia VPN frequently-asked-questions
- Australia VPN Comparison Table
Here are the best VPNs for Australia in 2020:
1. NordVPN – Best VPN for Australia
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
Topping our list of the best VPNs for Australia is NordVPN. This VPN stands out from the crowd with numerous features, secure apps, and blazing-fast speeds. It is strategically based in Panama, which is an excellent privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
One of the biggest advantages you get with NordVPN is the WireGuard VPN protocol. The WireGuard protocol offers a huge speed advantage over OpenVPN and other legacy protocols. It also provides next-generation encryption technology on top of a lean, lightweight code base. Using WireGuard with NordVPN, we were able to hit speeds of 445 Mbps:
Another advantage with NordVPN is a huge server network built on premium infrastructure. NordVPN has 5,400+ servers in 59 countries, including five locations in Australia alone. All of NordVPN’s servers run on dedicated hardware (no virtual locations) in RAM-disk mode. These RAM-servers offer a higher level of data security and run without any hard drives, so no data can be stored on any server.
For those concerned about privacy in Australia, NordVPN has a lot of features to offer:
- Double-VPN servers – These will encrypt your traffic across two separate VPN servers for more security. (See the benefits in our multi-hop VPN guide.)
- Tor-over-VPN servers – These VPN servers exit onto the Tor network for an additional layer of anonymity.
- CyberSec – This feature will block ads, trackers, and malware domains. Aside from improving security, blocking ads and trackers also helps websites load faster and saves on bandwidth.
- Audited – NordVPN is one of the few VPNs to have completed third-party audits. It passed a security audit by Versprite and has also had the no-logs policy audited and verified twice.
If you want to stream Australian media, NordVPN is another great choice. It unblocks Australia Netflix and many other Netflix libraries around the world (US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, and more). NordVPN also works well for filesharing and holds the top spot as the best VPN for torrenting with the latest test results.
NordVPN offers a full 30-day money back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support directly through their website. Among all the Australian VPNs in this guide, NordVPN is one of the best values at $3.71 per month when you use the coupon below.
NordVPN Australian server locations – NordVPN currently has over 180 Australian VPN servers in the following locations:
- User-friendly and reliable apps for all operating systems and devices
- Double-VPN and Tor-over-VPN servers
- No logs (audited twice)
- Strongest encryption standards with full support for WireGuard
- Works with Netflix and many other streaming services
- CyberSec feature to block ads, trackers, and malware domains
- 24/7 live chat support
- Split tunneling on desktop and mobile apps
- Dedicated RAM-servers with 10 Gbps bandwidth channels
- Big discounts only available with long-term subscriptions
Check out our NordVPN review for test results and more info.
2. Surfshark – A fast VPN for Australia with a low price
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
Next up on our list of VPNs for Australia is Surfshark, a secure and fully-featured VPN based in the British Virgin Islands. It is the cheapest VPN for Australia on our list, coming in at only $2.49 per month with the two-year plan. This makes Surfshark one of the cheapest VPNs on the market, that still performs like a premium service.
Like our other top recommendations, Surfshark is a no-logs VPN service that is strong on security. It offers many features for privacy-focused users:
- Double-VPN server locations
- CleanWeb feature to block ads, trackers, and malicious domains
- Camouflage mode to conceal VPN traffic as regular HTTPS encryption
- WhiteLister feature (split tunneling)
- Browser extensions for Chrome, Chromium-based browsers, and Firefox
Surfshark also does a great job supporting all major streaming services, including Netflix Australia and other Australia TV streams. Torrenting with Surfshark is allowed on all server locations, which is good since Australia has strict copyright regulations. Officially, Surfshark supports ten different Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and many other streaming options. It also has a dedicated app for Fire Stick and Fire TV.
Like NordVPN, Surfshark also boasts excellent speeds with support for the WireGuard VPN protocol. We were able to hit up to 397 Mbps with servers in tests for the Surfshark review. And with a network of 3,200+ servers in 63 countries, you’ll be able to find a fast server wherever you are located.
Surfshark is also a great value at only $2.49 per month with the coupon below. Plus, they give you unlimited connections with your VPN subscription, while most other VPNs limit you to around five or six simultaneous connections. If you have any issues, Surfshark offers 24/7 live chat support and a full 30 day money-back guarantee.
- Unlimited connections
- User-friendly apps for all devices and operating systems
- CleanWeb feature to block ads, trackers, and malware domains
- Works great with Netflix and many other streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Strong encryption and leak protection features
- Limited support for VPN routers
- No WireGuard support for Linux (coming later in 2021)
Our Surfshark review has more info and test results.
3. ExpressVPN – Secure and user-friendly VPN for Australia
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
Another great VPN for Australia is ExpressVPN. It is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is a good jurisdiction for privacy with no data retention laws. ExpressVPN is a verified no logs VPN provider that offers strong encryption and secure applications. The ExpressVPN apps come with built-in leak protection, split tunneling, and a kill switch (network lock).
If you are looking to access Australian media, such as sports, movies, or TV shows, ExpressVPN is a great choice. It works will with unblocking Australian TV if you are living abroad, as well as accessing Netflix, Hulu, and other media. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Netflix and consistently works well with the service. It also works if you need a VPN for Amazon Prime Video streaming.
ExpressVPN also excels with security. They run all servers in volatile RAM-disk mode with the TrustedServer feature. This improves server security and also makes it impossible to store data on any hard drive. The ExpressVPN apps secure data with an AES-256 cipher together with the OpenVPN and IPSec VPN protocols.
ExpressVPN’s apps are simple, well-designed, and easy to use – no matter which device or operating system you have. There are apps all major desktop operating systems, tablets, phones, routers, Smart TVs, and there’s even an Amazon app if you want to stream media using a VPN with Firestick.
And if you need assistance with anything, ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat assistance directly through their website. All ExpressVPN subscription plans come with a 30 day no-questions-asked money back guarantee.
ExpressVPN Australian server locations – ExpressVPN currently offers Australian VPN servers in the following locations:
- User-friendly and secure apps
- Fast speeds throughout the server network
- Split tunneling feature (for Mac OS, Windows, and routers)
- Works with Netflix and most streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Passed independent third-party audits for security and no-logs
- Very large server network
- Above-average prices
- Fewer features than some leading VPNs
See our ExpressVPN review for more test results and analysis.
4. VPNArea for Australia
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
Next up on our list of VPNs for Australia is VPNArea, a secure and privacy-focused service based in Bulgaria. VPNArea really offers some great features, such as advanced leak protection settings, obfuscation features, ad-blocking DNS servers, and access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SkyGo and other streaming services. It is a no-logs VPN service that does not restrict bandwidth (or torrenting) in any way.
If you are in Australia and want to get a VPN with dedicated IP address in a specific country, VPNArea offers that ability. They also allow account sharing and permit six simultaneous connections. Cryptocurrency payment is also supported and all plans come with a 30 day money-back guarantee.
My speed tests for the VPNArea review were quite good, with most server locations nearly maxing out my baseline speed (around 150 Mbps). VPNArea secures all data with an AES-256 cipher and supports the OpenVPN and IKEv2 encryption protocols. Obfuscation is also supported via Stunnel.
VPNArea Australian server location – VPNArea has a nice selection of server locations in Australia:
- No logs
- Great speeds and reliability
- Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services
- Anonymous payment options
- Strong security features, with self-hosted DNS
- Ad blocking
- Dedicated IP addresses available
- Large server network
- Apps can be a bit clunky
- Limited number of Netflix streaming servers (but still works well)
Check out the VPNArea review for more info.
4 Reasons why Australians need a good VPN
Perhaps you are an Australian and are wondering if you even need a VPN service. You do. Here’s why:
1. Australian data retention and privacy
In April 2017, Australia’s mandatory data retention laws officially went into effect. Officially called the ‘Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill’ – this law forces internet service providers and telecommunications companies to monitor and record user metadata.
The collected metadata is stored for a full two years and is easily accessible to authorities without a warrant. This means that your ISP and phone company are collecting your connection data and this can be handed over to anyone with access to the database. The best solution for this is a VPN, which will encrypt and anonymize your data, thereby making it unreadable to third parties.
Australia also has an “anti-encryption law” that allows the government to force tech companies to facilitate surveillance efforts. This may include providing backdoor access to software or even breaking or undermine encryption to facilitate spying. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous law and one reason to never use a VPN based in Australia, as we’ll discuss more below.
2. Unblock websites in Australia
Right now there are hundreds of websites being blocked in Australia. These website blocks are carried out by internet service providers, usually on behalf of media companies, such as Foxtel and others.
As of right now, most of the website blocks are for torrenting and P2P filesharing websites. However, there have also been proposals to extend website blocks to other content areas as well. A VPN will easily get around any of these blocks.
3. Torrenting and copyright issues
Torrenting and streaming content can be a grey area. This is especially true if you are accessing content through third-party add-ons, such as when using a VPN for Kodi. In Australia, those who are suspected of copyright infringement can face stiff penalties.
Copyright holders such as Foxtel and Village Roadshow have publicly claimed that they intend to sue Australians for copyright violations in court in the near future. As we will discuss below, the fines and jail time are very serious and are definitely worth the cost of a good VPN subscription.
4. Securing your data
A VPN is a critical tool to protect you against security threats on any network. Wireless networks are increasingly compromised – whether you are using free wireless in cafes or hotels, third parties can hack your data through these networks. A VPN protects you against these threats by encrypting all your data, thereby making your online activities and private information unreadable to third parties – even if the network is compromised.
And speaking of security, the Australian government is also trying to up their game. The government announced they’ll be spending nearly $1 Billion on cyberdefense over the next decade.
What can Australian ISPs see without a VPN?
If you are not using a good VPN service, internet service providers and mobile carriers can easily record your data and see every website you visit. Earlier we pointed out that Australia has enacted mandatory data retention laws that force internet providers and telephone companies to record connection data. From the Home Affairs website:
The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 requires telecommunications companies to retain a particular set of telecommunications data for at least 2 years.
These obligations ensure Australia’s law enforcement and security agencies are lawfully able to access data, subject to strict controls. Access to data is central to almost all serious criminal and national security investigations.
To record the websites you visit, internet providers only need to log your DNS requests. When you visit a website, your device sends a request to translate the URL into an IP address. Without a VPN, these DNS requests are done by your internet provider (and usually logged). With a VPN, these DNS requests are completely encrypted (unreadable to your internet provider) and handled by the VPN’s DNS servers.
All of our recommended VPNs for Australia have their own DNS servers and encrypt DNS requests in the VPN tunnel. This makes your internet activity unreadable to your internet provider. Additionally, the VPN will replace your IP address and location with the VPN server’s IP address and location.
Here’s a basic diagram showing how a VPN protects your data from third parties:
As you can see in the diagram above, your internet traffic and online activities will be unreadable to third parties, thanks to strong encryption. However, your ISP will still be able to see that you are online and connected to a VPN server, but they won’t be able to see (or record) anything you are doing.
Are VPNs legal in Australia?
Yes, VPNs are completely legal to use in Australia.
In fact, VPNs are used every day by businesses around the world for network security, especially with remote workers. As we’ve discussed before, virtual private networks are becoming increasingly common for all different types of users. This includes with businesses, those who want access to Australian media, and an increasing number of people who desire more privacy and security online.
Now let’s look at the issue of safety.
Is an Australian VPN safe?
Regarding the safety of VPNs, yes, they are safe to use – but be careful when selecting the best VPN service for your needs.
VPNs are safe to use in Australia, so long as you are using a trustworthy and reputable VPN provider. Granted, there are over 200 VPN providers currently on the market – actually, more if you count all the shady free VPN apps in the Google Play and Apple stores. Unfortunately, the vast majority of VPNs are garbage.
Why you should not use a VPN based in Australia
I do not recommend any VPN that is legally based in Australia. There are two main reasons for this.
Australia’s anti-encryption law
In late 2018, the Australian government passed a law to fundamentally undermine encryption and data security.
This law applies to businesses operating in Australia, including Australian VPN services. The problems with this bill affect all tech companies based in Australia, including VPNs:
The Australian Parliament passed a contentious encryption bill on Thursday to require technology companies to provide law enforcement and security agencies with access to encrypted communications.
Privacy advocates, technology companies and other businesses had strongly opposed the bill, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government said it was needed to thwart criminals and terrorists who use encrypted messaging programs to communicate.
This undermines any service in Australia that secures data with encryption. Data security in Australia is officially dead, and the United States wants to follow the same plan.
Australia data collection
We have already discussed Australia’s data retention laws that were rolled out in 2017. Another issue to consider is that Australia is a member of the infamous Five Eyes surveillance alliance. This is an alliance between Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK to collect and share mass surveillance data.
A VPN operating in a safe offshore jurisdiction, such as the ones we recommend in this guide, will offer better protection and safety for your data.
What is the fastest VPN for Australia?
The fastest VPN for Australia is NordVPN. It consistently comes out on top in the performance category. Here are a few reasons why:
- Fastest VPN speeds we’ve tested (up to 445 Mbps in our speed tests)
- Full WireGuard support (the fastest VPN protocol available)
- A network with 10 Gbps server bandwidth channels
- Dedicated premium hardware for all server locations
- Reliable apps to ensure a stable connection
NordVPN also consistently outperforms other VPNs. You can see this in the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison guide. It not only does well with performance, it also beats other VPNs in the features category. You can see this also in the IPVanish vs NordVPN comparison.
How do I set up a VPN for Australia?
No matter what your technical background is, setting up a VPN for Australia (or any location) is quite simple.
Here are the basic steps:
- Decide which VPN service you want to use and pick a subscription plan.
- Purchase the plan and then download the software (VPN apps) for the devices you want to use with your VPN.
- Connect to an Australian VPN server (or another location) and enjoy all the benefits of your VPN.
To verify your VPN is working, see our guide on VPN tests and checks.
VPN for Australian TV and sports
Many people who reside outside of Australia are looking for ways to access Australian media and sport events online. This is where a VPN really comes in handy.
A VPN will give you an Australian IP address, which is usually necessary if you want to stream Australian media from one of the major telecom providers.
Generally speaking, you will need an Australian IP address if you want to stream live Australian media and sports. Popular sport events in Australia include:
- Australian football
To get the best possible streaming experience, it would be good to connect to the closest Australian VPN server to your location. More locations will also ensure one server is not over-crowded during high-bandwidth times.
Australia VPN Comparison Table
As online privacy and content blocks continue to ramp up in Australia, it is more important than ever to protect yourself with a good, trustworthy VPN service. This will secure your data and electronic devices from third-party snoopers, such as your internet service provider, while also unlocking media.
All of the VPNs in this guide have been thoroughly tested for leaks, speeds, security, and reliability.
Here is an overview of the best VPN services for Australia based on our hands-on testing and research. Check out the respective VPN review to see additional test results.