The Best VPNs in Australia for 2024

Tired of being tracked by government agencies or having your eyeballs monetised by big tech?  NordVPN is our top pick for the best Australian VPN of 2024. It’s privacy assured, priced right and delivers fast, secure connections through a network of 190+ Oz-based servers.

This makes it a great option for secure remote access to company systems. But even for private users, having a VPN makes sense. In an age of tracking cookies, data harvesting, cybercrime, misinformation, and questionable content, everyone’s internet usage is under scrutiny.

NordVPN and the other best Australian VPNs on our list can help. We’ve assessed how well they protect privacy, ward off hackers, make it easier to access geo-gated content, or simply take the cost and hassle out of doing all three.

Whether you’re streaming, torrenting, gaming, or just protecting your privacy, read on and find the best fit for your specific needs.

Editor’s Choice

ExpressVPN
  • Fast connection speed
  • Threat manager feature
  • Servers in 105 countries
Editors' Choice
Surfshark
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Audited no-log policy
  • Ad blocker
NordVPN
  • Extensive security package
  • Ad blocker
  • Meshnet feature

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) stops outsiders from watching where you browse, work, or shop online. Imagine your internet connection is a big transparent pipe with loads of data flowing through it.

A VPN is like a pipe within a pipe. It creates a private connection between your device and the web destination you want to reach, concealing your personal information and hiding your IP address.

The original VPNs were designed for travelling employees who needed to log in to corporate networks while on the road. Today they’re an essential tool for protecting consumer privacy and stopping identity theft.

The Best VPNs for Australia in 2024 – Reviews

To arrive at our list of best VPNs in Australia, we mapped each VPN provider’s server footprint. Australia is a big country, so it’s important to have physical servers in major metropolitan areas like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, as well as regional centres like Perth and Hobart.

Security, privacy, speed, and streaming capabilities were the other criteria that decided the pecking order. Here’s how the top Australia VPNs compare. All prices are in Australian Dollars (AUD).

1. NordVPN – Best Australia VPN Overall

A logo of NordVPN

Best For Cheapest Price Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider Review
Best Overall $3.39/month 6,000+ 60+ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more 6 NordVPN review

NordVPN is one of the world’s most popular VPN providers and for users Down Under, it’s easy to see why. With 190+ servers in five Australian cities, it has the domestic coverage to ensure speed and performance, auto-selecting the best connection from an array of local network nodes when you first log in.

Privacy and Security

Each time you switch it on, NordVPN creates a secure VPN connection using NordLynx, a proprietary technology based on the open-source WireGuard protocol. Its network is comprised of RAM-only servers and all data traffic is hidden using strong ChaCha20 and AES-256 encryption.

If you prefer a different encryption format, you can select others from a drop-down menu. For confidence and transparency, NordVPN has a no-log policy in place which is independently audited.

Other standard features include a kill switch to instantly shut down your internet access if the VPN connection drops, and Dark Web Monitoring. A built-in tool continuously scans websites on the hidden Tor network to see if your details have been leaked and put up for sale by criminals. NordVPN also provides real-time protection against malware and blocks unwanted advertiser tracking.

Added Features

Depending on the kinds of services you’ll be using and the nature of the traffic moving across the connection, NordVPN offers specialised server types. If you’re torrenting, for example, there are servers optimised for P2P traffic.

If you need to access a corporate or other restricted network, there are servers with dedicated IP addresses. If you want access to Australian content from another jurisdiction – or simply want to mask the fact you’re using a VPN – server obfuscation is NordVPN’s default connection mode.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

NordVPN offers a huge fleet of over 6,000 servers clustered in 60 countries – somewhat less than what other VPN providers offer.

On the upside, NordVPN has obfuscated servers that hide the fact that you’re connection has been re-routed – perfect if you’re trying to access geo-gated Australian streaming or other online services. NordVPN also owns the majority of the servers it operates, giving it greater control for a more secure and stable service.

Performance

NordVPN says its proprietary NordLynx connection protocol is lightning-fast, so we put that claim to the test. The average download speed came in at 90.76 Mbps, the average upload speed was 90.63 Mbps, and we recorded an average ping time of 78 milliseconds (ms). Those metrics made NordVPN the fastest Australia VPN on our list.

Pricing

NordVPN offers a three-level pricing plan and a selection of billing periods. Upgrading from one tier to the next brings additional features, though the number of connections and devices you can maintain simultaneously (6) is the same for all plans.

Standard Plus Complete
Monthly $12.99 per month $13.99 per month $14.99 per month
1 Year Plan $4.99 per month $5.99 per month $6.99 per month
2 Year Plan $3.39 per month $4.39 per month $5.39 per month

Read our full NordVPN review

Pros

  • Extensive security features
  • Excellent connection speeds
  • Excellent in-country server footprint
  • Free trial
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Protects only six devices per subscription
  • Expensive on the pay-monthly plan

2. ExpressVPN – Best Australia VPN for Gaming

A logo of ExpressVPN

Best For Cheapest Price Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider Review
Gaming $6.67/month 3,000+ 105 Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more 8 ExpressVPN Review

ExpressVPN bills itself as the world’s number one ‘premium’ VPN provider. It earned our top three designation for Australian users thanks to fast speeds, intuitive interface, and 24/7 customer support.

We found it to be ideal for high-bandwidth activities like gaming, streaming, and torrenting. With servers in major centres like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, it has the geographic spread and proximity to high-population-density areas necessary for reliably fast connections.

Of course, premium comes at a cost. ExpressVPN can be pricier than others when you sign up for a longer-term subscription.

Privacy and Security

Every ExpressVPN connection is encrypted with strong AES-256 technology, the global security standard relied on by most mainstream VPN providers. Short for Advanced Encryption Standard, it scrambles data when it’s being transferred between devices and servers, and the U.S. government uses it to stop its communications from being traced or read by outsiders.

Like NordVPN and Surfshark (see below), ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers (under its own TrustedServer brand) and operates under a ‘no-logs’ policy. It’s audited independently by PwC every year to confirm zero collection of user activity data.

We did however note ExpressVPN’s relationship with Kape Technologies, which purchased the company in 2021. Under its previous name, Crossrider, Kape was accused of installing adware and malware on user devices to harvest personal data. Today the company is focused on cybersecurity and appears to be a reliable corporate steward.

Added Features

In addition to its core security features, ExpressVPN comes with a reliable kill switch called Network Lock that passed our testing. If the VPN connection drops, your internet connection is simultaneously ‘killed’ to stop any VPN-protected data from leaking out into the public sphere.

ExpressVPN also comes with a pre-installed password manager and threat detection tech to block tracking cookies and stop browser exploits.

To optimise speed and stability for Gaming, a Smart Location tool automatically connects you to the best available connection based on location, current download speeds, and latency. ExpressVPN also has servers optimised for gaming traffic.

We were especially impressed by the MediaStreamer feature, which lets you stream content to devices that aren’t usually VPN-friendly directly from your router.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

ExpressVPN has an extensive global server footprint of over 3,000 servers in 160 cities and 105 countries. In Australia, it has servers in the cities where most people live and work: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.

That’s vital for delivering stable connections and providing enough options to get around geo-blocks. Outside of Australia, ExpressVPN operates servers in the UK, US and Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Performance

ExpressVPN’s network performance confirms its place in our top three list. We found the average download speed to be a fast 87.49 Mbps, while the average upload speed came in 72.65 MPBS and the average ping time was 125.5 milliseconds, higher than most on our list.

Ping velocity matters because it indicates how sensitive the VPN connection could be to distance and the number of hops between network nodes. A higher ping time ‘could’ mean a connection is less stable, however, no issues were noted during our test.

Pricing

ExpressVPN’s pricing is in line with what most Australia VPNs charge and they keep things flexible with a sliding-scale monthly price based on the length of your commitment. If you want to go month to month, it’s $12.95 AUD per month and you can cancel anytime. Commit to six months and you’ll be billed $9.99 a month – for a potential saving of $17.76. For a one-year subscription, you’ll pay roughly half the month-to-month fee. Try it for 30 days risk-free and get your money back if you aren’t happy.

Price
1 Month $12.95 per month
6 Months $9.99 per month
12 Months $6.67 per month

Read our full ExpressVPN review

Pros

  • Gaming optimised VPN servers
  • ‘Risk-free’ money-back guarantee for 30 days
  • Free password manager
  • Free threat detection

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive than other providers
  • No option for dedicated IP address

3. CyberGhost – Best Australia VPN for Privacy

A logo of CyberGhost VPN

Best For Cheapest Price Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider review (link)
Privacy $3.27/month 11,000+ 100+ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more 7 CyberGhost Review

CyberGhost is another reliable option for an Australia VPN that keeps your internet activity private and opens up access to geo-restricted content and services. With 238 VPN servers located in Australia’s five biggest cities, it has the most extensive Australian network footprint – so we were surprised to find upload speeds on the slow side.

Download speeds were comparable to our top three, however, and the service has the strongest combination of privacy-protection measures on our list.

Privacy and Security

CyberGhost is another service relying on US Government-grade AES-256 encryption and gives users the option to choose from a list of fast connection protocols including WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.

The company deploys its own brand of secure servers called NoSpy that are RAM-only and fully managed by CyberGhost. That means they undergo a regular wipe to eliminate any user data. As with ExpressVPN, CyberGhost is owned by Kape Technology. Its no logs policy is vetted by outside auditors to ensure that no user data is collected or stored.

Added Features

Added extras around privacy and security help set CyberGhost apart. Some are familiar enough to be almost standard, like a reliable kill switch and the option to use a dedicated IP address. CyberGhost comes with an adblocker, and servers optimised for different types of traffic – gaming, torrenting, and streaming in particular.

Sadly a built-in password manager was phased out last year due to lack of up-take, but it’s been replaced with something novel. A new Smart Rules feature lets you configure the VPN to make exceptions for sites or apps you can use without a VPN connection (e.g. banking apps that aren’t VPN-friendly). Similar to IPVanish, you can enable an automatic VPN connection whenever you open a particular app or web address.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

CyberGhost’s geographic footprint is massive and arguably the most extensive VPN server fleet available on the market. There are over 11,000 CyberGhost servers deployed in 100 countries, most of which are optimised for streaming.

We tested that claim for Australian servers and can happily report that we were able to unblock content on Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Some lagging was noted when HD videos were being streamed.

Performance

We selected the WireGuard protocol for comparability with other providers and found it delivered an average download speed of 89.54 Mbps (very fast). The average upload speed was much lower, at 28.65 Mpbs, and we recorded an average ping time of 115 ms. Low upload speeds can impact the performance of applications like video conferencing via Zoom or Teams, and torrenting. At 28 Mbps+ however, CyberGhost is above the (US) FCC’s recommended 20 Mbps upload speed guideline.

Pricing

CyberGhost offers three straightforward pricing options based on the duration of the contract: billed monthly, billed every 6 months, or billed every 24 months. Features, services and speeds are the same regardless of which term you choose.

1 Month 6 Months 2 Years
Price $18.79 per month $10.45 per month / $62.70 every 6 months $3.27 per month / $85.02 every 24 months

Read our full CyberGhost review

Pros

  • Biggest global server footprint
  • Biggest Australian server footprint
  • Strong encryption
  • Self-managed server fleet
  • Money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Some lagging when streaming HD videos
  • Limited features

4. Surfshark – Best Australia VPN for Encryption

A logo of Surfshark VPN

Best For Cheapest Price Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider Review
Encryption $3.69/month 3,200+ 100+ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more Unlimited Surfshark Review

Surfshark delivers a rich combination of strong encryption, flexibility on encryption preference, and enhanced privacy features without a noticeable impact on network speeds. For Australian users, it’s an attractive option, with 70+ servers located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

Adding to its strengths are extras like masking technology to hide the fact you’re using a VPN and an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. It’s the most expensive VPN if you aim to month to month, but the price scales nicely if you commit to a longer term.

Privacy and Security

Surfshark uses the military-grade AES-256 encryption cipher when connecting to a server via the OpenVPN protocol, and lets users select between IKEv2 or ChaCha20 encryption when connecting via the Wireguard protocol. Its servers are RAM-only and it abides by a no-log policy, confirmed regularly by outside auditors Deloitte.

We appreciated the privacy and security protections designed to complement encryption. These include Surfshark’s CleanWeb tool, which helps keep search engine queries private and advert-free. There’s an alternative ID feature that lets users create an anonymous email and internet persona while switching on the NoBorder mode encrypts the IP address, making it easier to access international content – even in jurisdictions where VPN use is frowned upon.

Surfshark also uses a technology called Nexus to automatically change your Australian IP address from time to time, making it harder for outsiders to observe your activities in any given country.

Added Features

Surfshark’s list of extras extends beyond security. It has a kill switch that we found to be reliable, stopping our internet connection immediately when the VPN link was suddenly switched off. One surprise add-on is Surfshark’s Camouflage masking tech, which shapes your connection to make it seem like a direct link from a laptop.

Users can also take advantage of split tunnelling to reserve some bandwidth for activities that don’t require a VPN or choose activity-specific servers for streaming or torrenting. There’s also Surfshark MultiHop, which creates a double VPN connection to further confuse potential snoopers. Android users can take advantage of GPS spoofing to keep their location secret.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

Surfshark runs a big international fleet of 3,200+ servers in over 100 countries. In Australia, there are more than 70 servers, most of them located in major centres like Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

We found the network to be consistently high-performing, with no serious latency issues and generally fast, smooth streaming. We tested streaming content on popular platforms like Netflix and Hulu and were able to access geo-gated content from Australia’s iView service.

Performance

Surfshark’s Australia VPN connections are reliably fast. We recorded an average download speed of 76.6 Mbps and an average upload speed of 60.4 Mbps. The average ping time was 132 ms.

Pricing

Nothing comes for free of course and Surfshark’s impressive feature-rich VPN service will cost you more than others. It’s the most expensive option at the pay-monthly level, but at the more affordable end of our top-picks table when you sign up for a two-year contract.

It’s worth noting that for a fairly small jump in price from entry-level to mid-tier, you can double number the security and privacy protections.

Surfshark Starter Surfshark One Surfshark One+
1 Month $23.29 per month $24.29 per month $27.59 per month
12 Months $4.99 per month $6.29 per month $9.99 per month
24 Months $3.69 per month $4.69 per month $7.49 per month

Read our full Surfshark review

Pros

  • Multiple added features for security and user experience
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Big Australian server footprint
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Pay monthly plans are expensive

5. IPVanish – Best Australia VPN for First-Time Users

A logo of IPVanish

Best For Cheapest Price Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider review (link)
First-time users $2.75/month 2,200+ 52+ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more Unlimited IPVanish review

With more than 50 servers in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, IPVanish has a solid network of local servers based in or near all the biggest cities.

It’s the most user-friendly of the services we reviewed, with helpful automations and an interface you can customise to your liking. It also offers one of the best VPN apps for iPhone and Android, making it simple to switch on an encrypted mobile data connection when you need it.

Privacy and Security

IPVanish is another service that pairs the highly secure AES-256 technical standard for encrypted data transfer with the WireGuard tunnelling protocol. Used together they deliver secure VPN connections quickly.

Once the connection is made, IPVanish uses the XOR cipher to obfuscate your traffic and mask the fact that you’re using a VPN. This is important for accessing geo-restricted apps and content. There is also a Kill Switch for IPVanish’s Android, Windows, and MacOS apps, and extra protection to hide your true Australian IP address and avoid becoming a target for DDoS attacks.

Added Features

We were particularly impressed by IPVanish’s OnDemand feature, which auto-enables the VPN whenever you connect to a preferred Wi-Fi network or a specific application is opened. Aside from making the VPN easier to use and administer, OnDemand ensures that the Australian IP address of the device is always hidden and securely encrypted by default.

It stops outsiders from geo-tagging you, tracking your connection speed on certain websites, or engaging in other forms of snooping –while staying flexible enough to let you carry on with everyday tasks. We found it handy when using online banking apps, which usually won’t accept a VPN connection. You can set IPVanish to allow banking and other apps to bypass the VPN while encrypting your activity for everything else.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

IPVanish has a large worldwide server footprint with 2,200+ servers located in 52 countries, and 40,000+ IP addresses users can take advantage of. That’s more than respectable and similar to what our top three VPN providers offer.

If you’re aiming to connect with major markets in North America, Europe, and Asia and get past geo-blocking by streaming services, IPVanish has a network that can deliver.

Performance

Server speeds at IPVanish aren’t the highest, but still firmly at the upper end of the spectrum. We tested four of its Australian servers and registered an average download speed of 80.12 Mbps. The average upload speed was notably slower at 51.87 Mpbs, but more than enough for upload-intensive activities like torrenting.

Pricing

If you opt for its pay-monthly price plan IPVanish is about the same price as any top Australia VPN. That changes dramatically if you’re willing to commit for 12 or 24 months. Amortised across each contract term, the 2-year plan comes in at $2.75 per month and the one-year plan costs $3.33 per month.

Monthly Yearly 2-Year
Price $12.99 per month $39.99 / 3.33 per month $65.99 / 2.75 per month

Read our full IPVanish review.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface on desktop and mobile
  • Solid Australian server footprint
  • Unlimited connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Based in the heavily tracked USA
  • Expensive on the month-to-month plan

6. PrivateVPN – Best Australia VPN For Fast, Buffer-Free Streaming

A logo of PrivateVPN

Best For Cheapest Price Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider review
Fast, buffer-free streaming $2.00/month 300+ 60+ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and Firestick 10 PrivateVPN Review

Network speed is essential for any premium VPN. PrivateVPN ups the ante by optimising its network for close-to-seamless HD video streaming. That requires loads of bandwidth and ultra-fast data transfer rates – without sacrificing privacy or security.

It’s a tall order, but barring a few minor hiccups, we found that PrivateVPN can deliver. On the downside its Australian server footprint is smaller than others on our list and its no logs policy isn’t subject to independent audit.

Privacy and Security

PrivateVPN uses flash technology with 2048-bit and AES 256 encryption to hide your online activities. All of its VPN clients for desktop and mobile come with a kill switch that instantly shuts down your internet connection if the VPN connection drops or it detects signs of interference from your ISP, router, or firewall.

As a Swedish company, PrivateVPN isn’t part of the 5-Eyes Alliance, the internet surveillance agreement between the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. That’s good if you’re an online privacy advocate, and it also has a stealth mode that can get around VPN bans in some jurisdictions. The company has a no-logs policy, however, it doesn’t allow that claim to be audited by outsiders, making it harder to assess its credibility.

Added Features

PrivateVPN offers a proprietary high-speed connection technology called High-Quality Network (HQN) to maximise the streaming experience. Our tests found HQN could deliver speeds of up to 300 Mbps – perfect for experiencing high-definition video and audio content.

PrivateVPN also has specialised P2P servers that use port forwarding to mask your identity while using a torrenting client.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

At 300 servers in 60 countries, PrivateVPN has the smallest footprint on our shortlist and just four servers in Australia. Despite that we found its connection speeds to be impressively fast.

We tried watching Hulu and Netflix using Australian servers. Load times were almost instantaneous and we could watch geo-gated streaming video with only the occasional flutter.

Performance

Our tests clocked an average download speed of 88.4 Mbps and an average upload speed was 84.8 Mbps. At around 134 ms, average ping times on PrivateVPN servers were noticeably higher than on other networks.

Pricing

PrivateVPN discounts its pricing progressively for longer contract periods. Features remain the same regardless of the billing frequency you choose.

1 Month 3 Months 36 months
Price $9.90 per month $6.00 per month / $72.00 billed every 12 months $2.00 per month / $85.02 every 24 months

Read our full PrivateVPN review

Pros

  • Stealth VPN mode to bypass VPN bans
  • Easy to configure
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Small server footprint
  • Lack of 3rd party auditing for no logs policy

7. Private Internet Access VPN –Best Australia VPN for Security

A logo of Private Internet Access VPN

Best For Cheapest Price VPN Server Count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider review (link)
Security $2.79/month 30,000+ 91 Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more Unlimited Private Internet Access VPN Review

Private Internet Access VPN (PIA) differentiates itself by ramping up the security and privacy measures used to protect your VPN connection – and by having the biggest server fleet on the market. Along with standard strong encryption and a reliable kill switch, it bundles in antivirus, router-direct installation to defend every device on your network, and additional options for encryption to keep your online activities out of sight.

There are some drawbacks though. Stronger encryption and amping-up security can imply a trade-off in terms of network speeds. However, we found that PAI strikes a good balance between the two.

Privacy and Security

PIA uses industry-standard encryption protocols including military-grade 128-bit and AES 256 encryption, powerful enough to make your connection opaque to potential snoopers.

Users can choose WireGuard, OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPSec as the secure connection protocol, and opt to use Shadowsocks, an extra obfuscation technique that disguises your VPN traffic as normal HTTPS. If your ISP attempts to track you using deep packet inspection, your connection will look and act like a normal device browsing a website.

Added Features

Private Internet Access VPN also offers a proprietary antivirus tool as an optional extra. It delivers real-time protection and alerts you when something appears amiss. There’s a prevention engine to stop Zero-Day threats and embedded defences against malicious web pages that download malware when you load them in your browser.

PIA can be installed directly on your router to protect any device connected to your network, from Smart TVs to gaming consoles and IoT devices – all of which are usually VPN-unfriendly. Its MACE feature is a great add-on if you want to ward off unwanted advertising. It detects marketing trackers at the DNS level and blocks them.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

PIA’s server footprint looks massive, and with over 30,000 servers deployed in 91 countries, it may well be the biggest by volume. There are Australian servers in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. Using WireGuard as the connection protocol we were able to access geo-blocked content on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu, with some lagging noted when optional security features were switched on.

Performance

Downloads on PIA’s Australian servers were very fast, happening at an average of 90.4 Mbps, so we were surprised by the relatively plodding 14.8 Mbps we recorded for uploads.

Is 30,000 servers more than one company can manage? PIA’s enhanced internet traffic encryption measures may also explain the discrepancy. The average ping time was 86.6 ms.

Pricing

PIA’s entry-level pay monthly plan is one of the most expensive on our list, but it quickly jumps to the affordable end of the spectrum when you opt for an annual or three-year subscription.

1 Month 1 Year 3 Years + 3 Months
Price $19.79 per month $5.42 per month $2.79 per month

Read our full Private Internet Access VPN review

Pros

  • Exceptional security and privacy protections
  • 7-day free trial for mobile VPN
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Some network performance trade-offs for added security
  • No free plan

8. Proton VPN – Best Australian VPN for Less Experienced Users

A logo of Proton VPN

Best for Cheapest Price VPN Server count Server countries Compatibility Max Devices Provider review
Less experienced users Free or $4.99/month 3,000 70+ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more 10 Proton VPN Review

Switzerland-based Proton made its name as an ultra-secure cloud email provider. Its VPN service aims for similar positioning and allows users to start out for free before committing to a paid subscription.

While there aren’t any Australian server options on the free plan, once you upgrade there are 74 Australian servers at your disposal based in or around major centres including Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Privacy and Security

All ProtonVPN clients have built-in DNS protection that encrypts DNS requests from your machine and prevents ISPs and other third parties from tracking what you do and where you go online.

This feature is vital for getting around content geo-restricted content and staying anonymous online. Proton’s NetShield tool stops malicious marketing practices including intrusive ads and trackers that harvest personal information.

DNS filtering blocks unwanted ads and neuters the tracking cookies data collection companies use to profile you. For a deeper level of anonymity, you can take advantage of ProtonVPN’s Tor servers and connect to .onion websites without having to use a separate Tor client or install a browser extension.

Added Features

Proton’s VPN clients for desktop and mobile are some of the easiest to navigate and configure. No matter which client app you use, the kill switch is always on – a valuable feature if you use unstable public WiFI a lot.

The free forever VPN plan is one of the most feature-rich offers on the market. There’s no cap on the amount of data you can use and Proton doesn’t force you to suffer through endless adverts.

That said, there’s a gap between its free and paid services. Free limits you to a single device, access to servers in just three countries, and doesn’t provide optimised connections for streaming or torrenting. Even if you pay, there are other limitations. Proton’s split tunnelling capability is only available for its Windows and Android clients.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

Proton’s server fleet of 3,000 servers in 70+ countries provides an extensive global network that makes accessing geo-restricted content easy. We were able to access Netflix programming in Australia, Europe, and North America by connecting to a local Proton VPN server.

The free version restricted us to servers in three countries and didn’t offer streaming support, but upgrading to a paid plan opened the door to lag-free content streaming almost anywhere in the world. The company has invested in the latest high-speed servers and has a proprietary VPN Accelerator technology that can enhance VPN connection speeds by over 400%. At that velocity, even 4K video streaming on VPN becomes practical.

Performance

We found the connection speeds on ProtonVPN to be reliably peppy. Average download speeds on Australian servers were 86.8 Mbps, and average upload speeds were even faster – 90.6 Mbps. The average ping time was a lightning-fast 78 ms.

Pricing

Proton’s free forever plan is a great way to try fast, ultra-private and secure VPN browsing on one device. Upgrading to a paid plan unleashes the full range of Proton’s VPN capabilities for streaming, torrenting, and gaming.

Free Forever 1 Month 1 Year 2 Year
Price Free $9.99 $5.99 per month / billed at $71.88 $4.99 per month / billed at $119.76

Read our full Proton VPN Review

Pros

  • Comprehensive free-forever plan
  • User-friendly
  • Buffer-free 4K streaming
  • Robust security
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • Fewer advanced features than other VPN
  • No 24/7 support
  • Split tunnelling is not offered for every platform

The Best VPNs in Australia for 2024 Compared

VPN Provider Best For Cheapest Plan VPN Server Count Server Countries Max Devices Supported Money-Back Guarantee (how long) Free Plan (yes/no)
NordVPN Overall $12.99 6,100+ 60+ 6 30 days No
ExpressVPN Gaming $12.95 3,000+ 105+ 8 30 days No
CyberGhost Privacy $18.79 11,000+ 100+ 7 30 days No
Surfshark Encryption $23.29 3,200+ 100+ Unlimited 30 days No
IPVanish First-time users $12.99 2,200+ 52+ Unlimited 30 days No
PrivateVPN Fast, buffer-free streaming $9.90 300+ 60+ 10 30 days No
Private Internet Access VPN Security 19.79 30,000+ 91+ Unlimited 30 days No
Proton VPN Less experienced users Free 3,000+ 70+ 10 30 days Yes

Why Do I Need A VPN in Australia?

VPNs are all about privacy and security. If you’re a business user, they give you a secure way to access company files or systems when you are working remotely.

If you’re using the internet for entertainment or personal interests, a VPN places a barrier between you and the small army of marketers, advertisers, ISPs, government agencies and hackers trying to measure and monitor what everyone is doing online.

Even if you’re 100% comfortable being tracked by third parties, a VPN can be useful for other tasks. Masking your IP address helps keep you out of cybercriminals’ crosshairs, something you need to be conscious of if you’re using public WiFi, where data can easily be compromised. A VPN can also help you bypass geo-gated services and access restricted content.

Popular streaming networks like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Australia’s ABC iView restrict some or all of their content based on the country your IP address is attached to. A top VPN service uses a local server to get around geographic restrictions and allow you to stream content libraries that would otherwise be unavailable.

How Does A VPN Work?

If you think of your internet connection as a see-through pipe, a VPN is like a pipe within the pipe – but an opaque one. It cloaks the connection between your device and the internet destinations you want to reach, concealing your data, physical location, and IP address.

Once you switch it on, the VPN becomes a discreet intermediary between you and the wider web. Any personal, banking or credit card data that passes through it is encrypted and can’t be read in transit. Only the sites and servers you connect to receive that information.

Encryption hides your emails, search terms, clicked URLs, websites visited, chats and DMs. Since VPNs also hide physical location, they can help you get past country-specific restrictions on content.

To learn more about the encryption process, read our article on how VPNs work.

Best Free VPNs For Australia – Free Vs. Paid VPNs

We found that NordVPN offered the best in price, speed, security, geographic footprint and features. That’s not to say it left the rest of the pack behind. The top three paid contenders were closely matched, and Proton VPN, our top free VPN for Australia, has a lot to offer.

A free VPN is a great way to take the technology for a test drive. As long as the service is fast and secure, you can see how well a free VPN works with your device, work out if it’s easy to use and configure, and assess how it affects your overall internet experience. The best free VPN service shouldn’t degrade basic internet tasks like email, web browsing, social media or cloud services like Office 365.

On the downside, free VPNs typically restrict you to VPN servers in a handful of countries, and often won’t let you stream geo-gated content in HD – if they let you stream anything at all outside your own country.

For high-quality streaming, multiplayer gaming, or torrenting, you’ll normally need to upgrade to a paid tier. Doing so will immediately open up access to VPN servers in scores of countries, even VPN-unfriendly and censorship-prone jurisdictions like China, Turkey, and Russia.

If you’re new to VPNs, a free VPN isn’t the only option for trying before you buy. Some offer short-term trial periods and almost all the paid services have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide their VPN offer isn’t for you.

How We Tested the Best VPN Services For Australia in 2024

We tested over 20 of the biggest VPN services to find the top picks for Australians. Here’s what we looked at when reviewing each one:

  • Security: We look for strong encryption, typically AES-256 as a minimum with a secure tunnelling protocol like WireGuard. Most VPNs now include a reliable kill switch as a standard feature. Common add-ons we look for include IP rotation and split tunnelling.
  • Privacy: VPNs typically offer a no-logs policy. The best ones have the policy audited regularly by a credible outside agency.
  • Speed: Our speed tests are conducted at peak and non-peak periods to measure the average upload and download speed for the Australian VPN servers.
  • Compatibility: We check to see how many platforms the VPN company has developed a client for, typically Windows, MacOS, and Linux desktop operating systems, and Android and iOS mobile operating systems.
  • Geo-unblocking: We attempted to access and stream Australian content libraries on popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and ABC iView.
  • Customer Support: We look at customer review sites like G2 and Trustpilot to see what Australian end users are saying about each VPN service. We also test the VPN provider’s customer support options to see how quickly and accurately they respond to queries.
  • Price and Value for Money: We look at the monthly price, the length of the required contract, and the full package of features and services you get at each plan level.

How To Find The Best Australian VPN Provider

If you’re thinking about trying a VPN service or looking to replace the one you have, here are the key things to look for before making a decision.

  • Security: While it used to be an optional add-on, most VPNs today include a built-in kill switch that engages if the VPN connection drops or becomes unstable. It ends the connection, shuts down the transfer of any unencrypted data, and stops your IP address from being leaked.
  • Logging: In line with their promise to keep your internet activity private, most VPN services have a ‘no log’ policy. In practice, this means they don’t keep any record of what you do online. The best VPNs allow their servers to be inspected by outside auditors to ensure that the no-log promise is being kept.
  • Performance: VPNs should allow you to take full advantage of today’s high-speed internet connections and enjoy streaming HD media, fast torrenting, and multiplayer gaming without suffering lag. Sometimes a VPN will slow down your internet connection speed – especially if the server is located far away. The best services will have consistently high speeds no matter where you connect.
  • Device Support: Most of us use multiple devices on a variety of platforms and operating systems. Alongside Macs and PCs, VPNs should offer support for smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and other operating systems Linux, Chrome, and Xbox, plus firmware for direct installation onto routers.

Are There Drawbacks To Using A VPN In Australia?

VPNs are a great tool for protecting your internet use and getting around advertiser and government snooping. In Australia, they are perfectly legal. You can use them freely – with the obvious caveat that you shouldn’t use them for anything illegal.

The obvious downside is the expense you incur. VPN services cost money. You can use them more or less risk-free monthly for a higher price, or if you’re sure you’ll need one for an extended period, buy a one or two-year subscription and save considerably. Either way, you pay.

You can opt for one of the free services on our list but know that they really restrict you to standard internet activities. There are free services that offer more, but we’d caution against them unless you’re sure that the network is as fast as promised and all security and privacy protections are legit.

With any VPN, the technical requirements of masking and re-routing your internet traffic may lead to a small degradation in speed or the responsiveness of web browsers. It’s important to find a provider that delivers enough data throughput for high-bandwidth activities like gaming and streaming.

Best VPN Guides and Resources

Our expert researchers have put together a range of detailed resources on the best VPN services, which you can find below:

Conclusion – What is the Best VPN In Australia?

Taking all the above into consideration, we’ve narrowed down a shortlist of three contenders. NordVPN comes out on top. It has an extensive Australian IP address network, offers exceptional connection speed and performance, and comes packed with enough added features to earn a ‘great value for money’ label.

Number two ExpressVPN is definitely worth a look. It has enhanced privacy features, reliably unblocks geo-gated streaming services, and VPN servers optimised for multiplayer gaming.

Number three Surfshark is the most expensive option, but you get a lot for your money. It’s fast, supports an unlimited number of devices and connections, has an independently audited no-logs policy, and bundles in loads of features that enhance privacy and security.

Get started with NordVPN today – risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Mark De Wolf
Tech Writer

Mark is a freelance tech journalist covering software, cybersecurity, and SaaS. His work has appeared in Dow Jones, The Telegraph, SC Magazine, Strategy, InfoWorld, Redshift, and The Startup. He graduated from the Ryerson University School of Journalism with honors where he studied under senior reporters from The New York Times, BBC, and Toronto Star, and paid his way through uni as a jobbing advertising copywriter. In addition, Mark has been an external communications advisor for tech startups and scale-ups, supporting them from launch to successful exit. Success stories include SignRequest (acquired by Box), Zeigo (acquired by Schneider Electric), Prevero (acquired…