What Is The Best VPN for Singapore in 2018?
NordVPN is the best Virtual Private Network available for internet users based in Singapore to keep their online activities and personal information safe from prying eyes.
The provider offers fast encrypted connections, excellent privacy protection and comprehensive customer support. Add in decent global server coverage and a moderate pricing structure, and you have the best VPN provider for use in Singapore.
Internet Freedom in Singapore
Internet access in Singapore is widely available; the country boasts a connectivity rate of over 99%. A 2014 survey of internet users in six countries showed Singapore residents to be the most “emotionally connected” to their internet service. 78% of the 1,000 Singapore residents surveyed said they felt anxious or angry when cut off from access to the net.
During 2017, Singapore’s government continued to promote technological adoption, even while they restricted the use of it for political dissent and for any expression that could cause ethnic or religious friction.
The government became a bit emboldened by happenings in western democracies, saying such events as the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Brexit referendum prove the “folly of too much democracy.”
During the span of June 2016 to May 2017, the following key developments occurred in Singapore:
Freedom House gives Singapore an aggregate 2018 Freedom Score of 52/100 (0 = Least Free, 100 = Most Free).
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in Singapore
Why You Need a VPN in Singapore
Access to the internet in Singapore happens via government-authorized Internet Service Providers (ISPs). All ISPs in the country are required to follow an Internet Code of Practice that prohibits certain online materials.
In this section, we’ll look at the various uses for an internet connection, what’s allowed and what is blocked, legal concerns and more. I’ll also share how a VPN can help protect you while engaging in these activities.
Internet censorship in the country is conducted by the Media Development Authority (MDA). The MDA currently maintains a list of banned websites. When attempting to access a blocked website, users usually encounter a green box message from the MDA saying, “This website is not available as it violates the laws in Singapore."
Prohibited content includes content that can be termed immoral; against public order, public security or national harmony; or other content prohibited by Singapore laws. Websites that infringe copyrighted materials have also been blocked, as have websites said to promote promiscuous sexual behavior.
Voice Over IP
Voice over IP (VoIP) service is legal in Singapore, although it is subject to the same security concerns that any internet-based service can face.
None of the major social networks are currently banned in Singapore. However, users can face fines or imprisonment for any posts that are deemed racist, abusive or otherwise offensive.
For example, an assistant director at the National Trades Union Congress was fired in 2012 for racist comments on Facebook. A Chinese student was fined by the Singapore government for his Facebook comments, which were found to be abusive toward Singapore natives.
In February 2016, Singapore’s High Court ordered local ISPs to block access to SolarMovie.ph, a pirate movie site.
Singapore citizens have no constitutional right to privacy, and law enforcement there enjoy wide powers that allow them to conduct searches of computers and connected devices with no need for a warrant.
Details about the Singapore government’s surveillance abilities are unknown. However, Freedom House says that “few doubt that the state can get private data whenever it wants.”
ISPs and social networks are subject to turning over details of users’ accounts when requested by the Singapore government. While previous requests have been for metadata, government agencies can request content data if they feel it is required for their investigation.
Netflix is available in Singapore. However, it is a localized version, with different content availability from what you might find while accessing Netflix from other countries. Hulu isn’t normally accessible from this country, as it is only available in the U.S. and Japan. BBC iPlayer viewers will also be disappointed if they attempt to view BBC content from Singapore.
Legality of VPNs
The government has considered the idea of banning the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), especially when used to access copyrighted materials from streaming services outside of the country. However, Singapore-based internet users will be glad to hear that no such law has been passed (yet).
The “Remote Gambling Act” was passed by the government in late 2014, which makes it a criminal offense for people to place bets on overseas gambling websites from within the borders of Singapore. Several hundred gambling sites were blocked when the law took effect in February 2015.
How a VPN Protects Your Internet Usage in Singapore
Users who are looking to shield their online activities from the prying eyes of the Singapore government and access blocked websites will find that a Virtual Private Network is the best tool available to accomplish that and more.
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, keeping your online activities under wraps and preventing third parties from detecting which websites, streaming content and other online services you access during your VPN session.
A VPN can also make it appear that you are in another location, allowing you to access geographically-blocked content that may not usually be accessible from Singapore. This would be a handy tool for ex-pats residing in Singapore who still wish to get a “taste of home” from Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services normally restricted to their country.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Singapore
While researching VPN providers for use in Singapore, make sure the providers you consider offer certain features that will protect you and your online activities, provide support when needed and enhance your online experience.
In this section, I’ll share the features you should consider for each VPN provider, the importance of each feature and a list of my top 10 VPN providers, which will be ranked according to their performance in that category.
Privacy should always be an important consideration when you’re researching VPNs for use in any country, but when you’re in a country like Singapore, where the government can request your ISP activity logs without so much as a subpoena, it takes on added importance.
Look for a VPN that offers total privacy protections, keeping no logs whatsoever associated with your online activities, and one that accepts private payment options, such as Bitcoin or merchant gift card balances.
Also, make sure to find out where the VPN provider has their base of operations located. Investigate their home country’s data retention policies.
The providers listed below are ranked in order of the privacy protection they offer, from best to worst.
Finding a provider with enough bandwidth not to slow down your internet connection is the magic bullet that enhances your online experience.
A VPN with fast connection speeds will allow you to enjoy online video and audio content with no long wait for it to begin playing. Fast speeds will also allow you to play in online arenas with no “killer” lags that will cost you the match.
When testing these providers’ connection speeds, I first tested my ISP-supplied speeds and then connected to each VPN service, one by one. I then tested the connection speed again to measure the protected connection speed. All speed tests were performed by visiting the Speedtest website.
The speed percentages shown in the table below were calculated by comparing the two measurements.
The list below includes my top 10 VPN providers, ranked fastest to slowest.
“Kill switch” protection is an important feature when your online activities can get you fined or imprisoned.
A kill switch automatically drops your connection to the internet if you lose your connection to your VPN provider. This keeps your online activities from being monitored if your encrypted VPN connection terminates.
“Kill switch” is a “yes/no” type feature. So, the providers in the table below are listed alphabetically, with a notation as to whether or not they provide kill switch protection.
Other Factors to Consider
In a perfect world, none of us would ever experience a technical or billing issue with any of our devices or the services that support them. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. Therefore, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to contact your VPN provider’s customer support folks at some point.
When you’re taking a look at a potential provider’s level of customer support, look for live support chat, a trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable support library. (None of the providers I’ve reviewed offer phone support.)
The providers listed below are ranked according to support options offered and the speed and accuracy of their replies to my support questions, best support to worst.
While I’m sure there are a few of my readers that could be termed wealthy, I imagine most of you are like me, working hard, keeping an eye on expenses and looking for a way to save a few bucks when possible.
While you’re researching VPN pricing, don’t fall for the idea that the lowest price is the best deal. On the flip side, don’t automatically think the highest priced provider always provides the best level of service.
When comparing prices, always take into consideration the level of service offered by the provider in return for your hard-earned cash. Make sure they aren’t cutting any corners in important service categories.
Also, visit a provider’s website to check for any “deals” they may be offering. Most of the VPN services listed below offer promotional deals on a regular basis. These can greatly reduce the price you’ll pay for a VPN subscription. Be aware, however, that some of these deals will require you to subscribe to a provider for a longer period of time than usual.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can always subscribe on a monthly basis. However, you’ll end up paying more for your subscription over time.