What Is The Best VPN for Thailand in 2018?
NordVPN is the best choice for a Virtual Private Network provider to open up blocked content, like video and music streaming or gaming servers. Plus, it makes for an excellent way to keep your personal and business information safe from prying eyes.
In addition, since the Thai government blocks certain websites, NordVPN helps you get around those roadblocks.
Internet Freedom in Thailand
Internet penetration in Thailand stood at 47.5% at the end of 2017.
In recent years, the following internet-freedom-related developments took place:
Freedom House awarded Thailand a combined 2017 Internet Freedom Score of 67/100 (0 = Most Free, 100 = Least Free). That means that Thailand ranks in at 53rd among the 65 countries ranked by Freedom House.
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in Thailand
Why Do You Need a VPN in Thailand?
Thailand connected to the internet in 1996, the 3rd Southeast Asian country to do so. 41 million people in the country have access. Those users face growing censorship on the web. In this section, I’ll explain the restrictions those users face.
Before the country’s military coup in 2006, most internet censorship in Thailand was focused on blocking pornographic websites.
In the years following, internet censorship grew by the year. A 2014 Thai coup d’etat led to further restrictions.
Freedom House’s overall score of 67 (not free) for internet freedom was due, at least partially, to political censorship and arrests of bloggers and other internet users for sharing links of reports that were critical of the Thai government.
Websites that the government has blocked include those discussing the political situation in the country’s Muslim south - especially sites supporting the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO).
The government also blocks news sites from outside of Thailand, including the BBC, CNN, Yahoo! News and numerous others, as well as various web discussion boards, video-sharing sites and websites that insult or threaten the royal family.
Voice Over IP
Voice over IP (VoIP) is legal in Thailand.
However, users should keep in mind that the service is subject to the same security issues as any internet service, and governments or other third parties could listen in on the conversation.
Thailand does not block any of the major social networks.
However, Facebook sometimes takes down content when the country’s government files a request, and the government has arrested citizens for making “objectionable” posts on the social network.
Thailand does not actively block access to file sharing sites.
Its lack of enforcement in this area has led to the United States government placed Thailand on a piracy “watch list.”
The government in Thailand actively monitors both social network and private communications. The legal framework governing surveillance in the country is less than adequate, and continues to be ineffective.
Recent regulation changes allow government officials to instruct internet service providers to retain computer traffic data for up to two years. Providers must otherwise store the data for a period of at least 90 days.
The Netflix video streaming service is available in Thailand, but available content is severely lacking when compared to other countries.
A mere 178 television series and 515 films are available on the service in Thailand. (The U.S. version of the service boasts 1,326 TV shows and 4,339 movies.)
Hulu and BBC iPlayer restrict their content to viewers located in their countries of operation, which are the U.S. and the U.K., respectively.
Legality of VPNs
While the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is legal in Thailand, ISPs in the country block the websites of many VPN providers and vendors of other anonymity tools.
Online gambling in Thailand is forbidden. While the Thai government often blocks offshore gambling sites, many citizens in the country still place online wagers.
How a VPN Protects Your Internet Usage in Thailand
By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), internet users can protect their online activities from prying eyes, like those of the Thai government.
A VPN adds a layer of encryption to your internet connection, which prevents outsiders from determining which websites or other online services you are accessing. The encryption also helps protect your personal and business information from hackers when you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
A VPN can open up access to blocked websites, such as those that the Thai government blocks. The VPN does this by routing your internet traffic through their servers, changing your IP address and making it appear as if you were connecting from a different location in the world. This opens up access to the blocked websites and services.
This ability also allows expats living in Thailand to view their favorite video streaming services, such as the U.S. version of Netflix or content from BBC iPlayer.
Choosing the Best VPN for Use in Thailand
When you’re making a buying decision for a VPN to use from inside the borders of Thailand, there are multiple considerations to keep in mind. These include privacy, connection speed, customer support and more.
In the upcoming sections, I’ll include the VPN service categories to consider and explain why each feature is important. At the end of each section, I will list my top 10 VPNs, ranked according to its capabilities in that particular category.
While privacy is always an important consideration when researching VPNs, when you’re going to be using it in an especially restrictive country, such as Thailand, it becomes even more important.
When I use the word “privacy” in this context, I am referring to how well a provider protects both your subscription payment information and the records of your online activities.
While researching privacy protections, do the following:
The list below ranks VPN providers in order of best privacy protections to worst.
Connection speed is always an important category to consider, no matter where you’ll be using your VPN connection, or what you’ll be using it for. When considering VPNs for use in Thailand, connection speed becomes especially important for expats who are streaming content from their home country.
Connection speed directly affects the enjoyment level of your online activities. No one wants to have to wait for an extended period of time for their favorite music or video content to begin playing.
Fast connections also make online gaming better. Nothing is more frustrating during an online battle than to suddenly see the action freeze.
The table below ranks my top 10 VPN services, listed from fastest to slowest.
The speed percentages were calculated by first visiting the Speedtest website to measure my ISP-provided connection speeds. I then connected to each VPN and once again visited the Speedtest site to measure the encrypted speeds from the VPN provider. The speed percentage numbers were then calculated by comparing the two speeds.
When using a VPN in any foreign country, especially a country like Thailand where the government actively attempts to control access to various types of websites, a “kill switch” is an important feature that should be provided by a VPN service.
A kill switch automatically disconnects a device from the internet if the device’s connection to the VPN servers is lost. This prevents the user’s internet connection, and its associated activities, from becoming vulnerable to monitoring by third parties.
Since the availability of a “kill switch” is a simple “yes or no” type of feature, the providers in the table below are listed alphabetically, with a notation as to whether or not they offer a kill switch.
Other Factors to Consider
While it would be a wonderful thing if none of us ever had to deal with customer support - any customer support - it’s a good bet that most of us will have to contact the customer support staff of our VPN provider with a connection or billing question. When that happens, you’ll want accurate answers delivered quickly.
VPN providers worthy of consideration should provide a live support chat option, a trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable support library of some type. (Don’t bother looking for providers that offer live phone support. Those are as rare as hen’s teeth.)
The VPNs listed below are ranked in order of the types of support offered, as well as the speed and accuracy of their replies to support inquiries.
Those of you sitting in the back of a Town Car while your driver whisks you to your private jet can probably forego this section of the article. However, those of you who are not independently wealthy will want to pay attention.
A good adage to follow in life is to never pay more for anything than you absolutely have to. That goes double for VPN service. That said, you should also never fall into the trap of selecting a provider strictly on price alone.
When considering a VPN provider’s subscription pricing, always keep in mind the services offered by the provider, noting the level of service offered in each important category.
You’ll find that many of the providers listed here run promotions on a regular basis, which can greatly reduce the price you’ll pay for their services. Please note that you may be required to subscribe for an extended period of time in order to qualify for the discounts. Always, make a visit to each provider’s website for their current deals.
Users on a particularly tight budget can pay for VPN service on a month-to-month basis, but going for this option will see you paying more for the service over the long run.