Freedom House awarded Australia a 2020 Internet Freedom Score of 76/100 (0 = Least Free, 100 = Most Free). Internet freedom actually declined during 2019, as a number of website restrictions were made, such as restricting access to “abhorrent” content or to online piracy-related sites.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) voluntarily block access to certain websites, while the government introduced new legislation to criminalize the failure to delete “abhorrent” content from websites.
Other legal changes included court decisions that expanded Australian punitive defamation standards, an injunction to silence online media coverage of a high-profile trial, and a law that undermines end-to-end encryption.
The Australian government blocks websites that infringe on the Australian Copyright Act. Social media networks are freely available in Australia, with all popular networks – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others – readily available and unblocked.
In 2015, the Australian Parliament passed a mandatory data retention law that requires telecommunication companies and ISPs to store logs related to their customers’ online activities for a minimum of 2 years.
While Netflix is available down under, the available content varies from other countries. The Hulu and BBC iPlayer streaming services both restrict viewing to users located in the United States or the United Kingdom.
However, Australian citizens and visitors down under don’t have to put up with any of these restrictions or worry about potentially having their online activities monitored.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect a user’s online travels from prying eyes, while opening access to content that might normally be blocked to users inside of Australia.
In this article, I’ll be providing important information about the services of the top 5 best VPNs for use from inside of Australia. All 5 of the VPNs will also grant access to content housed down under, making it easy to access your favorite Australian content when you’re in other countries.
How to Use a VPN From Inside Australia
Using a VPN inside Australian borders is a no-drama proposition:
- Subscribe to a VPN provider. (NordVPN is my #1 choice.)
- Install VPN app(s) on your favorite connected device(s).
- Sign into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server outside of Australia to access geo-blocked content located outside of the country, or select a server inside Australia if you’re simply looking to protect your online activities or if you’re located outside of Australia and wish to access geo-blocked content from inside of Australia.
- Enjoy your newfound internet freedom!
Best VPNs for Use in Australia
The 5 VPN providers below are the best VPNs for use from inside of Australia. The Reader’s Digest condensed version is:
- NordVPN: My top VPN to protect and enhance your online activities while down under, NordVPN offers top-notch global server coverage and well-protected connections. The provider’s app support is some of the best in the industry.
- Surfshark: Users who are looking to squeeze every last bit of value out of their hard-earned dollars will do well to take a closer look at Surfshark. The provider delivers excellent online protection and an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance, all for a low annual price.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is a solid choice all-around. Impressive global server coverage, great app support, high-end encryption and more are all available from this provider.
- CyberGhost: This provider is my top recommendation for first-time VPN users. The provider delivers excellent online protection without the need to worry about setting complicated options. Offers speedy connections to streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers.
- PrivateVPN: While this provider’s global server network doesn’t rank up there with the rest of the providers on this list, it does offer fast connection speeds and comprehensive connection protection. A “Stealth VPN” feature aids in keeping your VPN usage undercover.
When I ranked the providers on this list, I considered the following factors:
- Global server network (that includes servers in Australia)
- Security and privacy features
- Download speeds
- Devices supported
- Customer support offerings
Note: This article concentrates on using a VPN from inside Australia, much of which involves how to access blocked content from other countries. However, using a VPN is also about protecting your online activities inside the country, which is why only VPNs with servers inside of Australia are included on this list.
Here is my list of the 5 best VPNs for use inside of Australia.
NordVPN is my top choice to protect and enhance your online activities while you’re down under.
NordVPN offers 5,500 servers in 59 countries around the world. 190+ of those servers are available in 5 cities across Australia. NordVPN can swiftly unblock many Australian streaming services, such as Optus Sport and 9Now.
A no-logs policy on all of their servers, along with a cryptocurrency subscription payment option, keep your privacy well protected.
NordVPN’s connection speeds are the fastest available from any VPN provider today, offering more than enough speed for viewing HD video, playing games, and downloading and sharing large files. There are no data caps to spoil the fun.
Apps are available for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows device platforms. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms, as is router compatibility. Up to 6 devices can connect concurrently to the service.
24/7 customer support is available from the provider, featuring around-the-clock live support chat, email support and a searchable support library.
- Servers located in Australia and 58 other countries
- Blazing fast speeds
- Excellent app support
- Low-priced subscription options
- Top-notch privacy and security protections
- Apps could be more user-friendly
BEST VPN FOR AUSTRALIA:NordVPN is the best choice for VPN protection while connecting to the internet from inside of Australia. The provider offers reliable access to content around the globe. A 30-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark is an excellent budget-priced option for Australian users looking for low-priced yet reliable VPN protection.
At this point in time, Surfshark counts over 3,200 servers spread among 65+ countries, including Australia. That server count is two times what it claimed this time last year. The provider has 69+ of those servers located across Australia in 5 cities.
Surfshark protects its users’ connections with banking-level encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak prevention, and tracking cookie and advertising blocking. A “Multi-Hop” option routes your connection through twin VPN servers for added anonymity.
Surfshark never keeps any logs saved on its VPN servers, and the provider accepts Bitcoin as subscription payment.
Download speeds from this provider can easily handle high-def streaming, fast downloads of large files, and any online game I can think of.
Surfshark has most of the main device platforms covered, with apps for the Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows and Amazon Fire device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is router compatibility.
If you have a large group of users you need online protection for, take a closer look at Surfshark, as it allows an unlimited number of concurrent device connections on a single username.
There’s around-the-clock support thanks to 24/7 support chat, a contact form and a support knowledge base.
- “Multi-Hop” for double protection
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Fast connection speeds
- Plenty of server coverage, in Australia and elsewhere
- Advanced users may miss some advanced options
BEST FOR BUDGET:Surfshark is a great choice for budget-minded users looking for excellent VPN service at a low price. An unlimited concurrent connections policy will also make this the most attractive option for large groups of users. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN’s performance ranks highly, with top-notch global server coverage, speeds, app support and more.
This provider has one of the best global server networks in the VPN business. The provider has over 3,000 servers stationed in 94 countries around the globe, with plenty of servers located in 4 cities in Australia.
Exposure online is never an issue with ExpressVPN thanks to its military-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention. The provider’s split-tunneling feature allows users to select which apps will use the provider’s encrypted tunnel of protection.
Privacy is also something you’ll never have to worry about thanks to the service’s strict no-logs policy and its Bitcoin subscription payment policy.
Top-notch is the word to use for ExpressVPN’s protected download speeds. 4K- and HD-capable speeds are the rule of the day with this provider, and you never need to worry about bumping up against data caps with this VPN.
ExpressVPN native app support can be best described as “comprehensive.” Apps for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms are available. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
Comprehensive router features are available to protect all of your connected devices. Up to 5 devices can connect at once on the same account.
Customer support is available 24/7, thanks to always-available live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket system and a searchable support knowledge base.
- Excellent global server coverage, Australia included
- Top-notch access to geo-blocked content
- Comprehensive privacy and security protections
- Support for all popular devices
- Priced higher than most other VPN services
- Can only connect 5 devices at once
HIGH PERFORMANCE:ExpressVPN is well-rounded, supporting your connection with solid security and privacy protections and enabling you to connect on a variety of different devices. Fast speeds are a staple. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost is an optimal VPN choice for first-time VPN users and those who don’t have a lot of experience using connected devices.
CyberGhost has an excellent global server network, covering the globe with more than 6,700 servers in 90 countries, including 280+ servers split between 2 cities in Australia. Included among those are servers that are optimized for use with various streaming services, as well as for use when sharing files.
CyberGhost is easy to use but still provides as much online security protection as any other VPN. Military-level encryption, a kill switch, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention all offer industry-standard protection. In addition, the provider offers ad and tracker blocking, as well as the ability to force websites to provide secure versions of their web pages if available.
Privacy is also well protected, as the provider keeps no logs of any kind and accepts Bitcoin in return for its considerable services.
CyberGhost’s download speeds compete well with the other providers on this list, easily handling HD and 4K video, any type of online gaming, and downloading large files. There are no data caps to deal with.
A variety of easy-to-use apps are available for most popular device platforms, including the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
Numerous router makes and models are compatible with the service. Up to 7 devices can connect to the service at once on the same login credentials.
Always-on customer support includes 24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable support library.
- Excellent global server coverage
- Top-notch download speeds
- Easy-to-use apps that provide excellent protection
- Streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers
- Apps may be missing advanced options preferred by some users
- Doesn’t unblock some streaming services
BEST VPN FOR BEGINNERS:Users with little VPN experience will appreciate this provider’s easy-to-use applications and efficient protections. The provider’s server network includes plenty of servers that offer optimized file sharing and access to streaming services. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN doesn’t quite measure up to its competitors in some categories, but performs well in most others.
Perhaps the most lacking category for PrivateVPN is its global server coverage, with just 150+ servers stretched out among 60 countries around the globe, including in Wien, Australia. However, those servers do a good job of providing access to blocked content wherever they are stationed.
Government-grade encryption protects the provider’s customers’ connections, along with IPv6 and DNS leak protections. Plus, the service’s “Stealth VPN” protection hides your VPN activity by making it appear to be normal browser activity.
Your privacy is also well protected thanks to the provider never keeping server logs and offering acceptance of Bitcoin as subscription payment.
Download speeds from this provider are easily up to handling HD streaming, online gaming, and fast downloading and sharing of files. No data caps are ever imposed.
App support comes up a bit short, with apps for only the top 4 device platforms – Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. Router compatibility helps protect your other devices. Up to 6 devices can connect concurrently on a single username.
Email support, a non-searchable FAQ section, and live support chat make up PrivateVPN’s support. While the provider says the support chat feature is available 24/7, there are numerous times when the feature is unavailable. (When the chat balloon is green, someone is available.)
- Reliable access to geo-blocked content
- Stealth VPN disguises VPN usage
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Lacking in server numbers
- Lacking in app support
EXTRA PROTECTION:PrivateVPN provides reliable, if somewhat limited, access to the world outside of Australia, and does a good job of disguising your VPN use thanks to its “Stealth VPN” feature. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of PrivateVPN.
Won’t a Free VPN Work in Australia?
There are plenty of free VPN providers around these days, and I won’t claim that you can’t find one that will work in Australia. However, I will tell you that any free provider you might try will more than likely provide a disappointing experience.
Free VPNs are inconvenient at best. When you attempt to connect to a free VPN’s limited server selection, you may be forced to cool your heels in a queue before being allowed to connect.
Then, once you’re allowed to connect, you’ll either be connected to a server of the provider’s choosing or find your server selection is severely limited.
You may then find that the free VPN throttles your connection speed, slowing your online activities to a crawl. You’ll also likely be subject to daily or monthly data caps.
Privacy isn’t exactly the name of the game when you’re using a free VPN. Even “free” VPNs need to pay the bills, so some freebie VPNs will track your online travels and then sell that information to advertisers or other nosy third parties.
You may also find that your free provider will inject unwanted advertisements and tracking cookies into your browsing sessions. Tracking cookies stick around for a while, too, even after you’ve disconnected from the VPN provider’s servers.
Personally, I find it’s a better idea to pay a few bucks up front for my VPN service, as privacy and convenience mean that much to me.
What Can I Do With A VPN?
A VPN protects your online activities, while opening access to content you might not normally have access to.
A VPN offers encrypted protection for your internet connection. This prevents your online activities from being monitored by the government or your ISP (which can normally log your online activities to give to the government if so requested).
Since that encryption prevents your ISP from monitoring your online activities, it also prevents your ISP from throttling or blocking your connection simply because you’re streaming video from an unapproved streaming service, or because you’re sharing files via P2P.
An encrypted connection also comes in handy when you’re using an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot, like those found at hotels, convention centers and your favorite coffee shop.
Users of unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots are notoriously attractive targets for hackers, who attempt to steal users’ information when they are banking and shopping online, checking credit card balances, and conducting other sensitive online activities.
As we discussed earlier, a VPN can temporarily assign your device a new IP address, located in another country. This allows you to access content that you might not normally have access to.
Aussie citizens and visitors to Oz are strongly advised to subscribe to a Virtual Private Network service, like NordVPN.
NordVPN delivers in every important VPN category, delivering well-protected, fast connections, a comprehensive global server network that offers access to geo-blocked content, and excellent multi-platform app support. You’re never left to face problems alone thanks to 24/7 customer support.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.