Freedom House gives Vietnam an aggregate 2019 Freedom on the Net Score of 24/100, or, more simply, “Not Free” (0 = least free, 100 = most free).
Online freedom in Vietnam continues to deteriorate. A new cybersecurity law that went into effect in January 2019 gives the government sweeping power on internet censorship and access to user data.
While social media is still available in the country, freedom of speech is policed. Facebook removed over 1,500 pieces of content from human rights activists, organizations and normal users between July and December 2018 at the government’s request.
Streaming services like Netflix and YouTube are available in the country, but the available content on streaming services can vary significantly from other countries. Plus, the Vietnamese government has requested YouTube to remove thousands of clips over the last few years.
File torrenting is not illegal in Vietnam, and the country is a popular location for illegal streaming hosts. The U.S. has included Vietnam on a “piracy watchlist.”
Vietnamese internet users can ensure they won’t be affected by great firewalls or the lack of internet access to online content in other countries by using a tool called a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN offers two advantages to internet users.
First, a VPN protects all of your online activities from the prying eyes of the government, your Internet Service Provider and hackers.
Second, a VPN enhances your online life by “spoofing” your geographical location by issuing a virtual IP address, opening access to locals-only content in other regions of the world.
In this article, I’ll be taking a look at 5 top VPN service providers that deliver the best online protection and enhancement for all of your Vietnam-based internet activities.
How to Use a VPN in Vietnam
Using a VPN inside Vietnam is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (4, 5):
- Subscribe to a VPN provider. (ExpressVPN is my top recommendation.)
- Install the provider’s app(s) on your device(s).
- Sign into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN inside of Vietnam to protect your internet activities while inside the country or to access Vietnamese content from outside of the country. This will hide your real IP address for online privacy.Users looking to access content in another country while inside Vietnam should select a server in the country of their choice.
- Enjoy your internet freedom!
Best VPN Service Providers for Use in Vietnam
These top 5 VPNs offer the best protection and enhancement for your online activities while inside Vietnamese borders. The quick rundown is as follows:
- ExpressVPN: This #1 VPN delivers excellent protection for all of your internet activities. ExpressVPN also provides reliable access to geographic blocked content in most of the free world. Fast, well-protected connections for all popular devices are to be found here.
- NordVPN: If you’re a user who’s looking for a reliable VPN service that still leaves a few dong in your billfold, you’ll appreciate NordVPN. The provider delivers reliable access to an above-average global server network, all for a more than reasonable price.
- CyberGhost: Newbie VPN users or users looking for an easy-to-use, yet powerful VPN are advised to look in this provider’s direction. A selection of easy-to-use apps provides one-click access to a huge global server network, which includes servers optimized for both streaming and file sharing.
- PrivateVPN: This provider’s global server network is spread a bit thin, but it does a good job of working well with what it has available. The provider’s “Stealth VPN” feature disguises your VPN activity to look like normal internet traffic.
- Surfshark: The provider delivers fast connections from a small but fast-growing global server network. While it offers fast connections to geo-blocked content, some will find its unlimited concurrent connections policy its most attractive feature.
When ranking these providers, I considered the following:
- Global server locations, with servers in Vietnam
- Security features and user online privacy protections
- Download speeds
- Multi-platform app support
- Customer support offerings
The 5 top VPN service providers for use in Vietnam are:
ExpressVPN is the top choice for reliable VPN protection from inside of Vietnam. The provider offers well-protected connections to geo-blocked content around the globe.
The provider’s VPN server global network includes 3,000+ servers located in 94+ countries, including Vietnam.
All of your online activities are protected from observation thanks to the provider’s use of military-grade encryption protocols, local or virtual IP addresses, an internet kill switch option, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. A split-tunneling advanced feature allows you to designate which apps will use the ExpressVPN encrypted tunnel.
The provider’s strict no server logging policy and Bitcoin subscription payment option keep things covered on the privacy end of things. Plus, ExpressVPN’s “TrustedServer” technology wipes a VPN server’s data each time it is rebooted, thanks to the servers running entirely in RAM, with no data ever being written to a physical hard disk.
The provider delivered the fastest download speeds among all of the providers included in my most recent connection speed tests. There’s plenty of bandwidth, actually unlimited bandwidth for all of your favorite online activities, including 4K video streaming, online gaming and sharing large files. (This all depends on your usual connection speeds, of course.) No data caps to worry about here!
It seems as if every popular device is connected to the internet these days, and ExpressVPN provides app support for the most popular devices. These include Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows devices.
The provider’s Firefox and Chrome browser extensions provide optimal protection for your browser sessions, while its extensive router compatibility ensures that all of your connected devices are well protected. Up to 5 devices can connect concurrently on a single username.
Always-available customer support includes 24/7 live support chat, a trouble ticket system, email support and a searchable support database.
- Servers around the globe (including Vietnam)
- Fast connection speeds
- Reliable access to most geo-blocked content
- Comprehensive privacy and excellent security
- Apps for all popular devices
- Priced higher than many other VPN services
BEST VPN FOR VIETNAM:Vietnamese residents and visitors to the country will appreciate ExpressVPN’s top-notch online protection, as well as the fast connections that the service’s global server network provides. The provider delivers reliable access to geo-blocked local content around the globe.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN is the budget-priced VPN option on this list thanks to its low-priced multi-year subscription option and its above-average services.
At last check, the provider boasted over 5,500 servers in 58+ countries (including Vietnam). While that is average for a quality VPN provider, it should be noted NordVPN provides reliable access to geographically blocked local content. They do this by issuing a new IP address for the country of choice.
Online security features include government-grade powerful encryption, an internet kill switch option, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. Plus, you can optionally block online ads and malware if you wish.
With a strict no-server-logs policy and a private cryptocurrency payment option, NordVPN does a great job of protecting your privacy.
Admittedly, NordVPN’s download speeds are not the fastest of this bunch, but they should not be considered as slow. The provider delivers plenty of bandwidth, easily handling online gaming, video streaming and file sharing. The provider never limits your online fun, as it has no data caps of any kind.
The provider’s app support has all of the popular device platforms covered, including Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows devices.
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available to protect your web browsing, and router compatibility protects all of your connected devices. Up to 6 devices can connect simultaneously on the same login.
Customer support is a 24/7 proposition, thanks to around-the-clock live support chat, email support and a searchable support knowledgebase.
- Servers in 58+ countries – including Vietnam
- App support for all popular devices
- Low-priced multi-year subscription options
- Excellent privacy and security protections
- Download speeds could be better
BEST BUDGET-PRICED VPN:NordVPN is the best option on this list for budget-minded Vietnamese users who don’t want to sacrifice service for a low price. The provider’s services compare well with other providers on this list, and comes up lacking in only a few service categories. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Users with little to no experience using a VPN, or users looking for an easy-to-use, yet powerful VPN provider, will appreciate CyberGhost.
CyberGhost’s global server network includes an impressive 6,300+ servers stationed in more than 85 countries, including Vietnam. A large number of those servers are optimized for file sharing and streaming from various streaming services.
Those servers all provide connections that are shielded with bank-grade powerful encryption protocols, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. Ad and tracker blocking is also an option, as is the ability to force a website to serve up HTTPS versions of their pages, if available.
There are no loose ends to worry about on the privacy end of things thanks to CyberGhost’s strict no data retention policy and its private Bitcoin subscription payment option.
The provider’s servers deliver some of the fastest connection speeds I’ve seen, with plenty of bandwidth for viewing 4K video streams, enjoying online gaming or sharing large files. Plus, no data caps will ever spoil the fun.
The provider’s comprehensive app support includes easy-to-use options for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms.
These apps all offer one-click access to VPN protection, without needing to deal with a load of complicated settings.
You can take advantage of their comprehensive router protection to protect all of your connected devices via a single point of access, and Chrome and Firefox extensions protect your browser activity. Up to 7 devices can connect at once on a single login.
The provider’s around-the-clock support includes 24/7 support chat, email support, a trouble ticket system and a searchable support library.
- Servers in Vietnam and 85+ other countries
- Download speeds can handle any popular online pastime
- Easy-to-use apps for all popular devices
- Servers optimized for streaming and file sharing
- May lack some options that advanced users prefer
BEST VPN FOR NEWBIES:Users with little to no VPN experience, or users who are looking for easy-to-use, yet powerful VPN protection, will appreciate CyberGhost’s offering. The provider delivers easy, one-click access to a global server network with streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN offers excellent online protection and delivers reliable access to geographic blocked local content in the areas where it has servers.
The provider is a bit lacking in the global server category, as it currently has only 150+ servers stationed in 59+ countries, including Vietnam. That said, the provider delivers reliable access to blocked local content in those countries.
One of the high points for PrivateVPN is the provider’s comprehensive online protection. Your online travels are protected by military-level encryption, an internet kill switch, and IP leak protection. A proprietary “Stealth VPN” feature keeps your VPN usage incognito, as it makes it appear to be ordinary browser traffic.
As for privacy protection, you won’t have any worries there thanks to PrivateVPN’s Bitcoin subscription payment option, as well as its no-server-logs-ever policy.
The provider’s connections deliver all of the bandwidth you’ll need for streaming video, gaming online, or sharing and downloading files. No data caps means no limit to the fun.
While app support is limited to the Android, iOS, macOS and Windows platforms, most folks will do just fine with those limitations.
In addition, there are setup instructions for using the VPN with Linux devices, as well as information on how to use your router with the service. Up to 6 devices can connect simultaneously on a single username.
The provider claims 24/7 support chat, but the website’s chat balloon isn’t always green, which indicates someone is attending to the chat service. However, email support and an FAQ help section are always available.
- Speedy connections
- Stealth VPN feature keeps VPN usage undercover
- Up to 6 concurrent connections
- Global server coverage is thin at best
- App support is also a bit thin
HIDES YOUR VPN ACTIVITY:PrivateVPN has its high and low points, but it all adds up to above-average VPN service that does an excellent job of protecting Vietnamese people. The provider’s Stealth VPN feature ensures your VPN activity won’t stick out like a sore thumb. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of PrivateVPN.
Surfshark hasn’t been around as long as many of the better-known VPN providers, but it is quickly gaining a reputation as a reliable VPN.
The provider’s global server network is small but snowballing, and it currently has 1,700+ servers stationed in 60+ countries, Vietnam included. That count is more than double what it was a year ago.
All of those servers provide connections protected with banking-grade strong encryption protocols, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protections. Tracking cookie and ad blocking is also available. The provider offers double encryption and anonymity via its “Multi-Hop” server option, which routes your connection through twin VPN servers.
Your privacy is protected by the provider’s no data retention policy, as well as a Bitcoin subscription payment option.
App support is a plus with this provider thanks to app availability for the Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows and Amazon Fire device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available, as is compatibility with numerous router makes and models. The provider offers a somewhat unusual unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
Around-the-clock customer support consists of a 24/7 live agent chat option, a contact form and a searchable knowledge base.
- “Multi-Hop” VPN option doubles encryption and anonymity
- Unlimited concurrent connection allowance
- Fast download speeds
- Global server coverage is thin, but improving
- Monthly subscription options are a bit pricey
UNLIMITED “MULTI-HOP” VPN CONNECTIONS:Surfshark will prove to be an attractive option for those looking for VPN protection for large groups of users. Security-minded users will also be attracted, thanks to its “Multi-Hop” VPN protection. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
Why Not Use a Free VPN?
I’m not going to claim that you can’t find a free VPN that will work from inside of Vietnam, because you certainly can. However, I will say that I’m willing to bet you’ll be disappointed with it.
Free VPNs lack one very important thing: privacy.
While a “free” VPN may provide its services without charging you a fee, it still needs to make money. Many VPN providers of this type will track their users’ online activities, then sell that private information to advertisers and other parties that are willing to pay for it.
Meanwhile, other freebie VPNs will insert tracking cookies and ads into their users’ browsing sessions. Free VPNs aren’t looking so private now, are they?
You’ll also find that free VPNs are inconvenient and don’t perform well. First of all, when you attempt to connect to a free VPN, you may find you’re forced to cool your heels in a virtual waiting room, until a slot opens up on one of the provider’s free servers.
Then, once you’re given the green light, you’ll either be automatically connected to a server, or be faced with a limited number to choose from.
Once you’re connected, you may find that the free VPN severely throttles your connection speeds. That’s because VPN services reserve the lion’s share of their server bandwidth for use by paying customers. You’ll also find that most free VPNs will cap your daily or monthly data usage. This is also to reserve most of the bandwidth for paying customers.
What Advantages Does a VPN Provide?
A Virtual Private Network is the best tool available to enhance and protect all of your online activities in Vietnam or anywhere else in the world.
A VPN protects your online activities by encasing your internet connection in a tunnel of encrypted protection. This prevents outsiders – like the government, your Internet Service Provider or hackers – from monitoring your online travels.
The powerful encryption protocols also prevents your ISP from throttling your internet connection if they were to discover that you’re engaging in file sharing or that you’re streaming video from “unapproved” streaming providers.
Another way a VPN’s encryption comes in handy is when you’re using an unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspot at your local Starbucks, or when you’re staying at a hotel. Most public hotspots are unencrypted, meaning other users on the hotspot can monitor your online activities, leaving you open to having your credit card and banking information stolen.
As for enhancement, a VPN provides access to a wealth of geo-blocked local content that you normally do not have from your part of the world. A VPN can make it appear as if you are connecting from a different part of the world, meaning the online content in that part of the world is now available.
I strongly advise Vietnamese residents and visitors to Vietnam to investigate the advantages that a Virtual Private Network offers.
My #1 choice for top-notch VPN protection is ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN offers optimal performance in every single VPN service provider category.
A comprehensive global server network delivers well-protected connections that deliver speedy downloads, providing access to geo-blocked content around the globe. Apps for all popular device platforms are available, and 24/7 customer support is always available.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.
VPN for Vietnam FAQ
⭐Why Doesn’t Vietnam Have Internet Censorship Like China?
Vietnam does censor the internet, but doesn’t restrict it as much as China’s “Great Firewall” does. The scope of Vietnamese government censorship is more restricted, focusing on targeting political dissidents, terrorism, fake news, political opposition and narcotics.
⭐Is Using a VPN to Stream Media Legal From Vietnam?
Using a VPN to stream media from Vietnam is legal. However, if a streaming service discovers you’re using a VPN to access their content, they may block the IP address you’re using from accessing their servers. This makes it important to use a VPN that has the resources to restore access when an IP address it uses is blocked.
⭐When Was Facebook Blocked in Vietnam?
Facebook was blocked in Vietnam for two weeks back in May 2016. This was due to the protests of dissidents. In 2017, Facebook – in an attempt to appease the Vietnamese government – removed 160 “toxic” accounts for anti-Communist Party posts. In 2018, the government designated a military unit to block posts containing “wrong views” online.