Canada, which is populated with generally polite people who receive free healthcare, is a pretty cool place to reside in if you don’t mind generally chilly weather. However, the country’s laws in relation to data retention, net neutrality and mass surveillance are less than favorable.
Freedom House ranks Canada’s internet freedom status as “Free.” The organization gave the country an overall 2019 Internet Freedom Score of 87/100 (0 = Least Free, 100 = Most Free).
The country is a member of Five Eyes, an alliance of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Members of the alliance are bound by agreement to share information about their citizens, which is gathered by each country’s intelligence agencies. This can include almost any type of information, including info about a citizen’s online activities.
While Canada doesn’t actively block access to any websites or services located outside of the Great White North, many websites and services are geographically blocked by the content providers themselves due to contractual requirements or other issues.
Although Netflix is available in Canada, its available content there varies greatly from the content in other countries. Other streaming services, such as the BBC’s iPlayer, are limited to certain countries. (Although Canada was once a dominion of the United Kingdom and they still have a close relationship, iPlayer content is not available from within Canada. Wow! Those BBC blokes are strict!)
However, Canadian citizens and visitors to the Great White North need not fret over having their online travels monitored, or having their online entertainment options reduced. By subscribing to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), your online activities are kept undercover, and geo-blocked content from around the globe is available.
In this article, I’ll be offering up information about 5 VPN services that have proven to be the best for use from inside of Canada. These providers also offer excellent access to Canada-only content when you’re traveling or living abroad.
How to Use a VPN From Inside Canada
To use a VPN from inside Canada, do the following:
- Subscribe to a VPN provider. (I recommend ExpressVPN.)
- Install the provider’s app(s) on your connected device(s).
- Log into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server outside of Canada to access content in other countries, or connect to a Canadian server if you are looking to protect your online activities, or if you are outside of Canada and are looking to access Canadian content.
- Enjoy your new internet anonymity and freedom!
Best VPNs for Use in Canada
These 5 VPN providers have proven themselves to be the best VPNs for use inside of Canada. If you’re short on time, here’s the abbreviated version:
- ExpressVPN: A long-time leader in the VPN industry, ExpressVPN provides industry-standard connection protection, total global server coverage and excellent multi-platform support.
- NordVPN: This is the budget-priced VPN option. While the provider has the lowest annual subscription price on this list, its services are on a comparable level to many providers costing more.
- CyberGhost: If you’re new to the VPN world, or even if you don’t have much experience online, you’d do well to take a look at this provider. CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps offer access to a comprehensive global server network that includes access to streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers.
- IPVanish: This provider offers users an extra layer of privacy that none of the other providers on this list can match. IPVanish owns and operates its entire server network, keeping third-party contractors away from your personal info.
- Surfshark: This server comes up short in a few service categories, but makes up for it in others. While its global server coverage is a bit thin, it is working to expand it. This provider is the only one on this list to offer an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
When ranking the providers on this list, I considered the following factors:
- Global server coverage (must have Canadian servers, eh?)
- Privacy and security protections
- Connection speeds
- Level of app support
- Level of customer support
Note: It should be noted that while this article is focused on VPNs that provide optimal protection and enhancement of your Canada-based online adventures, I have only included providers that have servers based in Canada. Canadian servers are an important feature for Canadians who are either traveling or living abroad and long for a taste of home.
The 5 best VPNs for use inside of Canada are:
ExpressVPN is your best option for comprehensive VPN protection while online in the country of Canada.
This provider’s wide-ranging global server network is made up of 3,000+ servers stationed in 94 countries, including Canada.
All of your online travels are protected from prying eyes by the same strong encryption used in the banking industry, and a kill switch and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention add to the protection. A split-tunneling feature allows you to decide which applications will use the encrypted tunnel that ExpressVPN provides.
Privacy is also a high priority at ExpressVPN, as shown by the company’s no-server-logs policy and Bitcoin subscription payment option.
No matter your favorite online pastime, be it streaming, gaming or sharing files, ExpressVPN can keep up with the plan. The provider delivered the fastest download speeds in my most recent connection speed tests. Plus, they never impose any data caps on your usage.
No matter what your favorite connected device, chances are better than good that ExpressVPN has an app for it. The provider’s app selection includes options for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms.
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is extensive router support. Up to 5 devices can connect concurrently on the same account.
Always-available customer support includes 24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket system and a searchable knowledge base.
- First-rate global server coverage
- Speedy connections
- Reliable access around the globe
- Top-notch privacy and security
- Outstanding app support
- More expensive than some of its competitors
BEST VPN FOR CANADA:ExpressVPN is the #1 choice for Canadian users due to its fast connection speeds, outstanding global server network, and privacy and online security protections for every popular device platform. A 30-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
Users on a budget will want to take a close look at NordVPN. This provider offers excellent service without draining your bank account.
While this provider’s global server coverage lags a bit behind our #1 and #3 VPNs, it still offers reliable access to geo-blocked content. The provider’s network is made up of over 5,500 servers, stationed in Canada and 57 other countries.
The provider’s online protection capabilities are equal to any other VPN on this list, thanks to military-level encryption, kill switch protection, and IPv6 and DNS leak prevention. The provider’s apps also offer malware and advertisement blocking.
Privacy protection is also well represented thanks to the provider’s no-server-logs policy and a cryptocurrency subscription payment option.
NordVPN lags behind others on this list in the connection speeds category, yet still turns in a respectable performance, as it can easily handle HD streaming, online gaming and sharing of large files. No data caps to worry about with this provider.
The provider scores well in the app support column, with offerings for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows device platforms.
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available, and extensive router compatibility protects all of your connected devices. Up to 6 devices can connect to the service at once while using the same login.
24/7 customer support offers always-available live support chat, email support and a searchable support library.
- Servers in 58 countries
- Above-average app support
- Low-priced annual subscription prices
- Tip-top privacy and security protections
- Connection speeds could be faster
BEST BUDGET VPN OPTION:NordVPN is arguably the best VPN option for online users looking for reliable VPN protection at a bargain-basement price. While the provider is lacking in a few service categories, the service matches up well overall against its competitors. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Users who are new to the VPN scene or have little experience with computers would do well to investigate the possibilities that CyberGhost offers.
This provider’s global server coverage ranks among the best in the business, with over 5,800 servers installed in 89 countries around the globe, Canada included. Many of those servers are optimized for file sharing and streaming video.
All of those servers provide well-protected connections. Military-level encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention keep you protected. Plus, you’ll have the option to block trackers and ads and to force websites to serve up secure versions of their pages (if available).
The privacy end of things is also well covered, thanks to a lack of server logs and the ability to pay for your subscription using Bitcoin.
CyberGhost connection speeds provide more than enough bandwidth to view video of any resolution, play games online, and download and share files. No daily or monthly data caps are ever imposed.
The main reason I suggest CyberGhost for use by newbie VPN users is the provider’s easy-to-use apps, which are available for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
Router protection is also present and accounted for. Up to 7 devices can connect to the service at once on the same account.
24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket system and a searchable support database all add up to around-the-clock support.
- Comprehensive global server coverage
- Speedy connections
- Easy-to-use apps for most devices
- Streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers
- Advanced users might miss some options
BEST NEWBIE VPN OPTION:Novice online users who are looking for an easy-to-use, yet powerful VPN are advised to take a look at CyberGhost. The provider’s easy-to-use apps provide an easy method of connecting to the provider’s extensive server network, which includes activity-optimized servers. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish makes this list of 5 thanks to fast download speeds that are provided by a network of self-owned and -operated VPN servers, of which a good number are based in Canada.
The provider has a global network of over 1,300 VPN servers spread among 60 countries around the globe. All of those servers are owned and operated by IPVanish, unlike many VPN providers, which lease their servers from third-party companies. By owning and operating their servers, IPVanish keeps third-party hands off of your personal information.
Those servers provide military-level encrypted connections that are also protected by a kill switch, auto-reconnect, and a proprietary “scramble” feature designed to disguise your VPN traffic as normal browser activity.
IPVanish never saves any server logs, so no privacy risk there. Unfortunately, there’s no cryptocurrency payment option available.
The provider delivers above-average download speeds, making it a good candidate for users who enjoy HD streaming, online gaming, and sharing of large files. No data caps to be found here.
IPVanish has the top device platforms covered with app support, including the Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS and Amazon Fire platforms. There are setup instructions for Linux and Windows Phone devices.
Router support is available, but browser extensions are not. Up to 10 devices can connect to the service at once using a single login.
24/7 customer support chat, a searchable support database, and email support have all of the customer support bases covered.
- Plenty of servers in Canada
- Owns and operates its global server network
- Up to 10 devices can connect at once
- Short 7-day money-back guarantee period
- Short-term subscription options are expensive
EXTRA LAYER OF SECURITY:IPVanish should prove to be an attractive VPN option for users looking for that extra bit of privacy protection. The provider’s 10 simultaneous connections policy isn’t quite up to the one offered by our next contender, but it should still prove attractive to users who need multiple connections. A somewhat limiting 7-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of IPVanish.
Surfshark offers fast connections from a still small but quickly growing server network. Its unlimited concurrent connection policy will prove attractive to those looking to protect large groups of users.
Surfshark’s global server network is made up of 1,000+ servers in 61+ countries, Canada included. The provider’s numbers aren’t exactly dazzling in this department, but considering they’re twice what they had last year, they appear to be working on expanding their network.
The provider’s connection protection includes the usual banking-level encryption, a kill switch, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention. A “Multi-Hop” option routes your VPN connection through twin servers, adding extra anonymity to your online travels.
Privacy protection is served by a strict no-server-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option.
The Surfshark network serves up above-average connection speeds, delivering more than enough oomp for streaming, gaming and file sharing. The provider has no data cap restrictions whatsoever.
The provider offers apps for the Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows and Amazon Fire device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, and the provider supports various routers.
Users who are looking for VPN protection for every internet user on their entire city block will appreciate the provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
Around-the-clock support includes 24/7 support chat, a contact form and a searchable support library.
- “Multi-Hop” protection for added anonymity
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Fast connections
- Global server coverage is limited but improving
- Monthly subscription option is priced a bit high
BEST VPN FOR MULTIPLE USERS:Fast connections from a quickly-growing server network combine with top-notch security and privacy protections, and an unlimited concurrent connections allowance, to make an attractive option for large groups of users. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
Will a Free VPN Work in Canada?
I’m not going to say that a free VPN won’t work from inside of Canada, because it probably will.
However, I have to warn you, the whole “freebie” VPN experience will be less than enjoyable, and you can likely forget about the “Private” part of “Virtual Private Network.”
You’ll find that free VPNs aren’t exactly what you would call “convenient.” When you attempt to connect to a free VPN service, you may find yourself sitting in a queue with other free users, waiting for a slot on the provider’s free servers to open up.
Then, once you can connect, you may either be automatically connected, or find that you have a quite limited number of server options.
Once you’re connected, you may find that your connection speeds slow down considerably. Many sans-cost VPN providers also offer pay-for-play VPN service, so they save most of their bandwidth for paying customers and throttle the connections of free users.
You may also find your usage is limited by daily or monthly data caps. So, gamers and movie lovers should definitely not consider a free VPN service.
As for the “Private” part of “Virtual Private Network,” it’s missing a big chunk out of it when you’re using a free VPN service.
Even a “free” VPN is a for-profit business, and they need to pay their employees and keep the lights on. So, many “free” VPNs will monitor their users’ online travels and then sell that usage information to advertisers and other interested third parties.
Some freebie VPN providers have been caught injecting unwanted tracking cookies and advertisements into their users’ browser sessions. (And tracking cookies stick around for a good long while, even after you’ve logged out of the VPN provider’s servers.)
So, does any of this sound good to you? It doesn’t to me. Seems to me that paying a few bucks per month for quality VPN protection is a better bet than giving up your privacy by using a “free” VPN.
What Can I Do With A VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers multiple ways to both protect and enhance your online life.
Under the enhancement umbrella, a VPN can open access to streaming, gaming and other types of online content that you may not normally have access to.
Many streaming services are either limited to a few countries, or the content they offer varies greatly from country to country. Meanwhile, game publishers may limit special in-game content or early releases to certain regions. A VPN opens access to all of this and more.
A VPN can temporarily assign a new IP address to your connected device. An IP address is the way many streaming and gaming services identify your geographical location, so by “spoofing” a new IP address, a VPN makes it appear as if you are located somewhere else in the world, opening access to geo-blocked content you might normally be unable to access.
As for protection, there is no better way to protect your online activities from prying eyes than to use a VPN.
There are plenty of folks that would love to see what you’re up to online. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) wants to track you so they can sell your usage information to advertisers. Bad guys want to track you so they can steal your personal information. And the government wants to track you because they’re the government, it’s what they do, it’s in their DNA.
A VPN encases your internet connection in a tunnel of encryption, preventing outsiders from observing and monitoring your online travels.
Do you use public Wi-Fi hotspots like those found in hotels, coffee shops, and other public locations? Bad guys love those. Public Wi-Fi is usually unprotected, leaving your online activities open to anyone who has the urge to monitor you. That means if you do your banking, pay bills, or shop online while connected to public Wi-Fi, you are wide open to data theft.
A VPN encrypts your Wi-Fi connection, ensuring that prying eyes will be roadblocked from monitoring your online travels on the information superhighway. (Does anyone still call it that? Man, I’m old.)
Since encryption prevents your ISP from watching your online activities, it also helps prevent their throttling or blocking your connection simply because you’re engaging in “unapproved” activities like sharing files or streaming from certain providers.
Canadian residents and visitors to the Great White North are strongly recommended to investigate the protective and enhancing benefits of a Virtual Private Network, like my #1 choice, ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN offers top-notch connection protection for all popular devices, while offering fast connections to most of the world via its comprehensive global server network. The provider always has your support needs covered thanks to its 24/7 support.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.