Although internet freedom in Indonesia improved slightly in 2018 thanks to a decrease in attacks and threats against citizens for their online activities, censorship of online content remains strongly in force.
Government authorities routinely blocked social media platforms on the pretense of the fight against fake news, pornography and terrorism.
The government’s ability to block and filter web content increased in January of 2018, with the launch of “Cyber Drone 9,” a web-crawling system designed to proactively detect content violations. A 58-strong task force reviews the content the “drone” flags before it’s blocked.
Indonesian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) handle the actual blocking of websites, either by order of the government task force or at their own discretion. Popular websites like Reddit, Netflix and Vimeo were blocked for offering content that is deemed vulgar or obscene.
Over 40% of internet users in Indonesia use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the internet in their country.
A VPN keeps your online activities flying under the radar by encasing it in a tunnel of impenetrable encryption. This prevents nosy third parties like governments and their pals the ISPs from monitoring, recording or blocking your online activities.
A VPN also makes it possible to tunnel under the walls that governments and ISPs erect that prevent you from accessing online content that they have deemed unfit for your consumption, such as streaming services or social networks.
In this article, I review the top 5 best VPNs for use in Indonesia.
How to Use Your VPN in Indonesia
To use a VPN to protect your online activities while inside Indonesian borders, do the following:
- Subscribe to the VPN that best fits your needs.
- Install the VPN service’s app on all of your internet-connected devices.
- Log into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server and connect to it.
- Enjoy your newly acquired online anonymity.
Best VPNs for Indonesia
In order to determine the top 5 VPN services for use inside Indonesian borders, I ran my top VPN providers through an extensive battery of tests.
The 5 providers listed below provide the best protection and offer the best access to blocked content while inside Indonesia. The quick rundown is:
- ExpressVPN: The top provider in this roundup delivers comprehensive privacy and security for all your online activities, as well as extensive global server coverage and content-unblocking power.
- NordVPN: Number 2 on our list offers above-average connection speeds, top-notch customer support and excellent connection protection.
- CyberGhost: This low-price leader may surprise you with its connection speeds, the fastest in the top 5. Great for VPN beginners thanks to easy-to-use apps.
- IPVanish: IPVanish provides a little extra privacy for its customers, thanks to owning and operating its server farms instead of enlisting third-party operators.
- PrivateVPN: This provider delivers comprehensive privacy protections and fast speeds. However, its server count is very low.
I ranked the top 5 Indonesian VPNs by weighing the following factors:
- Ability to unblock content
- Security and privacy protections
- Fast connections, with unlimited bandwidth and no data caps
- Global network server numbers
- Bonus for Indonesia-based servers
- Customer support
- Native app support
Here’s my top 5 picks for the best VPNs to use while residing in or visiting Indonesia.
ExpressVPN is the best available VPN for protecting your internet connection and all of its accompanying secrets while inside Indonesian borders. It also does an excellent job of unblocking content from popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
The provider, based in the British Virgin Islands, keeps no logs of any kind, ensuring no records of your online travels are available. A Bitcoin payment option keeps your payment info incognito.
ExpressVPN’s fast connections are well protected with military-grade encryption and kill switch, IPv6 and DNS leak protections. Thankfully, data caps and bandwidth limitations are not a part of the feature set.
Indonesian users can make use of ExpressVPN’s impressive global server coverage. The provider has over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, including some stationed in Indonesia, providing access to Indonesia-centric content when you’re out of the country.
ExpressVPN’s customer support is always there for you, with 24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system and searchable support materials ready and waiting.
Users of Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Chromebook and Amazon Fire devices will find ready app support, and Safari, Firefox and Chrome users will find browser extensions are available.
Smart TV, game console and set-top streaming box fans can access content from out of country with the provider’s MediaStreamer DNS service. (However, it doesn’t encrypt your connection like the full VPN service does.)
- Comprehensive customer support
- Fast connections
- Apps for most popular platforms
- Outstanding global server coverage
- Excellent privacy and security
- Simultaneous connections limited to 3
BEST VPN FOR INDONESIA:ExpressVPN is the best VPN for protecting your internet connection while living in or visiting Indonesia. The provider’s excellent global server coverage, top-notch customer service and reliable connections all add up to the best VPN in this lineup. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN offers outstanding protection for internet users who are looking for excellent connection protection at a price that won’t break the bank. Streaming lovers will appreciate the VPN’s ability to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other popular streaming services.
Your privacy is never at risk with NordVPN thanks to its strict no-logs policy to protect your online travels and a Bitcoin payment option to protect your subscription payment information.
The protection continues when it comes to NordVPN’s speedy connections. The provider protects your internet connection with military-grade encryption, the ability to block ads and malware, and more. The service never restricts their customers’ usage with data caps or bandwidth limitations.
5,100+ servers in 60 countries add up to comprehensive server coverage, offering access to content from around the world. 5 of those servers are located inside Indonesia, ensuring you’ll always be able to stay connected to local resources.
Customer support is an around-the-clock feature at NordVPN, with 24/7 live support chat, email support and a searchable support knowledge base.
The provider delivers comprehensive native app support thanks to apps for the Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux and Android TV platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions can also be had.
Up to 6 devices can connect to the service at the same time via a single login. If you need more or want to protect devices not on the above list, you can protect them all via a single access point thanks to NordVPN’s excellent router support.
- Great app and browser support
- Bargain price
- More than 5,100 servers in 60 countries
- Top-notch privacy and security protection
- Apps could be more user-friendly
BUDGET VPN AN EXCELLENT VALUE:NordVPN is a great option for the VPN user that is looking for champagne service at a beer bottle price. NordVPN provides reliable, well-protected connections and above-average global server coverage. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Cyberghost is the top choice for maverick VPN users who feel the need – the need for speed. That speed comes in particularly handy when unblocking services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
CyberGhost provides the fastest connection speeds in the top 5, but it doesn’t leave protection in the dust.
Protected by military-level encryption, kill switch protection and ad blocking protection, the provider’s reliable connections will keep your browsing secure. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about data caps of bandwidth restrictions.
With nearly 3,700 servers in 60 countries, you’ll be able to put that speed to good use, downloading or streaming content from around the globe. 8 of those servers are based in Indonesia, so you can stay in touch when you’re roaming the globe.
CyberGhost delivers reliable service, but in the unlikely event you do need assistance, you can take advantage of their live support chat, trouble ticket tracking system and searchable support information.
Easy-to-use apps are available for the iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Android TV and Amazon Fire device lineups. Browser protection is available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms.
Although CyberGhost allows a generous 7 simultaneous connections to their servers on the same login, you might need to protect more devices or different devices than listed above. In that case, you can take advantage of the provider’s top-notch router support.
- Fastest connection speeds in the top 5
- Wide global server network
- Easy-to-use apps for popular platforms
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Apps lack advanced options found in apps from other providers
BEST VPN FOR PURE SPEED:CyberGhost is your best bet for fast, reliable connections. Users that download or share large files will appreciate the VPN’s raw download speeds. A generous 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish provides a layer of protection that’s unavailable from most other VPN providers. Their self-owned and -operated server network ensures third-party wildcards are kept out of the security equation.
IPVanish offers fast, highly-encrypted connections that include kill switch protection, DNS leak protection and an auto-reconnect option (which immediately reestablishes your connection with the VPN servers in case of an accidental drop).
These features provide excellent protection for your connected activities. In addition, data caps and bandwidth limitations are never a worry.
While IPVanish keeps its servers safe from third-party management intrusion, its privacy protection isn’t as comprehensive as what most other providers deliver.
Although the provider keeps no logs of any kind, it doesn’t accept any form of cryptocurrency, leaving your payment privacy less than totally secure.
IPVanish provides a good amount of content-unblocking power, with 1,300+ servers located in 50+ countries around the globe. The service does an excellent job of unblocking streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Spotify. Although it doesn’t have servers located in Indonesia, it does have them stationed nearby.
IPVanish’s 24/7 live support chat, email support and comprehensive support library all add up to full support coverage.
No browser extensions are available form IPVanish, although the provider does offer native apps for the iOS, macOS, Android, Chromebook, Windows and Amazon Fire platforms.
For other devices, or if you need more than 10 simultaneous connections, you can use the provider’s router support to protect all of your devices via a single point of access.
- Excellent customer support
- Owns and operates its global server network
- 10 simultaneous connections allowed on one account
- Lacks browser extensions
- Lacks Bitcoin payment option
EXTRA-SECURE SERVERS:IPVanish keeps third parties out of the privacy equation thanks to owning and operating their global server network. Comprehensive security protections and 10 simultaneous connections add to the appeal. A money-back guarantee longer than 7 days would be nice.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
The second-fastest connections in this roundup come via PrivateVPN’s admittedly sparse server network.
When “private” is part of a service’s name, it needs to excel in protecting its clients’ privacy. PrivateVPN does exactly this by holding to a strict “no-logs” policy and accepting cryptocurrency in return for its services.
P2P fans will appreciate PrivateVPN’s fast connection speeds. Plus, the connections are well-protected using military-grade encryption, as well as kill switch and auto-reconnect protections. No data caps or bandwidth restrictions to slow your roll.
While PrivateVPN’s global server count of 150 servers is much less than most other providers, it does place them well, as they are spread out among 60 countries, Indonesia included. The provider does a top-notch job of unblocking U.S.-based streaming services like Netflix and HBO Go.
Customer service is also a bit thinner than other providers. While live support chat is available, it isn’t on a 24/7 basis. A contact form and a non-searchable FAQ area are also available.
App support runs a bit thin also, with only apps for the big 4 platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS and Android). No browser extensions, either. However, if you need to protect other devices, or you need to protect more than 6 devices at once, the provider does offer router features.
- Seriously fast speeds
- 6 connections allowed at once
- P2P file sharing allowed on all servers
- Server coverage is spread mighty thin
- Customer support lacks 24/7 chat option
BEST TORRENTING SOLUTION:PrivateVPN is an excellent option for Indonesian P2P fans, as the provider delivers excellent speeds and allows P2P file sharing on all servers. The provider’s privacy and security protections are top-notch. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Why Do You Need a VPN in Indonesia?
While Indonesian internet freedom may have improved slightly in 2018, with a Freedom House Freedom Score of “partly free,” there are still plenty of good reasons to use a VPN while you’re in the country.
During the period of June 2017 to May 2018, the Indonesian government blocked social media platforms under the pretext of protecting users from fake news, pornography and terrorism. Censors continued to target LGBTI content.
Meanwhile, the newly-implemented “Cyber Drone 9” web crawler system began proactively detecting content violations.
While authorities claim they are targeting “hate speech,” that term has sometimes been broadened from attacks against minority groups to include hostile remarks against public officials.
A VPN can help protect against privacy violations like those listed above by encrypting your internet connection. Encryption is like a protective tunnel that hides your online activities from the prying eyes of inquisitive third parties, like the Indonesian government.
A VPN can also “spoof” your IP address, temporarily making it appear that you are located in another region. This allows you to access online content and services that might normally be blocked in your area.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Protecting Me in Indonesia?
Although you might be able to find a “free” VPN that will work while you’re in Indonesia, I strongly recommend against using such a service for any privacy-related internet concerns.
“Free” VPNs do not protect your privacy well, and they can actually cost you in ways you might not expect.
Any VPN needs to have some sort of income stream to keep the lights on and the servers running. Many “free” providers do this by logging their customers’ online activities and then selling that info to advertisers and other interested outsiders. Do you really think a freebie VPN provider is going to put up much of a fight if the government comes calling?
VPNs of the free type are also known to inject unwanted tracking cookies and advertisements into their clients’ browsing sessions.
In addition, you’ll pay for a “free” VPN with your time. When you log into many VPNs of this type, you may face an extended wait before being allowed to connect to the provider’s limited server network.
Once you’re given the OK to connect, your server selection is limited – that is, if you’re even allowed to select a server.
Last but not least, you may also find that your free VPN throttles your connection speeds and places a monthly data cap on your usage. Does any of this sound like the way to go?
How to Maximize Your Online Privacy in Indonesia
You’ll find that most VPN apps will provide you excellent online protection if you simply click “auto-connect” and accept all of the app’s default settings. However, there is added protection available with just a few extra clicks of your mouse.
If they’re available, turn on features such as
- Connection “scrambling” (which disguises your VPN usage as normal online activity)
- Server obfuscating (which also hides the fact that you’re using a VPN server)
- Auto-reconnect (which automatically reconnects you to the VPN server if there’s an accidental connection drop)
- Kill switch protections
and any other feature designed to keep your online activities undercover.
A Note About Using VPN Browser Extensions
Many VPN providers offer browser extensions, which are a convenient way to protect your browser sessions. However, please keep in mind that these extensions don’t protect all of your online activities in the way that a VPN app does.
When you use a browser extension, the VPN protects only the activities you engage in through the browser.
If you are engaging in other internet-related activities, such as streaming, file sharing and other activities outside of a browser, you should always turn on full VPN protection by using a VPN app.
What Else Are VPNs Good For?
It’s likely that the first thing you think of when hearing “VPN” is its ability to encrypt your internet connection and keep your activities undercover. However, a VPN can do so much more than just protect your connection.
A VPN can also “spoof” your location, making it appear as if you’re located somewhere else. While you might be physically located in Jakarta, a VPN can make it appear to the outside world that you’re sitting in Chicago.
A VPN can also protect against connection throttling, as some ISPs have been known to do when their users access “unapproved” content.
In addition, a VPN can protect you at a public Wi-Fi hotspot, keeping hackers from stealing your banking, shopping and other information.
Indonesian internet users are strongly advised to use a Virtual Private Network to keep their online activities flying under the radar.
A VPN – like my #1 choice, ExpressVPN – encrypts your internet connection, preventing outsiders from monitoring and blocking your online activities. It also opens access to content that might normally be unavailable in your area.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.