Internet censorship in the Philippines is relatively light compared to that of some other countries in Asia.
There are no government restrictions on accessing the internet, and neither are there reports that the government monitors online chat rooms or users’ emails. ISPs are required to collect and save data for up to 6 months, if requested. A court order is required to access computer data.
Citizens in the Philippines are guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press in the country’s constitution. As a rule, the country respects these rights, despite the president’s belief that “corrupt” journalists should be assassinated.
While the Philippine government isn’t overly restrictive when it comes to internet access, there’s a possibility that they may try to access records of your internet activities. That’s where using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can come in handy.
A VPN encases your internet connection in a tunnel of encryption, protecting your online activities from observation. Any VPN worth its salt-free seasoning also doesn’t keep user logs of any kind, making it impossible for the government to access records of your past internet travel locations.
In this article, I list the 5 best VPNs for use inside of the Philippines. I also discuss the features you should look for in a provider.
How to Use Your VPN in the Philippines
To use a VPN to protect your online activities while inside Philippine borders, do the following:
- Subscribe to the VPN that best fits your needs. (I recommend ExpressVPN.)
- Install the VPN provider’s app on each of your connected devices.
- Log into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server and connect to it.
- Enjoy your online freedom and anonymity.
Best VPNs for the Philippines
I put my top VPN providers through a series of tests to determine which providers are best to use inside the The Pearl of the Orient Seas.
I found that the 5 providers listed below are the best VPNs for use while in the Philippine archipelagic state. The quick rundown is:
- ExpressVPN: This provider offers all-around protection for users who want to keep their internet activities on the down low. Military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy and an extensive global server network make ExpressVPN the #1 choice for users in the Philippines.
- NordVPN: This provider offers excellent privacy protections, above-average connection speeds and top-notch customer support, and all for a bargain price.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost provides an excellent return on investment. The provider offers the fastest connection speeds on this list, and its privacy protections are top-notch.
- IPVanish: Self-owned and -operated VPN servers mean IPVanish adds an extra layer of security between your data and outside parties. The provider’s customer support is second to none.
- PrivateVPN: This provider boasts the second-fastest connections in this lineup, as well as impressive security and privacy protections. However, their global server coverage isn’t up to the standards of other providers.
I ranked the top 5 VPNs for the Philippines using the following criteria:
- Security and privacy protections
- Connection speeds
- Global network server numbers
- Bonus for servers located inside the Philippines
- Customer support
- Native app support
Here’s my top 5 picks for the best VPNs to use in the Philippines.
ExpressVPN is the #1 choice for protecting your internet connection while inside Philippine borders. The service’s well-encrypted connections, excellent global server coverage and top-notch privacy protections earn the provider the top spot this time around.
The British Virgin Islands-based VPN provider keeps no logs of any kind connected to their customers’ online activities and offers a Bitcoin payment option.
The connections that ExpressVPN supplies are not only fast, they are well protected with military-level encryption, as well as IPv6 leak, DNS leak and kill switch protections. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to be found.
With over 3,000 servers stationed in 94 countries, ExpressVPN has the globe covered, providing optimal access to blocked content. Some of those servers are located in the Philippines, offering access to local services when away from home.
Customer support includes 24/7 live support chat, a trouble ticket system, email support, and searchable support and troubleshooting resources.
App support is another department where the provider scores well. Apps are available for the Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Chromebook and Amazon Fire platforms. Safari, Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer service provides content-barrier-busting power for smart TVs, game consoles and set-top streaming boxes. Keep in mind, though, that MediaStreamer does not keep your activities incognito like the VPN service does.
- Thorough multi-platform support
- P2P file sharing on all servers
- Excellent customer support
- Top-notch privacy and security
- Wide-ranging global server coverage
- Concurrent connections limited to 3
BEST VPN FOR THE PHILIPPINES:ExpressVPN is the best VPN available for protecting your online travels while in the Philippines. Comprehensive app support and global server coverage are backed up by excellent customer service. A 30-day money-back guarantee makes trying the provider a no-risk proposition.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN delivers excellent protection for your online travels, offering above-average protection for a below-average price.
All privacy protections present and accounted for at this provider, thanks to a no-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option. Military-grade encryption, obfuscated servers and the ability to block malware and ads all add up to optimal security.
NordVPN offers fast connections, and it imposes no data caps or bandwidth limitations.
NordVPN’s global server coverage tallies in at 5,200+ servers in 60 countries. None of those servers are located in the Philippines, but a large number of their servers are located in the Asia-Pacific region.
While NordVPN is one of the most reliable VPNs around, their customer support is there if you ever do need it, including email support, around-the-clock chat support and a searchable support library.
This provider’s multi-platform support includes apps for the Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux and Android TV platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
While up to 6 devices can use NordVPN’s servers on a single login, you can protect all of your devices by taking advantage of the service’s comprehensive router compatibility.
- 5,200+ servers in 60 countries
- Excellent app and browser support
- Great value for the money
- Top-notch privacy and security protection
- Apps aren’t beginner-friendly
BUDGET-FRIENDLY VPN:If you’re looking for comprehensive VPN protection that won’t break the bank, look no further. NordVPN delivers all the VPN protection you need, with above-average protected connections and excellent customer support. A 30-day money-back guarantee has you covered.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
CyberGhost is the best option for new VPN users who are looking for blazing connection speeds.
A strict no-logs policy and a willingness to accept Bitcoin means your privacy is well covered at CyberGhost. Military-grade encryption, kill switch protection, ad blocking and more all make the scene.
This provider delivers the fastest speeds on this list, and data caps and bandwidth restrictions are nowhere to be seen.
CyberGhost’s global server network consists of 3,600+ servers in 60 countries around the world. No servers to be found in the Philippines, but plenty of them are found nearby.
In the unlikely event that you have issues with CyberGhost’s VPN service, you can rely on live support chat, a searchable support library and a trouble ticket system.
The provider’s apps are all easy to use, making CyberGhost a great option for new VPN users. iOS, Android, Windows and macOS apps are available, along with apps for the Android TV and Amazon Fire device lineup. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
If you find CyberGhost’s generous 7 simultaneous connections allowance to be restricting, you can protect all of your connected devices via a single access point thanks to the service’s router support.
- Easy-to-use apps for most popular platforms
- Fastest connection speeds in the top 5
- Above-average global server network
- Top-notch privacy and security coverage
- Apps lack advanced options found in other providers’ apps
BEST VPN FOR PURE SPEED:CyberGhost is a great option for new VPN users and those looking for raw speed. If you’re into streaming, downloading huge files or doing other online activities that appreciate speed, CyberGhost is the VPN for you. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish’s self-owned and -operated server network helps ensure that third parties never have access to your personal info. Well-encrypted connections and outstanding customer support also make an appearance.
Your connection stays secure with IPVanish thanks to the provider’s fast, highly-encrypted connections. Kill switch protection, auto-reconnect and DNS leak protection all add to the protection. Data caps and bandwidth limitations never restrict your online fun.
IPVanish’s privacy protection is a bit of a mixed bag. While the provider keeps no logs and owns and maintains its own server network, it lacks a cryptocurrency subscription payment option.
With over 1,300 servers in 50+ countries around the globe, IPVanish can probably unblock whatever content you’re jonesing for. It has 6 servers located in the Philippines, in case you need a taste of home while you’re out and about.
IPVanish has you covered when it comes to support, with its email support, 24/7 support chat and searchable support library options.
Although the provider doesn’t offer browser extensions, it does offer apps for the Chromebook, iOS, macOS, Android, Windows and Amazon Fire platforms.
For devices not included on the above list, or for those of you who need more than 10 simultaneous connections, IPVanish’s router compatibility will cover everything.
- Owns and operates its global server network
- 10 simultaneous connections allowed on one account
- Top-notch security
- No browser extensions
- No Bitcoin payment option
EXTRA-SECURE SERVERS:IPVanish’s self-owned and -operated server network keeps third-party wildcard operators out of the security equation. Its well-encrypted connections protect you online. It would be nice if the provider bumped their 7-day money-back guarantee up to the 30-day industry standard.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
PrivateVPN delivers the second-speediest connections in this roundup and allows P2P on all of the servers in its admittedly compact network of servers.
“Private” is in the name of this provider, and it delivers in the privacy department. PrivateVPN keeps no user logs of any kind and helps keep your payment info undercover with a Bitcoin payment option.
PrivateVPN’s speedy connections never carry monthly data caps or bandwidth restrictions. In addition, they’re well-protected thanks to military-level encryption, kill switch and auto-reconnect protection, and more.
Global server coverage is a bit thin with PrivateVPN, as the provider’s 150 servers are spread among 60 countries. They do have a server located in the Philippines, so you can check in if you travel abroad. P2P file sharing is a go on all of their servers.
If you have an issue with PrivateVPN’s service that requires an instant reply, you’d better hope the problem arises during business hours. While the provider offers live support chat, it isn’t available 24/7. There’s a contact form and an FAQ area available when no one is attending to the keyboard.
App support is rather limited too, with native apps available for the Windows, macOS, iOS and Android platforms only. No browser extensions are available. Protection for devices not on the app list is available via the provider’s router compatibility. It’ll also come in handy if you need more than 6 concurrent connections.
- Second-fastest connection speeds in top 5
- Up to 6 connections at once
- P2P file sharing on all servers
- Server coverage is spread thin
- Customer support isn’t 24/7
P2P USERS WELCOME:PrivateVPN is an excellent option for Philippines-based users who are looking for the best way to share files via torrenting. With the second-fastest connection speeds on this list and P2P activity allowed on all servers, PrivateVPN is the best solution for torrenters. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Protecting Me in the Philippines?
While there are plenty of “free” VPN providers, I cannot recommend using one to protect your internet-related activities while you’re inside Philippine borders.
You’ll find that most “free” VPN services are far from free, carrying hidden costs and privacy risks.
Many sans-charge VPNs make the money to keep their lights on by tracking users’ online travels, saving the info into a big ol’ file and selling it to the highest bidder. If they’re willing to sell your personal info, they’ll likely turn it over to Philippine government agents if they come calling.
Another way free VPNs make a buck or two is to inject unwanted advertisements and tracking cookies into your browsing sessions. This is the opposite of the private VPN experience you’re looking for.
Time is money, and “freebit” VPN providers will cost you that way, too. You may be subjected to an extended wait before being allowed to complete your connection to a VPN server, and then you’ll find that your server selection is limited. That is, if you even get to select a server.
Once you’re online, it’s possible that you’ll see your connection speeds are throttled, and you may have a monthly data cap on your usage.
None of this sounds good, does it?
Why Do You Need a VPN in the Philippines?
Internet freedom in the Philippines got slightly worse in 2018. Freedom House considers the country “partly free.”
During the period of June 2017 to May 2018, the government shut down mobile phone networks during major events in several cities. Each time, they cited “public security” as the reason.
A number of journalists and online bloggers were charged with libel for online criticisms. Surveillance became a growing concern, following reports that the government had purchased new monitoring equipment.
A VPN protects your online activities from monitoring, and it assures access to internet content that the government may block. You can easily avoid government roadblocks by connecting to a VPN server in another country.
How to Maximize Your Online Privacy in the Philippines
While you can protect your online activities with a single click in most VPN apps, you should also take advantage of the extra protection that’s available with just a few extra clicks.
If available, be sure to turn on
- Connection obfuscation (disguises your VPN usage as normal internet traffic)
- Connection “scrambling” (another form of connection obfuscation)
- Kill switch protection (kills your internet connection if the connection to the VPN server is lost)
- Auto-reconnect (automatically reestablishes your connection to the VPN server if there’s an accidental drop)
and any other features designed to hide your online antics.
A Note About Using VPN Browser Extensions
You may have noticed that many of the VPNs I review offer browser extensions. These extensions, usually available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms – and occasionally the Safari platform – protect your browser sessions with a click of the mouse.
While these are quite convenient, keep in mind that only your in-browser activities are being protected when using an extension. All other activities on your device, such as torrenting, streaming and other internet-related activities, are still left open to observation and monitoring.
If you’re using your browser to pay a bill, check your bank balance or do some shopping, the VPN extension will protect you adequately. However, if you’re using other apps and services outside of your browser, be sure to fire up your VPN provider’s app to protect all of your online antics.
What Else Can I Use a VPN For?
While most folks likely think of a VPN as a way to protect their online activities from the prying eyes of ISPs, government types and hackers, a VPN can do so much more.
A VPN can also make it appear that you’re in another location. While you might be located in Quezon City, a VPN can make it appear as if you’re in New York City. This opens access to websites, services and other internet activities that might normally be blocked in your region.
Some ISPs have been known to throttle a user’s internet connection when they access sites or services that aren’t on the ISP’s list of “approved” sites. A VPN can prevent that from happening.
If you reside in or are visiting the Philippines, you’re advised to use a Virtual Private Network to protect and enhance your online activities.
By using a VPN – like my top choice, ExpressVPN – you’ll protect your online travels from observation and tracking, keep your browsing sessions hidden and never have to worry about anyone else knowing what files you share or movies you watch.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.