If you’re a resident of South Korea, or if you’ll be visiting the country for pleasure or business, it’s important to know how to squeeze as much performance and freedom as possible out of your internet connection.
Why do I say “freedom”? Well, Freedom House’s 2021 Freedom on the Net report gave South Korea an internet freedom score of 67/100, which is considered “partly free.”
Why is South Korea Partly Free?
The South Korean government has often been criticized for its efforts to regulate and censor the internet in their country and for being restrictive enough for Reporters Without Borders to include the country on their “countries under surveillance” censorship list.
Popular social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are available in South Korea. However, the SK government sometimes sends “requests” to these social networks to remove items it finds objectionable, especially during election cycles.
While Netflix and other video streaming services are available for viewing in South Korea, the content available in South Korea is different from the content Netflix offers in other countries, such as the U.S.
Can a VPN Protect Me in South Korea?
Happily, there is a tool you can use to ensure that your online activities aren’t being tracked by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the government, or the guy with the nice laptop down at the coffee shop. That same tool also opens up access to streaming and other types of content from other countries.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection, preventing any third parties from monitoring your online activities. A VPN can also temporarily assign your connected device a new IP address that is located outside of South Korea, allowing you to access content that might normally be blocked from inside the country.
In this article, I’ll provide information about the seven best VPNs to use in South Korea to help you preserve your internet freedom and expand your access to online content from around the globe.
How to Use a VPN From Inside of South Korea
It’s easy to use a VPN to protect and enhance your online activities. Just follow a few easy steps:
- Subscribe to a reliable VPN provider. (NordVPN is my recommendation.)
- Install the VPN provider’s app(s) on your favorite device(s).
- Log into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server located outside of South Korea to access content from outside the country, or a server inside South Korea if you simply want to protect your online activities from observation.
- Connect to your favorite sites and services!
Best VPNs for Use in South Korea
After rigorous testing, the seven VPN providers listed below have proven to be the best VPN options for use from inside of South Korea. The condensed version is:
- NordVPN: This VPN provider is the top option for South Korean users who are looking for reliable access to the outside world. The provider’s top-notch service belies its reasonable pricing.
- Surfshark: This budget-priced provider offers a quickly-growing global server network, above-average connection speeds, and excellent security and privacy protections. Owners of growing businesses or heads of growing families are sure to appreciate the provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
- ExpressVPN: This VPN service has proven itself to provide reliable online protection for users residing in or visiting South Korea. The provider offers well-protected, fast connections that provide excellent access to content around the globe.
- CyberGhost: This provider will likely prove attractive to first-time users thanks to its easy-to-use apps. The provider offers one-click access to servers optimized for streaming, file sharing, and more.
- Private Internet Access: Reliable VPN for Singapore. This VPN provides reliable, well-protected connections to geo-controlled content from inside of Singapore and around the globe.
- PrivateVPN: Thin but solid server network. This provider delivers fast, well-encrypted connections. While its global server coverage is a bit lacking, the provider selected strategic locations around the globe.
- Atlas VPN: Comprehensive connection coverage. While this provider also sports a less than impressive global server network, it provides reliable protected access to geo-fenced content around the globe.
When ranking the top seven VPNs for use in South Korea, I considered the following factors:
- Global server network (bonus for servers in South Korea)
- Security and privacy protections
- Connection speeds
- Native app support
- Customer support
Note: While this article concentrates on using a VPN while inside of South Korea, you also want to make sure a provider has servers stationed inside the country so that you can access South Korea-only content when you’re outside of the country. Every provider on this list has servers stationed in South Korea.
Here is my list of the seven best VPNs for South Korean users.
NordVPN is the top pick in this roundup thanks to its top-notch privacy and online security protections, reliably fast connections, and comprehensive global server network.
At the time of this article, NordVPN has nearly 5,600 servers stationed in 60 countries around the globe, South Korea included. NordVPN is moving to an owned-and-operated server model, which provides extra privacy by keeping outside contractors away from customers’ personal data.
A strict no-server-logs policy as well as a cryptocurrency subscription payment option add up to optimal privacy protection. NordVPN runs all of its server operations 100% from RAM. This means no data is ever written to a physical hard drive, meaning all data is wiped when the servers are rebooted.
The provider offers the 3rd-fastest download speeds in this roundup. Their connections can easily handle HD and 4K video streaming, online gaming, and downloading/sharing of files. All depending on your usual download speeds, of course.
NordVPN native app support includes offerings for the Android, iOS, macOS (with Apple Silicon support), Windows, Amazon Fire, Android TV, and Linux platforms. Chrome, Edge and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
To protect other devices, or if you need more than 6 concurrent connections, use NordVPN’s comprehensive router support to protect all of your connected devices.
Customer support is well covered here thanks to 24/7 live support chat, email support, and a searchable knowledge base.
- Servers in 60 countries, with 10+ servers in South Korea
- 24/7 customer support
- Comprehensive privacy and security protections
- Budget-level pricing
- Super-fast connection speeds
- Somewhat cumbersome desktop application
BEST VPN FOR SOUTH KOREA:NordVPN is the top option for South Korean users. The provider offers excellent global server coverage, fast connections, and top-notch online security and privacy protections. It does all of this at a reasonable price. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark hasn’t been around as long as the other providers on this list, but it is quickly becoming a provider to contend with. In addition to comprehensive VPN service, the provider also offers low-priced subscription options that will be attractive to budget-minded users.
The provider’s global server count currently sits at over 3,200 servers, located in 95 countries. The provider offers unblocking of more than 30 Netflix libraries around the globe.
Customer connections are protected with bank-level encryption, kill switch protection, DNS and IPv6 leak preventions, and an ad-blocking feature. “MultiHop” allows you to connect through two VPN servers at once, increasing your anonymity and security.
Your privacy is also well-protected thanks to the provider’s no-server-logs rule and their acceptance of Bitcoin.
Surfshark’s connection speeds are the fastest of all of the VPN providers on this list, and they provide more than enough speed for just about any online activity you might enjoy.
Apps include offerings for the Linux, iOS, Android, Windows, macOS (with native M1 support), and Fire TV device platforms. Firefox, Edge and Chrome browser extensions are also available. The provider can be used with multiple types of routers. Surfshark offers an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
Surfshark customer support is available 24/7 thanks to a searchable support library, a support contact form, and an around-the-clock live chat option.
- Impressive global server network
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Fast connections
- Attractively low priced
- 1-month subscription plans are a bit pricey
PERFECT FOR BUDGET-MINDED VPN USERS:Surfshark users will benefit from its fast-growing server network, as well as its unlimited simultaneous connections allowance. This provider is an excellent choice for large groups of users. It is also an optimal choice for budget-minded users, thanks to its low-priced multi-year subscription options. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN offers reliable online protection and enhancement for your online activities from inside South Korea. While the provider is priced a bit dearly, it offers a good return on investment.
The ExpressVPN global server network is made up of over 3,000 servers located in 94 countries around the globe, South Korea included.
Online security is handled by military-level encryption, a kill switch option, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. A split-tunneling feature allows you to specify which apps operate inside the encrypted VPN tunnel, and which apps operate outside the protective tunnel.
Privacy is covered by the provider’s no-server-logs-ever policy and a willingness to accept Bitcoin as subscription payment. The provider also runs all of its servers 100% from RAM, never writing any data to a physical hard drive. Therefore, all data is securely wiped from ExpressVPN servers whenever they are rebooted.
ExpressVPN shines in the connection speeds department, providing plenty of speed for HD video streaming, gaming, and file sharing.
This means that depending on your usual connection speeds, the provider is more than up to streaming video, gaming online, sharing and downloading files, and more. The provider imposes no data caps to limit your fun.
ExpressVPN provides app support for Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chromebook devices. Chrome, Edge and Firefox browser extensions are available. The provider offers router compatibility to provide protection for all of your devices.
Up to five concurrent connections are allowed on a single set of login credentials.
Around-the-clock support is available, with 24/7 live support chat, a trouble ticket system, email support, and an easy-to-search support knowledge base.
- Reliably unblocks blocked services and websites
- Excellent global server coverage, including servers inside South Korea
- Speedy connections
- Comprehensive privacy and security protections
- Top-notch multi-platform app support
- More expensive than other VPN providers
- Limited to five simultaneous connection
RELIABLE VPN ACCESS FOR SOUTH KOREA IN 2020:ExpressVPN is a great, if expensive, option for South Korean users looking to both protect and enhance their online activities. In addition to security and privacy protections, the provider offers the ability to unblock content nearly anywhere around the globe. A 30-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost will prove to be especially attractive to folks who don’t have much experience in using a VPN service. One-click access to streaming and file sharing-optimized servers is a definite plus.
CyberGhost’s network of 8,100+ servers scattered among 91 countries has things well covered, including multiple servers stationed in South Korea. The provider has plenty of streaming-optimized servers, delivering reliable access to popular streaming services. Also available are servers optimized for P2P file sharing.
Security and privacy are both well covered with this provider. Your online activities are protected from prying eyes thanks to government-quality encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS leak, and IPv6 leak prevention.
The provider recently added a number of new features, including antivirus protection, a password manager, and an app that scans for outdated and/or vulnerable apps. The provider’s “ID Guard” feature alerts you if your email address was exposed in a data breach.
The provider protects your privacy by never tracking your online travels, so there are no server logs, and it also offers a Bitcoin payment option to protect your payment privacy.
The provider’s download speeds are also optimized for streaming video and sharing large files, providing more than enough horsepower for nearly any online activity. No data caps to worry about here.
CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps are available for the Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows platforms. Plus, Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available, as is support for various types of Wi-Fi routers. Up to 7 simultaneous connections can be made to the service using the same login.
The provider also offers additional security and privacy-related features, including a password manager, antivirus and anti-malware protection, as well as a feature to warn you if your email is exposed in a data breach, and much more.
Always-available live support chat, email support, a support ticket tracking system, and a searchable support library have your support needs covered 24/7.
- Servers in 91 countries, including South Korea
- Fast download speeds
- Easy-to-use apps
- Streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers
- Advanced users might miss some advanced options
- Doesn’t work in overly-restrictive countries
BEST FOR NEWBIE VPN USERS:CyberGhost is the best option for South Koreans new to the VPN scene. The provider’s easy-to-use apps provide one-click access to streaming- and downloading-optimized servers that deliver fast download speeds. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
South Korean internet users will appreciate the online protection offered by Private Internet Access (PIA).
PIA’s global server network coverage boasts 3,300+ servers stationed in more than 80 countries, but not South Korea. This allows users in the country to access geo-fenced content from around the globe.
Your online travels are well-protected with banking-grade encryption, IP/DNS leak prevention, and kill-switch protection. Blocking of ads, trackers, malware and malicious websites is included in the deal.
No user logs are ever saved on PIA servers. Plus, the provider’s cryptocurrency payment option helps to keep your payment information private.
PIA’s connections are slower than the other providers on this list. However, depending on your usual internet speeds, PIA provides more than enough bandwidth for streaming video, gaming, and other popular online activities. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to deal with when using this VPN provider.
Native app support from PIA includes options for the Android, Android TV, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux device platforms. Chrome, Opera and Firefox browser browser extensions are also available, as is compatibility with multiple router makes and models.
A user can simultaneously connect up to 10 devices to PIA’s servers.
Live support chat, a trouble ticket form, and a searchable support library provide reliable and informative assistance.
- Comprehensive app support
- Servers in 80+ countries, including South Korea
- Comprehensive privacy and security protection
- No labeling of streaming-optimized servers in apps
- Doesn’t work well in some countries
RELIABLE VPN PROTECTION IN SOUTH KOREA:Private Internet Access provides comprehensive online security and privacy, while providing reliable access to geo-controlled content in many areas of the globe. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of Private Internet Access.
PrivateVPN’s fast connections do an excellent job of protecting their users’ online activities.
The provider comes up a bit short in the server count column, as it has a mere 200+ servers, spread among 63 countries around the world. File sharing is allowed on all of PrivateVPN’s servers.
PrivateVPN’s fast connections are well protected by government-level encryption, kill-switch protection, IPv6/DNS leak protection, and much more. PrivateVPN never shuts you down with data caps or bandwidth restrictions.
The provider’s privacy protection is just as complete, as it never saves any logs recording its customers’ online antics and also helps keep your payment info anonymous with a Bitcoin payment option.
PrivateVPN’s customer support is a bit lacking when compared to others in this lineup. While it offers live support chat, it isn’t available 24/7. A non-searchable FAQ area and a contact form are included in the provider’s support offerings.
App support is available only for the macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS device platforms. If you need to protect other devices or are looking to protect more than six concurrent devices, you can take advantage of PrivateVPN’s router compatibility.
- Fast downloads
- Connections up to six devices at once
- P2P file sharing allowed on all servers
- Lowest server count on this list
- Customer support comes up a bit short
P2P ALLOWED EVERYWHERE:PrivateVPN provides comprehensive online protection and enhancement for South Korean users looking for reliable downloading, streaming, and file sharing. While their server count may be a bit lacking, they spread them out well around the globe. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Atlas VPN provides top-notch protection for users inside of South Korean borders.
The provider has just a bit more than 750 servers spread among close to 35 countries. While the network isn’t exactly what you might call “impressive” it does a good job of providing reliable access to online content in the countries where it is located.
All Atlas VPN-connections are protected by government-grade encryption, a kill switch, and other security measures. The provider also offers Safebrowse and Safebrowse Plus protection from multiple online perils, while also blocking those pesky ads.
Atlas servers save no usage logs whatsoever, meaning there will be no evidence of any of your online activities. Unfortunately, a cryptocurrency payment option is not available at this time.
Atlas VPN’s fast connections are easily mup to handling your favorite online pastimes. No data caps or bandwidth limits to spoil the fun here.
Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV devices can benefit from the provider’s native app selection. While the provider lacks support for Linux, browser extensions, or routers it says all three features are in development.
An unlimited number of devices can be connected at once on a single user account.
While live support chat is available only for paid subscribers, email, a contact form and a support library are available to all users.
- Fast connections
- Access to content around the globe
- Ad blocking
- Lacks router, browser, and Linux support
- Global server network coverage not exactly impressive
UNLIMITED PROTECTED CONNECTIONS:Atlas VPN provides online protection for an unlimited number of compatible devices. While the provider’s server network is admittedly small, it provides reliable access to geo-fenced content in the areas that it serves. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Methodology for Assessing VPNs for South Korea
Not all VPNs are optimal for use in South Korea. You have to carefully consider the service offerings of VPN service providers to see whether or not they will give you reliable, protected access to the content you want.
Here’s a list of the most critical factors I assessed when deciding upon which VPNs to recommend for South Korea:
- Connection Speed: Fast connection speeds are always important, no matter what online activity you intend to engage in. All of the VPN service providers on my list proved to offer exceptional connection speeds, according to my most recent speed tests.
- Server Network: An expansive global server network will ensure that you can access any international content you have your eye on. In addition, it’s important to consider the number of servers that a provider has stationed in your preferred location. More servers equal faster speeds, as no individual server will have too many users attempting to connect through them.
- Value: You don’t want to choose a VPN that charges too much for what it offers. I assessed each VPN on my list to see whether or not they asked a price that was commensurate with what they offered, and found all of them to provide a great value.
- Ease of Use: First of all, it’s important to consider which devices a VPN offers apps for to ensure that it covers your favorite devices. In addition, ease of use is also an important factor, as you don’t want to waste time fiddling with settings before you can connect. Every VPN on my list offers easy-to-use apps for myriad platforms.
- Security and Privacy: A VPN should, at a minimum, protect its users’ connections with banking-level encryption, an automatic kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection, which all VPNs on my list do. They also all follow strict no-logs policies, ensuring that there will be no record of your online antics for any third party to access.
- Streaming: Streaming is a popular activity amongst VPN users, so it makes sense to consider a VPN’s ability to offer access to international video streaming content. Each VPN I include on my list offers reliable access to popular streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and others.
My research, while extensive, doesn’t end here. Considering the factors listed above are just a part of my comprehensive VPN testing methodology. My data-driven research approach helps me to better understand the VPNs and their services, so I can recommend only those that are a good fit for your needs.
Can I Use a Free VPN in South Korea?
While it’s possible that you’ll be able to find a free VPN that works from inside South Korea, I strongly recommend against using one.
First off, using a free VPN provider is inconvenient. Some free VPN providers force their users to sit in a queue, waiting until they’re allowed to connect to one of the provider’s limited number of servers.
Once you’re allowed to connect, you’ll find that you’re automatically connected to a server of the provider’s choosing. Or, if you do have a choice of servers, the selection will be severely limited. If you’re outside of South Korea and need to access content based inside the country, you might not have a South Korean server to choose from.
Once you’re connected, you may find that your connection speeds are throttled. In addition, your VPN usage may be severely limited, as many freebie VPN services will restrict your usage by imposing daily or monthly data caps.
You’ll be disappointed with the privacy “protections” that free VPN services offer. Many sans-cost VPNs will pay their bills by tracking their users’ online movements, saving the information, and selling it to advertisers and other interested third parties.
Other freebie VPNs will inject unwanted ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browsing sessions. Guess what? Those tracking cookies continue to track you, even when you’ve disconnected from the VPN provider’s servers.
What Else Can I Do With A VPN?
In addition to keeping your online activities hidden from prying eyes, a Virtual Private Network offers other ways to protect and enhance your online travels.
A VPN opens access to blocked content around the globe. This can include streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and others. It also includes game servers, financial services, and other types of sites and services.
A VPN can also help prevent your ISP from throttling or blocking your connection simply because they don’t approve of your activity. ISPs have been known to throttle or block such activities as streaming from an unapproved video service or sharing files via BitTorrent.
A VPN’s encrypted connection also comes in handy when you’re using an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot, like those found at coffee shops, hotels, and other public locations. Most of those hotspots aren’t encrypted, leaving your online activities open to observation or interception by unsavory characters.
South Korea VPN FAQs
What Is the Best Free VPN for South Korea?
Free VPNs aren't good for any use, including for South Korea. Free VPNs make you wait in a queue before connecting, impose data and bandwidth limits, and often sell your data to interested third parties. You're much better off sticking to paid VPNs.
What Is the Best VPN for South Korea for iOS?
NordVPN is the best VPN for iOS because it offers a native app for iOS devices. It also offers fast connection speeds, wide global server coverage, excellent privacy protections, and solid security.
What Is the Best VPN for South Korea for PC?
NordVPN offers native apps for both Windows and macOS computers. Combined with fast connections, exceptional privacy and security protections, and extensive global server coverage, this makes NordVPN the best VPN for PCs.
South Korean residents and visitors to the nation will find that a Virtual Private Network can both protect and enhance all of their online activities.
NordVPN provides reliable access to blocked content around the globe, offering users dependable access to their favorite movies, TV shows, games, and other content.
Plus, the provider offers top-notch online security, excellent privacy protection, the ability to use the service on all of your connected devices, fast connections and so much more.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
- Why is South Korea Partly Free?
- Can a VPN Protect Me in South Korea?
- How to Use a VPN From Inside of South Korea
- Best VPNs for Use in South Korea
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. Private Internet Access
- 6. PrivateVPN
- 7. Atlas VPN
- Methodology for Assessing VPNs for South Korea
- Can I Use a Free VPN in South Korea?
- What Else Can I Do With A VPN?
- South Korea VPN FAQs
- What Is the Best Free VPN for South Korea?
- What Is the Best VPN for South Korea for iOS?
- What Is the Best VPN for South Korea for PC?