VPN demand in Australia has skyrocketed since October 2015, when the Aussie government implemented new data retention laws. These laws require Australian ISPs to keep logs on on subscriber internet activity for 2 years.
The purpose of this article is to help you find the Best VPNs for Australia/Australians, and regain your privacy by making it impossible for your ISP to monitor your traffic or browsing history.
VPN technology has dozens of uses, but this guide will focus on the 3 most popular VPN uses in Australia:
- Anonymous torrenting
- Unblocking streaming sites like: Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and HBOGO
- Internet privacy and wifi hotspot security
Top Criteria for Choosing a VPN in Australia
Before writing this article, I carefully considered that features an factors that are most important for Australians looking for a VPN service. Australia’s geographic location and limited/late access to content are major hurdles, and many VPNs aren’t up to the challenge.
Here’s our list of the most important criteria (and we’ll tell you how the VPNs we chose measure up on each):
- Speed – Australia is far from other major global datacenters and all incoming/outgoing data must flow through an undersea cable with limited capacity. So it’s critically important to choose a VPN with fast server speeds and good global peering relationships (for better/faster routing).
- Security – All VPNs in this article are capable of 256-bit Encryption and offer the OpenVPN protocol (The most flexible and popular VPN protocol for consumer VPNs).
- Australian Servers – Sure you want good global server locations, but it’s also important to have fast, local Australian servers for maximum speeds and access to local content or search results. Every VPN listed has servers in Australia.
- Works with Netflix – These days, very few VPNs still work with netflix. We gave special ranking consideration to those limited few that do.
- Torrent-Friendly – It’s no secret that Australians like bittorrent. Most of the VPNs in this article allow torrenting/p2p, and several are true ‘Zero-Log’ VPN providers, for maximum privacy while file-sharing.
We also factored in things like reputation, support, and price. Most of the VPNs listed are $10/month or cheaper, and some deliver excellent results at prices under $4!
The true benefits of using a VPN
Australians have been flocking to VPN services like crazy since 2013, but why exactly? Here’s what a VPN can do for you…
The new data retention laws (logs are kept for 2 years!) mean that your complete web history will likely be monitored and recorded if you continue to use your internet connection unprotected.
By using a VPN, all communications between you and the VPN server are encrypted. This means nobody, not even your ISP, can monitor, record, or block your traffic. This means your web browsing and download history stays completely private.
Many VPNs will even use private DNS servers for added security.
Access to Content
Australia is notoriously slow when it comes to easy access to video and streaming content like recent movies and current shows (game of thrones anyone?).
With a VPN, you can access streaming services in any country where your VPN provider has servers. This includes popular services like:
- BBC iPlayer
- Spotify and more…
And even better news: Unlike many countries, using a VPN to unblock content for Australians may well be legal, thanks to a loophole in the copyright act.
By using a VPN, you can gain full access to popular file-sharing sites and make your torrent downloads unblockable (and un-throttleable). You can also have peace of mind, knowing that your torrent activity is not easily monitored, because your VPN will replace your publicly visible torrent IP address with their own.
For optimal security, we always recommend choosing a zero-log VPN provider if you’re a torrent/p2p user.
VPNs for Streaming: Unblock Netflix in Australia
The #1 usage of VPNs in Australia is to gain easy 1-click access to worldwide Video/Music streaming services.
What type of VPN to use: For streaming, you’ll want a fast VPN service with uncrowded servers, lots of server locations in countries with the best content (UK, USA, etc…). An of course, you want a VPN that still works with Netflix.
Here are the best options:
We ranked NordVPN #1 specifically because of their ‘Smartplay’ technology, which will intelligently unblock over 30 different streaming services, no matter what server location you choose. You can even use an Australian server and still access USA netflix. No other VPN has this technology.
IPVanish is one of our top rated VPN providers, and consistently the fastest VPN we’ve every tested. This is thanks to their global tier-1 network and backbone (which they own, instead of renting).
IPvanish is a true non-logging VPN service, and allows all major VPN uses including streaming, skype, and torrent/file-sharing. They’ve got apps for all major platforms including Android/iOS.
IPVanish works with all major streaming services with the exception of Netflix (which still works on some, but not all server locations).
Bottom Line: If you want the fastest VPN possible, choose IPVanish.
The best VPNs for Torrents/p2p
The #1 rule for torrenting is this: Always use a zero-log VPN that specifically allows torrenting. It’s even better if they also include SOCKS5 proxy service for additional flexibility.
Torrents are quite popular in Australia, but they’ve come under fire recently, with ISPs being pressured to block popular torrent sites and throttle download speeds. Using a VPN will allow you to circumvent site blocking and monitoring entirely.
Here are our recommended providers:
How to choose a VPN for Torrents
Not all VPNs allow torrents/p2p, and even fewer can offer a true ‘zero-log’ privacy for maximum privacy while torrenting. Our list of ‘top torrent VPNs for Austalians’ exclusively features non-logging VPN services.
All of the providers featured in this section also have VPN servers in Australia (for faster speeds, especially for accessing local search results and non-torrent VPN activities.
We also gave priority to faster services (NordVPN is the one exception on this list. Their speeds are pretty average). Also, all of the VPNs in this section offer two highly desirable features for torrent downloaders:
- a SOCKS5 Proxy (can be configured with your favorite torrent client for dual-layer privacy)
- Kill-switch IP protection (never leak your true IP over bittorrent if the VPN disconnects).
Important VPN Features
IPVanish (Editor’s Choice)
IPVanish has been a non-logging VPN service since April, 2014. And they’ve always allowed torrents/p2p since their founding. When you factor in their outstanding download speeds, it becomes an unbeatable combination. Unless you’re on a tight budget, IPvanish should be your #1 choice for torrenting.
Here’s why their our #1 rated VPN for p2p in Australia:
- torrents allowed
- kill-switch functionality in all software (prevent accidental IP leaks)
- Fastest speeds (even faster than more expensive VPNs like ExpressVPN)
Private Internet Access (Editor’s Choice)
PIA is the original non-logging VPN. They were the innovators, and several other VPNs followed suit when they saw how important privacy was to their users.
Private Internet Access is among the most torrent-friendly VPNs we’ve ever come across, and they have built proprietary back-end features to make your torrenting even more secure. This allows them to have unrestricted torrent policies on every single server location.
Amazingly, Private Internet Access is also one of the cheapest unlimited VPN services in the entire world. They have 1-year plans priced at $3.33/month. That’s less than 1/3 the price of many competitors. It’s no wonder they’re now one of the 3 most popular paid VPNs worldwide.
Why PIA is ideal for torrents:
- No logs. Period. (learn more)
- Unrestricted torrent policy
- Adjustable encryption strength (to optimize speed)
- SOCKS5 Proxy Included (most VPNs charge extra)
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Dirt Cheap at $3.33/month!
IPVanish is one of the most torrent-focused VPNs in the world. Their service is custom tailored to the specific privacy needs of frequent file-sharers.
Top features include:
- Zero Logs
- Torrent-optimized servers (specific locations)
- Kill-switch and DNS Leak protection (prevent IP leaks)
- Anonymous SOCKS5 proxy service (sold separately)
- Extremely fast speeds (2nd only to IPVanish in our streaming test)
- Auto-installer for torrent proxy (preconfigures your torrent client with ideal settings)
You should Read: Our 2016 Torguard Review
The only real knock against Torguard is that they don’t include SOCKS5 proxy service with their VPN packages. You have to purchase it separately. PIA and NordVPN include them both for 1 price.
Also, Torguard restricts torrent/p2p activity to servers in 6 specific countries (for your own protection).
Refund Policy & Pricing: All Torguard plans come with a 7-day 100% refund guarantee. Plans start as low as $3.95/month.
VPNs for General Security/Travel/Privacy
These VPNs are well suited to all-around general VPN usage. They have strong encryption, global server locations, fast speeds, and user-friendly software. We ranked VPNs higher in this category if they happen to also be well-suited to the other two major VPN uses (streaming and torrents).
We also heavily factored price into the equation, because we don’t want you to spend $12/month on a VPN when a $5 VPN will do just fine.
Examples of general VPN usage:
Here are some common VPN uses you’ll find in this category:
Unsecured, public wifi networks can allow hackers (or pretty much anybody with an internet connection) to snoop on your internet traffic and even steal sensitive login data. Using a VPN encrypts all data you send, even over unsecured networks, which essentially eliminates a major source of identity theft.
It’s also useful to access Australian VPN server locations when you’re travelling in other countries, so you can get local search results, English websites and search results, and access streaming services and Australia-based accounts.
Now more than ever, Governments, companies, and websites are tracking and recording our every move online. This can include:
- Search history
- Websites you visit
- Files downloaded
- Products purchased (and more…)
Many ISPs throttle (slow) your internet traffic for specific sites or services. This can include data-heavy uses like Netflix, Youtube, and Torrenting. ISPs in Australia are notoriously slow. While a VPN may help, you may want to upgrade to a faster Australian internet provider if you have the option.
VPNs make throttling difficult or impossible because the strong encryption they use makes it impossible for your internet provider to inspect your traffic and decide which ports to slow down (since they don’t know what sites you’re accessing).
The Best General Use VPNs
Here are our top picks for this category…
IPVanish (Editor’s Choice)
IPVanish is a rare combination of Speed, Privacy (they don’t keep logs), and security/features. That made them an easy choice for our editor’s pick.
Speed is especially important for Australia-based VPN users (because of the long distance your traffic must travel to reach VPN servers in other countries). IPVanish is one of only 2 VPNs in the entire world that owns their own Tier-1 data network. That means their speeds are flat-out faster than other providers (and we’ve got speedtests to prove it).
As their customer based has expanded, IPVanish has aggressively improved their service. They constantly add new features and server locations, and they’ve been very responsive to customer input when it comes to adding new features.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Zero-log VPN (IPVanish is a true no-log VPN service)
- Double IP leak protection: Built-in kill-switch and DNS leak protection
- 256-bit AES Encryption
- Servers in 70+ countries
- Apps for all major platforms (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
Pricing: IPVanish starts at $6.49/month (1 year subscription) or $10 month-to-month. All plans include a 100% refund guarantee. IPVanish well outperforms pricier options like ExpressVPN and VyprVPN and is an excellent value if speed is your top priority.
Private Internet Access (Editor’s Choice)
Private Internet Access scores another appearance on this list. It shouldn’t be a surprise, considering they’re the currently the #1 ranked VPN on vpnuniversity.com.
PIA has apps for all major platforms, including: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.
Review: Read our 2016 PIA review
PIA has a major server presence in Australia, with two server locations (Melbourne and Sydney) and a massive 160,000 Mbps bandwidth capacity. PIA’s speeds are quite fast, and they’re one of the fastest VPN providers from within Australian.
VyprVPN (Expensive, but has the most features)
If price was no object, VyprVPN would be at the top of this category. They’re top of the line ‘Premiere’ package includes some truly impressive features:
- 256-bit AES encryption
- NAT firewall (added protection against hackers)
- VyprDNS zero-log encrypted DNS
- Advanced software w/ features like auto-connect on unsecured wifi
We also love the their awesome easy to use software that is well designed with bonus features like a customizable ‘favorite servers’ list.
Review: Read our full VyprVPN review
Additional Thoughts, Tips, and Resources
Australians face a unique geographic challenge when choosing a solid VPN provider. That said, all the providers featured in this article are good options, and all have above-average speed, as well as multiple server locations inside Australia.
Don’t worry to much about which provider to choose, as performance among top VPNs is pretty comparable. And if you don’t happen to like the provider you choose, just claim a full refund (usually 7-30 days after purchase) and try a different VPN.
Once you’ve settled on a VPN you’re happy with, I recommend upgrading to a 1-year subscription, as you’ll usually save 40-60% vs month-to-month.
Quick Advice (Choose a VPN by purpose)
If you don’t to try a bunch of providers and just want a definitive suggestion for which provider to go with, simply select your #1 criteria from the list below, and we’ve listed our top 1 or 2 picks for each…
- Torrents: IPVanish (faster), PIA (cheaper)
- Privacy: Private Internet Access
- Speed/Streaming: IPVanish
- Price: PIA, Proxy.sh
Thanks for reading, and best of luck in your search!
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