VPN Reviews: Unbiased, In-depth & Brutally Honest!
Hi! A good day to you in DownUnder. So you’re interested in signing up for a VPN and looking for an honest VPN reviews site?
Pardon us if we are wrong, but we assume you want a VPN to unblock streaming services that are not available in Australia. Correct? Perhaps, you want to watch your favourite TV show on Netflix USA or binge-watch Friends on HBO Max. Maybe, you’re looking for a reliable VPN to catch the live broadcast of IPL on Hotstar from Australia.
Of course, it isn’t easy to sift through hundreds of VPNs online. And even if you could, we doubt it would help you much, because at the end of the day you’d still be taking a punt, unless you test the VPN services beforehand. Why waste time, then?
Naturally, anyone would prefer a VPN reviews site to inform their VPN buying decision. We understand you. The problem, however, comes in finding honest VPN reviews. Many websites base their recommendations strictly on marketing claims rather than actual test results. So much so, some even promote untrustworthy VPN providers.
Team HowtowatchinAustralia cuts the noise for you. We write VPN reviews only after testing a service thoroughly. If we find a VPN good enough, we recommend it. If not, we don’t hesitate to share our experience as is.
So far, we’ve covered eleven VPN services and plan to add more in the near future. Does that mean we have only tested eleven VPN providers to date? Obviously, not!
But because writing VPN reviews takes time, we have to be selective with what we publish. Here’s a quick walkthrough of our VPN review writing process:
- Signing up for a VPN plan and downloading and installing the VPN app on at least two devices with different operating platforms
- Testing at least one server for each listed location
- Researching data laws for the jurisdiction in which the VPN is located
- Performing server-level analysis for major streaming services
- Conducting speed tests
- Checking for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks
- Finding questions asked by users on forums frequently and answering them
- Reaching out to customer support for any specific information
- Live-testing all available servers in Australia, if any
The step in which we live-test Australian servers is extremely important. Australia is a country with questionable privacy laws. Your online movements are scrutinized closely. These movements even get shared with other countries that form the Five Eyes alliance network with Australia. Furthermore, there are security concerns about My Health Record and online browsing in general, that using a VPN in Down Under has more or less become the need of the hour. We try to include as much info as possible about the Australian servers maintained by a VPN service to make sure you are well protected.
VPN Reviews – A comparison chart (January 2021 Updated)
Let’s take a look at all the VPN reviews you can find on HowtowatchinAustralia:
|ExpressVPN||ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for Australia, operating 3000+ servers in 160 locations worldwide. It unblocks all major streaming services, including YouTube TV, and provides stable connections even on slow-working networks. Read ExpressVPN review.|
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|Surfshark||Surfshark is the cheapest VPN for Australia, offering 3200+ servers, unlimited simultaneous connections, no activity logging policy, and a strong Netflix USA support consisting of 24 servers. Read Surfshark review.|
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|NordVPN||NordVPN is the best VPN for torrenting in Australia. It provides more than 700 P2P-specialized servers, the revolutionary NordLynx tunnelling protocol, and a 7-day free trial for mobile users that unlocks 14 Netflix regional libraries. Read NordVPN review.|
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|PureVPN||PureVPN comes equipped with a specialized streaming mode and is the only VPN service that offers dedicated IPs in eight countries, including the US, Australia, UK, Singapore, and more. Read PureVPN review.|
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|CyberGhost||CyberGhost offers the largest network coverage of any VPN service, along with highly optimized servers for both streaming and torrenting. It’s located in Romania, the only country in the EU to have rejected the data retention laws proposed by the Union, not once but twice. Read CyberGhost review.|
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|IPVanish||IPVanish is a US-based VPN service, operating 76 servers in Australia. It’s one of the few VPNs that offer a native app for Amazon Fire TV, and while it works with Netflix, it could be inconsistent sometimes. Read IPVanish review.|
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|Avast VPN||Avast is a good VPN for beginners. It offers 57 servers in 36 locations, secure tunnelling protocols in OpenVPN and IKEv2, and is ideal for browsing the web anonymously on a budget. It provides limited Netflix support consisting of three servers. Read Avast VPN review.|
|AVG VPN||AVG Secure VPN hails from the Czech Republic and maintains 58 servers in 37 countries worldwide. It unblocks Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, and provides eight specialized P2P-servers for downloading torrents. Read AVG VPN review.|
|PIA VPN||PIA VPN has more than 18000+ servers in 74 countries. It uses the latest WireGuard tunnelling protocol to secure your web traffic and unblocks Netflix in three regions – including the US, Japan, and Germany. Read PIA VPN review.|
3.1/5 (It’s a bit slow but we do recommend it)
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|Windscribe||Windscribe offers servers in over 63 countries, a domain/IP specific ad-blocker, five different types of tunnelling protocols to keep your online communications secure, and Netflix support in four regions – including the US, UK, Canada, and Japan. Read Windscribe review.|
2.9/5 (Recommended but not among our first choice VPNs)
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|Proton VPN||Proton VPN is a Swiss VPN, operating 1000+ servers in 51 countries. It doesn’t work with Netflix or other blue-chip media streaming services; however, it does allow torrenting via five locations. Read Proton VPN review.|
Best VPN Reviews for Australians
Out of all the VPNs we have reviewed, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, NordVPN, PureVPN, and CyberGhost clearly stand out.
1- ExpressVPN (5 Severs Locations in Australia)
ExpressVPN operates from the British Virgin Islands, a safe jurisdiction for VPN companies. It has 3000+ servers in 94 countries and 160 locations. You get top-notch security and disk-less servers with the service, which is excellent from a privacy standpoint.
ExpressVPN maintains five server locations in Australia; two in Sydney, and one in Brisbane, Perth, and Melbourne each. All five locations provide stable connections even on a slow network. That can be useful if you live in the outback, where internet problems are a norm.
In terms of features, the VPN service provides an automatic kill switch and a robust split tunnelling mode. Both features improve your privacy over the web. Unfortunately, there’s no ad-blocking support.
You can use ExpressVPN on a wide variety of devices, including Windows computer, MacBook, Android smartphone, iPhone, iPad, Android TV, Samsung smart TV, and more. The company allows you to connect five devices to one account at the same time.
ExpressVPN works with Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, YouTube TV, and Hotstar among other media streaming services. The company has over 5000 VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.7.
2- Surfshark (60 VPN Servers in Australia)
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark also hails from the British Virgin Islands and has 3200+ physical and virtual servers in 62 countries. All servers are RAM operated, meaning your online activity remains private and no session information is logged. The company uses OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Shadowshocks tunnelling protocols to keep your traffic secure. Encryption is achieved through military-grade 256-bit cipher keys.
Surfshark provides five server locations in Australia. These locations run a total of 60 servers, which is quite impressive. You can connect to any of the locations problem-free. The Sydney servers, however, perform better than others.
There are loads of features that come with Surfshark. These include an automatic kill switch, in-built ad-blocker, split tunnelling, multi-hopping, private search mode, and a password protector. The last two features need to be purchased separately.
The most unique thing about Surfshark is it lets you connect an unlimited number of devices to your Surfshark account simultaneously. This allows you to share your subscription with your family and friends.
You can access Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hotstar, and all other major streaming services on Surfshark from Australia. The VPN service is well capable of bypassing geo-restrictions without raising any red flags. In fact, with the Camouflage mode enabled, even your ISP is unable to detect that you’re using a VPN.
Surfshark supports a wide variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, Android TV and more. The company has approximately 5,700 VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.3.
3- NordVPN (193 VPN Servers in Australia)
NordVPN is based in Panama, an excellent choice of jurisdiction for incorporating a VPN company. It operates 5000+ servers in 59 countries, including 193 servers in Australia alone. That’s the highest of any VPN service.
NordVPN is known for its high-level security. Recently, the company launched a new tunnelling protocol, NordLynx, which is said to be one of the most exciting innovations in the VPN industry. The tunnelling protocol offers unmatched speed, reliability, and security.
You get several exciting features with NordVPN. These include a VPN kill switch, an in-built ad and malware blocker, and Onion Over VPN – a special feature that adds an extra layer of encryption to your torrenting activities.
NordVPN works with more than 300 streaming services. It unblocks 14 Netflix regional libraries and provides access to BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, HBO Now, Binge, Stan, and Hotstar without any problems. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with YouTube TV.
You can connect up to six devices on one NordVPN account at the same time. These devices can be Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, or Linux based. NordVPN also works with Android TV, NVIDIA Shield TV, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. However, numerous issues have been reported on the latter two platforms, so we wouldn’t really recommend them. The company has roughly 4600 VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.4.
4- PureVPN (56 VPN Servers in Australia)
PureVPN is a Hong Kong-based VPN service with 6500+ servers in 140 countries and 180 locations worldwide. It has over 300,000 registered IP addresses, which reduces the risk of server congestion and ensures high download speeds.
PureVPN uses OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP tunnelling protocols to secure your web traffic. Meanwhile, AES 256-bit encryption provides the highest level of anonymity. The company keeps no record of users’ online activities.
You get four city-level server locations in Australia, including Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne. These locations provide 56 servers for connection. All four locations are live and operational. The Sydney site is best optimized for performance.
PureVPN also offers dedicated IPs in eight countries. That’s the highest of any VPN service in the industry. The covered countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malta. You can get a dedicated IP as an add-on feature with your regular PureVPN subscription.
Streaming is a breeze with PureVPN. The service offers a dedicated streaming mode, which works with almost all major OTT video platforms. You can unblock 7 regional Netflix libraries on PureVPN and watch your favourite movies and shows on your mobile, desktop, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, or Android TV.
PureVPN has over 10,500 VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.8.
5- CyberGhost (134 VPN Severs in Australia)
CyberGhost is located in Romania, a country that believes in internet freedom and users’ right to online privacy. It operates the largest server network in the VPN industry, comprising of 6700+ servers, spread across 110 different locations worldwide.
CyberGhost is a safe VPN to use, guarded by the latest WireGuard tunnelling protocol and 256-bit encryption keys. The VPN service also provides IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection. Other security and privacy features offered by CyberGhost include malware blocking, split tunnelling, force HTTPs filter, and VPN kill switch. The company maintains 100% activity-log-free operations.
You get 134 servers in Australia for connection. These servers are located in Melbourne and Sydney. While reliable, they vary in performance. CyberGhost doesn’t allow P2P traffic on its Australian servers.
What about streaming, you ask? CyberGhost offers a full list of streaming servers compatible with Netflix USA, Netflix DE, Netflix FR, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and plenty of other streaming platforms. It allows 7 multi-logins and supports a whole range of devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire TV Stick, and Android TV.
The company has 10,500+ VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.8.
6- IPVanish (76 VPN Servers in Australia)
IPVanish is an American VPN service with over 1300 servers in 60+ countries. All servers are physical and owned by the company, which is excellent from a security standpoint.
IPVanish is safe to use. It protects your communications using OpenVPN, IKEv2 and IPSec tunnelling protocols. For encryption, it uses AES-256 cipher keys. You also get complete coverage against IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
Other security and privacy features offered by IPVanish include:
- Traffic obfuscation
- Automatic kill switch
- Split tunnelling
- SOCKS5 for torrenting
The company maintains 76 servers in Australia, spread across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane. The Sydney location has the highest number of servers, 59 in total. All four locations are live and operational.
While IPVanish is not the fastest VPN service in the market, it’s fast enough for streaming Netflix. However, it only works with Netflix USA and Netflix UK. Outside Netflix, the situation is even worse, with almost no support for other streaming services whatsoever.
IPVanish lets you connect up to 10 devices to one account at the same time. You can use the VPN on your Windows machine, MacBook, Android smartphone, iPhone, tablet, or Amazon Fire TV. The company has more than 6000 VPN reviews on au-trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.7.
7- Private Internet Access (188 VPN Servers in Australia)
Headquartered in the US, Private Internet Access (PIA) is a popular VPN service, operating over 18000+ servers in 74 countries worldwide. All servers are bare metal hardware, which provides added security and privacy benefits.
With PIA VPN, you get 188 servers in Australia. These servers are located in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. You can connect to any location problem-free. The Melbourne location offers the highest bandwidth capacity, totalling to 882000 Mbps.
Private Internet Access unblocks Netflix in the US, Germany and Japan. It also works with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max, though it can be inconsistent at times. That’s still a good development, considering it was unable to access any of these streaming platforms a year ago.
You can use up to 10 devices on one PIA account simultaneously. The company makes clients for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux devices.
Private Internet Access has just over 6000 VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.1.
8- Windscribe (6 City Level Servers in Australia)
Windscribe is based in Canada, having servers in 63 countries and 110 locations worldwide. While the company provides no information about the total server count, you get stable connections across the board.
Windscribe uses OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunnelling protocols to secure your web traffic. That’s pretty much the standard offering in the VPN industry these days. Encryption is achieved using AES 256-bit cipher keys. Additional security features include domain/IP blocker, ad blocker, multi-hopping, and split tunnelling. The service keeps no record of your online activities.
You get six city-level server locations in Australia. These include Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and Adelaide. All six locations are functional. The Windscribe website displays live updates of the network load for each location.
Windscribe unlocks Netflix in four regions, namely the US, Canada, Japan, and the UK. It also works with Hulu and BBC iPlayer. The company maintains a dedicated list of servers for streaming. You can install and use the VPN service on almost any platform.
Like Surfshark, Windscribe allows unlimited simultaneous connections. It has more than 150 VPN reviews on au.trustpilot.com, with an average rating of 4.0.
Want us to cover a VPN of your choice? Drop your VPN review suggestion in the comment box, and we’ll try to include it in our VPN Review Australia list. Happy private browsing!