VPN Finder™ – Your Guide to Choosing the Best VPN

Information verified correct on December 3rd, 2016

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The simple explanation about VPN software.

Security – that’s the short of it. People use VPNs to secure their data from unwanted viewers when browsing the Internet. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows computers or networks to connect to each other securely over the Internet. Traditionally, companies used VPNs to create secure, remote connections to an existing network, but many consumer users now utilise the technology to shield their personal data while exploring the Internet. While certain media providers may downplay it, there are many sensible other reasons why someone would want to use a VPN.

Here, we discuss VPN's various uses and some companies that provide VPN services to Australians.

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Compare VPN Services available to Australians

Note: All VPN services are charged in USD

VPN ServicePrice (p/m)Annual PaymentServer locationsSign Up
VPN provider logos (7)$11.95 $69.00 ($5.75/month)698 servers worldwideSign up
More info 
VPN provider logos (15)$6.95$39.95 ($3.32/month)3034+ servers in 15 countriesSign up
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VPN provider logos (14)$12.95$99.84 ($8.32/month)97+ VPN locations in 78 countriesSign up
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VPN provider logos (6)$6.99 $49.95 ($4.16/month)Over 50 servers (High concentration in US and UK)Sign upMore info
VPN provider logos (11)$10.00 $77.99 ($6.49/month)500+ servers in over 60 countriesSign up
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VPN provider logos (10)$5.99 - $9.99Not available1000+ servers in over 42 countriesSign up
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VPN provider logos (4)$14.99 $83.88($6.99/month)848 servers worldwideSign up
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Untitled design (3)$6.99 Grizzly: $49.99 ($4.16/month)Servers in 13 countries Sign upMore info
VPN provider logos (3)$3.95 $33.18($2.75/month)20+ regionsSign up
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Untitled design (2)$9.95 $49.95 ($4.16/month)450+ servers across 6 continentsSign upMore info
VPN provider logos (8)Free - $11.67Not available27 servers located across the globeSign up
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VPN provider logos (1)$3.99 $39.99($3.33/month)31 locations worldwideSign up
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VPN provider logos (13)Basic: $9.99 Pro: $14.99 Premier: $19.99Basic: $6.67 Pro: $8.33 Premier: $10.00700+ servers in over 3 continentsSign upMore info
VPN provider logos (17)Ultimate: $7.67 Total: $5.57 DNS: $4.95Ultimate: $4.84 Total: $4.09 DNS: $3.08~100 servers in 39 countriesSign up
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AVS$4.95 $99.95 ($8.32/month)48 servers worldwideSign up
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VPN provider logos (12)Single: $8.99 Multi: $14.99 Business: $29.99Single: $5.99 p/month Multi: $8.99 p/month Business: $19.99 p/month100+ dedicated servers in over 24 locationsSign up
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VPN-In-Touch-Logo$5.00$2.50 p/month25 servers in 8 countriesSign upMore info
VPN provider logos$4.95 $49.95 ($4.16/month)18 across the globeSign up
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VPN provider logos (9)$4.99$49.90 ($8.32/month)Not specifiedSign up
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VPN provider logos (16)$6.25 - $12.92Not available~21 countriesSign up
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Hotspot$11.95$29.95 ($2.50/month)6 countriesSign up
buffered-logo-3_copy$12.99$99.00 ($8.25/month)36 countriesSign up
VPN ServiceEncryptionMobile Support?
Untitled design (2)PPTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPNYes 
Untitled design (3)OpenVPN, IPSecYes 
VPN provider logosPTTP, SmartDNSYes 
VPN provider logos (1)VPN PTTP, SSTP, L2TP and Open VPNYes 
VPN provider logos (3)PTTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPN UDPYes 
VPN provider logos (4)OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSecYes 
AVSL2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, SmartDNS, SSL and SSTPYes 
VPN provider logos (6)OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, HTTP, Socks5 and DNS ProxyYes 
VPN provider logos (7)IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and SSLiOS, Android and Windows Mobile
VPN provider logos (8)Supports PTTP, L2TP, IPSec (IKEv1 and IKEv2), OpenVPN, SOCKS and IKEv2.Yes 
VPN provider logos (12)Safer VPN supports state-of-the-art protocols like  OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and proprietary protocols.Yes 
VPN provider logos (11)IP Vanish offers PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN.Yes 
VPN provider logos (9)Smart DNS.Yes 
VPN provider logos (10)OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP as well as SOCKS5 torrent proxy services.Yes 
VPN provider logos (13)Supports PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN and Chameleon.Yes 
VPN provider logos (14)Express VPN apps are configured with OpenVPN UDP by default. Otherwise they provide OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTP.Yes 
VPN provider logos (15)PIA provides OpenVPN, IPSec/L3TP and SOCKS5 Proxy.Yes 
VPN provider logos (17)Open VPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP are all supported by IB VPN.Yes 
VPN provider logos (16)PPTP, L2TP and SSTP, but all are priced differently.Yes 
HotspotOpenVPN with 256-bit AES encryption.Yes 
VPN ServiceProsCons
Untitled design (2)24/7 live chat. Fantastic support from a helpful Technical Support Executive around the clock.Short period for money back guarantee. It's great that there's a money-back guarantee at all, but three days isn't enough to make up your mind.
Untitled design (3)Outstanding website. TunnelBear's website is not only endlessly entertaining but also incredibly helpful and user-friendly.Not any advanced features. Other than that, there's not much to complain about TunnelBear is one of the most impressive VPNs we've seen.
VPN provider logosGreat value and handy support servicesBlurry position on data logging
VPN provider logos (1)Strict no-log policy, offers multiple devicesUnreliable speeds and server connections
VPN provider logos (3)Internet TV focused, informative website...website is a little overwhelming
VPN provider logos (4)30-day money back guarantee, no limitations on bandwidth, AVG integration and amazing customer serviceNo IPv6, Only 128 bit encryption
AVSServers in 48 countries, Simultaneous use on multiple devicesUS-based, more expensive than other SmartDNS providers
VPN provider logos (6)Strict no-log policyLimited server distribution
VPN provider logos (7)Wide range of compatibility for devices and operating systems...though only allows for 2 simultaneous streams
VPN provider logos (8)Absolutely no log files.Limited countries and servers.
VPN provider logos (12)Custom Windows client.Lacking in features that others within the same price range offer.
VPN provider logos (11)Widespread servers and Windows Phone support.No 24/7 support.
VPN provider logos (9)Helpful set up guides for most devices...…except Linux.
VPN provider logos (10)Unlimited data transfer and great connection speeds.Personal information being stored for promotional reasons is a bit of a concern.
VPN provider logos (13)Online storage and NAT firewall add-on are both neat additions.Vypr will only allow for one device to be connected on the basic plan.
VPN provider logos (14)Comes with 30-day no-risk money back guarantee and good discounts for annual memberships......but the base fee is a little pricey.
VPN provider logos (15)Easy-to-use and boasts great extra features at a reasonable price. Comes with a seven day no risk money back guarantee.Many users report very poor tech-support from the company.
VPN provider logos (17)Free trial and low prices.Not many server locations, and again, reports of poor customer care. Also, connection logs are kept for up to 10 days.
VPN provider logos (16)One of the best available for use within China.Many report being banned for torrent downloads with no option for a credit refund.
Hotspot1 month, 12 month and 24 month payment options, each reasonably priced.Hotspot Shield's client lacks the sheen that other providers offer.
VPN ServiceDoes it log usage data?Payment methods Recommended EncryptionKillswitch?
Untitled design (2)NoData not yet availableData not yet availableData N/A
Untitled design (3)No  Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Bitcoin and Jars of HoneyOpenVPN and AES 256 in CBC mode on Windows, Android and OS X and IPSec with 256-bit AES encryption for iOS.No
VPN provider logosYesMastercard, Visa and PayPal through a third-party payment system.Smart DNS service and Mobile VPN, with a fully fledged VPN on the way.No.
VPN provider logos (1)No Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
VPN provider logos (4)No Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
AVSNo Data not yet availableData not yet availableData N/A
VPN provider logos (6)YesCash, major credit cards via PayPal, Bitcoins and gift cards via PayGarden.The OpenVPN-based Ironsocket VPN network with AES-256 encryption, SHA256 Message Authentication and a 4096-bit key.No
VPN provider logos (7)NoMajor credit cards, Paypal, Bitcoin, Banklink and Webmoney.Double VPN with two layers of AES-256-CBC encryption. Yes
VPN provider logos (8)NoOver 200 payments options including credit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, bank transfer and UKash.Recommended connections are IKEv2, OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption/ Yes 
VPN provider logos (12)No Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
VPN provider logos (11)No. Major credit cards, Paypal and Bitcoin.An OpenVPN connection with 256 bit AES encryption.Yes 
VPN provider logos (9)No. Data not yet availableData not yet availableData N/A
VPN provider logos (10)No. Over 200 different payment options, including PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, Cash U, Gift Cards.An OpenVPN connection with AES256 with 2048bit RSA encryption.Yes.
VPN provider logos (13)Yes.  Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
VPN provider logos (14)No. Major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and alternative web payments and international credit cards An OpenVPN connection with DNS leak protection.No.
VPN provider logos (15)No.Paypal, Amazon, Google, Bitcoin, Stripe, Stellar, CashU, Ripple, PIA Gift Card.PIA recommends a combination of AES-256, RSA 4096 and SHA1 (or 256-bit)Yes.
VPN provider logos (17)Yes.  Data not yet availableData not yet availableData N/A
VPN provider logos (16)No.  Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A

Want all the TV shows and movies? You can get a free trial with each of the streaming internet tv providers below:

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What is a VPN?

When we use a VPN, the data we transmit is pushed through an encrypted “tunnel”. This data cannot be read by anybody without access to the private network due to several security features, such as a firewall between the client and the host server.

Encryption: Data travelling from one source to another is often encrypted in a particular way that only the computer receiving it can recognise.

In order to stop any confusion, it’s important to understand the different uses of VPNs. Consumer and corporate uses differ, although both are used to establish a secure connection from a user’s computer.

Corporate VPN

Private files can be transferred from companies and organisations (such as universities) over a public network. This comes in handy when employees are working remotely, or when companies need to communicate with international offices privately.

Consumer VPN

General consumers typically use VPN tunnels as a security measure. Usually when we surf the internet, the connection goes through our ISP (Internet Service Provider) to access the websites we browse (Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc.). This means that your ISP (iinet, Telstra, Optus) potentially has access to your browsing history. It also leaves users vulnerable to hackers.

A consumer VPN funnels the user’s internet access through a private server. Once connected through the consumer VPN, it’s technically no longer you accessing the Internet, but rather your VPN. This is especially handy when using public Wi-Fi hotspots at restaurants, cafes and libraries, as these public hotspots do not provide a secure and private connection to the internet.

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What can a VPN be used for?

There are many different providers of secure VPN services - more on that in a moment - but first, what do you get by using a VPN? Well, as mentioned, VPN use is first and foremost about security. But, the impact that has on you, the user, can differ depending on your needs.

  • Universities and companies will sometimes provide a free VPN service that allows students and staff to access the establishment’s resources when they are away from the campus/office. Again, VPNs would be especially useful for these people when transferring confidential files over a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Shoppers on the Internet may also use a VPN to purchase geographically restricted content or to avoid taxes imposed by their country of origin. For example, if you happen to be an Australian and a big App Store shopper, you could access the service via a VPN to avoid the GST that is tacked onto game and application transactions.
  • Privacy concerns surrounding the Internet have always been prominent. And it’s a reasonable fear when we are increasingly putting more and more of our personal details online through payments and services like PayPal. At any given time, we are either surfing the Internet freely, or under a monitored environment (one that might be enforced in a workplace). Using a VPN restricts prying eyes from being able to intercept files you may consider personally valuable or incriminating. This does not necessarily mean legally incriminating; it could be something as simple as an embarrassing photo or a private email.
  • Geoblocked content restricts users overseas from viewing content from another country. Imagine, you’re travelling abroad and you want to check up on your NRL team’s latest match. You access the website and attempt to watch the highlights only to be met with a message that says 'this video is not available in your country'. As most VPNs have servers in countries all over the globe, accessing the website through a trusted VPN would enable you to view the previously blocked video.
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Is accessing blocked content with a VPN legal?

Well, it’s not very clear. There’s not much evidence to suggest that using a VPN to access geoblocked content is illegal, but it’s important to check with your VPN provider, as this may be breaching the terms and conditions you agreed upon when signing up. Getting caught out could lead to your VPN service being cancelled, and you could lose credits and access to your downloads. Streaming paid services not available in Australia, like Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime through a VPN, however, could potentially land you in hot water. Streaming content through a VPN could cost you up to $10,200 and potential legal action from the content owner. And, just because you’re paying a membership fee, doesn’t mean that the service has the right to sell this content to you as it wouldn’t be licensed in Australia. It could also be considered fraudulent if you have provided a fake postcode or address when signing up, which could be damaging if by chance the case ever landed you in court.

The Copyright Act of 1968 makes it illegal to access content that has “Technological Protection Measures.” Although many argue that geoblocking is not technically a “Technology Protection Measure” and therefore may not be covered by the act. Yet, there is no official ruling on the matter, so any court ruling would generally depend on the leniency and background knowledge of the judge.

Similarly, your rights when using overseas-based companies to purchase goods may not be protected by Australian law. And some companies refuse to recognise products and warranties purchased internationally under domestic consumer law.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, it’s dicey. Paying to stream TV services not available in your country through a VPN is not recommended, as neither your VPN or the service provider are obliged to support you if you’re activity is discovered. But, then again, services like Netflix are now available in Australia, so there’s no longer as much of a need for Australians to look for alternative viewing options.

Aside from that, it’s important to be wary of international warranties while shopping through overseas companies.

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What does using a VPN have to do with the Australian Government’s Data Retention Scheme?

As you may have heard in recent news, the Australian Government has just passed a bill for a mandatory data retention scheme. Telcos and Internet service providers will now be required to store your non-content data for a two-year period to help law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations. Many consider the bill a huge threat to privacy, and just a generally useless idea, as the same scheme has shown to be of little help combatting crime in countries like the Netherlands. But, that’s a different story.

The metadata that will be retained includes information such as your billing information, traffic data (numbers called and texted etc.), location of communications and quantity of uploads and downloads. So, if you’re a stickler for privacy and security these laws should definitely concern you. Luckily, many services provide offshore VPNs that allow us to browse the Internet anonymously by circumventing our Internet Service Providers in order to gain access to the Internet.

Using a VPN, though somewhat confusing at first, is standard practice for many Internet users and a great way to hide your online presence. Due to these new laws, however, it’s worth considering VPN providers located outside of Australia and other countries with similar laws.

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Will using a VPN hide my identity while torrenting?

Yes. However, not all VPNs allow traffic from peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing from services like BitTorrent. These VPNs will likely  throttle your download speeds if you're found to be torrenting. Though, the rules aren't always black-and-white and some VPN providers will only block file-sharing services from particular regions. Below are three different VPN providers with three very different views towards torrenting through their services:

  • VPN Unlimited do not encourage torrenting though their service and have reported a few cases where they've had to decrease a user's connection speed when they were found to be torrenting.
  • Iron Socket allows torrenting on select servers optimised for file sharing. Iron Socket do not allow torrenting on all their servers due to the legal pressure in countries like the US and UK.
  • PIA claim they do not monitor any user activity whatsoever (thanks to their strict no logging policy) , therefore, they have no way of knowing if a user is torrenting and can not block it.

Though most P2P file sharing service have been painted with the same brush thanks to illegal copyright infringement, there are still legitimate uses for torrenting and file-sharing. So if you're concerned about a VPN blocking your BitTorrent or Vuze service, it would definitely be worth checking with the provider before signing up.

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What is DNS leak protection and do I need it?

If you're looking for uncompromised anonymity on the internet then DNS leak protection (or something with the same effect) comes highly recommended. If you're using a VPN to mask your identity, you need to be sure that all traffic from your computer is being rerouted through the VPN network. Usually, a VPN service will assign your computer DNS settings. Occasionally, your computer's operating system will default back to the DNS designated by your internet service provider, rather than the DNS provided by your VPN service, essentially leaking your IP address.  If there is a leak and your computer's IP address is exposed then your usage data will be left vulnerable to eavesdroppers. This is huge threat to your privacy and exactly the kind of thing you want to avoid if security is your number one concern.

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What is a kill switch and should I shop for a VPN that provides one?

Essentially, a kill switch is a form of DNS leak protection – a safeguard should your VPN disconnect and your IP address becomes exposed. A VPN kill switch (aka Internet Kill Switch) is a particularly valuable tool for regular torrent downloaders. A VPN kill switch works by severing your computer's connection to the internet as soon as the VPN's connection fails; without it your computer automatically defaults to your ISP designated DNS and your identity and location become vulnerable. A kill switch works by monitoring your internet connection for any drop or changes in IP address. If the kill switch detects that your VPN has been disconnected it immediately restricts your computer from connecting to the internet until a safe and secure connection is re-established through the VPN.

Top VPNs with kill switch technology

PIATorGuardHide My Ass
PIAUntitled designhma

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5 Responses to VPN Finder™ – Your Guide to Choosing the Best VPN

  1. Default Gravatar
    Tania | April 14, 2016

    Great comparison! About the torrenting feature, I was going through Whirlpool, and I found this VPN called Ivacy mentioned there a number of times. Any reason why you haven’t considered this one because I was about to buy it, and I just stumbled upon this article of yours.

  2. Default Gravatar
    VV | June 23, 2015

    How do you think the new Copyright Amendments on Online Infringement will affect vpns?

    • Staff
      Brodie | July 1, 2015

      Hi V,

      It’s a valid concern that the Copyright Amendments will affect VPN use. Under the new bill, copyright holders can apply to have a website blocked if its primary purpose is to “facilitate” copyright infringement. The wording here is pretty broad. Though there are many legitimate uses for a VPN, there’s nothing to stop a copyright holder from arguing that a VPN’s primary purpose is to facilitate piracy.

      Some SmartDNS providers, like Turboflix, market their services with the sole purpose of circumventing geododging to access US Netflix and other blocked services. Turboflix, in particular, have had their fair share of legal troubles in the past, but it’s hard to imagine them surviving in Australia once the amendments are in full swing.

      As for other legitimate VPNs, Malcolm Turnbull has said “it is not the intention of the amendments to apply to VPNs and it is difficult to see how VPNS, which are extensively used for wide range of purposes, could be said to have a primary purpose of copyright infringement”. So, in other words, it’s difficult to argue that a VPN could be used to facilitate copyright infringement, but not impossible. Supposedly, it will all come down to the strength of the copyright holder’s argument (and they now have years of experience arguing the case) should they decide to pursue VPN.

      Thanks,

      Brodie

  3. Default Gravatar
    Onepoppa | May 8, 2015

    I have my own domain, hosted locally in Australia. If I subscribe to a VPN :

    1. Does my email still go through my hosted mail server?
    2. Does my email address remain the same? – does it appear the same to recipients of my emails, and do they reply to my usual email address?
    3. Does my email address remain the same for my online newspaper and magazine subscriptions?

    • Staff
      Brodie | May 11, 2015

      Hi Onepoppa,

      If you are still using your previous email address (Hotmail, Gmail etc.) then, yes, it will still go through their server. Your email address remains the same and nothing changes with prior subscriptions. What some VPNs do offer, however, is a complimentary anonymous email address that runs through their servers.

      Hope this helps,

      Brodie

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