The Five Best VPNs For 2017

The Five Best VPNs For 2017

We last updated our list of best VPN providers in 2014, but a lot has changed since then. With Netflix blocking VPNs and privacy becoming more of a concern than ever, the parameters of a good VPN for Aussie users have shifted. Some popular choices have fallen out of favour of late, so we’ve had a look at what VPN users in Australia are recommending now and for the year ahead.

While speed, service and price are taken into consideration here, one of the big questions that many are asking of their VPN providers is whether they offer the ability to unblock international Netflix libraries. While we’ve tried to come up with an accurate answer for each, keep in mind that there is an ongoing battle between Netflix and VPNs and what works today may not always work tomorrow. Note that we haven’t trialled these services ourselves, but have collated opinions from a number of VPN-using communities.


Best Australian VPNs

    At a glance:

  • Monthly Subscription: $10.00
  • Yearly Subscription: $77.99 ($6.49/month)
  • 500+ servers in over 60 countries
  • Can you access US Netflix?: Results vary
  • IPVanish has consistently appeared on our lists of recommended VPNs, and they’re still going strong. They’re a little bit pricier on a yearly basis than most VPNs, but if the internet is to be believed they’re well worth the price. From our last VPN guide (figures have been updated):

    IPVanish takes an interesting approach to privacy and security. It uses shared IP addresses, so your activity can’t be singled out from others using the service. They claim over 40,0000 IPs to share on over 500 exit servers in more than 60 different countries. You can choose where you’d prefer to connect, which again is perfect for getting around location restrictions, and encryption makes sure your traffic is safe from prying eyes.

    IPVanish is a strong contender for anyone who has use for a mobile based VPN — their support team will walk you through the set up process for a mobile device, and they’re one of the few VPNs that offer support for Windows Phone users (along with the more common Android and iOS, and Mac, Windows and Ubuntu on desktop computers).

    IPVanish doesn’t keep logs aside from storing account and site visitor information for billing purposes, and its OSX client features a kill switch.

    IPVanish boasts relatively good speeds for torrenting, and recent comments have indicated that US Netflix is working with this service, though that might have changed in the meantime.


    Best Australian VPNs

      At a glance:

    • Monthly Subscription: $12.95
    • Yearly Subscription: $99.84 ($8.32/month)
    • 97+ VPN locations in 78 countries
    • Can you access US Netflix?: Yes (with troubleshooting)

    ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs available, though for good reason. Their support and customer service is stellar, with direct support email addresses listed on their website, quick response times and a 24/7 live chat. It supports an extensive range of devices — Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, PlayStation, Apple TV and routers. Each one of these has an easy set up guide on ExpressVPN’s website.

    It’s also one of the few VPNs that has had little trouble with Netflix. While some servers have been blocked by Netflix, the support staff in the website’s live chat are able to tell you which server to connect to. The PC and mobile apps offer region switching in order to access different countries’ Netflix libraries, though it’s only possible to unblock US Netflix on the PlayStation and other compatible devices.

    Express keeps no logs, though its clients don’t include a kill switch. Despite a high monthly price, ExpressVPN offers a decent discount for an annual subscription, and comes with a 30-day no-risk money back guarantee.


    Best Australian VPNs

      At a glance:
    • Monthly Subscription: $10.00
    • Yearly Subscription: $48.00 ($4.00/month)
    • 150+ VPN locations in 78 countries
    • Can you access US Netflix?: Mostly

    SlickVPN is a name that has been popping up more often recently, as it is one of the VPNs that people have found fairly reliable for accessing US Netflix. It’s also decently affordable, and comes with a 30-day refund guarantee. It also offers a subscription package between the standard one month and one year, with a price of $20 for three months.

    It offers 5 simultaneous connections from a maximum of two IP addresses as part of your subscription. Slick also boasts a technology they call HYDRA, which “provides the most secure connection possible using extra hops over our internal network”. They claim this is the most secure VPN connection possible at this time.

    SlickVPN doesn’t keep logs, and provides 24/7 technical support via its website. Like many of the more privacy-concerned VPNs, SlickVPN offers a range of payment options such as cash, cheque and money order.


    Best Australian VPNs
      At a glance:
    • Monthly Subscription: $9.95
    • Yearly Subscription: $21.95 ($1.83/month)
    • 250 VPN locations in 40 countries
    • Can you access US Netflix?: Yes (with troubleshooting)

    While Ivacy isn’t quite as reputable as the other VPNs listed above, it’s dirt cheap for quite a speedy service — one speedtest on the Whirlpool forums had the VPN performing at the same speeds as their connection did without the VPN. At $1.83 a month (when you purchase a yearly subscription) it’s not a hard sell for anyone who might be strapped for cash. Just be careful about their 7-day money-back guarantee, which is only valid if less than 500mb in data transfers have been made.

    While Ivacy do offer live chat support, the service isn’t available 24 hours a day — though you can leave a message for support staff to get back to you as soon as they’re able. Ivacy doesn’t keep logs and does have a kill switch, as well as allowing the connection of a decent 5 devices simultaneously.

    Ivacy does seem able to unblock US Netflix, and though it can be a bit of a process that’s not unusual for anyone who’s been playing VPN hopscotch with Netflix. Their support staff are reportedly happy to help you connect.

    It does have a slightly dodgy history of essentially bribing bloggers and reviewers with free subscriptions, however, so some of the more glowingly positive reviews and comments should be taken with a very large grain of salt.


    Best Australian VPNs
      At a glance:
    • Monthly Subscription: $8.00
    • Yearly Subscription: $48.00 ($4.00/month)
    • 80 servers worldwide
    • Can you access US Netflix?: Results vary

    NordVPN is another decently cheap option with good flexibility. It has a standard price of $48 for an annual subscription, though a current offer has the same for $36 at the time being. It offers a wide range of compatibility for a whole bunch of different devices and operating systems, although it only allows you to have two simultaneous streams at a time.

    While many users have reported that NordVPN isn’t working with Netflix, they’ve been committed to finding a workaround as the Netflix blocking intensifies. NordVPN users should be able to contact support to get help getting set up on a server that isn’t yet blocked. For its part, NordVPN is preparing workaround options for customers who become affected.

    Although NordVPN isn’t quite as fast as other options in Australia, it comes loaded with a bunch of features, including a kill switch. Its support service features 24/7 live chat, a direct email contact for support questions and an extensive support database. It also doesn’t keep logs.

    An honorable mention goes to Private Internet Access — it’s consistently been a high quality VPN, especially for users concerned about their privacy. However when it comes to unblocking Netflix, PIA has reportedly told users that their VPN service should not be used to get around geoblocks, and they would not be trying to unblock their service for such uses. Still, if accessing US Netflix is not one of the reasons why you choose to use a VPN, PIA is well worth a look.

    Another recent player in the Australian VPN market is VanisheDVPN. This startup has only been around for a month but reckons it’s found a solution for accessing US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and other geo-blocked services. However, the current solution requires some manual configuration and networking knowhow for PCs. (There’s reportedly an app in the pipeline.) Prices start at 99 cents per month.

    Remember, if none of the options above suit you as well as you’d like, you can always build your own VPN.

    Do you use any of these VPNs? Would you recommend anything different? Let us know in the comments!


    • Missing:

      – AirVPN

      The question is what VPN works best for your location.. NordVPN is the best but reportedly not for most Australians.

      Also install the WebRTC Leak Prevent browser extension.

      • I had PIA for a year, then switched to NordVPN, big mistake, speeds were atrocious (based north of Brisbane), worked with them but really couldn’t get a decent service so they refunded and I went back to PIA. It’s not just about the best overall service, there’s best value too. Only paid $33 US for a year going back to PIA.

      • I believe you miss some VPN providers which are working great in Australia. I can this say because I belong to network security industry from past 2 years. Just a request to check PureVPN, Buffered, and iVPN. I am sure after checking their performance you should include some of them into your top 5 list.

      • I have been using PIA for about 3 years and they have picked up their game on speeds.

        Using PIA with Firefox and addons such as Random Agent Spoofer , HTTPS Everywhere and uBlock Origin provide an all round protection and still have full functionality. No Script is the end all.

        Test your security at IPLeak , Perfect Privacy and Browser

      • I am using these tools for last 2 years but I haven’t listen people talking about the tools which you have mentioned for the purpose of online security and privacy. I have used other VPN software which i think is a perfect option for security.

    • Been using PIA for 3 years now and no issues, it’s currently $40 for the year . Haven’t had any trouble with US netflix either but that might be just me?

    • Did you forget about GetFlix? Had absolutely no problems with US Netflix and have a lifetime subscription to their service for about $60 through StackSocial. Easy to setup with minimal tech xp necessary

    • Probably a dumb question – but are these prices in USD or AUD? I’m presuming the former?

      Edit: ExpressVPN quotes their prices are in USD, but IPVanish don’t seem to. Might be worth making clear for people just in case!

    • Hi Hayley,

      I wanted to clarify about Private Internet Access – we don’t help users get around any block of any kind. That said, we make sure that our users are able to access our service and all sites in an uncensored and unfiltered fashion. Meaning, we don’t have to help our users do anything – because we make sure everything works all the time, regardless of what it is.

      We do not hold prejudice to any source or destination. This includes Netflix.

      As such, Netflix works great through PIA US gateways and, consequently, I’ve been watching it myself as well.

      Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like a free account for PIA to try for yourself Hayley. 🙂

      Andrew / rasengan

      • In the case of VPNs, free services are pretty counter-productive to the whole ‘privacy’ aspect. Remember, if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product

      • Heaps of free in house browser addons. They are reliable when speed is not a requirement. Some have a premium service on offer. Stick with browser addons is probably the safest way.

        Some internet freebies may come with advertising, info stealing or man in middle attacks.

    • I use to use PIAVPN, but I cancelled my sub when they started restricting Netflix access. Netflix did not ask them to do it. PIA did it off their own backs, restricting access and they did not offer any refunds, and gave no prior notice that they would do such a thing.
      Do not use this service if you want to get Netflix, and if you want your terms of service changed without notice or reason.

    • Hi Hayley I like the article, but your can you access netflix descriptors were a bit non specific.

      Which one out of the set for example is the most guaranteed to work? Or which one is the hardest to set up?

      • If your VPN connection drops, whatever you were tunnelling will suddenly use the unsecured internet, and potentially open you up for attack/ identify you as a torrenter.
        A kill switch will stop the traffic until the VPN connection is restored.

        Example: You’re torrenting and sharing some movies, and your VPN connection drops. The torrent client will reconnect to the torrent servers, and now that your originating IP address is exposed, you can be identified as torrenting copywrited media.

    • I’m new to this all and bought PIA. I want to know how and if it works instead of that they just promise me something. If I go to a random ‘find my IP address’ website, it is showing my ip even when I have PIA running. Is that normal?

      • That’s definitely not normal. If you are seeing your real IP address and your PIA software is running and showing that you are connected to the VPN, then something is definitely wrong.

    • I had high hopes in IPVanish. Everything was working well until the killswitch started to malfunction. It’d kill the killswitch itself and give me an error dialogue, saying some extremely vague thing that I can’t remember right now. Nope. Big. Fat. NOPE.
      Too big a vulnerability to use the client.
      Anyone else experience it?

    • It’s funny how most of the comments are from affiliates peddling their own links and singing praisesof the VPN offering the best commission at that time.

    • Your research isn’t too ‘crash hot’.
      How many have you tried over a period of time in different parts of Australia, and it depends on distance from the local terminal, surrounding structures and the QUALITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL USERS’ MODEM/ROUTER
      Express VPN stalled continuously as did the others on the list which appear to be ‘picked from a hat’.
      Strong VPN is the only one to date which has operated faultlessly in the South-East corner of Queensland, North-East Melbourne suburbs and 46km South-East of Adelaide in comparative tests.

      • Where do i begin….
        These aren’t “picked from a hat” if yourself did do research then you’d know most forums refer to these vpn companies as the industry standards or big wigs.
        “Depends on the distance to the local terminal”? what terminal???? your home PC? or are you referring to your local “exchange”, node or POP?
        “the surrounding structures”? are you on fixed wireless now or something? or are you talking about your local wifi in your home?
        “QUALITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL USERS’ MODEM/ROUTER” not sure why this is in caps but I’m guessing you don’t know much about VPN’s or cryptography for that matter (guess your research wasn’t too crash hot either?) It can depend on the type of VPN. IF the VPN is setup on the users router say an L2TP, etc connection then yes it can matter about the router. However most users are connecting to VPN’s from their PC’s which means the PC is encrypting the data (ie all the heavy math lifting is done on a modern CPU ,etc) before it’s sent over the wire (to your modem/router) so in that case the router doesn’t really matter. IF you are talking about a VPN over a mobile connection, then you are NOT the average user that this article is intended for. Lifehacker has done many articles on VPN’s including the one linking to the massive google sheet displaying all the features of each VPN. So before you have a go at Hayley for “not researching” maybe research yourself.

        • Typical reply from a person who thinks he know everything on a subject but most of the response is ASSUMING what I have learned over many years, what I have researched over many years, and does not have a clue as to how many computer/VPN users’ electronic equipment I service and maintain.
          Look a the silly questions and comments from ompster :-
          “are you on fixed wireless now or something?”
          “Depends on the distance to the local terminal”? My reply:- Learn the meaning of terminal.

          “(guess your research wasn’t too crash hot either?)” My reply:- An assumption/guesswork.

          “the surrounding structures”? My reply:- Learn what affects modem/router opertions.

          ” I’m guessing you don’t know much about VPN’s” My reply:- Assumtion/guesswork.

          “most users are connecting to VPN’s from their PC’s” My reply:- “most” doesn’t mean a thing, many individuals use ‘tablets’, ‘smart ‘phones’, ‘Xbox’, smart AndroidTV’, ‘Blu-ray player’ et al.

          Writing a load of rubbish in your comment ompster gives the impression that you know next to nothing about the subject.

    • IPVanish doesn’t keep logs aside from storing account and site visitor information for billing purposes, and its OSX client features a kill switch.
      Im quite sure the Windows client also has the kill switch that was added some time in 2016.

    • *****BUYERS BEWARE******
      The app did not connect on multiple occasions. Speed was unusable. I contacted customer support who could not resolve the issue. Refused refund until I approached paypal and lodged dispite.

      Very bad experience.

      • Things have changed a lot in the past year and a half. Ivacy has totally revamped its app, increased the number of servers, increased the number of devices supported, introduced a free version on Android and iOS by the name of Ivacy Lite and increased the number of protocols supported. It wasn’t really bad then, but you should check it out now. It’s a totally different experience. 2017’s fall has changed everything.

    • Has anyone had much experience with using a VPN through their modem/router? All of these seem to have apps for windows. but I mainly stream through my Xbox one, and can’t seem to find an easy way to set that up

    • Hmmmm I’m ditching PIA as it is slow and keeps disconnecting irrespective of what settings i adopt on advice from the PIA techs.

      On average if i’m getting 18 – 20 MBPS DL and 4.7 MBPS UL, enabling the PIA VPN will cut this to as low as 1-6 MBPS (avg of about 3); UL will sit between 3 and 4 MBPS.

    • Just my 2 cents worth. I know NOTHING about computers et al but a trip to China recently made me look for a VPN to be able to stay in touch with family. I looked at a few providers and eventually went with NordVPN. To my mind it has been great. I got a good deal -three year subscription for US$99.00. Any issues I have had I have been able to put it down to other factors eg. very poor wifi in Chinese hotels, living in far North Queensland so a long way from the closest server in Brisbane. If I have any issues, I just log out of the current server and log into another that has very low usage. It’s very good. Nord also send out interesting emails regarding staying safe on the internet. They also aren’t subject to governments meta data laws as they are not in the US or Australia!

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