We look out for a number of key decision-making factors when testing and recommending the top Australian VPNs.
We rate every VPN based on its performance in four subcategories, then combine these numbers to calculate an overall Australia rating for each VPN.
For Australia specifically, we measure:
- Average download speeds on a local Sydney server.
- How many Australian VPN servers are available.
- The encryption key-length and security protocol offering.
- Whether the VPN works to access global and Australian streaming services.
- If the VPN supports torrenting, and on how many servers.
- The VPN app’s ease of use and customer support.
Here’s a full list of the factors we assess when looking for the best Australia VPN, along with how much of our rating they make up:
1. Average Australia Speed: 30%
Minimum Requirement: Average local download speeds above 70Mbps.
We Recommend: Average local download speeds of 80Mbps or faster.
VPN speeds are especially important in Australia, where VPN services usually pay less attention to their infrastructure than other countries.
We regularly test every VPN’s average local download speed when connected to servers in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and more.
We also test for international download speeds when connecting from Australia to distant countries like the US and UK.
We then compare these speeds against our normal speeds without a VPN, and use these figures to calculate a percentage speed loss figure.
In both cases, we recommend the VPNs with the lowest percentage speed loss, ensuring you can browse, stream, and torrent with as little slowdown as possible.
2. AU Servers: 30%
Minimum Requirement: A choice of VPN server locations in Australia.
We Recommend: Coast-to-coast, city-level Australian server coverage.
The fewer VPN servers a VPN has, the more congested the network will be – resulting in slower speeds.
Most VPN services typically have much fewer servers in Australia than they do in Europe and North America.
For each VPN, we count the number of servers on offer in Australia, and in how many locations. VPNs with a large number of Australian servers are rewarded.
All of Australia’s major cities are on the coast, so we also reward coast-to-coast server coverage that ensures no user has to put up with slow VPN speeds.
3. Logging Policy: 20%
Minimum Requirement: A clear policy with only anonymised connection logs.
The top-rated VPNs have a strictly no-logs policy. This means they collect and keep none of your activity or connection data, including your IP address.
Our experts also use packet-inspection tests to check for AES-256 encryption, data leaks, and OpenVPN functionality to keep your data secure when using public WiFi.
This also ensures that Australian ISPs cannot monitor or log your browsing activity.
4. Australian Streaming & P2P: 20%
Minimum Requirement: The VPN works with some streaming services and has a clear P2P policy.
We Recommend: The VPN works multiple international streaming libraries and allows torrenting on all servers.
Many users want a VPN to stream geo-blocked content or share P2P files safely. This is especially true in Australia, where services like Netflix have less content than their international equivalents.
We test for VPNs that can effectively access the largest number of streaming libraries – both in Australia and overseas.
That means the top-rated Australia VPNs work with both US and AU Netflix libraries, as well as Australia-specific platforms like Binge, Stan, Kayo Sports, and Foxtel Now.
We also test to see which VPNs can effectively access other global streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.
A good VPN also provides P2P-optimized servers and online protections for those interested in torrenting, which is particularly important in Australia due to its strict copyright laws.
Additional Testing Criteria
We expect basic levels of security, customer support, and value for money from all VPN services, not just Australia VPNs.
To make sure our recommendations are safe, we test for basic security features including a VPN kill switch and leak protection.
We examine every app on macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android to see if it has a simple, user-friendly interface, and reward the VPNs that are easy to understand and use.
Additional features are also rewarded – this could include split tunneling, browser extensions, ad blockers, malware blockers, and other bespoke tools like Smart DNS.
We examine the quality of customer support available by sending technical questions through both email and live chat assistance.
High-quality services have 24/7 live chat support, an online knowledge-base, and an email address to ask technical questions.
Finally, we take value for money into account and highlight the VPNs that are particularly affordable or good value.