Best VPN for South Africa
Over half the population of South Africa now has access to the Internet. However, the government’s stated intent to monitor the activities of their citizens on social media platforms has led to many South Africans feeling that they are not able to express themselves freely online. Furthermore, the incumbent government was one of those that voted against a UN bill designed to help guarantee greater Internet freedom for people across the globe. The combination of a rapidly increasing number of Internet users and a government that is not wholly committed to ensuring completely free access to all areas of the web has led to a growing interest in VPNs that can be used from South Africa. With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to compile a shortlist of the very best VPN service providers that South African netizens can use to browse the Internet. But first, let’s take a brief look at what exactly a VPN is.
What Is a VPN?
If you are not already familiar with VPNs, they are Virtual Private Networks that allow users to connect to a server outside of their own country and then access websites from that server. The connection between the user’s computer, tablet or smartphone is encrypted so that the data they send and receive to the server cannot be read along the way. In simple terms, a VPN is a tunnel from your device to a remote server, through which you can send and receive data in complete safety. The websites that you visit will see you as being wherever the VPN server is located so VPNs can be useful for accessing geo-restricted content too.
Best VPNs For South Africa
The Best VPN for South Africa: Our Top 5
Without further ado, let us now look at 5 of the best VPN options currently available to citizens of South Africa and examine what they have to offer.
- NordVPN – NordVPN is one of the big players in the VPN market, with over 5,500 servers spread across 60 countries around the world. This makes them a great choice for fans of streaming video services that are restricted to certain geographic locations as there will almost certainly be a NordVPN server in any country that has streaming services you wish to access. What’s more, if privacy is your main concern, you will be pleased to learn that NordVPN operates a zero-logging policy, which means that none of your online activities will be logged by them. Once you have closed your session, there will be no trace of your online activities for anyone to read or for anyone to demand to see at a later date. Your data is also very well protected while you are actually using your connection as NordVPN uses industry-leading, military-grade encryption. As a well-established service provider with years of experience, NordVPN can be relied upon to deliver decent connection speeds that ensure a hassle-free experience when using streaming video services such as Netflix. Another benefit worth mentioning, which is especially useful for households with several people who wish to use a VPN service at the same time, is the number of devices that can be used simultaneously on a single NordVPN account: you can use up to 6 devices at the same time so larger families should definitely consider this service provider when looking for a reliable VPN in South Africa. While many service providers allow subscribers to connect with multiple devices at the same time, 6 is the highest number of devices that we have come across.
- ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is a smaller operation with just 160 servers around the world at the time of writing. However, these servers are located in 94 different countries, ensuring that subscribers are able to access geo-restricted services in almost any country you care to mention. Another attractive feature of the services provides by ExpressVPN is the connection speeds they offer: the VPN servers operated by ExpressVPN have been configured to handle high bandwidth demands with ease, which means that users can look forward to enjoying some of the fastest VPN speeds currently available to citizens of South Africa. They also offer class-leading AES-256 data encryption, IP address masking, and a network kill switch feature that blocks all network traffic to your device in the event that you suddenly lose your VPN server connection. This is a very useful feature if you are worried about unintentionally sending data over an unencrypted connection due to a temporary problem with your VPN. In common with many other service providers, ExpressVPN offers discounts to those who are prepared to commit to a longer-term contract, but you are also free to select a monthly payment option if that is your preference. They have software for Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, as well as apps for a variety of gaming consoles, smart TVs and routers, so no matter what devices you use, ExpressVPN has you covered. If you should encounter any problems with their VPN service, you can use the troubleshooting guides on their website or take advantage of the live chat facility to talk to a real person about the issues you are having. Whichever option you choose, it is nice to know that you will never be left trying to sort out problems on your own if you subscribe to one of ExpressVPN’s plans for South Africa.
- VyprVPN – VyprVPN is another relatively large service provider, with over 700 servers spread across more than 70 countries. The company behind VyprVPN is Golden Frog, whose owners have been involved with Internet businesses for over 25 years, before the Internet was even available to the general public! As advocates for Internet freedom, with a track record of actually taking positive action to pursue this ideal, we think it is safe to say that you can trust VyprVPN to protect your privacy and data at all times. VyprDNS is an integral part of the company’s VPN services and helps to protect users from man-in-the-middle attacks as well as ensure that your DNS requests are not recorded anywhere. This is an important feature for anybody who values their privacy and has no desire to have their online activities tracked by third parties, whether in an official or unofficial capacity. If you would like to take advantage of the highest levels of data encryption available, VyprVPN is well worth considering. Their standard offerings use 256-bit AES encryption with 2,048-bit RSA keys and for those who want even more protection, there is the option to upgrade to their premium VPN service for South Africa, which uses an advanced encryption protocol to scramble the data you send through your VPN tunnel. What this means in practical terms is that anybody trying to use deep packet inspection to read the data you are sending and receiving will not be able to do so. If you use any type of cloud services on a regular basis, you will be happy to learn that VyprVPN includes a special VPN server as part of their standard packages, which is designed to provide you with extra protection when accessing cloud-based services.
- PureVPN – This Hong Kong-based service provider has an extensive network of servers across the globe. Should you decide that PureVPN is the best choice to protect your Internet privacy in South Africa, you will be pleased to know they have over 2,000 servers for you to use, situated in more than 140 different countries. If you are looking for a service provider that offers a great set of features, along with a network that is capable of handling a lot of bandwidth at peak times of the day, this one should definitely be on your shortlist. In common with other leading service providers, PureVPN provides users with a split-tunneling option that enables you to send certain data through the VPN and other data via your local ISP. This is a very handy option if you need your true location to be visible when accessing certain sites, such as online banking services and local streaming video services. PureVPN allows subscribers to use 5 devices simultaneously, making them a good choice for families, and they also provide 24/7 technical support so if you are looking for a VPN service to use for a critical home or business application, this one could be the perfect solution for you. They are also not obliged to store any client data, so you do not have to worry about your activities being examined at a later date if you decide to subscribe to PureVPN in South Africa. Whether you choose a 1-month, 1-year or 2-year plan, you get a 31-day money-back guarantee with this company so there is no danger of being stuck with a service that doesn’t meet your needs: if you are not happy with the connection speeds or any other aspect of their service, you can cancel at any time during the first 31 days and you will receive all your money back.
- CyberGhost – Rounding out our list of top VPN solutions for South Africa is CyberGhost, a VPN service provider with over 5700 servers at the time of writing. These servers are spread across more than 90 countries, ensuring that users can access geo-restricted content all over the world. In addition to having a wide network of servers that provide subscribers with lightning-fast connections, CyberGhost is also one of the cheapest VPN service providers on our list if you choose one of their 3-year plans. If you are on a tight budget or you simply don’t like spending more than is absolutely necessary on your online services, this company could be a great option for you, as long as you don’t mind making a long-term commitment. CyberGhost is a good choice for less technically minded users too, as they provide a one-click solution that is very simple to use. If you want to dig deep into the settings, they provide you with the ability to customize your VPN service in a huge variety of ways but if all you want to do is click on the sites you wish to access and have your VPN connection do all the heavy lifting, then you will find this VPN service to be a great fit for your needs. CyberGhost, in common with other leading VPN service providers for South Africa, do not keep any logs so you can rest assured that once you disconnect from a session, none of the sites you visited or the data you sent and received will be stored anywhere on their network of servers. They also provide apps for a wide variety of platforms, as all leading VPN service providers do, including Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
As you can see, there is a good selection of top VPN providers from which to choose if you are living in South Africa. All of the above service providers have excellent reputations and you should be able to rely on them to protect your privacy and provide you with access to geo-restricted content from countries across the globe at any time of day or night. If you are still not sure exactly why you might need a VPN in South Africa, take a look at the next section, where we discuss a variety of reasons that people decide to use a VPN for some or all of their online activities.
Why Do You Need a VPN in South Africa?
If you like the idea of your online activities being protected from prying eyes but you are not absolutely sure why you would need to pay for a secure VPN service, the following list of reasons why many Internet users subscribe to a VPN service should help you to decide whether it is something that you really.
- Accessing Geo-Restricted Content – If you would like to see the latest movies released on Netflix USA, you can do so with ease when you sign up for a VPN service. Simply connect to one of their servers in North America and you will be on your way. There are many sites and streaming video apps that restrict access to content based on the location of end users but with a VPN plan that enables you to connect to these sites and apps from local servers, you can consume content that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
- Safeguarding Sensitive Information – Internet users who regularly send personal information over their connections often subscribe to a VPN service to ensure that the information they send cannot be intercepted and read by hackers or government authorities. With a VPN in South Africa that features advanced encryption and operates a zero-logging policy, you can send your information over the Internet without having to worry about it being read by anybody apart from the intended recipient. If you are connecting to a local banking service you should be able to rely on their own encryption but if you are sending data overseas and you want to make sure it is not accessible to anybody other than the person to whom you are sending it, a VPN is the answer.
- Hiding Your True Location – If you do not wish other people to know your true location when you log into forums and other sites where you might post comments and discuss subjects of interest to you, a VPN will come in very handy. You can choose to connect to the sites you visit from any of the VPN service provider’s servers around the world and nobody will know where you really are. The IP address that they see will be the address of the server to which you are connected and not your own public IP address in South Africa.
- Download Torrents Without Revealing Your Location or Identity – If you do not want people to know what content you are downloading from torrent sites; you can hide your IP address and location by using one of the service providers in our list. There are various reasons why people prefer to keep their identity a secret when using torrent sites but whatever your reasons may be, the solution is as simple as subscribing to a VPN service and using one of their servers to access the torrent sites that you like to frequent.
How to Get Started with a VPN in South Africa
All of the VPN service providers that we have mentioned provide money-back guarantees, free trials or both, so there is no need to worry that you are going to get stuck with a service that isn’t right for you or that does not work as well as you hoped it would. All you need to do is to sign up for a plan that you like the look of, download the software app that is designed for your device/s and log in. Most VPN software is intuitive to use and if you have any problems, you can contact the service provider’s support team and ask for help. VPNs are not illegal in South Africa, so you do not have to worry on that score either.