Below is a more specific breakdown alongside the percentage each criteria makes up of the overall Australia VPN rating.
1. Australia Server Locations: 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.
VPN services typically have far fewer servers in Australia than Europe and North America.
For each VPN we count the number of servers 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.
2. Australia Streaming: 30%
Minimum Requirement: The VPN works with at least one popular Australian streaming platform.
We Recommend: The VPN works multiple Australian streaming services, including SBS On Demand and 7Plus.
We test each VPN on Australian streaming services, including SBS On Demand, 9Now, 7Plus, Netflix Australia, Stan, and Kayo Sports. The more services it unblocks, the higher the rating we award.
4. Speed: 20%
Minimum Requirement: Speeds above 30Mbps.
We Recommend: Speeds above 90Mbps.
VPN speeds are especially important in Australia, where VPN providers usually pay less attention to their infrastructure.
We regularly test for international download speeds when connecting from the US to Australia.
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.
4. Security & Technical Features: 10%
Minimum Requirement: Secure connection protocols (namely OpenVPN and WireGuard) and AES-256 (or ChaCha20) encryption.
We Recommend: All of the above, IP and DNS leak protection, and a working VPN kill switch.
No matter what your purpose of using a VPN is, you must always use secure software since most, if not all, the data transferred will go through the VPN connection (known as the tunnel).
If you use an unsafe VPN, sensitive data will be exposed to external parties, particularly if you’re on free public WiFi.
As such, the VPNs for Australia we’ve chosen transmit data packets via secure protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard, encrypting the data using the AES-256 or ChaCha20 ciphers.
5. Privacy & Logging Policy: 10%
Minimum Requirement: A clear policy with only anonymised connection logs.
Just like our ‘Security & Technical Features’ rationale, every VPN we recommend regardless of the use case has to protect a consumer’s online privacy.
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.
We also run packet-inspection tests to check for IP data leaks, and verify AES-256 encryption is working correctly.
Data Cap Reduction: Up to 50%
Most free VPNs have data caps that restrict your VPN’s performance. To account for this limitation, we apply a penalty to a free VPN’s overall rating. This is based on how severe its data cap is:
- 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
- 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
- 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
- 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
- 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
- 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating
From our list of Australia VPNs, Proton VPN Free required no reduction to its rating since it doesn’t have a data cap.
On the flip side, TunnelBear Free’s rating was reduced by 50% to account for its very small offering of 500MB of data per month.