The Indian diaspora is the largest in the world. At the same time, Bollywood is the biggest film industry there is, and the Indian television industry is similarly huge in terms of output and viewership. Unfortunately, most of this content is unavailable in many parts of the world due to geo-restrictions, which means it cannot be accessed by those living abroad. For example, a very popular Indian TV channel Hotstar can only be watched by those living inside of India.
With a virtual private network (VPN), these geo-restrictions can be bypassed. This is because VPN allows the user to choose an IP address from a (usually) huge array of servers, meaning that users can pretend they’re logging on from another country altogether.
The other major advantage of a VPN is that it provides the user with security. This is especially crucial for users in India seeing as the government has implemented seriously invasive surveillance measures. For instance, Section 69 of the IT Act allows authorities to surveil users in the investigation of—get ready for it—any offense.
Whatever the intention, this has led to multiple arrests over the past year for content posted on Facebook and WhatsApp that has challenged political or religious ideals. As such, it’s absolutely necessary for web users in India, whether you’re a local or a tourist, to use a VPN to maintain your privacy rights.
To help you find the best VPN for India, then, we’ve created a list based on the following qualities:
- strong security and privacy;
- a combination of price and features;
- and a location outside the 5/9/14 eyes surveillance group of countries.
7 best VPNs for India
1. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $2.99/month
- Features: military-grade security, huge server list, geo-unblocking, support
NordVPN is rightly regarded as one of the best VPN services that money can buy. And it isn’t a great deal of money, either: you can get three years of security for less than three dollars per month.
NordVPN passes all of our tests easily: for starters, it’s registered in Panama, a country with a great deal of internet freedom and no data retention laws. Combine this with the AES-256-CBC cipher and you’re looking at a completely impenetrable system.
NordVPN can also connect you to over five thousand servers in over sixty countries. This means you’re able to access just about any geo-restricted content you wish, be it UK Netflix while vacationing in India or Zee TV when you’re living or working abroad.
There’s fun for all the family, too, as NordVPN gives you the ability to connect six devices simultaneously, meaning your three dollars per month can certainly stretch a long way. With the thirty-day money-back guarantee, there’s no risk in trying it out, either.
- Location: Seychelles
- Pricing: starts at $8.33/month
- Features: great security, server list, torrenting, download speeds, support
If gaming is your gig, look no further than Astrill VPN. Although it isn’t a perfect all-rounder, Astrill is very likely the best VPN for India if you want speedy internet connections (which aren’t always available in rural areas).
As with NordVPN, Astrill is a perfectly secure piece of software that packs the same AES-256-bit/kill switch/DNS leak protection into its arsenal. As well as this, it allows you to use either OpenVPN (optimal for desktop) and IKEv2 (optimal for mobile).
Located in the Seychelles archipelago, it’s also free from any data retention laws—though its no-log policy means there’s no personally-identifying data to retain anyway. As such, Astrill allows you to game and torrent ‘til your heart’s content, and it doesn’t allow India’s prying surveillance powers to stop you from doing so.
3. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $8.32/month
- Features: great security, accessibility, geo-unblocking, torrenting
No list of great VPN would be complete without ExpressVPN, one of the most reputable pieces of software available for your cybersecurity needs. The only downside here is the price; whereas with Astrill you’re paying for a specialized VPN optimized for gaming and torrenting, ExpressVPN’ main advantage is that you can guarantee it’s reliable given its reputation.
This may not seem like enough of a bargain when NordVPN seems to offer pretty much the same features for a fraction of the price. To be brutally honest, that’s why we’ve listed ExpressVPN as the third best VPN for India, not the second or first. It may reassure some users to go with the most recognizable brand (which is ExpressVPN), but we’re just here to give you the facts.
In any case, ExpressVPN is an air-tight VPN that’s great for unlocking geo-restricted content such as Netflix. As well as its security controls (which, as we’ve said, are comparable to Nord’s and Astrill’s), ExpressVPN is also registered in the British Virgin Islands, which means it’s well outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 alliance—an absolute must for any truly secure VPN.
4. VyprVPN ‣
- Location: Switzerland
- Pricing: starts at $5.00/month
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, torrenting, download speeds
This Swiss-registered VPN (non-5/9/14 Eyes) was developed by Golden Frog. This company has created the Chameleon protocol for VyprVPN, which is custom-designed to bypass firewalls.
With a great server list and the ability to unlock geo-restricted content quite easily, VyprVPN is thus a decent all-rounder. This is reflected by its price: a five-dollar monthly charge (starting price) is right in the middle of cheaper alternatives like NordVPN and more expensive ones such as Astrill and Express.
VyprVPN is also secured to the hilt with private DNS servers and the same NASA-grade encryption that we’ve explored so far. This, of course, makes it yet another good entry on our best VPN for India list, even if it is slightly less impressive than our higher-placed picks.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $3.49/month (or $1.99 from affiliates)
- Features: great security, geo-unblocking, torrent support, download speeds
Surfshark is one of the best VPN for India contenders. It uses AES-256-GCM encryption rather than AES-256-CBC, making it faster and allowing for faster download speeds than your average VPN. Not bad at all for the price they’re asking (which drops down even lower if you shop around Surfshark’s affiliates).
Surfshark has a good server fleet and is surprisingly great at unblocking geo-restricted streaming services. As we have mentioned earlier, access to television and streaming channels is one of our biggest concerns here, so it’s great to see a VPN that delivers so well.
6. PrivateVPN ‣
- Location: Sweden
- Pricing: starts at $3.82/month
- Features: great speeds, security, geo-unblocking, torrent support
PrivateVPN is on the lower end of our best VPN for India list for one good reason: it’s registered in Sweden, one of the Fourteen Eyes alliance countries.
This is something to be mindful of, clearly, but it doesn’t automatically mean any attempts at security for this VPN are squandered. Quite simply, PrivateVPN’s zero-logs policy is, for now, reliable.
The main reason we’ve included it here, though, is because of the great speeds and ability to unblock pretty much any geo-blocked content. As the company purchases internet capacity straight from the IP transit provider, PrivateVPN can afford to run a smaller fleet of servers and still offer one of the fastest services on the market today.
Aside from the niggling factor of its registry location, this VPN ticks all our boxes and serves as a great little alternative to the higher entries on our list.
- Location: Canada
- Pricing: starts at $1.00/month
- Features: great security, leak protection, geo-unblocking, port forwarding, malware and ad blocking
You may take one glance at Windscribe and wonder how on earth it could protect your data. Isn’t Canada a Five Eyes country? Yes, but when the government made log requests to Windscribe in recent years, the VPN failed to comply due to “lack of relevant data.”
Windscribe ensures that your personal data will never be leaked to prying eyes. With DNS, IPv6, and even WebRTC leak protection, you can trust this relatively affordable VPN to keep your privacy in tip-top shape.
Other great functions are included, making $1.00 per month a worthwhile asking price. Its speeds may not be the best, but with double hopping, time zone spoofing, and the ability to unblock any geo-restricted Netflix server, Windscribe is certainly good enough for us to call this a suitable alternative to any service on this best VPN for India list.
Although you’ve little reason to worry, it is worth reiterating that this is a Canadian VPN, which is why Windscribe is at the bottom of our list despite its great features. Cybersecurity is of utmost importance these days, so if you’re not feeling confident with this VPN, that’s completely understandable.Read our full Windscribe VPN review
And the best VPN for India is…
It has to be NordVPN. It has a great price, reliable ability to unlock geo-restricted streaming services and being registered in privacy-friendly Panama. With all of that, NordVPN is truly the best VPN for India.
Other alternatives you may wish to go for are ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, Surfshark, or Astrill VPN, all of which are located outside the 5/9/14 Eyes. No worthwhile VPN is as affordable as NordVPN (unless you shop around Surfshark’s affiliates), but for torrenting and gaming you could try Astrill VPN.
If you’re in India, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPN for India? Let us know in the comments below.