Censorship in South Korea is highly restrictive. The Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) works hard to remove all access to gambling websites and to censor LGBT content outright. Furthermore, if you’re caught posting content that goes against the ethos of the ruling party, you could face jail time.
Of course, this is serious business for anyone living in South Korea as well as those merely visiting. As such, it’s essential to get your hands on a virtual private network (VPN), because this allows you to connect to remote servers to ensure your activity is untraceable.
Handily, many VPN have servers all across the world. This means you can unlock geo-restricted content such as streaming services, thus allowing you to catch up your favorite TV shows wherever you go. Or, if you’re Korean and/or a fan of South Korea’s thriving TV scene, you can remain up to date on that wherever you go, too.
Which VPN is really secure, though, and which ones are scams? Well, in order to find the best VPN for South Korea, we’ve looked for these qualities:
- strong security and privacy
- combination of price and features
- a location outside the 5/9/14 eyes surveillance group of countries
The best VPNs for South Korea
1. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $2.99/month
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, support
Part of NordVPN’s acclaim comes from its ability to crack the Great Firewall of China. Of course, China’s security is way less permissive than even South Korea’s is, so you can rest assured that the KCSC is no match for this!
With unbreakable ciphers and thousands of servers available worldwide, NordVPN provides users with airtight security that all the computers in the world couldn’t break. In other words, you could have total command over your data privacy for just $2.99 per month (on a three-year plan). That’s what we love to see in a VPN, and it’s partially what makes it one of the very best VPN for South Korea.
NordVPN is also great for unblocking content geo-restricted to other territories which, as we mentioned, is a godsend for travelers and tourists alike. With servers in over sixty countries, there’s no limit to the amount of content you can access, and despite South Korea’s tendency to collaborate with the Five Eyes alliances, there’s no way anyone can stop you. The world truly is your oyster with NordVPN, protective shell and all.
- Location: Seychelles
- Pricing: starts at $8.33/month
- Features: great security, server list, torrenting, download speeds, support
Like Nord, Astrill VPN is able to easily navigate the Great Firewall of China, which means there are a few things it isn’t able to get around. This doesn’t always include streaming sites, unfortunately, but this trusty little VPN can still unlock the majority the content usually unavailable to regular web users in South Korea.
As a Seychelles-registered VPN, Astrill is just as free from data retention laws as NordVPN is. It’s also just as secure, packing the same privacy artillery as our top choice does. Where Astrill begins to differ, though, is in its target audience; whereas NordVPN is designed with fans of streaming services in mind, Astrill was developed to appeal to hardcore gamers and torrenting fans.
The VPN’s dedicated torrenting server, P2P VPN, provides a massive advantage for anyone hoping to torrent undetected. If its downloading speeds aren’t quite cutting it for you – which would be surprising given it’s one of the fastest VPN on the market – Astrill also offers a VIP service, which costs an extra $10 but dramatically enhances your connectivity. Once again, this is tailored especially for hardcore gamers, so if that’s your bag, this is your VPN.
3. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $8.32/month
- Features: great security, accessibility, geo-unblocking, torrenting
ExpressVPN is another one of the best VPN for South Korea. Launched almost ten years ago, ExpressVPN has enjoyed a considerable reputation ever since as one of the most dependable, resilient, and powerful VPN that money can buy.
As you’ll notice, ExpressVPN is around the same price as Astrill. This begs the question: is it as good? Well, that all depends on what you’re after.
ExpressVPN mostly lacks the lightning-fast download speeds of Astrill and, beyond that, it mostly matches NordVPN blow for blow in terms of security measures. This doesn’t make ExpressVPN redundant, however; it’s more than understandable if you’re tempted by this VPN purely for the comfort of knowing how reputable it is. It’s earned its status, after all.
Regardless of whether it matches up to Astrill’s download speeds, however, ExpressVPN certainly provides great value for money. Its registry in the British Virgin Islands makes it free from obligation to any data retention laws, and its private, encrypted DNS server runs on a zero-logging policy to ensure your information is never leaked. (If only it had this zero-logging policy independently audited as its competitors have, ExpressVPN would be a perfect VPN altogether.)
4. VyprVPN ‣
- Location: Switzerland
- Pricing: starts at $5.00/month
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, torrenting, download speeds
A VPN suited to torrenting and streaming, VyprVPN brings the best of both worlds to a tidy little piece of software with some serious security chops to match. As such, we can safely consider it one of the best VPN for South Korea.
Developed by Golden Frog, this VPN comes with a custom-made protocol named Chameleon that works to prevent bandwidth throttling, which tends to occur when an ISP is burdened by too much data.
At five dollars per month, VyprVPN is exactly in the mid-budget price range. It’s a fair price to ask for a good balance of the features that distinguish the VPN we’ve already talked about. You also needn’t worry about losing your privacy to data retention laws, because there are none in Switzerland where this VPN is registered.
Once again, we have AES-256-bit encryption combined with a private DNS server and kill switch. Not only this but like all the best VPN for South Korea, VyprVPN’s zero-log policy has been independently audited and proven for its trustworthiness. With this, you can rest assured that your connections are never interfered with, and your privacy is never squandered.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at [brand_minimal_price brand_id=’31’ format=’currency_term’
- Features: great security, geo-unblocking, torrent support, download speeds
One of the newer VPN we’ve included here, Surfshark is a strong up-and-comer to the game and, despite its flaws, easily one of the best VPN for South Korea. What are those flaws, you ask? Simply that the kill switch is only available for its Windows app.
This puts Mac, iOS, and Android users as a disadvantage, because Surfshark thus cannot protect their data if its connection drops. Nevertheless, Windows users are eligible to experience a faster encryption cipher than what we’re used to (AES-256-GCM instead of AES-256-CBC), and a much higher standard of download speeds than most.
Furthermore, it’s great at unblocking geo-restricted content as well as for supporting torrenting. With the lack of cross-platform accessibility in mind, this makes Surfshark a handy little tool that comes at a decent price (less than two dollars per month from affiliates) and no limit on simultaneous connections.
6. PrivateVPN ‣
- Location: Sweden
- Pricing: starts at $3.82/month
- Features: great speeds, security, geo-unblocking, torrent support
No, we haven’t forgotten our criteria for searching for VPN located outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes groups. Yes, PrivateVPN’s Swedish registry does prevent it from being the best VPN for South Korea. There are, however, certain strides taken by this VPN that make up for those flaws.
For one thing, PrivateVPN’s no-logging policy is truly reliable, meaning that if the Fourteen Eyes ever forced them to hand over your data, there’d be nothing for them to see. Another thing is this VPN’s outstanding download speeds; even with a small fleet of servers, PrivateVPN stands out as one of the fastest VPN around.
They do this by purchasing internet capacity straight from the IP transit provider, which is great forward thinking on their part. The VPN’s ability to unlock even the toughest streaming services (we’re looking at you, iPlayer) also make it great for circumventing content restrictions anywhere, which is ideal for users in South Korea. The affordable pricing also wins us over, it must be said.
- Location: Canada
- Pricing: starts at $1.00/month
- Features: great security, leak-protection, geo-unblocking, port forwarding, malware and ad blocking
If we told you that Windscribe is one of the safest VPN around, you’d think we were joking. It’s registered in Canada, after all, which is a member of the Five Eyes alliance. However, several log requests have been made to Windscribe, which all failed for one reason: “lack of relevant data.”
This is great news because it means that Windscribe has nothing to show to anyone who tries to get into it. No information is likely to seep out, either, because it has some of the best leak protection going. This not only includes DNS and IPv6 leak protection but it’s also safeguarded against the notorious WebRTC leak bug, which is not something every VPN can say.
Other features, such as time zone spoofing, Netflix unblocking, and double hopping make Windscribe worth the (affordable) price it charges. Of course, if you still don’t trust it based on its Canadian registry, that’s understandable – it’s why we included it last. It isn’t very fast either, which means for some, it clearly isn’t one of the very best VPN for South Korea.
However, some may trust Windscribe based on its log compliance history. For those people, you have a great alternative to our top choices.
And the best VPN for South Korea is… NordVPN!
There’s no doubt in our mind that NordVPN is the best VPN for South Korea. It’s hyper-secure, it’s affordable, and it’s fantastic at unlocking geo-restricted content. The latter aspect also means it’s great for circumventing censored content, which is a key concern for users in South Korea.
If you’re still not sure, there are other alternatives. None are as cheap as Nord, but you might want to try ExpressVPN, Astrill VPN, VyprVPN, or Surfshark for other options that aren’t registered to 5/9/14 Eyes alliance countries. More specifically, you can try Astrill for torrenting and gaming, Windscribe for leak protection, and VyprVPN for a great all-around experience.
If you’re in South Korea, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPN for South Korea? Let us know in the comments below.