Best VPN for India
Chaotic, crowded and colorful, India is a popular tourist destination promising exciting cultural and spiritual experiences, beautiful beaches and spicy cuisine. Over 10 million people visit the Taj Mahal each year but for those wanting a little peace and quiet, there’s always the natural splendor of the Himalayan valleys and the great open spaces of the Thar Desert.
When it comes to cyberspace in India, however, things aren’t quite as free and easy and internet freedom is on the decline. Last year, India experienced a dramatic increase in internet shutdowns while blocked content is also intensifying.
Getting internet access in India isn’t the easiest and its limited internet penetration and slow speeds will make data-heavy activities frustrating, to say the least. Nevertheless, using an India VPN free can increase your access, protect your privacy, and potentially even boost your speeds a little – if you choose the right one, that is.
If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s our list of the best VPNs for India:
- ExpressVPN – Extensive international coverage, high speeds, and superior security
- CyberGhost – Affordable, user-friendly with 22 servers in India
- Surfshark – Unlimited devices, advanced features, and slick interface
- ZenMate – Limited free service, unblocks content, but not 100% no-logging
- ProtonVPN – Servers in India, affordable plans and encrypted email available
Our pick for Best VPN For India: ExpressVPN
The Best VPN for India
Taking the top spot for the best VPN in India is ExpressVPN due, in part, to it having servers in both Mumbai and Chennai as well as other countries nearby. It is also a favorite because of ExpressVPN’s commitment to user privacy and consistently fast speeds.
ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers dotted around the world, making it easy for users to bypass the restrictions and content blocks imposed by Indian authorities. It’s generous distribution of US servers also means ExpressVPN can give you a fake US IP address, giving you access to all your normal streaming sites and social media platforms.
Internet speeds in India are nothing to write home about, especially not for those using a mobile network and it’s currently ranked 130 in terms of global internet speeds. There’s little any VPN can do about that but ExpressVPN is the best option if you want to get the best possible speeds. Despite using the latest military-grade encryption, which inevitably slows your internet traffic, ExpressVPN manages to consistently high-speed connections.
ExpressVPN’s security is nothing to be sniffed at either. Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN and its users’ data are all far out of reach of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. That means neither your ISP, cybercriminals, nor the Indian government will be able to get their hands on your data which, to be fair, isn’t accessible anyway as ExpressVPN operates under a strict no-logging policy.
Customer support is informative, responsive and available 24/7 regardless of whether you’re in Mumbai or Miami. Simple enough for beginners to get to grips with, while providing enough power and customization to suit more experienced users, ExpressVPN is our choice as the best VPN for India.
ExpressVPN also has a special deal available which means, if you sign up today, you’ll get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan! Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.
With a server network even bigger than ExpressVPN although not quite so geographically diverse, CyberGhost is a great way of staying connected whether you’re in Mathura and Vrindavan for the renown Holi festival or relaxing at a yoga retreat in Kerala.
CyberGhost is quick to install and simple to set up and operate, making a great option for less experienced users. What’s more, rather than having to find exactly the right server for your needs, CyberGhost provides a selection of preconfigured profiles that will select the ideal server and security protocols for your chosen activity.
Its recently expanded network has seen CyberGhost increase its total number of secure servers to 5,944 and introduce new servers to India. CyberGhost now has 22 servers in India so you can easily get an Indian IP address and enjoy streaming live sports and the latest Bollywood hits on Hotstar.
In addition to strict no-logging policy, CyberGhost regularly publishes transparency reports that detail all the requests it’s received from authorities for information about its users. CyberGhost never fulfills these requests, however, as it has “no data to hand over, and we do not collaborate with authorities”.
CyberGhost is one of the easiest VPNs to get the hang of but, should you experience any problems using this VPN for India, CyberGhost will resolve them quickly and effectively. A live chat option is available online, as well as a host of tutorials and FAQs.
With apps available for all major operating systems and routers, CyberGhost users can connect up to seven devices at any one time and take advantage of CyberGhost’s P2P-optimized servers for a fast and uninterrupted torrenting experience. Competitive prices and a 45-day money-back guarantee are appealing as is the fact that CyberGhost is one of the few VPNs still offering a 24-hour free trial so you can take it for a test drive before signing up.
If you’re looking for a user-friendly cybersecurity tool, CyberGhost is a great VPN for India, so why not sign up today? Alternatively, check out our full review and find out more about CyberGhost’s ability to make you invisible online.
The Best Newcomer of the Year for 2019, Surfshark VPN may be young but it’s extremely effective, combining a sleek user-interface with some of the industry’s most advanced features. As its network of servers steadily grows, so it’s starting to close in on VPN giants like CyberGhost and it now has over 1,000 servers in 61 countries, including three in India.
Despite its comparatively small server network, Surfshark has been producing speeds few thought it would be capable of, while it’s a decision to locate its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, gives it the same no-logging opportunities as ExpressVPN enjoys.
Just as there are different strokes for different folks, Surfshark provides different modes for different online activities. If you simply want to keep your digital footprint to yourself, you can use Camouflage mode to hide your online activity from your ISP – this is also the best mode to use if you’re straying to access blocked content in India. Its NoBorders mode is ideal to use in heavily restricted countries so, if authorities carry on rolling out the online limitations, this may soon be your best bet in India.
Surfshark goes the extra mile in terms of online protection, throwing in an adblocker to improve your browsing experience and keep malware infections at bay. Although there was a brief period when Surfshark’s live chat service was no longer available, it’s back online now, providing timeous and informative responses 24/7.
One of the most unusual features of Surfshark is that it allows for unlimited simultaneous connections, making its already competitive prices even better value for money. If you think surfing with a shark is something that might appeal, why not sign up with Surfshark today and, if you’re installing it on a mobile device, enjoy seven whole days of completely free protection. Want to know more about this shark’s habitat? Read our full Surfshark review here.
Starting as a simple proxy service, ZenMate has expanded its capabilities and its technology to create a reliable VPN service. One of the most attractive features of ZenMate is that it has a limited free VPN server available that can effectively unblock content and navigate its way past geographical restrictions. ZenMate is a good VPN for India and manages to consistently gain access to US content on Netflix from overseas so, if you’re addicted to The Witcher or Unbelievable, this is the VPN for you.
ZenMate’s paid packages are reasonably priced and give users access to faster speeds and a wider range of servers which, given that ZenMate has over 1,500 of the things, means a lot of choices and even more freedom.
Simple enough to use, ZenMate’s user interface isn’t quite as inviting or intuitive as CyberGhost’s but it’s getting there, and the most recent overhaul makes it more user-friendly than ever before. ZenMate produces speeds fast enough to accommodate both torrenting and streaming activities while keeping your data safely hidden in a heavily encrypted tunnel.
Based in Germany, ZenMate is legally obliged to keep some data in accordance with the GDPR regulations and, while it enjoys the country’s strong laws protecting private data, it can’t legally operate as a no-logging VPN, despite its claims. ZenMate not only retains data including your IP address and other sensitive information, but it’s also obliged to share that information with law enforcement authorities “for criminal prosecution in case of a cyber-attack”.
It’s not the end of the world and your IP address only says so much about you, but if you prefer a completely private online experience, opt for one of our top three VPNs for India instead. If the idea of a free service that can unblock content and mask your online activates appeals, however, then ZenMate VPN is a great choice.
ProtonVPN has everything from a free service to a rather expensive one which includes its encrypted email service while providing some of the best online security around. ProtonVPN’s paid subscriptions include access to its Secure Core servers which divert your traffic through multiple servers and means that even the most “advanced adversary who can monitor the network traffic at the exit server will not be able to discover the true IP address of ProtonVPN users, nor match browsing activity to that IP”.
Getting started with ProtonVPN’s free plan is easy and you only need to provide an email address to set up an account. Its paid packages start at $4 per month for a one-year subscription to its basic service while its premium Visionary package will set you back as much as $30 per month but will give you these benefits:
- 10 simultaneous connections
- P2P servers
- Secure Core, Tor and Plus server access
- Safe streaming
- Encrypted email
Last year, ProtonVPN introduced two Indian servers to its networks so now users outside the country can enjoy streaming Indian entertainment and sport. Having said that, ProtonVPN’s server network is the smallest of all the VPN’s discussed here, with just under 630 servers in 44 different locations, but that should be more than sufficient for most users and appears capable of accessing all the major streaming sites, including the infamously Fort Knox-like Netflix.
For those wanting a combination of speed and security without paying an arm and a leg, ProtonVPN is a highly recommended VPN for India. It’s also one of the few VPNs providing dedicated access to The Onion Router so, if you’re planning a trip to the Dark Web as well as the darker side of India, why not sign up with ProtonVPN today? If you want to know more before you take the plunge, check out our full review here.
The Inhibitions of Indian Internet
Although India is a democratic country with a constitution that protects its citizens’ right to both free speech and access to information, its censorship of the internet continues, although Freedom House’s 2019 report shows a considerable improvement in India’s aggregate freedom score. Scoring 75 points in 2019, compared to just 43 in 2018, is reflective of the reduction in blocking orders which dropped from around “1,777 per year between 2010 and 2018 to 20 in 2019” according to one report.
Other sources seem to have a different opinion, however, and the Delhi-based digital liberties organization, Internet Freedom Foundation, released a report in February accusing the government of banning hundreds of sites. While most of these were adult websites, users also reported issues when trying to access proxy sites and VPN websites which brings us to the next issue.
It’s not only blocked content that poses a problem for internet users and makes a VPN for India such a vital piece of equipment. The IT Act that was implemented in 2000 “empowers the central government to designate agencies and issue orders for the interception, monitoring, and decryption in the interest of national security, public order, or preventing incitement of illegal acts”.
The Indian government seems to be primarily focused on WhatsApp and is keen to see its end-to-end encryption eradicated. Earlier this year, the BBC reported that the Indian government plans to introduce a new set of rules regarding “the monitoring, interception, and tracing of messages on social media.” Due to be published in January 2020, the new rules are being implemented in response to a spate of rumor-fueled incidents of mob violence that erupted across India last year.
While the government wants to be able to “trace messages that cause violence and deaths”, WhatsApp’s global head of communications, Carl Woog, says this “would require us to re-architect WhatsApp, leading us to a different product, one that would not be fundamentally private”.
Such developments aren’t going down well with privacy activists and, because of the sweeping definition of what constitutes social media, could see sites like Wikipedia blocked, making the use of a VPN for India even more essential.
India Free VPN – Is It Safe Enough?
Free India VPNs offer some benefits, especially when it comes to accessing blocked content. Free VPNs like those offered by ZenMate and ProtonVPN, however, are hard to find and many free VPN services in India and elsewhere in the world are liable to cost you a lot more than a few dollars subscription fee each month.
While the worst potential dangers of using a free VPN include them selling your bandwidth to paid users, skimping on security measures, sluggish speeds and an onslaught of advertising, when it comes to India free VPNs, the biggest concern is the poor security. Not only could substandard encryption leave your data exposed, without the latest security, but you could also end up with a nasty malware infection.
With cybercrime in India on the rise, with cases having doubled in 2017, a VPN is the best protection you can get. What’s more, it will prevent any government spies from reading your social media posts or tracking your digital footprint to a banned site.
India’s Top Streaming Sites
Despite the country’s below-par internet speeds, millions of people stream live events and OTT content every day in India. According to a 2016 report, 160 million were already online and streaming away while earlier this year, Indian streaming giant, Hotstar set a new global record for the most concurrent viewers when 18.6 million people tuned into watch the Indian Premier League cricket match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians.
Recently acquired by Disney, Hotstar is the most popular streaming site in India, after Netflix and Amazon Prime, but it faces some tough homegrown competition as well. Although Hotstar’s subscription is less than half those of international streaming sites at 299 rupees per month (around $4), it still has to do battle with free streaming services like Voot and other competitively-priced services, including ALTBalaji with its host of Indian TV series and Zee5 which offers a combination of local and international movies and entertainment.
A trip to India can be a life-changing experience but one thing you don’t want to change is your online freedom and right to privacy. As the Indian government seeks more control over online content, social media posts and messaging services, so the need to boost your online security before you arrive in India increasingly important.
While an India free VPN, especially one from a reputable VPN provider like ZenMate, can give you some protection and enable you to bypass some of the enforced blocks and geographical restrictions affecting Indian cyberspace, only the best can give you high-speed connections and complete anonymity.
ExpressVPN is not only the fastest, it’s also got some of the most advanced security and shows the greatest commitment to user privacy, making it our number one choice as the best VPN for India. Not only will ExpressVPN give you access to torrenting sites and blocked content, but it can also supply you with a fake IP address so you can continue following Indian cricket even once your back home.
You can get all that and more for watching blocked content in India, when you sign up with Express VPN.