Internet penetration in South Africa has crossed the 50% mark, as user-friendly laws of the country ensure an open cyberspace. Nonetheless, the problem of geo-restricted content and the need to protect user’s online security raises the importance of using only the most trusted VPN for South Africa.
Although there are no explicit laws for controlling/blocking content on the Internet, the government has displayed intention to regulate social media. Content expressing political dissent is often taken down by authorities in direct opposition to the democratic right of citizens to express themselves freely.
It is for the pursuit of this right that I have compiled a list of quality VPN services for users in South Africa.
Find out how a VPN can assist you in avoiding censorship in the country below.
Best VPNs for South Africa in 2018
The VPN industry is booming as the need for these software increases all over the world. With perfect privacy becoming more and more difficult to attain on the Internet, users are naturally gravitating towards tools that can enhance their privacy and protect their digital freedoms.
South Africa is a country where no known cases of detention of bloggers and activists have been reported in recent times. Nonetheless, the government does possess the power to perform censorship at will.
It is important therefore for citizens to assume a forward-thinking attitude and be aware of working methods for circumventing censorship and safeguarding online privacy. VPN services, particularly the ones reviewed below, offer a convenient means of protecting online freedom of users in South Africa.
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PureVPN is a Hong-Kong based VPN provider that guarantees user privacy. It has an expansive server network that covers more than 140 countries throughout the world. The total number of servers operating under PureVPN has exceeded 2,000. This makes PureVPN extremely powerful in terms of its capability to bypass geo-restrictions.
PureVPN is also known for its good encryption protocols that offer fast connection speeds without compromising on the strength of security. It uses the advanced OpenVPN encryption tunneling in addition to PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. Thus, PureVPN is the best VPN service for South Africa. Also, learn about how to get a Jamaican IP address with a VPN.
- Provides more than 2,000 servers in over 140 countries
- Offers advanced encryption protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Automatic kill switch
- Does not offer free trial feature
NordVPN is a popular VPN provider in the market, known for its immense server network of 5,100 servers. These servers cover more than 62 countries, with dozens of redundant servers available in different locations of a given country. NordVPN is one of the vanguards of online privacy and guarantees a zero-logging policy.
It comes equipped with a unique double VPN feature that further increases the level of security. With NordVPN, users can easily bypass geo-restrictions and improve privacy while surfing the web online. As such, NordVPN deserves a place as the best VPN for South Africa 2018.
NordVPN also offers a 3-day free trial. Thus, for users looking for a free service for a few days, the trial version offers the perfect solution. It also works exceptionally well as a VPN for Netflix South Africa.
- Provides more than 5,100 servers in over 62 locations
- Offers 30-day money-back guarantee
- Users can avail 3-day free trial
- Offers dedicated servers for P2P networking
- Enabling the double VPN feature can reduce connection speeds
Surfshark is another VPN service based in British Virgin Islands. This provider has a smaller server network compared to other VPNs in this list, but nonetheless offers excellent performance.
- Simultaneous multi-logins for unlimited devices
- No-logging policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Speed in need of improvement
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN service that is quite popular among pirates who frequently download torrent files. It is powered by over 3,000 servers distributed in more than 60 countries. Suffice to say, circumventing restricted sites is no problem for this VPN.
The Romanian jurisdiction is perfect from the privacy point of view, which is why I recommend this VPN for South Africans who want to boost their privacy on the web.
- Provides more than 3,000 servers in 60+ countries
- Allows up to 7 simultaneous multi-logins
- Dedicated servers for streaming and torrenting
- Average speeds
ExpressVPN is one of the most widely used VPN service by netizens all over the world. The provider offers extremely fast servers that allow stable connectivity. Moreover, it has more than 2,000 servers located in 94 countries. It offers AES-256 bit encryption which is a military-grade standard.
As such, ExpressVPN offers tight security to the online traffic of users. In addition, since it is based in British Virgin Islands, it takes advantage of the privacy-friendly laws of the state.
The service is also popular among users who regularly download torrents, since it allows anonymous torrenting through dedicated servers. As such, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Express is the best VPN for torrenting in South Africa.
- Provides more than 2,000 servers in over 94 countries
- Uses military-grade encryption
- Offers 30-day refund policy
- Does not log user data
- Slightly more expensive than other VPN options
Best Free VPNs for South Africa – Should you Use One?
Free VPNs can be a curse in disguise. It is easy to be tempted to obtain free VPN products and get high security with high speeds. The fact of the matter is, free services can actually cause more harm than good.
Well, for one, they must make a profit one way or another, and they are not charging users for money. As such, these VPNs have a tendency to sell your data to agencies and even perform identity thefts.
Nonetheless, there are a few reputed VPN brands that offer reliable services for free:
I would recommend Windscribe as a free VPN South Africa for users seeking good protection in the country but it lacks considerably in the speed department.
This VPN service offers excellent privacy as well. You can sign up for this VPN without even offering your login details, allowing you to remain anonymous to the company. As such, it is a great option for users interested in attaining maximum anonymity and escape possible monitoring from the South Africa government.
Hide.Me is another free VPN service that you can trust. It offers compatibility with Windows, OSX, Linux, and Android. A monthly limit of 2GB bandwidth is offered in the free version. For basic protection and geo-bypassing capability from South Africa, you can use Hide.Me at zero cost.
VPNs You Should Avoid in South Africa
VPN services are valued because they add security and guarantee privacy of users to a much greater level than is available on the regular Internet. However, some VPNs have a bad history of shady practices and compromising user security, which is exactly what they are supposed to be protecting.
The following are some VPNs you should avoid for South Africa:
HolaVPN is a bad option because it logs user information to an unnecessarily high extent. This logged information is shared to other companies and affiliates, which is quite alarming to say the least. Furthermore, it does not use encryption standards prevailing in the industry today, making it a pretty insecure VPN to use in countries like South Africa, where privacy and security cannot simply be risked.
2. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is one of the oldest providers in the VPN industry and is therefore quite well-known. What is less known about this VPN is that it has been involved in cookie insertions user accounts and the selling of user data for advertisement. The VPN also redirects user traffic to affiliate domains for promoting its services.
Why do you need a VPN in South Africa?
VPN services all over the world are receiving increased demand from netizens as a general rule. This is a result of the fact that governmental interference and surveillance of their citizens is negatively affecting the privacy of users. Some of the main reasons why you should use a VPN are as follows:
- Disguise your IP address and change it to another country
- Protect yourself on unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots
- Encrypt your data and prevent hackers and government from monitoring your activities
- Maintain privacy by keeping zero logs of your browsing history
- Anonymously download torrents
- Access streaming services and media services like Netflix US and Kodi South Africa
How to Choose the Best South Africa VPN?
The VPN industry consists of a variety of providers offering different features at different rates. The services listed above were chosen on the basis of key criteria as described below:
These criteria are below:
- Server locations: Having servers in various regions of the world is of prime importance. The effectiveness of a VPN in circumventing geo-restrictions depends on the size of its server network.
- Bandwidth limit: The value of a VPN is optimum when it offers unlimited bandwidth. All the providers above offer unlimited bandwidth, so you browse and stream endlessly hassle-free.
- Logging policy: The logging policy is extremely important for users who are especially concerned about their privacy. Make sure your VPN follows the zero-logging policy for the maximum privacy of users.
These are the main characteristics that make up a reliable and strong VPN service. Thus, if you choose any of the VPNs listed above, you cannot go wrong.
How to use a VPN Service in South Africa?
Using a service in the country is a considerably simple matter. You can use the VPN service either to obtain a South African IP address if you are traveling abroad. In either case, the process is simple:
- Choose one a VPN service from the list above
- Subscribe to a suitable plan
- Download the app of the VPN compatible to your device
- Install and open the VPN service
- Select a server from a country you wish to acquire an IP address of
- Browse the Internet with unrestricted access
Thus, a VPN software can grant you complete access to the Internet.
Benefits of using a VPN in South Africa
In the minds of many users, a VPN is believed to be only good for gaining access to torrent sites. Although this is one of the main attractions of a VPN, it is not the only benefit of a VPN. The key benefits of using a VPN in South Africa are:
- Bypassing geo-restrictions: One of the most frustrating things for an Internet user is receiving the dreaded error message of unavailability when trying to watch a video. A considerable percentage of videos and digital content is restricted to certain regions only. A VPN service can unlock all restricted content from any part of the world.
- Access censored content: The censorship of online content is not a serious issue in South Africa. Nonetheless, the government does have the authority to censor any content on the web deemed inappropriate. If you have a strong VPN, however, you can never fall prey to censorship.
- Secure yourself on public Wi-Fi: Free Internet hotspots in public places like restaurants, airports, shopping malls etc. are notorious for being prone to hacking. The encryption offered by VPN can protect your sensitive information on public Wi-Fi. Therefore, the added security made possible by a VPN is one of its greatest benefits.
Availability of Online Streaming Services in South Africa
Popular streaming services usually have region-based availability. For instance, BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK, while Amazon Prime and Hulu are only available in the US. Individuals in outside these countries cannot access these VPN services without somehow acquiring a proper IP address that belongs to the region these services are available in. You can secure your streaming by using Amazon Prime VPN
Netflix is another streaming service with millions of viewers all over the world. However, not all titles are available in all regions. The largest library of titles is only available for users in the US. You can gain access to this by using the best VPN for Netflix South Africa.
Accessing Blocked Websites in South Africa
If you are unable to access certain websites in the country, one of the easiest options to get through these restrictions is via a VPN. As described above, all you need to do is subscribe to a leading VPN provider that offers a wide range of servers.
Once you have the VPN, you will just have to select an appropriate server from one of the various locations to view all content from South Africa. Thus, a VPN almost makes it a breeze to move past geo-restrictions.
Get South African apps and Sites while Traveling
A VPN for South Africa also comes in extremely handy if you are traveling outside of the country for a while. If you try to access any geo-restricted South African site from abroad, such as local banks from the country, you will be denied access.
To get around the problem of geo-restriction while away from the country, follow the steps below:
- Get a VPN from the recommended services above
- After subscribing to a suitable plan, download the VPN app on your device
- Launch the VPN app and enter your login details
- From the server selection screen, choose a South Africa server
- Open your browser and access any South African site of your choice
Bypass Digital Censorship with a VPN Service in South Africa
Digital censorship is one of the greatest threats to Internet freedom of users. The social media is under censorship especially when it comes to politically and/or religious charged content. As such, users are forced to think twice before they publish anything online, lest they become a victim of censorship.
We recommend using the best VPN service for South Africa 2018 to sail past any censored content. Furthermore, a VPN will keep your identity protected, so the government cannot easily trace you if they disagree with your posted content.
Torrenting in South Africa
It is illegal to download torrents in South Africa. The Copyright Act of 1978 extends to digital piracy as well. Therefore, you should avoid downloading copyright protected material through downloads or other illegal means in South Africa.
However, if you are willing to take that risk and want to torrent files for personal use only, you can use a VPN to reduce the chances of getting caught and spoof your location. Users at Mybroadband have also discussed the use of VPNs for unblocking torrents.
Here’s how you can do this:
- Download and subscribe to a VPN service like PureVPN or NordVPN
- Start the app on your device
- Select a torrent-friendly server location such as Netherlands
- Download your desired torrent
Video Streaming Restrictions in South Africa
On-demand video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are watched and enjoyed by people all over the world. The only obstacle to unending entertainment through Netflix is the reduced content catalog for South Africa.
The fewer number of titles available in South African Netflix means that viewers can miss out some great shows and movies that are only released on US Netflix. Moreover, services like Hulu and HBO are completely unavailable in South Africa.
The way around this problem is to get a VPN service with servers in the US. Follow the steps below to overcome geo-restrictions on video services:
- Buy a VPN from the list above
- Download and install the VPN app on your device
- Input your login credentials after launching the VPN app
- Connect to a US server
- Now visit Netlix or Hulu to get complete list of shows and movies in South Africa
South Africa hosts an open and free Internet with minimal censorship. However, with government surveillance increasing all over the world, using the best VPN for South Africa 2018 has become essential for the protection of freedom of speech.
I hope this article proved useful to you. Leave a comment below to share your views.