Internet restrictions in Sri Lanka are very closely tied with the prevailing law and order situation, which tends to have a bit of a history in the country.
Social media often gets the brunt of state-wide blockage in the country on the basis of concerns regarding hate-speech and disinformation inciting communal violence. This happened in March 2018 when the government blocked social media for over a week to curb the spread of disinformation and control violence.
Though it is hard to argue that law and order sometimes demands strict censorship measures, it can also cause a great deal of inconvenience for people whose businesses and communications depend on social media and the internet.
This is where the need for a VPN comes knocking upon your door. But out of hundreds of options, which one should you choose?
I recommend PureVPN as the best Sri Lanka VPN for its servers that are exactly located in Colombo as well as its decent balance of quality over cost. At $2.95/month, this VPN gives you 2,000 different servers to choose from which can unblock any censored content, enable torrenting/streaming, all with a top-notch protection for your web privacy.
5 Best VPNs to Use in Sri Lanka
Considering that the declining internet freedom in Sri Lanka, the recommended VPNs services in this article were chosen for their ability to grant access and counter restrictions throughout the country with ease.
PureVPN has 2,000+ servers distributed in over 140 countries, including 3 of these Colombo, Sri Lanka. However, you will be needing the offshore servers if you want to pass through social media blackouts and other online restrictions in Sri Lanka.
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and it thus has no obligation to log user data. The logging policy of the service is highly focused towards protecting user privacy by refraining from storing any type of sensitive logs, making it an excellent choice for Sri Lankan online activists and journalists seeking anonymity to perform their activities freely online.
Furthermore, with support for torrenting and US Netflix and extra features like killswitch and split-tunneling, PureVPN is a very desirable solution to internet restrictions for Sri Lankan users. At a price of $2.95/month, there are hardly any better alternatives.
For more information, read this PureVPN review.
CyberGhost has 5,500+ servers in 90+ countries, including 10 housed within Colombo, Sri Lanka. All the offshore servers sufficiently sophisticated to get around geo-restrictions and other forms of VPN traffic filtering technology. The Sri Lankan servers will give you faster speeds but won’t give access to blocked websites within the country. So you’ll have to choose a server according to your needs.
CyberGhost is based in Romania. The provider has a strict no logging policy and its Romanian jurisdiction demands no data retention of customers, a key point for bloggers and journalists in Sri Lanka.
For users in Sri Lanka, CyberGhost offers the benefit of being fit for almost all purposes: safe torrenting, Netflix streaming, unblocking social media websites etc.
As such, whether it is better privacy you are seeking in Sri Lanka or uninhibited online access, CyberGhost is a decent VPN to have especially considering the $2.75/month and 45-day refund window.
Find our more in our detailed CyberGhost review.
Surfshark offers 1,000+ servers in 60+ countries. None of these are in Sri Lanka, and the closest location you’ll get is India. This is not a big problem since you will mostly be needing the overseas servers anyway if you want to bypass geo-restrictions and social media censorship in Sri Lanka.
This VPN is also incredibly helpful if you want to unblock geo-restricted content such as US exclusive shows on Netflix from within Sri Lanka.
Surfshark is based in British Virgin Islands and is another no-logs VPN for privacy-seeking online users.
For extra privacy, Surfshark offers a number of features such as CleanWeb and MultiHop, which enable you to stay protected against data harvesters and cybercriminals.
Finally, the cost of $1.99/month, 30-day money-back guarantee, and unlimited simultaneous connections make Surfshark a valuable tool to have for better privacy and internet access in Sri Lanka.
Read our Surfshark review for more details.
The provider offers a vast network of 5,500+ servers spread across 60 countries. There are no Sri Lankan servers in this network, but the offshore ones will give Sri Lankan citizens a lot of options to mask their identity and bypass censored/blocked apps such as WhatsApp with outstanding ease.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama and takes advantage of the lack of data retention laws in the country to refrain from any type of logging of their customer’s data. From the privacy standpoint, this is a very beneficial for Sri Lankans looking to escape government surveillance.
NordVPN is equipped with innovative features like Onion over VPN, CyberSec, and DoubleVPN for that extra bit of privacy some users don’t feel comfortable without.
On top of this, the 6 simultaneous connections and 30-day refund period are icing on the cake, though the VPN is slightly higher priced than the others mentioned above at $3.49/month.
Learn more about this VPN in our NordVPN review.
ExpressVPN boasts a strong network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, all of which share remarkable consistency in terms of speed and performance. If you need quick access to torrents or streaming websites in Sri Lanka while maintaining privacy, ExpressVPN has got you covered.
What’s more, the VPN also offers highly efficient security and privacy to keep your identity safe and hidden on the web. Since privacy issues are globally present, Sri Lankan users worried about their privacy can keep themselves protected with this VPN.
The only real drawback of ExpressVPN is its higher price which is currently $8.32/month. Nonetheless, should you find the service lower than your expectations, you can always demand a refund within 30 days.
For a full analysis of this service, see our ExpressVPN review.
Best Free VPN for Sri Lanka
In the rapidly growing VPN market, several providers have launched free versions for their VPN software. Although free VPNs seem alluring at first, users should take extra precautions before they go for one.
This is because some free providers have shady privacy policies which flatly disregard user privacy. Furthermore, these only offer a limited number of features which makes any sort of protection or accessibility illusory.
Nonetheless, there are a few reliable VPNs that albeit come with a few limitations as discussed below:
For more information, see this article on free VPN services.
Why Do I Need a VPN in Sri Lanka?
There are number of reasons why a VPN is beneficial in Sri Lanka:
- Censorship: Communal violence and hate speech against religious minorities is a recurring problem in Sri Lanka. The free and unregulated flow of information through social media has unfortunately facilitated violent incidents in the country in the past, leading to blocking of social media. In these situations, VPN offer a useful bypass route to a restriction-free internet in Sri Lanka.
- Privacy: Journalists and bloggers need better privacy in the country to avoid government surveillance and regulation critical voices. With these declining freedoms in Sri Lanka, VPNs offer an easy way out.
- Bypass geo-restrictions: VPNs allow you to bypass geo-restrictions on websites that do not work in Sri Lanka. With offshore servers, you can gain access to many US-only streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.
- Better security on Wi-Fi: The security strength of public Wi-Fi is pretty poor. VPNs can help enhance your security to ward off hackers and cybercriminals.
These benefits make high-quality VPNs valuable in countries like Sri Lanka, where internet restrictions can be imposed without any prior warning.
How to Choose a Sri Lanka VPN Service?
Social media bans in Sri Lanka is one of the major factors leading to a high VPN demand in the country. In addition, privacy and web security is a global requirement as cybercriminals and surveillance issues continue becoming more aggravated with the passage of time.
This is why users should go for a trusted and capable VPN service, keeping in mind the following factors:
- Server locations: The VPN should have a large list of servers available. This allows users much greater access to the Internet, since they can switch IP address to any locationo break restrictive barriers.
- Encryption strength: A safe and secure connection is essential to prevent threats such as hackers stealing your credit card and other sensitive information. Make sure that your premium Sri Lanka VPN uses only the most advanced encryption standards such as OpenVPN.
- Unlimited bandwidth: A VPN can quickly become useless if it places a bandwidth limit which you have run out of. It is important for you to receive unlimited bandwidth, especially if you are using a VPN to access streaming services.
Best Sri Lankan VPN: Finishing Thoughts
PureVPN is the best VPN for Sri Lanka to break the barriers of censorship and attain better privacy on the web. It’s a shame that internet access in Sri Lanka has suffered a blow due to multiple incidents of hate speech and disinformation spread through social media leading to nationwide bans on the country every now and then.
Despite the abuse of internet by hate-promoting elements in the country, it is still a valuable utility for a lot of peaceful purposes for the general public. This is why VPNs will stay relevant and useful for the foreseeable future considering existing Sri Lankan political environment.