The internet penetration rate in Singapore is 82.5 percent as compared to Malaysia’s 96.77 percent. Although the country hosts an Internet that is much freer than many other nations of the world, there is still considerable room for improvement. According to Freedom House, the Internet in Singapore was rated as “Partly Free”.
The partial free-ness of the Internet leaves much to be desired. Censorship and online surveillance is almost a normal occurrence in the country and there are no laws protecting user privacy.
This is why it is important to use a VPN to protect your online privacy and destroy censorship.
ExpressVPN is my #1 recommendation as to the best VPN for Singapore & the best VPN for Malaysia. This is because ExpressVPN has a huge variety of offshore servers to counter censorship in Singapore and offers a zero-log service to battle privacy issues in the country.
6 Best VPNs for Singapore
The following VPN services are perfectly capable of working in Singapore to give you unrestricted access to websites and bolster your online privacy:
ExpressVPN consists of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, including Singapore. All ExpressVPN servers are optimized for torrenting and streaming.
ExpressVPN is another VPN that has jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands with its privacy-focusing laws. With its AES 256 encryption, it delivers an industry-standard level of encryption. Therefore, with this VPN at their disposal users in Singapore can keep their privacy intact and safe from intelligence agencies
The only disadvantage of ExpressVPN is its higher cost of $6.67/mo . This is also pointed as one of the only cons of the service in this ExpressVPN review. The provider also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee like its counterparts, so if anything goes wrong, you can ask for a refund. It is also one of the best VPN that works in Thailand.
Surfshark has a network of 3,200+ serves in 65 countries, including Singapore. The provider works brilliantly for users in Singapore for purposes such as unlocking US Netflix content, download torrents safely and circumventing heavy censorship that has become a norm in the country. It is the fastest VPN service with a downloading speed of 27.91 Mbps.
Additionally, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, where authorities do not impose mandatory data retention laws. As such, the provider holds true to zero logging of any sensitive information of customers, which is extremely important for Singaporean users who want to avoid being victims of needless governmental surveillance.
Surfshark packs a variety of features such as CleanWeb, WhiteLister, and MultiHop to give users in Singapore that extra edge in online privacy. It also uses AES 256 encryption to secure your data from potential interceptions by hackers. It’s no wonder that Surfshark has positive reviews for its top-notch privacy features.
In addition, it offers unlimited simultaneous connections and 30-day money-back guarantee at the meager price of $2.49/mo , For these reasons, Surfshark is an excellent choice as a privacy tool with remarkable geo-bypassing capabilities.
NordVPN contains over 5,500 servers in 59 countries, with a server count of 184 in Singapore only. With the offshore servers, you can ensure that all blocked streaming services or websites continue working for you in spite of totalitarian governmental control. The NordVPN Singapore servers also play a key role for expatriates abroad that need a local IP address to access websites only available back home such as their bank or streaming channels like StarHub TV.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama and adheres to no-logging policy to protect their customers’ privacy, a fact that is justly appreciated in its review of NordVPN. also has some of the most impressive privacy-boosting features in the industry offering features like CyberSec, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, and kill switch for heightened privacy in the Singaporean cyberspace.
Furthermore, if you need a Netflix VPN to unlock US exclusive content, NordVPN is a great choice for unblocking Netflix as well. It is slightly more expensive than the providers above, costing $3.71/mo . However, with the 30-day money back guarantee and 6 simultaneous connections, NordVPN is a provider that doesn’t disappoint.
PureVPN contains more than 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries, with 24 of these located in Singapore. Users can change their virtual location easily by connecting with these server options available. This enables you to get around censorship in the country while also turning your identity hidden from the Singaporean government and agencies. The Singaporean servers come in handy for users living abroad who want to bypass restrictions on local channels online such as StarHub TV.
The provider is based in Hong Kong, where no data retention requirements are applicable. As such, PureVPN adheres to a zero-logging policy, so you can rest assured this VPN will keep your privacy safe. This is one of the main factors that PureVPN receives good ratings in reviews.
The VPN is packed with a wide range of features including split-tunneling, kill switch, and ad-blocker to ensure maximum privacy control to ward off the possibility of government agencies snooping in on you.
CyberGhost has an extensive network of 6,600+ servers distributed in over 89 countries. 48 of these servers are located in Singapore only, which is great for any expatriates or travelers that want to preserve their access to websites back home.
CyberGhost is based in Romania, which is one of the few EU countries that does not follow data retention requirements. This has given CyberGhost the license to refrain from data logging of customer information, a fact of key importance for Singaporeans.
The service is efficient for accessing torrenting websites or stream Netflix shows irrespective of their availability in your country, so you can get Netflix, Hulu, and most other streaming services with CyberGhost. For this, CyberGhost gets plus points in its reviews.
Furthermore, CyberGhost offers 7 simultaneous connections and a 45-day money-back guarantee. Considering the price ( $2.25/mo ), privacy-focused users in Singapore can take advantage of CyberGhost, making it an excellent all-around VPN to make your online sessions more private.
Private Internet Access is a US-based VPN powered by a network of 23,000+ servers in 77+ countries, and 189 of these servers are located within Singapore. For users located abroad, these servers are extremely efficient for streaming purposes. You can unblock local streaming services like StarHub after connecting to PIA’s Singaporean servers.
Other than that, PIA is also committed to a zero-logging stance which makes it a great option for users troubled by the deteriorating privacy situation in Singapore. For added security, it also offers IPv6 leak protection, secure DNS, kill switch, and DDoS protection to make your data and internet traffic more private on the web. For these features, PIA is among the most highly rated VPN providers.
The provider is currently priced at $2.69/mo for a 2-year plan. With 10 multi-logins and a 30-day money-back guarantee, PIA is an excellent choice for users needing an easy solution to privacy issues and geo-restrictions.
Best Free VPN for Singapore
There are various VPNs available that offer free services. These VPN services attract a lot of users by virtue of their free availability. However, there are many reasons for being wary of free providers. For one, free services usually have questionable privacy policies and are often involved in selling user data to advertisement companies.
Another reason is that these services also come with bandwidth limits which render them unsuitable for purposes like streaming or gaming.
For this reason, you will need to invest in a premium VPN services for maximum effect. Nonetheless, there are still a few reliable providers offering VPNs for free with limited features. These include:
However, all these features have limited features. You can learn more about these VPNs in this article on free VPN providers.
Criteria to pick the right VPN
The VPN industry includes a large number of VPN providers. However, not all VPNs are created equal. The main criteria that we consider when reviewing VPN providers are as follows:
- Connection speed: VPN services must provide stable and consistent connection speeds. If you want to browse with a Singapore IP, the VPN software you use should connect with minimal server down-time and fast speeds. Therefore, the connection speed is one of the main criteria for selecting a good VPN provider.
- Server locations: Another important factor to consider is the number of locations covered by the VPN’s server network. VPNs having a good geographical distribution of servers are much more powerful when it comes to bypassing geo-restrictions. Moreover, they allow you easy server switching so users can connect to their preferred
- Privacy: Whether you want to browse the web for fun or want to perform a sensitive activity like online transactions, you should always ensure your privacy. Strong encryption and privacy policies should always be a factor when you are selecting the right VPN provider for your needs.
Why you need a VPN in Singapore?
Singapore has a large serious surveillance problem throughout the country, where users have no right to privacy. Here’s a brief overview of the privacy situation in the country which calls for users to have VPNs always ready:
There is no official recognition of the right of individuals to privacy within the constitution of Singapore. The police and law enforcement have sweeping powers to perform surveillance of users without requiring their consent or even a legal warrant.
In fact, the state of surveillance is only getting worse in the country with the passage of time. For instance, the police are equipped with smart glasses having facial recognition capabilities as well as surveillance vehicles. The official statement given by authorities is that these measures are being taken to improve the operational efficiency of law enforcement agencies.
While there is no question that technology can significantly enhance the efficiency of police forces, but there is also little doubt that these technologies easily enable privacy violations on a mass scale. It is important for state authorities to strike a balance between public safety and privacy-threatening surveillance of people.
In the absence of legislation that protects individual privacy, these technologies can be easily abused and lead to further destruction of privacy.
What’s more, Singapore is one of the countries that uses malware backdoors (FinSpy) to access communications, monitor web traffic, and access digital files of citizens without their consent or knowledge. Singapore hosts the command and control servers for FinSpy with 24 other countries. This proves how serious a problem mass surveillance has become in the country.
Censorship remains a serious problem in the country, in spite of its modernity and usage of sophisticated technologies. In 2016, the state detained and interrogated a man about a Facebook post made during by-elections.
Censorship is also a common issue that bloggers and journalists face in Singapore. A number of arrests and detentions have been made over the years against people charged with “defamation” for being critical of government and the ruling elite.
Academic freedom also came under attack in 2019 when the Yale-NUS College scrapped a week-long course titled “Dialogue and Dissent in Singapore”. The event has drawn criticism from academics who claim that censorship is stifling learning and innovation in the country.
The developing surveillance capacity of the government makes it easier for authorities to perform censorship by tracking online traffic. In this landscape, it has become essential for Singaporeans to fight for their right to free speech and privacy. VPNs serve as weapons against the government’s totalitarian control and constant violations of privacy perpetrated by the state.
Another important usage of VPNs is to keep bloggers, journalists, reporters etc. safe from government oppression, which can be quite severe if you voice opinions that are deemed inappropriate by authorities. Many bloggers like Amos Yee have been arrested by the government for criticizing state leaders.
This puts severe pressure on bloggers who have no choice but to engage in self-censorship as a measure to stay safe from arrests and persecution. Fortunately, bloggers can take advantage of VPNs equipped with strong encryption and online security features to keep stay anonymous and private on the internet.
Many bloggers use aliases to keep their real identity hidden. However, this is not enough to stay anonymous on the web because agencies can still track you with your IP address as well as other sophisticated techniques. While VPNs aren’t foolproof, they make it much tougher for anyone to trace you online if you don’t leave any private information out in the open.
Therefore, it is recommended for bloggers in Singapore to always keep their VPNs enabled when using the internet.
Copyright infringement is taken very seriously in Singapore. In 2014, the country enacted a law which made it necessary for ISPs in the country to prevent copyright infringement by restricting torrent usage. In fact, people have been fined in the country for downloading movies through torrents. The fine that was imposed on these people was USD 5,000, which can be very prohibitive for the populations.
Therefore, it would be wise to avoid downloading torrents altogether in Singapore if you don’t want to receive legal notices and hefty fines. However, there are some cases where torrents do not necessarily violate copyright laws. In these cases, the safest way to get torrents is by using an offshore server location of a VPN that supports P2P activities.
Security on public Wi-Fi
The problem with public Wi-Fi is the same everywhere in the world: lack of password protection and poor encryption. This leaves public hotspots vulnerable to hackers that can connect to the same network in order to access information of other users. For instance, a Chinese security engineer who visited Singapore for a cybersecurity conference hacked the public Wi-Fi of the hotel he was staying at.
This should be an eye-opener for people who use public Wi-Fi and perform private activities using these connections without a VPN in the background, which adds a strong layer of encryption to keep you protected.
Is VPN legal in Singapore?
There is no law in Singapore that prohibits the use of VPN or any online traffic routing through a VPN. Although the government did consider whether VPNs should stay legal in the country. However, they are still legal to use unless of course you are using a VPN to perform illegal activities or accessing illegal content.
Some examples of illegal online activities include copyright infringement or streaming copyrighted material without legitimate access. Thus, you should be careful when surfing the web in Singapore. However, if you are unsure about legality of accessing certain content, the safest bet is to use a VPN as an insurance policy for better online security and to keep your tracks hidden from the government’s view.
Basic tips for better online privacy
There is no such thing as being “too safe” in current times with surveillance agencies on the lookout for dubious activities of users. You should never take any risks when using the Internet and take all possible steps for keeping your activities anonymous and untraceable to you.
Following are some of the basic tips you for increasing your online privacy:
- Use Security-Enhancement Extensions for Browsers: You should make sure that your data is encrypted while browsing the Internet. Browsers do not usually have adequate built-in encryption mechanisms. You can use certain extensions like Privacy Badger to encrypt your data and improve the overall security of your web traffic.
- Be careful when using public Wi-Fi: Public Internet connections usually use only basic encryption that can be easily broken by a skilled hacker. We strongly recommend using a VPN with advanced encryption protocols to keep you protected. If you are living in countries with strict online censorship like Singapore, then using the internet without a VPN is a bad idea.
- Keep your mobile devices encrypted: Modern smartphone devices carry extremely important and sensitive user information today, from credit card details to personal photos. You should never compromise on your privacy and keep information on mobile well-guarded from hackers and agencies.
Best Singapore VPN: Final Thoughts
Censorship in Singapore is on a rising curve and government control on exchange of information online are getting out of hand. I recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for Singapore since it has the ability to address these issues of censorship and privacy in the country with a high degree of reliability.
Not only will it liberate your Internet but also keep you safe from threats like online surveillance, security infiltration, hacking, phishing, identity theft, and so on.
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