This is a guide that tells you our recommended choice for the best VPNs for South Korea to use in 2021. Now, why is there a need for a VPN in Korea?
There is strong government surveillance in Korea due to political tensions that revolve around South Korea and North Korea. These political tensions have allowed the government to take strict actions against freedom of speech on online platforms.
These reasons are exactly why you need to get yourself one of the best VPNs today. For a fact, a VPN must have servers around the world and in South Korea/North Korea to be able to do that.
6 Best VPNs for South Korea
If you want safe and unrestricted access to the internet, make sure you check out my hand-picked list of best VPN for South Korea in 2021 based on the following criteria:
- Server network
- Fast speeds
- Zero-logging policy
- Netflix compatibility
- Value for money
1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for South Korea
At the very first, we have ExpressVPN. Now this VPN is known for delivering super-fast speeds and it certainly lives up to its astounding reputation. It is one of the best VPNs for South Korea. In fact, I highly recommend this VPN just because of its solid no logs policy.
If you’re into streaming, you’re going to love ExpressVPN. With over 3,000 servers and features like Network Lock and Zero-knowledge DNS, you can safely browse the web and access geo-blocked content from anywhere in the world. Popular streaming content that you can access with this service includes Netflix, Amazon, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, and many others.
You can also unblock local South Korean websites and TV channels from anywhere with ExpressVPN’s 2 servers in South Korea, both of which have all necessary protocols (OpenVPN, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, etc). You can access TV channels such as EBS1 TV l, KBS1 Seoul, SBS-TV Seoul, and MBC-TV Seoul with its servers located in South Korea. Not to mention features like split tunneling and powerful AES-CBC 256-bit encryption is perfect for accessing any content from anywhere and also for downloading torrents.
ExpressVPN is compatible with all the major platforms. These platforms include macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Linux, Android TV, and Xbox.
Unlike other VPNs in this list, ExpressVPN is a bit expensive. If you opt for their cheapest plan, ExpressVPN will end up costing you around $6.67/mo .
But considering ExpressVPN’s flawless reputation, and an extensive 30-day money-back guarantee, ExpressVPN is worth paying an extra premium for and is easily considered as the best VPN for Korea. Also, if you want to get a VPN for Hong Kong, then ExpressVPN is the one.
To check out the complete list of features, read our ExpressVPN review.
- 3,000+ servers in 94+ countries
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Excellent unblocking capability
- Compatible with all major platforms
- A bit more costly than other providers
2. Surfshark – Fastest VPN for South Korea
Next up, we have one of the most affordable VPNs in the industry. At just $2.49/mo . Surfshark comes packed with some of the finest security features in the industry at a very low price.
Similar to much more renowned VPNs, Surfshark offers support for all popular platforms and operating systems. This means you can access national and international content directly on your macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Firestick, and Gaming console.
Not only that, but Surfshark also supports powerful encryption, 3,200+ secure servers, and other awesome feature that we usually expect from the best VPN apps. Surfshark has 1 server in South Korea that will let you unblock South Korean TV such as SBS-TV Seoul, HLSQ-DTV (Channel 6-1), HLKV-DTV (Channel 11-1), and KBS2 Seoul from outside the country by assigning you a local South Korean IP address.
The international set of streaming services that you can access in South Korea includes Netflix from 15 different regions, Hulu, ITV, Channel4, UKTV, and BT-Sports.
Best of all, Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and follows a true no-data logging policy. In fact, this best VPN for Korea even regularly updates their warrant canary page for complete transparency. It is the only VPN provider on our list that offers unlimited simultaneous VPN connections. This is a very good cost-effective feature to secure all your devices with a single Surfshark subscription.
Despite already being seriously affordable, Surfshark even bothers to offer a full 30-day money-back guarantee. It seriously doesn’t get any better than this.
To check out the complete list of features, read our Surfshark review.
- 3,200+ servers in 64 countries
- unlimited simultaneous logins
- Fastest VPN for South Korea
- Blocks ads, trackers, and malware
- Server network coverage is smaller than most other VPNs
- Some slow download speeds
3. NordVPN – Top VPN with South Koreans servers
On 3rd spot on our list for best VPN for Korea, we have NordVPN. It is an excellent VPN brand that is widely recognized by reviewers and users alike. It boasts an excellent network of 5,400+ servers in 59 countries. Within South Korea, the provider has 10 servers, which is a good enough number for anyone outside South Korea trying to access local Korean content such as Arirang TV, cineF, CUBE TV, Gayo TV, etc.
Not only can you access websites that are only available within Korea using NordVPN’s servers, but you can also gain access to foreign content that may not be available for Korean regions. This includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer which you can access using a relevant server from NordVPN’s large pool of servers.
Like any other best VPN for South Korea, it also supports all popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Firestick, Linux, PS4, Xbox, and Android TVs.
The VPN is also quite effective for the privacy-conscious among you. It uses proprietary tools like Kill Switch, CyberSec, Onion over VPN, and DoubleVPN to further enhance the level of privacy you’ll get with the VPN.
NordVPN’s logging policy is heavily inclined towards the privacy needs of users and the provider doesn’t retain any logs of your personally identifiable information.
To check out the complete list of features, read our NordVPN review.
- 5,400+ servers in 59 countries
- Provides 6 multi-logins
- User-interactive server selection on applications
- Torrenting only supported on few servers
- Sluggish app and server connections
4. PureVPN – Best Korean VPN for Streaming
One of the most renowned VPNs in the industry, PureVPN is one VPN provider you can trust with your privacy. Aside from being compatible with all major platforms such as macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Android TV, Firestick, Roku, and Routers, PureVPN boasts a very user-friendly design for all of its VPN applications.
If we talk about features, PureVPN offers access to over 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries and is headquartered in the data retention-free jurisdiction of Hong Kong. With these servers, you can easily unblock VoD services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Hotstar, Zee5, Sony Liv, ESPN+, Voot, NBC Live, Foxtel, and Fox-Sports if you are residing in South Korea or visiting there for just vacations.
PureVPN has 18 servers available in Seoul, which means you can access the local channels from South Korea. Popular channels such as KBS drama, JTBC GOLF, Inet TV, and ETN can be accessed from outside South Korea with ease.
Not only that, but PureVPN also offers features like military-grade encryption, Kill switch, secure protocols, and plenty of other features to help you safely browse within Korean cyberspace.
But perhaps the best thing about PureVPN is its price. After all, their cheapest plan only costs $3.33/mo . Not only that, but PureVPN even comes with a full 31-day money-back guarantee.
To check out the complete list of features, read our PureVPN review.
- 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries
- Obfuscated Security Bypass
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Irregular and moderate speeds
- Restricted Payment options
5. CyberGhost – Secure VPN for South Koreans
At the 5th place for Korean VPN, we’re going to look at is CyberGhost. It is headquartered in Romania and follows a strict no-logs policy and doesn’t have to comply with mandatory data retention laws. It offers access to over 6,500+ servers all over the world, and its mode selection feature makes it dead easy to stream, torrent, shop online, or anything from foreign websites.
If you want to stream Korean TV from the US or any other country, you will need to connect to 24 South Korean servers offered by CyberGhost. This best VPN for South Korea will assign you with a Korean IP address that will unlock local channels such as MBC Drama, OCN Movies, SBS CNBC, and SBS MTV.
For our friends in South Korea, they can enjoy international streaming content like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify, EuroSports, Vudu, ABC Go, and others on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Roku, and Firestick device.
That’s not all, but CyberGhost offers some of the most sought-after encryption and protocols. To be more specific, CyberGhost uses a combination of OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption for unmatched security.
But best of all, CyberGhost is quite affordable and only costs $2.25/mo a month. It even comes with a full 45-day money-back guarantee.
To check out the complete list of features, read our CyberGhost review.
- 6,500+ servers in 90 countries
- Ads/malicious content blocking
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Limited payment options
6. PIA VPN – Best for Torrenting in South Korea
Another massive VPN service that is known for its powerful security and affordable price is PIA. This US-based VPN service offers unique features that you’re not going to find in many VPN providers.
Speaking of which, with over 29,000+ servers all over the world and having an automatic Kill Switch feature, PIA is capable of safely unblocking Netflix, Hulu, DAZN, ESPN+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Hotstar, Vudu, Spotify, Yupp TV, BT-Sports, and many others. Unfortunately, this VPN provider is the only one on our list that doesn’t have a server in South Korea.
PIA is very easy to use and supports a wide range of popular devices such as macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Android TV, Linux, Play Station, Xbox, and Roku. Another powerful feature that you’re not going to find in most VPN services is Split Tunneling that allows you to decide which traffic you want to show to ISPs, and which traffic you want it to remain hidden.
Even with a whole arsenal of powerful features, PIA only costs $2.69/mo . Also, PIA comes with an insane 30-day money-back guarantee and allows 10 devices to connect simultaneously.
To check out the complete list of features, read our PIA VPN review.
- 29,000+ servers in 77 countries
- Largest VPN server network
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Headquartered in the U.S
- Insufficient Client Support
Why do you need a VPN in South Korea?
If you’re living in South Korea or outside of it, there’s a good reason why you need a Virtual Private Network. I have a list of reasons discussed below:
- South Korean Government Surveillance: The South Korean government does not compromise on social values and political tensions between the two Korean states. As a result, online censorship in the country has increased gradually. Websites have been restricted and so is the freedom of speech. To bypass all of it, you need a VPN from Korea.
- Traveling to South Korea: If you frequently travel to different countries like South Korea, China, the US, and Japan, then you probably won’t trust anyone in the country. Despite that, you will find tourists who willingly connect to public WiFi without thinking twice. These WiFi’s that are available for free in a coffee shop, airports, or hotels are dangerous to your online security. Even a 12-year old can hack your phone by connecting to the same Wi-Fi, it’s that easy. A VPN will keep your data protected from these hackers even on public WiFi. So remember our VPN recommendations if you are traveling to Japan, the US, or China next time.
- Bypass Geo-blocked content: Streaming fans would love this. If you’re present in South Korea or you are a Korean Expat but can’t access the world of entertainment and streaming service like US Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or others, then you better need a VPN.
- Unblock Local Channels: A South Korea VPN app helps you unblock local channels like CJB, EBS TV, GTB, JIBS, KBS 1 TV, KNN, and more. A VPN will assign you a Korean IP address by connecting to a Korean server from outside the country.
How to unblock Geo-restricted content in South Korea with VPN?
While there are multiple different methods to unblock geo-restricted content in South Korea. Using a VPN is still the best and most effective method.
Let see the steps for unblocking geo-restricted content in South Korea with a VPN.
Important things to remember:
The location of the server will depend on the location of the content. For example, if you wish to access a US-based website, you will connect to a US-based server, and similarly, for accessing UK-based websites, you will connect to a UK-based server.
Always clear your browser cache, cookies, and history before accessing any geo-restricted content.
What type of content is restricted in South Korea?
Not only South Korea blocks different types of content, but it also requires the internet user to identify themselves if they wish to post anything which will be publicly visible. The means to identify the users include a Citizen’s Reference number (for South Korean nationals) or a copy of the user’s passport.
- Websites and comments in favor of North Korea
- Political opinions that express disapproval against the President
- Betting websites
Thanks to the “cyber defamation” law, any attempt to reveal information (whether true or false) to harm a person’s reputation are considered a crime. This legislation has been used as a tool to crack down on anti-establishment or critical discussion of the government and its officials.
Why is web content restricted in South Korea?
The most internet-savvy county in the world, South Korea has the highest use of the smartphone i.e. 80.06% in 2019 alone. 97% of the household in the country is connected to the internet which is often cheap and free Wi-Fi’s available at thousands of places.
How does a country with such an immense network system be able to restrict web content? South Korea has been at war with North Korea since the 1950s which did not officially end. They indeed settled on a ceasefire, but South Korea has always taken precautionary measures. Having said that, South Korea has imposed restrictions in the interest of its people.
South Korea is a ridiculously advanced country with its people having intellectual curiosity. Therefore, sometimes freedom of expression or standing up for whatever you think is right can lead to arrest. Anonymity is unacceptable in the country where people are frowned upon whenever making comments anonymously or with a pseudonym ID. Many sites in the country apply these rules.
However, the majority of South Koreans do understand the power of a VPN to circumvent these rules and avoid restrictions.
How to Watch South Korean Shows Abroad?
If you’re traveling away from the country for a while but still need access to Korean TV shows back home, you will need a VPN with a Korean IP address. This is because many local Korean channels are geo-restricted and can’t be accessed outside of the country.
Make sure to clear your browser cache, cookies, and history before accessing the content on your browser.
Internet Censorship in South Korea
There are two different committees for regulating media and internet censorship. The Korean Communications Committee (KCC) which was established in 2008, regulates media, while the Korean Communication Standards Committee (KCSC) which is a subcommittee of KCC, regulates internet censorship.
The KCSC orders ISPs to block content that violates the laws or threatens nations’ security or public morality. Pornographic content is illegal and anyone found distributing any related material will be sentenced to prison.
The Internet Service Providers must comply with the rules and regulations set by the KCSC or the CEO of the company can face imprisonment for up to two years or a fine of 20 million South Korean won ($18,000).
KCSC standards for blocking different content are very vague. Sometimes, they have been criticized for making biased decisions about what content should be censored and what shouldn’t be. There have been instances where the complete websites were blocked even though they had a small number of posts or comments which were considered to be the problem.
Accordingly to article 7 of the 1948 National Security Act, any content that praises North Korea is prohibited. KCSC can remove any content if it receives a request from any individual, law enforcement department, or government agency.
South Korea and freedom of speech
According to South Korea’s constitution, freedom of speech is guaranteed but it also imposes restrictions on speech that may violate the rights of a person or undermine public morals and social ethics.
The 1990 Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act mandate the population of South Korea to report about any websites or pages that are maintained by North Korea in advance. Failure to comply will face a fine of up to 1 million South Korean won ($900).
You can face seven years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million South Korean won ($45,000) is charged with online defamation, which is a criminal offense in that country.
Surveillance by authorities in South Korea
In 2014 after the Sewol ferry disaster, private KakaoTalk communications were accessed by prosecutors. Due to this act, many government officials were accused of surveilling people. The KakaoTalk company itself was pressured into complying with data requests from the government.
In 2015, National Intelligence Service was criticized for purchasing surveillance software that would enable them to monitor the digital activity of domestic devices and services. However, NIS has rejected these claims and confirm the purchase of the software only to be used for analyzing material related to North Korea.
In 2016, a new anti-terrorism law was enacted. Thanks to this law, NIS was now able to access individuals’ travel records, financial information, communications, and location data without the need for any judicial authorization.
Service providers are allowed to retain users’ personal data and in case they receive a request from NIS about it, they should surrender that data immediately.
Cyberattacks are a big issue in South Korea
Just like many other countries, cybercrime is also a big issue in South Korea. During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a cyberattack by Russian military spies infected internet connectivity and the Olympic’s website.
It has been reported that North Korea has been behind multiple cyberattacks on major banks, broadcasting stations, and even nuclear power plants. In 2015, it implemented a cyberattack on Seoul Metropolitan University Hospital network which lasted for eight months.
All that highlights the vulnerabilities in South Korea’s online infrastructure and is another reason to protect yourself with one of our best VPN for Korea and a decent antivirus.
Can I bypass censorship in South Korea with a Free VPN?
No, you will not be able to bypass the internet and media censorship imposed by KCC and KCSC in South Korea with a Free VPN. We have listed down few reasons as to why using a free VPN is not a good idea in South Korea.
Limited Servers: Free VPNs are known for offering very few servers. If you are lucky, you will get 5 servers to try. With this small number of servers, you can not fully test the VPN provider and decide if it works for your desired purpose.
Bandwidth: With just a few servers and a large number of users connecting to them every time, don’t expect to get a decent amount of VPN speed. It has been observed that these VPNs can barely let you open a website during their peak hours.
Security: Adding salt to the injury, these VPN providers do not care for any server or network maintenance. They are also not interested in increasing the capabilities of encryption and security mechanism. So don’t be surprised if they fail to keep your real identity hidden. Also, they are known to sell user personal data to different government organizations.
Only using a reliable VPN provider that knows the importance of the user’s trust in him is the best option in South Korea. Therefore, we recommend using ExpressVPN as it is the Best VPN to connect in South Korea.
Is VPN Legal to Use In South Korea?
Yes, the use of a VPN is completely legal in South Korea. However, it is developing new methods and techniques to limit its population from accessing content that they think is inappropriate. Therefore, need a good and reliable premium VPN service will keep on increasing gradually.
What is the best VPN for PC users in South Korea?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for PC users in South Korea. With its global network of 3000+ high-speed, military-grade encrypted servers, multiple security features such as Kill-Switch and Split Tunneling, 5 devices simultaneous connection, and a 30-day money-back guarantee this has to be the choice for South Koreans.
What is the best VPN for iOS and Android Users in South Korea?
We have listed below the best VPNs for iOS and Android users in South Korea.
1. ExpressVPN – Browse privately with ultra-secure iPad/iPhone VPN protection, available for iOS 10 and above, and a 30-day money-back guarantee program.
2. NordVPN – Supports iOS 11.0 and above, user-friendly and intuitive, and a 30-day money-back guarantee program.
1. ExpressVPN – Browse privately with ultra-secure iPad/iPhone VPN protection, available for iOS 10 and above, and a 30-day money-back guarantee program.
2. Surfshark – Compatible with iPhone 11, iPhone SE, iPhone X, 100% RAM-only servers for extra privacy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee
Can I watch Netflix in South Korea?
Yes, you can watch Netflix in South Korea. However, to get access to all titles, you will need a VPN service that works with Netflix like ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and other VPNs that work with Netflix.
How to use a VPN server based in South Korea?
To use a VPN server based in South Korea, use a VPN that offers servers in South Korea. This way, you will be able to get a Korean IP address regardless of your actual geo-location.
Can I use a South Korean VPN server for simultaneous connections?
If your VPN offers simultaneous connections, then you can connect to South Korean servers on multiple devices. For example, ExpressVPN offers 5 multi-logins.
Are there any bandwidth restrictions when using a VPN?
It depends on the VPN you are using. Some providers have bandwidth restrictions, but all the premium ones mentioned in this article impose no bandwidth restrictions
When internet censorship prevails across the country, as is the case in South Korea, you must protect your online identity and privacy with a VPN.
Whether you’re concerned about geo-blocks, or government surveillance, a VPN can help you out. So, grab yourself one of the best VPN for South Korea and enjoy unrestricted internet access.
Our recommended best VPN for Korea is ExpressVPN, which will help you keep your privacy intact with its AES-256 Bit encryption and also lets you access a wide range of content from all around the globe, thanks to its 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
If you hurry up, you can avail of their limited time offer of “12 Months + 3 Months Free“, which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.