South Korea does not have heavy internet restrictions like China, but nonetheless, there is censorship in the country, and you might come under scrutiny for posting on social media or other platforms. Thus leading its citizens to use tools like the best VPN for South Korea to avoid government snooping, and secure your online privacy.
Moreover, there is strong government surveillance in the country 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, making a VPN a must tool to have in South Korea.
A VPN encrypts your online traffic and grants you a different IP address to easily bypass restrictions and freely access the internet. After testing 150+ VPNs, we bring you the 6 best VPNs for South Korea that offer the best security and unblocking ability.
6 Best VPNs For South Korea (September 2021 In-Depth Analysis)
We have tested over 150+ VPN services to find the best VPN for South Korea in 2021. After thorough testing, we have shortlisted the 6 VPNs based on the criteria of the server network, speed, compatibility, security, money-back guarantee, and more.
1. The Best VPN for South Korea – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for South Korea with excellent unblocking ability, security, and privacy features. It is best for streaming, gaming, torrenting, browsing, and private online tasks. ExpressVPN offers 3000+ servers across 94 countries, including 2 in South Korea.
If you’re into streaming, you’re going to love ExpressVPN. Popular streaming services that you can access with this VPN include Netflix, Amazon, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Vudu, TenPlay, and many others in South Korea.
You can also unblock local South Korean websites and TV channels from abroad. You can also access local TV channels such as EBS1 TV l, KBS1 Seoul, SBS-TV Seoul, and MBC-TV Seoul with its servers located in South Korea.
With ExpressVPN’s local server, you can also get Korean Netflix abroad. ExpressVPN is compatible with all the major platforms. These platforms include macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Linux, Android TV, and Xbox. On a single subscription, you can connect 5 devices at the same time.
ExpressVPN offers amazing security features like Network Lock and Zero-knowledge DNS, split tunneling, and powerful AES-CBC 256-bit encryption. All these features make ExpressVPN a safe and secure VPN for South Koreans. It also offers IP and DNS leak protection. We ran IP leak tests after connecting to its US server, and there were no leaks during the session.
It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee even on its crypto payments so make sure to try it risk-free to see if it meets your requirements. To check out its complete list of features, read our ExpressVPN review.
2. Budget-friendly VPN for South Korea – Surfshark
Next up, we have one of the most budget-friendly VPNs in the industry starting at just $2.49/mo . Surfshark comes packed with some of the finest security features, unblocking ability, and privacy as well.
Surfshark offers 3200+ servers across 65 countries with 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 abroad. The international set of streaming services that you can access in South Korea with this VPN includes Netflix, Hulu, ITV, Channel4, UKTV, BT-Sports, and more.
Similar to other renowned VPNs, Surfshark offers support for all popular platforms and operating systems including, macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Firestick, and routers. It also supports unlimited devices at the same time on a single account.
Best of all, Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and follows a true no-logging policy. In fact, Surfshark even regularly updates its warrant canary page for complete transparency.
It also offers a kill switch, MultiHop feature along with IP and DNS leak protection that we confirmed after running IP leak tests by connecting to its Australia server. There were no data leaks during the session.
Surfshark also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test this VPN in South Korea risk-free. To check out the complete list of features, read our Surfshark review.
3. Secure VPN for South Korea – NordVPN
NordVPN is the best secure VPN for South Korea with exceptional privacy and security features like Double VPN, 256-bit encryption, CyberSec (adblocker), and Obfuscated servers. It uses the XOR algorithm for obfuscation that disguises your VPN traffic as normal HTTPS traffic. This way your ISP cannot see if you are using a VPN, thus offering anonymity.
NordVPN boasts an excellent network of 5,200+ servers in 59 countries. Within South Korea, the provider has 16+ servers. With so many local servers, NordVPN is best for anyone outside South Korea trying to access local Korean content such as Arirang TV, cineF, CUBE TV, Gayo TV, etc from abroad.
Not only can you access local content with NordVPN, but you can also unblock foreign content that may not be available in Korea. It includes geo-restricted platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more.
Like any other best VPN Korea, NordVPN also supports all popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, PS4, routers, and more.
NordVPN’s logging policy is heavily inclined towards the privacy needs of users as the provider doesn’t retain any logs of your personally identifiable information. NordVPN also uses proprietary tools like kill switch, OpenVPN protocol, and IP leak protection to further enhance your online privacy and security. We conducted IP leak tests by connecting to its Irish server and found no IP leaks at all.
You can get NordVPN for $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE) with a 30-day money-back guarantee and support for 6 simultaneous connections. To check out the complete list of features, read our NordVPN review.
4. Fastest VPN for South Korea – IPVanish
Next up we have one of the fastest VPNs in the industry, IPVanish – a great choice for South Koreans. During testing, it managed to output a high speed of 90 Mbps on a 100 Mbps base connection. It is more than enough for data-intensive tasks like streaming, gaming, torrenting, and downloading heavy files. IPVanish offers a decent network of 1,600+ servers across 75+ countries, including 4 servers in Seoul, South Korea.
With its international 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 for vacations.
IPVanish also has 4 servers in South Korea, which means you can access the local channels abroad. Popular channels such as KBS drama, JTBC GOLF, Inet TV, and ETN can be accessed from outside South Korea with ease too.
Not only that, but IPVanish also offers features like military-grade 256-bit encryption, kill switch, split tunnelling, and IP leak protection to help you safely browse within Korean cyberspace. We ran IP leak tests by connecting to IPVanish’s Singapore server and found no leaks.
But perhaps the best thing about IPVanish is that it allows unlimited simultaneous connections on a single account. So, you can secure as many devices as you want at the same time. It even comes with a full 30-day money-back guarantee giving you a chance to test the service free of cost in South Korea. To check out the complete list of features, read our IPVanish review.
5. User-Friendly VPN for South Korea – CyberGhost
Cyberghost is the most user-friendly VPN for South Koreans. Aside from being compatible with all major platforms such as macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Android TV, Firestick, and routers, CyberGhost boasts a very user-friendly design for all of its VPN applications.
To top it all, it also offers dedicated servers for streaming, torrenting and gaming, that is precisely marked so you can find the server according to your requirement.
It offers over 7000+ servers across 90 countries, including 24 in South Korea. If you want to stream Korean TV from the US or abroad, you can connect to its 24 South Korean servers. It will assign you a Korean IP address that will help you unlock local channels such as MBC Drama, OCN Movies, SBS CNBC, and SBS MTV.
For our friends in South Korea, you can enjoy international streaming content like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify, EuroSports, Voot, ABC Go, and others on 7 devices at the same time. You can also share it with your friends and family.
CyberGhost is headquartered in Romania and follows a strict no-logs policy as the country doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws. That’s not all. CyberGhost offers the industry’s-best 256-bit encryption and IP/ DNS leak protection. We ran IP leak tests by connecting to its Japan – Tokyo servers and it showed no data leaks.
But best of all, CyberGhost is quite affordable and only costs $2.25/mo . It even comes with a full 45-day money-back guarantee allowing you to test the service risk-free before buying. To check out the complete list of features, read our CyberGhost review.
6. Best VPN for Torrenting in South Korea – PIA VPN
Private Internet Access is the best VPN for torrenting in South Korea offering advanced features like SOCKS5 proxy, and a kill switch for safe torrenting. It also boasts one of the largest server networks of 35,500+ servers, across 78 countries. All these servers are optimized for P2P. Unfortunately, this VPN provider is the only one on our list that doesn’t have a server in South Korea.
There are plenty of international servers that you can use to unblock content. PIA is capable of unblocking Netflix, Hulu, DAZN, ESPN+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Hotstar, Vudu, Spotify, Yupp TV, BT-Sports, and many more 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, and routers. It also allows 10 devices to connect simultaneously. PIA also has another cool feature called MACE that serves as an ad blocker and malware tracker. PIA also offers IP leak protection, which we confirmed after running leak tests, and it showed no data leaks at all.
Test Methodology: How we tested the best VPN for South Korea
There are a few criteria that should bear in mind before you choose a VPN for South Korea. When looking for the best VPN for South Korea keep the following criteria in mind:
- Server network: Make sure to choose a VPN that offers a large server network with global coverage so you can access content from all over the world.
- Robust encryption: The best VPN for South Korea should use advanced 256-bit AES encryption to ensure the protection of data and also offer features like kill switch, IP leak protection.
- Ability to bypass geo-restrictions: The 6 VPNs mentioned above come with strong unblocking capability and can unblock all major streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
- Money-back guarantee: Make sure to choose a VPN for South Korea that offers a minimum 30-day money-back guarantee. This way you can test it yourself and see if it fits your needs.
4 Reasons Why You Need a VPN in South Korea
South Korea is a tech advanced country. However, it still faces issues like censorship, surveillance, and more. On that note, here are 4 reasons why you need a VPN in South Korea.
1. Internet Censorship in South Korea
There are two different committees for regulating media and internet censorship in the country. 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.
Moreover, the ISPs must comply with the rules and regulations set by the KCSC, otherwise, the CEO of the company can face imprisonment for up to two years or a fine of 20 million South Korean Won ($18,000).
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.
2. 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 mandates 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) in case of online defamation, which is a criminal offense in the country.
3. Online Surveillance by Authorities
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. 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 mandated to retain users’ personal data and in case they receive a request from NIS. And if a request is made they should surrender that data immediately.
4. Cyber attacks 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 Olympics website. It was one of the most “deceptive attacks in history.”
It has been reported that North Korea has been behind multiple cyberattacks on major banks, broadcasting stations, and even nuclear power plants. In 2015, North Korea 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.
VPN guides for other countries
- VPN providers for Japan
- VPN providers for Malaysia
- VPN providers for South Africa
- VPN providers for Hong Kong
FAQs – Best VPN For South Korea
Yes, the use of a VPN is completely legal in South Korea. However, the country is developing new methods and techniques to limit its population from accessing content that they think is inappropriate. Therefore, you need a VPN in South Korea to bypass censorship and have unrestricted access to the internet.
Technically speaking, you can use a free VPN in South Korea, but we don’t recommend it for various reasons. First, free VPNs offer very few servers. If you are lucky, you will get 5 servers max. These servers are congested with users, offering extremely slow speed, and are not enough to even do basic tasks like browsing.
Adding salt to the injury, free VPN providers do not care for any server or network maintenance. Also, they are known to sell user personal data to third parties. Therefore, we recommend using only premium VPNs in South Korea like ExpressVPN for accessing blocked sites and to secure your online privacy.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for PC users in South Korea. With its global network of 3000+ high-speed, military-grade 256-bit encrypted servers, multiple security features such as kill switch, split tunnelling, 5 devices simultaneous connection, and a 30-day money-back guarantee makes it the best choice for South Koreans.
We have listed below the best VPNs for iOS and Android users in South Korea.
1. ExpressVPN – Browse privately with secure 3000+ servers and kill switch, available for iOS 10 and above, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It has a high rating of 4.6 on the App Store.
2. NordVPN – Supports iOS 11.0 and above, user-friendly app with obfuscated servers, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It has a high rating of 4.6 on the App Store.
1. ExpressVPN – 3000+ servers for Android devices with advanced encryption, auto-connect on unsecured Wi-Fi, and Network protection feature (kill switch).
2. Surfshark – 3200+ servers for Android users with a kill switch and CleanWeb (adblocker). You can connect as many devices as you want on a single account.
Follow these steps to watch South Korean TV channels abroad:
- Get a VPN with servers in Korea (such as ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the VPN app on your device.
- Launch ExpressVPN and log in to your account.
- Connect to a Korean server from the server list.
- Now you can access your desired Korean streaming channels abroad without restrictions!
Make sure to clear your browser cache, cookies, and history before accessing the content on your browser.
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.
Our recommended best VPN for South Korea is ExpressVPN, which will help ensure online privacy with its AES-256-bit encryption and also let you access international content, thanks to its 3000+ servers in 94 countries. It also offers an amazing deal of “12 Months + 3 Months Free“, which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.