The Internet in India isn’t 100% open, thus you’ll need a VPN in order to browse the world wide web in its entirety.
Also, you’ll want to use a VPN in order to access streaming services in the West, as well as to anonymously download stuff with BitTorrent. Plus, let’s not forget VPN’s ability to keep you protected while using public Wi-Fi hotspots when it will encrypt all traffic coming to and from your device(s) and the rest of the Internet.
And that’s just a start. The main point is that a VPN gets you more freedom and that, we believe, is tremendously important.
But not every VPN is good for India. You’ll need the best ones in order to bypass some of the restrictions that are imposed in the country. Here are the best options:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Good for both torrenting and streaming
- Works in China
- Solid network with servers in 60+ countries
- Easy to use apps on multiple platforms
- Live chat isn't always available
- Fairly pricey
Whether you need a VPN for watching Netflix shows or downloading files via BitTorrent, Astrill can help you out — all while keeping your identity under the radar. And this is especially true if you live or work in China when the company's stealth protocols will kick in to let you access all the popular sites that are by default blocked by the country's censors.
Astrill's apps are easy to use and available on all popular platforms. Nevertheless, they still manage to provide a host of advanced features tech-savvy folks are used to get. Highly recommended, again, especially if you're looking to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- Fast download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.
- Great for torrenting
- Advanced privacy features (i.e. Tor over VPN)
- Relatively small number of servers
- There are no browser extensions
- Live chat support is not always available
Specifically, you can rely on PrivateVPN for both torrenting and streaming, without paying a premium. It is, in fact, one of the most affordable options in its league and we love it for that.
Customer support may not be on par with bigger players but it's not like you should experience many problems anyway. You will get the same level of security and privacy as with other services, and a single license will let you run PrivateVPN on up to 6 devices. Pretty cool.
- Works in China
- Many servers in Asia
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Advanced services like VyprVPN Cloud
- No browser extensions
- Torrenting could be better
It manages to bypass restrictions in high-censorship countries and elsewhere by relying on its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which can easily slide under the radar.
VyprVPN is also great for accessing video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and so on — delivering the true buffer-free experience every single time. It will also work with BitTorrent, and consequently - Kodi.
VyprVPN has a strict zero-logs policy. Period.
Internet censorship in India
Internet censorship in India is done by both central and state governments, which employ DNS filtering to block access to some content. Also, there are measures for removing content at the request of content creators through court orders — which have become more common in recent years. Last but not least, initiating a mass surveillance government project like the Golden Shield Project is also an alternative discussed over the years by government bodies.
What the NGOs are saying?
The OpenNet Initiative classified India as engaged in “selective” Internet filtering in the political, conflict/security, social, and Internet tools areas in 2011. It described the country as “a stable democracy with a strong tradition of press freedom, that nevertheless continues its regime of Internet filtering.”
In March 2012, Reporters Without Borders added India to its list of “countries under surveillance.” The decision came on the heels of the Mumbai bombings in 2008, when the Indian authorities stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship.
Finally, Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2017 report gives India a Freedom on the Net status of “Partly Free” with a rating of 41 (on a scale from 0 to 100 where lower is better). Its Obstacles to Access was rated 12 (0-25 scale), Limits on Content was rated 9 (0-35 scale) and Violations of User Rights was rated 20 (0-40 scale). India was ranked 26th out of the 65 countries included in the report. The Overall Internet Freedom Status is marked “Partly Free” and was unchanged from 2009.
India leads the world in the list of Internet Shutdowns. According to Access Now’s 2018 report, out of 196 documented Internet Shutdowns globally – India accounted for 134 of them. The reasons for the shutdowns range from protests and political unrest to elections and exams. Internet Shutdowns have often helped the government to throttle dissent and mass-public gatherings. Aside from the socio-political impact, ICRIER (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations) estimates that between 2012 and 2017, 16,315 hours of Internet shutdown in India cost the economy approximately $3.04 billion.
Yes, you need a VPN for India…
But you shouldn’t get it just to be able to freely browse the web, rather you should get a VPN that serves all your existing and future needs.
For instance, you may be traveling to other countries and then, you’ll need to connect to a server in some other country. Or, you’ll want to access a country-specific streaming service like BBC iPlayer.
The best VPNs will “do their thing” all across the world and serve many different purposes, including:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, HULU, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
- Download files with BitTorrent anonymously
The top contenders that check all these boxes include the following: