Good VPNs work in many countries around the world but the best ones work everywhere. And for some use cases, you’ll want only the best.
Fear not my friend, we’ve got you covered. We have scattered the Internet to test a few dozen different VPN services and out of all of them, we’ve selected the few that we deem to be the best for South Africa.
They will also work in other parts of the planet, letting you unlock and unblock the Internet so that nothing can stand between you and the content or service you want to access — all while keeping your identity under the radar.
In other words, the best VPNs will let you access all of the popular streaming services, anonymously download and upload files with BitTorrent, protect you while connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots and more.
Here the best VPNs for South Africa:
- 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.
Censorship in South Africa
Digital media freedom is generally respected in South Africa. Political content is partially censored, with a number of incidents.
However, the Freedom of the Press Report lists South Africa as being among the countries with one of the biggest declines in press freedom, dropping four places in recent years. As a result, it is now being seen as only “partly free”.
The ANC government introduced two measures that are reminiscent of the apartheid government’s diminishing of the media.
- Firstly, it has been contemplating over developing a Media Appeal Tribunal which would have the ability to sanction journalists for “misconduct.”
- Secondly, the Protection of State Information Bill, which will supply the government with expansive power to analyze almost any information involving an agent of the state as top secret, not to be reported on by journalists.
Under the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002 (ECTA), ISPs are required to respond to and implement take-down notices regarding illegal content such as child pornography, defamatory material, and copyright violations. Members of the Internet Service Providers Association are not liable for the third-party content they do not create or select; however, they can lose this protection from liability if they do not respond to take-down requests. Also, there is no existing appeal mechanism for content creators or providers.
Now the good things:
- In September 2012, the Constitutional Court upheld a ruling that prescreening publications (including Internet content) as required by the 2009 amendments to the Films and Publications Act of 1996 was an unconstitutional limitation on freedom of expression.
- In September 2013, President Jacob Zuma refused to sign the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB) into law and instead sent it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration. The bill provided for heavy penalties for journalists who reveal “State secrets”, including a prison sentence of up to 25 years for “divulging classified information”. The bill was criticized because of the danger it posed to investigative journalism.
On the downside, in October 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed off on the controversial Films and Publications Amendment Act. Described in the media as the “internet censorship bill”, the Act introduces significant changes to the law, including the regulation of harmful content and hate speech.
It also regulates commercial distributors of content (including people who distribute content online for commercial purposes) as well as non-commercial distributors (who distribute content for their own private use).
The Act also places new obligations on ISPs to remove and report certain content or be subject to a fine.
You need a VPN for South Africa
Even if you plan to “play by the rules” (and most people do), you’ll like to know that no one will be able to say “what you did last summer.” And you don’t want to think twice every time you visit some website (we’re hoping that you know what you’re doing, of course).
Also, you may want to access some services that are not available in South Africa, and with a VPN – you can do that. Simply connect to a far-off server in say Europe or United States, and you’re good to go. With just a few clicks, you will be able to roam the world wide web like it’s nobody’s business. And that, we think, is what a VPN is all about – to get you more freedom and anonymity online.
But wait, there’s more – a good VPN will have you covered on multiple fronts, including:
- Accessing content that could otherwise be restricted in your physical location.
- Preventing tracking and minimizing your digital footprint so that no one can track you online (at least not that easily).
- Avoiding throttling from your ISP – which is known to happen when you’re torrenting or accessing video streaming services.
- Bypassing firewalls in a workplace, university, school and so on.
- Bypassing censorship in places like China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East, and even Turkey and Russia.
- Securely connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots – with a VPN encrypting all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
The bottom line is – get a VPN that fits all your needs. The top contenders include the following: