A VPN is the best tool for anyone in need of keeping their data private and identity anonymous while surfing the web. Short for virtual private network, VPN services are more popular than ever before due to the rise of cybercriminals stealing sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. Still, there are many of us that will ask “what is a VPN?”

Think of it as a cloak of invisibility. When using a VPN, instead of your real IP address showing up when browsing the internet so your internet service provider (ISP) can identify you, the internet will only see the VPN server’s IP address and location. This makes you anonymous, and better yet, a VPN server can be placed anywhere in the world.

Even if you are in New Zealand, any app or website will believe you’re a resident of any country around the globe. Neat, eh?

By keeping your online activity encrypted and your identity anonymous, VPN services provide the best protection for high-level cybersecurity analysts and the common user alike. Sure, a VPN can let you endlessly browse through country-specific shows on different streaming services — from Netflix to Amazon Prime Video — but its perks go well beyond entertainment. From boosting your internet speeds to bypassing geo-restricted content, there are many reasons why a VPN comes in handy.

Best VPN for NZ (November 2023)

1. ExpressVPN 🥇

Why You Should Use ExpressVPN? It’s the fastest and MOST reliable VPN of 2022

ExpressVPN UK screenshot

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 10-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ❌ Expensive
Best VPN list - ExpressVPN

Special Offer for you!

Get 3 extra months free when you sign up for a 12-month ExpressVPN plan. That’s 15 months in total for the price of 12.

Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $6.66/month for 15 months
  • $9.99/month for 6 months
  • $12.95/month for 1 month

If you’re looking for a VPN that never fails to give you access to major streaming sites, then ExpressVPN is the best one on the market. For only $6.66 per month, it’s totally worth it!

ExpressVPN is known for quickly creating new servers whenever one of its current ones gets blacklisted by online streaming sites. This means that users always have a stream of available servers to choose from, which is invaluable if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites.

You can download its user-friendly app on any device, including Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku PS4 and Xbox. Linux and Apple TV users aren’t left out either (there’s just a small workaround).

The app is excellent for unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim to block VPNs) due to its pragmatic approach to user management. Many other VPNs attempt to lure in customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers across the globe, but ExpressVPN does things more simply and effectively.

ExpressVPN has a limited number of server locations to choose from, but once you select your location, the app does the rest by connecting you to the fastest available server. This simple technique is crucial because it not only keeps ExpressVPN’s servers running quickly but also prevents its IP addresses from being blacklisted for “abnormal” usage.

Check out our full ExpressVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)


2. Private Internet Access 🥈

The BEST low-cost VPN for streaming!

Best VPN list - PIA

Pros

  • ✅ Fast and reliable servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 10-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ❌ Only 48 server locations
Best VPN list - PIA

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for a 3-year plan with Private Internet Access and save 83% + 3 months free. That works out at $2.03/month.

Number of servers: 25,000+ | Speed: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 74 countries | Devices supported: 10 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $2.03/month for 3 years
  • $7.50/month for 6 months
  • $11.99/month for 1 month

With over 1-million happy customers, Private Internet Access is a leading no-log VPN service.

This VPN is excellent for bypassing streaming site blocks. You can rely on it to watch US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Plus, up to 10 devices can be connected to its servers simultaneously – perfect for sharing with your closest friends!

If you’re ever unhappy with Private Internet Access, there’s always a 24/7 live chat support option to help sort out any issues you may be having. PIA also offers the standard 30-day money-back guarantee that most companies in the industry offer.

While conducting tests in New Zealand, I connected to a UK server using the Private Internet Access VPN. My non-VPN speed is 100 Mbps, yet with the VPN connection my download speeds were a decent 70 Mbps.

Special Offer – Save 83%

(30-day money-back guarantee)


3. NordVPN 🥉

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

NordVPN US screenshot mobile

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ No logs
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 6-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • ❌ No refunds for purchases from iTunes/App store
Best VPN list - NordVPN

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for a 3-year plan with Private Internet Access and save 83% + 3 months free. That works out at $2.03/month.

Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $3.49/month for 2 years
  • $6.99/month for 1 year
  • $11.95/month for 1 month

NordVPN is one of the most if not the most used VPN in the world. It’s easy to see NordVPN’s widespread appeal; it has a polished app that provides connections speedily (which will be discussed later) to an extensive network of VPN servers.

NordVPN is also the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services such as US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video. This is due to NordVPN’s full-time technical team (that constantly monitors its servers’ connections with these TV streaming services) and recent investments in more IP addresses in key locations.

NordVPN is continuously innovating by being an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. What exactly is Nordlynx? It’s a new VPN tunneling protocol that uses the WireGuard protocol to improve upon current standards like OpenVPN and IPSec.

NordVPN is known for its speed, but I wanted to see how it would stand up from New Zealand all the way to London. Although the difference in speed wasn’t major — only a few Mbps at most — Nord was still the fastest on the market.

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4. Ivacy

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

Ivacy US screenshot mobile

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ Dedicated streaming servers
  • ✅ 5-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat

Cons

  • ❌ Only 5 devices
  • ❌ Sometimes runs slow
  • ❌ Occasionally block by streaming sites for several days
Best VPN - Ivacy on Mac

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for Ivacy and enjoy a 7-day trial with no strings attached

Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $1.16/month for 5 years
  • $3.50/month for 1 year
  • $9.99/month for 1 month

Ivacy is an excellent and affordable VPN at only $1.16/month.

This VPN is equipped with everything you need to stream BBC iPlayer in HD from any nation. I have been running tests on the app lately using Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick devices and the outcome has been great- effortless access to BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc.

The Ivacy app has a different user experience when compared to other similar apps. Instead of selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Although this may seem daunting, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer – which is not a bad thing.

For only an extra $1.99/month (£1.74), you can buy a dedicated IP address, which will give you exclusive access to an IP in any country that you choose. This way, you won’t have to share your speeds with anyone else who is using the same IP address. I usually don’t recommend this unless it’s absolutely necessary because Ivacy servers work well enough on their own 95% of the time.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)


5. CyberGhost

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

CyberGhost UK screenshot

Pros

  • ✅ 1-day free trial
  • ✅ Reliable servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 7-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • ❌ Expensive
  • ❌ Average speed scores
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

SPECIAL OFFER – 1-DAY FREE TRIAL

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Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $2.75/month for 3 years
  • $3.69/month for 2 years
  • $5.99/month for 1 year
  • $12.99/month for 1 month

With CyberGhost, you get an established VPN service with a global network of servers that are known to perform well.

I’ve been running tests for the past few months, and I can say with certainty that CyberGhost has no problem unblocking major streaming services like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max. This VPN also does a great job at maintaining download speeds; I usually see results around 65% of my regular (non-VPN) internet speed.

There’s unfortunately nothing unique about the service, which makes you question its price. It’s short-term $12.99/month fee is higher than the industry average of $10.10/month, and its long-term deal of $2.75/month for 3 years isn’t much better.

The most unique feature of Cyberghost is its 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This makes it appealing to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.

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Why you (might) need to use a VPN in New Zealand

Anonymity is a key benefit, but a VPN service can help you unlock an ocean of new content, too.

New Zealand’s Netflix library is short by 1,000 TV shows and films when compared to Japan, the USA, and the UK.

If you’ve binged your way through Friends one too many times, it’s time to take your viewing abroad. Plus, the best VPNs can provide you with a New Zealand IP address, meaning kiwis outside the region can stream shows on TVNZ, Newshub and Māori Television. 

How do we test VPNs?

  1. We test how secure the VPN is: We do this by running it through DNS leak tests. If the VPN has a DNS leak issue, it has an issue with its security, as internet service providers (ISPs) can still potentially see your online data. The best VPNs don’t come across these sorts of issues.
  2. The number of servers: The best VPNs have thousands of servers around the world. The more servers, the better. Lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs, don’t have many servers meaning there’s less opportunity for you to surf the web anonymously.
  3. Speed: We measure the speed of a VPN by doing speed tests for multiple servers worldwide. We then compare this to our base internet speed with a VPN turned off.
  4. Compatibility with streaming services: A critical use case for VPNs is the ability to access geo-blocked streaming services. Unfortunately, these services try and prevent VPNs from accessing their platforms. The best VPNs have measures in place to get around these blocks. When testing a VPN, we try it with several geo-blocked streaming services. The best VPNs will allow you to watch all the leading streaming services worldwide.
  5. Price: Based on our research, the average cost of the top 20 VPNs is $4.33/month. We use this as a comparison when looking for the best-value VPNs.
  6. Devices: VPNs are usually compatible with more than one device simultaneously. Obviously, the more the better.

What to look for in a VPN: VPN buyer’s guide

There are countless VPNs to pick from, so it can be hard to know which one is the best for you.

If you’re looking to buy a VPN, here’s what you should keep in mind.

Price

The price for a VPN service varies. Some are free of charge while others cost up to $30 per month.

Our tests have shown that if you want a VPN service that is both reliable and fast, then you’ll need to pay for it.

Free VPNs might not be as secure or reliable as you think, often implementing data caps and speed limits. Even worse, some free VPN services collect and store your data.

The best VPNs, on average cost less than the price of a coffee at $4.33/month.

VPNs typically use subscription models that give you the freedom to choose how long you want to commit. For example, terms can be as short as one month or as long as five years. Of course, longer subscriptions usually require an initial investment, and there’s also no guarantee the VPN will still exist for the entirety of your time commitment.

Servers

For the best VPN experience, it’s recommended that you look for a provider with servers in multiple locations around the world.

When you have access to more servers, your chances of staying private increase. Also, it’s beneficial to look for a VPN with servers in multiple countries. This way, you can make it appear as though your internet connection is coming from even more places.

The best VPNs will usually boast upwards of 2,500 servers around the world.

Protocols

The VPN protocol you choose will affect how your data is packaged and sent over the VPN’s private network.

There are different encryptions for data connection, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some protocols offer less encryption which makes your connection more vulnerable; however, this also allows your data to travel faster.

Though other protocols ensure high levels of encryption for security, they tend to be slower.

Many VPNs support multiple protocols, so try to look for one that serves all of your needs.

Money back guarantee

Most premium VPNs come with a money-back guarantee. 

This means you can try a VPN, and if it isn’t for you, you can get your money back. 

Always have a look to see if a VPN supports this, as it makes the investment less impactful if it’s not for you.

Chat support

For the majority of people, VPNs are overly complicated and difficult to understand.

Don’t worry. The online chat support of most premium VPNs will be more than happy to assist you with any questions or problems you may have.

If you lack confidence or technical skills, make sure to pick a VPN with chat support so that you can take advantage of everything your VPN has to offer.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. To understand what that means, you need to understand what a private network is.

A private network is a private connection between two computers, “private” because it’s isolated from all other connections. This means no one else can see what’s happening on the network or access it.

A VPN is the same thing, except instead of the network being connected physically, it’s connected over the internet.

A VPN uses data encryption and private servers to make your connection inaccessible to outsiders. It’s essentially a private network but on a much larger scale.

The best VPNs 2022

What does a VPN do?

A VPN does two things.

First, it encrypts your online data. This means it turns your data into an unreadable code. If someone tries to figure out what you’re doing online or where you’re going, they won’t be able to read the code, so your online presence will be anonymous.

Second, a VPN reroutes this encrypted traffic through their VPN server. This will make it appear like you’re connecting from the location of your chosen server.

To wrap up, a VPN allows you to surf the internet anonymously, and it allows you to spoof the location where you’re connecting to the internet from.

How do VPNs work?

A VPN uses three main processes to allow you to surf the internet anonymously and spoof your location.

Before your online data gets sent across the web, a VPN will encrypt your online information into an unreadable code. It does this in case the info gets intercepted, in which case it will be unreadable. No one can tell where the information is going or came from.

This encrypted information is then sent to a VPN server via a network of tunnels. These tunnels don’t allow anyone outside to see what’s travelling through them. Turning on your VPN will split your online data into packages and send them through these tunnels. Again, keeping your online information anonymous and hidden.

All this data is sent (via the VPN’s tunnels) to a server in your chosen country. This acts like a layover point. It makes it look like your connection is coming from this server instead of your computer, phone or tablet. This again helps with maintaining an anonymous internet connection, and additionally, it makes it look like you’re connecting to the internet from the country the server is in.

The best VPNs 2022

Is using a VPN legal?

Yes, using a VPN is legal. VPNs are used to improve privacy and security, and they’re legal in 99% of countries around the world. 

Some countries don’t play nice with VPNs though. Countries like China and Russia control VPNs, forcing users to turn over data, defeating the purpose of a VPN in the first place. And others like Belarus, Iraq and North Korea ban VPNs completely.

Why do I need a VPN?

Most of the Western world’s internet is relatively free and unrestricted. You can visit the vast majority of websites without fear of prosecution and be served the same content as users in other countries – for no extra cost. 

Unfortunately, your internet freedom does not travel with your passport (and laptop). Travel to India for example, and you’re subject to Indian internet laws meaning you’ll only have access to restricted content.

Also, some services such as Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer will be geo-blocked, meaning you’ll be served smaller libraries than you’re used to at home or worse, you won’t be able to access the streaming service at all. 

A VPN offers you a way around location-based internet. But that’s not all. A VPN also allows you to surf the web anonymously so corporations and governments can’t see or track your online activity.