Best VPN NZ

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 (2024)

1. NordVPN 🥇

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN review

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: NordVPN’s server network spans 60 countries. While this is below the average of 71 countries for the top 20 VPNs, its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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2. ExpressVPN 🥈

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN review

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. It consistently performed well in tests with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Servers: ExpressVPN has a robust network with servers in 104 countries, significantly above the 71-country average. Less than 3% of these servers are virtual, ensuring a reliable and fast physical network.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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3. PureVPN 🥉

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN review

Streaming: PureVPN has shown improvement in its ability to unblock streaming services. While it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer, its performance improved during less busy times. PureVPN can unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers a wide range of servers around the world. Although specific numbers are not provided, PureVPN’s server offerings are robust, allowing users to access various international content.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

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4. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
Private Internet Access review

Streaming: Private Internet Access works well with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, although it initially faced some difficulties with BBC iPlayer, which were resolved after some fixes.

Servers: PIA has over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, which is above the average of 71 countries. However, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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5. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark review

Streaming: Surfshark performs well with most streaming services but faces challenges with some, like Hulu. This could be a drawback for users who heavily rely on VPNs for streaming content from various regions.

Servers: Surfshark boasts a server network in 100 countries, which is well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

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6. CyberGhost

Affordable and secure VPN with extensive server coverage

  • Features NoSpy servers, a Killswitch, and split tunnelling
  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Over 9,000 servers in 91 countries
  • Independent audit confirms no-logs policy
  • 7-device coverage
  • Not optimal for streaming due to speed issues
  • Majority of servers are virtual
  • Lacks a proprietary protocol
CyberGhost review

Streaming: CyberGhost allows access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. However, users may face slow speeds, leading to buffering and resolution issues, which can be a significant downside for streaming.

Servers: CyberGhost boasts over 9,000 servers in 91 countries, offering a robust server network. However, it’s notable that 54% of these servers are virtual, a factor that can affect performance and reliability.

Privacy: CyberGhost has a no-logs policy that has been independently audited by Deloitte, ensuring user privacy and security. This audit confirms that CyberGhost does not keep records of users’ online activities while using the VPN.

Price: CyberGhost offers three payment options: a 1-month subscription at $12.99/month, a 6-month subscription at $6.99/month, and a 2-year subscription at $2.19/month, which includes an extra two months for free.

Speeds: Speed tests conducted in New Zealand showed significant drops in both download and upload speeds across various servers when using CyberGhost, indicating a performance issue in terms of speed.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)930516
CyberGhost US server192.292.63
CyberGhost UK server139.191.90
CyberGhost Vietnam server232.244.32

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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7. Ivacy VPN

A straightforward and affordable VPN, ideal for beginners

  • Great price
  • $1/month 5-year deal
  • Subscription includes password manager
  • Streaming service specific IP addresses
  • Secure VPN service
  • Slower speeds
  • No 3rd Party audits
  • Low number of country server locations
  • Not many addons
Ivacy VPN review

Streaming: Ivacy VPN offers reliable access to major streaming services like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MAX. However, it’s slower than competitors such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, which might be a drawback for users seeking the fastest streaming experience.

Servers: Ivacy has a global network of 6,500 servers, but it only covers 62 countries. This is below the average of 73 countries for top VPNs. Additionally, it wasn’t very open about the distribution between its physical and virtual servers.

Privacy: Ivacy maintains a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that your online activities are not recorded or monitored. However, unlike ExpressVPN, Ivacy’s audits are not readily available to the public, making it less transparent in comparison.

Price: Ivacy has three payment options: a 1-month plan costing $9.95/month, a 12-month plan at $3.99/month, and a 5-year plan at $1.00/month. It accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, Coingate, BitPay, and various other payment systems.

Speeds: Ivacy’s speed performance showed a noticeable reduction in download and upload speeds when connected to its servers. From the tests, there was a significant speed drop when using Ivacy’s virtual server for India, impacting streaming and web browsing.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)939.78519.86
Ivacy US server445.205.65
Ivacy UK server693.293.53

Read our full Ivacy VPN review.

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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.