The best VPN New Zealand

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is essential for anyone looking to protect their online privacy. It encrypts your internet activity and hides your IP address, making you anonymous when going online.

This not only shields you from cybercriminals but also allows you to appear as if you’re browsing from anywhere in the world, granting access to geo-restricted content and potentially improving internet speeds.

With the increasing threat of data theft, VPNs are crucial for both cybersecurity experts and everyday users, offering benefits that extend beyond just accessing international streaming services.

However, the VPN market is booming, and there’s a whole lot of options out there. This can make navigating the space a little tricky, and finding the best VPN for your needs may be a bit confusing. This is where we come in. We’ve tested numerous VPNs and have come up with a list of what we think are the five best options for New Zealand users.

This buying guide will cover:

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a tool that protects your privacy online by doing two things: it hides your location by masking your IP address, making you invisible to websites and others on the internet, and it encrypts your data, which means it turns any information you send or receive online into a secret code. This way, even if someone manages to intercept your data, they won’t be able to understand it.

It also allows you to change your location virtually. A VPN not only masks your IP address it also enables you to select an IP address from various locations, making it look like your located somewhere else.

This allows you to bypass geographic restrictions and access content not available in your actual location. Ever wanted to watch US Netflix, BBC iPlayer or 9Now in New Zealand? A VPN will allow you to do that.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN helps you browse the internet without revealing who you are or where you’re from, using three key steps:

  1. Encryption: First, it turns your online data into a secret code. This way, even if someone manages to grab your data, they can’t understand it. This encryption ensures that no one can trace your activities back to you.
  2. Tunnels: Next, your coded data travels through secure tunnels to a VPN server. These tunnels are private, so no one outside can see what’s inside them. Think of it as sending a secret message through a secure pipe; only the person at the other end can decode and read it.
  3. Spoofing Your Location: Finally, the data arrives at a VPN server in a location you choose. It’s like your internet connection takes a detour through another country. To anyone watching, it appears as if you’re accessing the internet from this new location, not your actual home. This not only keeps your identity hidden but also lets you access content from around the world as if you were locally there.
The 5 Best VPNs NZ

Why you need a VPN in New Zealand

In today’s digital world, with frequent data breaches, scams, and hacking incidents, safeguarding your online activities and maintaining anonymity has never been more crucial. A VPN employs sophisticated encryption methods to ensure your online actions remain anonymous, protecting you from hacking attempts and the theft of your personal information.

It will also open up a world of new online possibilities. Here in New Zealand, we often miss out on loads of online content available to other countries. For example, did you know that Japan, the USA, and the UK’s Netflix libraries have other 1,000 more TV shows and movies compared to New Zealand’s? Even Australian Netflix has 5,349 titles compared to New Zealand’s 4,635.

A VPN can give you access to streaming services and online platforms from different countries broadening your access to a wider variety of shows and films.

Additionally, for Kiwis living or traveling abroad, the best VPNs offer the ability to select a New Zealand IP address. This feature ensures that even outside New Zealand, you can still enjoy local favorites on platforms like TVNZ+, Māori Television, Neon and Lightbox.

The best VPN NZ: Quick list

ExpressVPNNordVPNPIASurfsharkCyberghost
NZ Servers
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps41 Mbps50 Mbps31 Mbps
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$2.03$2.49$2.19
Prices are in USD

What to look for when buying a VPN in New Zealand

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.

1. Price: The cost of VPN services vary greatly, some VPNs are completely free while others can charge as much as $30 a month.
Always have a look at the price of the VPN you’re thinking of buying and make a call on whether it suits your budget.

Our tests found that for the best service you’ll have to spend a bit of money. Free VPNs are often limited in what they can do with data caps and slower speeds.

On the brighter side, top-tier VPNs are surprisingly affordable, averaging around $4.33 per month – less than a cup of coffee. And they offer flexibility in commitment, from monthly to five-year terms. Also, the best VPNs on the market usually come with a 30-day money back guarantee at least, so you can try it and if it isn’t for you, get your money back.

2. Servers: For the best VPN experience, choose one with servers all over the world. This lets you access lots more content, like TV shows and games, that you might not get in New Zealand. It’s like being able to digitally travel to different countries and see what they can watch or play online, all from the comfort of your home.

3. New Zealand servers: Often overlooked, it’s important you choose a VPN with servers based in New Zealand. That way, if you’re outside the country you can access all of our streaming services like Neon, TVNZ+, Sky, Lightbox and others.

4. Protocols: Think of a VPN like a secure passageway for your internet data. When selecting a VPN, you’re presented with various protocols, which are essentially methods of securing this data. Some protocols prioritise speed, while others prioritise security.

A lot of VPNs use the same protocols, however there are some that have their own proprietary ones. Usually, these are better because they allow the VPN to control, update, fix and repair the protocol if it’s not working. But, this isn’t a requirement; these days most protocols work pretty well.

5. 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.

6. Chat support: For most users, VPNs aren’t as complicated as they might seem. Generally, it’s a matter of installing the software and you’re good to go. However, if you’re looking to customise settings or tweak things, that’s when it can get a bit more complex. If you’re not very confident with tech or if you want to make sure you’re using your VPN to its fullest potential, choosing a VPN with robust chat support is a smart move. This way, you can easily navigate through any complexities and enjoy all the benefits your VPN has to offer.

VPN comparison table

Cheapest Monthly PricePlan: (Months)Upfront CostMonthly PriceMoney-back guaranteeSimultaneous DevicesNumber of countriesNZ servers (Yes/No)# of NZ Servers
ExpressVPN$6.6712 months$99$12.9530 days8105YUndisclosed
NordVPN$4.3924 months$105.36$13.9930 days661Y20
PIA$2.0336 months$79$11.9530 daysUnlimited91Y1
Surfshark$2.6924 months$75.32$14.9930 daysUnlimited100Y1
ProtonVPN4.99 Euro24 months119.76 Euro9.99 Euro30 days1070Y4
Windscribe$5.7512 months$69$9.003 daysUnlimited64Y2
IPvanish$2.9924 months$80.75$7.9930 daysUnlimited75Y1
CyberGhost$2.1924 months$56.94$12.9945 days7100Y13
StrongVPN$3.9712 months$43.99$10.9930 days1230N
VyprVPN$5.0012 months$60.00$10.0030 days1063Y1
Atlas VPN$1.8336 months$71.49$11.9930 daysUnlimited42YUndisclosed
Hotspot Shield$7.9912 months$95.99$12.9945 days1080YUndisclosed
Tunnelbear$3.3336 months$120$9.990 daysUnlimited48YUndisclosed
HMA$5.9936 months$215.6430 days10218Y4
Mullvad5 Euros12 months5 Euros5 Euros30 days540Y4
Ivacy$1.0060 months$60$9.9530 days1062Y1
PureVPN$3.8524 months$84.95$20.9531 days1074N
VPN Unlimited$512 months$60$9.9930 days553YUndisclosed
Mozilla VPN$4.9912 months$59.88$9.9930 days540Y4
Astrill$1324 months$300$300 days560Y1
X-VPN$6.6612 months$80$11.9930 day565Y2
Norton VPN$5.8312 months$7060 day529YUndisclosed
*Prices are in USD

From our findings:

  • the average cheapest monthly price for a VPN is USD$4.82
  • the average upfront cost is USD$92
  • the average monthly price (paying for a single month) is $12.45
  • the average number of countries that have servers is 71

The 5 best VPNs NZ (2024)

1. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

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

Streaming: NordVPN is our favorite VPN for New Zealanders, hands down. It excels at unlocking streaming services from around the world world, with its vast and reliable server network, and brilliant NordLynx protocol.

Servers: NordVPN might have servers in only 61 countries, fewer than some competitors, but its quality over quantity that sets it apart, especially for Kiwis. With 20 servers strategically located in New Zealand, you can easily access New Zealand content when outside the country as well.

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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(30-day money-back guarantee)

2. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

ExpressVPN Best VPN NZ
  • 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

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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(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Surfshark

An affordable and secure VPN with unlimited simultaneous connections

Surfshark Best VPNs NZ
  • 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

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. It also has servers in New Zealand so you can watch all your favourite streaming services while abroad.

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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(30-day money-back guarantee)

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

PIA Best VPNs NZ
  • 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

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.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. CyberGhost

Affordable and secure VPN with extensive server coverage

CyberGhost Best VPNs NZ
  • 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

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.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

How 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.

Is using a VPN in New Zealand legal?

Yes, using a VPN in New Zealand is legal.

In New Zealand, as in many other countries, VPNs are commonly used for legitimate reasons such as enhancing online privacy, securing internet connections, and accessing geo-restricted content. However, it’s important to use a VPN responsibly and not for illegal activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is using a VPN legal in New Zealand?

Answer: Yes, using a VPN is legal in New Zealand. It’s widely used for privacy, security, and accessing content that’s geographically restricted, but should not be used for illegal purposes.

Q: What VPN is best for NZ?

Answer: There are many VPNs that work well in New Zealand, but the best choice depends on your needs. Look for a VPN that fits your budget, has servers both globally and in New Zealand, ensures a secure and anonymous connection, and offers chat support for any assistance you might need. Our favourites are NordVPN and ExpressVPN. We use them daily.

Q: What do I need to know before using a VPN?

Answer: Before using a VPN, it’s important to consider your specific needs, such as speed, security, and access to content from certain locations. Additionally, check the VPN’s privacy policy to understand how your data is handled and ensure it has strong encryption to protect your online activities.

Q: When should I not use a VPN?

Answer: In New Zealand, you might want to avoid using a VPN when conducting activities that require your real location, like local banking or emergency services, to ensure you receive accurate services. Also, be cautious of using a VPN for any activity that’s against the law, as VPNs are intended for privacy and security, not for bypassing legal restrictions.

Q: Is a VPN secure on public Wi-Fi?

Answer: Yes, using a VPN on public Wi-Fi is particularly secure and recommended in New Zealand, as it encrypts your internet connection, protecting your data from potential hackers and snoopers on unsecured networks. It’s an essential tool for maintaining privacy and security when accessing the internet in public spaces like cafes, airports, or libraries.

Q: Can you be tracked if you’re using a VPN?

Answer: While a VPN greatly enhances your privacy and security by encrypting your online activity, it doesn’t make you completely untraceable. Factors such as the VPN’s no-logs policy, the strength of its encryption, and potential vulnerabilities could influence your traceability. However, for most users, a VPN significantly reduces the likelihood of being tracked online.

Q: Do websites know when you’re using a VPN?

Answer: Yes, websites can sometimes detect when you’re using a VPN based on your IP address, especially if it’s known to belong to a VPN provider. However, this doesn’t reveal your actual location or personal information, maintaining your privacy despite the recognition of VPN use. If you’re running into these sorts of issues, you may need to use a better VPN. Our top 5 VPNs in NZ all work very well at avoiding these issues.

Q: Does a VPN hide your location?

Answer: Yes, a VPN can hide your actual location in New Zealand by assigning you an IP address from its server network, which could be anywhere in the world. This makes it appear as if you’re accessing the internet from a different location, providing privacy and allowing you to bypass geo-restrictions.

Q: Are free VPNs a good option?

Answer: While free VPNs might seem appealing, especially from a cost perspective in New Zealand, they often have limitations such as slower speeds, data caps, and fewer server options. Additionally, some free VPNs may compromise your privacy by collecting and selling your data. It’s generally recommended to consider a reputable, paid VPN service for a more secure and reliable experience.

Q: What devices can I get a VPN on?

Answer: You can install VPNs on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and even some smart TVs and gaming consoles. However, the specific devices and operating systems supported can vary depending on the VPN provider. Most reputable VPNs offer apps or configurations for major platforms like Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, but it’s important to check compatibility with your devices before subscribing.