When it comes to internet freedoms in India, things aren’t quite as peachy as they could be. As the government performs frequent blocking and restricts access to certain websites and online services, the best way to regain access in India to everything the internet has to offer is by using a VPN.
A Virtual Private Network not only keeps you secure but allows you to access geo-restricted content easily. Once your VPN is installed, you can quickly and easily log in to a server in a different country altogether - that will 'spoof' your IP address and overcome the restricted websites. Simple!
So handy for those based in or travelling to India. But what about if you're an Indian resident who's overseas but wants to watch the films or sport coverage that you'd normally enjoy streaming when back home. Grab one of the below best India VPNs and you'll be able to access servers based in India that will kid your laptop or mobile device in to thinking they're back in India.
It's important to note that although streaming and merely visiting blocked sites isn’t necessarily illegal as such, downloading copyrighted material is - and could land you some serious jail time.
1. ExpressVPN is the best India VPN
From our rigorous testing, we found ExpressVPN to be the greatest VPN out there - and it's no different if you live in or are visiting India. It has fast connections, servers in 90+ countries and is brilliant at unblocking geo-restricted streaming content - plus, you can now get it with 3 months extra free.
2. IPVanish - a great all-rounder, not just in India
IPVanish may not have the quantity of servers of some competitors, but the quality on offer is undeniable. The provider has proved itself as a secure no-logging VPN with fast connection speeds, and it boasts servers located in the mega-cities of New Delhi and Mumbai.
3. Surfshark - the best priced India VPN
We should say first of all that Surfshark is an excellent, friendly-to-use VPN in its own right. But probably its biggest draw is the fantastic pricing on offer. Sign up for an annual plan and you'll be spending less than $2.50 USD per month - none of the other main players can match that.
The five best India VPN for 2021
Best India VPN 2021 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan
ExpressVPN boasts lots of local coverage with servers in Mumbai and Chennai, and furthermore it offers locations in almost all neighbouring countries to India (Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all included).
Security-wise, ExpressVPN uses your choice of OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP protocols. There is no logging of network traffic, and 24/7 customer support is available via email or live chat. This provider supports P2P, as well. Basically, it's a ridiculously well kitted out VPN.
Unlocking streaming services is grist to ExpressVPN's mill. In our tests, it got us access to US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and more from abroad without difficulty. And it's tried and tested for watching sport and cricket from other countries, too.
In terms of performance, the provider gives you blistering speeds from servers all around the globe. There’s also an impressive variety of easy-to-use clients for all major platforms. The Android and iOS apps are super intuitive and well-designed, offering an array of useful options. The same goes for Windows and Mac, and there are handy guides online for getting it working with your router, TV streaming device or games console.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try before you truly commit. Subscriptions are a bit more expensive than many rivals, but there is a special offer open to you lucky TechRadar readers...
Get the best India VPN 2021 with 3 months FREE
You can tell that we really rate Express - it's the VPN we use in the office! And the good news is that you can get a little perk, too. ExpressVPN has agreed to give readers three months extra free when you sign up - fantastic value for a brilliant India VPN.
In India, IPVanish offers servers in New Delhi and Mumbai, which should guarantee a stable and good quality connection. In previous performance testing we've found some good international server speeds - and actually faster than our normal rates with the VPN turned off in some cases!
The dedicated Windows client is one of the best around with a wide range of settings that cover both basic and advanced features. IPVanish allows torrenting and unlimited P2P traffic, which is doubtless a huge plus for some users.
On the security front, you get OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols, along with additional goodies like being able to set your IP address to automatically change after a certain interval. A strict ‘zero logs’ policy is in place with 24/7 customer support to deal with any problems.
IPVanish’s pricing is slightly higher than most other VPN providers. However, the three available plans include a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year plan is your best bet as the most affordable option and, at the time of writing, comes with a free subscription to SugarSync cloud storage as well.
Surfshark is undoubtedly the rising (Hot)star of the VPN world. It's probably fair to say that its clean and friendly interface and branding are a tad less intimidating than some of the competition. And the pricing certainly is - nobody really comes close to stealing away Surfshark's spot at the top of our best cheap VPN countdown. You can subscribe to a two years for around $48 (roughly 3,600 rupees) - or the equivalent of less than $2 (150 rupees) per month.
But unless you're an advanced user that wants all the features going, you won't feel shortchanged by Surfshark. For starters, it's available to use on as many devices as you can handle in your household on the same, low-priced account. It's available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux and a whole host of other gadgets.
At the time of writing, it offered servers in three different Indian city locations. It also has an additional protocol not available to all providers - Shadowsocks, which it claims is particularly useful in regions with the most restrictive site censorship.
This Hungary-based provider has one location in India, and offers excellent performance. We saw top-notch speeds and low latency in both short and long distance connections during testing, which made for very responsive browsing.
Buffered VPN boasts solid desktop clients, and mobile users will be glad to hear that both Android and iOS apps are available.
The provider is not cheap, even if you opt for the year-long plan. However, the firm’s refund policy is a highlight, and will be very useful for those who want to give this VPN a try, knowing they have a safety net to fall back on. You can get your money back as long as you haven’t used the VPN connection for more than 10 hours of time, 100 sessions or 10GB of bandwidth (whichever comes first). The packages available are:
- [$12.99 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.94
- [$7.62 a month] 13-months (1 month free) - $99.00
SaferVPN has a total of nine servers in India, and manages its own server network. Our performance tests yielded generally very good results with only small drops in download and upload speeds. There are native apps for all the main operating systems, namely Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, and they’re nice and user-friendly.
It supports IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP security protocols. There is no logging of traffic data but the provider does collect some session data (connect and disconnect times, and similar). That’s more information than we’d ideally like – and another slight downer to bear in mind is that torrents aren’t supported here.
Customer service is available around the clock via live chat or email, and you can test this VPN out with a 24-hour ‘all-access’ trial. That’s backed up by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Among the three price plans, the 2-year option offers the most value-for-money. The packages available are:
- [$3.29 a month] 2-years - $78.96
- [$5.49 a month] 1-year - $65.88
- [$10.99 a month] 1-month - $10.99
- Check out SaferVPN here
How to choose the best India VPN
We have already established the two primary concerns in this matter – privacy and security. Whether you’re a local, expat or a visitor on business or otherwise, you’ll want as many local server locations as possible for a fast and reliable connection.
Ideally, a good VPN provider should offer quality customer support round-the-clock to address any issues swiftly and accordingly. Everything else is a bonus, although it’s always good to have straightforward and user-friendly native clients (and preferably strong mobile app support).
But then there's more to consider, depending on your use case. Looking for a surefire streaming VPN? Then you're going to want a service that has a reputation for unlocking Netflix, Hotstar, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video or your chosen streaming service of choice. And it should have fast connection speeds, too.