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.
An India VPN 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.
That's great news for anybody based in or travelling to India and wanting to watch shows and films only shown elsewhere. But what about if you're an Indian resident who's overseas but wants to watch the films or cricket 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.
Today's top 3 best India VPNs:
1. ExpressVPN - the #1 best India VPN
ExpressVPN is 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 - try it now for 30 days free or sign up for a year and get 3 months extra free.
2. 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.
3. NordVPN - big name VPN with an eye on anonymity
NordVPN is certainly strong for streaming and anybody trying to get round apps that have been blocked because of where you are in the world, but it really stands out for its added security features. If keeping your online activity private is your main concern, NordVPN is a great choice.
The five best India VPN for 2021
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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 and IKEv2 protocols - not to mention its even speedier Lightway option. It claims no logging of network traffic (a claim audited and verified independently), and 24/7 customer support is available via email or live chat. 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 multiple foreign Netflix catalogs, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and more from abroad without difficulty. And it's tried and tested for watching sport and cricket from other countries, too - it easily got us access to Hotstar content in our office away from India.
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...
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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 and a year of secure cloud storage from Backblaze - fantastic value for an ace India VPN.
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 $60 (roughly 4,500 rupees) - or the equivalent of less than $2.50 (185 rupees) per month.
But unless you're an advanced user that wants all the features going, you won't feel short-changed 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.
There are a lot of reasons why we rate NordVPN so highly. It's a dream for streamers, is a doddle to use, includes a suite of clients and apps for pretty much every platform, has over 5,000 servers to connect to, and does it all with some of the fastest connections speeds that independent lab AV Test saw in Asia.
But possibly the biggest feather in NordVPN's cap - especially for the online security cautious in India - is its extra, unique security features. As well as all the usual protocols and standard 256-bit AES encryption, it also throws in Double VPN (so that your traffic goes through its encrypted servers not once but twice) and Onion Over VPN (sending all your data through the super secure Onion network as well) options that you can turn on if you are particularly concerned about your ISP being able to see what websites you're browsing - or just think the idea of being spied on is a bit distasteful.
On top of all that, NordVPN now calls in PricewaterhouseCoopers every year to carry out a full audit on its no-logging policy. So by all measures, your data should be very safe with NordVPN.
Outside of security, this provider can supply dedicated IP addresses that should again help defeat any potential slow down and its Quick Connect tool helps you get started on the most optimal server for you. And while it may not quite match Surfshark for pure price, NordVPN still isn't what you'd call expensive.
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 (but still no WireGuard as yet), 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 OK, but really shines if you just want to have a VPN for a shorter period - it usually has the best one-month pricing on the market.
It's true that Hotspot Shield boasts many of the same main selling points as those listed above in this guide - and many that aren't in our top five. Yes, it unlocks multiple big-name streaming services (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video among them); yes, it can get around annoying bandwidth throttling from ISPs; yes, it sends all your traffic through its encrypted tunnels in the first instance.
But Hotspot's USP always comes back to speed. In our server testing, we found that Hotspot Shield - anchored by its very own Catapult Hydra protocol - can display blistering connection speeds that no other provider can match. Hence why it tops our best fast VPN chart.
This service has servers in India (although we can't see anywhere that says exactly where it's located), and logging into them from overseas (Hotspot claims, but we can't verify) will also let you watch the likes of Hotstar, JioTV, Hooq, Voot, SonyLIV and more besides.
Worried about committing to a lengthy contract? You can try it with Hotspot's very good free VPN version (albeit, limited to one US-based server), or take the plunge and know that you can get all your money back without trouble within 45 days of signing up.
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.