It may be surprising to some that Canada has some of the strictest cybersecurity laws in the Western world - the main reason being to prevent the likes of terrorism. The country’s government has some far-reaching powers in terms of legislation, with the knock-on effect that residents and visitors may believe is an infringement to their personal privacy rights. A VPN can help with maintaining the latter.
Of course, downloading a Canada VPN - or virtual private network - is useful for a number of reasons, not just maintaining your privacy. The software can also allow unblocking content such as streaming services or restricted websites at your workplace or college.
Most top providers have servers located in Canada, but which is the best Canada VPN for you? That’s the decision we’re here to help you with. Below is a list of the top five options you can get right now, followed by a few pointers on choosing and what you can use the software for.
1. ExpressVPN is the best Canada 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 Canada. 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 Canada
IPVanish may not have the quantity of servers of some competitors, but the quality on offer is undeniable. The US-based provider has proved itself as a secure no-logging VPN with fast connection speeds in North America, so you shouldn't experience too much lag when you're surfing, streaming and downloading.
3. Surfshark - the best priced Canada 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/CA$3.50 per month - none of the other main players can match that.
Top 5 best Canada VPNs 2020
ExpressVPN maintains hundreds of servers in Canada spread across three locations. Our tests revealed that this provider offers very good performance levels, with consistent speeds that were very close to what we’d normally see without a VPN.
There are numerous native apps for all major devices and platforms. The mobile clients in particular are some of the best in the business, optimized for speed and ease of use. In terms of security, this provider uses the OpenVPN protocol, protecting your data with 256-bit encryption. Privacy-wise, there is no logging of traffic data or any online activity.
But forgetting all the specs and protocols on offer, possibly the most enticing things about ExpressVPN is just how easy it is to download and use. Whether that be on your computer, mobile or streaming device, this provider makes a potentially daunting piece of software a doddle to use. And if you do find yourself getting tangled in knots, its awesome 24/7 live chat support will come to your rescue in no time.
All subscriptions are covered by a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee. Out of the three plans on offer, the 1-year subscription is by far the best value, especially when you consider the special offer available to TechRadar readers...
Grab the best Canada VPN 2020 with 3 months extra FREE
As if the quality of ExpressVPN wasn't enough on its own, it also has some great pricing to tempt you in. Opt for an annual plan and you instantly get a massive 49% reduction from the usual monthly price - as well as three months free! Still not sure? Then you can always take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee.
IPVanish offers over 30 server locations in Canada alone, with an additional 800+ servers located in the US, so there’s certainly no shortage here.
The software clients are rather impressive and intuitive, with just the right balance of basic and advanced options to suit new and more experienced users. If we're quibbling, we'd welcome improvement to the Android and iOS apps, but they're far from bad.
In testing the service we found it gave us a substantial increase in download speeds over our normal rates, making it ideal for torrents. OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and IKEv2 protocols are supported here, and there’s no logging of your internet activities.
It will easily unblock foreign Netflix and Hulu catalogues from the cross-border neighbours and beyond. Just a shame that fans of British TV can't say the same for BBC iPlayer. And IPVanish isn’t the cheapest service around, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee that comes with all three pricing plans.
Let's be honest... it's Surfshark's pricing that really makes it stand out from the crowd. If you're willing to commit to two years with the same VPN provider, then nobody tops the pricing that Surfshark offers.
But don't for a moment imagine that means you'll be palmed off with an inferior service. Surfshark has pretty much most of the things you would demand of your Canada VPN: around one hundred servers north of the border in three separate cities, helpful 24/7 live chat support, a variety of protocols to choose from (including up-and-comer WireGuard), and the ability to easily unlock content from foreign TV streaming catalogues including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Disney+.
As well as the pricing, we really like Surfshark for how approachable it is. From the landing page on its website, all through installation and then when you eventually come to use it, we found the messaging clear, simple and to the point. And like IPVanish above, it also boasts that ability to use your VPN on as many devices as you choose at once (ppsssst... you might want to give your login details to family members).
If security is your main concern, then NordVPN is a great pick. NordVPN’s ‘Double VPN’ feature sends users’ internet activity through two VPN servers.
On top of that, the service offers features like encrypted traffic over the Tor network, encrypted chat, dedicated IPs (at an additional cost) and a ‘zero logs’ policy that's been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It's all pretty impressive stuff from the most famous name in the game.
There’s plenty of coverage with 400+ local servers for Canada, and another 1,700 south of the border, with most of them being P2P-friendly. The client is simple and straightforward, and performance is very good.
The monthly plan aside, NordVPN is an affordable VPN, and another one that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. The limited multi-year plan offers fantastic savings if you are looking for something longer-term.
Hotspot Shield has servers in Canada and the US that deliver blazing speeds. In tests, we found our latency, as well as upload and download speeds, were all a bit higher than our normal rates without a VPN, which is pretty impressive.
If you're hoping to watch you're abroad and want to watch the Amazon Prime Video videos you get back in Canada, then Hotspot isn't looking like the option for you. When we tested it last, we couldn't unlock that empire of programming. But ut des still have Netflix, BBC iPlayer and others.
Hotspot Shield offers a choice of three price plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee and the longer plan of course provides the best value.
How to choose the best Canada VPN
As ever, in an ideal world, the VPN client should be straightforward and user-friendly. Also, be sure to check the number of simultaneous connections supported, as it’s always a boon to be able to use multiple desktop PCs and mobile devices with your VPN.
Why get a Canada VPN?
VPNs were originally designed with online security in mind - using encrypted tunnels and faceless servers to ensure that your activities could not be traced - and for many Canadians, that will remain the main reason for getting a VPN.
But it's the flexibility and extra use cases that have contributed to the massive growth in the VPN industry. The fact that you can use them to make your laptop or mobile think they're in Canada, even when they're not, has become a lifeline for travellers and expats to watch Canadian sport and TV even when they're on the other side of the globe. And logging on via a server elsewhere also means you can access websites that may otherwise have been blocked in your corner of the country.