Despite having a flourishing tech market, India is notorious for a risky online environment. That's why you need one of the best VPN services to protect your online activities, whether you're based in or simply travelling to the country.
Bypassing internet censorship is the primary need as the Indian government is frequently restricting the use of certain websites, especially major social media platforms. Under the new Information Technology Act, big tech firms are required to give up users' data. India was also the third most affected nation for data breaches in 2021. So, using an India VPN is crucial for both securing your connection, protecting your privacy and accessing geo-restricted content.
Not just privacy though, a VPN is a handy tool for circumventing geo-restrictions that streaming platforms like Netflix apply to their content. Do you want to watch the best British shows on BBC iPlayer from your home in Mumbai? Just hop on a UK server and unlock iPlayer catalogs. Or, are you abroad and want to keep watching your favorite Hotstar series? Connect via an Indian server wherever you are in the world.
Even though following India’s new data law many providers decided to shut their Indian servers to protect users' data, you can still pick one located elsewhere to bypass restrictions. Or opt for a VPN with Indian virtual servers to locally browse safely or stream the cricket coverage when you're away from home.
Whatever brings you to our best India VPN page, we've got the lowdown on the most suitable provider for you below.
Today's top 3 best India VPNs:
1. ExpressVPN - the #1 best India VPN (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab)
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 2022(opens in new tab)
Best India VPN 2022 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Even though ExpressVPN recently closed down its Indian servers amid new logging requirements (from which the government has now officially backed away), the provider set up two secure virtual locations passing via Singapore and the UK. It also offers servers based in almost all neighbouring countries to India (Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all included). Plus, its obfuscation technology will make your ExpressVPN undetectable even under the strictest restrictions.
Security-wise, ExpressVPN offers both its very own Lightway or OpenVPN protocols, 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 all in a day's work for ExpressVPN. 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 applications 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 TechRadar readers only...
Get the best India VPN 2022 with 3 months FREE (opens in new tab)
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 backup 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 - earning it the top spot on our 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. AES-256 encryption, several protocols to choose from, DNS protection, split tunnelling and even an extra protection layer with a Double VPN hop: these are some of the features you will get. You can even use it on as many devices as you can handle in your household on the same, low-priced account. Surfshark apps are available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux and a whole host of other gadgets.
Like Express, Surfshark went virtual to protect users' privacy. This means you can still keep yourself secure and anonymous online within the country. Or opt for one of its 3,200+ servers dotted across the world to browse internationally.
You won't have any problems beating online censorship as also Surfshark offers an obfuscation option - here called Camouflage mode. Plus, its No Borders feature will automatically connect you to the servers performing the best under network restrictions.
From Netflix and Hulu to iPlayer and Disney+, Surfshark will allow you to access your favorite content during at great speeds. Despite being a minor quibble, it's worth noting that Surfshark speeds are below average if you connect through its OpenVPN protocol - but with the introduction of WireGuard, this is unlikely to affect most users.
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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. Those are ideal to protect all your data from the more and more intrusive Indian ISPs.
On top of all that, NordVPN now calls in PricewaterhouseCoopers every year to carry out a full independent audit on its no-logging policy. This makes Nord one of the most secure VPN services around. So by all measures, your data should be in very good hands.
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.
It is worth noting that NordVPN recently decided to terminate its operations in India. But, contrary to its competitors, the provider is confident to be able to meet its customers' needs without using fake locations for now.
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ProtonVPN has really gone up in our estimations, offering one of the best track records for unblocking streaming services, performing similarly to the three services above. The Swiss-based provider also comes with plenty of nifty features, a sleek interface, and impeccable performance overall. It's available with an unlimited-bandwidth free VPN, which - while stripped back in terms of the provider's full package - is a great stepping stone for those looking to dip their toes into the pool of VPN for the first time.
With its sheer power, then, Proton is a great option for those after an India VPN. While its free tool doesn't have allow access to its servers based in India, opt for its Basic plan and get three servers, or its Plus plan and make the most of seven - based across Mumbai and Pune.
Likewise previous provider, also the Swiss Proton shut off it physical servers in India now. However, you can still get an Indian IP picking one of its Smart Routing servers located in Singapore. And, if you upgrade to its Plus plan, you can even connect through one of its Secure Core servers for an extra layer of security. By doing so, your traffic will be routed through multiple ultra-secure servers based in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden.
The Plus plan is advantageous to put to work Proton's streaming unblocking prowess, with the ability to access the likes of foreign Netflix libraries, as well as Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus. This bodes well for accessing platforms like Hotstar, JioTV, Hooq, Voot, and SonyLIV when overseas. Plus users can also take advantage of an extra layer of protection with its Tor over VPN option.
No need to concern yourself with lag or buffering, either. ProtonVPN performed with above average results across both its OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols with average peaks of 670Mbps. That makes this a pretty capable India VPN that will keep you secure and connected both inside and outside of the country.
The only real downside here is that, even if Proton has now added a live chat support, this is not 24/7 yet. This may be a problem for those new to the world of VPNs, or not active during European working hours.
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Among its impressive range of international servers - more than 7,800 at the time of writing - CyberGhost is now offering virtual locations for people in India who want to browse locally without renouncing their privacy. For an extra level of security, you can also opt for one of its Romanian-based NoSpy servers. Unfortunately, you will have to pay a small additional charge for using those, though.
With security and functionality at heart, CyberGhost also comes with easy-to-use apps and useful features. Its Smart Rules panel, for example, allows users to automatically connect to their preferred server every time they launch its apps.
During our latest testing, CyberGhost reached probably its best results when it came to speed. With the WireGuard protocol, we witnessed connection speeds that beat the likes of NordVPN. And it was no less impressive on OpenVPN, either.
Its unblocking power make it a perfect streaming VPN, managing to evade geo-restrictions on all the major streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus. And while we could access only the US catalog on Netflix, this isn't so unusual even among the top VPN services.
However, CyberGhost's security and apps haven't been audited yet. This is becoming a bigger issue as more and more providers back up the trustworthiness of their data protection policies by having their services regularly checked.
Best India VPN: FAQ
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.
Can I legally use a VPN in India?
Considering the Indian government does regularly issue bans and restrictions on certain websites and services online, it is a fair question to ask whether the use of a VPN in India is legal. However, unlike other countries where the use of VPN products has been banned - including China, Iraq, and North Korea - VPNs are not illegal in India.
That being said, it has been reported in the past that the police have harassed those using a VPN. Under the Information Technology Act, the government has the right to block websites and specific content, giving the police the power to enter property and search the premise where it is suspected these laws are being violated. It is a good idea, therefore, to avoid using a VPN to access websites blocked by the government.
While specific websites may be banned by law, then, the use of a VPN is not. Though using one does not automatically mean you're safe from the repercussions of using these restricted websites and services, nor does it exempt you from any other illegal activity you might carry out while connected to one.
What is India's new data retention law?
On April 28, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) announced that - among other directives, like the obligation to report a cyber attack within six hours - virtual private network (VPN) providers will soon be required to retain users' logs for at least five years. Companies will be also forced to hand over this data to authorities upon request.
These include users’ real names, IP addresses assigned to them, usage patterns and other identifying data like the purpose of using such software.
What's more, it's not just VPNs that are the subject of the new data retention law . Virtual private servers (VPS), cloud service providers, data centers and crypto exchanges all have to follow the new directive.
Initially planned to come into force on June 28, the new legislation is about to be enforced on September 25.
Which VPN offers India-based servers?
Many VPN services have taken a stand against India's new data law - expected to come into force on September 25 and now officially withdrawn - that required providers to store sensitive users' data for up to five years. Amid the decision to scrap the new legislation, we can expect new VPN providers to resume their Indian servers.
Below, the status of India-based servers at the time of writing.
ExpressVPN, Surfshark, Proton VPN and CyberGhost all decided to shut down their servers in the country and are now offering secure virtual locations. This means that people are still able to locally browse safely with a secure Indian IP. Also NordVPN removed its Indian servers to protect its customers' privacy, but it doesn't have any intentions to set up fake locations just yet.