Best VPNs for South Africa: Most Secured and Fastest Options

article by Rebecca Lori
January 16, 2020
There are many reasons why using a VPN in South Africa makes sense but the main benefit is to bypass heavy-handed censorship laws. In October this year, a controversial bill was passed which many people believe infringes on freedom of speech.
The “Internet Censorship Bill” regulates content that it deems to be offensive, which means internet service providers in South Africa are keeping track of content watched by its users. If you don’t want ”Big Brother” watching your every move online, then finding the best VPN for South Africa is one of the wisest things you can do. A VPN or Virtual Private Network directs your web traffic to a remote server and essentially hides your real IP address, giving you an alternative IP from a different location.

You can bypass geographical blocks and feel safe in the knowledge that your connection is encrypted and unreadable by anyone that tries to intercept your data. Using the internet with a VPN is much safer and secure, your information is normally protected by strict “no-log” policies and many VPNs provide ad and malware blockers as additional safety features.

What is the Best VPN for South Africa?

Below, you’ll find a selection of our favorite VPNs:

#1 ExpressVPN

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This VPN provider has a reputation for providing one of the fastest connection speeds in the industry. Their servers are spread across 100 countries and there are around 1700 servers to choose from, giving you the best options close to home. There is no limit on bandwidth, so you can use this VPN as often as you like to download content or stream buffer-free movies online. If your priority is security then you’ll want to look for the best VPN service in South Africa with the strongest safety protocols. ExpressVPN uses military-grade 256-bit encryption techniques alongside OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP and SSTP.

They proudly operate a strict no-logging policy too, which means that they will not store your information on their server or share your information with third parties. Your browsing history and DNS requests are private too. Another important feature that ExpressVPN provides is a kill switch as well as DNS leak protection. There are a range of affordable and reasonably-priced subscription packages and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test the product first before fully committing. This VPN provider also has a great reputation for customer service and boasts a fast response rate to queries. If you have any questions before signing up or setting up and getting started, there will always be someone on hand to help.

Find out more about ExpressVPN and its features here.

#2 CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN

Whether you are looking for a VPN which will allow you to access websites that have been blocked in South Africa or you want to watch Netflix in South Africa and access the US version which has infinitely better movie content, then CyberGhost is ideal. With over 5900 servers in 90 different countries, these guys are no novices when it comes to internet security. Exercise your freedom of speech by accessing blocked content and sit back and enjoy the fast connection speed which can handle streaming, downloads and torrents with ease.

Security comes first with CyberGhost, who use military-grade encryption methods (AES 256-bit) which are virtually impossible to crack! The VPN provider offers a range of packages, with the 3-year subscription giving you the best value for money. They even offer a 45-day money-back guarantee if you’re still unsure after that period of time has passed.

You can find out more here.

#3 Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

This inexpensive VPN service offers great value for money but does not take shortcuts with safety and privacy. If you are looking for a VPN which will give you access to your South African Netflix account whilst out of the country or you would simply like to navigate away from recent government blocks, then this VPN won’t let you down. If you research VPNs you will find that many providers limit the amount of devices that you can use at any one time. Surfshark actually gives its users unlimited access across multiple devices, which is not only pretty unheard of in the industry, but it’s handy too as it means that you can use this on your PC and laptops as well as smartphones and iPads. This is a really nice feature when you’re using the VPN on your smartphone to access an open wifi connection.

Checking online banking or shopping online is risky business through a public connection. Using a VPN such as this, means that you cut that risk down significantly. If you are streaming content online or downloading from P2P sites then you’ll be happy to hear that this VPN has a malware blocker as well as an ad blocker to keep your system safe and spam-free.

There are a whole host of subscriptions available and you can read more about it in this review to find out if Surfshark is the right VPN for you.

#4 ZenMate

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This VPN provider is the best VPN for South Africa as it has servers spread across 30 different countries and an amazing reputation for security. ZenMate has over 45 million users which speak volumes in itself! Unusually, the company uses 128-bit encryption methods as an alternative to 256-bit encryption (the standard with most VPN providers).

But rest assured that 128-bit encryption methods are not only super safe but it’s faster too as it takes less time to decrypt data. If you are looking for a VPN that will allow you to safely browse content without worrying that your ISP is spying on you, then this VPN is ideal. You will be able to use it on over 15 devices and you can even test the product first for 7 days – absolutely free!

Read more about it here.

#5 ProtonVPN

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Several features make this VPN service stand out. Firstly, there are around 474 servers in 36 different countries and you can use this product on up to five devices at once. Secondly, ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland which is a country that is protected by some of the strongest privacy laws in the world. Accessing banned websites or geographically blocked content is no problem with ProtonVPN as they provide a fast and secure connection.

They use the strongest encryption methods alongside additional security protocols to ensure that your data is kept private and safe at all times. ProtonVPN also operates a strict no-logs policy, which means that your information is for your eyes only and they provide a kill switch and DNS leak protection, keeping you safe should your connection cut out. Using this VPN service in South Africa is recommended.

Learn more about ProtonVPN here.

Privacy Laws & Regulations in South Africa

If you live in South Africa you will already be aware that this is a place which is considered only “partly free” when it comes to internet usage. Since October this year, there have been several changes in the way in which the internet is used in South Africa and this has caused quite a stir. In October 2019 the Films and Publications Amendment Bill was passed and signed by law. Often cited as the “Internet Censorship Bil”l, this law has been highly criticized as it infringes upon freedom of speech. The bill was initially designed to prevent hate speech as well as inappropriate content such as adult material which doesn’t have consent – which can only be a good thing.

However, this means that internet service providers (ISPs) will now scan content to determine what it deems to be “offensive”. This also means that expressing one’s opinion can be reported as hate speech. Films, games, newspapers, media content, records, photographs, amongst many, many other things can now be banned by law in accordance with this bill. The only way to navigate this is to use a good-quality VPN which will ensure that you will always have access to your favorite websites and be able to exercise your freedom of speech.

Here are the most popular streaming sites in South Africa:

Amazon Prime

Prime Video is getting bigger and bigger each year, and if you ask around, you will find that many people pay for Netflix and Prime each month as both feature exclusive content that cannot be viewed elsewhere. Amazon Prime provides its users with exclusive product deals as well as giving you access to music, television shows, and movies. If you have ever tried to access your Prime account whilst out of the country, you’re likely to have experienced a geographical block (due to copyright infringements). Using a VPN will allow you to swerve this block safely.

Netflix

One of the most popular streaming services in the world; Netflix is also one of the most-watched streaming sites in South Africa. Not only can you view documentaries, television series, and movies, but Netflix also produces its own exclusive movies and series too. Many people use a VPN solely for Netflix. It means you can access your South African movies wherever you are in the world and bypass geo-blocks. It also means you can watch Netflix in South Africa…but the US version which offers the very latest movies and content too!

Showmax

Showmax is similar to Netflix in the way that it looks and feels. The layout is similar and it’s the same type of subscription service as Prime or Netflix. The difference is the content. Showmax boasts tons of South African movies and content and that’s what makes this one of the most popular services in SA.

Bottom Line – Why You Need a VPN in South Africa

We believe everyone should be using a VPN whenever they use the internet, regardless of your location in the world.

Here are the main reasons why we feel you need a VPN in South Africa:

Staying Safe & Secure

Your life is quite literally on the line each time you use the internet. Think about it, there is pretty much every piece of information thinkable at your fingertips; passwords, bank details, personal correspondence, home addresses, passport, and ID information. The only way to keep this truly secure is to use a VPN which will encrypt your data fully, which means that even if it was intercepted (which is highly unlikely), it would be unreadable to anyone but the key holder, which is normally only available to you.

We are all potential targets for data theft and fraud. Every day, new malware is being designed and it is thought that almost one million new pieces of spyware and malware pops up each day! Most VPN providers use military-grade 256-bit encryption technology, which means that it’s virtually impossible to crack. Couple that with no-log policies, malware blockers, kill switches and DNS leak protection and you have yourself a pretty secure connection that will keep you safe when you are browsing content in South Africa.

Swerving Content Bans

Let’s speak purely entertainment. If you have a Netflix or Showmax account, then you may or may not have experienced a geographical block, but trust us when we say that this not only happens regularly but it can feel like one of the most frustrating things to experience when you pay monthly for a subscription service! Why does this happen? Copyright laws. What is legally allowed to be shown in one country is often illegal in others, due to copyright laws put into place. If you are looking to view your favorite content whilst away from home, then the only way to guarantee that it will be available is to use a VPN.

On a serious note, living in a country which is deemed “partly free” when it comes to censorship laws and the internet isn’t fun. Your internet service provider knows exactly what you are watching when you are watching and we believe that this goes against our basic human rights. Using a VPN means that you can bypass website blocks and bans. So when your friends and family are no longer able to use their WhatsApp or Facebook account, you can freely use the internet safe in the knowledge that your true location is hidden and secure.