India has really started ramping up the censorship, having recently blocked over 260 apps and services from China. On top of that, the country has recently joined the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing and encryption backdoor alliance, meaning Indian citizens' privacy has taken another huge hit from the specter of mass surveillance. Fortunately, we've compiled a list of the 5 best VPNs for India, a great start in your fight against government restrictions and spying.
How does a VPN help? Well, VPNs are designed to encrypt your online traffic - which is just a fancy way of saying that nobody can see what you're doing online. Not your Internet provider, not the government, and certainly not any run-of-the-mill hackers. This is ideal, considering hackers are using the coronavirus panic to spread further chaos.
Additionally, VPNs hide your IP address and replace it with the one from the server you're connected to. This has 2 major benefits. For one, your real-life location is hidden, as IP addresses can reveal which city you live in, right down to the postal (PIN) number.
Second of all, this allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and access all the content that's currently blocked in India. Or, if you're currently living abroad, this also allows you to watch Hotstar outside India, as well as access other services exclusive to the country.
How to Use a VPN in India
Fortunately, VPNs nowadays are fairly easy to install and use. Here's a short guide on how to use a VPN in India:
- Subscribe to one of the VPNs recommended below (such as ExpressVPN, which you can try risk-free for 30 days).
- Download the app from their main website and install it on your device(s).
- Launch the app and log in using your username and password.
- Click or tap on a VPN server listed in the app.
Most providers offer a "recommended server" close to your location, but if you want to unblock sites from outside India, you'll have to use a foreign server. We also suggest using a VPN on all your compatible devices for maximum protection and unblocking websites on the go.
That's it! Enjoy enhanced security and a more free Web experience.
Best VPN for India
The best India VPN should be fit for any online activity: streaming, safe torrenting, voice chat, online gaming, you name it. Most of all, they should be able to unblock geo-restricted services from abroad (or India if you're traveling or an ex-pat).
All of these providers offer top-notch security and do not keep any logs about your online behavior, so we've ranked them based on said criteria. That said, here are the 5 best VPNs for India that money can buy.
- ExpressVPN - Best All-Round VPN for India
- NordVPN - Fast VPN for India, Strong Security Options
- CyberGhost VPN - Best India VPN for Streaming
- Surfshark - Great Value, Safe Torrenting on All Servers
- Private Internet Access - Court-Proven No-Logs VPN With Massive Server Network
1. ExpressVPN - Best All-Round VPN for India
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ExpressVPN has a sleek interface and is one of the easiest VPN applications to use. Download, install, and with a push of a button, you're ready to watch all your favorite content from abroad. And at lightning-fast speeds, too. The app automatically suggests a server to connect to, but there's also a built-in speed test feature if you want the best speeds out there.
The VPN boasts a huge server network optimized to provide you with fast access to the websites you wish to visit. With unlimited bandwidth and zero throttling, expect to work or browse the Web without any bottlenecks.
We'll also mention that ExpressVPN no longer uses servers physically located in India. That was a way for the VPN to avoid having to log your personal data, as forced by Indian authorities. Still, you can get an Indian IP address using two virtual servers found in the UK and Singapore.
Moreover, ExpressVPN doesn’t track your activity (no activity and connection logs). Considering India has recently joined the "Five Eyes" alliance, you'll need a provider like that to ensure your continued privacy online. And that your provider won't share your data with the government or leak it online, of course.
We recommend checking out TechNadu's ExpressVPN review, where you'll find in-depth information about the provider, its features, and our own speed tests to get an idea of what to expect.
- Super easy to use.
- Fast servers in 94 countries.
- Unblocks most streaming sites.
- Privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
- Threat Manager (ad and tracking blocker).
- Lack of customization.
2. NordVPN - Fast VPN for India, Strong Security Options
NordVPN is another highly-reputable brand with several years of experience under its belt. It's characterized by its simple UI, large server fleet, fast speeds, and several unique features.
For example, its Threat Protection feature blocks malware and phishing domains, as well as intrusive ads and trackers that could compromise your privacy. Plus, it scans any downloaded files for malware and deletes any possible threats.
It offers P2P-friendly servers for safe torrenting, has a strict 'no-logs' policy, and has recently implemented its own version of the fast and secure WireGuard protocol (NordLynx) - ensuring top quality connections for any online activity. On top of that, it has no trouble unblocking most of the major content platforms out there, making it a great VPN for streaming video in India.
You also get 5,000+ servers. When it comes to India, you'll find them located in Mumbai. Of course, servers found elsewhere can be used to unblock sites not available in India.
Here's our NordVPN review for more details about the app, including info about its browser extensions for people interested in using split-tunneling outside the Android option.
- Lightning-fast speeds.
- Works on most streaming sites.
- Stealth VPN servers.
- Threat Protection (anti ads, malware, tracking, etc.)
- Not the best country coverage.
3. CyberGhost VPN - Best India VPN for Streaming
Most people use VPNs for streaming content, and CyberGhost VPN understands this very well. How? Well, most providers' apps recommend servers based on speed alone. While that's all fine and dandy, the fastest download speeds don't necessarily translate into the best connection quality for streaming.
Instead, CyberGhost VPN's service features a server selection option for 5 major streaming platforms: Hulu, Crunchyroll, BBC iPlayer, Netflix (DE, US, and FR options), and YouTube. The VPN also works with other services, such as Disney+ and Prime Video, as seen from our CyberGhost VPN review.
Lastly, another strong suit of CyberGhost VPN is its server network. You get 8,000+ servers, more than any other recommendation from this guide. Some of those are found in India (Mumbai). In total, over 90 countries are covered, so you'll always find a nearby server.
- Streaming-optimized VPN.
- Large server network and good coverage.
- Always-on kill switch.
- Option to block ads and trackers.
- Best if you have a fast Internet connection.
4. Surfshark - Great Value, Safe Torrenting on All Servers
While still a relatively new provider (2018), Surfshark has skyrocketed in usage thanks to its low price point for longer subscriptions, as well as the top-tier quality we've come to expect from the best VPNs for India.
What sets it apart is the fact that it offers unlimited connections for a single account. You're looking at a VPN that can unblock all manner of content as well, so it has amazing value when shared with friends and family.
All its servers are P2P-friendly, meaning you can safely use them for (legal) torrenting if your ISP blocks torrent connections for whatever reason. Its CleanWeb feature is similar to NordVPN's CyberSec utility and blocks most known malware and phishing sites while also cleaning up intrusive ads. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work for YouTube ads - but we can't fault Surfshark for it, considering that's not the primary purpose of a VPN.
Lastly, Surfshark has 3,200+ servers. It covers India with servers in a single location. However, you also get access to 90+ countries, so plenty of options overall.
In any case, look to our Surfshark review for any and all details we haven't covered here.
- No device limit.
- P2P-friendly servers.
- GPS spoofing on Android.
- Anti-tracking and ads with CleanWeb.
- Connection times can be spotty.
5. Private Internet Access - Court-Proven No-Logs VPN With Massive Server Network
Private Internet Access is in the relatively unique situation of having proven its no-logs policy in court (twice!) That isn't to doubt the authenticity of the no-logs policies of our other India VPN choices, most of which were audited by independent cybersec firms. However, it is reassuring that PIA takes your privacy seriously enough that not even multiple subpoenas from the FBI can make it go back on its promises.
Aside from that, PIA also boasts a massive server network. The number is inevitably going to change as they add or remove some of them, but as of December 2020, it had a total of over 22,000+ servers.
To be fair, half of those are in the US alone, but it's still an impressive feat for a single provider. You'll definitely have no problems with server congestion or unblocking content with PIA.
It's also no surprise that some servers are found in India as well. Those are equal to other servers from PIA's network, which means they support WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec. So, you get the best possible protection for your privacy.
Make sure to check out our Private Internet Access review for full details about its service.
- Massive server fleet.
- Highly customizable.
- Court-proven no-logs policy.
- Ad-blocking and anti-tracking with PIA MACE.
- Only unblocks certain streaming services.
Are VPN Providers Threatening to Quit India Over New Data Law?
If you weren't aware, India has ordered crypto exchanges, data centers, cloud providers, and VPNs to log and hand over user data. This pretty much goes against what VPNs stand for, which is to prevent ISPs, governments, and hackers from spying on your online activity.
We've also covered what data VPNs need to send to the Indian government, and it's pretty bad. Under the new CERT-in laws, Indian citizens will have zero right to privacy. If these new rules aren't reverted, several major providers have threatened to pull their servers from India.
In fact, ExpressVPN was the first one to already react. Just recently, it removed India-based servers in an effort to protect the privacy of its users. However, you can still get an Indian IP address, as ExpressVPN uses two virtual locations for that - in the UK and Singapore.
Which Chinese Apps Were Banned in India and Why?
Among the most popular Chinese apps banned in India stand entertainment giants such as TikTok and PUBG Mobile. The main (and seemingly only) reason the Indian government gave for banning all these apps is that they threaten the "national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon India’s sovereignty and integrity."
This decision isn't without merit, as we've previously discussed how TikTok Pro is basically spyware in disguise. Or the fact that all visitors to China need to install spyware on their phones before entering the country. All this is on top of China's well-known restrictive regime and dystopian levels of mass surveillance and control.
That being said, it shouldn't be up to the government to decide what apps you can and can't use - especially when there are more pressing issues to address. Fortunately, a secure VPN can help you regain your Internet freedom.
Can an India VPN Unblock TikTok and Other Banned Apps in India?
As we've mentioned in our article on the best VPNs for TikTok, it's definitely possible to unblock apps banned in India with a VPN. However, do note that these apps can also be blocked based on your device ID, in which case a VPN won't be of much use.
Even so, a VPN will definitely help you get around restrictions for the apps' web-based counterparts. So if you want to use TikTok on your desktop or mobile browser, it's definitely possible with an India VPN. Simply use the short guide at the start of the article, and you're set.
Why You Shouldn't Use a Free VPN in India
If you're planning on accessing content blocked by the government in India, a free VPN may not be a good idea for several reasons:
- Your device could get infected - according to Statista, 91% of mobile users in India use an Android phone. Well, you should know that 38% of free Android VPNs contain malicious code that could do way more damage than the price of a monthly subscription.
- They offer poor performance and unblocking capabilities. We're sure you're looking for the fastest speeds and a way to get around pesky geo-restrictions. Free VPNs are not the solution, unfortunately. After all, running a high-quality service costs quite a bit of money. The fact that free VPNs sell your data to advertisers probably doesn't cover those costs.
Luckily, you don't have to take our word for it. As you may know, all providers have 30 to 45-day money-back guarantees in place so you can test them out at your leisure. Not satisfied with their speeds or features? Get your money back without a fuss.
As you've seen, the best VPNs for India will help you secure your data and navigate the country's seemingly expanding online censorship - among other useful benefits. Every provider listed thus far has its perks, though we prefer to use ExpressVPN as the most well-rounded solution.
Just remember not to use VPNs for illegal activities that could get you in trouble. After all, VPNs can't protect you from a random police search.
Want to see even more options? Then check out our expanded list of the best VPNs, with plenty more quality providers included.
How to Get an Indian IP Address?
Easy. Simply use one of the India VPN providers recommended above and select India from the list of countries in the VPN app.
This will set your current region to India and allow you to watch content from Hotstar and other local services that are inaccessible from abroad.
Read this guide for step-by-step instructions.
Are VPNs Legal in India?
Yes, it's legal to use any VPN in India. However, keep in mind that accessing content the government has deemed unlawful comes with its own risks.
A VPN will encrypt your network traffic, meaning nobody can monitor your online activity. Still, police have the authority for warrantless searches if they suspect you're in violation of laws such as the Information Technology Act.
Censorship tends to be stricter in areas like Jammu and Kashmir, while enforcement of these laws is laxer in Uttar Pradesh and more densely populated areas. As long as you keep it legal, you should be just fine using a VPN in India.
Will VPNs Be Banned in India?
Under the new CERT-in rules, VPNs with servers in India will be required to log and hand over user data to the Indian government.
Major providers like NordVPN have said that they will pull out of the country if given no other option, as they value their users' right to privacy. ExpressVPN has already done that (but it provides equally-helpful virtual locations).
The Indian government can't obligate VPNs to follow their rules if they don't operate within India's borders. That said, the issue could escalate further, and India may choose to outright ban VPNs that don't comply with its laws.
Is a VPN Safe to Use in India?
For the moment, using a well-rated VPN (such as ExpressVPN) is perfectly safe to use in India. Even if providers pull their Indian servers due to the new data logging policy, you can simply connect to a server outside the country to preserve your privacy.
Unless the Indian government decides to ban VPNs that don't follow its laws, there shouldn't be a problem. That said, VPNs can't protect you from a random police search. As such, it's best not to use VPNs for illegal activities, such as torrenting copyrighted content.
Is It Illegal to Use VPNs for Banned Apps in India?
While India has ordered ISPs to block Chinese apps like TikTok, it is not illegal to use a VPN to unblock them. Even watching porn with a VPN is legal (as long as the pornographic content itself is legal under Indian law).
That said, the app versions themselves might not work due to being blocked based on the device ID. The best way to get around that is to use a VPN to unblock the web browser version of TikTok and other apps.
Punishment for Using a VPN in India?
There are no laws that punish the simple activity of using a VPN in India. Accessing the Internet while connected to a VPN is perfectly legal.
Of course, if you get caught accessing illegal content (such as torrent trackers), you can be fined and arrested under the Copyright Act, 1957 of the Constitution of India. More specifically, Sections 63, 63A, 65, and 65A.
Which VPN Is Best for India?
We believe ExpressVPN is the best VPN for India due to its ease of use, extended network in 94 countries, fast speeds, and ability to unblock basically every streaming platform out there. They're also 100% committed to the safety and privacy of your data, which is always a good sign.
How Can I Get ExpressVPN in India?
Check out our guides on how to download and install ExpressVPN in India or any other country. We've linked to guides for every compatible device out there: PCs, mobile, game consoles, smart TVs, streaming devices, and more.
Can I Bypass the India Porn Ban with a VPN?
Yes, you can unblock porn sites in India with a VPN. Simply connect to a VPN server outside India, and you'll gain access to all the content available in that country.
What's the Best Free VPN for India?
It can be tempting to get a free VPN for use in India, considering the economic situation in the country. However, free VPNs are dangerous for your privacy, as many log and sell your data for advertising purposes. Or worse, they contain malicious code that can harvest sensitive data off your devices. Moreover, they come with severely limited features and are typically blocked by websites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming platforms.
If money is an issue, Surfshark is a great choice since it supports unlimited devices on a single account. Your family and friends can chip in to enjoy the benefits of one of the best VPNs for India at a pretty cheap price.
What's the Best VPN for Torrenting in India?
Torrenting is usually associated with piracy everywhere in the world, and it's no different in India. However, torrent apps allow you to quickly share large files among many users, making them great for work or transferring a large number of pictures, for example.
Of course, that doesn't prevent Internet providers from outright blocking torrenting from their service to comply with local laws. Fortunately, a VPN will help you bypass those restrictions.
Some great choices for India torrenting VPNs are Surfshark and CyberGhost VPN since they have P2P-friendly servers. Otherwise, ExpressVPN is the best alternative if you're looking for a more well-rounded VPN.
What's the Best VPN for Gaming in India?
Which VPN Is Best for Jio?
As the largest mobile carrier and ISP in India, Reliance Jio has been known to block access to VPNs. A worrying state of affairs, considering the government did not order them to do so, and Jio's actions seem to be in violation of local net neutrality regulations.
Fortunately, the government has since lifted certain VPN restrictions, making it easier to use a VPN in India - especially for businesses and working from home.
If you're looking for the best VPN as a Reliance Jio subscriber, our recommendation is ExpressVPN. Naturally, all the best VPNs for India have mobile apps compatible with Android and iOS. Feel free to choose a provider suited to your tastes from the list above.
Which VPN Is Best for Airtel?
With over 309 million subscribers, Bharti Airtel is the second-largest mobile network operator in India. If you're an Airtel user, then all the India VPN providers recommended above have quality mobile apps you can use on your smartphone.
Personally, we recommend ExpressVPN for the best all-around mobile VPN experience in India.
Got any questions about the best way to use VPNs in India? Let us know in the comments, and we'll be happy to help!