Best VPN for India (free and paid options to use) in 2021

Last updated by   Ruheni Mathenge
Disclosure
Are you concerned with your online privacy and freedom in India? These best India VPNs will let you use the internet completely anonymously alongside unblocking any service or app you want.

India’s internet freedom is not rosy as it may seem. The government has been tightening restrictions with frequent blocking of certain websites and apps. In fact, it ranks poorly in the latest Freedom House internet freedom score.

The best way to stay anonymous online, avoid government censorship and unblocked content is to use a VPN. All you need to do is connect to a server in a different country to spoof your IP address. As simple as that.

Let’s take a look at the best Indian VPNs, how to use a VPN in India, what makes a good VPN for India, VPNs to avoid in India, and much more.

A quick guide on how to use an India VPN

Using VPNs for India is effortless as follows:

  1. Get a well-established VPN provider. We recommend NordVPN as it has a reputation for high-quality services and has servers in India.
  2. Choose a suitable plan and subscribe.
  3. Download and install the VPN app.
  4. Sign in and connect to an Indian server.
  5. Enjoy stealthy privacy online alongside access to geo-blocked content and services.

Best VPNs for India

Whether you need a VPN to watch Indian TV from abroad, torrent or play online games, choose any below VPNs. We tested both paid and free VPNs and ranked the top 10 for you to choose the one that suits your needs.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN Best VPNs 600x300

Key features

  • 5,500 servers in 59 countries
  • SmartPlay feature
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Perfect forward secrecy
  • CyberSec suite
  • No-logs policy
  • 30-day money guarantee

NordVPN is our top pick Indian VPN because of its commitment to privacy, reliability, and lightning-fast speeds.

It emerged the fastest during our recent VPN test. This can be due to its proprietary protocol, NordLynx, which has improved the speeds significantly. The VPN is fast enough to stream 4K videos, high-quality video conferencing, and live stream HD video.

NordVPN has apps for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. It allows you to connect up to six simultaneous devices on one account, an excellent way to share with family.

There is an inconsistency between the apps, with some features available on the mobile apps not available on the desktop client and vice versa. For instance, its Android VPN app has the split tunneling feature while the Windows app doesn’t.

The VPN unblocks all the major streaming services, including but not limited to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. Its SmartPlay feature enables you to get past even the most difficult geo-blocks. The provider operates several Indian VPNs, so you’ll be able to unblock local streaming sites such as Zee5, Hotstar, etc.

NordVPN’s security specifications include AES 256-bit encryption, 3072-bit DHE-RSA key exchange, SHA384 authentication, and perfect forward secrecy. This may not mean anything to you but know it meets military-grade standards and will always ensure your protection. The company is also in the process of converting to RAM-only servers.

Pros

  • Unblocks Indian streaming services
  • Breakneck speeds
  • Massive global server network

Cons

  • The Android app lacks a kill switch feature

2. Surfshark

SurfShark-Best-VPNs-600x300-1

Key features

  • 3,200 servers in 65 countries
  • CleanWeb feature
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Zero-logs policy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Surfshark was started in 2018, but it is creating a buzz in the VPN industry. It began with a small network but is increasing the server count pretty fast. For example, in the past year alone, the provider has doubled the network from 1,700 to over 3,200 servers.

During our top VPNs speed test, the VPN performed exemplary, with only a slight drop from our actual speeds. This means it is ideal for all activities including, browsing, streaming, torrenting, and playing games.

One of its most significant advantages is the unrestricted simultaneous connections. You can connect as many devices as you want at any given time. Fortunately, it has Windows 7 and newer apps, macOS 10.12 and above, Android 5.0 and more recent, and Linux Ubuntu.

The new and improved apps are lightweight to work on any device. It is also easier to use than the previous version. There are also multi-language Chrome and Firefox browser extensions, though they will only protect your traffic and not your device.

As mentioned above, it operates more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries. The server list will appear when you launch the app. Countries are arranged in alphabetical order, so it will be easy to select your chosen location. A circle roughly indicates the server’s total load on the right side of the location name.

Surfshark unblocks all the major Netflix libraries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Japan, and India. You will be redirected to the Netflix US if your connection to the other libraries is blocked. The VPN also works well with ITV Hub, Disney+, Hotstar, and many other Indian streaming sites. In addition, the VPN unblocks many Kodi add-ons. The CleanWeb feature will remove the annoying ads and also block malware and trackers.

Pros

  • Works well in India
  • Excellent speeds
  • Unrestricted connections

Cons

  • Awful customer service

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Best VPNs 600x300

Key features

  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • P2P support
  •  Zero-logs policy
  • 5 simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN is another great choice VPN for India. The VPN is fast, straightforward to use, with features that meet a quality VPN’s standards.

This is one of the fastest VPNs on the market due to its proprietary protocol Lightway. While other providers are scrambling on the WireGuard protocol, ExpressVPN has decided to create its own protocol. The Lightway protocol is much faster and secure than the previous default protocol, OpenVPN. The VPN can maintain consistent speeds to stream, torrent, and play games across all the locations.

It has apps for almost all devices, including Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. ExpressVPN allows you to connect the VPN to up to 5 devices at once. However, you can go as high as you want if you install it on your router. Its apps are easy to use and steady across all platforms.

Does ExpressVPN bypass restrictions? Yes, the VPN has incredible unblocking capabilities and can unblock any geo-block on its way. It works well with Netflix, and you will be able to access all the major libraries. Besides Netflix, it unblocks many other geo-blocked sites such as Hulu, Crunchyroll, Sky TV, and more. The provider operates several Indian VPNs to access even locally blocked content if you are traveling abroad.

This VPN is incorporated in a privacy-friendly country, the British Virgin Islands, that does not have strict data retention laws. On top of that, the company will not log your IP address, internet traffic, or any other identifiable information. The zero-log claims have been independently audited by Cure3, a renowned cybersecurity firm, and PricehousewaterCoppers (PWC).

ExpressVPN uses strong encryption on every connection to ensure no one intercepts your data or activities. The encryption combination includes AES 256-bit encryption, 4096-bit DHE-RSA keys, perfect forward secrecy, and SHA512 HMAC authentication. It is remarkably leak-proof because of the automatic kill switch and DNS/IPv6 leak protection. 

Pros

  • Fast speeds across all locations
  • Unblocks streaming sites
  • Does collect or keep logs

Cons

  • Streaming servers are not labeled

4. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Private Internet Access VPN

Key features

  • 29,185 servers in 77 countries
  • P2P support
  • AES 128-bit encryption
  • Split tunneling
  • MACE feature
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a high-value VPN with a load of exciting features. Although it is located in the US, a country with strict data retention laws, it emphasizes privacy above everything. The apps are lightweight and allow you to customize according to your needs.

The VPN performs great with consistent speeds on most of the servers. You will be able to stream 4K videos and even make high-quality VoIP calls. It operates a massive network of more than 29,185 servers in 77 countries. An extensive server network means less congestion which translates to improved speeds.

PIA is powerful enough to bypass blocks of major streaming services. With unrestricted bandwidth and data, you will be able to stream Netflix US and BBC iPlayer UK effortlessly. There are more than 40 servers in India if you’d like to access locally blocked content and services. The MACE feature is an effective ad blocker and will also prevent trackers and malware.

It will protect your connections with top-notch security features. On top of the ad blocker above, it also uses AES 128-bit encryption. However, you can also extend it to AES 256-bit encryption, which may slightly reduce your speeds. The PIA has OpenVPN UDP as the default protocol, but you can switch to OpenVPN TCP. There is also WireGuard, the latest VPN protocol that is faster and lightweight.

Pros

  • Tons of customization
  • Multiple Indian servers
  • Unblocks streaming services

Cons

  • Does not have live chat support

5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Key features

  • 150 servers in 60 countries
  • AES 156-bit encryption
  • Unlimited P2P sharing
  • Stealth Mode
  • No-logs policy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

PrivateVPN is a small but still growing VPN service. It is exceptionally affordable and completely safe with all the necessary VPN features.

You will be surprised to know that it offers reliable and consistent speeds despite the smaller network. It is common for your speed to slow down, especially if you connect to remote servers. With PrivateVPN, you will still get sufficient speeds to do any task.

The VPN works well with Android, Windows, IOS, macOS, and Amazon Fire TV. All the apps are lightweight, so you can use them even on low-powered devices. Like NordVPN, it allows you to connect up to six simultaneous connections.

PrivateVPN reliably unblocks all the popular Netflix libraries. You will be able to access your favorite content in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, and Japan. Fortunately, it has servers in Banglore and Chennai if you would like to access India’s blocked content and services.

The VPN supports unlimited P2P sharing and offers unlimited data and bandwidth so you can torrent even large files unrestricted. Port forwarding is a useful feature as it allows you to connect to more peers in the network. It has a no-logs policy to keep your torrenting activities private.

PrivateVPN is based in Sweden, which might be an issue if you are concerned with your privacy. Fortunately, the provider is among the VPNs that do not store any logs, so there will be no data to surrender to authorities. You can pay through Paypal, Stripe, and anonymously with bitcoin.

Pros

  • Unblocks streaming sites
  • Allows torrenting
  • Fast speeds

Cons

  • Kill switch only available on Windows

6. Windscribe

Windscribe Best Free Netflix VPN

Key features

  • 179 servers in 63 countries
  • 10GB free data
  • R.O.B.E.R.T ad blocker
  • Kill switch
  • Stealth mode
  • 3-day money-back guarantee

Windscribe is the top free VPN for India. It has a smaller network, but the servers are powerful to handle any task. Although it is based in Canada, the provider follows a strict no-logs policy to ensure your privacy.

The VPN will mask your IP address to enable you to bypass geo-restrictions. It has specially designed servers labeled Windflix to stream content without buffering or lags. The R.O.B.E.R.T feature will not only block annoying ads but also keep you safe from malware and trackers.

Speed is one of the most crucial factors to consider when looking for a VPN. You need a fast-speed VPN whether you are browsing, streaming, gaming, or torrenting. The majority of Windscribe’s servers offer fairly reliable speeds compared to other VPNs.

It will protect your online activities with AES 256 –bit encryption alongside perfect forward secrecy, SHA512 authentication, and 4096-bit RSA keys. There are also multiple protocols, including OpenVPN UDP/TCP, Stealth, IKEv2, and SOCKs proxy.

The provider claims that its firewall works better than the kill switch feature used by most VPNs. It blocks all the connections outside the encrypted tunnel to prevent any leakage, including DNS/IPv6 leaks and WebRTC leaks.

If you are on a budget, we advise you to use Windscribe’s free version instead of choosing completely free services. Even though you may not get some of the features offered to premium customers, your connections will be protected. There is also an option to upgrade to the paid plans.

Pros

  • Works in India
  • Robust security and privacy
  • Does not keep logs

Cons

  • No live chat support

7. Hotspot shield

HotSpot-Shield-Best-VPNs-600x300-1

Key features

  • 1,800 servers in 80 countries
  • 500MB free data
  • Catapult Hydra protocol
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Kill switch
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Hotspot shield is another reliable Indian free VPN. It is excellent at unblocking and offers reliable security and privacy features to keep you safe.

In terms of speeds, the Hotspot shield is in the middle category. It is not as fast as ExpressVPN and NordVPN but maintains consistent speeds on most of its servers. The Catapult Hydra Protocol will fix the latency issues for improved speeds. Switching between servers is effortless if your connection is blocked or you experience slow speeds.

It has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, Ios, Amazon Fire TV, and Linux Ubuntu. You can configure the VPN with your router to protect more devices. There is also a Chrome extension though it only encrypts your browser traffic, exposing the other apps on your device.

Generally, the apps are modern and user-friendly. Each app allows you to connect to the entire network of more than 1,800 servers in over 80 countries. The servers are arranged alphabetically, with some countries having multiple locations, such as the US, Australia, the UK, and Canada.

Hotspot shield easily unblocks Netflix UK, Netflix US, and other popular streaming services. It offers good speeds, so you will be able to stream HD videos. If you are a Kodi user, it supports the configuration and unblocks a wide range of Kodi add-ons.

Pros

  • Decent-sized server network
  • User-friendly apps
  • Great upload and download speeds

Cons

  •  The kill switch app is not available on all the apps

8. TunnelBear

TunnelBear Best VPNs 600x300

Key features

  •  2,600 servers in 26 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • GhostBear mode
  • P2P connections
  • VigilantBear

TunnelBear is a popular VPN service, mainly because of its free offering. The VPN is packed with less complicated features to make it easier to use. 

The free version allows you to access the entire network of more than 2,600 servers in 26 countries. It is a great feature as most VPN providers limit server access on the free version. The only major issue with the free offering is the limited 500MB monthly data. This is only enough for light duties such as browsing and Youtube but not to torrent or play online games. You will have to upgrade to the premium plan to get unlimited bandwidth and data.

The VPN keeps things simple on all the apps. You will only need to install the app on your device to get started. It has apps for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Chrome, as well as Firefox browser extensions. Luckily, you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time under one subscription.

Unfortunately, TunnelBear is not reliable to unblock Netflix. We tested it with a few libraries but managed a consistent connection only on the US servers. However, you will be able to access Amazon Prime Canada, All 4, and ITV Hub.

Pros

  • Transparent zero-logs policy
  • Effortless to use
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices

Cons

  • Struggles to unblock Netflix

9. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN New

Key features

  • 1,232 servers in 54 countries
  • Free version
  • No-logs policy
  • DNS leak protection
  • P2P support
  • AES 256-bit encryption

Unlike other providers on this list, ProtonVPN does not limit the amount of data on the free version. It boasts of fast speeds and is great at unblocking content.

ProtonVPN performed well during our latest testing. It offers sufficient speeds to stream 4K videos and plays games without any interruptions. The speeds will remain consistent regardless of the server you use.

Which devices does ProtoVPN support? It has apps for all popular platforms, including Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, and Android TV. The VPN can also be configured with certain routers so you can protect your whole network.

It marks certain servers with a symbol ‘P’ denoting the Plus server. These are specially designed for streaming servers in the US, Germany, the UK, Italy, and India. They will enable you to access services with the strictest geo-blocks like Netflix and BBC iPlayer without any issues. It also bypasses restrictions of Indian sites such as Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLIV, Voot, etc.

Pros

  • Strong security
  • Anonymous payment
  • Fast speeds for streaming

Cons

  • Poor customer support

10. Hide.me

HideMe Best Free VPNs 600x300

Key features

  • 1,900 servers in 75 countries
  • 10GB free monthly dat
  • Stealth Guard
  • Split tunneling
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Hide.me is another top free VPN for India. It has recently overhauled its network to improve service delivery and performance.

The free version is better than using completely free VPNs. However, the data transfer is limited to only 2GB while speeds to 3Mbps. This means it is not suitable for data-intensive activities like streaming via Kodi or torrenting. Furthermore, you can only use one device and connect to three servers. Nonetheless, you can easily upgrade your plan to get more features.

It runs more than 1,900 servers across 75 countries, including Europe, North & South America, and Asia. The service uses AES 256-bit encryption together with a kill switch to protect your connections. It also offers a wide range of protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, Softether, and WireGuard.

Pros

  • Decent speeds
  • Multiple protocols
  • Does not store logs

Cons

  • No live chat option

Why do you need to use a VPN in India?

VPN for India
(123RF)

A virtual private network (VPN) is popular security software. It works by encrypting your data and passing your traffic through secure tunnels before reaching the destination. There are pertinent reasons why you need to use a VPN in India.

First, India has recently experienced tremendous technological growth, which goes hand in hand with surveillance. In fact, its Aadhar card system is the most invasive biometric system in the world. Some of the data you are supposed to surrender are your fingerprints, iris scan, and photographs. Worse of all, over 90% of Indian citizens are enrolled in the system.

Furthermore, Indian authorities snoop on citizen’s internet activities. For example, 17 people were arrested in 2016 for circulating malicious information on messaging app WhatsApp.

On top of that, many sites are banned in the country. In addition, local network administrators in schools and workplaces limit access to some sites and apps. Also, you risk your privacy when you use public Wi-Fi without protection.

A VPN will encrypt your data and traffic and pass it through secure servers. This will stop third parties such as your ISP, hackers, and government agencies from tracking your activities and habits. The VPNs on this list are reliable to guard your online security and privacy.

Will an Indian VPN unblock mobile apps?

The Indian government has been recently blocking popular sites and apps such as TikTok, WeChat, and UC Browser. Overall, the government has blocked more than 100 Chinese apps making them inaccessible or inactive in the country.

With a VPN, you can connect to a location outside India to bypass the government’s restrictions. As a result, you will be able to access all the banned apps. All you will have to do is use a server in a country where the app is available.

What makes a VPN best for India?

It is essential to choose a VPN with powerful features if you want to remain safe and completely anonymous. A reliable Indian VPN should unblock geo-blocked content, torrent securely and stream in high definition. Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing an Indian VPN.

Server network and location

The best Indian VPN should have an extensive network with servers distributed throughout the world. This means it can handle high traffic and allow you to access blocked content and services from anywhere. Many servers also translate to more bandwidth for faster speeds.

It is also crucial to consider the server locations. You should use a VPN with multiple servers close to your location to get better speeds. Besides, you will have a consistent connection which is ideal for torrenting and playing online games. On the other, it should also have several Indian servers so you can access locally blocked sites such as Zee5, Hotstar, etc.

Compatibility

Nowadays, it is normal to find a household with multiple internet-enabled devices. How many simultaneous connections does the VPN support? Many services have a limit on the number of connections you can connect at once. However, sometimes it will depend on the plan you are using.

The majority of VPN providers will allow you to connect between 5 and 10 simultaneous connections. This means you’ll be able to connect various devices, including your laptop, PC, phone, tablet, and more. Other services such as Surfshark and IPVanish do not limit the number of connections.

Speed

A VPN works by routing your data and traffic through remote servers, which can slow down your speeds. The problem may be worse if you choose an inferior service. Premium VPNs like NordVPN counteract the issue with vast server networks spread across the world.

Fewer users are likely to be connected to a single server simultaneously if a VPN service has more servers. The reduced load translates to faster speeds. Besides, an immense network means you can easily switch servers if your connection slows down.

Security

A VPN is supposed to make it hard for third parties to intercept or access your information. It will receive your request, encrypt it through servers and make the request on your behalf. This will make your traffic seem to be originating from the VPN servers. 

Therefore, choose a VPN with all the necessary security features. The first feature you should look out for is the encryption level. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the industry standard. Many premium VPNs use military-grade AES 256-bit encryption though you can also go with 128-bit encryption.

Support

Although a VPN is complicated software, you shouldn’t be a tech expert to use it. Nonetheless, it can be a bit difficult to get around a VPN’s settings and configurations, even for professional users. That is why it is crucial to choose a VPN with reliable customer support. This means getting quick responses and a knowledgeable in-house representative. 

Choose a VPN with 24/7 support so you can get a response at any time. Other providers have a help section with solutions to common problems and tutorial guides on various devices.

Will a free VPN work in India?

Free VPNs are widespread, but the majority are dangerous. Meaning you will be much better without them. One of the primary purposes of a VPN is to protect your online activities. However, free VPNs are known for injecting malware into user devices.  

Furthermore, there is no free VPN that can reliably break geo-restrictions of major streaming sites. These sites use tough geo-blocks that even some premium VPNs struggle to get past. In most cases, you are likely to get an error message.

Another reason for using a VPN is to safeguard your online privacy. However, a recent study shows that 70% of free VPNs contain trackers in their software. These trackers collect data on your online habit for advertisers to send target ads. This may be the worst offense and an outright violation of your privacy.

Slow speed is another major issue with free VPNs. Since they manage small networks, their servers are mostly congested, resulting in reduced speeds. Some providers deliberately slow down the speeds, which is frustrating, especially if you are torrenting or streaming.

Because users don’t pay anything, free VPNs mostly make money by selling ads to the highest bidder. These ads are not only irritating but can also impede your speeds or contain malware.

Nonetheless, the free VPNs we have reviewed on this list are safe to use. In fact, they are not completely free VPNs but free versions of premium services. Although the free versions will have limited features, the advantage is that you’ll get full protection.

VPNs to avoid in India

We researched thoroughly before picking the best VPNs for India. However, if you want to maintain your online privacy and security, you should avoid the following providers.

Hola

This VPN service has a reputation for gathering user data to send personalized adverts. It is also known to sell data to third parties. The VPN app also has serious leaks that may expose your data and activities. 

VPNMaster

This VPN contains malware and trackers. The trackers will monitor your online activities while the malware will control your device or even worse. This is the exact opposite of what a VPN should be doing. It is supposed to be a privacy tool but not to siphon user information.

TurboVPN

The provider is not as bad as the previous two. However, it has a questionable privacy policy, so you can’t trust it to keep you private.

IndianVPN

This is a mobile VPN app that promises to offer the utmost privacy. However, it is not secure with a poor privacy policy that allows it to collect and sell user data.

TouchVPN

TouchVPN is a fraudulent service that offers worse security than the rest. It also gathers and sells user data to third parties. It does not have a privacy policy and snoops on its users.

Conclusion

As the Indian government piles pressure on internet freedom in the country, a VPN is a necessity. Besides maintaining your privacy, the best India VPNs are helpful in many other ways. It will enable you to access international content and services if you are in India.

On the other hand, you will access locally blocked sites if you work or travel abroad. Our top recommended VPN is NordVPN because of its watertight security, long-standing exceptional reputation, and incredible unblocking capabilities.

Best Indian VPN frequently asked questions

1.  Are VPNs illegal in India?

Currently, it is perfectly legal to use a VPN in India. Although no law bans its usage in the country, it is essential to choose a VPN wisely. Never go for a service with inferior encryption or does not have a no-logs policy. We recommend you stick to any of the quality providers we have reviewed above.

2. Will a VPN unblock Hotstar from anywhere?

As long as you pick a quality VPN with Indian servers, you can access Hotstar and any other geo-blocked site. Some of the free services we reviewed above can also unblock Hotstar. However, they may not be suitable for streaming due to bandwidth and data limitations.

3. Can a VPN help me unblock TikTok?

Tiktok is a popular online platform for creating and sharing short videos. However, the app is not available in India because the government has recently blocked it. A VPN will allow you to use TikTok in India by connecting to servers in another country to bypass these restrictions.

4. Will a VPN help me bypass Jio’s internet restrictions?

Jio is among India’s top telecom operators offering high-speed internet connections. However, it has recently started to block certain websites and services. A VPN is the easiest way to circumvent the restrictions and access whatever you want.

5. How do I bypass the Indian porn ban?

The Indian government has ordered local ISPs to block over 800 adult-themed sites. This has not pleased many citizens of the country, as some are already pornography fans. In fact, the third-largest pornhub traffic comes from India. The authorities argue that these sites threaten the morality and decency of ordinary people. A VPN will help you to change your India IP address and access any pornographic site you want.

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About the author

Ruheni Mathenge
Ruheni Mathenge

Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Alex is a strong advocate of digital freedom and online privacy.

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