But what are the risks of connecting to an Australian VPN server? And how do the different VPN services compare?
Compare VPN Services
Before you choose a VPN, you need to take a few considerations into account:
- Speed – A slow VPN is quite useless. If you want to experience the full benefits of connecting to an Australian server, make sure you get a fast one. Look for download speeds exceeding 40 Mbps.
- Server network locations – Does the VPN have a server located inside Australia? This is a must if you want an Australian virtual IP address.
Here are the top two most reliable VPNs with Australian servers:
1. Express VPN
You’ll find Express VPN on a lot of top lists. First of all, it has over 2000 servers located in 94 countries, meaning connecting to Australia is easy. Plus it’s compatible with all the popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO.
While NordVPN covers only 62 countries, it’s got double the number of servers as Express VPN. With over 4000 servers, NordVPN provides a couple of features you won’t find with most others. This includes peer-to-peer downloads at boosted speeds and double-encryption servers.
Surfshar is a fast and easy to use VPN. You can use Surfshare on unlimited devices and many platforms.
How Does A VPN Work?
A VPN does two things: encryption and the creation of virtual IP addresses.
Encryption makes sure your traffic data cannot be read by any third parties. This includes cyber terrorists, the government and even advertisers. Essentially, no one will be able to see which websites you’re visiting and what actions you take online.
Encryption is particularly useful when you want to prevent advertisers from mining your data. Have you noticed how you see advertisements for specific products you had been browsing a short while ago? Sometimes this occurs in mere seconds after exiting a certain online store and moving onto another website.
This happens because online stores can easily track your IP address and other traffic data. Hence they essentially know how to find you and what you did on their site. This, in turn, allows them to target you with highly specific advertisements, custom-tailored to you.
Virtual IP Address
Your IP address reveals your geographic location to third parties. This not only allows businesses to market to you but also to impose restrictions on you.
Take Netflix for example. Australians have access to only 39% of their TV shows due to regional restrictions. This is easily enforced because your IP address tells Netflix straight away that you’re from Australia.
With a virtual IP address, you can trick Netflix into believing you’re from another country, like the US. Think of it as having a P.O box on the internet. This way, you can browse and communicate via the internet without anyone knowing your true address.
What Risks Do You Face When Connecting To VPN Server In Australia?
Firstly, there are no laws against the use of VPNs in Australia. By extension, there aren’t any against connecting to an Australian VPN server either. Hence, you aren’t risking any penalties from the government by merely using a virtual Australian IP address.
However, there’s always the risk of a penalty if you’re using an Australian server to access content that’s blocked in your country. When you purchase a subscription from a content provider like Netflix, you invariably agree to obey all imposed restrictions. Hence, by using a VPN, you’re essentially breaching the contract you’ve agreed to.
As a result, content providers have a legal right to impose a penalty on you. While most won’t sue you for money, they might very well issue a life-time ban. Since this is a hassle to do for each individual violator, Netflix has an easier solution. They just ban VPNs instead.
One major drawback of using an Australian server is the ‘Australia Tax’. People call it the ‘Australia Tax’ when companies drive up the prices of their products for Australians specifically. It’s quite a common thing in the IT industry especially, and there’s really no good explanation for it.
For instance, don’t try to buy a Microsoft Office 365 package while connected to an Australian server. Their pricing is quite inflated for Australians and so it’s much better to use a US server. In fact, many Australians do just that when buying products from the likes of Microsoft, Adobe CC, steam.
While you won’t get any ads targeting you specifically, you might see ones targeted at Australians in general. Just go on YouTube while using an Australian server and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about.
What Are The General Risks Attached To Vpns?
There are certain risks you face when using a VPN in general, especially with free ones. Here’s what you need to be concerned about:
How much can you truly trust your VPN? Truth be told, a lot of VPNs hardly undergo any external audits. This means that there’s no official way of verifying whether they’re staying true to their promises. A VPN could claim to make security their priority but can you really know whether they’re being consistently vigilant about it?
A lot of VPNs claim that they have a zero-logging policy. This means that none of your traffic data (including your IP address) is stored in the company’s database. Do they really honour this claim? That depends on just how reputable the company is.
A VPN can get away with empty promises if it’s not under proper jurisdiction. If the country it’s registered in has lax laws about data protection, then there’s no obligation to upkeep ethical practices. In that case, it doesn’t matter what they advertise, you can’t be 100% certain that your data is safe.
There are no penalties imposed by the Australian government for using VPNs. This includes the use of VPNs to by-pass regional restrictions. However, businesses may take up the issue with the latter as it could violate their terms of service.
Furthermore, there are risks you generally have to take into consideration with VPNs. These are mainly related to data protection and privacy.