India is the second most populous country in the world. The country is home to various cultures, languages, geographies, and ideologies.
India has been perceived as rather a rudimentary country for a long time. However, things have changed quite rapidly in the country.
It is now the sixth largest economy in the world which is still growing at a rapid pace. The nation has almost 700 million internet users. The number is more than the population of most of the continents of the world.
Bans and restrictions on content are not alien topics in the country. The motivations behind these restrictions keep varying though. Some have political influences while businesses and corporates may enforce others.
The average Indian internet user is not much aware of online threats. It is because of this reason that this community is a relatively easier target for cybercriminals.
VPNs are the best way to combat the menace of online restrictions and cybercrimes. A VPN allows the user to access the open internet safely.
Using the protection of VPN is again a good idea if you are tourist traveling to India. It will be tough to find inner peace and your true self in the Himalayas if you are worried about your online safety.
However, it does not mean that you should subscribe to just any VPN service and start using it. There are a few VPN services which do more harm than good, especially the free ones.
A lot of factors weigh in when you are choosing a VPN for India. We will go through all such considerations in the later sections of the review.
However, here are the top VPN services that we would like to recommend for India, and they are in no particular order.
IPVanish is known for the high speeds on the network. The service provides high-speed VPN connectivity even to the users in India.
They have more than 1300 servers strategically placed in more than 75 locations around the world. This helps the user on the service get across most of the regional restrictions on the internet. The vast server network consists of servers in India as well.
IPVanish has employed all the necessary security measures to keep its users safe and anonymous on the internet.
The use of AES 256-bit encryption and the availability of multiple protocols on the service help keep security threats at bay.
IPVanish is based in the USA which is one of the 5-Eyes countries. However, despite this fact, IPVanish enjoys a vast user base, and the service hasn’t had any privacy-related issues.
SurfShark is a VPN service based out of the British Virgin Islands. The jurisdiction helps the service maintain a strict no-logs policy and help the user enjoy an open and safe internet.
SurfShark has more than 500 servers in more than 50 countries including India. There aren’t a lot of servers in the countries closer to India, but the local servers in the country don’t let the user make any complaints about the performance.
SurfShark is rather impressive when it comes to the speed on the network even in Asian countries like India. Additional features such as Multihop and CleanWeb enhance the user experience on the service.
The platform support is ample, and the option to use the router to connect to the network includes even more devices under the VPN cover. There is also no limit on the number of devices you can simultaneously connect to the network from one user account.
There is hardly any essential feature of VPN services which is not present on VyprVPN. The company is based in Switzerland which has stringent privacy laws.
VyprVPN has more than 700 servers in more than 60 counties. They are continually expanding the server network which is adding more options for the user when it comes to bypassing the geo restrictions.
Speed has never been much of an issue on this VPN service. The presence of VPN servers in India makes sure that the local user doesn’t come across any latency issues.
The VPN service has left no stone unturned to secure the user’s data on the internet. It employs proprietary Chameleon protocol along with military-grade encryption.
TigerVPN is among the fastest VPN services available in India. This VPN service will let you stream all the high-resolution content you want to watch.
They have servers in more than 42 countries of the world including India. The server network is big enough to tackle most of the geo-restrictions.
The company is based in Slovakia, and the country doesn’t interfere with the company’s effort to keep the user’s data safe and private. They have a no-logs policy and don’t store any information about the sites accessed by the user.
TigerVPN offers multiple protocols to its users, and there is also nothing for one to complain in the encryption section of the VPN service.
NordVPN has an extensive server network which covers 60 counties of the world with more than 5000 servers.
The service is based in Panama. This jurisdiction helps the service provider to safekeep the user’s privacy and anonymity on the service.
They have a strict no-logs policy and advanced security measures to aid it. NordVPN encrypts the user’s data under the cover of AES-256-bit encryption.
They have got only one option when it comes to protocol, that is, OpenVPN. However, it is one of the most secure and fast protocols.
The huge server network of NordVPN allows you to bypass all the regional restrictions without much of an issue. It also gives users the option to sort the servers under various categories.
There are dedicated servers for torrenting on the service. These servers are placed in the countries which don’t offer much resistance to P2P file sharing.
India, internet, and interferences
Internet in India is still growing, and the authorities need to tackle the fundamental issues such as infrastructure to provide internet access to more and more citizens.
On the other hand, the country is also battling the modern-day threats on the open internet.
The battle for net neutrality was only the first one:
Net neutrality was not a familiar term for the Indian internet users until it came under threat. Facebook offered to avail Free Basics program in India which would provide a selected few online services for free.
However, this was to give the corporate giants an unfair advantage over the smaller companies and local startups. The internet community of India soon retaliated by firing up a campaign for net neutrality in the country.
Going with the public opinion and demand, the internet regulatory body in India prohibited any kind of discrimination or preferential treatment to data or content on the internet. The rule was a result of a yearlong campaign.
The country now has some of the strongest net neutrality laws in the world. However, there are still a lot of roadblocks for one to be able to use the open internet in India.
The constant censorship
As we mentioned earlier, India houses diverse cultures and ideologies. Different cultures have different perspectives, and sometimes it affects a regular netizen as well.
There is a lot of content and media on the internet. It is a common occurrence in the country that some community may find particular content on the internet offending.
When this happens, the community demands the authorities to take the content down. Since the nation is secular and inclusive, the communities get their say most of the times.
A lot of movies and shows have been banned in the country because they were offensive to some community or group in one way or another.
The groups are getting more mercurial with each passing day which is leading to more and more censorship on the internet.
The unprecedented bans:
We just discussed diversity in this country. Interestingly enough, the communities unite together when it comes to imposing strange bans over the internet.
One of the recent modifications in this section is a ban on PUBG mobile game in some parts of the country. The reasons cited for the ban were that it is harmful and addictive for the children.
The local authorities implemented the ban. However, it forced the makers of the game to introduce a time limit for the gaming session per day.
This is only one example of some of the peculiar bans in the country. There is also a ban on the pornographic sites in the country based on moral grounds.
The citizens of the country have been denied access to a lot of online content because of such bans.
The need for VPN in India
VPN is needed not just to bypass these restrictions and bans in the country, but also to fight against the other enemies of the internet.
Cyber attacks are more common than what one would like to see in this part of the world.
India hasn’t had the best of relations with its neighboring countries Pakistan and China.
The rift between the nations has now spilled into the cyberspace as well. A lot of the government websites and individual accounts get affected by the hacking attempts from across the borders.
The attacks are not very surprising as China has also been deemed responsible, for one-half of the cyber crimes in Japan, by the concerned state government.
Even though these attacks are mostly focused on government websites, a significant number of individuals in India do get affected by these attacks every year.
VPNs provide a security layer to the individual and makes him anonymous on the internet. It also encrypts the user’s data to make it tough for any third party to see the contents of it.
P2P file sharing or torrenting has been experiencing opposition in lots of parts of the world. The primary reason for that being the use of torrenting platforms for the circulation of pirated and copyrighted content on the internet.
However, people do use it for legitimate purposes as well. Torrenting has a lot of advantages over the other methods of downloading content from the internet. It is especially effective in case of large files.
The ISPs and the internet regulatory bodies have made it extremely difficult to download files using P2P file sharing method. Majority of the torrent search engines are banned in India, and the ISPs also throttle the internet connections when they notice someone using this method to download a file.
A VPN can help you get through this roadblock with ease as it encrypts the data so that even the ISPs cannot make out the content of it. Since the ISP will not know what is it that you are doing, there will be no throttling.
Some VPN services also have dedicated servers for P2P file sharing. You can use one of these servers and be sure of having a hassle-free torrenting experience.
A lot of the content is unavailable on the Indian version of the streaming services. Sometimes, even some of the locally created content is not available to the viewers.
Well, VPN is the answer to this problem as well. A VPN masks your IP address and makes it look as if you are present in some other location or some other country.
If the service perceives you as a user from the region where the content is not banned, then it will not interfere between you and the content.
Anonymity on the internet can be a particularly useful thing if you are living in a country like India. There have been various reports of journalists, whistleblowers, and even the regular citizens being targeted for something that they wrote or posted on the internet.
Cyberbullying can take a horrid form in such contexts. So, if you want to raise some of your concerns on the internet without getting hassled by those who don’t agree with you, a VPN is the way to go.
How to choose a VPN for India
You must have now realized how much of a lifesaver a VPN can be in India. But before you make any whacky purchases and get stuck with a VPN service for the next year, we would like you to understand how you can choose the best VPN for India.
First things first, you need to asses the server network on the service. A VPN service may perform differently in different regions of the world.
The dictating factor, in this case, is the server network. If your VPN service does not have any server location in your proximity, then you are bound to face several issues while using the network.
The long server distance will make you deal with latency issues, and you may also experience very slow internet speeds.
Majority of the VPN services concentrate on the North American and the European market. The Asian continent gets only a small portion of the servers even though it is the biggest continent in the world.
You will need to make sure that the VPN service you choose has ample servers in India and its neighboring countries. India is a vast country, so a VPN service with merely one or two server locations in the country might still not do the trick for you.
The server network will also be responsible for bypassing the geo restrictions. A vast server network will ensure that you get through most of the regional restrictions and stream your favorite content on the internet.
The VPN service should also have enough security features to keep you safe and anonymous on the internet. AES 256-bit encryption is the gold standard when it comes to encryptions. This encryption is used by most of the modern-day militaries to maintain secrecy.
Protocols are like a secure tunnel through which the VPN redirects your internet traffic to keep it away from the eyes of the third-parties. OpenVPN is the best blend of speed and safety at the moment.
Some of the VPN services may also offer their proprietary protocols. You need to be sure of the protocol if you decide to invest in any such service.
There are some other features such as the internet kill switch and IPv6 leak protection which contribute to your safety and anonymity. Make sure that the service provider avails these security features as well.
The jurisdiction and the logging policy will decide how safe your data is with the service provider. Make sure that they follow a strict no-logs policy.
The company should not be based in a country where the government is not very supportive of individual privacy. You also need to try to stay away from the 14-Eyes countries.
Speed is one of the most significant contributors to the popularity and acceptance of the VPN service. There will always be some dip in the internet speed when you connect to the VPN.
There is no point in subscribing to a VPN service which will protect you, but no let you enjoy the internet.
Other factors such as platform support and pricing are contextual and vary from person to person. You will have to weigh your needs against what the service has got to offer in these cases.