South Korea has one of the best internet infrastructures of any country in the world. It also has the fastest download speeds, averaging at just over 25 mbps. This gives the population unprecedented access to the world wide web, making things like video streaming and watching live TV as commonplace as going to the cafe for lunch.
Just because its speeds are extremely fast, doesn’t mean the internet in South Korea is perfect. Problems like internet censorship still exist, as do things like data thieves, ISP surveillance, and stalking cyber criminals. And what if you want to watch Netflix movies from other countries? Well, for that (and for protecting your privacy in general) you’ll need a VPN.
Keep reading for our full guide on how to pick the best VPN to use in South Korea for a fast and secure connection to the world wide web!
Finding the Best VPNs for South Korea
Hundreds of VPNs crowd the online marketplace, each claiming to offer the best speeds, the strongest encryption, and the all-around top experience for customers of all kinds. Learning which of these services live up to the hype can take some trial and error, along with plenty of deep research.
You can cut through all of that mess and skip straight to finding the best VPN by using our guidelines below. We used the following criteria to rank some of the top VPN services on the ‘net. Our recommendations are listed in the next section, each one delivering a fast and secure VPN experience that’s the best to use in South Korea and beyond.
- Zero-logging policy – Data that passes through a VPN’s network can be stored, including detailed traffic logs, time stamps, or DNS requests. If a VPN doesn’t have a zero-logging policy, it can keep this information forever, which harms your privacy.
- Speed – VPNs are often slower than unencrypted internet connections, which is why you need a service that puts a high priority on speed.
- Server distribution – The more servers a VPN operates, the better your chances of finding a fast connection.
- Traffic restrictions – Some VPNs block P2P networks and torrent traffic or restrict how much you can download during the month.
- Device compatibility – If you want your smartphone to be protected, you’ll need a dedicated VPN app for that platform.
Do You Need Servers in South Korea to Use a VPN There?
Finding the best VPN for South Korea doesn’t necessarily mean finding the service with the most servers in the country. Connections through VPNs can take place anywhere in the world, with servers placed in hundreds of major cities in a variety of regions. Using these non-local servers gives you an advantage when it comes to staying private and anonymous, and they also give you the ability to switch virtual locations to watch foreign movies with ease.
The short answer is no, you do not need servers in South Korea to use a VPN. Most mainstream services (such as our suggestions below) do offer connections based in Seoul, however. This can be useful if you simply need encryption and anonymity every time you go online without sacrificing on speed, as is often the case when connecting to far-flung servers.
Best VPNs for South Korea
We went through and tested the best VPN services on the market to find out which ones are perfect for using in South Korea.
Here is our list of the best VPNs for Soutch Korea, reviewed this year.
1 – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN providers on the market, which makes it one of the best-named services, too. You’ll get top speeds from nearly all of the company’s 2,000 servers in 94 countries, including dozens of locations throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Even if you choose a server on the other side of the world, ExpressVPN will give you a reliable low-lag connection. And you can even run a speed test from within the ExpressVPN software to make sure you’ve got the fastest connection possible.
Privacy is another of ExpressVPN’s many strong points. Data is protected with 256-bit AES encryption and backed by a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. There’s also both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to deliver a reliable safety net in case of an accidental disconnect, not to mention unlimited bandwidth and easy and unlimited server switching for all users (ideal for gamers!)
ExpressVPN runs multiple server locations within South Korea, giving you complete access to a secure web without leaving the country.
Check out our full ExpressVPN review for more info about the VPN’s amazing features!
2 – NordVPN
NordVPN has an amazing array of privacy and security features built into the core of the service, making it easy for anyone to sign up and stay safe. NordVPN also sports the largest server network on the market, with over 5,080 servers in 62 different countries, including multiple locations in South Korea. You’ll always be able to connect to a fast server with NordVPN, and you’ll get extra protection through double encryption, onion over VPN, and anti-DDoS servers when needed, too.
NordVPN provides a comprehensive zero-logging policy that covers everything from bandwidth to time stamps, traffic to IP addresses. Your activity is never recorded or shared with third parties, which helps keep your privacy intact, even in restrictive, surveillance-heavy countries. Backing these features is 256-bit AES encryption on all data, an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a host of customizable encryption features.
Learn more about the NordVPN experience in our full NordVPN review.
3 – PrivateVPN
PrivateVPN is a balanced service that lets you stay secure anywhere in the world. With this VPN activated on your device, you’ll be able to safely stream, surf, and download content from the web, or just log on and check social media accounts, all with full anonymity. This comes without sacrificing speed or ease of use, either, making PrivateVPN one of the best VPNs for daily use. This provider’s software works perfectly on smartphones, desktop PCs, and even Fire TV thanks to a lightweight and easy to use interface.
PrivateVPN runs a network of over 100 servers in 56 different countries that deliver all the speed, security, and location variety you need. The service locks down data with 256-bit AES encryption, keeps your connection safe with an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection, and features a zero logging policy on all traffic, as well.
Read more about PrivateVPN’s useful features in our full PrivateVPN review.
4 – CyberGhost
CyberGhost offers a diverse mix of speed, security, and location variability, all designed to deliver an amazing VPN experience for everyone regardless of location. It’s also one of the fastest and most reliable VPNs on the market, delivering great connection speeds around the world so you can stream HD videos from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more. CyberGhost accomplishes this with a network of over 2,400 servers in 60 different countries, along with mobile and desktop apps that make it easy to enjoy a secure internet experience.
CyberGhost’s foundation of strong privacy features 256-bit AES encryption on all data, a zero-logging policy on traffic, time stamps, and IP address, and both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch. All of these work together to hide your identity each time you connect. With CyberGhost on your device, you can use the internet safely and securely from any country in the world, including South Korea!
Learn more about CyberGhost’s great features in our complete CyberGhost review.
5 – PureVPN
PureVPN is a full-featured VPN that does more than just protect your identity. The service gives you instant access to anti-virus protection, malware shields, app blocking features, and DNS website filtering, all wrapped into one secure and convenient package. All you have to do is download the VPN app, choose the extra protections you’d like to turn on, and you’re set. It’s perfect for anyone who needs thorough and complete protection without all the hassle.
PureVPN offers incredibly useful security features that keep you safe online, as well. It starts with a zero-logging policy on traffic, an automatic kill switch, solid 256-bit AES encryption on all data, and DNS leak protection. These work alongside the company’s self-owned network of 750 servers in 180 different countries, providing a ton of options for fast, safe, and secure connections.
How to Use a VPN in South Korea
With such a great environment for online connections, it’s easy to see why South Korea is one of the world’s top destinations for reliable internet activity. Using a VPN while in South Korea lets you take advantage of all these benefits and much more, adding things like encryption and anonymity to all of your devices. If you’re not sure how to set up or use your VPN, check our quick set of instructions below to get started.
First, open a web browser and sign into your VPN account. Download the app for your operating system (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.). If you want to use the VPN on a mobile device, you may need to visit an app marketplace, which the VPN pages should redirect you to immediately.
Install the VPN app on your device, launch the software, and sign in using your credentials. Most apps will automatically connect to the fastest server as soon as you launch, which is perfect if you don’t need an IP address from a specific location.
Now it’s a good idea to test your VPN to make sure it’s actually keeping you safe. On the same device, open a web browser and visit ipleak.net. The page will run an IP address lookup. When it completes, you will see a box near the top that says ?Your IP addresses?. Just below it should show a country that isn’t the one you’re currently sitting in, meaning the VPN is secure and you’re ready to surf the web in peace.
Why Bother Using a VPN in South Korea?
Every time you go online, you put your privacy at risk. Even in relatively safe areas like South Korea, there are cyber criminals and government surveillance programs looking to track or take data from unsuspecting users. Only by running a VPN with full encryption and anonymity can you stay safe.
How VPNs Work
When you type a URL into your browser, data leaves your device, travels through a local service provider’s servers, where it is assigned an IP address matching the server’s location (rather than your own). It then goes to the internet to fetch the information you requested. The whole process takes a fraction of a second, but the amount of data it transmits through this highly secure tunnel is impressive.
On a normal internet connection the data is sent unencrypted, meaning anyone can see what you’re downloading. Combine that with an IP address that’s linked to your identity, and suddenly cyber criminals have an easy time cracking into and reading your data stream.
VPNs encrypt everything before it leaves your computer, making it impossible for anyone to see what you’re doing. After encryption, the data passes through your local service provider, goes to the VPN servers where it’s decrypted and assigned an anonymous IP address, then sent to the internet. This strips packets of personally identifiable information for a strong measure of anonymity.
Benefits of Using a VPN
The privacy and security features offered by VPNs come with plenty of added benefits, making them useful tools even if you aren’t worried about your online security.
- Stop surveillance and tracking – IP addresses assigned by internet service providers can be used to track your activity. VPNs put a stop to online surveillance by encrypting traffic and automatically removing local IP addresses from each packet of information.
- Watch videos from other countries – Does your local Netflix not provide enough content? Sick of seeing “this video is not available in your country” on Hulu, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services? A VPN can solve that problem with just a few clicks.
- Access censored websites – Online censorship is a huge problem in countries around the world. Safely and securely bypassing these firewalls is something VPNs are extremely effective at doing.
- Stay safe from internet fast lanes – Net neutrality is under threat in many countries around the world. If you travel to these destinations, you’ll suffer the same restrictions as locals. That is, unless you use a VPN.
More Ways to Stay Safe Online
VPNs aren’t the only security measure you can take to protect your online data. Use the following tips to ensure you’re always safe and secure online.
- Avoid free VPNs – Free VPN services can be tempting, but most of the time they actively destroy your online privacy by logging or selling your data. It’s best to stick with a low cost but trusted paid VPN provider instead of taking your chances with potentially dangerous no-cost VPNs.
- Encrypt your mobile device – Smartphones and tablets carry a ton of personal information, making them a hot target for data thieves. To help ensure your phone stays safe, learn how to encrypt your Android or iPhone.
- Install security focused browser extensions – A great way to ensure top level browser security is to install HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger, two extensions that force an encrypted connection when possible and disables tracking scripts respectively.
- Keep your anti-virus program active – Malware is still a problem when using a VPN. Viruses slip through most services undetected, and things like key loggers or trojan horses are just as dangerous with a VPN active. Keep your anti-virus and firewall programs active at all times for maximum protection.
Getting a VPN in South Korea is a fast and easy way to lock down your information and enjoy a wide range of extras, including streaming foreign videos and accessing free and open content from around the world. With our guide and recommendations above, you’ll have things up and running in no time.
Do you currently live in, or are you planning to travel to South Korea? Which of our recommended services appeals most to you, and why? Tell us about in the comments below!