The Best VPNs for Korea 2024

Discover the top VPNs for Korea in 2024:NordVPN for its extensive server network, Surfshark for budget-friendly options, and ExpressVPN for high-speed streaming.
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Best Server Network

4.9
Editorial Rating
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On NordVPN's website

NordVPN
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Best for for a Budget

4.9
Editorial Rating
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On Surfshark's website

Surfshark
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Best for Streaming

4.6
Editorial Rating
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On ExpressVPN's website

ExpressVPN
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Internet censorship and surveillance are heavily prevalent in South Korea. Therefore, choosing the best virtual private network (VPN) is crucial to bypass internet censorship and maintain your online freedom and privacy.

Among the many options available, ExpressVPN and NordVPN stand out for their features and performance. NordVPN is offers an expansive server network, including servers in South Korea, while Surfshark is the best budget-friendly option.

These legal VPNs are great choices for bypassing geo-restrictions and safeguarding your anonymity. They’re also essential for navigating the pervasive internet censorship in South Korea. By doing so, you can enjoy an unrestricted online experience by buffering out surveillance.

In this article
The best VPNs for Korea
NordVPN: Best server network
Surfshark: Best for a budget
ExpressVPN: Best for streaming
Honorable mentions
How we tested the best VPNs for Korea
Best VPNs for Korea FAQs
Bottom line: The best VPNs for Korea

The best VPNs for Korea

The South Korean government has a long history of suppressing online content deemed harmful or threatening to national security.[1] This includes strict regulation of internet usage, such as blocking access to certain websites and monitoring online activities.

We’ve selected the following VPNs for South Korea due to their advanced security features, strict no-logs policies, and easy-to-use apps:

Top 3 VPN services for Korea compared

VPN
Starting price Starts at $3.99/mo Starts at $2.49/mo Starts at $6.67/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days
Streaming support Yes — Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more Yes — Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more Yes — Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more
Servers in South Korea
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Surfshark

Read Surfshark Review

Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

NordVPN: Best server network

Limited-time offer: Up to 67% off
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Who it’s best for

NordVPN is the go-to choice for individuals who value extensive server networks and privacy options. Its network includes over 6,000 VPN servers across 61 countries. This makes it ideal if you need to access content from various global locations.

NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, a country that is not part of the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes alliances. This, alongside its strict no-logs policy, makes Nord suitable for those seeking assured privacy and security.

What we liked

NordVPN impresses with its extensive server network. This wide range of VPN servers can help bypass geo-restrictions to access content from anywhere in the world and circumvent censorship.

The VPN’s privacy features are also particularly noteworthy. NordVPN has had its no-logs policy audited independently by Cure53. It also offers AES-256 encryption and strong protocols like OpenVPN and NordLynx, based on WireGuard. This is important for users in South Korea, where cybercrime rates are high and the government has a history of hacking into citizens' personal information.

Our speed tests showed that NordVPN provided consistent and fast connections even in distant regions like Japan and Australia. The VPN also performed well in unblocking streaming libraries and services.

NordVPN has a user-friendly and intuitive interface that makes it easy for users to navigate and connect to servers. Additional features like specialty servers, dark web monitoring, and an ad and tracker blocker further enhance the experience.

A screenshot of the NordVPN threat protection feature, which blocks ads, trackers, malicious files and malicious sites.

What we didn’t like

Despite its many strengths, NordVPN has some limitations. The lack of streaming-optimized servers can be inconvenient, although the existing servers work well for streaming purposes.

Additionally, while the interface is clean and straightforward, some users might prefer a more detailed initial tutorial for ease of setup and use.

NordVPN specs

Price range $3.99–$14.99/mo
Free version No, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers 6,000+ in 61 countries
Servers in South Korea Yes
Number of connected devices 6
VPN protocol OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Surfshark: Best for a budget

Limited-time offer: 82% off + 4 months free
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Surfshark's website
Surfshark
  • VPN technology offering stability and speed
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • Headquarters in Nine Eyes Alliance

Who it’s best for

Surfshark is a fantastic option for budget-conscious users who don’t want to compromise on features and performance. It offers competitive pricing starting as low as $2.49/mo. This attracts students, individuals, and families looking to save money. The ability to use Surfshark on all your devices simultaneously is also particularly appealing for households that have numerous devices.

What we liked

Surfshark’s standout features are clearly its affordability and unlimited devices, which cater to both individuals and families. However, it also provides numerous features that could be particularly useful for South Korean users.

Surfshark boasts a network of 3,200 servers in 100 countries to ensure global coverage. It also has strong encryption protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec. This is coupled with an audited no-logs policy to ensure all your data and browsing remains private and secure. South Korean users need this level of security, especially with the strict government regulations and online surveillance in the country.

Our speed tests showed that Surfshark had adequate performance for most online activities. The VPN service successfully unblocked various regional Netflix libraries and other streaming services. This makes it a suitable choice for streaming enthusiasts in South Korea.

Surfshark also boasts numerous additional features like CleanWeb, which blocks ads and malware. It also has the feature Bypasser, which acts as a split tunneler to allow users to select applications to be or not be protected by the VPN. ​​This is particularly helpful for South Korean users who may need to access restricted websites while doing their regular web browsing.

CleanWeb hides in the Surfshark VPN settings — we wish it was more obvious when this was toggled on or off.

In addition, the user interface is easy to navigate. This makes it straightforward for newcomers to download the software and connect to servers.

What we didn’t like

Surfshark has some limitations. The most notable is the significant drop in speed when connected to certain distant servers, especially in Australia, which might affect users requiring consistently high speeds.

Additionally, we encountered issues accessing the Canadian Netflix library, despite multiple attempts and following suggestions from Surfshark support. While the VPN has a recommended server for the fastest location, our tests found that these recommendations didn’t always yield the best speeds. Also, the lack of a dedicated streaming server might be a downside for users specifically looking for optimized streaming performance.

Surfshark specs

Price range $2.49–$19.99/mo
Free version No, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers 3,200 in 100 countries
Servers in South Korea Yes
Number of connected devices Unlimited
VPN protocol WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Get Surfshark

Read Surfshark Review

ExpressVPN: Best for streaming

Save 49% on 12 months + 3 months free
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website
ExpressVPN
  • Premium VPN offering strong security and ultra-fast speeds
  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

Who it’s best for

ExpressVPN is a suitable choice for those seeking high-speed streaming and robust security. The VPN can bypass geo-restrictions with ease, all while maintaining fast speeds. This makes it perfect for those who want a seamless viewing experience, regardless of their location.

ExpressVPN offers strong security protocols, which is especially appealing to users who are conscious about protecting their online privacy. This is very important in countries like South Korea, where strict internet regulations are prevalent. While the price point may be slightly higher than others, we feel it’s worth it for its valuable balance of speed and security.}

What we liked

ExpressVPN distinguishes itself through exceptional performance in key areas. Its high-speed connectivity is a major advantage, consistently maintaining rapid speeds ideal for streaming and browsing. This performance holds even when connected to far-away VPN servers, ensuring minimal slowdowns across global connections. Moreover, the ability to access geo-restricted content is crucial for users in South Korea who want to watch overseas streaming services or access websites blocked by the government.

Regarding security, ExpressVPN sets a high standard with AES-256 encryption and a range of protocols such as OpenVPN, Lightway, and IKEv2. This level of security is especially important for users in South Korea, where government surveillance and censorship are major concerns.

ExpressVPN offers a lot of protocols, including Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec.

ExpressVPN’s standout feature is its ability to unblock various Netflix libraries and other streaming services. Its headquarters are outside of the Eyes alliances and its no-logs policy has been audited by Cure53, which shows its commitment to user privacy. ExpressVPN’s user-friendly interface is clean and straightforward and makes it easy to set up, with its intuitive controls.

What we didn’t like

ExpressVPN is not without its weaknesses. One significant downside for many is its pricing, which is higher than many other VPN options on the market, including NordVPN and Surfshark. This might deter more budget-conscious users.

Our testing also revealed variability in initial server speed. While the overall speeds are commendable, the first server connection may not always be the fastest, so you’ll need to search for a more optimal server manually. Additionally, there were occasional delays in loading times when connecting to certain streaming services, although this issue wasn’t consistent.

ExpressVPN specs

Price range $6.67–$12.95/mo
Free version No, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers Servers in 105 countries
South Korean servers Yes
Number of connected devices 8
VPN protocol OpenVPN, Lightway, IKEv2
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Honorable mentions

While ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark are our top picks, there are others you may want to consider. The VPN providers listed below offer various features that might suit your specific needs or preferences. They didn't make it into our top three, but they are still commendable options in the VPN market.

  • CyberGhost: CyberGhost has a reputation for its user-friendly interface and ease of use. It boasts a large server network and is particularly good for streaming and torrenting.

    Get CyberGhost | Read Our CyberGhost Review

  • Private Internet Access (PIA): Private Internet Access is known for its commitment to privacy. It offers advanced security features and a strict no-logs policy, making it a great choice for those who are serious about maintaining anonymity online.

    Get PIA | Read Our PIA Review

  • IPVanish: IPVanish stands out with its high-speed connections and strong encryption, making it a good option for users who prioritize speed and security. It also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which is a plus for multi-device users.

    Read Our IPVanish Review

How we tested the best VPNs for Korea

To determine the best VPNs for Korea, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation focusing on key features crucial for a reliable and secure online experience. We tested each VPN's speed to ensure fast and uninterrupted internet access, especially for streaming and browsing. The strength of its security features was scrutinized, as privacy is important in a VPN service.

The server network's size was also considered, particularly the presence of servers in and around South Korea, to provide optimal connection speeds and access to local content. Additionally, we assessed the VPNs’ ability to unblock geo-restricted content and their policies on user logs, ensuring they uphold user privacy.

We also considered:

  • Speed: We measured the VPN's impact on internet connection speed, which is crucial for streaming, gaming, and browsing without lag.
  • Security features: We looked at encryption strength and protocols used, determining the VPN's effectiveness in protecting user data.
  • Server network: We assessed the number and location of servers, which affects connection quality and access to geo-specific content.
  • Geo-unblocking capabilities: We evaluated the VPN's ability to bypass regional restrictions, enabling access to a broader range of online content.
  • No-logs policy: We examined the VPN's policy on data logging, ensuring user activities aren't tracked or stored.
  • User interface and ease of use: We considered how user friendly and intuitive the VPN software is, impacting overall user experience.
  • Customer support: We assessed customer service availability and quality, crucial for troubleshooting and assistance.
  • Pricing and value: We compared the cost against the features and benefits offered, determining the VPN's overall value for money.

These criteria were integral in selecting the best VPNs, ensuring they meet the diverse needs of users in South Korea, whether they are casual browsers or want to partake in more intensive online activities.

Best VPNs for Korea FAQs


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Should I use a VPN in South Korea?

Using a VPN in South Korea is advisable to enhance your online privacy, secure your internet connection, and access geo-restricted content. A VPN encrypts your data, protecting it from hackers and surveillance, and allows you to access content that may be unavailable in South Korea due to regional restrictions.


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Which VPNs work in Korea?

VPNs that work effectively in Korea include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. These VPNs offer fast server speeds, strong encryption, and the ability to bypass geo-blocks. They also provide servers in and around South Korea, ensuring reliable and secure internet access.


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How do I get a Korean VPN?

To get a Korean VPN, choose a reliable VPN provider with servers in South Korea, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark. Sign up for their service, download and install the VPN app on your device, then connect to a South Korean server to obtain a South Korean IP address.

Bottom line: The best VPNs for Korea

ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark emerge as the three top choices for anyone looking for a VPN in South Korea. They each excel in different aspects, but all can bypass South Korea’s internet censorship and surveillance.

ExpressVPN offers excellent high-speed streaming capabilities and robust security, making it the ideal choice for users who seek both speed and privacy. NordVPN is praised for offering an extensive server network alongside its strong privacy protection. Therefore, this provider has found popularity with users who seek a large number of global connections. Finally, Surfshark offers a wonderful balance between affordability and features. With its competitive pricing and unlimited device connection, Surfshark is perfect for budget-conscious users and families/households.

Whether it's for bypassing geo-restrictions, enhancing online security, or simply enjoying a seamless internet experience, these VPNs cater to a wide array of needs.

3 best VPNs for Korea

Starting price Best for Learn more
Starts at $3.99/mo Best server network Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Starts at $2.49/mo Best for a budget Get Surfshark

Read Surfshark Review

Starts at $6.67/mo Best for streaming Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review 


Limited-time offer: Up to 67% off
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans
Author Details
Ryan Clancy is a freelance writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he's passionate about all things engineering and tech. He loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level that everyone can understand.

Citations

[1] South Korea: Freedom on the Net 2022 Country Report