With strict internet regulation, the best VPNs in the Philippines allow users to access geo-blocked content at fast connection speed, while having their online privacy maintained, all at a fair price!
Our #1 VPN for the Philippines is Surfshark – with blazing fast speed and solid security from as low as ₱127/mo!
For the best use case in the Philippines, we’ve narrowed down to the top 7 VPNs capable of bypassing geo-blocked content, with stable connection speed, wide server coverage, and strong security (no leaks in DNS and WebRTC tests).
As with all my VPN tests, before judging their speed I always judge my own. The following is my actual broadband speed based on a service line of 500Mbps, without a VPN connection active:
As I am based in Malaysia, my speeds will tend to be higher connecting to Asia-region VPN servers and slower as I connect to servers in the US or Europe. For this test I connected to a Philippines-based speed test server to give you an idea of relative speed over distance.
As you can see, a VPN-free connection to a local server nets me a fantastic speed of 442Mbps. Speeds of course will vary at times, so take this with a pinch of salt.
Established late in 2018, Surfshark may not yet be a household name but it certainly is one to keep an eye on. This relatively new brand has been throwing up impressive numbers and comes with a good feature-set packed tagged with a small price sticker.
It ticks off all the right boxes, having a user-friendly app, high encryption, and works with all the mandatory streaming services like Netflix and iBBC for example. Although there are limited VPN protocols on offer here, it does offer the most important ones at the moment, including OpenVPN (TCP and UDP).
Surprisingly, Surfshark’s performance for the Philippines was very fast despite not having any servers directly in the country. Part of this is us being forced to route the connection via Malaysia, its closest neighbouring country.
Read our Surfshark review to learn why it’s Bitcatcha’s #1 VPN!
NordVPN takes a strong second place in our Best VPN for the Philippines list for many reasons. One of the first is that they are based in Panama, which is also a good place to be for VPNs. Aside from that, NordVPN has a sterling reputation and is another VPN provider that has a huge number of servers in many countries.
Their strict no-logging policy combines with 256-bit military grade encryption and great price plans to offer almost anyone a deal that is hard to resist.
Again, NornVPN has no direct server in the Philippines so we opted to test it via a Malaysia-based server. With a 47Mbps downstream speed, in this round of tests NordVPN showed very stable performance to the Philippines.
What makes them even more attractive though is that they not only allow P2P traffic but have specially optimized servers for P2P traffic!
Read our in-depth NordVPN review to see why it’s one of our top picks!
ExpressVPN, despite its massive network of global servers is one of the companies that has chosen not to host a service directly in the Philippines. However, as I mentioned earlier this shouldn’t be an issue and we were able to test the connection via a Singapore-based VPN server.
On average, this VPN service offers excellent all-round service from top-notch speeds all the way to comprehensive applications and protocols – ideal for safety, privacy and anonymity. Its security protocols are also the best-in-class for consumer use existing today.
I have tested the service comprehensively and have no hesitation in recommending them as the top VPN service provider for users in the Philippines. ExpressVPN is stable and allows access on a good range of devices as well.
As an idea of how good it gets, I compared my default line speed without a VPN to an ExpressVPN covered test to the same location. With ExpressVPN on and connected to a server in the Philippines (via Singapore), I managed to show a decent 25Mbps downstream speed.
Read our complete ExpressVPN review to learn more!
The TorGuard interface may seem a little dated when first encountered but there is no doubt that it is one of the most secure VPN service providers around. Even though there isn’t a lot of bling on the user-facing side, performance is quite remarkable.
There is one key difference between TorGuard and many competitors in that it allows you to choose what level of encryption you prefer. This means that for P2P users, you can turn down encryption a notch and enjoy faster torrenting speeds anytime!
Aside from that, TorGuard has many other redeeming qualities, such as stable speeds, multi-platform capability and the ability to bypass VPN blockers.
As one of the top three best VPNs for the Philippines, TorGuard of course met certain speed requirements, as shown in my test result from a Malaysia-based VPN server. Users in the country should generally get this speed with few issues.
The only downside is that for younger users who are used to the sleekness of modern applications, the TorGuard interface will look like something from the past.
Read our thorough analysis on TorGuard for more information!
CyberGhosties are happy with them and they have certainly tried to be hip and upbeat in their marketing. This is another of the more well-known names in the VPN industry but personally I feel that they just might be a tiny bit overhyped.
Specification wise CyberGhost talks the good talk but having gone through test with them I advise a small pinch of salt. Do keep in mind though that this is a ranking list, so my expectations are quite high.
Users in the Philippines need to take note that most of CyberGhost servers are in the EU zone, but thankfully, they have some in the Asia region as well. There is no direct presence in the Philippines but connecting through a close-by Malaysia-based server is fine.
Overall, we managed to get very useable speeds of 19Mbps which is still enough to steam media on.
See our full review on CyberGhost to learn more!
IPVanish has suffered greatly in recent times due to its embroilment in certain… shall we say, unfortunate incidents. Yet aside from that, take note that they are under new management and hopefully such things will become just speed bumps in their past.
Moving those incidents aside, they remain a VPN giant in the field and boast speeds that are impressive. Luckily for that, since if you have any complaints about their speed, there isn’t much you can do as they force 256-bit encryption on everyone without exception.
Speed-wise, IPVanish has a strong showing via its Philippine server and is one of the few VPNs on this list to have a real presence there. I manged to establish a downstream speed of around 46Mbps which is good for the infrastructure there.
For those willing to experiment you can always try other servers in the region which may give better results. Still, the connection was stable and more than enough to stream media on.
Read our in-depth review on IPVanish to find out more!
FastestVPN isn’t the fastest I have tested but neither is it the slowest. It offers more limited countries to run your connection out of – as compared to many top-tier VPNs – but at prices from as low as ₱42.30 a month, it is a steal. They also have P2P optimized servers which makes them good for that as well.
The low prices do come with one serious drawback and that is the limited performance in overcoming geo-blocking. At last we discovered, FastestVPN doesn’t allow you to access either Netflix US content or the Philippines’s BBC iPlayer – bummer!
Find out more in our FastestVPN review!
The Philippines is in my mind the opposite of what I call the ‘sweet spot’ for VPNs and consumers alike. Over the past years Internet freedom in the country has been in decline.
Combined with the challenging economic situation there that sees it as having one of the lowest per capita GDP in the region, the picture isn’t a happy one.
To paint a picture of the local landscape on the ground, consumers in the Philippines must put up with the standard blockage of content which is pornographic in nature. However, there seems to be an overall ambivalence about content censorship in general despite increasing regulation around the topic.
The one major caveat to that ambivalence is content which is political in nature. The Philippine government has so far shown an ironclad will when it comes to the arrest and prosecution of political activists and who refuse to toe the official line.
These occurrences and more like them have seriously violated the right to privacy that Internet users should be able to expect. This coupled with the usual risks of unprotected Internet usage has made the Philippines a hot spot in Bitcatcha’s VPN roundups.
In many countries, especially those in the West, citizens can freely voice their opinions and frustrations against individual politicians or government without fear of reprisals. Unfortunately, in the Asia region this isn’t necessarily so.
Many countries in the Asia region have increasingly been cracking down on political activism (see examples in Singapore and China) and the Philippines is no exemption. The country has enacted the libel law which makes it a punishable offence.
The law has been used unhesitatingly against journalists since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016. Multiple cases have been filed against journalists for online libel, the most glaring of them being the unceasing attacks against online news source Rappler.
Internet Censorship in the Philippines is largely regulated by a broad law known as the Philippines Cybercrime Prevention Act. This law covers a broad spectrum of activities ranging from cybersquatting to digital forgery and pornography.
Unfortunately, over the years there have been multiple debates about what exactly the law should cover, exactly since it has been so broad. Recent events have even resulted in Supreme Court rulings in the country as to which provisions are constitutional or not.
According to the Electronic Frontier Federation, some Filipino politicians seem to be leaning towards increasing Internet censorship in the country. The result will likely be the outright ban of access to sites deemed inappropriate by the government.
In at least one instance, the Philippines has been known to have bought high tech spying equipment from a foreign government despite the president’s known penchant for the use of deadly force during his tenure in office. The equipment, including surveillance tools and other gear can be used to monitor both Internet activity as well as phone conversations.
Tensions were raised even higher when the president himself admitted to wiretapping even fellow politicians along with other comments he made about the subject.
A few years back, the government also amended regulations under the Cybercrime Prevention Act which mandated that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country must retain user data for at least six months. Upon request the ISPs must hand over that data to authorities to law enforcement agencies.
The law also requires that government agencies oversee and regulate business which provide Internet services, such as cybercafes, for example. These allowances mean that the potential for abuse of mandatory collected data remains high and is on the rise.
Having tested quite several VPNs for various countries, I need to insert an important note here for users who may be interested in using these services. Many VPN service providers do not actually have a server in the Philippines.
There are various reasons for this, ranging from the high price of bandwidth to weak overall infrastructure in the country. In fact, even one of their local government officials has called out their service providers, saying “We still have the slowest internet in the region. We still have the most expensive Internet in the region.”
However, all is not lost as thankfully, countries in the ASEAN region are clustered relatively close to each other. This means that if you’re in the Philippines and want to use a VPN, there are many countries close by which you can connect to with no real disadvantages.
Despite my earlier notes regarding the limbo that many regulations on censorship and blocking face in the Philippines, you will be happy to note that there are no official restrictions on anonymous communication in the Philippines.
Whether fixed broadband or mobile, the government has not made user registration for internet mandatory yet nor is there any ruling on VPN usage.
As you may realise by now, the Philippines really isn’t the kind of place where you want to be surfing the net without the use of a VPN, whether you are a national or visitor to the country. Because of the factors I’ve shared above and the seriousness of consequences of violating those regulations, it is a good idea to focus on the aspects of privacy and anonymity a VPN offers for users in the Philippines.
With both the government as well as private industry working together as well as independently to monitor and control traffic, a VPN needs to be able to ensure that your data and activities can be kept exactly the way it should be – private.
One of the best ways to ensure this is to keep an eye out for VPNs that not only have strict no-logging policies but that are also based out of countries that are laxer in their data retention laws. This certainly excludes countries in the five eyes and fourteen eyes jurisdiction.
The security spiel on VPNs is the same for the Philippines-based users as everywhere else. The ideal balance is known only to you, as a user. Do you opt for 256-bit encryption at the risk of lower VPN speeds or are you willing to lower that bar for increased speed?
Personally, I feel that for the Philippines market that it would be best to try and keep encryption levels high for two main reasons. The first is that one of the protagonists in the case we are discussing is the Philippines government, which will likely have more resources dedicated towards attempting to break any encryption encountered.
The second is that because of lower average internet speeds in the country, you are safe to keep encryption levels as high as possible without compromising your overall maximum speeds achievable.
Normally when we talk about geolocation spoofing it would be with an aim of accessing alternative content from mainstream providers such as Netflix US or the BBC iPlayer in the Philippines. However, this fact and the next few are mostly moot for the Philippines since speed is generally restricted and content blockage is not extremely prevalent – yet.
With slow speeds, P2P usage here would be largely suspect but there are indicators that it may not be as dormant as thought. For example, moves made by the Philippine creative industries has taken to stressing on the alleged negative impact that streaming piracy has on the local community.
Because of this it is advisable to look out for VPNs that have P2P traffic guidelines clearly spelt out in their terms of service, such as NordVPN or TorGuard.
With an average fixed line broadband speed of just 16.17Mbps in the Philippines, most VPNs should have zero issues matching the needs of users there. Mobile Internet speeds have been slight better though, edging up to an average of 23.74Mbps.
To recap, here is the Top 3 VPN Philippines:
As I said earlier, the Philippines is sort of caught between a rock and a hard place in the VPN zone. Increasing (and yet at the same time confusing) government legislation and tendencies combine with overall poor GDP and weak domestic infrastructure apparently make VPN use a hit or miss case.
However, my question would be whether you are willing to take the chance of being arrested at any time for strangely unclear charges when you could be browsing the Internet in the Philippines in complete peace of mind.
Couple that with the relatively low price for long term plans that many VPN services have, I still do recommend you use one if you are in the country for any period. You certainly don’t want to run afoul of legislation and end up in the Philippines jail.