Is the internet freedom in Sri Lanka leaving you feeling restricted and uneasy? Sri Lanka has been linked by Freedom House on prevalent corruption, harassment of journalists and minorities, and occasional blockage of essential communication platforms. The limitations and the looming shadow of government surveillance can taint the online experience, causing concern among citizens and visitors alike.
Harnessing the power of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) becomes crucial in such an environment. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic, rendering it impenetrable to prying eyes, be it hackers or government entities. It’s not just about security but also about freedom and peace of mind while accessing the web in Sri Lanka.
At Comparitech, we’ve researched and tested numerous VPNs to provide the most reliable and effective solutions. This ensures your online experiences in Sri Lanka are secure, unrestricted, and worry-free.
We provide a lot of detail on each of the VPNs that we selected for this article, but if you only have time for a summary, here is our list of the best VPNs for Sri Lanka:
- NordVPN Our #1 choice for Sri Lanka. Exceptional speeds and leading privacy and security features. Plenty of servers in many countries, so no issues unblocking restricted sites and services. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly.
- Surfshark: Best budget pick. No connection limit, great at unblocking and it doesn’t keep any logs. Strong suite of security features.
- ExpressVPN Vast array of servers around the globe are able to unblock social media sites, communication apps and geo-blocked streaming content. Secure and private service.
- CyberGhost Low-cost provider with some of the fastest servers in our testing. Easy-to-use apps are great for beginners.
- IPVanish Reliable, private, and secure. Also good for streaming and downloading.
- PrivateVPN Newest provider on this list, with a growing reputation for its unblocking capabilities. Solid privacy and security.
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Best VPNs for Sri Lanka – Our hands-on review
We’ve tested and compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Sri Lanka.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Cyberghost.com||IPVanish.com||PrivateVPN.com||Ranking for Sri Lanka||1||2||3||4||5||6||Streaming reliability||Excellent||Excellent||Excellent||Good||Good||Good||Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||85%||70%||85%||Total number of servers||5,700+||3,200||Undisclosed||7000+||2,200+||200+|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99|
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Best VPNs for Sri Lanka
Not all VPNs are born equal — some suffer from poor security while others are slow and unreliable. In this article, we reveal the best VPNs for Sri Lanka based on the following factors:
- Able to unblock social media sites and apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp
- Strong encryption and additional security factors
- A no-logging policy
- A large repository of servers across the world
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Apps for Android and iOS
- Multiple simultaneous connections
From real-world testing, here is our list of the best VPNs for Sri Lanka:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top recommendation for a Sri Lanka VPN. It pegs incredible speeds and boasts best-in-class security. NordVPN encrypts internet traffic using the 256-bit AES protocol and 2,048-bit SSL keys. Additional security features include DNS leak protection. These are considered to be top-tier protocols.
The company adheres to a strict zero-logs policy. This means it will not store any user data related to sessions, traffic, or timestamps.
There have been a few instances where NordVPN received official requests to hand over user data from government surveillance agencies. But its no-logs policy helped it evade these summons. Servers were confiscated in at least one instance, but there wasn’t any incriminating data that could be extracted from them. Additionally, NordVPN is incorporated in Panama which means it doesn’t have to automatically comply with any data retention laws.
Its server network is similarly robust. In total there are almost 5,400 servers to choose from spread across 60 countries. This provider supports most online streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. It’s also compatible with torrenting. A single paid subscription allows for six simultaneous connections.
Apps for Android and iOS are available as well as desktop software for Windows,Linux, and MacOS.
- Superfast speeds for streaming and downloading
- Operates over 5,400 servers in Europe and North America, great for unblocking censored and restricted content
- Strong encryption and privacy protections won’t compromise your location
- Easily circumvents social media and chat app blocks
- Unlimited bandwidth and no data caps
- 24/7 live chat support available
- Desktop app takes two clicks to disconnect
BEST VPN FOR SRI LANKA:NordVPN is our top pick. It’s a great all-rounder that pegs amazing speeds and works well in Sri Lanka. Best-in-class security features and accommodates up to 6 devices. Also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee for a risk-free deal.
Read our review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a great low-cost alternative. It holds its own when it comes to unblocking and offers a robust set of security features. These include 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, protection against leaks, and a kill switch.
Alongside some of the more standard features, Surfshark offers automatic wifi protection, multi-hop VPN, and a split tunneling feature. Better still, Surfshark doesn’t keep any logs whatsoever.
Speeds are decent for streaming and this provider is known for its unblocking potential. It can provide secure access to multiple Netflix libraries, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more.
Surfshark has been ramping up its server network and now operates over 3,200 in more than 100 countries, so you have plenty to choose from. There aren’t any servers in Sri Lanka, but there are options close by in India, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Surfshark apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. A huge perk with this provider is that there’s no connection limit so you can use it on as many devices as you like.
- Unblocks a ton of streaming sites
- Strong encryption and lots of security extras
- No logs whatsoever
- Use on an unlimited number of devices
- 24/7 support
- Settings menu feels a little unorganized
BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark is a low-cost, reliable VPN. It’s also great at unblocking and boasts a selection of security extras. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN leverages robust encryption standards. It uses 256-bit AES-CBC with utilization of both HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. Additional security features include an internet kill switch (the company refers to it as a ‘network lock’) which will temporarily stymie all web traffic if the connection to the VPN drops unexpectedly. ExpressVPN keeps minimal metadata logs, but nothing that could identify users.
When it comes to server networks, ExpressVPN offers a large list of options. There are over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries. There’s an option to connect to servers in Sri Lanka too which is handy for local residents trying to access local content and banking services when traveling abroad.
This is a speedy, reliable VPN service that won’t let you down. ExpressVPN can reliably access some of the most stubborn geo-blocked services and even supports torrenting.
Apps for Android and iOS are available as well as desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. There’s also an easy-to-setup router app in case you’d like to secure an entire network.
- Vast network of servers dotted around the globe can unblock most restricted and censored content
- Encrypts all traffic to prevent ISP snooping and throttling
- No identifiable personal data is logged
- Has custom router firmware
- Live chat customer support – 24/7
- Some rivals are slightly cheaper
- Streaming servers aren’t labeled
STRONG UNBLOCKER:ExpressVPN reliably circumvents internet censorship and unblocks Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, and more. Also boasts fast connections and a huge range of servers. Try it on a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has a huge network, with more than 9,000 servers in 90+ countries around the world. In fact, there are more than a dozen to choose from in Sri Lanka, which makes getting a speedy, low-latency connection extremely simple.
CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. There’s also an internet kill switch included, which acts as an additional security layer. This service recently introduced WireGuard support too, bringing it into the next generation of VPN connectivity.
This provider has a stated policy of not storing any data, so that should ease privacy concerns. The company is originally registered in Romania which means it’s safely out of the reach of any data retention laws. A single subscription can host up to 7 devices at any given point in time.
CyberGhost offers apps for Android and iOS as well as desktop clients for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
- Thousands of servers
- Some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen
- Low-cost option with beginner-friendly apps
- Can unblock most geo-blocked social media and chat apps
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Could provide more control over advanced features
- Doesn’t work in China
Good Value:CyberGhost is great for beginners. Great privacy and security. Reliable but can struggle with popular streaming sites. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish follows a similar trend when it comes to securing your connection. The encryption standards it uses are rigid: 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default (though WireGuard is supported too), SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048 key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. The latter feature means that even if hackers gain access to your account, all your past web sessions will remain encrypted and secure. An internet kill switch is also included by default.
This company is registered in the US which might be disconcerting for some users given the Snowden revelations and Cambridge Analytica leak. However, since this provider is completely logless, IPVanish simply can’t reveal any identifiable info. This includes session history, choice of servers, and bandwidth utilized.
At the moment, IPVanish offers more than 2,000 servers in 75 locations worldwide. There’s no option to connect to a server in Sri Lanka, but there is a large selection of servers in Asia, Europe, and North America.
IPVanish works with various streaming services and permits torrenting on all servers. Best of all, there’s no connection limit whatsoever. IPVanish has apps for iOS and Android as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
- Operates a network of more than 2,000 servers from 75 locations around the globe
- Very fast speeds
- Strong security
- Use on all of your devices simultaneously
- Struggles with some streaming services
- Based in the US
NO CONNECTION LIMIT:IPVanish is a good family choice. Allows unlimited simultaneous connections. Recommend for its standard of privacy, but keep shopping if you want to securely access Netflix. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN might have a smaller network than some of its rivals but don’t let this fool you. The service is fast and packs a punch, with stringent encryption and the ability to unblock a number of geo-restricted streaming services. Further, it recently upped its connection limit and can now secure 10 devices at the same time.
At the moment there are around 200 servers spread across the world. Sri Lanka isn’t included in the offering but there are a handful of Asian servers. PrivateVPN reliably works with Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, and BBC iPlayer.
You can opt for 128-bit or 256-bit encryption, depending on your chosen protocol. All packages incorporate perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and an internet kill switch. Leakage of your private data seems to be a far-fetched scenario given that this VPN acts as its own ISP and server host.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.
- Very good at getting around geo-blocks and censorship
- Strong security and privacy protection features
- Works with a wide range of streaming services
- Small number of servers to choose from
- Live chat is not around the clock
Fast Servers:PrivateVPN is a solid all-rounder. Unblocks social media content, most chat and popular streaming services. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. Also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Our Methodology: Identifying the best VPNs for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a particularly troubling digital landscape, with many ISPs blocking access to encrypted messengers and VPNs outright. Additionally, the country has vaguely-worded laws that can easily be used to prosecute unwitting internet users. For this reason, we can’t afford to compromise on privacy. Here are the criteria we used to find the best VPNs for Sri Lanka:
- Cloaking ability: All but two of the country’s ISPs block VPNs, but this only applies if they detect VPN traffic. The services above all offer some form of stealth mode or cloaking that should allow you to connect on just about any connection.
- Server choice: The larger the server network, the more reliable it tends to be. Additionally, we look for VPNs with lots of supported countries since this helps reduce your connection’s latency and ensures the best possible experience.
- Security: We only recommend VPNs that use 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch to keep your activities private. Of course, if anti-censorship servers, split tunneling ability, or specialized protocols are available, that’s even better.
- Privacy: Anonymous internet access is hard to get in Sri Lanka, which is why it’s important to use a VPN with a no-logs policy. Additionally, we prioritize services that let you sign up anonymously by paying in gift cards or cryptocurrency,
- Ease of use: We’ll never recommend a VPN that’s too complex for newcomers to use. In fact, the services above offer free customer support over live chat. Some even let you secure an unlimited number of devices. Naturally, they all have strong multi-platform support too, so you can browse safely no matter which operating system you’re using.
This may seem like a fairly extensive list of requirements, but it’s actually just the first step of our testing. We have a full breakdown of Comparitech’s VPN testing process in case you’d like to learn more.
Browsing safely in Sri Lanka: FAQs
Should I use a free VPN in Sri Lanka?
Our recommendations on this list are paid options, meaning you’ll have to sign up with a credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, or other available payment option. These services are meant to offer a premium experience, unencumbered with issues like sluggish speeds, weak encryption, or limited server offerings.
On the other hand, be prepared to face all these issues and more if you opt for a random free VPN. Some providers have been caught tracking and mining user data to sell to advertisers for a profit. Others have engaged in more egregious acts, like utilizing idle bandwidth to generate a massive botnet.
Since the web is under threat in Sri Lanka, it’s probably worth coughing up a few dollars to make sure your privacy and anonymity aren’t under threat. The last thing you want is for your ISP to snoop on your behavior.
Is torrenting legal in Sri Lanka?
The use of torrents sits in a legal grey area in the island country. Assuming your ISP doesn’t block P2P traffic outright, you can indulge in downloading torrents as long as you don’t use them to access copyrighted material. The practical implications of this are that any open source software or royalty-free media can be safely consumed, but not the newest Taylor Swift song.
So far there haven’t been any arrests in Sri Lanka for downloading torrents but it’s better to be on the safe side. A VPN is a good bet to cover your digital footprint and ensure your ISP can’t figure out what you’re doing.
Disclaimer: although we’ve researched this topic thoroughly, nothing we’ve said should be considered legal advice. If there’s any doubt in your mind about the legality of using torrents, we encourage you to research local laws for yourself beforehand.
How do I blog anonymously in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka has a troubling history of jailing web journalists, with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) previously used to imprison activists and those critical of the state.
These laws have now been replaced by a new counter-terrorism framework, and a National Human Rights Action Plan is under consideration by the government, reportedly at the behest of Western administrations. Despite these modest improvements, activists and legal scholars insist that the new regulations contain provisions that have the potential to limit freedom of expression. There are concerns regarding whether or not the law will be applied in a fair and just manner.
So far we haven’t come across any new threats to journalists or human rights activists. But this isn’t a far-fetched scenario. Repressive governments across the world have consistently twisted laws to jail opponents and snuff out attempts to question a totalitarian grip on power. As such, if you’re a journalist, whistleblower, blogger, or human rights activist in Sri Lanka, you may want to hide your identity on the web. Our guide to blogging anonymously is a useful read if you’re looking to tread down this path.