ExpressVPN is the best VPN for South Korea, whether you only want a South Korean IP address or unblock content from anywhere. The VPN provider is also notable for its fast obfuscation on top of fast streaming speeds, top-notch encryption, and online privacy tools to keep you safe/anonymous online.
If you’re wondering which is the better bet, I recommend you continue reading the rest of this guide.
Top 3 VPNs for South Korea
NordVPN’s combination of AES 256-bit encryption, an in-house NordLynx protocol, and an audited no-logs policy over its 5500+ servers make it a privacy powerhouse.
ExpressVPN hides your VPN traffic from South Korean ISPs and the government while unblocking access to geo-restricted content, bypassing censorship, and keeping your internet activity anonymous over its 3000+ servers.
Get 3200+ servers to unblock content anywhere, bypass geo-restrictions and avoid government surveillance with Surfshark’s offering. The affordable provider also offers unlimited simultaneous device connections.
South Korea’s democracy is marred by brazen instances of content censorship, internet user arrests, and clampdowns on social media platforms.
Not even KakaoTalk is safe, as the country’s authorities regularly bear down on the service to provide user details.
Likewise, the South Korean space is home to a lot of BTS content, and K-dramas are starting to catch on in the rest of the world. But without being in the country, you may not get access to the best of this content.
Fortunately, my top VPNs can hit two birds with one stone.
On the one hand, they’ll keep you safe from the government’s invasive data collection and online surveillance tactics. On the other hand, they’ll help you unblock content in South Korea and abroad, even if you aren’t there.
Sounds fun, right? Get started by reading the summaries of my best VPNs for South Korea to help you make a choice faster.
Unblock K-Dramas From Abroad and Access Geo-Restricted Sites With My Top South Korea VPNs
It’s time to make ISP surveillance, South Korean government monitoring, and geo-blocking a thing of the past. Here’s a sneak peek at what you get on my VPNs.
- ExpressVPN – Avoid VPN traffic detection over 3000+ servers in 94 countries with ExpressVPN’s fast and reliable obfuscation technology.
- NordVPN – Unblock content anywhere, bypass censorship, and stay private online over 5600+ servers in 59 countries.
- Surfshark – Connect all your smartphones, PCs, smart TVs, and routers to the same Surfshark account to enjoy premium security and privacy with unlimited bandwidth.
- CyberGhost – Enjoy 20+ South Korean servers in Seoul, 9000+ global servers to unblock content anywhere, and specialized servers for torrenting, gaming, and streaming.
- AtlasVPN – Meet the best free VPN provider for South Korea that doesn’t sacrifice your privacy and security for its no-cost offering.
If you’re still torn between a few choices, sharing the details of my tests on these VPNs will help you compare better. So, keep reading to find out how these providers stand out in South Korea and where they fall short.
Tests and Comparisons of My Top South Korea VPNs
Want to know how my top VPNs performed on speed, security, privacy, content unblocking, and encryption in South Korea? Find out below.
ExpressVPN – Fast Obfuscation, South Korean Servers & 3000+ Secure Global Servers
ExpressVPN carries 3000+ global servers in 94 countries, one of which is South Korea. I connected to the South Korean server a few times to stream Transit Love, Rose Mansion, and Yonder on TVING without issue.
Even after leaving Seoul and traveling out of South Korea, I still connect to the server to unblock this content. So, I have no concerns about the capability of its local server in the region.
You can also connect to this server to unblock games and other South Korea-restricted content, especially from regions like India.
Fortunately, ExpressVPN has router VPN software to choose the specific server library you want your gaming consoles to connect to.
Besides the local server, ExpressVPN is no slouch on its global servers.
At a reach of 94 countries, it’s only behind Surfshark.
Thus, you can unblock content from almost anywhere if you’re traveling to South Korea or a resident/citizen who likes to unblock content elsewhere.
For example, I successfully unblocked
- BBC iPlayer via the UK servers
- Crave TV via the Canada servers
- Hulu, Amazon Prime US, and Netflix US via the extensive USA servers
- Voot over the Indian servers
Connecting to ExpressVPN’s servers does more than unblock content.
It also ensures your internet activity is encrypted from the government and ISPs like Korea Telecom, LG UPlus, and SK Broadband.
Thus, these ISPs can’t
- Collect your internet activity data and report it to the government
- Block the websites you’re visiting since they don’t even see them in the first place
- Report you to copyright trolls for downloading torrent files
- Determine who you are since you’re not using its IP address anymore
The last point is essential if you operate an anonymous blog, a private Twitter/social media account, or speak with journalistic sources that you’d rather the government not know about. After all, the South Korean government doesn’t hide its arrest of anyone who as much as retweets/shares content it deems critical.
Its AES 256-bit encryption is also a lifesaver if you’re connected to the public Wi-Fi networks at Holly’s Coffee, The Shilla Seoul, café913, or any other free Wi-Fi hotspot in the country. Otherwise, you risk getting caught up in public Wi-Fi attacks that could lead to identity theft and substantial financial losses.
On top of ExpressVPN’s reliable encryption to keep you safe, it also uses fast & automatic obfuscation on all servers and protocols.
Thus, your ISP can’t tell you’re using a VPN, and you’ll have better chances of bypassing firewalls and harsher censorship.
The best part of this is ExpressVPN’s obfuscation speeds, knowing that every other provider suffers a massive speed drop when obfuscation is enabled.
For context, I tested ExpressVPN’s speeds over my 45Mbps connection.
The result was almost 35Mbps! In fact, it’s the third fastest VPN on this list – but the overall fastest if we level the playing field by enabling obfuscation on the others.
You’ll get the best streaming, gaming, and download speeds on ExpressVPN over its Lightway – UDP protocol. You should try the slightly less fast Lightway – TCP protocol for unstable connections instead.
Another thing I looked at is that ExpressVPN isn’t affiliated with the South Korean government or based in the country. After all, South Korea has a habit of imposing on local ISPs to block content and internal social media platforms like KakaoTalk to spy on users/collect user data for it.
Fortunately, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands.
That’s outside the reach of South Korea and a privacy-friendly country. Furthermore, ExpressVPN has two zero logs audits that show it never collects data about what you do online. Thus, it won’t have such data to share if asked.
Remember when I mentioned that you can use ExpressVPN with your gaming consoles and even install it on your router? Well, that’s not all.
It also has native support for mobile devices (iOS and Android), PCs (Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chromebook), and some smart TVs.
However, it only offers five simultaneous device connections, the least on this list. But you can get more by setting up the router (which counts as one device) to broadcast a secure connection to unlimited devices.
With that out, ExpressVPN’s priciness is another bone of contention. Considering its fast obfuscation on all servers and protocols and the in-house Lightway protocol, it’s a good value purchase.
Despite that, use these ExpressVPN discounts to save more before they expire.
NordVPN – Reliable Encryption and Top-Notch Privacy Over 5500+ Servers
NordVPN has 10+ servers in South Korea, and they’re all housed in the capital city of Seoul. I would have loved to have these servers spread around more cities, but NordVPN has proven that the Seoul servers are just as capable.
After all, they unblocked KakaoTV, which I didn’t have access to before connecting to these servers. This already proves NordVPN’s servers are secure, don’t leak IP/DNS requests, and anonymize you whenever you connect to them.
Thankfully, this treatment isn’t limited to South Korean servers only.
NordVPN still packs 5600+ other servers in 59 countries to unblock an array of content unavailable in South Korea.
Suppose you’re living in South Korea and want to connect to gaming peers outside your region. In that case, you’ll appreciate NordVPN’s gaming support. It even has DDoS protection to secure your gaming sessions better, like the other VPNs here.
There are three ways I’d recommend to unblock and play games with NordVPN from South Korea:
This unblocking ability isn’t limited to games alone.
You can also connect to any of these servers to access websites, stream content, and bypass geo-restrictions in South Korea or anywhere else.
The only issue I have with NordVPN is that it carries the least number of countries. Unfortunately, you may want to unblock content from some regions that it doesn’t support.
So, nothing to be taken away from the efficiency of its remaining servers.
Like ExpressVPN, I didn’t get any lags or buffering across all the content I unblocked. That can only mean NordVPN is fast too.
I tested it on the same connection as ExpressVPN and got 33Mbps, just below ExpressVPN.
Even so, ExpressVPN beats NordVPN massively here because of the automatic obfuscation on ExpressVPN. Comparing both providers on their obfuscation speeds, ExpressVPN wins by a landslide.
But you wouldn’t mind, mainly because NordVPN’s ultra-fast NordLynx protocol, which generated these speeds, is good enough to bypass most of the geo-restrictions in South Korea anyway.
Blog owners, social media users, and journalists also get AES 256-bit encryption to stay anonymous online over NordVPN’s servers.
NordVPN has two kill switches to prevent accidental IP and data leaks if your VPN connection drops randomly. In contrast, the other VPNs listed have only one – but that’s capable enough too.
None of these security and privacy features would matter if NordVPN could hand over your data to the South Korean authorities.
Thankfully, it’s based in Cyprus, Panama, where it doesn’t have to worry about conforming to South Korean laws.
Even if South Korean authorities reach out to ask the VPN provider for data on what you do on its servers, a no-logs policy means it won’t have any data to share.
This no-logs claim has been independently verified by PwC, so you can take that to the bank.
While ExpressVPN might take the upper hand for country count and speed, NordVPN claws back with more simultaneous connections (6) and affordable pricing plans.
If NordVPN sounds like your preferred provider, grab these NordVPN deals before they expire.
Surfshark – Seoul Servers & 3200+ Secure Global Servers on Unlimited Devices
Surfshark excels in speed, security, privacy, and coverage – and we’ll touch on all that soon.
For starters, it also packs a South Korean server location in Seoul.
However, I discovered that there are multiple servers in this location.
When I connect to the server on various days for multiple tests, I get different shared IP addresses.
This makes more sense than a single IP address that can trace the server’s users along the line.
Like I did with the others, I ensured Korea Telecom, LG Powercomm, or other ISPs you prefer can’t track your internet activity or see what you’re doing online over Surfshark. Surfshark showed the strength of its AES 256-bit encryption for these leak tests by not leaking any requests.
On top of that, I enjoyed some on-demand videos over JTBC without issues.
I even streamed the live videos, which are known to be unforgiving of poor internet connections, and got a buffer-less experience too.
The better news is that I retained access to JTBC, Kai TV, and other South Korean streaming channels I fell in love with after leaving the region.
I tested how fast Surfshark is before going to the international server tests.
It got a whopping 39Mbps on the 45Mbps connection, the fastest on the list.
Of course, this speed drops below ExpressVPN’s scores when you enable Camouflage Mode – Surfshark’s obfuscation feature over the OpenVPN protocols. But it’s impressive that it gets such speeds on WireGuard.
Speaking of the WireGuard protocol, I would have loved it if Surfshark also offered an in-house protocol, as you see with ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
Since it’s fast on WireGuard, I don’t mind that it sticks to the stock protocol.
But WireGuard on Surfshark has some connectivity issues on Windows PC these days that may mar the experience. Thus, you’ll have to reconnect to the VPN multiple times to get it to work with WireGuard sometimes.
If you’re willing to look past that, you’re in luck with Surfshark’s country coverage. Standing at 100 countries, this VPN has the highest reach of all the providers I tested and listed here. However, it’s better than only ExpressVPN and AtlasVPN on the server count numbers (3200+).
Fortunately, that doesn’t affect its quality of unblocking.
You already know how fast this VPN can be, so watching 4K streams wasn’t a hassle either.
But things get interesting when it comes to the privacy front.
Surfshark is based in the Netherlands, a country that’s a known part of the 14 Eyes alliance. That should have made me doubt its privacy focus, but the provider reinforces trust with its audited no-logs policy.
It even has a warrant canary updated daily to let users know it hasn’t been served with court orders to divulge data or any gag orders.
Luckily, even if it’s asked to reveal information about what you’re doing on its servers, the no-logs service makes that impossible.
The only drawback with Surfshark is that it doesn’t have the same robust router support that ExpressVPN offers. So, it’s a lot technical and not as flexible. Barring that, the provider offers easy-to-setup and easily navigable apps for PCs and mobile devices.
The best part is that Surfshark is the second-cheapest VPN provider I reviewed. And it offers unlimited simultaneous connections, only matched by AtlasVPN on this list.
Want more savings with Surfshark? Grab our exclusive discount deals before they expire.
CyberGhost – 20+ Seoul Servers and 9000+ Global Servers for Online Privacy
CyberGhost features the largest server count on this list.
Thus, it’s little surprise that it also houses 20+ South Korean servers in Seoul, the largest on this list.
But what’s the largest server count if it doesn’t work? Nothing!
So, I quickly checked for leaks on the CyberGhost South Korean server and didn’t get any. I continued with a streaming test of Chosun TV, watched a live show on the site, and didn’t get any lags. If there’s one thing I came back with from that TV Chosun show, it’s that Koreans can sing!
Afterward, I tried Rai TV, KBS2, SBS TV, and other channels, which unblocked quickly. I also got extra clear image quality and zero lags, so CyberGhost must be doing something right in the speed department.
On testing, I found that it holds a steady 37Mbps on the 45Mbps connection. That’s just a fraction less than what Surfshark offers, making it the second-fastest provider.
CyberGhost and Surfshark rely on the WireGuard protocol for such speeds. I’ve also discovered that CyberGhost’s IKEv2 protocol is fast on mobile devices. However, don’t use it for security-sensitive tasks; only those where you need a little more speed.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t test CyberGhost’s obfuscation speeds against ExpressVPN. After all, it doesn’t have this feature yet.
Luckily, you’ll rarely need obfuscation in South Korea, although it’s nice to have it on ExpressVPN.
Now that I was satisfied with the local content unblocking, how about the international content unavailable in South Korea?
A quick glance at the left-hand dashboard on this VPN shows that it has servers dedicated to streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
In other words, there’s rarely any of these activities you want from anywhere that CyberGhost won’t unblock.
It builds on that promise with 9000+ servers in 90+ countries – the most massive server library on this list. Only NordVPN comes close in terms of servers, and it’s almost 2x less than what CyberGhost offers.
Testing some of these optimized servers, I unblocked and privately downloaded some torrent files on The Pirate Bay.
It even has a torrent-optimized server in South Korea to encrypt your internet traffic, get the least ping and ensure the fastest download speeds.
That’s because your torrent traffic doesn’t have to travel to a farther server.
I also tested streams on Netflix US/Australia/Japan, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and France TV. I can assure you that CyberGhost will unblock virtually anything you want to watch from South Korea if it has the relevant servers.
Unlike Surfshark, though, CyberGhost ticks all the privacy boxes.
So, it has that audited no-logs promise, and it’s based in Romania, a data privacy-friendly country. It also recently got its no-logs audit, so you know it’s currently up to speed with industry best practices.
However, it mimics Surfshark’s technical router setup, lacking an easy setup like you get in the ExpressVPN app.
If you’re willing to look past that, you’ll get native CyberGhost app support with the same devices as ExpressVPN. Plus, you get two extra simultaneous connections, making 7 total on CyberGhost.
Here’s the best part: CyberGhost is the second cheapest VPN provider.
That doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for these exclusive deals and discounts, though.
AtlasVPN – Best Free VPN for South Korea
I usually don’t trust free VPN services because they’re nefarious.
However, AtlasVPN’s freemium plan makes it stand out from the rest, and you’ll soon see why.
But let’s get this out of the way:
AtlasVPN doesn’t have a server in South Korea. Even when you go for the paid plan, you still don’t get servers in this region. So, forget unblocking any South Korean streams, accessing local content, or connecting to gaming peers there.
If SK servers are a huge deal for you, now’s the best time to ditch AtlasVPN in favor of the others. Otherwise, you’ll be glad to find three servers on the free plan: two in the United States and one in the Netherlands.
Fortunately, the US boasts one of the largest content libraries in the world.
In fact, I’ve found that only extremely niche services (like France TV, BBC iPlayer, and NRK TV) can’t be unblocked from the USA.
Thus, you’ll have to do with streaming Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video US, Hulu, and other content you can find in the States.
But before you go streaming, AtlasVPN’s free plan comes with a limited 5GB bandwidth allowance. That restricts how much content you can stream, download, or browse while connected to any of the free servers.
The only saving grace is that this bandwidth limitation resets monthly.
Despite that, users like me who stream a lot of content won’t last one day with that bandwidth allowance.
If you can look past that, AtlasVPN uses reliable encryption on all its servers, free and paid. I’ve never had any IP or DNS request leaks while connected to this VPN. That’s something missing on most free VPNs notorious for exposing your traffic.
Thus, AtlasVPN is a great VPN for South Korea if you only want to
- Hide your internet activities from your SK ISPs
- Keep the government, tech companies, and advertisers from tracking you across the web
- Maintain an anonymous blog or social media platform
But again, it’s not the best for unblocking South Korean content due to a lack of servers.
For the content that AtlasVPN unblocked, though, I was impressed by the clear HD quality. Another hallmark of most free providers is slow speeds, even throttling an already slow internet connection.
On testing AtlasVPN with a 45Mbps connection, I got 22Mbps back.
This is under the requirements for 4K streaming (25Mbps) but handles HD well. This also looks intentional since AtlasVPN mentions on its upgrade page that it reserves 4K streaming ability for paid users.
Likewise, considering that there’ll be too many users on the three free servers, they’re likely unable to attain those speeds anyway.
Despite that, AtlasVPN still disappoints by being based in the USA, a 14 Eyes surveillance nation. The only saving grace is that the US and South Korea aren’t such tight pals that they’ll share your data collected from AtlasVPN.
Furthermore, AtlasVPN maintains it has a no-logs policy.
So, none of what you do on its servers is recorded, and that data can’t be summoned. But believe this at your own discretion since it has never been audited for these claims. The only silver lining is that it has never been embroiled in a data-sharing scandal.
There’s more good news and bad news:
AtlasVPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections like Surfshark, even on the free plan. The bad news is that the 5GB monthly limit applies on an account basis, not per device. So, the more connected devices, the faster your chances of using up the bandwidth.
AtlasVPN doesn’t offer router support or Smart DNS for units that can’t download a native VPN app. This would have applied to some smart TV models and gaming consoles.
You won’t miss that much if you only need to use the VPN on your mobile devices and PCs. The VPN provider has native apps for these, which are easy to set up.
Suppose you’re ever considering upgrading to the AtlasVPN paid plan.
In that case, you can get 740+ more servers in 40+ locations, faster streaming speed, specialty streaming servers, and better online privacy features.
It’s not expensive either. Grab these AtlasVPN deals to get the best price.
The State of the Internet in South Korea
The South Korean government is notorious for censoring web content, arresting online figures, and requesting identity verification of online users.
This isn’t going to stop, even as the government moves towards establishing itself as having a free internet space.
So, if you’re traveling to South Korea or already there, you need a VPN more than you know.
Severe Internet Censorship
The South Korean government hides under three laws to censor the web and what citizens/residents can post online. These are the:
- Nation Security Law (1948): Designed to regulate what the press and media bodies can post online. This has since extended to private journalists and bloggers.
- Basic Press Act (1980): Informs on how information should be edited before presentation to the public. In other words, encouraging self-censorship.
- Article 21: Implying that citizens have freedom of speech but maybe not against the government.
Considering this, South Korean Twitter users have been arrested for random, everyday tweets against the government.
In 2007, some bloggers were even arrested for seemingly supporting some presidential candidates over others. In the same breath, others were arrested in the same year for being critical of the government or some choice presidential candidates.
Five years later, a South Korean activist was arrested for retweeting a message from a North Korean page.
It’s gotten so bad that the management of KakaoTalk revealed multiple attempts by the government to extract its users’ data. That would have helped the government see what the platform’s users are discussing, step up its privacy invasion, and make even more arrests.
It needs no telling that online privacy and anonymity are critical here.
Since ISPs can see what users are doing online under S’Korean law, they can help the government facilitate these user tracking and arrests.
Thus, a VPN is needed to encrypt your internet activity and improve anonymity.
Content Geo-Blocking and Restrictions
Content geo-blocking isn’t a unique issue in South Korea, but that doesn’t make it less of a problem. After all, it suffers restrictions from many web content compared to areas like the USA, UK, and Canada.
This is incredibly frustrating for students, tourists, expats, and other travelers to South Korea who find out that they can’t access the content they had at home anymore.
For example, travelers from the UK lose access to BBC iPlayer, those from Canada can’t get Crave TV anymore, and French tourists must do without their France TV.
Fortunately, you can correct that with a VPN that carries relevant servers.
That’s why I’ve chosen those VPNs with an extensive country reach, improving your chances of unblocking anything anywhere.
How to Setup a VPN in South Korea?
Set up your VPN in South Korea by enabling the kill switch to prevent leaks, choose a suitable protocol, and connect to a preferred server.
I’ll show you how I’ll set up a VPN in South Korea using my preferred VPN, ExpressVPN.
- Purchase a VPN subscription. I recommend ExpressVPN for South Korea.
- Download the VPN app for your device. I’ll use Windows PC for this example.
- Log in with your ExpressVPN account credentials.
- Enable the VPN kill switch. Go to Menu (hamburger icon) > Options > General > toggle “Network Lock.”
- Choose a suitable protocol. I recommend Lightway – UDP for the fastest obfuscation speeds and privacy.
- On the VPN home screen, select “Smart Location” to automatically get the best/fastest server.
- OR click the three dots on the “Selected Location” tab to open the country list.
- Search for a preferred country/city. Double-click the server once you see it.
- Wait for the connection confirmation. Then test for leaks (I use www.ipleak.net).
- Start browsing the web securely.
How to Get a South Korean IP Address?
You can get a South Korean IP address by searching for the South Korean server and connecting to it on a supported VPN. Fortunately, my top VPN (ExpressVPN) also has some servers in Seoul, South Korea.
Here’s a stepwise guide to getting your South Korea IP address:
- Get a VPN with South Korean servers. I recommend ExpressVPN.
- Follow steps 2-5 from above.
- Click the three dots near the displayed location to open the country list.
- Search for “South Korea.” Click on the server once you see it.
- Wait for the connection confirmation and test for leaks.
- Start browsing the web from your South Korean IP address.
Can You Use a Free VPN in South Korea?
You can use a free VPN in South Korea. Still, you won’t get reliable unblocking, fast streaming speeds, or trustworthy data encryption. In fact, some free VPN providers collect your connection logs and internet data to sell to third parties, thereby funding your free usage.
Instead, it’s best to get an affordable VPN provider like Surfshark with a proven no-logs policy, reliable encryption, premium unblocking, fast speeds, and servers in 100 countries!
Frequently Asked Questions
VPNs are allowed in South Korea. So, you can connect to a VPN server to unblock content, encrypt your internet connection, bypass censorship, and stay private online without legal repercussions.
However, it’s illegal to commit cybercrimes in South Korea, even with a VPN.
Thus, always use your VPN legally, and you won’t have any issues with the government or your VPN provider.
South Korean servers are the best for K-Dramas. However, there are some US-exclusive K-drama titles on platforms like Netflix and Hulu, so it’s best to connect to US servers to get those.
Summarily, the best server for K-drama content depends on what platforms the content is hosted on and where it’s available. Thus, get a VPN like Surfshark with a large country reach to unblock K-drama videos available anywhere.
Reliable free VPNs don’t have South Korean servers as it’s one of the niche servers. Thus, it’s best to pay for a South Korean server from a reliable provider like ExpressVPN, which offers 3000+ other servers in 90+ countries.
However, you can get South Korean servers for cheaper with more affordable VPN providers like NordVPN.
The best way to watch Naver TV outside Korea is to connect to a South Korean server on a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN provides fast obfuscation to unblock Naver TV anywhere, stream the platform in up to 4K quality and ensure zero lag during the streaming session over five simultaneous device connections.
Take Back Your Online Privacy
My top VPNs are reliable enough to unblock content anywhere, but I’m glad they do more than that. They’re also great at keeping your online activities private and away from the prying eyes of Korean ISPs/government.
Ready to start enjoying these benefits?
ExpressVPN is my top choice, with fast obfuscation, reliable content unblocking, and tough-to-crack encryption on all servers.
But it can be pricey. So, grab these ExpressVPN discounts to save more and enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee.