5 Best Free VPNs for South Korea (Bypass Online Restrictions)
K-drama and K-pop have been significant exporters of Korean culture. It is no wonder many people outside the country want to access local Korean content without physically moving to South Korea. Popular streaming sites like Netflix have Korean shows you can watch, but there are some programs that you cannot watch if you are not in Korea. Due to licensing issues, you cannot watch these programs outside Korea. Geo-restrictions block foreign IP addresses from reaching servers of sites that host such programs.
A Virtual Private Network provides a solution by masking your IP address with that of servers in Korea. With your devices having local IP addresses, you will have access to sites that previously blocked you. Also, the increasing internet censorship in Korea is leading residents to look for ways to bypass internet censorship. A VPN has the ability to do that and more. It is only right that residents use the best VPN service to solve their problems. This article looks at the best free VPN services you can use for South Korea.
Recommended Risk-Free VPNs for South Korea
Risk-free VPNs are not exactly free as they give users an opportunity to use premium services with the guarantee that they’ll get their money back before the risk-free period expires if they ask for it. In most cases, the risk-free period is not more than 30 days. However, there are a few VPNs that deviate from the normal. Below are risk-free VPNs that will protect you while bypassing all forms of geo-restriction and censorship in South Korea.
Overall best in our tests
- Super-fast servers
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Supports private protocol, Lightway
- Money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN has its place at the top because of several years of reliable service. It has 3000 plus servers in 94 countries, including South Korea. With a significant number of fast servers in South Korea, you can watch popular K-drama in Ultra HD from anywhere in the world. It can unblock many platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
This VPN service provider stores no logs, which it ensures by using TrustedServer technology. TrustedServer helps ExpressVPN maintain its RAM-only server policy. In addition, it is registered in the British Virgin Islands, ensuring that it is a region with privacy-friendly laws. It also supports using different VPN protocols, including a proprietary Lightway protocol, OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, and IKEv2.
ExpressVPN prevents cyber attacks on your network by protecting you with AES-256 encryption. It also includes other features such as DNS/WebRTC/IPv6 leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, Tor over VPN, and Split Tunneling. A kill switch, when activated, protects unwanted IP address leaks when your connection is unstable.
Through support for several devices, ExpressVPN passes the cross-platform compatibility test. It also includes browser extensions for users who only want to use it on their browsers. ExpressVPN’s 30-day refund policy allows you to test its plans. It has a monthly, 6-month, and annual plan. The simultaneous connection limit per account is five devices, but you can use a router to bypass that.
Best offer: $6.67/month (Save 49% + 3 months free)
Definitely the fastest in our tests
- Incredibly fast servers
- Great security features
- Verified no-logs policy
- Unblocks streaming platforms
With NordVPN, you have access to more than 5400 servers in 59 countries. In South Korea, it has more than ten servers you can connect to, which is enough to cater to the needs of anyone looking to access local content. You can watch content on local and international streaming sites with little or no lags. Sling TV and Netflix are examples of streaming sites it can unblock.
NordVPN has a wealth of security and privacy features. It is under the jurisdiction of the Panamanian government, allowing it to operate without fear of the invasion of its users’ privacy. It also operates under a strict No-Log Policy, ensuring it maintains its users’ privacy. Those who require total anonymity will be glad to see a bitcoin payment option.
It uses military-grade encryption combined with perfect forward secrecy to ensure any malicious entity cannot see your communications on the internet. With NordVPN, you can use a proprietary NordLynx protocol along with other secure VPN protocols. It also protects against leaks with a kill switch and DNS/IPv6/WebRTC protection.
NordVPN has user-friendly applications for major operating system and manual installation guides for others. Its yearly plan is significantly cheaper than ExpressVPN, and you can connect up to six devices simultaneously on a user account. You can purchase a subscription risk-free, as all plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best offer: $2.93/month (Save 68% + 3 months for free)
Recommended Completely Free VPNs for South Korea
Compared to risk-free VPNs, there is no mention of money when it comes to completely free VPN services. Some of them require users to open an account, while others don’t make it necessary for users to sign up before they can access their servers. Below, you will find VPNs you can use for South Korea without paying a dime.
Best VPN with a free version
- Free version available
- Strong security features
- Reliable no-logs policy
- Allows Perfect Forward Secrecy
Fifty-five countries worldwide host ProtonVPN’s 1000+ servers. South Korea is not left out as there are eight servers in the country. However, its free subscribers can only use servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. These servers are capable of unblocking sites the Korean government has prevented its residents from accessing. Free users will need to subscribe and take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee if they want access to ProtonVPN’s South Korean servers.
ProtonVPN has its head of operations in Geneva, Switzerland, which is the standard for privacy-friendly countries. There are no data retention laws that require VPN service providers to store connection logs. Regardless, ProtonVPN operates a strict No-Log Policy. In addition, SEC Consult has verified that your data is in safe hands with this VPN service provider.
With ProtonVPN, you have excellent security features protecting your data. It offers features such as NetShield, 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, in-built leak protection, a kill switch, and Tor over VPN. It also has Secure Core servers that operate like MultiHop or Double VPN servers in areas with heavy restrictions—moving your data through multiple servers to prevent detection.
All ProtonVPN’s software applications are open source and have gone through an audit to confirm they are safe to use. Cross-compatibility is not an issue as it supports various operating systems either by having an application or providing manual installation support. Finally, ProtonVPN does not allow simultaneous connections on its free plan.
Best offer: €8/month (Save 25%)
Arguably the cheapest VPN provider
- Advanced IP Leak protection available
- 1800+ servers in 72 countries
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Offers a completely free version
Hide.me is another free service provider you want on your radar. It is available in 72 countries globally, including South Korea, and its servers in Seoul will give you access to local South Korean content. However, Hide.me’s free version does not give access to its global server network; you can only connect to servers in Germany, the US, the Netherlands, and Canada.
The free version of this VPN may not meet the needs of people outside South Korea looking to bypass geo-restrictions to watch South Korean content. However, it will appeal to South Korean residents looking to bypass internet censorship. That being said, Hide.me is great at unblocking the country-specific libraries of some streaming sites.
Hide.me is safe to use as it uses excellent security features to protect your network. Industry-standard AES-256 encryption ensures your connection is impenetrable. Using this encryption cipher with secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPSec makes your security solid.
In terms of privacy, Hide.me prevents your ISP or the Korean government from tracking your activities online. It achieves this using in-built leak protection, a zero-log policy, a kill switch, and having its headquarters in Malaysia.
You can take advantage of Hide.me’s 30-day money-back guarantee if you intend to connect to its servers in Seoul. In addition, it is cross-platform compatible and works on several devices. However, Hide.me only gives its free plan users a 10GB data transfer limit and does not allow simultaneous connections.
Best offer: €4.99/month (Save 61%)
Best free version in our tests
- Offers a totally free version
- Available in 26 countries
- AES 256-bit encryption available
- Relatively reliable speed
Tunnelbear is a Canada-based VPN service provider that has servers in more than 40 countries. Fortunately, South Korea is one of those countries. Compared to most VPNs that offer free services, Tunnelbear gives you access to its entire server network. So, it doesn’t matter if the reason why you’re using a VPN is to get past geo-restrictions or internet censorship; Tunnelbear will meet your needs.
In addition, this VPN does not stop you from torrenting as it allows P2P traffic. However, certain restrictions might affect users that use heavy data. For example, TunnelBear imposes a data transfer limit of 500MB monthly on its free plan. You can do a few things to increase the data transfer limit to 1.5GB, such as tweeting about the VPN. To get the best of TunnelBear, use its Fastest Tunnel feature. This feature connects you to the best-performing server close to you.
Despite TunnelBear’s Canadian headquarters, it does all in its power to keep you anonymous by staying true to its zero-log policy. In addition, it uses IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN together with AES-256 encryption to maintain a solid security front; malicious entities have no chance of infiltrating your network, except you open the way for them.
TunnelBear is available on several operating systems, including Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, and Android. In addition, it goes through an annual audit coordinated by a third-party security firm. Furthermore, you can have up to five active simultaneous connections per user.
Best offer: $3.33/month (Save 67%)
VPN with the best servers
- Super-fast server speed
- Remarkable unblocking ability
- Intuitive user interface
Hotspot Shield is another VPN service provider that can give you a Korean IP address. Its server network consists of more than 1800 servers in more than 80 countries, including South Korea. Hotspot Shield’s South Korean servers are adequate for people looking to bypass geographical restrictions preventing them from accessing local websites.
However, it only gives access to servers in the US to its free plan users. So, if you’re looking for a free VPN to stop the government from limiting what you can see on the internet, Hotspot Shield will work for you. On the other hand, people that want access to its South Korean servers will need to use its 30-day risk-free period or upgrade to a paid subscription.
Another limitation of its free plan is its bandwidth and data transfer limit. A free subscriber cannot use more than 500MB daily and has a 2MB bandwidth limit. This means if you need higher bandwidth for any activity online, you’ll have to find another free VPN that has a higher bandwidth limit or doesn’t have any.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a free or paid subscription; Hotspot Shield has the mandate to protect your connection. As a result, it uses perfect forward secrecy, in-built leak protection, AES-256 encryption, malware protection, a proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, OpenVPN, IPSec, and WireGuard. In addition, it is a zero-log BPN despite being US-based. Hotspot Shield is available on various operating systems and allows a single VPN connection per free subscriber.
Best offer: $7.99/month (Save 38% + Free)
Best VPN with a free version
- Offers dedicated IP addresses
- Allows torrenting and P2P file sharing
- Great pricing
- Free version available
Trust.Zone has a server fleet consisting of about 210 server locations in 30 plus countries. South Korea is not one of those countries as it only has servers in six Asian countries. So, this VPN would only appeal to South Korean residents tired of the Korean government’s restrictions that prevent free access to the internet.
Using its free version, you only have access to 157 server locations out of 210; this is more than what most free VPNs will give you. In addition, its free plan only lasts for three days; you will have to subscribe for a paid plan after if you want to continue using it. Furthermore, Trust.Zone imposes a data transfer limit of 1GB for the free period.
This VPN uses SHA-256 for hashing, an RSA-2048 handshake for authentication, and AES-256 for encryption to protect you from malicious entities. Additionally, it combines these with VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, WireGuard, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. Furthermore, it uses perfect forward secrecy to ensure there is a tight security perimeter overall.
Trust.Zone has its headquarters in Seychelles, a privacy-friendly country with no mandatory data retention laws for VPN service providers. Also, it prevents DNS/WebRTC/IPv6 leaks using built-in leak protection and has a warrant canary. You can use Trust.Zone on Linux, Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, etc. Finally, you only get a VPN connection as it does not allow simultaneous connections on its free plan.
Best offer: €3/month (Save 67%)
What to Consider Before Selecting a Free VPN for South Korea
You need to consider some things before you make a choice regarding the free VPN you intend to use for South Korea. Let’s look at a few of these things.
1. Server Network
The more servers a VPN has, the better its chances of unblocking your favorite K-drama streaming sites or other country-specific libraries. It is also vital that the VPN you select has a significant number of servers in South Korea so you can have access to local Korean content. Use a VPN service with obfuscated servers (or Stealth Mode, Double VPN, MultiHop, Secure Core, etc.) if you’re in South Korea looking to bypass censorship. This prevents ISPs from detecting you’re using a VPN and blocking the VPN server’s IP address.
2. Security and Privacy
You need a VPN with reliable and robust security features to prevent bad actors from accessing your data. The standard security features include the AES 256-bit encryption with secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPSec. VPNs with these features will make it impossible for hackers to penetrate your VPN connection. The more security features a VPN has, the more robust your layer of protection is.
To enjoy streaming local and international South Korean content, you need a VPN with fast and reliable connections. Using a VPN affects your speed, which is why you need a VPN service that will make the reduction as minimal as possible. Also, most free VPNs have speed, bandwidth, or data transfer limitations. It is essential you know the limitations of the free VPN you select and be sure they suit your online activities.
Is It Legal To Use a Free VPN in South Korea
Despite having control over what its residents can access on the internet, the South Korean government has not passed any law that makes using a VPN in South Korea illegal. So, it is a hundred percent legal to use a VPN. However, the legality of using a VPN does not make any actions you take with the cover of a VPN legal. In simple terms, this means that if you commit a crime online that is illegal, using a VPN might make it harder to locate you, but it does not absolve you of the consequences of the illegal act.
Frequently Asked Questions About Free VPNs for South Korea
How many simultaneous connections can I have with a free VPN?
It depends on the free VPN service provider. In many cases, free VPN services do not allow simultaneous connections; you can only connect to one device at a time. You will notice that services that allow only a connection require users to open an account so they can monitor your connection status. However, there are also free VPN services that allow simultaneous connections, including unlimited connections.
Will free VPNs give me access to South Korean content?
Yes, in most cases, free VPNs will give you access to South Korean TV. However, the number of streaming sites you can access will depend on the unblocking power of the VPN service and its servers. This is because free VPNs do not have the same capacity and infrastructure.
What South Korean shows can I watch with a free VPN?
As mentioned above, the shows you can watch will depend on the streaming sites the VPN can unblock. There are several shows and movies you can watch online with a free VPN. Some of them include Parasite, Okay To Not Be Okay, Minari, Okja, Kingdom, Oldboy, Forgotten, Train to Busan, and Memories of Murder.
Will a free VPN help me get past internet censorship in South Korea?
Yes, reputable free VPNs can help you get past internet censorship in South Korea. However, we recommend using a risk-free VPN or subscribing to a paid service. This is because risk-free or paid services invest in sophisticated infrastructure to ensure they protect your privacy while helping you bypass internet censorship.
You will need a free VPN to watch local Korean content or bypass internet censorship in South Korea. Fortunately, you have several brilliant choices above to choose from, albeit with certain limitations as is the case with most free VPN services. We hope that this guide helps you make a decision beneficial to you.