Sean McGrath

Sean McGrath

June 25, 2018

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Freedom House classifies the internet in the Philippines as “Free.” The government doesn’t place many restrictions on internet access there. There are some concerns about the powers that the government gave itself in the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act. However, the country’s Supreme Court struck out the more restrictive clauses of this law in a ruling handed down in 2014.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act includes clauses that prohibit piracy. These are concerning to those who download copyrighted material with torrents. Penalties for copyright infringement include fines and jail sentences. However, arrests are rare and the use of the BitTorrent protocol is widespread in the Philippines.

The only reported instances of website bans in the Philippines occurred in 2014, when the dating site Ashley Madison was blocked for a month, and in 2017, when the government banned a number of porn websites, including Pornhub and Xtube. Those blocks are ongoing.

Unlike many neighboring countries, the Philippines doesn’t block chat or internet telephony apps. Social media sites are similarly unmolested. However, the government has issued a number of warnings against posts that are offensive to politicians. The only aspect of internet use that seems to concern the authorities is the distribution of child pornography.

The major problem with the internet in the Philippines is the restricted access that streaming servers and games sites impose on their users. While you don’t have to defeat government blocks in the Philippines, you do have to trick overseas media servers into letting you in. The best method of getting around the regional restrictions on streaming sites is to employ a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN protects your identity and tricks remote servers into thinking that you’re located within their regions of operation. Bypassing access controls on media sites is technically a form of copyright infringement. Although no one has been convicted for this practice, it is always better to be careful. You never know when the government might suddenly decide to clamp down on these activities. Similarly, downloading with torrents exposes you to the risk of prosecution. This is why the privacy protection that VPNs provide is so important.

You can read more about regional restrictions below. First, let’s take a look at the five best VPNs for the Philippines.

 

VPNs for the Philippines: Considerations

Why Can’t I Get into Netflix US?

When you’re in the Philippines, you can get into Netflix. However, it will be the version of Netflix that was set up for that country. You have to subscribe to the service and sign in whenever you visit the Netflix site. This means that the system can keep track of you and present videos that match your personal details and viewing history.

Netflix is available just about everywhere in the world. Unlike Amazon, Netflix doesn’t restrict you to watching the service in your own country. As such, if you have a Netflix account in the US and then go to the Philippines, you can log in and watch without having to set up a new account. The library tailoring feature of Netflix means that you will still get the system in English. Many of the shows that are available to you at home will still be available in the Philippines – you won’t be forced to watch foreign language shows. However, not all of the library that you can access in the US will be available in the Philippines.

Unlocking Netflix with a VPN in the Philippines

A VPN makes it seem that you’re in another place. When you turn on the VPN, you have to select a server from a list of locations. Once the VPN is running, your location appears to be that of the VPN server, not where you really are. You connect to Netflix with the same address wherever you are: Netflix.com. When the Netflix server receives the request from your browser for the site’s home page, it delivers the page that is available for the location you’re in. If you access the site from the Philippines, you will get the Netflix site for that country, and not the country that you have your subscription in.

Unfortunately, streaming services (including Netflix) are bound by agreements with copyright holders. These specify in which countries a show can be aired. This is why some of the shows that you can watch on Netflix US aren’t available on Netflix Philippines. The company is also bound by the laws of each country in which it operates. That’s why it can’t allow customers in one country to watch the shows that it has made available in another country. The shows available in the US are not all suitable for viewing in the Philippines because of different libel and blasphemy laws. Thus, even if you see a show on Netflix Philippines that’s also available in Netflix US, it may well be edited differently, so won’t be the same.

For more information on watching US Netflix abroad, check out our guide to Unblock Netflix.

Alternatively for information about watching US amazon prime, take a look at our best vpn for amazon guide.

Beating VPN Detection

Streaming services have to take all possible steps to prevent cross-border access. This includes detecting and blocking VPN traffic. As such, it’s difficult to find a VPN that can actually get into overseas streaming services. Netflix has some of the most advanced VPN detection software in the world, so very few services work with that site. All of the VPNs on our list have invested in cloaking methodologies that defeat detection procedures and get you access from overseas.

Successful VPNs give you a bonus if you don’t yet have Netflix. The price of Netflix varies by country. If you sign up in the Philippines, you pay less than customers in the US. You can then apply a VPN with a US server to your Netflix connection and watch the US service, even though you have a subscription in the Philippines.

The Best VPN for the Philippines: Conclusion

The censorship implemented by the Philippines government isn’t too severe. The 2017 ban on certain porn sites, however, could be an indicator of more restrictions to come.

All of the VPNs in our list of the five best VPNs for the Philippines are excellent at avoiding detection in very restrictive countries, such as China and Iran. Getting one of these services will future-proof your internet freedoms and keep you prepared for any web access restrictions that the authorities in the Philippines might add to their current list of bans.

Best VPN for the Philippines: Side-by-Side Summary

Image Credit:  ronaldbuday/Shutterstock.com

Sean McGrath
June 25th, 2018

5 responses to “5 Best VPNs for the Philippines – Securely Browse Without Compromising on Speed

  1. M doing an autobot but i cannot login in my acct.. Do u have knowledge abt this matter??? Can you help me?? thanks

  2. CyberGhost doesn’t actually have any servers in the Philippines from what I can see? So how can it be the top recommended VPN provider?

    1. Hi IAmATeaf,

      With these 5 Best lists for [country] lists we try to balance the needs of people who a) want to acess a VPN server in that country with those who b) live in or are visiting that country and need a VPN to overcome restrictions in that country and/or access geo-restricted content in other countries (such as the full US Netflix catalog). As you point out, CybeGhost is not useful for category a) users, but it is a great choice for category b) users based in the Philippines thanks to severs in nearby locations such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, plus in popular streaming locations such East Coast US and the UK.

  3. Hi, would like to ask for your suggestion on which ISP here in the PH does all this VPNs work smoothly. I’m planning to change my current subscription. Hope to receive your highly valued opinion.

    1. Hi Philip,

      A VPN will work with any ISP. The main issue is that using VPN slows down your internet connection somewhat, so if possible choose an ISP that offers fast broadband speeds.

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