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5 Best VPNs in Malaysia for 2017 – Unblock censored websites

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

August 18, 2017

The Malaysian government regularly vows that it will never impose internet restrictions. That’s excellent news for all of those who live in Malaysia or visit it. Unfortunately, the government’s words are empty. It regularly blocks access to a large number of websites. It periodically blocks access to news sites and social media profiles in order to cover up leading politicians’ misdeeds.

In 2016, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission blocked 3,110 websites. It categorizes the largest number of sites that it permanently blocks as pornography. The commission can block these sites under Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Act. The act established the commission in 1998. The act allows the commission to block sites that it deems to contain offensive, false, or threatening content. These categories are specifically stated in the act. The commission blocked 2,837 sites that fit into these definitions.

However, the definition of what is “provocative” or “threatening” is down to personal interpretation. Thus the government manages to work in bans on political and news sites. It has blocked the news website, Sarawak Reports, since 2015 when it revealed a graft scandal that involved Prime Minister Najib Razak. Other news sites that the Malaysian government blocks include Tabung Insider, Malaysia Chronicle, The Malaysia Insider, Asia Sentinel, and Medium.

Other sites that were blocked in 2016 include gambling websites, dating site Adult Friend Finder, and torrent index sites, including The Pirate Bay. Jingoo Fotopages is an Instagram-type site that specializes in images of events in Malaysia. Each picture carries a brief explanation. The site has been banned in Malaysia since 2015. Malaysia has also blocked blogging sites, including OutSyed The Box and Din Turtle.

Many political sites that aren’t allowed to operate in Malaysia have moved their addresses to the UK. This step makes it harder for the authorities to prosecute dissenters. However, it doesn’t make the sites accessible from Malaysia.

Most of those banned websites are still available to people in other countries. You can get access to banned sites easily if you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Before you go searching the internet for a VPN, you should know that not all VPN services are equal. They’re not all able to dodge government internet access controls. We’ve compiled the definitive list of the best VPNs for Malaysia. You can read more information on how these website bans are implemented, and how VPNs defeat them, later on in this review. For now, let’s look at the best VPNs for Malaysia.

Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for Malaysia

  1. VyprVPN
  2. StrongVPN
  3. ibVPN
  4. PrivateInternetAccess
  5. PureVPN

Best VPNs for Malaysia: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
Nomination
VyprVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Three-day free trial
  • More than 700 servers in over 70 countries
  • Up to five simultaneous connections
  • Proprietary cloaking technology
  • Great for peer-to-peer (P2P)
CONS:
  • Basic plan has weak encryption

VyprVPN was founded by internet veterans who wanted to do something to preserve the privacy of internet users in the face of snooping from US government agencies. The company is registered in Switzerland, which has excellent data privacy laws. It isn't illegal in Switzerland to download copyrighted material without paying, as long as that download is only for personal viewing. VyprVPN is a great choice if you like torrenting. The proprietary cloaking technology that VyprVPN uses can get through the Great Firewall of China, so it will certainly work well in Malaysia.

Choose the best VPN for Malaysia

Visit VyprVPN »Three-day free trial

2. Best VPN for Malaysia: StrongVPN

StrongVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Five-day money-back guarantee
  • No logs
  • Free smart Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Servers in 24 countries
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
CONS:
  • Can be difficult to set up
  • Based in the US

StrongVPN was created by another veteran of the internet that expanded into providing VPN services. This VPN has servers in 45 cities, located in 24 countries. The company has a particularly big presence in the US, which is its home country. Some might caution you against using a US-based service if you want to download pirated entertainment, because copyright lawyers there are very adept at leaning on digital service providers for information. However, the company keeps no logs, so there wouldn't be any information for it to give away, even it was taken to court. The support team is particularly skilled and available 24 hours a day.

Nomination
ibVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • 15-day money-back guarantee
  • 24-hour free trial
  • Smart DNS option
  • Live customer support 24/7
  • Can speed up slow local connections
CONS:
  • Takes time to understand all the options

ibVPN is a comprehensive privacy and security service that includes a smart DNS service and free Bitdefender security software. The smart DNS selectively redirects traffic through a proxy. This is only done for requests that go to streaming services with regional restrictions. This service is effective at getting into a large number of video sites around the world. The company's VPN has excellent encryption to enable you to get around ISP blocks and deep packet inspection (DPI). Above all, this is a very competitively priced VPN. If you just want the VPN, and not the smart DNS or the security software, you only pay $1.50 a month on the annual subscription plan. The company runs servers in 47 countries, including Singapore.

4. Best VPN for Malaysia: PrivateInternetAccess

PrivateInternetAccess Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 25 countries, including Singapore
  • No logs
  • P2P allowed
  • Up to five simultaneous connections allowed
CONS:
  • Based in the US
  • Relatively small server network

PIA has servers in 25 countries, including in Singapore. This service will get through the ISP blocks in Malaysia easily. It's also a good option for those who like to download with P2P networks. You'll be able to get around all of the Malaysian government's controls with this VPN. You get an allowance of five simultaneous connections, and the VPN can be installed on DD-WRT, Tomato, and PfSense routers.

5. Best VPN for Malaysia: PureVPN

PureVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Three-day trial option
  • Servers in 141 countries
  • Low cost two-year subscription
  • Bitcoin accepted
CONS:
  • Some server locations slow down connections

PureVPN has servers in 141 countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. The VPN is great at getting around ISP blocks and can also get around regional restrictions at streaming sites, including Netflix. There are apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android devices and the system can also be loaded onto routers. If you don't want to bother covering all of the activities on your computer with a VPN, you can just install browser extensions for Chrome or Firefox. Those browser add-ons are a lot more lightweight, but not as secure as the apps.

A VPN for Unblocking Streaming Services in Malaysia

There are some great movies, documentaries and shows available on the internet. You don’t need to go out and buy DVDs, or even download a whole file to watch it offline. You can get those movies and shows sent to you in a real-time stream. Even the US streaming service Netflix is available in Malaysia. However, the versions of movies that you get in Malaysia aren’t as good as the original versions that are available on streaming services abroad. You might see a show on Netflix in Malaysia, but it’s heavily edited, sometimes to the point that it just isn’t enjoyable.

The internet gives you access to global websites. However, to avoid getting sued by the governments of other countries, foreign streaming services won’t let you in. VPNs can get around these restrictions.

Internet Service Provider Blocks

Government bans on websites are implemented by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Malaysia. Your traffic has to pass through your ISP’s equipment. If it doesn’t want you to access a site, it just don’t pass on the requests to that web address that pass through its servers.

The Malaysian government is getting more sophisticated. The Chinese government is famous for controlling the information that is available on the web to its citizens. Now, the bigwigs in Kuala Lumpur are getting tips from Beijing. The internet controls in the People’s Republic are referred to as the “Great Firewall of China.” The Malaysian government is constructing its own Great Firewall of Malaysia.

A government that wants to control the news can’t just rely on blacklists of web addresses. Malaysians are well-connected. A government ban on the BBC, or news sites such as the Wall Street Journal, would be a very obvious flag to alert the world to repression. In order to selectively erase pages from sites, the ISP needs to use sophisticated methods. These include examining the contents of the message as it passes through the ISP. This system is called “deep packet inspection” (DPI). The Malaysian government gets ISPs in the country to implement this.

Blocking Methods

VPNs can help you access banned news sites and foreign streaming services that operate regional restrictions. This is because these blocks both rely on the same information source – the administrative data that accompanies each message on the internet. The structure that messages travel in is called a “packet.” This includes a payload, which contains the message, and a header, which holds the administrative details. The header includes the addresses of the source and destination of the packet. Every address on the internet has to be unique. The address format was laid down in the Internet Protocol, and so these identifiers are known as IP addresses.

ISPs look at the destination address in a packet. They drop those packets that are heading to a banned address. Streaming sites with regional restrictions look at the source address in the header. As every IP address is unique, the country of that address can be easily traced. As such, sites that only deliver content to their own country just look at that source address to know where the request for a file came from.

VPN Methods

A VPN requires two pieces of equipment. The software on your computer is one part. The other is the VPN server, which is in a remote location. VPN companies have servers all over the globe. You select a server to manage your internet traffic in the VPN client, before you turn the VPN on.

The VPN client program encrypts each packet that leaves your computer and puts it in the payload of another packet. That carrying packet is addressed to the selected VPN server. When the packets pass through the ISP gateway, the destination address in the header isn’t one on the blacklist. Also, as the packet’s contents are encrypted, the ISP’s DPI programs can’t see it. Thus, every packet gets through to the VPN server.

The server strips off the outer packet and decrypts the contents. It sends your request on to the destination server, using its own address in the header as the source. Thus, the target server sees the VPN’s address and not yours. If you choose a server in the same country as the streaming service you want to get into, that server will return the selected content. That’s because the source address of the request complies with the conditions of access.

When the VPN server receives back the content, it encrypts each packet, puts it in a carrier packet and forwards it to your computer. This gets the website through the blocking software at the ISP. Again, the payload is entirely encrypted, defeating DPI. The source address of the packets aren’t on the blacklist because they come from the VPN server, not from a banned website. When those packets arrive at your computer, the VPN client program processes them, then passes them onto the application that initiated the content request. Thus, the VPN dodges controls that try to ban sites and also those that try to block you out.

Best VPNs for Malaysia: Conclusions

Unfortunately, the Malaysian government seems to be on the path to repression. Senior members of government are becoming increasingly corrupt. The urge to cover up these transgressions has led to serious restrictions on the freedom of information. The pledge to protect the moral standards of the nation and to help maintain peace in a religiously and ethnically diverse population gives the government cover to introduce repressive measures.

It’s not illegal to use a VPN in Malaysia. You should subscribe to one in order to combat the creeping controls on internet access. Any of the services in our list of the five best VPNs for Malaysia will restore your internet freedom.

Image credit: jamesteohart/Shutterstock.com

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper is a techy geek with a social edge. Downshifting from a successful IT career in Europe, Cooper moved to the Caribbean and now keeps up to speed with Internet technology poolside.

6 responses to “5 Best VPNs in Malaysia for 2017 – Unblock censored websites

  1. Hi Peter,

    In your article, you put vyprvpn as number 1, but in your conclusion, you recommended PIA…so which 1 is the best?

    Currently, which VPN is best in Malaysia?

    1. Hi Jacky,

      This post is rather old. Personally, I would now recommend BolehVPN for Malaysia users (ironSocket is also good.)

  2. Hi am new bout this program software and dont know nothing about it..so how can this..use at my laptop download unlimited and fast speed..transfer rate 1mbps to 3mbps..?

    1. Hi md shahrul,

      The speed on your VPN connection depends on the speed of your normal internet connection. Depending on a whole range of factors (such as how good the VPN servers are, how many people are using them, and how far away you are both from the servers and content you are downloading), VPN will slow your connection down by at least 10 percent, and possibly a lot more. I the flipsoide, you get a high degree of privacy on the internet, can evade censorship, and bypass geo-blocks…

  3. Interesting that you don’t mention Malaysian BolehVPN but do include, for example, U.S.-based PrivateInternetAccess. I tried BolehVPN but signed up with PIA for its higher speed. However, I do use a BolehVPN-provided seedbox, which has been trouble-free. Their support, while not 24/7, has been friendly, competent and quite fast by way of email, and I like that they’re unlogged and across the Pacific from my location in the U.S.

    Good article, overall. Thanks.

    1. Hi TJ

      This post is fairly old (as you can see from the date), we do actually recommend BolehVPN quiet often these days.

      Peter

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