Indonesia doesn’t have one of the freest and open Internet infrastructures in the world. In fact, it is so tightly controlled that Reporters Without Borders ranked them 132nd out of 180 countries around the world in their 2014 report. Not only does the government censor a lot of websites, but they also expend a lot of resources monitoring social media. Because Indonesia is the second largest Muslim country in the world, it isn’t surprising that they would filter pornographic content. ( See How to unblock pornographic content) However, they have a much broader definition of pornography than other countries, and they aren’t tolerant to content from other religions or belief systems such as atheism.
In 2008, Indonesia created the Act on Electronic Information and Transactions, which has been thought to be an assault on the freedom of speech and the freedom to access information online. It criminalizes anyone who posts, accesses, or creates content that is in direct violation of their laws, namely offensive political and religious content. Violators of this act can receive as much as 6 years in prison as well as a fine of about $100,000. Despite the government’s involvement with censorship, the practice is carried out at the ISP level. And it doesn’t seem to be unified and consistent.
One such mistake occurred back in 2012, whereby Indonesia attempted to censor Google and caused a blackout that lasted a few hours due to a configuration error. In addition, the Regulation on Multimedia Content was created in 2010 that contains extremely loosely worded language to define offensive material in categories such as pornography, violence, gambling, libel, and degrading content among others. The idea is that these definitions are to provide the base definition of different types of offensive content, but they are so vague that they leave a lot of the decision up to the personal judgement of government officials.
Protecting Yourself Online
The best way to circumvent Indonesia’s harsh and restrictive Internet censorship is to use a VPN. While it’s true that there are other methods to circumvent censorship, such as proxy servers or Smart DNS, these alternatives do nothing to protect your privacy and anonymity – two large concerns given the consequences of violating Indonesian Internet regulations. If you use a proxy server or Smart DNS, you may be able to access blocked content, but your data isn’t secured with encryption.
That means that ISPs and governmental organizations will be able to see what traffic you are transmitting as well as the websites you access. On the other hand, when you use a VPN tunnel to secure your Internet connection, they won’t have any way of seeing your data. When data is secured with encryption algorithms such as AES-256, even the most advanced governments and research institutes will be powerless to crack the encryption code, ensuring that your data is 100% secure.
They will be able to see that you have established a VPN connection, but there isn’t a single thing they can do to track your online browsing activities. In addition, you’ll find that most of the leading VPN services maintain servers in Asia. Hong Kong and Singapore are especially popular locations because of favorable Internet regulations, but many service providers have servers spread out through Southeast Asia as well. Choosing a server in such a location will introduce minimal latency, ensuring that you experience fast connection speeds.
VPN for Indonesia – Top Picks:
IPVanish is our first pick for the best VPN for Indonesia, and they have a strong Asian presence as well as fast and reliable servers. One of the handy things about their software client is that they have integrated server selection with Google Maps, so you can see how far away servers are geographically to select the closest server. To date, they have servers in 60 countries that secure users’ data with the latest security technologies including OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP. Though they lack a free trial of their service, they aren’t priced too highly. The monthly cost drops to $6.49 with an annual subscription, and there are many features to their service such as 24/7 customer support, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to evade DPI (Deep Packet Inspection).
PureVPN is another fantastic alternative for users based in Indonesia. Among all the VPN providers, PureVPN likely has the largest global presence. Currently they have 500+ servers in 181 locations throughout 140 countries scattered around the world. Few other services offer so much flexibility when choosing a server to connect to, so users in Indonesia will be able to connect to a nearby country. What’s even better is the fact that they permit as many as 5 simultaneous connections per user account, so all of your devices will be secured. Even though their money back guarantee is relatively short (only a 7-day guarantee), they really aren’t priced too highly despite the quality of their service. The monthly cost plummets to $4.16 with an annual subscription.
ExpressVPN is another obvious choice for users in Indonesia. While they may not have servers in as many countries as PureVPN, they do have a relatively strong Asian and Southeast Asian presence. To date they have servers in 78 countries, and they have some of the fastest and most reliable server connections in the world. Not only do they provide an extremely long 30-day money back guarantee (in lieu of a free trial), they have strong encryption using AES-256, OpenVPN, SSTP, and L2TP/IPsec. However, no provider is perfect. The largest drawbacks to their service include the fact that they are based in the US, they are costlier per month than most other providers, and they only allow concurrent connections between 1 computer and 1 handheld device per account.
VyprVPN carries a massive advantage over ExpressVPN because it isn’t based in the US. It is actually owned by its parent company, Golden Frog, which is based out of Switzerland. Because Switzerland has one of the freest Internet climates in the world, VyprVPN is able to get away with an extremely reassuring no-logging policy. And they also have decent global coverage since they currently have servers in 50 countries. But they have some interesting features that other providers lack such as a NAT firewall, a VPN kill-switch, per-tunnel application routing, and as much as 50GB of cloud storage with their Dump Truck service as an added bonus. Note that you can use their free trial to get an accurate understanding of how well the service works, but the free trial is limited by monthly data restrictions. Last but not least, they aren’t priced too highly because the monthly cost of the pro version is only $6.25 per month.
PIA VPN is our last pick for the best VPN for Indonesia, and they have a lot to offer. As one of the cheapest providers, users can get their service for only $3.33 per month with an annual subscription. They even allow up to 5 simultaneous connections per account, which is good news for those of you with a lot of computers, smartphones, and tablets to secure. We picked them as a top choice for Indonesia because they have high capacity with 3,100 servers in the most popular areas of the world. Though they lack a strong Asian presence because they only have servers in 24 different countries, they are a great choice for users who want to unlock geo-restricted content that is hosted abroad. Other notable features of their service include 24/7 customer support, DNS leak protection, P2P support for Bit Torrent traffic as well as VoIP, and unlimited bandwidth.