While Europe as a whole isn’t overly restrictive when it comes to censoring websites, certain countries restrict specific subjects.
France and Germany both block hate speech. Sweden explicitly requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block content that contains instigation of rebellion, racial agitation, underage victims, illegal descriptions of violence and obvious copyright infringement. Other European countries block content on similar grounds.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best way to protect your online activities from monitoring by a government or an ISP.
At the same time a VPN can open up blocked content from streaming providers. With a VPN with server locations in European countries, you can watch your favorite shows, The Champions League, Premier League or just stream from popular services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
A VPN also can “spoof” your IP address, making it appear as if you’re in another country.
In this article, I’ll be providing information about the 5 best VPN service providers that offer the best way to protect and enhance your online activities from anywhere inside of the European region.
How to Use a VPN in Europe
Using a VPN inside Europe is a simple matter. Just do the following:
- Subscribe to a VPN provider. (I strongly recommend ExpressVPN.)
- Install the provider’s app(s) on your connected device(s).
- Sign into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server outside of Europe to access geo-blocked content located outside of the region, or select a server inside the region if you’re looking to protect your European online activities. If you’re located outside of Europe and wish to access geo-blocked content from a European country, select a VPN server inside of Europe.
- Enjoy your new internet freedom!
Best VPN Service for Use in Europe
The 5 VPN providers listed below offer the best protection for your online activities while residing in or visiting Europe. The short version of things are as follows:
- ExpressVPN: This provider delivers optimal protection for your online activities thanks to its well-encrypted connections, as well as its comprehensive global server coverage and app support. The provider also delivers reliable access to geo-blocked content around the globe.
- NordVPN: Online users looking to save some euros without sacrificing online protection will want to consider this VPN offering. The provider’s low-priced annual subscription fees belie its excellent level of online protection, its top-notch app support and its reliable geo-unblocking.
- Surfshark: Arguably, this provider’s most attractive feature is its unlimited concurrent connections allowance. However, the provider also offers reliable, fast access to geo-blocked content via a small but rapidly-growing global server network.
- CyberGhost: Users who are new to the world of VPNs or who are looking for reliable yet easy-to-use VPN protection will appreciate this provider’s simple yet powerful app selection. Movie fans will appreciate CyberGhost’s streaming- and downloading-optimized servers.
- PrivateVPN: This provider’s global server network doesn’t measure up to other VPNs on this list, but it has a good number of them located throughout Europe. The provider offers reliable, speedy connections to geo-blocked content.
When ranking the providers on this list, I considered the following factors:
- Global server network with European coverage
- Level of security and privacy
- Connection speeds
- Native app support
- Level of customer support
Here is my list of the 5 best VPN services for European residents and visitors.
ExpressVPN provides the best VPN protection for users in Europe and the rest of the world. Its extensive server network and fast connections provide reliable access to content around the globe.
The provider’s global server network has the globe covered with over 3,000 servers stationed in 94 countries, including 45+ countries in Europe. They will assign your device a European-based IP address.
All of your online activities are protected from prying eyes thanks to banking-level encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention. You can make use of the provider’s split-tunneling feature to select which of your device’s apps will use the VPN’s encrypted tunnel.
Fast connections are almost guaranteed with this provider, whose connections were the fastest of any provider in my most recent round of speed test results. Depending on your usual connection speeds, 4K and HDR streams are no problem, and online gaming and sharing of large files are also easily handled. The provider has no data caps whatsoever.
No matter your favorite connected device, there’s a good chance that ExpressVPN has an app for it. Apps are available for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms.
Protect your browser sessions with Chrome and Firefox extensions. The provider also offers router compatibility to protect all of your connected devices. Up to 5 devices can connect at once on a single set of login credentials.
Always-available customer support includes 24/7 live chat, a trouble ticket system, email support and a searchable support database.
- Server locations covering Europe
- Superb speeds
- Reliable access to geo-blocked content
- Excellent privacy and security protection
- Top-notch app support
- Higher priced than some other VPN services
BEST VPN FOR USE IN EUROPE:Europeans in search of comprehensive VPN protection should be taking a close look at ExpressVPN. The provider’s comprehensive global server network provides fast, well-protected access to content around the world. A 30-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN budget-priced yet comprehensive VPN protection will make it an attractive option for users looking to save a few euros.
The provider’s global server coverage can best be described as “average.” The provider has over 5,800 servers in 59 countries, including over 2,700 server locations in 36 countries in the European region.
Your online security is well served by NordVPN’s protections, thanks to its military-grade encryption, a kill switch feature, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention. Ad and malware blocking are also part of the deal.
A no-server-logs policy and a cryptocurrency payment option protect your online privacy.
Although NordVPN’s connection speeds aren’t exactly blazing when compared to the other VPNs on this list, they are fast. The provider can easily deliver HD streaming video, while also providing above-average speeds for online gaming and file sharing. No data caps to spoil your fun.
NordVPN app support includes options for Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows devices. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also on the menu, and router protection is also an option. Up to 6 devices can connect to the service at once on the same login.
Customer support is a 24/7 proposition, with always-available live support chat, email support and a support knowledgebase.
- Server locations in 36 European countries
- App support for popular device platforms
- Budget-priced multi-year subscription options
- Strong privacy and security protections
- Speeds aren’t as fast as others on this list
BEST VPN FOR BUDGET-MINDED USERS:NordVPN’s low-priced multi-year subscription options provide an excellent option for budget-minded users. While the provider’s connection speeds suffer a bit compared to other providers, their overall level of service compares well. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark is a recent, but fast-growing addition to the VPN ranks and is quickly gaining a reputation as a reliable and popular VPN provider.
Surfshark has 1,000+ servers stationed in 61+ countries, and over half of those countries are in Europe. That server count is a bit low, but it’s double what the service had last year.
Those servers deliver connections that are protected with banking-grade encryption, a kill switch and DNS leak prevention. Tracking cookie and ad blocking are also available. A “Multi-Hop” option routes your connection through two servers, providing extra encryption and anonymity.
A Bitcoin subscription payment option and a no-server-logs policy mean your complete privacy is well covered.
App support is a high point of Surfshark’s services, with apps for the Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows and Amazon Fire device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is router protection. The provider also offers a somewhat unusual unlimited simultaneous connections policy.
Around-the-clock customer support is available, with 24/7 agent chat, a support contact form and a searchable knowledge base.
- “Multi-Hop” option increases anonymity
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Connection speeds fast enough for any activity
- Excellent service
- Global server coverage is thin but improving
- Monthly subscription options are expensive
UNLIMITED USERS IS THE DRAW HERE:Surfshark’s unlimited concurrent connection policy will likely be the biggest draw for many users. Its “Multi-Hop” VPN protection offers added protection by routing your traffic through two VPN servers, providing double encryption. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
Newbie computer or VPN users will do well to consider making CyberGhost their VPN provider of choice carefully.
The provider’s global network is second to none, with over 6,000 servers in 89 countries. Plenty of those servers are well-scattered among European countries. The provider also offers both streaming-optimized and downloading-optimized servers around the globe.
Government-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IPv6 and DNS leak prevention all add up to industry-standard connection protection. Plus, ad and tracker blocking and the ability to force websites to deliver secure versions of their web pages offer increased online security.
CyberGhost-provided connections can easily handle 4K and HD video, fast-moving online gaming action and sharing of large files. No data caps will ever impose upon your online fun.
Apps for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms have all of those devices protected, while the company’s router support can protect all of your other devices. Chrome and Firefox browsers are also covered. Up to 7 devices can connect concurrently on a single set of login credentials.
24/7 support is made up of around-the-clock live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket system and a searchable support library.
- Server locations in Europe and beyond
- Download speeds are up to anything
- Apps for all popular platforms
- Streaming- and file sharing-optimized servers
- Advanced users may prefer more options
BEST VPN FOR NEWBIE USERS:If you don’t have much experience with using a VPN, I strongly recommend considering CyberGhost. The provider’s mobile VPN apps provide one-click access to servers that are designed to offer optimal streaming and file sharing. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN performs well in most service areas, but has a way to go in a few of them.
The provider’s global server coverage falls in the lacking column, with only 150+ servers spread thinly among 60 countries, including numerous European countries. The servers do provide excellent access to the content in those countries.
PrivateVPN scores high in the online protection category, protecting your connections with military-level encryption, a kill switch, and IPv6 and DNS leak prevention. In addition, a “Stealth VPN” option keeps your VPN activity disguised as regular browser traffic.
A lack of server logs and a Bitcoin subscription payment option have you covered on the privacy end of things.
HD streaming, file sharing and online gaming are all easily handled by this provider’s fast connections. No data caps to worry about here.
App coverage is a lacking component, with apps only for the Android, iOS, macOS and Windows device platforms. However, that will likely prove sufficient for most users. Linux setup is available, as is router compatibility. Up to 6 devices can connect at once while using a set of login credentials.
24/7 support chat is supposed to be available, but I have visited the site plenty of times when it was unavailable (if the chat balloon is green, someone is running the lines). An FAQ section and email support are also options.
- Speedy connections
- Stealth VPN keeps your VPN usage incognito
- Up to 6 concurrent connections
- Server location coverage is a bit thin
- App support is also thin
“STEALTHY” VPN PROTECTION:PrivateVPN may be a bit limited in some service categories, but it makes up for it in others. The provider delivers reliable content access where available, and it delivers fast, well-protected connections. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of PrivateVPN.
Why Can’t I Use a Free VPN in Europe?
While a free VPN service will most likely work in Europe, you’ll likely not be happy with the level of privacy, performance or convenience that free VPNs deliver.
When it comes to privacy, that is severely lacking with a freebie VPN.
“Free” VPNs are still for-profit organizations, meaning they need to make money in some way. Many of them do so by tracking their users’ online travels, wrapping all of that information into a big file, and selling it to advertisers and other nosy parties. Other “free” providers will insert tracking cookies and ads into their users’ browser sessions.
As for performance, many VPNs will throttle their free users’ connections to reserve bandwidth for their paying customers. Plus, most freebie providers will put daily or monthly data caps on your data usage.
Convenience is a no-go, too. When you connect to a no-pay VPN, you may find yourself cooling your heels in a virtual waiting room until you’re allowed to connect to a server. Then, once you’re given the green light to connect, you’ll find your server selection is severely limited or that you’re connected to a server of the provider’s choice.
Does any of this sound good to you?
What Advantages Does a VPN Provide?
By using a Virtual Private Network, you are both protecting and enhancing all of your online activities.
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, encasing your connection in an encrypted tunnel of sorts. This prevents nosy nellies like your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the government, and the guy at the next table over down at the coffee shop from monitoring your online activities.
That encryption comes in handy when you’re using an unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspot, such as are found in hotels, restaurants, airports and the aforementioned coffee shops. Unprotected hotspots are a favorite target of black-hat hackers who love to monitor other hotspot users’ online activities, including online shopping, bill paying and banking.
Encryption also prevents your ISP from throttling your internet connection simply because you’re engaging in “unapproved” activities like sharing files via BitTorrent or streaming video from certain streaming services.
A VPN also opens a whole world of streaming, gaming and other types of content to you, as it can “spoof” your geographical location. It does this by temporarily assigning your connected device a new IP address, making it appear as if you’re in another region of the world, opening up access to the geographically-blocked content available in that region.
Whether you reside in Europe or you’re just visiting, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect and enhance all of your internet-based activities while you’re inside of the region. My top choice for European VPN protection is ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN offers admirable service in every VPN category. A comprehensive global server network provides well-protected, speedy connections, while opening access to content around the globe. Reliable protection for all popular device platforms and 24/7 customer support add up to the best protection for your online life.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.
European VPN Q&A
⭐Can I Watch Netflix in Europe?
While Netflix is certainly available throughout Europe and most of the rest of the world, the content you’ll have access to in one region may be vastly different from that available in your home area. By using a Virtual Private Network provider, you can take advantage of its location-spoofing ability to view Netflix content from nearly anywhere around the globe.
⭐Can I Watch European Football on My Smart TV?
Although European football (soccer to Americans) is available for viewing in many parts of the world, your favorite team’s games may be unavailable outside of their home viewing area. By using a VPN app on your Smart TV or your home WiFi router, you can open access to football games around the globe.
⭐Can I Connect My Games Console With a VPN?
While there are no VPN apps available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch, you can protect and enhance your online gaming experience by using a VPN with your home Wi-Fi router.