Germany is generally considered to offer plenty of freedom to online users. Freedom House even gave the country a Freedom on the Net 2020 ranking of 80/100 (0 = least free, while 100 = most free). However, there are still concerns about the adoption of stricter regulations on the freedom of online expression.
The government and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) conduct some censorship, but currently that is limited to pro-Nazi websites and postings, Holocaust denial, hate speech and certain types of pornography.
This is why you may consider a VPN, if not for access to your favorite content and TV from around the world.
Top streaming services, like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and others, are available in Germany, but their content can vary greatly from that available in other countries. Meanwhile, the government does its best to prevent file sharing, including blocking sites that host copyrighted materials.
Luckily, German residents and visitors to the country need not worry about having their online freedom infringed. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can both protect and enhance your online activities from inside the country.
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, preventing anyone, including your ISP, the government or even hackers, from monitoring and recording your online travels.
A VPN can also temporarily assign your connected device a new IP address, making it appear as if you and your device are located in another region of the world. This allows you to access content from that region – such as U.S. Netflix.
In this article, I’ll provide a look at the 5 best VPNs available to protect and enhance your online activities inside of Germany or anywhere else around the globe.
How to Use a VPN in Germany
With just a few simple steps, you can protect your German internet activities. Just do the following:
- Subscribe to a quality VPN provider. (NordVPN is my #1 choice.)
- Install the VPN provider’s app(s) on your internet-capable device(s).
- Sign into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server outside of Germany to access geo-blocked content located outside of the country, or select a server inside the country if you’re looking to protect your in-Germany online activities. If you’re located outside of Germany and wish to access geo-blocked content from inside of the country, select a VPN server inside of Germany.
- Enjoy your internet in Germany freedom!
Best VPN Services for Use in Germany
These 5 top VPN providers listed below offer the best protection for your online activities while you’re inside German borders. The elevator pitch is as follows:
- NordVPN: This #1 provider delivers optimal online anonymity and protection, while reliably enabling access to geo-blocked content in most of the world. The provider’s fast connections from an extensive global server network are available on most popular device platforms.
- Surfshark: If you’re a German internet user on a budget, you’ll appreciate Surfshark’s low-priced extended subscription options. While the provider’s prices are below average, its overall level of service is well above average. It even offers an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN’s fast connection speeds, superb global server coverage with plenty of German servers, and wide multi-platform support make it a great choice for unblocking and enjoying streaming content in Germany and elsewhere.
- CyberGhost: Novice VPN users will want to take a closer look at this provider. CyberGhost’s reliable, fast connections are delivered via easy-to-use apps, from an extensive global server network.
- IPVanish: No matter where you’re located, it never hurts to have a little bit of extra privacy. This provider is one of the few in the business to own and operate its entire server network, keeping your personal information out of the hands of third-party contractors.
When ranking these VPN providers, I considered the following:
- Global server network with German servers
- Security and privacy offerings
- Connection speeds
- App support
- Customer support
Here is my list of the 5 best VPN services for German residents and visitors.
NordVPN is my top choice for German internet protection. The provider delivers fast, well-encrypted connections from a wide-ranging global server network.
The provider’s global server coverage delivers above-average content-unblocking power. NordVPN has 5,500+ servers stationed in Germany and 58 other countries.
NordVPN performs well in the connection protection department, providing bank-grade encryption technology, kill switch protection, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention. They also offer malware and ad blocking for a bit of extra protection.
A proven no-logging policy and a cryptocurrency subscription payment option combine to provide optimal privacy protection.
NordVPN’s connection speeds are blazingly fast. In fact, NordVPN scored as the fastest VPN of any provider out there. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to be found here.
App support is above average thanks to app offerings for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is router protection. Up to 6 devices can connect simultaneously to the service on the same login.
Around-the-clock customer support includes 24/7 live support chat, email support and a support database.
- Servers in Germany and 57 other countries
- Incredibly fast speeds
- App support for most device platforms
- Low-priced multi-year subscriptions
- Comprehensive privacy and security protections
- Apps aren’t very user-friendly
BEST VPN FOR GERMANY:German internet users would do well to consider NordVPN thanks to its super-fast speeds, industry-standard connection protection, excellent app support and customer support, and wide-ranging, content-unblocking server network. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark is the budget-priced provider on this list, thanks to its beer-bottle pricing and champagne level of service.
Surfshark’s global server network currently stands at 3,200+ servers located in 65+ countries. That count is nearly double what the provider claimed last year, and it may only continue to grow.
The provider’s connection protection is as good as any other provider on this list, with military-level encryption, a kill switch and DNS leak prevention. The provider’s apps also offer ad and tracking cookie blocking. Plus, a “Multi-Hop” server option routes your internet connection through twin VPN servers for improved encryption and anonymity.
A Bitcoin subscription payment option and a no-server-logs policy have the privacy end of things covered.
Surfshark connection speeds can handle all of your favorite content, including streaming, file sharing and gaming. No data cap or bandwidth limitation worries here.
Popular device platforms are well-covered, as the provider offers apps for the Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows and Amazon Fire device platforms.
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions protect your web browsing, and router protection keeps your other connected devices protected. The provider also offers an unlimited simultaneous connections policy.
24/7 customer support is available, including always-available support agent chat, a support contact form and a searchable knowledge base.
- Budget-priced subscriptions
- “Multi-Hop” option provides double encryption and anonymity
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Fast connection speeds
- Apps lack some advanced options
GREAT FOR BUDGET-MINDED GERMANS:Surfshark is my favorite option for internet users on a tight budget. The provider offers low-priced multi-year subscriptions that won’t take a massive chunk out of your billfold. The provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections policy is a much-appreciated bonus. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN stands out as an optimal provider for unblocking German streaming and gaming content.
The provider has a global server network made up of 3,000+ servers located in 94 countries, including Germany.
Your internet activities are well protected from inquisitive parties thanks to military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and both DNS and IPv6 leak encryption. An optional split-tunneling feature allows you to designate which apps will use the protected ExpressVPN tunnel.
Privacy is of no concern when using ExpressVPN’s servers thanks to a proven no-logging policy and a Bitcoin payment option. The provider runs their VPN servers using a proprietary TrustedServer technology, which runs all operations entirely in RAM, never saving anything to a physical hard drive. All data is wiped from the server each time it is rebooted.
Whether you enjoy streaming HD and 4K video, gaming online or sharing large files (or any combination of the three), you’ll appreciate ExpressVPN’s fast connections. No data caps to worry about, either. Great for U.S. Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
There’s a good chance that an ExpressVPN app is available for your favorite connected device thanks to the provider’s compatibility with the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms.
Browser extensions are also available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms. If your device isn’t on the above list, you can protect it by using the VPN on a router. Up to 5 devices can connect concurrently on a single set of user credentials.
In the unlikely event that you need assistance, you can get it 24/7, thanks to the provider’s always-available live support chat, a trouble ticket tracking system, a searchable support library and email support.
- Servers around the globe, including in Germany
- Fast connections
- Reliable access to content around the globe
- Excellent app support
- More expensive than many other VPNs
- Only 5 simultaneous connections allowed
OPTIMAL CHOICE FOR STREAMING:ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for lovers of German streaming content thanks to its fast download speeds, comprehensive multi-platform support and wide-ranging server network, which includes many servers in Germany and elsewhere. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
If you’re a newbie VPN user or don’t have much experience with connected devices overall, you should take a closer look at CyberGhost.
This provider’s global server network is one of the finest in the industry, boasting over 6,000 servers stationed in 89 countries around the globe. Many of those servers are optimized for both streaming and file sharing.
The connections provided by those servers are protected by government-level encryption, as well as a kill switch and IPv6/DNS leak protection. CyberGhost also offers ad and tracker blocking and can force websites to serve up HTTPS versions of their pages.
A strict no-logs policy, as well as a Bitcoin payment option, add up to optimal privacy protection.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds are just as impressive as their global server coverage, providing more than enough bandwidth for streaming any type of video, playing games online, and downloading and sharing large files. The provider never ruins the fun by imposing data caps.
The provider’s app offerings include coverage for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms.
Chrome and Firefox users can protect their browsing sessions by using the provider’s handy browser extensions. CyberGhost’s top-notch router support provides reliable protection for all of your other devices. Up to 7 devices can connect simultaneously on a single login.
Support is always available, thanks to 24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable support library.
- Servers around the globe
- 4K-ready download speeds
- Support for all popular platforms
- Streaming- and file sharing-ready servers
- Advanced users may prefer more options
- Can’t unblock all streaming services
BEST VPN FOR NEW VPN USERS:Internet users who have little to no experience with VPNs would do well to investigate CyberGhost’s services. The provider’s easy-to-use apps deliver reliable access to fast, well-protected connections. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish offers service comparable to all of the other providers on this list, and then takes its privacy protection one step further.
While the provider’s global server count is a bit below average, with over 1,400 servers in 60 countries, those servers offer an additional layer of privacy not found with the other providers on this list. IPVanish owns and operates all of their server farms, meaning no third-party contractors have access to your personal information.
Those servers deliver connections encrypted by banking-grade encryption, and that are protected by a kill switch with an auto-reconnect feature, as well as a “scramble” feature that disguises your VPN traffic as normal browser activity.
As for privacy protections, it’s a little bit of a mixed bag. Although no-logging policy are ever saved, the provider doesn’t offer a cryptocurrency payment option.
The provider’s connection speeds can easily handle any of your favorite shows, including online gaming, file sharing and video streaming. There are no daily or monthly data caps to spoil the fun.
IPVanish app support includes options for the Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS and Amazon Fire device platforms. Setup instructions are available for the Linux platform. Router support is also available, but browser extensions are not. An unlimited number of devices can connect to the service at once on a single account.
Customer support is available whenever you need it thanks to 24/7 customer support chat, a searchable support database and email support.
- “Scramble” feature hides your VPN activity
- Owns and operates its entire global server network
- Unlimited devices can connect at the same time
- No extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers
- 1-month subscriptions are expensive
ADDITIONAL LAYER OF PRIVACY:IPVanish is an excellent VPN provider for users looking for that extra bit of privacy. The provider keeps third-party contractors away from your personal info and provides a “scramble” function to obfuscate your VPN activities. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of IPVanish.
Why Can’t I Use a Free VPN in Germany?
You can certainly find a free VPN service that works from inside of Germany, but it’s a good bet that you’ll also be disappointed with the free VPN’s privacy protection, its convenience and its performance.
Privacy is lacking when you use a freebie VPN. Even a free VPN needs to make money, and some no-charge VPNs make that money in decidedly privacy-lacking ways.
Many free VPNs track their users’ online travels, and then they sell that information to advertisers and other interested parties. Other freebie VPNs insert tracking cookies and ads into their users’ browser sessions. (And those tracking cookies usually stick around, tracking you even when you’re not using the VPN’s services.)
Even though a VPN prevents your ISP, the government and hackers from seeing your online activities, the VPN can still see what you’re doing. Wouldn’t you rather use a reputable paid VPN that keeps no logs than a freebie VPN that tracks user activities and sells the info to outsiders?
Convenience is also severely lacking when using a free VPN. When you attempt to connect, you may find that you’re forced to cool your heels in a virtual waiting room before being allowed to connect to a server. Then, once you’re given the okay to connect, you’re either connected to a server of the provider’s choice, or you’re faced with a limited number of server options.
As for performance, once you do connect, you may find that your connection speeds are heavily throttled, as VPNs save most of their available bandwidth for paying customers. It’s also likely that your activities will be restricted by a daily or monthly data cap.
Does any of this sound good to you?
What Advantages Does a VPN Provide?
A Virtual Private Network can both protect and enhance all of your online activities.
A VPN protects your online activities by encrypting your internet connection. This encrypted tunnel of protection prevents outsiders like your ISP, the government and hackers from monitoring your online travels.
The encryption protocols prevent your ISP from throttling or blocking your connection simply because you’re engaged in “unapproved” activities, such as streaming from certain services or sharing files via P2P services.
That same encryption protects you while using an unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspot, such as are found in public locations like hotels, airports and coffee shops. Hotspots are attractive targets for hackers looking to steal personal information from users who are paying bills, banking and shopping online.
A VPN enhances your activities by opening access to online content that would usually be blocked to users in your region of the world.
A VPN does this by temporarily assigning a real IP address to your connected device. IP addresses are used to determine a device’s geographical location. By “spoofing” your location, a VPN provides access to top streaming services, gaming and other types of content that are normally geo-blocked.
Users who reside in or are visiting Germany will appreciate a Virtual Private Network’s (VPN) ability to protect and enhance your internet travels. My top choice for German online users is NordVPN.
NordVPN provides optimal connection protection, offers access to online content housed in most parts of the world, unlimited bandwidth, and delivers that content via speedy connections. The provider’s apps are available for all popular device platforms, and customer support is always available.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
German VPN Q&A
Is Streaming Safe in Germany?
If you’re referring to streaming services like Netflix, of course it’s safe. However, if you’re streaming movies via Popcorn Time, which uses BitTorrent to stream the video, you’re running the same risks as if you were torrenting files via P2P. A VPN can protect all of your streaming activities from prying eyes.
What Is Illegal Downloading in Germany?
A good rule of thumb is that downloading for free anything you’d normally pay for – like movies, games, music and other copyrighted materials – is illegal downloading in Germany. The German government is cracking down on illegal downloading and could prosecute you for illegal downloading.
How Can I Watch the Bundesliga Outside of Germany?
Bundesliga fans that are traveling or living outside of Germany can still follow all of the action of their favorite football league by using a VPN. A VPN can make it appear as if you are inside German borders, enabling access to all games available on streaming.
- How to Use a VPN in Germany
- Best VPN Services for Use in Germany
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- Why Can’t I Use a Free VPN in Germany?
- What Advantages Does a VPN Provide?
- German VPN Q&A
- Is Streaming Safe in Germany?
- What Is Illegal Downloading in Germany?
- How Can I Watch the Bundesliga Outside of Germany?