What Is The Best VPN for France in 2018?
NordVPN is the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider around to protect your online activities, such as browsing the web and torrenting, while visiting or residing in France. The provider’s fast connections and optimal privacy protections add up to a great way to protect your online antics from the prying eyes of the French government, your ISP and content owners.
This provider also makes for a great way to protect your personal and business information from being stolen by hackers who target internet users who use the free Wi-Fi hotspots available at French coffee shops, hotels and other public locations throughout France.
Internet Freedom in France
Internet access in France is widespread, with a recent survey showing 83% of French people as internet users.
During recent years, the following internet-freedom-related events occurred:
Freedom House ranks France’s internet freedom status as “Free.” The organization gave the country an overall Internet Freedom Score of 26/100 (0 = Most Free, 100 = Least Free). This earns the country the 12th best ranking of the 65 countries assessed.
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in France
Why Do You Need a VPN in France?
While internet freedom in France continues to flourish, there are still plenty of reasons to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while living in or visiting the country. In this section, I’ll share the various reasons why using a VPN is a good idea.
Internet censorship in France is relatively low, with filtering mostly limited to certain types of obscene content and websites that promote racial bias or terrorism.
Voice over IP
Voice over IP (VoIP) service is legal in France.
Users should keep in mind, however, that as VoIP is an internet-based service, it is subject to the same security concerns as any other internet service - and governments and other third parties could monitor your communication to and from the country.
Facebook, Twitter, and other international social networks are freely available to users in France. Popular international blog-hosting services are also available in the country.
The passing of a new “3 strikes” copyright law in France in 2009 threatens to ban users from the internet upon their third violation of regulations, preventing the sharing or downloading of copyrighted materials, including movies, TV shows, music and other copyrighted content.
This “3 strikes and you’re out” law is a matter of great concern among users who enjoy sharing files via torrenting services and other sites.
Government monitoring of internet usage in the country is on the rise, escalating in the years following the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo by armed extremists.
French officials require Internet Service Providers in the country to retain data related to their users’ online activities for 1 year. This rule also applies to online services such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.
The Netflix streaming service is widely available in France.
However, due to licensing contracts with television and movie producers, the content available on the French version of the streaming site can vary greatly from the content available in other countries.
The size differs greatly as well - French Netflix only offers 387 TV shows and 1,541 movies, while the U.S. version offers 1,326 TV shows and 4,339 movies.
Legality of VPNs
The use of a VPN is legal in France.
As of January 2017, the French government allows 3 types of online gambling: online sports betting, online horse race betting and online poker.
French citizens looking to indulge in virtual games of chance, such as roulette and slots, will need to connect to an offshore casino site. France doesn’t currently block any offshore online casinos.
How a VPN Protects Your Internet Usage in France
By using a Virtual Private Network, you can prevent the government and your ISP from tracking your internet activities.
By routing your traffic through a VPN’s encrypted tunnel, you can keep your online antics undercover, thwarting any third-party attempts to log your activities.
A VPN also protects your personal and business information from hackers who would love to steal your logins, banking and credit card information, and more when you’re accessing the web via an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot, such as those found in coffee shops and hotels.
A VPN can also make it appear that a user’s internet connection is coming from another location around the globe, helping users to access video and music streaming services, gaming servers and other content that might normally be blocked to them while inside the borders of France.
Choosing the Best VPN for Use in France
When you’re looking for the VPN that will offer you the best protection possible, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you’ll want to keep in mind the important features that add up to comprehensive VPN protection.
The two most important considerations for France-based VPN users is privacy protection and connection speed. In addition, you’ll want to consider global server coverage, customer support and price.
In this section, I’ll discuss the categories above and why they are important considerations for VPN users based in France. At the end of each category discussion, I will provide a list of my top 10 VPN services, ranked in order of how well they perform in that category.
Privacy protection is an important consideration no matter where your base of operations is located. However, when you’re searching for a VPN for use in France, where the government is increasing their online monitoring, privacy takes on a new level of importance.
Make sure the VPN provider you seriously consider offers comprehensive privacy protections. Always learn the following while researching providers:
The VPN providers are listed according to how well they protect your privacy, best to worst.
Connection speed directly affects the quality of your online experience. This is particularly important for users who torrent files, stream video and audio content or enjoy online gaming.
I tested the connection speeds of all of the providers listed below by measuring my ISP-provided connection speed, then connecting to each VPN provider and again testing the connection speed. I then calculated the speed percentages shown in the table by comparing the two speed measurements. All connection speeds were measured by visiting the Speedtest website.
The VPN providers are ranked according to their speed, fastest to slowest.
Other Factors to Consider
A kill switch is a way for a VPN provider to offer another layer of protection for your VPN connection.
A kill switch will automatically drop your connection to the internet if you lose connection to your provider’s VPN servers. This prevents your current online activities from being laid bare to third-party observers.
The providers below are sorted alphabetically, with a checkmark or "X" indicating whether the company offers kill switch protection to their customers.
Here’s hoping that none of my readers ever have a connection or billing issue that will result in the need to contact their VPN provider’s customer support department. Chances are better than good, though, that you’ll need to get in touch with them for one reason or another.
When the need arises, you’ll want to feel confident that you’ll receive prompt, informed replies to your support questions.
Look for a provider that offers what I like to call the “holy trinity” of support, which consists of live support chat, a trouble ticket submission and tracking system and a do-it-yourself option consisting of a support library/knowledge base.
The VPN providers below are ranked in order of what types of support they offer, as well as the speed and accuracy of the answers they supplied.
If you have a wine cellar full of vintage wines, enjoy pâté and only eat freshly baked baguettes, you might not be worried about how much VPN protection will cost.
However, for those of us who still drink our wine out of a box, chow down on liverwurst and eat store-brand bread, this category can carry some considerable weight when making a VPN-buying decision.
When researching the subscription costs of a VPN provider, don’t fall into the “cheaper is always better” trap. You also want to avoid thinking that the most expensive provider will offer the best level of service.
In addition to a provider’s price, consider their level of service in the other categories we’ve taken a look at. That way, you can come to an overall value measurement. Look for more bang for your buck.
Most of the providers listed here offer special deals on a regular basis. These promotional offers can significantly reduce the price you’ll pay for VPN service. However, be advised that in most cases you’ll be required to commit to a longer subscription period than usual.
If you’re not comfortable committing to a year or longer with a VPN service, you can opt for a monthly subscription. But, this will likely see you paying more for your VPN service as time goes forward.