What Is The Best VPN for Germany in 2018?
NordVPN is the best VPN for keeping your Germanic internet travels undercover. The provider does an optimal job of protecting their users’ privacy, provides top-notch customer support and delivers the fastest connection speeds of any VPN provider I’ve tried.
All of the above makes the provider the best VPN for use inside German borders.
Internet Freedom in Germany
Internet penetration in Germany is currently around 89.7% of the country’s total area. 63.1 million German citizens accessed the internet in 2016, compared to 58.5 million in 2015.
German connection speeds start at around 10 Mbit/s, going up from there. Internet speeds can go as high as 400 Mbit/s.
While Germany’s internet freedom is generally defined as “free,” the country experienced an increase of disinformation and “fake news” in the lead-up to the 2017 elections, resulting in increased legislation to tackle hate speech and fake news.
From June 2016 to May 2017, the following internet-related developments took place in Germany:
Freedom House gives Germany an overall 2017 Freedom Score of 20/100 (0 = Most Free, 100 = Least Free).
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in Germany
Why You Need a VPN in Germany
While overall internet freedom is high in Germany, there are some restrictions placed on content by the government and ISPs. Currently, censorship is limited to pro-Nazi websites and postings, Holocaust denial, hate speech and certain types of pornography.
Germany's intelligence agency, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been granted more and more power, allowing it a greater expansion of its ability to spy on the country's citizens.
In this portion of the article, I’ll offer you a look at what types of content are allowed in Germany, as well as what types are blocked. I’ll also include information on what types of legal criminal ramifications users who attempt to access blocked content may face.
The German government doesn’t really go overboard when it comes to blocking content. Content related to pro-Nazi information, Holocaust denial, hate speech and some types of pornography are blocked, and rightfully so.
Voice Over IP
Voice over IP (VoIP) services are legal in Germany. Of course, like any internet-based service, it is subject to security issues.
All of the major social networks are available in Germany. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other services. The German government does pressure these services to actively suppress hate speech and other offensive content on their platforms.
The German government blocks sites hosting copyrighted materials and fines users who are caught viewing and/or downloading copyrighted content.
Germany's intelligence agency, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been granted more power to spy on the country's citizens. In the wake of terror attacks in 2016, the BND can now spy on foreign companies and people with no need for a warrant.
ISPs in Germany are required to retain user logs for a period of at least 10 weeks. The information saved in the logs includes customer metadata and their web browsing histories.
Germany requires mobile users to register their device’s SIM card using their full name, address and other identifying information.
Streaming video sites, including YouTube, Vimeo and other popular sites are widely available in Germany.
Netflix is available in Germany, but it’s limited to content licensed for viewing in that country, so you won’t be able to access everything you’d normally be able to view in your home country.
Hulu is restricted to viewing by U.S. and Japan residents, and BBC iPlayer content is restricted to U.K. viewers.
Legality of VPNs
Use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is legal in Germany, although the government frowns on their use for any illegal activities, so keep that in mind. (Not that any of you would do anything illegal.)
Online gambling is technically illegal in the country. While German law could be interpreted as making online wagering illegal, I couldn’t find a single report of a citizen being fined or arrested for placing an online bet with a foreign site.
How a VPN Protects Your Internet Usage in Germany
German residents and visitors who are searching for a way to keep their online activities on the down-low would benefit greatly from using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN protects a user’s internet connection by encasing it in a layer of encryption, which keeps both their internet travels and their personal and business-related information safe from access by outsiders.
A VPN can also enable access to content that might not normally be accessible from inside of German borders.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Germany
When shopping for a VPN provider, look for one that offers the fastest internet connections, total privacy protections, top-notch support, and wide-ranging global server coverage.
In this section, I’ll discuss each important service category, tell you why the feature is vital and then tell you how well each of my top 10 VPN providers fared in each category.
Privacy is always an important consideration when deciding on a VPN provider, especially in a country like Germany, where the government is allowed to monitor its citizens and view logs of their internet travels.
Look for a VPN that is located in a privacy-friendly country, keeps no logs of any sort and accepts privacy-protecting payment options, such as Bitcoin.
Connection speed is perhaps the main VPN service category that directly affects your satisfaction with online activities. Faster is always better.
When testing the speeds delivered by a VPN, I first test my ISP-delivered connection speeds, then I connect to the VPN I’m testing and run the speed test again. (I use Speedtest.net to test.)
I repeat the process on multiple days at various times of day and use the information to calculate an average speed. I then compare the ISP and VPN speeds to calculate an average speed.
Avg. DL Speed
Avg. DL Speed
Other Factors to Consider
Customer support is only important if you need it. And chances are, you will need it.
Ideally, you’re looking for a VPN that offers live support chat, a trouble ticket system and a customer-accessible support library.
The provider list seen below is ranked according to the level of support they offer, best score to worst.
When considering VPN pricing, don’t go in thinking that cheaper is always better, or that you’ll have to pay a high price for good service.
Check a provider’s services to make sure they’re not cutting corners just to offer a low price. Also, keep an eye out for sales. Most of the providers listed here offer special deals from time to time. Such deals may require you to subscribe for longer periods of time, though.
Users who either can’t or don’t want to pay up front for an extended period of time can opt for a monthly subscription period. However, that will almost always cost you more in the long run.
The pricing list below is sorted lowest-priced to highest.
*The prices in the table reflect the monthly cost when paying for an annual subscription. (Annual Subscription Price / 12 Months.)
Global Server Coverage
Make sure your VPN provider of choice offers wide-ranging global server coverage, like that shown in the graphic below. Comprehensive global server coverage is an excellent tool for unblocking content that might not normally be available in your area.
The VPN services list below is ranked by server coverage, most to least.
I’m willing to bet that most of us own more than one connected device. That makes the number of platforms supported by a VPN important in the scheme of things.
The list below lays out the provider’s device support, ranked most devices to least.