Best VPN for Germany
If you think all Germans sit around looking serious, eating sauerkraut, drinking beer, and watching soccer, think again. According to Lonely Planet, Germany is one of the best countries to visit in 2019. Not only will annual festivals like the Rock in the Park rock music festival in Nuremberg in June draw the crowds, but the whole country will be celebrating 100 years since the influential Bauhaus movement rocked the international art world.
A democratic, first-world country, Germany has some impressive data protection laws in place, but the government’s attempts to introduce data retention laws and its animosity towards peer-to-peer file-sharing mean having one of the best VPNs for Germany is a must, whether you’re heading there for business or pleasure. Perhaps even more importantly, a VPN is an excellent way to protect yourself against the rising number of threats infecting Germany cyberspace.
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The Best VPNs for Germany
#1 ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Germany
We all know how good German engineering is so comes as a bit of a surprise that this sophisticated piece of cybersecurity software wasn’t actually designed by the Germans themselves. ExpressVPN is actually based in the British Virgin Islands so there’s nothing German about it, nevertheless, it’s one of the best ways to protect your identity and sensitive data while exploring the country.
ExpressVPN has an extensive international network of servers, including eight in Germany and numerous others in neighboring countries like the Netherlands and Poland. With an impressive AES-256 bit encryption, ExpressVPN is certainly secure, while the speeds it manages to produce are hard to beat.
Using the safest security protocol, OpenVPN, as its default, ExpressVPN gives users the benefit of a kill switch which will halt all internet traffic in the event of the VPN connection dropping. With ExpressVPN this is unlikely, but it’s always good to have a safety net.
When it comes to accessing blocked content, ExpressVPN has proven its agility time and again, breezing past sophisticated geoblocks on sites like Netflix, even when connecting from heavily restricted countries like Russia or the UAE.
ExpressVPN’s customer support service is as impressive as its software, which is both easy to operate and compatible with most operating systems. Furthermore, ExpressVPN has a proven no-logging policy which means even your most sensitive data is in safe hands.
While ExpressVPN may not be the cheapest cybersecurity solution out there, it’s certainly one of the fastest and most secure, making it excellent value for money.
Find out more about why we rate ExpressVPN as the best VPN for Germany by reading our full review.
#2 Surfshark VPN – Best VPN for Streaming in Germany
Surfshark may be pretty new to the cybersecurity scene but it’s proving itself to be both fast and effective, especially when streaming US content from overseas. Unlike ExpressVPN, Surfshark is able to fly under the radar to some extent, partly because it’s not as well-known and partly because it’s still small.
Many people claim size doesn’t matter and that certainly seems true for Surfshark, which has been producing competitively fast speeds since its launch in 2017. It may only have just over 800 servers worldwide, but these are located so as to provide optimum coverage.
Like ExpressVPN, Surfhsark recommends OpenVPN as its default setting but, while ExpressVPn also supports PPTP, SSTP, and L2TP/IPSec protocols, Surfshark has focused on just OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec which, to be honest, are more than sufficient for most users.
Surfshark has developed lightweight apps that are compatible with everything from AppleTV to Windows. Better still, it also allows for unlimited simultaneous connections so, if you’re hoping to share all your Oktoberfest antics with your online friends, Surfshark is a great way to go.
With its German servers optimized for P2P traffic, Surfshark also promotes uninterrupted and unlimited streaming so, if you’re jetting off to Germany to catch the international sailing event and cultural festival, the Kiel Regatta, at the end of June, but can’t wait for the fifth season of Madam Secretary on Netflix, Surfshark is the answer.
Currently priced at less than a quarter of a monthly subscription to ExpressVPN, Surfshark is great for streamers on a budget and anyone else who needs affordable cybersecurity that enables them to stream US content from overseas.
Read more about Surfshark in our expert full review.
#3 CyberGhost VPN – Most User-Friendly VPN for Germany
If you’re looking for an easy to use VPN that really understands German cyberspace, then CyberGhost is for you. Developed in Germany, CyberGhost moved their headquarters to Romania so it could provide a no-logging service without battling with data retention laws.
Nevertheless, any individual accessing German cyberspace could be potentially monitored due to its inclusion in the 14-eyes intelligence-sharing alliance. Services like CyberGhost VPN use state-of-the-art encryption to scramble your traffic so it can’t be collected or shared.
Although both P2P sharing and torrenting are legal in Germany, if you download copyrighted content, you could face a hefty fine, even if you didn’t actually download the illegal file. CyberGhost is all too well aware of this issue and has created a host of servers specifically optimized for torrenting. Not only will these guarantee you the fast speeds you need, but they’ll also protect you against possible DNS leaks while providing a kill switch that will protect you should your VPN connection fail.
CyberGhost has one of the biggest international server networks of any VPN and boasts over 600 servers in Germany alone, which is great for those wanting to stream German movies and TV series. It also means you can always find a server that has limited traffic and high speeds available.
Although getting into Netflix’s US library isn’t the easiest, CyberGhost VPN regularly updates its workarounds, ensuring you have access to the latest US content. By selecting the ‘Torrent Anonymously’ function, users can immediately access the exact profile that’s going to provide with the best speeds and security protocols to torrent safely and anonymously.
CyberGhost’s user-friendly, intuitive interface means it’s easy to get to grips with, while its highly customizable advanced features mean you can tweak the service to suit your specific needs.
#4 NordVPN – Most Secure VPN for Germany
If you think CyberGhost has an impressive network with its 3,500+ servers, NordVPN’s 5,000 or so will really blow your mind! NordVPN started out in 2012 and has spent the past seven years honing its security and improving its protection.
Committed to protecting user privacy at all costs, NordVPN uses some of the most sophisticated encryption available and takes it to another level by introducing unique features like its Onion over VPN and DoubleVPN options. Although using DoubleVPN, which sends your traffic via two secure servers instead of just one, can negatively affect your connection speeds, it does give the extra protection you need if streaming copyrighted content in Germany.
NordVPN has a proven no-logging policy and allows users to connect up to six devices simultaneously. While it doesn’t have quite the number of servers that CyberGhost supports in Germany, it still has over 200 which means high-speed connections everywhere from Sylt in northern Germany, to Oberstdorf at the southern end.
Not only will NordVPN create a fake IP address so you can access US content from Germany, but it will also be able to prevent your ISP from knowing what you’re doing, so they can’t throttle you simply because you’re streaming.
NordVPN does an excellent job of keeping you secure and anonymous online, even when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. In a country like Germany, where cybercrime is both prevalent and increasing, NordVPN has got your back and gives you the freedom to secure six devices simultaneously.
While a little more expensive than Surfshark, not quite as fast as ExpressVPN, and slightly more difficult to use than CyberGhost, NordVPN is a reliable and impressive service that’s great for those dedicated to international travel.
Read more about NordVPN in our expert full review.
#5 TunnelBear – Best VPN for Beginners
This is one of the best-suited VPNs for anyone looking to dip their toe into the VPN pool as it is designed to suit the needs of most online users. With servers in over 20 countries, you can expect to connect to locations like the US, Australia, UK, Hong Kong, and many others.
With one subscription you can set up TunnelBear to work on five simultaneous devices including platforms like Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android, but Linux only has limited support. There is no router VPN support from TunnelBear either so if that is a deal breaker you will have to look elsewhere.
If you are heading overseas or even looking to do some internet banking or online shopping you want your VPN provider to give you the most security possible. With TunnelBear you can enjoy AES 256-bit encryption and SHA256 authentication. On top of having the best encryption available, TunnelBear also protects trackers from blocking your secure VPN connection.
In terms of privacy, some people worry that TunnelBear has jurisdiction in Canada, which it does, but it also has one of the most comprehensive privacy policies out there. You can be sure that TunnelBear will not keep any data logs or sell your online data to third parties. If you want complete anonymity you also have the option of paying for the service with Bitcoin.
If you need support you can fill out an online form and someone will get back to you within 48 hours. Admittedly, this isn’t customer support on a level offered by ExpressVPN with their live chat service, but your problem will be solved and explained in a simple manner.
Affordability is key and when you sign up to their one-year plan you can save as much as 50% on what you would normally pay with their month-by-month plan. Additionally, you can check out just how TunnelBear works with their free plan. This will afford you 500MB of data per month, which won’t last long if you love streaming, but it will allow you to grasp the ropes.
Find out more about TunnelBear in our full review.
If you need a secure VPN connection in Germany, this is one of our favorite options. ProtonVPN offers fewer servers than some of the other premium VPN services around, but the number of servers on offer is quickly increasing, with more than 620 on offer at this moment in as many as 44 countries around the world. The Swiss-based VPN company was founded by the creators of ProtonMail, the world’s largest secure email service.
With excellent military-grade security, your internet connection will also be secured with IKEV2, IPSec and OpenVPN protocols. In terms of privacy, ProtonVPN doesn’t mess around, only recording timestamps from users, but otherwise having a strict no-logging policy.
“The only information that ProtonVPN monitor is a timestamp of login attempts. This timestamp is overwritten with each successful login and does not contain any identifying information. We retain this timestamp to detect and protect user accounts from password guessing attacks.
We do not keep any logs of users’ online activity and we cannot be forced to keep any logs under Swiss law. While it is true that Article 21 al. 2 of the OSCPT (the law governing Swiss electronic surveillance) requires telecommunication companies to store data for up to six months, this is generally only applied to major telecommunication companies, and there is an exemption for organizations like ProtonVPN and we have been registered under this exemption.”
With solid speeds and no bandwidth reselling, this VPN company has proven to be one of the best choices for Germany. You can even sign up for their free plan which will allow you a seven day trial of their most popular, Plus plan. The free plan allows you access to servers in three locations including the US, Netherlands, and Japan and has no bandwidth limitations which is incredibly rare for any free VPN service.
Read more about ProtonVPN in our full review and take advantage of their free seven-day trial.
Hushing Hate Speech Impinges on Internet Freedoms in Germany
Germans are serious about their right to individual freedom and privacy online and thousands took the streets in March this year to protest against the European Union’s proposed copyright law. Although the new EU legislation is designed to protect authors and other content creators, protestors believe it could impinge on their online freedoms and normalize government surveillance.
The introduction of the controversial Network Enforcement Act at the beginning of 2018 has also caused some alarm even though its primary function is to prevent hate speech. Unfortunately, differentiating between hate speech and free speech is notoriously difficult and many fear the new act will simply reduce online freedom.
Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, has defended the act, saying, “Incitement to murder, threats, insults, and incitement of the masses or Auschwitz lies are not an expression of freedom of opinion but rather attacks on the freedom of opinion of others”. Nevertheless, reports indicate that some 15,000 German posts are removed by Facebook each month, making many doubt the efficacy of the new legislation.
This isn’t the first time Germans have struggled to access the content they want and, a few years ago, a German performance rights authority, GEMA, refused to accept YouTube’s free to access policy, resulting in the blockage of all music videos on the site. Fortunately, this issue was subsequently resolved and now residents and visitors to the country can enjoy unlimited access to pretty much anything, assuming it’s not restricted by geoblocks, that is.
While the monitoring of cyberspace is a serious problem for all national authorities, the German government is just as keen to protect their residents, as they are to protect themselves, and in February 2019, Germany regulators demanded that Facebook get user consent before combining user data across its various apps.
Although German authorities aren’t doing everything right when it comes to protecting freedom of access to online content and the right to private browsing, it’s making some moves in the right direction. However, like many other national authorities, its legislation is too broad and the Global Network Initiative has criticized the German government for outsourcing decisions about freedom of expression to private companies.
According to the German director at Human Rights Watch, Wenzel Michalski, by introducing the Network Enforcement Act, “Germany has undermined free speech at home and set a troubling example for other countries that want to block artistic expression, social criticism, political activism, or independent journalism online”.
While by no means the most restrictive country in the world, traveling anywhere without a VPN is risky business and, in Germany, it looks set to deteriorate. Don’t risk your online freedom nor your personal data – make sure you pack a virtual punch by signing up with one of the best VPNs for Germany today.
Access Top German Content from Overseas
To be fair, a couple of years ago, the Germans seemed to be a little behind the times when it came to streaming, probably because of the confusion surrounding its legality. Those days appear to be in the past now, however, and German TV is enjoying international popularity like never before!
DAZN is one of the most popular sites for streaming live sports in Germany and has a big following in Japan and Canada as well. With coverage of soccer action from all over the world, including the national Bundesliga football league and the annual UEFA tournament, DAZN is a must for soccer fans.
When it comes to entertainment, some local TV channels are available online, such as ZDF and ARD. More tempting for those who want to stream German content from overseas for free is the Deutsches Fernsehen site which has over 50 different German channels available, covering everything from movies to reality TV. The GermanTVCompany is another alternative and will give users access to animations and family entertainment, as well as topical shows and sport.
Services like Netflix are also increasing their German content and Netflix subscribers can enjoy original German content like Babylon Berlin and the keenly awaited historical drama, The Barbarians. YouTV.de has some excellent content available, incorporating both family fun with sport, and is compatible with most mobile devices.
The Bottom Line
If you’re planning a trip to Germany, either for a business meeting, some top-class retail therapy, or simply for a vacation, a VPN can ensure you maintain communications with your friends and family without exposing yourself unnecessarily to cyber threats or online surveillance.
Getting access to sites that have been geographically blocked to users outside Germany is also very straightforward, especially if you opt for a VPN like CyberGhost which has hundreds of servers in German territory.
All over the world, government authorities are upping the ante when it comes to internet freedoms and traveling without a reliable VPN is inadvisable, to say the least. With services like ExpressVPN and Surfshark VPN offering high-speed connections all over the world, there’s no reason to risk exposing yourself digitally by traveling without one.
There’s no need to do without – by using Express VPN, you can access any content you want in Germany, and keep your personal information secure and private.
For the best of both worlds in Germany, get Express VPN today.