Germany is one of the most progressive countries in the world where the right to freedom of expression is nationally recognized and upheld. Although censorship is unlikely to be a problem you’ll face in Germany, the country is unfortunately a part of the 14 Eyes alliance.
As part of this intelligence sharing alliance, domestic surveillance from intelligence agencies is a serious privacy issue for citizens in the country. The country has also passed mandatory data retention law which obligates ISPs to store user information for 10 weeks.
As such, for privacy-conscious users who don’t want their online activities tracked by the government, a VPN has become an essential tool to have.
6 Best VPNs for Germany
Following are the 6 top-notch VPN services for Germany in 2020:
PureVPN has 2,000+ servers in 140 countries, with 201 of these in Germany in the cities of Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Hessen. If you are in Germany and unable to access some streaming website because of geo-restrictions, this VPN can effectively grant you the access you need using its offshore servers, while the impressive network of local Germany servers are useful for expatriates that want access to websites back home such as their bank.
You can also utilize the German servers to access channels like ZDF and 7TV abroad with minimal buffering times and instant streaming.
PureVPN is headquartered in Hong Kong where no data retention laws apply on ISPs or VPN providers. This is why the provider guarantees zero logging of customer information for maximum privacy. Considering the fact that there are data retention laws in Germany and the country is also a part of the 14 Eyes, a no-logging policy is essential for Germans that want to stay invisible to the surveillance of intelligence agencies.
The provider also offers privacy-boosting features such as built-in ad-blocker, killswitch, and split-tunneling, German users can keep their online activities well-hidden with this VPN.
Find out more this service in our PureVPN review.
Surfshark has a server base of 1,000+ servers extending to 60+ countries including Germany. The German servers are highly efficient for accessing local streaming channels like ZDF, ARD, and 7TV, which are geo-restricted abroad. So, if you’re traveling away from Germany for a while, Surfshark can be incredibly helpful.
Furthermore, the provider is headquartered in British Virgin Islands, which is another country where laws are supportive of individual privacy. For people in Germany, this is just as well considering that local ISPs in the country retain logs of users for 10 weeks. It is the fastest VPN service with a downloading speed of 27.91 Mbps.
Surfshark comes packed with privacy-enhancing features such as such as CleanWeb and MultiHop to protect themselves from cybercriminals and online snooping from any third parties. It also has the ability to unblock US Netflix within Germany for users who want to watch exclusive content not available in Germany.
Finally, Surfshark has the distinction of allowing unlimited simultaneous connections at the cost of $1.99/mo . Despite the low price, the provider still offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read this Surfshark review for more details.
Ivacy offers 29 servers in Germany that allow you unblock popular German channels like NDR, ZDF, Das Erste and others from abroad. Apart from this, the service provides 1000+ servers in all the major countries of the world that help you access geo-limited services be it Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlyer, Amazon Prime and so on.
Despite being a Singapore based VPN service, Ivacy provides zero-logging feature that lets German user preserve their identity from government surveillance in the right way. Likewise, you can use other enticing privacy features like internet kill switch, split tunneling and dedicated IP to secure your sensitive information from unexpected leaks.
You can pay just $2.25/mo to get Ivacy along with other benefits like 5 simultaneous connections and 30 days refund.
NordVPN consists of an extensive network of 5,000+ servers located in 60+ countries, including 200+ of these within Germany alone. People in Germany can therefore benefit from this vast network to evade any geo-restrictions on websites both within and outside the country. So whether you’re German resident or traveling outside, NordVPN is efficient for both.
The provider is based in Panama and thus this VPN promises a log-less service by taking advantage of the lack of data logging regulations in Panama. This makes it very appealing for privacy-seeking users in Germany.
In addition, it provides excellent features such as Onion over VPN, CyberSec, and DoubleVPN to consolidate your privacy if you want to stay protected from the view of surveillance agencies.
It is slightly more expensive than the VPNs listed above, costing $3.49/mo , but all these features along with 30-day refund period and 6 multi-logins makes this VPN an excellent choice for use in Germany.
Learn more about this service in our NordVPN review.
ExpressVPN has a sizable network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, several of which are housed in Germany. These servers are highly efficient for torrenting, gaming, streaming, as well as unblocking any websites unavailable in Germany due to geo-restrictions.
The provider is situated in British Virgin Islands, and this is why it is pretty good at ensuring no customers logs are stored and the privacy of users is maintained.
In addition, ExpressVPN also offers excellent connectivity and features such as split-tunneling, killswitch, and obfuscated servers to give German citizens that extra bit of privacy.
However, the service is more expensive than the standard rates of most of the VPNs. It currently costs $8.32/mo . Nonetheless, you can claim a refund within 30 days if you find the service disappointing for any reason.
Read our ExpressVPN review for more details.
CyberGhost has 5,500+ servers in 80+ countries and 696 of these are in Germany in the cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf. Most of these servers are optimized for torrenting so if you need to safely download some torrents without German agencies spying on you, this service is quite reliable.
Provider is based in Romania which is free from any kind data retention laws. So it is a safe choice for users that want to stay away from any data logging that German ISPs are involved in.
CyberGhost also offers 7 simultaneous connections and you can avail 45-day refund period, which is more than most what most other providers offer.
Considering these features, CyberGhost is decent VPN for German users who want to enhance their privacy online for $2.75/mo .
For more information, read our CyberGhost review.
What if I go with a free VPN?
If you’re familiar with the VPN industry, you’ve probably heard warnings about avoiding free VPNs. There are actually very good reasons for giving a wide berth to the services that come with a “free” tag.
For one, most VPNs available for free are actually data harvesting tools that will destroy your privacy rather than offering any protection.
Furthermore, these services have severe limitations which make them almost unusable. Small bandwidth allowance, for instance, means that you can hardly use the VPN without running out of the limit pretty soon. As such, free VPN for Germany won’t be of much use, even assuming that it is safe to use.
However, for basic VPN use, there are a few reliable services available for free:
For more information about the whole deal with these VPNs, check out this article on free VPN providers.
Why do you need a VPN in Germany?
In spite of the fact that Germany is subject to GDPR laws for ensuring the anonymity and privacy of citizens, agencies have the power to snoop on you. Germany is party to the 14 Eyes treaty, which grants the government the authority to perform surveillance on citizens.
Especially since the 2016 terrorism in Munich, the Germany intelligence agency BND has increased its surveillance program, which is a potential encroachment of online privacy. Therefore, if you are a foreigner in Germany, your online activities might be under the agency’s radar.
VPN services do not guarantee perfect anonymity. However, it can add an extra line of defense through IP masking and encryption. Germany is also imposing strict penalties against online piracy through torrenting. Therefore, you should use a VPN for Germany to ensure your privacy.
There are certain reasons why there are censorship issues in Germany. Pro-Nazi ideology still exists in the country along with Holocaust denial. To prevent hate speech and all other reasons that could start a conflict, the German government with the help of Google and ISPs ensure that these censorship remain intact.
On one instance, the government blocked a game that goes by the name Wolfenstein 3D that showcases Nazi soldiers. The game was blocked and was labeled as hateful content. With a VPN, you can always access any content online.
It was Edward Snowden at first who reflected upon the close ties of German’s Intelligence Agency (BND) with US and UK intelligence agencies. Germany is a member of 14-eyes country where they are bound to share and exchange intelligence among its members. These countries snoop over the online activity of their citizens and exchange data with member countries.
As a result, it creates a dire need for German citizens to protect their online activity more than ever. Since Snowden, Government has invested millions in improving its internet surveillance system.
In 2015, Bundestag (German Parliament) passed a revised version of data retention law that requires telecom companies to store metadata of their users. The controversial law was voted in favor by 404 MPs and requires telecom companies to store information of their users for 10 weeks.
According to this law, your internet browsing, phone call location and text messages will be stored, which is a massive privacy concern.
Germany has a clear stance against downloading of copyrighted content through torrents or other online sources. If you are found involved in downloading torrents in Germany, it can land you in serious legal hot waters. Penalties for copyright infringement can include fines and even jail sentences.
Copyright infringement is not limited to downloading torrents only. Steaming services such a Popcorn Time are also illegal in Germany. Therefore, users should be extremely careful when downloading torrents or accessing any content considered illegal in Germany and do so at their own risk. And that’s why I always recommend the users to use a VPN for added encryption and stay safe from ISPs tracking what you’re doing online.