Iceland is a cool country in more ways than one. Everyone knows about the cold climates of the country and the peaceful socio-political environment.
However, what you may not know is that Iceland has the freest Internet with no cases of censorship or violations of users, bloggers, and journalist rights
The Internet penetration rate in the country is 98.2% and obstacles to access are almost non-existent.
In spite of this, geo-restrictions and mandatory data retention laws in the country still create situations where a VPN for Iceland can be an indispensable tool.
Therefore, I’m going to discuss 5 VPN services with excellent unblocking powers to completely remove all obstacles on the web in Iceland.
Geo-restrictions in Iceland
Iceland abhors all forms of censorship on the web. The right to freedom of expression is protected by the constitution of the country, and the state completely respects this right of individuals.
Although online privacy is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain on the web, Iceland protects the privacy of its citizens by law.
The censorship in the country is only against forms of content that are unacceptable by any respectable view of morality.
For instance, Iceland takes child pornography very seriously and the laws for libel/defamation are quite strong.
But the problem is, Iceland is a very remote country. In almost every country of the world, the distribution of content is usually confined to certain countries.
Iceland, unfortunately, happens to be one of the countries that are left in the dark, while other countries can access the same content without restrictions.
For instance, Iceland only has a sixth of the titles available on Netflix compared to the content people in the US have on Netflix.
The only way for Icelanders to enjoy Netflix to its full potential is by changing their IP address to one based in the US in order to gain access to American Netflix.
This is where a VPN having servers in the US can be of great value in Iceland.
Online Surveillance in Iceland
Iceland is one country that has come closest to ensuring complete Internet freedom and protection of digital privacy of citizens. Nonetheless, no place is quite perfect.
Iceland happens to be a cooperative state to the Five Eyes – an intelligence-sharing group of countries. This means that the state and law enforcement in the country may be spying on your online activities.
The Electronic Communications Act of 2003 implemented mandatory data retention for all ISPs in Iceland. The online activities of users are retained for a minimum of six months.
Although law enforcement can only gain access to this logged information after producing a warrant, the mandatory data retention can be too much to digest if you are sensitive about your privacy.
A VPN with offshore jurisdiction with a logging policy that guarantees no retention of user information can be an effective solution to those users in Iceland who want to feel more secure on the web and keep their privacy intact.
Read our guide on surveillance and the role of Five Eyes in violating the privacy of citizens if you want to learn about the relationship between jurisdictions and privacy laws.
5 Best VPNs for Iceland
The following criteria take into account the particular needs of people in Iceland who are looking for a VPN:
- Logging policy
- Server network
The 5 VPNs that meet these criteria are described below.
If you are looking for general purpose VPNs that comfortably meet a host of privacy and security-related criteria, check our article on best VPN services for 2019.
1. ExpressVPN for Iceland
Jurisdiction: ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands. BVI is free from any data retention laws, which allows this VPN to protect user privacy.
The fact that the country has no association with Five Eyes or any other surveillance agency also goes in ExpressVPN’s favor as a privacy solution that Icelanders can take advantage of.
Logging policy: ExpressVPN has a logging policy that keeps no user information such as IP address, timestamps, or user traffic.
This is why the company is fully capable of ensuring your privacy even if you are physically located in Iceland.
There only a few VPNs that have as strong a commitment to privacy as ExpressVPN as our logging policy guide illustrates.
Server network: There are more than 3,000 servers operating in ExpressVPN’s network. These servers are present in over 94 countries including Iceland.
You can easily unblock websites around the world by choosing a suitable server location. ExpressVPN can grant you access to Netflix and other popular streaming platforms with its powerful servers.
So citizens in Iceland can instantly boost their online privacy while also surpassing barriers to access caused by geo-restrictions.
2. NordVPN for Iceland
Jurisdiction: NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, which is also one of the most privacy-friendly countries in the world.
ISPs in the country are not subject to any data retention laws, enabling citizens to protect their privacy on the web.
If you’re in Iceland, then using NordVPN will allow you to circumvent the data retention requirements in your country by routing your traffic through VPN servers registered under NordVPN’s Panama-based headquarters.
Logging policy: NordVPN has a great logging policy since the provider does not monitor your web activities or store any data, the exposure of which could compromise the privacy-security of the user.
As such, NordVPN is a great solution for sealing your privacy on the Internet, if you the retention policies of Icelander ISPs bother you.
Server network: NordVPN boasts a huge network consisting of over 5,000 servers in 60+ countries. This includes 24 servers in Iceland alone which can be useful for expat Icelanders that want to access websites (such as local banks) that normally only work within the country.
Besides, the offshore servers of NordVPN are extremely effective when it comes to bypassing geo-restrictions on Netflix to access shows only available in a few countries.
Many of these servers also support P2P networking if you want to download legally permissible torrents from blocked torrent sites in Iceland.
3. Surfshark for Iceland
Jurisdiction: Surfshark is another VPN located in the British Virgin Islands. As such, it is the recipient of strong online privacy laws and the lack of data retention requirements.
This makes Surfshark a trustworthy VPN for privacy-conscious users in Iceland that aren’t comfortable with the practice of ISPs in the country to store user data for 6 months.
Logging policy: The logging policy of Surfshark ensures that no user data is retained for any periods of time.
This is very reassuring for users in Iceland since it shows that Surfshark is a VPN that values user privacy. When there are no logs related to your identity or activities, no entity can trace you out.
Server network: Surfshark has a smallish server network of only 800 servers. In spite of this, it delivers strong performance and possesses the ability to work with streaming platforms from any region.
If you find some websites inaccessible or can’t find your favorite movie available in the Iceland region of the website, Surfshark can easily get the job done for you.
4. PureVPN for Iceland
Jurisdiction: PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and thus falls under the jurisdiction and laws that apply to this region.
Although Chinese laws are almost draconian when it comes to Internet freedom and censorship, Hong Kong supports online privacy and the Internet in the region has only minimal forms of censorship applied to objectionable content only.
Furthermore, there is no obligation on ISPs in Hong Kong to keep records of user data.
All in all, PureVPN is operating under a very safe jurisdiction that inspires trust for citizens in Iceland who want to escape the data logging practices of local ISPs.
Logging policy: The privacy statement of PureVPN explicitly mentions that the company keeps no logs.
The combination of safe jurisdiction and a good logging policy shows that PureVPN is perfectly capable of keeping your privacy secure.
Server network: PureVPN has an impressive network of 2,000 servers spread over 140 countries. These servers can get you past torrenting websites as well as streaming services of any region without any obstacles. Six of these servers are located in Iceland.
For citizens in Iceland annoyed with geo-restrictions, PureVPN is your ticket to complete online freedom irrespective of the restricted that your desired website has imposed.
5. CyberGhost for Iceland
Jurisdiction: CyberGhost is based in Romania. The laws of the country are known for protecting the online privacy of users and the right to freedom of expression.
In fact, Romania is one of the countries with hardly enforcement against digital copyright infringement and torrenting.
This is one of the reasons that CyberGhost is a popular choice among people who are after complete privacy and secrecy on the web.
Romania is not a party of surveillance alliance either and service providers in the country aren’t bound with any data retention requirements, which is a good thing for Icelanders.
Logging policy: CyberGhost has a no logging policy in place for the protection of user privacy. Users in Iceland that want to solidify their privacy will find this VPN a great option.
Since the company keeps no logs on your activities or information that could be revealing, you can rely on the provider to keep your privacy intact even if any agencies come asking for your data for any reason whatsoever.
Server network: CyberGhost has a reasonably large network of servers shaving 3,500+ of them in 60 countries. In Iceland, CyberGhost as 10 servers operating which can be quite useful if you are moving abroad and need servers to access websites that only work back home.
CyberGhost also offers dedicated servers for streaming and P2P networking which deliver optimized performance for these specific tasks.
Free VPN for Iceland
Free VPN services can sometimes be detrimental to your privacy. Research showed that a good number of free VPN apps are riddled with security risk and vulnerabilities.
There are nonetheless some services that have earned the trust of users over the years. Our free VPN article lists down the VPN services available for free that can actually be trusted.
However, keep in mind that all such free VPNs come with limitations in bandwidth and most of the advanced features are locked.
This is why premium VPNs are always preferable over free ones to you truly secure your privacy in Iceland.
Here are a few alternatives which might help you if you are a resident of another Country:
There is no denying that Iceland is an ideal country where citizens enjoy a level of Internet freedom that few other countries can.
Yet geo-restrictions affect people in Iceland, even more so than in other countries owing to its geographical remoteness.
A VPN will help you bypass geo-restrictions and also help you evade the mandatory data retention requirements of ISPs in Iceland.