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 that 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 2021:
1. ExpressVPN – #Editor’s Choice
ExpressVPN has a sizable network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, several of which are housed in Germany including Frankfurt and Nuremberg. These servers are highly efficient for torrenting, gaming, streaming, as well as unblocking any websites unavailable in Germany due to geo-restrictions. With ExpressVPN, you can watch local German channels from abroad including Das Erste, Bayerischer Rundfunk, ZDF and NDR.
The provider is situated in the British Virgin Islands, and this is why it is pretty good at ensuring no customer logs are stored and the privacy of users is maintained.
In addition, ExpressVPN also offers excellent connectivity and features such as split-tunneling, kill switch, and obfuscated servers to give German citizens that extra bit of privacy.
However, the service is more expensive than the standard rates of most VPNs. It currently costs $6.67/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.
- 3,000+ servers in 94+ countries
- Offers excellent 24/7 customer support
- Provides 5 multi-logins
- Fast speeds
- Accepts cryptocurrency
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Unblocks Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more
- A little more expensive than other providers
- No ad blocker
2. Surfshark – Super Fast VPN for German Users
Surfshark has a server base of 3,200+ servers extending to 65+ 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 the 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 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 $2.49/mo . Despite the low price, the provider still offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read this Surfshark review for more details.
- Efficient 24/7 customer support
- Provides unlimited multi-logins
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Built-in adblocker, anti-malware, and double VPN feature
- Limited P2P servers for torrenting
3. NordVPN – Rock-solid Service for Germany
NordVPN consists of an extensive network of 5,500+ servers located in 60+ countries, including 240+ 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 a 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. With NordVPN you can access American streaming platforms in Germany like Netflix US, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, HBO Now, and more.
It is slightly more expensive than the VPNs listed above, costing $3.71/mo , but all these features along with a 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.
- Offers 5500+ servers in 59 countries
- 24/7 customer support
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Supports P2P
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Built-in ad blocker
- Easy compatibility with Smart TVs and other devices
- Windows app is sluggish
- Slow speed on double encryption
4. PureVPN – Great Choice for Unblocking
PureVPN has 6,500+ 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 websites because of geo-restrictions, this VPN can effectively grant you the access you need using its offshore servers, while the impressive network of local German servers is 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 a built-in ad-blocker, kill switch, and split-tunneling, German users can keep their online activities well-hidden with this VPN.
At a cost of $3.33/mo PureVPN becomes the least expensive VPN. Offering 10 simultaneous connections and a 30-day refund-policy are part of the package, PureVPN serves particularly well as a German VPN.
Find out more about this service in our PureVPN review.
- Provides 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries
- 31-day money-back guarantee
- Allows 10 multi-logins
- 256-bit military-grade encryption
- 24/7 customer support
- Compatible with 50+ platforms
- No ad-blocker
- Speeds are inconsistent during peak hours
5. CyberGhost – Impressive VPN for Germany
CyberGhost has 6,600+ servers in 89+ 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.
The provider is based in Romania which is free from any kind of 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 a decent VPN for German users who want to enhance their privacy online for $2.25/mo .
For more information, read our CyberGhost review.
- A large server network
- No-logs policy
- 7 devices with a single subscription
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Optimized servers for Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Complicated app
- Slow speeds
6. PIA VPN – Pocket-Friendly VPN for German Users
PIA VPN offers 757 servers in Germany that allow you to unblock popular German channels like NDR, ZDF, Das Erste, and others from abroad. Apart from this, the service provides 29,000+ servers in all the major countries of the world that help you access geo-limited services be it Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and so on.
Despite being a USA-based VPN service, PIA provides a 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, port forwarding, and dedicated IP to secure your sensitive information from unexpected leaks. PIA is also one of the major VPN providers with Portuguese IPs.
PIA also ranks in our top 6 best torrent VPN blog.
You can pay just $2.69/mo to get PIA VPN along with other benefits like 10 simultaneous connections and 30 days refund.
- 29,000+ servers
- Fast speed for streaming
- 10 multi logins
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the U.S
- Can only unblock few Netflix Libraries (US, UK, Canada)
How to use a VPN in Germany: Step-by-Step
If you are new to VPNs, dont worry, here is how you can set up a VPN and use it in Germany to protect your online privacy and unblock geo-restricted content:
Features to look for in the best VPN for Germany
Not all VPNs work in Germany because they dont offer strong encryption and security protocols. Therefore, to choose the best VPNs for Germany, we have made sure the VPN provider has met the following criteria:
VPNs to Avoid in Germany – Do Not Waste Your Money
Not all VPN services are secure and offer the protection that they claim. On that note, here are some VPNs that you should avoid using in Germany:
Hide My Ass
Hide My Ass is a UK-based VPN service that has a bad history of logging user data and helping authorities make arrests using data from Hide My Ass. Therefore, we dont recommend users in Germany use this VPN service as it goes against the user’s right to privacy.
Hide.me is a free VPN service that limits data at 2GB and speed to only 3Mbits/seconds. It also offers only 3 server locations to its users and the speeds are terrible. It does not store traffic logs and user data, however, these services lure users to subscribe to their paid versions. That is why we dont recommend it. It does have a paid version, you can check out the details in our hide.me review.
Another VPN to avoid is Hola. Hola has been involved in a recent event for selling user information to third parties. It also sells the idle bandwidth of its free VPN users to other services. Therefore, if you want to protect your online privacy and security we wouldn’t recommend using Hola VPN in Germany.
What if I use a free VPN in Germany?
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. Free VPNs are no doubt tempting, but you should know that almost 40% of the free VPNs leak user data to third party advertisers. The information includes the sites you visit, the ads you have clicked on, and more.
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. Most free VPNs make money by using intrusive ads, meaning, you will be seeing an ad after every 30 seconds or so if you are using a free VPN.
Similarly, free VPNs offer a limited number of servers and those are contested offering extremely slow speeds. Therefore, a free VPN for Germany won’t be of much use, even assuming that it is safe to use. That is why a better option is to invest a small amount in a paid, premium VPN service that will protect your privacy in Germany.
However, if you still want to use a free VPN in Germany, 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.
Watch German Sports Online with a VPN
For all the sports enthusiasts out there, with a VPN you can stream international sports in Germany using a VPN. Similarly, with a VPN, you can also stream German sports channels from abroad. Here are some of the best VPNs for German sports streaming:
- ExpressVPN: It’s no surprise that ExpressVPN is our top choice when it comes to streaming sports in Germany. With ExpressVPN, you can also stream local German sports channels from abroad like DAZN, ARD, and ZDFsport.
- Surfshark: Surfshark is another great option for sports fans. It has a wide server network and also provides fast speed so you can enjoy the streaming of your favorite sports.
- NordVPN: Next up in our top 3 VPNs is NordVPN that has the right servers in all the locations so you can enjoy international sports in Germany and abroad.
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 a 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 German 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.
You can also use a VPN to access Netflix US in Germany.
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 this censorship remains intact.
In 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.
These censorship issues are increasing in European countries which didn’t have strict censorship laws before such as Finland and Austria, which are also under the threat of new and strict censorship laws. By only using a trusted VPN, citizens of those countries can shelter themselves from government and private agencies’ prying eyes.
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 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 use a VPN for added encryption and stay safe from ISPs tracking what you’re doing online.
FAQs – Best VPNs in Germany
- Choose a VPN and subscribe (we recommend ExpressVPN)
- Download and install the VPN on your device
- Sign in using your credentials
- Connect to a German server from the list of servers
- Go to German streaming platforms like ARD, ZDF, and ProSieben and enjoy your favorite shows.
- Get a VPN and subscribe (we recommend ExpressVPN)
- Download and install the VPN on your device
- Sign in using your credentials
- Connect to a US server from the list of servers
- Go to Hulu and enjoy your favorite movies and shows.
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