VPN use in Germany is on the rise and understandably so. VPNs are the perfect tool to ensure online privacy, prevent government surveillance, view geo-restricted content, and download torrents.
There are a lot of choices, however, and finding a provider among the crowd that will deliver top performance, security, and online freedom at an affordable price isn’t always that easy.
But that’s why I’m here. VPNs is what I do. I try them out, push them to their limits, and identify both their strengths and weaknesses. And below, you’ll find an overview of what are considered to be the best VPNs for Germany.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Germany and want to gain unrestricted and secure access to websites and service in the rest of the world, or whether you’re outside the country trying to stream German TV channels like ARD or ZDF. These VPNs will deliver.
Overview of the Best VPNs for Germany
In case a list of the best German VPNs is all you’re looking for and are not interested in details or in reading the full article, here is a quick overview of the top providers.
Simple to pick up and use, with strict no-logging policy, impressive security and speeds, and a big server network. One of the best values around.
A well-priced provider that does it all. Has one of the largest networks, excellent privacy, advanced security features, and consistent access to geo-blocked content.
Established VPN service with fast servers in a massive 131 countries. Has reliable foreign content streaming and broad device support for a very low cost.
Trusted company with fast and secure servers, no logging, and a polished and easy to use client. Comes with excellent no questions 30-day money back guarantee.
Newer VPN service that offers everything you need for a very low price. Has excellent security options, an easy to use stable client, and allows unlimited connections.
Why Use a VPN in Germany
Even though Germany has a deeply ingrained tendency toward data privacy and security, there are still plenty of reasons that as an internet user there you would want to use a VPN.
Germany is part of a global surveillance collective known as 14 Eyes. That means they are obligated to share collected intelligence with other member nations (including the US and UK) when asked to do so.
And there is certainly information to share.
The BND, Germany’s federal intelligence agency, has extensive spying powers and actively monitors internet activity. Upon request, it can get up to 10 week’s worth of logged user data from any of the country’s ISPs (which, obviously, is information the ISPs have to record and keep).
Germany also has stringent laws regarding the download or sharing of copyrighted material. The country has a notoriously ambiguous fair use policy too, which makes it risky for even legitimate users of copyrighted works to handle such files.
Taken together, these reasons alone are compelling enough arguments for using a VPN in Germany. But wait, there’s more.
Another big reason to use a VPN in Germany is to evade some of the most aggressive online content restrictions in the world. German courts have been very sympathetic to rightsholders in the past, at one point blocking a vast swath of YouTube videos over licensing questions.
Using a VPN to evade content restrictions also has the happy side effect of allowing users to view regionalized versions of their favorite streaming platforms like Netflix. It also makes it possible to view content from country-specific services like BBC iPlayer (UK-only), and Hulu (US-only).
In a sense, a VPN is like a passport to a world of new and unrestricted entertainment content.
What to Look for in a German VPN
There are plenty of available VPN options for German users to choose from, but they’re not all created equal. If you’re about to make that choice, here’s what to look for.
Multiple Servers in Germany
If you want to use your VPN for privacy and additional security while online in Germany, you’ll want VPN servers close at hand. The higher the number servers spread across multiple German cities, the better. This will help guarantee the best possible connection and internet experience.
Servers in Other Countries
To use a VPN in Germany to access sites available only in other countries, the VPN will need servers located there. If you can’t predict which countries you’ll be interested in, pick a provider with the broadest range of options possible.
Stable and High-Speed Connections
To maintain a good online user experience, you need a fast VPN. Period. Unless a service offers quick connections which are stable enough to support things like downloads and high-definition video streaming, you’ll be that much less likely to use your VPN and cringe every time you have to do it.
Strict No-Logging Policies
As mentioned earlier, Germany is strict about issues like copyright claims. To properly protect yourself with a VPN, it’s important that the provider has a strict no-logging policy so that if the authorities come knocking, they simply have nothing to share.
If you would like to use P2P applications over a VPN while in Germany, make sure that the provider allows the use of those services. Although most do, this is not a given.
Excellent Encryption and Security
Since VPNs are security tools, you should also choose a provider that offers state-of-the-art encryption and DNS leak protection. If possible, the VPN you pick should also provide a kill switch feature to prevent browsing after unexpected disconnects.
There are a few other considerations when choosing a VPN, though the ones listed above are the main ones. Depending on your specific needs, you may also be able to do without some of these features. That said, the best VPN services for Germany will offer them anyway, and here, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.
The Best VPNs for Germany
Now that we know what we’re looking for, it’s time to get down to business. Without further ado, here are the best VPN services to use in Germany.
If you’ve never heard of CyberGhost, it may be because they were a relatively small provider until recently. They’re now a VPN with one of the largest footprints in the industry and in this case, that’s a good thing.
Based in Romania and boasting over 3600 servers in 60 countries (with 597 servers in three cities in Germany alone), their network is massive. That makes them an excellent choice for German users since you’ll have no shortage of connection options.
On top of that, CyberGhost has a strict-no-logging policy, offers 256-bit AES encryption via the OpenVPN protocol, and has fast all-around connection speeds.
CyberGhost also recently added specialized servers which can consistently unblock Netflix and similar streaming services like the UK’s BBC iPlayer, making them one of the better choices for accessing geo-blocked content.
- True zero logging for maximum privacy
- Excellent server distribution with over 3600 servers in 60 countries
- Fast connection speeds
- Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Allows P2P torrenting
- Long 45-day money back guarantee
- Expensive if you pay monthly (very affordable if you don't)
- Performance could be better in a few countries
- macOS client missing some features
Best VPN for Germany: CyberGhost offers everything you’d expect from a top-class VPN. They’re also one of the most inexpensive providers on this list and even give you an industry-leading 45-day money back guarantee. Few other services offer as complete of a package for German VPN users.
Panama-based NordVPN has quickly built a VPN service that is a force to be reckoned with. Simply put, they have it all. To begin with, they run a very impressive network. Over 5000 servers in 60 countries is what you can expect.
Their servers provide 256-bit AES encryption, support OpenVPN, and their client has built-in kills witch functionality.
NordVPN also specializes in unblocking restricted sites and works tirelessly to keep access to Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer working at all times.
With 268 servers in Germany in two locations and a bulletproof no-logging policy, NordVPN is the Swiss Army Knife of VPN providers for German users.
- Anonymous provider with zero logging
- Over 5000 servers in 60 countries (and growing)
- Great server performance across the board
- Purpose optimized servers, including streaming and P2P
- Clean, easy to use client
- A generous six simultaneous connections
- Can't pick specific cities to connect to
- A few nice-to-haves missing from the macOS client
Does It All: If you’re looking for a VPN that does everything well, NordVPN is a perfect choice. Any user will appreciate its excellent security and high connection speeds – all of which come at a very affordable price.
PureVPN is an industry veteran and has been around since 2007. They’re based in Hong Kong and have just about the most extensive network you’ll find, featuring servers in 131 countries. There’s almost nowhere in the world they don’t reach, and their servers are fast too.
Of those servers, 201 are located in Germany, spread across five different cities. They also have hardware specially optimized for geographically restricted streaming, making them ideal for Germans looking to view foreign video content.
Besides their network, what also sets this provider apart is their support for over 50 different platforms and devices. If it connects to the internet, you can run PureVPN on it.
PureVPN offers 256-bit AES encryption, comes with a killswitch feature, and their easy to use client even blocks ads and viruses when connected to the VPN.
- Fast speeds
- Top notch geographical server diversity (131 countries)
- Compatible with over 50 devices and platforms
- Innovative split tunneling feature
- Dedicated IP option
- No quick start option
- Some potential security issues with DNS leaks
- Select servers can have intermittent connection problems
Top Value German VPN: PureVPN is an excellent solution if you want to stream foreign media or have a variety of devices you’d like to use a VPN on. With industry-standard encryption and adblocking thrown in, it’s a great choice that comes at a bargain price.
If you’re looking for a VPN provider that’s a great all-rounder, ExpressVPN is it. Based in the British Virgin Islands and boasting 2000+ servers in 95 countries, including at three German locations, ExpressVPN delivers.
Add in a no-logging policy, 256-bit encryption, and lightning-quick connection speeds, and it’s clear why ExpressVPN made my list.
There’s nothing you can’t do with ExpressVPN. They support P2P, unblock streaming sites, and even support split tunneling for maximum traffic control.
If they have a downside, it’s the price: ExpressVPN is the most expensive providers on this list. But, they’re well worth it. Plus, you do get a 30-day money back guarantee meaning there’s little risk in trying them out.
- Excellent data encryption options
- A very complete and intuitive client
- Fast servers with consistent speeds
- Plenty of servers and server locations
- Strong back-end technology
- Top notch customer service
- Low number of concurrent connections
- Some aggregated connection logging
Excellent Reputation: If you want a provider that offers excellent privacy and anonymity, knowledgeable 24/7 support, and has a rock-solid reputation, ExpressVPN is the way to go. They even accept Bitcoin payment if you would like to avoid conventional transactions and maximize your privacy.
A relative newcomer to the VPN industry, Surfshark is very worthy of a look for any German VPN shopper. To start with, they operate an 800+ server network spread through more than 55 countries, including, of course, Germany.
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark operates out of the British Virgin Islands, out of reach of any government spy agency. They also have a strict no-logging policy.
Surfshark’s clients use 256-bit encryption, via OpenVPN or IKEv2 and use a SHA512 authentication hash and 2048-bit DHE-RSA key exchange with PFS. That puts Surfshark in a class by themselves in terms of security.
On top of that, you get the option of double VPN support, a kill switch, private DNS servers, P2P and streaming support, and even unlimited concurrent client connections (the only premium provider to do this).
- Privacy doesn’t get much better
- Great performance
- Unlimited connections
- Purpose optimized servers, including for video streaming, peer-to-peer and Tor
- Works with Netflix and BBC
- P2P and Torrenting support
- Not clear which servers support P2P
- Some features missing on mobile
Unlimited Simultaneous Connections: Although Surfshark’s reasonably new, they offer every technical feature you’ll need. Add in 24/7 support, excellent connection speeds, an inexpensive subscription plan, and a no-hassle 30-day money back guarantee, and you have a recipe for happy German VPN users.
Free VPN Use in Germany
Although it’s possible to use most free VPN services in Germany, in general, it’s not the best idea. As with many so-called free products, free VPNs have hidden costs. But instead of paying with money, you pay with your time, privacy, personal information, or all of the above.
Some services, for example, will sell your user data to pay for operations and make a profit, while other inject ads into your browser while you surf the internet.
And no matter how a free provider monetizes their operation, the one thing they don’t worry about too much is security. When compared to paid VPNs, free providers don’t offer nearly the kind of protection you would expect.
With paid VPN services costing next to nothing, this should be an easy decision.
Torrenting in Germany
Having some of the strictest copyright enforcement in the world, torrenting pirated material in Germany is illegal and dangerous business. Copyright trolls, who send out threatening letters to anyone suspected of downloading or sharing protected material, are commonplace.
Courts in Germany have also ruled that parents must report when their children commit copyright violations, so filesharing within German borders is like a game of Russian roulette.
That’s why using a VPN in Germany is all but required if you intend on using P2P services for any purpose whatsoever. Even if specific files are legal to share and download, the German system allows for too much abuse and does little to protect you.
With a VPN, as a German BitTorrent user, you can stay safe from accusations of copyright violations and rest easy.
Internet Surveillance in Germany
Despite Germany’s strong leaning towards user data security and privacy, they’re not averse to cooperating with foreign intelligence agencies. There have even been reports that the German intelligence agencies have engaged in spying in collaboration with the US’s NSA in recent years.
For that reason, as a German internet user, you should have every reason to believe that your internet activities are not immune from foreign and domestic spies.
Odds are that, without using a VPN as an extra layer of defense, your data is simply not that safe.
German Data Retention Laws
Germany has one of the most comprehensive data protection laws in the world. Even so, there’s a reason to believe that the German government is beginning to chip away at those protections.
If it does, anyone using the internet in Germany will face the prospect of routine data collection about their activities. It’s not clear how much detail ISPs would track and store, but certainly enough to build a pretty accurate picture of what you do online.
By connecting to a VPN, you would, of course, be immune to such data collection. They’re a great way of preventing ISP tracking, which is yet another reason why more and more Germans use them.
In Germany, there’s sadly almost no end to the internet services you’ll find blocked. Between regional restrictions on Netflix and the BBC’s iPlayer, to aforementioned legal spats knocking much of YouTube out of action, it’s a bit of a minefield.
It’s the same story if you travel outside of the country and try to stream popular German channels like ARD or ZDF. You can’t.
For Germans looking to access their favorite sites when abroad, freely explore international content or even just reliably access major global online services, a VPN is a must.
If you’re in Germany and not using a VPN, you’re missing out on plenty of great online content.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re living in or visiting Germany or a German citizen currently abroad, every VPN service I covered in this article will serve you well. They’ll help you maintain your online privacy, let you watch geo-restricted content, and keep you safe from both government surveillance and when using P2P services.
Join the millions of other Germans who already use VPNs and enjoy the internet the way it was meant to be enjoyed.