Germany is a hub with robust pro-consumer data protection laws. Now, you may remember the damage and uncertainty that the 2013 Snowden disclosures revealed. This exposed the reasons for using a VPN despite the impressive legal protection, such as potential NSA involvement and fluctuating data retention laws.
As seasoned experts in the VPN landscape, we’re privy to the difficulties you may face – think stringent P2P file-sharing and copyright laws or ambiguous fair use policies. That’s where we step in.
In our journey to unearth well-researched and well-tested information to bring you the best VPN services in Germany. Our mission: reliability and accuracy to help you navigate the VPN landscape. We’re here to walk you through with our easy-to-follow guide.
The following sections bring extensive details and concise summaries of the best VPNs for Germany. We’re here to illuminate the digital pathway, giving you the insights to conquer your present internet challenges. Hang in there as we help turn your VPN uncertainties into confident decisions.
Here’s our list of the best VPN providers for Germany:
- NordVPN: Our #1 choice VPN for Germany. Veteran provider with over ten years of experience and one of the largest networks of servers, including plenty of German servers. Great connection speeds. Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for Germany.
- Surfshark: Best budget VPN. Highly versatile, with the ability to access lots of German content and streaming sites like Netflix Germany and Amazon Prime Video. Allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
- ExpressVPN: A premium VPN for Germany with secure servers and lightning-fast speeds. No logs are kept. Can access German TV channels and major streaming services from abroad.
- CyberGhost: Huge server network, perfect for German services and sites. Easy-to-use apps, a no-logging policy, and seriously fast speeds make this VPN perfect for streaming, including Netflix Germany.
- IPVanish: Apps are remote control friendly, making this a favorite with Kodi users and torrenters. Can provide a German IP address to access geo-blocked content like Netflix Germany.
- AtlasVPN: A fast and reliable VPN service with servers in 44 countries. Is good for streaming. Excellent security including military-grade encryption.
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A VPN service encrypts all of a device’s traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. This prevents public Wi-Fi hackers, internet service providers, and government agencies from snooping on traffic. It can bypass online censorship, allowing you to access the internet without restriction, be it at an office or national level.
Plus, a VPN connection will mask the user’s true IP address, hiding their online identity from websites and apps and unblocking geographically restricted content like Netflix and other media streaming services online.
The best VPNs for Germany – Our hands-on review
We’ve tested and compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Germany.
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Best VPN Providers for Germany
Although many VPN providers are up to the task, not all of them offer a comparable service. To be recognized as one of the best VPNs for Germany, providers need to meet the following criteria (more on these later):
- No usage logs
- Secure protocol(s)
- Strong encryption suite
- Unblocks geo-locked German content
- Speed and stability
- A global network of servers
From real-world testing, here is our list of your best options for a VPN for Germany:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
It even goes the extra mile by adding in extra features like double VPN, Tor over VPN, anti-DDoS servers, and servers optimized for ultra-fast streaming.
It’s great at accessing geo-locked content, too. You can look up which servers to use for sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu on its website knowledge base. A single subscription to this VPN service nets you up to six simultaneous high-speed connections.
There are apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Veteran provider with over 240 servers throughout Germany
- Unblocks most popular streaming content at HD speeds from abroad
- Encrypts all communications and traffic at all times
- Round-the-clock chat support
- Speeds are faster than any other VPN on the market
- Only able to select a location, not a specific server
BEST VPN FOR GERMANY :NordVPN is our first choice for Germany. Oustanding privacy features, blazing fast speeds, and a six-device limit. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark might have a low price, but don’t be fooled: this VPN boasts numerous security features and clearly puts your privacy above all else. There’s 256-bit encryption, a kill switch (on all platforms), protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, automatic ad-blocking and malware-scanning, and even the option to scramble your traffic. Most importantly, though, Surfshark keeps no logs so details of your activities can’t be revealed, even if requested.
Of course, strong security isn’t all Surfshark has to offer. This service provides high speeds and can easily unblock some of the most stubborn services abroad. This means that even if you’re looking to use Netflix USA or BBC iPlayer while abroad in Germany, you’re unlikely to have any problems. If you do need help, though, you can reach customer support 24/7 via live chat.
Surfshark has Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Linux apps. It can be manually installed on supported routers.
- Prioritizes your security
- Exceptional unblocking ability
- Connect as many devices as you like
- No logs policy
- Fast enough for HD live-streaming
- Some servers are faster than others
- Has fewer servers than some of its competitors
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark is inexpensive, secure, and adept at circumventing geo-restrictions from the likes of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more. It has no connection limit. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN does not log any traffic content or the source IP of its users. It relies on the OpenVPN protocol by default and secures it with industry-best encryption, authentication, perfect forward secrecy, and a built-in kill switch. The latter acts as a backup by killing the internet connection should the VPN connection drop.
This VPN provider securely accesses Netflix catalogs from several other countries, as well as other streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer. You can chat with the company’s excellent 24/7 live support team to ask which servers work with which services.
Slick, easy-to-use apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux (command-line), and some wifi routers.
- Fast and reliable choice, works flawlessly for Germany
- Can unblock most geo-restricted content at fast speeds
- No traffic logs or personally identifiable information is kept
- 24/7 live chat support staff are on the ball
- Not as cheap as some other services
- Could offer more control over advanced features
BROWSE SECURELY IN GERMANY:ExpressVPN is a privacy-focused provider that also unblocks most major streaming services with ease. Great connection speeds and powerful security features. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is a Romania-headquartered VPN that’s recently changed hands and ramped up its service in almost every way. The number of servers has exploded to more than 5,700 servers in 111 worldwide locations operating out of 89 countries. This includes over 600 servers in Germany that are capable of unblocking ZDF, ARD, 7TV, German YouTube, Netflix, and more.
This VPN provider stores no logs containing personally identifiable information and doesn’t record any of your online activity. 256-bit AES encryption envelops the OpenVPN protocol.
Servers performed well in our speed tests, and the company recently added some locations that work with streaming services like Netflix. You can even choose a VPN server based on the streaming service you wish to unblock.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android.
- Low-cost provider that operates over 800 servers in Germany
- Their apps are easy to install and use
- Our testing revealed impressive server speeds
- All security features enabled by default
- Doesn’t work in China or the UAE
- Few customizable options
Easy-to-use apps:CyberGhost is easy to use. Great online privacy and security. It is reliable in Germany and unblocks the most popular streaming sites. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is one of the few VPN providers to own and operate all 1,000 of its own servers around the world rather than leasing them. This means your data passes through fewer hands, and it does so without traffic or metadata logs. This is an ideal VPN for torrenting and is popular with Kodi users too.
Military-grade encryption and authentication are par for the course. IPVanish isn’t as capable when it comes to streaming Netflix and Hulu, but does make our list of the Best BBC iPlayer VPN options and works for most other streaming sites.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Operates 40+ fast servers in Germany
- Strong encryption makes apps secure
- Works well with Kodi devices
- Customer support can be a little slow
- Some servers didn’t perform well with Netflix or Hulu during testing
SECURE ALL DEVICES:IPVanish works with any number of connected devices. Great for families and multiple connections. Apps for most platforms. Look elsewhere if you need to watch Netflix or Hulu. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
AtlasVPN has servers in 44+ countries. The VPN is based in Panama, and it has a no-logs policy. It also provides robust AES encryption and a kill switch. This makes it ideal for gaining privacy whether at home or using public wifi.
We tested Atlas VPN’s German servers and found them to work to access tons of popular services including Zattoo, RTL, DMAX, ZDF, ARD and ProSieben. The VPN is fast thanks to its WireGuard implementation, and it never throttles your bandwidth.
It is also one of the few VPNs that works to access international services like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Prime Video. If you intend to travel to China, this VPN works there. It also allows torrenting, which makes it a great all-rounder.
DNS leak protection, ad blocking, and malware filtering are included as standard. The only slight drawback is that you have to subscribe to talk to the live chat agents, so you can’t ask questions before getting an account unless you send an email. However, you can test it yourself thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Fast servers in Germany
- Works with German TV platforms
- No logs policy
- Unblocks Netflix and many other streaming services
- Apps come with a decent feature set
- Live chat is for subscribers only
- Fewer advanced features than our top pick
GOOD ALL-ROUNDER:AtlasVPN is a fast VPN that offers unlimited connections with each account. It works to access popular international streaming services. Apps for all platforms that come with a kill switch. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of AtlasVPN
How to use a VPN in Germany
Never used a VPN before? Don’t worry; it’s simple to set up, and we’ll walk you through the process below.
Here’s how to use a VPN for Germany:
- Sign up for one of the VPNs recommended above. NordVPN is our top choice.
- Download and install the VPN app for your device.
- Open the app and sign in.
- Select a server location. Use a US server if you want to access US streaming sites, for example.
- Hit the Connect button
- Wait a few seconds for the connection to complete. Your data is not protected, but if you still can’t access content outside Germany, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies, then reload the web page.
And that’s it! You can now access region-locked content and hide your online activity from your internet service provider. The VPN should remain connected in the background until you turn it off.
Our VPN testing methodology for Germany
Comparitech strives to publish the most accurate and comprehensive VPN reviews and recommendations on the web. To do that, we evaluate dozens of VPNs based on real-world experience, expert analysis, and a battery of tests. When it comes to VPNs for Germany, we specifically look at:
- Security: We assess each VPN’s encryption scheme and stress test it for a variety of data leaks. At the very least, we expect a VPN to offer 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and protection from DNS leaks. Note that with some VPNs, you can even find specialty Double VPNs servers.
- Streaming: We’ve run thousands of real-world tests this year alone to find out which VPNs best unblock region-locked streaming services. Some VPNs consistently find ways around such restrictions, even when streaming platforms employ numerous anti-VPN measures.
- Speed: We measure connection speeds to find the fastest VPNs on the market. It’s no coincidence that all of the best VPNs for Germany offer unlimited bandwidth. This means that there’s no limit to how much you can stream. You’ll also be able to do so in high definition (and even 4K) without lag or buffering.
- Support: We touch base with each VPN’s customer support as secret shoppers to ensure responses are quick and knowledgeable. You should expect your VPN to provide support 24 hours a day via live chat as well as email.
You can find out more about how we test VPNs on our VPN testing methodology page.
VPNs to avoid in Germany
We would recommend avoiding any German VPNs in Germany for the simple fact that the national government has direct jurisdiction over them. In addition to those, stay away from these:
UK-based HideMyAss has logged identifying information in the past that led to the arrest of at least one of its internet users. We don’t recommend VPN providers that log such information to people who value their online privacy.
Hide.me ranks highly in Google results when searching for “Germany VPN”, but its free version limits speed to 3Mbit/s and caps data at 2GB. It doesn’t support OpenVPN, and free users are limited to three VPN server locations. The provider’s premium plans aren’t so bad, however, and the service does not store traffic connection logs.
Note the paid version isn’t so bad. Check out our Hide.me review.
ZenVPN doesn’t store logs of the web pages you visit, but it does log your IP address and other information about you and your device. The paid version is limited to 5GB per day.
VPN for Germany FAQ
Can I use a free VPN in Germany?
Free VPNs are very commonplace in the industry and can be tempting, especially if you’re on a tight budget. However, these services come with a host of issues. For one, a free VPN service will typically be slower and less reliable than a paid option.
What’s more, some providers of free services don’t take customer security and privacy as seriously as they claim to. After all, they need to make money somehow, and this is often done through the exploitation of users. A free VPN provider might track user activity and sell profiles to third parties.
Overall, it’s definitely worth a few bucks a month for a paid option.
Can I watch German TV from abroad using a VPN?
Usually, streaming services are only available in specific countries, and they often check your IP address to see if you’re in a supported region or not. This means that Germans who leave the country on vacation might not be able to watch their favorite shows until they return.
Luckily, there is a workaround. When you’re connected to a VPN, region-locked services can’t see your real IP address, only the IP address of the server you’re using. As such, if you use a German VPN server, you should be able to access German streaming platforms like ARD, ProSieben, and ZDF without any issues.
See also: How to get a German IP address
Is torrenting legal in Germany?
Torrenting copyrighted material in Germany is generally considered illegal. Doing so can result in fines and law firms (read: copyright trolls) monitor popular torrents for German IP addresses. The law not only applies to the traditional sort of torrent you get from ThePirateBay or KickassTorrents but also to apps that leverage torrents to stream videos, like Popcorn Time, and websites containing infringing content like Couchtuner and Project Free TV.
We do not condone or encourage piracy, but we understand some users might want to download copyrighted content from a P2P network for educational or artistic purposes. We support reasonable fair use, but German ISPs and copyright trolls will likely not distinguish between pirates and artists/educators. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that anyone who uses P2P filesharing in Germany connect to a VPN first. Using a VPN service for torrenting will mask your IP address from copyright trolls and encrypt traffic so it cannot be monitored by the ISP.
Read more in our article on the safety and legal aspects of torrenting and what to do if you get caught and see our list of the best torrenting VPN options.
What are Germany's data retention laws?
The German government has pushed for data retention laws to be enforced in recent years. The obligations were suspended in 2017, but if they were put in place, provisions would require all telecommunication and internet service providers to retain user metadata for up to ten weeks. That includes your IP address when you use a mobile or landline phone, send or receive text messages, download or upload anything, send emails, and browse the web.
This does not include the actual content of internet traffic or phone conversations. However, text messages would be retained in full. Content data, as opposed to metadata, is protected by the German Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG), a federal data protection act. Germany has no laws requiring firms to implement backdoors or submit to gag orders.
Does Germany engage in internet surveillance?
Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is known to have cooperated with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) in spying and surveillance efforts in Germany. In 2014, a BND employee was arrested for handing over secret documents to the NSA, and WikiLeaks later published a trove of leaked documents on the two agencies’ cooperation.
Reports estimate that the BND collects 220 million sets of metadata per day. This metadata contains information about communications that travel over the phone, satellite, and internet networks. They record who, when, where, and for how long someone communicates.
Is using a VPN in Germany legal?
Yes, it is 100 percent legal to use a VPN in Germany.
There is no explicit law that denies using a VPN in Germany. VPNs are considered an excellent privacy and protection tool. However, it is important to note that using a VPN to stream copyrighted content is illegal in Germany, and streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus don’t like (but are hard to detect) VPNs for getting around geo-blocks.
Is streaming movies illegal in Germany?
In Germany, streaming movies is legal through authorized platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Google Play Movies. However, streaming from unauthorized or pirated sources is illegal and can lead to fines ranging from 150 EUR to 1,500 EUR. This is due to strict copyright laws and a 2017 ruling by the European Court of Justice. While it’s challenging to catch individuals streaming from illegal sources, it’s not impossible, especially with services like Popcorn Time that use BitTorrent, making them easily traceable. So, while streaming isn’t inherently illegal in Germany, the source of the content determines its legality.
How do I access Hulu in Germany?
You’ll need a reliable VPN to bypass geo-restrictions to access Hulu in Germany. Follow these steps:
- Subscribe to a reputable VPN service from our recommended list above.
- Download and install the VPN app on your device.
- Connect to a US server through the VPN app, which will change your IP address to a US location.
- Visit the Hulu website or app, log in, or create an account using a US zip code.
- Start streaming your favorite shows and movies on Hulu.
Remember, while using a VPN to access geo-restricted content is not illegal, it violates Hulu’s terms of service, so use this method at your own risk. Choose a VPN known to work with Hulu and ensure it has a good reputation for speed and reliability.
Why do I need a VPN in Germany?
Using a VPN improves your online privacy and allows access to region-locked content. If you’re in Germany, you can connect to a VPN server in the USA to watch American streaming services like Hulu and HBO Max.
Germany is part of the 14 Eyes intelligence-sharing community, so your online activities could be monitored and shared with other countries. A VPN will protect you from that sort of surveillance.
Finally, Germany’s fair use laws might not protect you if you access or copy copyrighted content, even with the best intentions. A VPN hides your downloads, torrents, and IP address.
Will Smart DNS change my location to Germany?
Yes, Smart DNS can change your location to Germany, but has limited use. A better option would be to use a VPN, which will not only change your location but also encrypt your traffic and keep your data secure. Smart DNS is less popular in 2024 due to streaming services detecting this technology on a regular basis.
How do I access my home Netflix in Germany?
Netflix is available in Germany, but it might not have the shows or subtitles that you get back home. You can access your home country’s Netflix catalog with a VPN.
All of the VPNs we recommend work with US Netflix and most of them block a few other countries as well. The UK, France, Brazil, and Canada can often be accessed. Bear in mind that not every country’s Netflix library can be streamed abroad, though, in which case you’ll encounter a proxy error.
Which is the best VPN in Germany to have a Chrome extension?
As you will see from our VPN reviews above, NordVPN is the best VPN for Germany (it’s also the best VPN for Chrome). It offers a Chrome browser extension, allowing you to connect to a VPN server within your Chrome browser. One of the advantages of using a browser extension is that they’re quick and easy to use — connecting to a server should only take a few seconds. Note that NordVPN also offers a browser extension for Firefox.
Will my ISP know I’m using a VPN in Germany?
An ISP can work out that you’re using a VPN when it sees encrypted data traveling to and from a remote server. However, it can’t see much more than this and, depending on your country, likely won’t care that you’re using one either. Your browsing data is hidden, and you can browse anonymously as a result. This means that using a VPN is a good way to prevent your ISP from retaining logs and potentially sharing them with authorities upon request.
How will I know if my location has been changed to Germany?
It’s actually very quick and easy to know if your location has been changed to Germany. In most VPN apps, you can see the location of the server to which you’re connected alongside the IP address. If you want to make sure of this, you can use our IP address check tool. This tells you your IP address and approximate location. If you’re connected to a VPN server in Germany, the location shown should reflect that. Alternatively, you can use whatismyip.com, which is a dedicated online IP address checker.
Can I watch Love Island in Germany?
Yes, you can watch Love Island in Germany – but unfortunately, you’ll need to use a VPN to do so. This is because of the broadcasting rights associated with the show.
Love Island has experienced immense success since its launch in 2015, and broadcasters worldwide have acquired exclusive rights to broadcast it on their networks. Unfortunately, for viewers from Germany, this means you will need a VPN to access the show.