Best VPNs for Italy in 2018 (and some to avoid)

Published by on November 23, 2017 in VPN & Privacy

italy vpns

Whether you’re an Italian resident or you’re just visiting, a VPN offers a myriad of benefits. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of your choosing.

That means if you’re using public wifi at a cafe or hotel, a VPN can secure your connection from any hackers who may be snooping on the network. If you’re concerned about the European Union’s mass surveillance of the internet, VPNs protect you from that, too. If you want to watch a video that’s only available in another country, a VPN can change your perceived location and unblock the stream. And if you’re traveling outside of Italy but still want to keep up with Italian shows on RaiTV, you can unblock the Italy-only RaiPlay.

That’s just a few examples of what VPNs can do. VPNs are inexpensive and easy to use, but not all of them are worth your time and money. You’ll want something fast, secure, and with plenty of servers that can unblock content from around the world.

We’ve curated our list of the best VPNs for Italy based on the following criteria:

  • Operates servers in Italy
  • Can unblock geo-locked content outside of Italy
  • Fast and reliable connections
  • Strong security and a no-logs policy
  • Bonus: an Italian-language website

Note that we also have articles specifically for Netflix Italy and Rai TV (RaiPlay) users, but this article will look at the best VPNs for Italy overall.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN pricing

ExpressVPN operates a huge network of more than 1,500 servers in 94 countries. That includes two locations in Italy: Milan and Cosenza. Both unblock RaiPlay. ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix in the US, UK, and Canada, but you’ll have to ask customer service which exact location to connect to. That includes both the Netflix app for iOS and Android and in a web browser. ExpressVPN also unblocks Hulu, HBO, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer among others.

All servers are optimized for maximum speed so you can stream video and download large files without interruption. ExpressVPN uses the best security standards in the business, including 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. ExpressVPN only logs metadata that can’t identify the user; no real IP addresses or traffic contents are recorded.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and certain wifi routers.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT: Get 3 months free here with ExpressVPN’s annual plan. The deal includes a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN 2 year plan

NordVPN is a Panama-based provider with more than 1,100 servers in over 60 countries. That includes a couple dozen in Italy, although the exact cities are not specified. NordVPN unblocks pretty much anything you can throw at it, including both the US and Italian versions of Netflix in the app and in a browser. You’ll have no problem accessing RaiPlay from abroad. NordVPN also unblocks Hulu, HBO, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer among others.

Connections are guarded by 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. NordVPN also has specialized servers set up for specific use cases. These include ultra-fast streaming, anti-DDoS, double VPN, and Tor over VPN. A single subscription allows you to connect up to six devices at the same time. NordVPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Save 77% on NordVPN’s three-year deal here.

Read our full NordVPN review.

3. IPVanish

IPVanish discounted plans

IPVanish operates more than 850 servers in some 60 countries. It owns, rather than rents, its servers, meaning it has maximum control over the traffic that flows through its network and who can access it. If you have a Hulu or Netflix account, IPVanish can’t help you unblock those. But it works for pretty much everything else including RaiPlay. IPVanish is also a favorite among Kodi users and works with all Kodi addons we’ve tested thus far.

IPVanish uses future-proof security standards including 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy. It keeps no logs of usage activity or identifying metadata. Speeds are fast enough to stream in HD without interruption on most servers. A normal plan allows you to simultaneously connect up to five devices.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

READER DEAL: Save up to 60% on IPVanish here. This includes a 7 day money-back guarantee so you can try the service risk free.

Read our full IPVanish review.

4. CyberGhost

cyberghost banner

CyberGhost Pro is the paid tier of CyberGhost, which also has a free version with limited servers and a waiting queue. The company underwent a change of hands earlier this year and has since expanded its unblocking capabilities. It can now unblock US Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. The app lets you select a server based on the popular streaming service you wish to unblock, so there’s no need to guess or contact customer support. RaiPlay viewers should have no problem unblocking the stream when connected to a CyberGhost server in Italy, of which there are about three dozen.

CyberGhost Pro uses 256-bit AES encryption and keeps no logs of users activity nor IP address. It scored very well in our speed tests; streaming in HD should pose no issues. The app also has some extra features like ad and malware blocking and anti-fingerprinting to help keep your browsing private. Over 1,000 servers are available and that number is growing fast.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

DISCOUNTED OFFER: Save over 70% on Cyberghost’s 2-year deal here.

Read our full CyberGhost Pro review.

5. PrivateVPN

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PrivateVPN is the youngest VPN on this list but it isn’t making any rookie mistakes. While it’s server network is much smaller than its rivals, it offers extremely fast speeds and extensive unblocking capabilities. Both the Italian and American Netflix catalogs are accessible to PrivateVPN users, whether you prefer to watch in an app or web browser. RaiPlay, Hulu, HBO, Prime TV, and BBC iPlayer are also at your fingertips.

PrivateVPN doesn’t fall short when it comes to privacy or security, either. The company boasts a no-logs policy, uncrackable encryption, and perfect forward secrecy. Up to five devices can be simultaneously connected on a single account. DNS leak protection and a kill switch come baked in.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

DISCOUNTED OFFER: Readers get a 67% discount plus 5 months extra free with PrivateVPN’s annual plan.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

Can I use a free VPN for Italy?

Free VPNs are a dime a dozen these days, but the vast majority of them aren’t worth your time. They either won’t offer the functionality you need or simply can’t be trusted.

Supposedly “free” VPN services are still by-and-large for-profit ventures. In order to generate income, many of them mine your browsing traffic and inject tracking cookies into your browser in order to collect information that can be sold to advertisers. That defeats the privacy purpose of a VPN and should be avoided. Some VPNs even insert additional advertisements right into web pages.

Free VPN services also tend to be far more limited than their premium counterparts. Bandwidth limits and data caps are commonplace, as are waiting queues. Servers tend to be congested and restricted to a small handful of locations.

VPNs to avoid in Italy

It would be impossible to vet all of the hundreds of VPN providers out there, but here are a few that you might have come across in your search that should definitely be avoided in Italy.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield came under fire earlier this year after a privacy advocacy group filed an official complaint with the FTC alleging the provider has been hijacking HTTP requests, redirecting users to affiliate sites where Hotspot Shield stood to make a buck. On top of that, the complaint says the company has been inserting tracking cookies into users’ browsers and selling the collected data from those cookies to third-party advertisers.


PureVPN is being hammered in the press and on community boards lately since the arrest of one of its users. The man, charged with stalking, used PureVPN to try and hide his identity. But PureVPN, a Hong Kong-based company, handed over logs of IP addresses to US law enforcement that led to the man’s arrest. While we do not condone the man’s actions, PureVPN’s no logs policy is extremely misleading. Meanwhile, some critics have started questioning the integrity of PureVPN’s security.


AirVPN has earned a stellar reputation in the VPN community thanks to its strict zero-logs policy and superb security standards. Unfortunately, the company is incorporated in Italy, firmly within the jurisdiction of Italian authorities. In any other country, AirVPN would be a solid recommendation, but for people in Italy, it’s just a bit too close to home.

Italy data retention and mass surveillance laws

In 2006, the European Union adopted the Data Retention Directive, which requires internet service providers to collect certain information about subscribers. That information includes metadata such as source IP address, destination IP address, time, duration, device, and user location.

In Italy, ISPs retain all data for at least 12 months. While the law does not require storing the contents of internet communications, neither does it specify what traffic must be retained.

The Italian government is now considering increasing that time period from 12 months to six years. It could also allow for web monitoring without judicial review, meaning authorities or your ISP can see the actual contents of your browsing data and not just metadata.

The Senate voted on a new bill in March 2017 that regulates hacking for criminal investigations, but privacy groups raised concerns about the lack of adequate safeguards.

Is torrenting legal in Italy?

Torrenting copyrighted material without permission is illegal in Italy. Italian laws on torrenting are more or less in line with the rest of the European Union. Fines can be doled out on a per-item-downloaded basis.

In reality, these laws are rarely enforced.

On two occasions, Italian courts have ordered ISPs to block access to several torrent tracking websites, including ThePirateBay. These sites remain blocked it Italy but can be accessed with a VPN.

Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading copyrighted material without permission.

IMG_7159” by Ewan Topping licensed under CC BY 2.0

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