There are various reasons you may want to arm yourself with a VPN connection in Sweden, such as to keep your internet activity private, safely torrent files, or watch a localized version of Netflix. Whatever the reason might be, it’s clear that using a VPN has sufficient advantages in the privacy minefield that comprises the internet today. As such, this article will discuss the reasons why residents of Sweden or those visiting the country should opt for a VPN and the most ideal ones for this purpose.
A VPN functions by routing all the traffic flowing to and from your device via an encrypted tunnel. Using a VPN has the dual advantage of keeping government surveillance agencies at bay and making it almost impossible for anyone to monitor your digital footprint. A VPN can also grant you access to geo-restricted content that’s not normally available in Sweden, such as the US version of Netflix.
The premium VPN providers we’ve mentioned on this list offer a wide variety of server locations to choose from. This means it’s possible to get an IP address from Sweden even if you’re currently in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, India, China, Hong Kong, France, Norway, or Japan.
There are a plethora of VPN providers out there to choose from, but not all offer a comparable service. To make it on the list of the best VPNs for Sweden, providers should meet the following standards:
- Has a wide network of servers across the world, including locations in Sweden
- Is known to work well with geo-restricted streaming services
- Offers a fast and reliable service with minimal downtime
- Uses strong encryption parameters so your location remains hidden
- Allows simultaneous connections
- Provides top-notch customer support
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for Sweden:
ExpressVPN tops our list as the best VPN for Sweden due to several factors. It’s one of the hardiest VPN providers out there, incorporating military-grade encryption standards, fast speeds, and a truly global network.
At the time of writing, this provider offers more than 1,500 servers to choose from, including options in Sweden. It’s based in the British Virgin Islands and isn’t subject to state-mandated data retention laws. ExpressVPN reliably unblocks a variety of geo-restricted streaming media services, including US Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. If you’re stuck, its live chat service should provide instantaneous support.
ExpressVPN is designed to keep your internet activity safe and secure. It uses 256-bit AES encryption; that’s considered to be an industry-leading standard, also referred to as ‘military-grade.’ There’s an in-built internet kill switch, along with DNS leak protection, so you always remain secure within the encrypted tunnel. This provider has a policy of not storing any detailed user logs, including IP addresses. It offers slick, easy-to-use apps for Android and iOS, as well as modern, intuitive desktop versions for Windows and MacOS. A single subscription allows for three simultaneous connections.
TRY IT RISK-FREE: Get 3 months free with ExpressVPN’s annual plan. The deal includes a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee, so you’ll receive a full refund if unsatisfied.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
Panama-headquartered NordVPN has a reputation for being privacy-focused. Its network of over 4,500 servers spans 62 countries; Sweden alone houses 134 of them. As such, you won’t have any issues connecting to a server in the Scandinavian country or others in Europe and North America.
NordVPN’s fast speeds make it ideal for streaming. When you combine that with its proven ability to unblock media sites such as US Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, ESPN, and more; you’ve got a real winner. The service is highly customizable; users can select a server that optimizes certain tasks including streaming HD video. This provider also offers a knowledge base on its site, through which you can look up which servers to use for specific tasks, such as unblocking Netflix.
We don’t envisage any concerns on the privacy or encryption front. NordVPN does not store any user data so there’s little chance of it ever being exposed. At the same time, the provider has rigorous security standards which include 256-bit encryption, the OpenVPN protocol, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protection.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect concurrently.
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Read our review of NordVPN.
US-headquartered IPVanish is one of the few VPN providers that chooses to operate its entire network of servers independently, as opposed to others that either rent space in server farms, or outsource management to a third-party. It does a pretty decent job of it too by any yardstick; the provider has over 1,000 servers in a global footprint of more than 60 countries. 14 servers are in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital city.
IPVanish is a known favorite with torrenters and Kodi users because it enables them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is remote control-friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse. It doesn’t manage to unblock Hulu but will work with other streaming media sites such as BBC iPlayer.
As is the norm with the earlier two providers, military-grade encryption protocols are par for the course. Specifically, it offers 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and an internet kill switch. This means your IP address will remain safely out of harm’s way. IPVanish adheres to a strict no-logs policy, meaning there’s no retention of traffic or connection logs at all.
This provider recently upped the ante with an offer to allow 10 devices to connect at the same time with each and every plan. Another nifty upgrade is its addition of 24/7 live chat for customer support. It offers apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Romania-headquartered CyberGhost has been through some management shuffles over the past year. But that’s only helped its cause, and the service is now significantly souped up. The number of servers has risen exponentially from just a few dozen to almost 2,500. They’re housed in 60 countries, including Sweden that hosts 50.
CyberGhost can help you pick a server to unblock a specific streaming service, including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Just select Unblock Streaming mode within the VPN client.
This provider takes security and privacy very seriously; 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protection are all included. Again, the enhancements in system architecture have come after robust investments in the core offering. It’s likely that CyberGhost’s product will become even more advanced in the near future.
The fact that it’s headquartered in Romania means it’s not required to store any user data. It backs that up with an internal policy of not logging any IP addresses or other data points that could identify web activity. Additional security features include an ad blocker, anti-malware defense, and anti-tracking.
You can access the service on Android, iOS, Windows, or MacOS. At the moment, a single subscription allows for seven devices to connect concurrently. This is an increase from its earlier policy of five and is valid at the time of writing.
Read our full user review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN is actually headquartered in Sweden. It’s a fairly new entrant to the VPN landscape but it punches above its weight with fast, robust speeds and an ability to unblock geo-restricted content. Some of the sites it manages to access are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video.
At the moment, PrivateVPN’s server offering is relatively tiny with a little over 80 servers in 56 locations. Two of these are located in Sweden. But the provider performed admirably in our user review when judged on a speed and encryption standpoint; this makes it a good choice for the entire gamut of web activity.
Strong security and privacy features are embedded into PrivateVPN’s product. Users can choose between 128 and 256-bit encryption and are also offered perfect forward secrecy, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protection. A basic plan allows for five devices to connect simultaneously.
The provider offers apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Can I use a free VPN in Sweden?
We’ve highlighted the five best paid VPN services for Sweden — it’s likely that you’ll stumble across several free offerings during your hunt for a suitable provider. These are tempting for first-time users, but there are issues involved with extensive usage.
Most free VPN providers are trying to monetize their service via spammy advertisements or frequent interruptions to upgrade to paid services. As such, they’re not interested in handing out a seamless experience for users who don’t cough up an initial sum of cash. Practically, this means that you could be subjected to weak encryption standards, endure wait times to connect to a server, and have to deal with data caps. The latter means that a free VPN is typically a poor choice for data-intensive tasks like streaming video, playing online games, or even accessing banking and financial services.
Another reason to opt out of using a free VPN are the sordid acts that some providers have engaged in. These include leveraging user bandwidth to build botnet armies, and infecting host devices with malware in order to mine data. The end cost of using these services can be damaging to your wallet and peace of mind.
Why should I use a VPN in Sweden?
Despite its status as a first-world country, Sweden is actually one of the world’s largest consumers of pirated content. This dynamic harks back to its early days as the host of well-known torrenting site, The Pirate Bay. According to the New York Times, Swedes illegally downloaded 280 million films and television shows in 2014, with nearly one-third of the population admitting to regularly engaging in the practice. Overall, it’s estimated that the acts cost Sweden nearly US$100 million in lost revenue per year.
As of late, Swedish authorities have taken considerable steps to plug the perception of the country as an illicit content and streaming hub. A court ruling in February ordered a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) to hand over names of customers that regularly download content illegally. This sparked somewhat of a debate in the country, with the ISP refusing to back down and pointing to the privacy of its customers as a compelling priority. The decision is now under appeal. However, if it is upheld then it might lead to a snowball effect with other ISPs and mobile broadband providers being forced to hand over personally identifiable information.
A further reason to opt for a VPN in Sweden is the Spridningskollen (Sharing Watch) initiative, created by private debt collector, Gothia Law, and PR agency, Prime. They operate on behalf of copyright holders, Scanbox Entertainment, Noble Entertainment, Atlantic, and Crystalis Entertainment. In a nutshell, the initiative allows for copyright-holders to gain access to your personal internet data via your ISP without involving the police or a court summons. It’s based on an EU directive.
Spridningskollen aims to use special software to check whether you’re downloading copyrighted material. If found guilty, you can be charged up to US$250 for each violation. The rate of indictments has been slow, with only about 11 cases between 2009 and 2012, but the hunt is on. The use of a private debt collector reinforces fears that demands for payments will be aggressive, as will efforts to track your online behavior. If you’re currently torrenting in Sweden on an open connection without any additional privacy or security features, then you’re placing yourself in great jeopardy and are at risk of a court summons. In fact, some ISPs collaborate with Spridningskollen as they’re liable to collect a part of the booty.
DISCLAIMER: Comparitech does not encourage using a VPN to stream content illegally. Please consult local laws before deciding to embark on this route. If you have any questions, then it’s best to talk to a lawyer in your country of residence.
How strong are Swedish Privacy Laws?
Privacy laws in the country are somewhat of a mixed bag. On paper, there are robust mechanisms in place for Swedish residents to access the unfiltered and open web free of any restrictions or other bottlenecks. These correspond with its image as a bastion for human liberty, free speech, and a vibrant democracy.
However, the country has taken its enforcement of intellectual property rights to a level where it impinges on personal freedom. As outlined in the previous section, private debt collectors and copyright trolls have free rein in the country to extract money from unsuspecting victims.
In 2009, Sweden passed the FRA-law, a legal measure that sanctioned the surveillance of internet traffic content by state authorities. This generated controversy and stoked debate because the laws went beyond the mandate of surveillance outlined by the European Commission.
There have also been attempts by ISPs in the country to force users to pay for VoIP services like Skype. Local telecommunications provider TeliaSonera attempted this in early 2012 but had to retract the decision after coming under intense criticism. Instead, they announced two separate pricing plans for mobile traffic, leaving it to consumers to fork over more cash for better speeds.
Tips for using a VPN in Sweden
The first order of business is to decide on a provider. We encourage you to read both the mini-reviews as well as the more detailed ones referenced at the end of each one. Once you’ve decided on a VPN that works for you, then simply sign up with your credit card information. After authentication, you should receive an email with login information directly from the VPN provider. Use it to connect to a VPN server of your choice.
Accessing Netflix libraries in Sweden
If you log into your Netflix account while in Sweden, you’ll be automatically connected to the Netflix Sweden library. This holds true even if the account was first registered in the US or Canada. The only way to overcome this restriction is by connecting to a VPN server first. For example, if you’re trying to gain access to US Netflix while in Sweden, then you’ll need to connect to a server in the US.
Netflix has been actively blocking VPNs for a while now in order to protect copyright laws. You’ll probably be on the receiving end of a proxy error message if this happens. However, some VPNs still work with the service and we’ve highlighted the ones that do in each of the mini-reviews above. If you have any issues, it’s always a good idea to ask customer support for the most suitable servers to use.
Watching Swedish television and accessing banking services when abroad
Tens of thousands of Swedish residents travel outside their country each year. Many more are resident outside the Scandinavian state, either for work or education. Obtaining a Swedish IP address can help you stay in touch with local programming, watch the Allsvenskan, or engage in online banking with providers like Nordea and SEB Bank.
Swedish television, dominated by Sveriges Television, TV4 Group, Modern Times Group, and Discovery Networks Sweden operates a range of both free-to-stream and premium (paid) packages. Some of the channels these companies offer will accept IP addresses from any part of the world, while others will require a Swedish one as well as an account.
Most banking and financial institutions don’t geo-restrict their services, but usually, impose strict compliance controls if you try to log in from a device with a non-local IP address. This could mean answering additional security questions or talking to a customer support representative.
In both cases, it’s easier to simply use a VPN to get a Swedish IP address when resident outside the country. Simply select a server located in Sweden and you’re good to go.