We take a look at the best VPNs for Zattoo so you can watch it from abroad, anywhere in the world.

Zattoo is an internet-based transmission platform for a bunch of television channels and on-demand video content. It has roughly 20 million users and is considered to be the largest TV-streaming provider in Europe. It initially surged in popularity after winning rights to broadcast the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany and hasn’t looked back since.

Unfortunately, Zattoo is only available for subscribers in Germany. If you try to register for or log into Zattoo from somewhere else, such as the United States, you’ll be blocked from proceeding further. The only way around this restriction is by using a VPN.

Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN hides your true location by encrypting all the traffic flowing to and from your device and tunneling it via an intermediary server. A VPN can make it seem you’re actually present in Germany even if you log in from Singapore.

A VPN will enable you to access Zattoo from France, Canada, Australia, the US, Japan, the UK, or anywhere else in the world.

We get into a lot of details on each of the providers we feature below, but in case you haven’t got time to read the whole article, here is our list of the best VPNs for Zattoo:

  1. ExpressVPN Our top choice. No issues unblocking Zattoo from almost anywhere with consistent HD streaming speeds. Apps are secure and private. 30-day money back guarantee included.
  2. NordVPN This budget-friendly provider has a big server presence in Germany. Good speeds and privacy features.
  3. CyberGhost A reliable low-cost provider that is great for streaming. Easy to use apps are beginner-friendly.
  4. IPVanish Built their reputation on their unblocking and streaming capabilities. Good speeds.
  5. PrivateVPN Small but ever-growing network. Impressive speeds and privacy.

The best VPNs for Zattoo

VPN services exist in abundance across the internet but they don’t all fall into the same category. Some providers work far better than others when it comes to streaming HD video and keeping your true location hidden. To help you come to a decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best VPNs that work with Zattoo. They’ve been analyzed based on the following factors:

  • Speed and stability of service, particularly when it comes to streaming HD video
  • Number of server locations in Germany
  • Ability to unblock geo-restricted content
  • Strong encryption parameters so your location remains secure
  • Apps for Android and iOS
  • Provision for simultaneous connections
  • Ease of use

Based on these criteria, here is our list of the best VPNs for Zattoo:

1. ExpressVPN

Express VPNAug 2019Unblocks ZattooTested Aug 2019

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most robust VPNs out there. It has a proven ability to unblock geo-restricted content; some of the compatible streaming services are Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, Fox, and Sky, among others. This provider uses military-grade encryption to keep your location hidden and offers an easy-to-use app. It’s ideal for users who want the minimal fuss.

ExpressVPN’s server network is scattered across the globe. At the moment it offers more than 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries, with Germany included in the list. The app’s intuitive features include a ‘smart location’ setting which will suggest a server that’s best suited for you. This helps unlock things like online gambling and streaming of the Bundesliga.

Encryption standards are top-notch. The company leverages OpenVPN with 256-bit AES-CBC as default, along with HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is included with all packages and acts as an additional security layer. This means your data will be secure and safely hidden away from any hackers.

ExpressVPN has a policy of not storing any detailed user data. There’s a bit of non-identifying metadata retention, such as popular servers and time of connection, but individual IP addresses won’t be captured.

A single subscription will grant access to three devices concurrently. Apps for both Android and iOS are available as well as desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. ExpressVPN also offers an app for some wifi routers. Leveraging a VPN on your router will automatically encrypt traffic on all connected devices, so you don’t need to install the native app on each one.

Pros:

  • Server speeds are great for HD streaming and fast downloads
  • Operates superfast streaming servers in Darmstadt, Frankfurt & Nuremberg, unblocks most German streaming sites
  • Best-in-class encryption makes for solid security and privacy
  • Unblocks a large range of geo-locked sites, e.g. Netflix
  • Well-designed mobile and desktop apps
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons:

  • Advanced configuration for power-users is a little limited

BEST VPN FOR ZATTOO:ExpressVPN is our top choice. A super fast and reliable choice which unblocks Zattoo and all major streaming services including Netflix & Hulu. Great for streaming in HD. Top privacy and security features and they keep no logs. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee.

Here’s our review of ExpressVPN.

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2. NordVPN

NordVPNUnblocks ZattooTested Aug 2019

NordVPN is a very good choice if you’re looking for fast, reliable servers in Europe that work with HD video seamlessly. This provider is extremely affordable and doesn’t compromise on things like speed, stability, and ease of use.

The Panama-headquartered company currently offers more than 5,100 servers in 60 countries. There are plenty of options when it comes to German servers. NordVPN is proven to work with Netflix and is also one of the few providers that works for users inside China. Inside the desktop client is a server record which shows the current latency and server load so you can pick and choose the one that’s most suitable.

NordVPN is an example of a completely logless VPN service — the company doesn’t store any user data and we haven’t come across any violations of this rule. Its servers have been confiscated on a couple of occasions but nothing was found on them. Hence, it’s fair to say that your location will remain hidden. All internet traffic is secured via 256-bit AES encryption and 2,048-bit DH keys. DNS leak protection is enabled and an internet kill switch is included.

Apps for both Android and iOS are available as well as desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. It’s possible to set up the VPN on Linux computers and routers; detailed guides are available on the NordVPN website. A single subscription grants access to six devices at the same time. However, if you set it up on your router then that will count as just one.

Pros:

  • Great-value option for torrenting and streaming
  • Vast server network operating 255 servers in Germany, easily unblocks Zattoo and plenty other streaming sites abroad
  • Plenty of fast and stable servers to chose from
  • Apps for all major mobile and desktop platforms
  • Top-tier encryption standards with DNS leak protection
  • Helpful chat service operates around the clock

Cons:

  • Can only choose to connect to a location, not a server

BUDGET-FRIENDLY:NordVPN is great value. A great value option which works well with Zattoo. Allows up to 6 simultaneous connected devices. Great privacy and security credentials. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

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3. CyberGhost

CyberghostUnblocks ZattooTested Aug 2019

Romania-headquartered CyberGhost has a place on our list after a sustained effort to improve its product over the past year. The company, which was acquired by Israeli firm Crossrider about a year ago, is one of the top VPNs from a video streaming standpoint. It couples that with a large server selection, resolute encryption, and an easy-to-use interface.

Currently, this provider offers access to over 3,800 servers in 60 countries, including Germany. CyberGhost works with most streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Speeds are quick and HD video streaming is consistent, without any noticeable lag. This service comes with a bunch of additional security features, including an adblocker, anti-malware defense, and anti-tracking, at no additional charge.

All traffic is secured by 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default. An internet kill switch and perfect forward secrecy are included. The company’s registration in Romania means it’s out of the purview of any mandatory data retention laws which is reassuring from a privacy angle.

A paid subscription grants simultaneous access to seven devices on a single plan. The company supports both Android and iOS, and there’s native software for Windows and MacOS too. Manual configuration is possible for Linux and a selection of routers.

Pros:

  • Streams HD video seamlessly
  • Budget provider that operates over 500 servers in Germany
  • Happily unblocks a host of geo-restricted content
  • Apps are great for beginners
  • Strong encryption and solid privacy policy

Cons:

  • Works with Zattoo but doesn’t unblock all major streaming sites

BEGINNERS' CHOICE:CyberGhost has a simple set up. A budget choice. Good on privacy and security. Streams Zattoo in HD video reliably. Hit and miss connections with some other popular streaming sites. 45-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of CyberGhost.

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4. IPVanish

IPVanishUnblocks ZattooTested Aug 2019

US-headquartered IPVanish received a firm endorsement for its fast speeds during our extensive testing. It’s not too expensive either and should stream HD video easily, all while keeping your location obfuscated.

At the time of writing, this provider offers over 1,300 servers in 75 locations worldwide, including Germany. Some of the streaming services it unlocks are BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.

IPVanish adheres to an internal policy of zero data storage. It secures internet traffic via 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. The latter feature means that even if your account is compromised, all past web sessions will remain encrypted and secure. An internet kill switch is included.

IPVanish allows ten devices to connect at the same time. This is the most generous among any provider mentioned on this list and could be a solid reason to opt for the service. This provider is particularly popular with 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.

Apps are available for both Android and iOS, and there’s desktop software for Windows and MacOS. IPVanish can be configured manually with Linux and some routers, and detailed guides are available online.

Pros:

  • Operates 50+ fast servers in Germany
  • Works well with Kodi devices
  • Good unblocking capabilities and streams in HD speeds
  • Strong encryption makes apps secure

Cons:

  • Won’t reliably unblock Netflix, Hulu
  • We’d prefer a live chat support option

UP TO 10 DEVICES:IPVanish has a large network of servers. A favorite among Kodi and Amazon Fire Stick users that also hits the marks with Zattoo. Uncongested network achieves good speeds. Great for families. Could do with a live support option. 7-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of IPVanish.

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5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPNUnblocks ZattooTested Aug 2019

PrivateVPN was originally set up to cater to torrenters, so it’s primed for both speed and location-evading tech. It has a slightly smaller list of servers than the other recommended VPN providers on this list, but don’t let that deter you from opting for the service. In total there are 100 servers spread across 56 countries, including Germany.

PrivateVPN easily unblocks video streams. Some of the geo-restricted media providers it works with are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and ITV Hub, but there are lots more. Unblocking Zattoo won’t be a problem. Our extensive user review indicated that PrivateVPN is actually on par with all the other recommended VPNs on both performance and security.

It uses 256-bit AES encryption along with perfect forward secrecy on the OpenVPN protocol. It doesn’t store any user logs or engage in data mining.

Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS. Linux and router configuration is also possible. A single subscription allows for six devices to connect simultaneously.

Pros:

  • Operates 2 speedy servers in Frankfurt and 1 in Nurmenberg, no issues unblocking Zattoo and more
  • Very good at getting around geo-blocks and censorship
  • Fast servers, also great for unblocking streaming sites securely and privately

Cons:

  • Needs manual tweaking to work in China
  • Small but growing network of servers
  • Live chat is not around the clock

GREAT FOR SPEED:PrivateVPN is consistently reliable. Solid performer for torrenting, P2P and general purpose use. Speeds were surprisingly good at this end of the market. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of PrivateVPN.

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Should I use a free VPN to unblock Zattoo?

Zattoo is geo-restricted for users in all but a few countries. The company takes this commitment very seriously and will try its best to block all connections that it suspects are not in its list of allowed countries. Free VPNs are more likely to be blocked than their premium counterparts, so you might end up more frustrated than before.

We understand such services are inherently attractive because they don’t require a long-term commitment and may only ask you for an email address prior to access. But take their claims of superior service with a large pinch of salt. Free VPNs have a nefarious reputation for data theft and pilferage, slow speeds, weak encryption, small server networks, and data caps.

To stream Zattoo reliably you need a provider that won’t try to pull a fast one. Free VPNs don’t make the cut. At the end of the day, they’re registered businesses and need to monetize their product. Be prepared for a lot of pesky advertisements and other invasive features. You’re also running a very real risk of a malware infection or having your browsing data sold to a third party.

Our recommendation is to avoid free VPNs. It’s best to invest a few dollars and get a paid VPN service for peace of mind.

I’m getting an error message for Zattoo. What do I do next?

The only way to reliably stream Zattoo is by logging in from Germany (or with a German IP address at least).

Any attempts to access Zattoo from an unsupported location will be greeted with the following error message:

“Zattoo is not available in your country”

Zattoo subscribers will also see this message if they try to log on while abroad. It doesn’t matter if you registered for the service in a supported country, the policy is the same. If you wish to continue streaming, you’ll have to purchase a VPN. Just sign up for one of the recommended providers on this list, spoof your location, and sit back to watch your favorite content.

How do I register for Zattoo from anywhere in the world?

Zattoo’s filters will automatically freeze you out if they detect a non-German IP address. However, if you sign up for a VPN first and spoof your location to Germany then it’s possible to register for an account.

The freemium version of Zattoo restricts its programming to mainly German television and a handful of on-demand video content. You will still need a VPN to log in everytime you wish to watch these channels.

Related: Best VPNs for Germany

However, if you would like to upgrade to Zattoo Premium, the company does offer an initial 30-day free trial. According to its customer support page, you can sign up with a major credit card, such as Visa or Mastercard, issued anywhere in the world and not necessarily from Germany. Other available payment mechanisms are PayPal and direct bank transfer.

What content can I stream on Zattoo?

Zattoo offers a bunch of live content, including television channels, as well as on-demand video. Some popular channels and titles are:

  • Prosieben
  • SAT1
  • Spiegel TV
  • Clay Pigeons
  • Best of Blues Brothers
  • Kid Thing
  • Arctic Mission
  • Scrooge Blumarine

Why is Zattoo geo-restricted?

Zattoo’s business model functions around purchasing licensing rights from original content creators and broadcast channels. These rights are negotiated based on allowing access to users in specific countries. If it were to open up its platform for all users, it would constitute a violation of various agreements, leading to heavy penalties and duties. That’s why it’s compelled to restrict services, similar to how Netflix and Hulu operate.

Streaming Zattoo on Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, Android Box, and Apple TV

Other than PCs, Macs, iOS devices, and Android devices, Zattoo is also compatible with devices such as Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Xbox One, and some smart TV apps.

These devices don’t offer native support for VPN apps; hence there’s no way simply to download the software and start streaming. Nevertheless, there are ways around this problem.

A nifty method to get VPN support is by configuring one to a virtual router — this is possible because any PC with a wifi card can also transmit its own wifi signals, similar to how smartphones can set up wifi hotspots.

You may want to read our tutorials on how to set up a VPN on a virtual router for Windows and Mac devices.

If you’re looking to install a VPN on Chromecast, you can read our guide on how to do just that.

You can also set up a VPN on a physical router if the firmware supports it. One such firmware is DD-WRT, a free and open source option that works on a wide range of router models. Learn more about DD-WRT and the best VPNs for it here. Premium VPN providers also offer tutorials on how you can set up their individual apps on routers; more detail is provided on their individual sites.

Useful links:
How to install a VPN on an Amazon Fire Stick/Fire TV
Best VPNs for Amazon Fire Stick/Fire TV
Best VPNs for Smart TVs in 2018