If you have ever tried to stream ZDF on vacation, you will have noticed the following error message:
“Aus rechtlichen gründen kann dieser Beitrag nur in Deutchsland gezeigt werden.”
Luckily, you can bypass this problem by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN for ZDF is a privacy tool that allows you to conceal your location from the websites you visit.
By connecting to a VPN server in Germany you can get a German IP address. This lets you watch ZDF from the UK, Canada, the USA, France, Australia, or anywhere else. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you are, a VPN can unblock ZDF to let you stream your favorite shows on vacation.
A VPN also handles your DNS requests and encrypts your traffic. This prevents anybody from tracking what you do online. In addition to preventing you against ISP snooping, government surveillance, and surveillance capitalism, this allows you to unblock ZDF at work without your employer finding out!
Later on, we will provide mini-reviews to help you pick between the best VPNs for ZDF. For now, here’s a quick rundown of our recommendations for anybody in a rush:
- NordVPN: The best VPN for ZDF. Over 200 servers in Germany and 59 other countries. Also works with Hulu, DAZN, Netflix, and iPlayer. 24/7 support. No logs policy. Fully featured apps. Lightning-fast NordLynx protocol. Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best value VPN. Unlimited simultaneous connections per account. Over 3,200 servers in 60+ countries. Double VPN servers. Includes 24/7 live chat and email support.
- ExpressVPN: Over 3,000 servers in 94 countries including Germany. High-speed connections and reliable unblocking. Secures data with high-end encryption.
- CyberGhost: Roughly 7,200 servers in 90 countries. Includes over 900 in Germany. Unlimited bandwidth and up to seven simultaneous connections.
- IPVanish: Connect as many devices as you want at once. Works with ZDF and Netflix US. 24/7 support includes and operates a zero-logs policy for privacy.
- PrivateVPN: Fast server speeds for streaming ZDF lag-free. Also works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer. User-friendly apps, strong encryption, and a no logs policy.
- Hotspot Shield: Servers in 80 countries including Germany. Provides 24/7 live chat and email support. All data is secured from public Wi-Fi hackers with encryption.
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Best VPNs for ZDF
Not all VPNs are created equally. Some lack the necessary security and privacy features, while others are too slow to stream in HD or fail to unblock popular services like ZDF. To make our recommendations we used the following criteria:
- High speeds for uninterrupted HD streaming
- Servers in Germany that work with ZDF
- The ability to evade detection and provide privacy at all times
- Easy-to-use apps for all platforms
We will explain how to use a VPN to stream ZDF later in this article. We will also provide additional information about how we test and select reliable VPN recommendations. For now, here’s our list of the best VPNs for ZDF:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is an exceptionally fast VPN that easily unblocks ZDF and similar services from abroad. Users can connect up to six devices simultaneously per account, and access nearly 5,000 servers throughout 60 different countries. Of these, approximately 240 are in Germany.
There are all kinds of security and privacy features built-in. Firstly, NordVPN does not keep any records of your activities, so your privacy is always assured. It also uses 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks, and a kill-switch to keep your activities secure at all times. There’s even a feature called CyberSec that filters out ads and malware.
If you have any issues, you can rely on NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat, and you can test it completely risk-free thanks to its no-logs policy. Plus, this VPN works with Netflix, Hulu, and other popular services making it a superb all-rounder. It even has servers optimized for torrenting.
You can install an app from NordVPN on Windows, Mac, Linux Android, iOS, and Android TV. Browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox, and it can also be set up manually with select routers.
- Fastest VPN we’ve tested
- Strong security and privacy credentials
- Excellent streaming ability
- No-logs policy
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Desktop app takes some getting used to
BEST VPN FOR ZDF:NordVPN is our first choice. Very fast and a great performer. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. Also works well with most popular streaming services and achieves consistently good speeds. Try it with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a quick, low-cost VPN with more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries including Germany. It works well with all major streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and ZDF. Best of all, this service allows you to secure any number of devices simultaneously.
Security is one of Surfshark’s strongest areas. It keeps you safe from snoopers using futureproof 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. Further, Surfshark is a zero-logs provider which means it can never reveal details of your activities under any circumstances, even if the feds come knocking. If you need help, customer support is available 24/7 via email and live chat.
Surfshark has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. Manual configuration is required for supported routers.
- The fastest VPN for ZDF
- Strong commitment to your security
- One of the best when it comes to streaming
- Connect as many devices as you like
- Keeps no logs
- Some servers are a little slower than others
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is a highly affordable VPN that boasts plenty of attractive features. Strong on security, with incredible speeds and no connection limit. What’s more, all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is more than fast enough for uninterrupted video streams. It’s also great at dodging detection and can get around regional blocks. In our tests, it worked alongside major streaming services including Hulu and ZDF.
There are over 3,000 servers in 94 countries to choose from, so you shouldn’t have any issues as far as reliability is concerned. And this VPN throws in a free Smart DNS service to help you stream US TV on more devices (those that won’t let you install a VPN onto them directly, such as game consoles).
If you want to stream ZDF from countries that censor the web such as Saudi Arabia or China, rest assured the snooping authorities won’t be able to block your communications or even know what sites you visit.
The VPN is extremely easy to install and use. Once you have paid for the service, click on the download button for your operating system. If you have issues or are confused, simply contact its 24/7 live chat support for help.
ExpressVPN provides apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. You can install the VPN on routers and also Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. The company also provides browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
- Fast speeds for streaming and torrenting
- Great at unblocking German streaming services abroad
- Industry-leading security features
- Pay anonymously with Bitcoin
- A little more expensive than some rivals
STRONG ALL ROUNDER:ExpressVPN is a highly versatile choice. Reliably unblocks ZDF content from Germany and boasts fast enough speeds for buffer-free HD viewing. Total security and privacy. Offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is based in Romania. The government there has invested heavily in internet infrastructure and the legal system there blocks all attempts by the EU to impose data retention rules. The service provides excellent speeds, making it ideal for video streaming. Perhaps most impressive is its network of over 7,000 servers, more than 900 of which are located in Germany.
CyberGhost offers very strong security, which makes it a good choice for countries where the government implements high levels of censorship or closely monitors internet users. This also makes it ideal for unblocking ZDF at work without your employer finding out.
When you sign up for CyberGhost, you make your payment to a separate company. This setup enables CyberGhost to give its customers near-total anonymity. The company doesn’t keep any personal information about its customers. Each customer is identified by an account number and the only information held on file is the account’s expiry date.
In terms of speeds, this service is ideal for HD streaming. And it has apps for all platforms that are uncomplicated, making it the perfect choice for beginners. That said, it still has what you need to stay secure both at home and on public Wi-Fi. And you can test it thanks to its 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Decent, reliable speeds
- Happily unblocks a host of geo-restricted content
- Solid privacy and security features enabled by default
- Novice-friendly apps
- Few advanced features, but all the essentials are there
- Doesn’t work in China
GREAT VALUE:CyberGhost is a great value choice. Strong on privacy, fast speeds, and reliably works with ZDF. We found it easy to set up and use. Works well with most streaming sites. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish has its own infrastructure. It manages its network in-house, which gives the company more control over its service and ensures the delivery of a quality VPN with very high speeds. This VPN will get you into ZDF from outside Germany and provides streaming in HD without pauses for buffering. IPVanish operates more than 1,900 servers spread across 50+ countries. That includes dozens of servers in Frankfurt, Germany.
The company is based in the United States. However, IPVanish does not keep any records of its customers’ activities, so there is never any important usage information for the authorities to seize.
The VPN apps use RSA encryption to protect session establishment with a 2048-bit key. Data is protected by AES with a 256-bit key. This makes it a secure VPN that implements the OpenVPN protocol to highly robust standards.
The app for IPVanish is very easy to use and it installs itself. The company provides apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. You can also install IPVanish on routers, but you’ll have to do this manually. Best of all, IPVanish doesn’t impose a connection limit, which makes it ideal for families.
- Strong on privacy and security
- High speeds and decent unblocking ability
- Connect all of your devices at once
- Apps for all platforms
- Doesn’t work with as many streaming services
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
LARGE NETWORK:IPVanish is great for families. Solid with ZDF and generally good at unblocking most geo-restricted content. Recommend for their high standard of privacy. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN was founded by privacy activists in Sweden. The company has very strong privacy protection procedures, including account anonymity. And the VPN has over 200 servers in 60+ countries, including Germany to stream ZDF securely and without being tracked.
Each customer record is identified by a number, but no personal information is stored. PrivateVPN’s base in Sweden allows it to have a watertight no-logs policy that guards the identity and activities of its users.
VPN connections are protected by RSA encryption with a 2048-bit key, and data in transit is protected with AES-256. This is a highly secure OpenVPN implementation standard. Plus, this VPN has a kill switch meaning that it is safe to use it for torrenting.
The app for PrivateVPN installs itself after you download the setup program from the website. The app runs on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. You can install the VPN manually on routers.
- Speeds are good enough for high-quality streaming
- Privacy and security are top-notch
- Gaining a reputation for unblocking popular streaming sites
- Servers located worldwide
- Fully featured VPN apps
- Fewer servers in each location than any competitors
- Live chat isn’t available 24 hours per day
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good all rounder. Unblocks ZDF and many other services. Outstanding privacy and security. Allows up to 10 connection with one account. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Hotspot Shield has a server network of approximately 1,800 servers in 80+ countries. This includes Germany so you can easily unblock ZDF from anywhere.
In fact, this VPN also works well with US-based streaming services including Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Thanks to unlimited bandwidth, you won’t have to worry about performance issues interrupting your streaming experience.
With a single Hotspot Shield account, you can secure up to five of your devices at the same time. You’ll also have 24/7 access to live chat and email support should you have any issues.
Security-wise, there’s 256-bit AES encryption to protect you from hackers and snoopers. Also included is DNS leak protection and a kill switch feature, which makes it good for torrenting. And Hotspot Shield doesn’t keep any usage logs. However, it does keep some connection logs, which may put privacy purists off, especially due to its base in the US. However, these are deleted when you disconnect, so there’s really nothing to worry about.
You can connect to a server in Germany by downloading a Hotspot Shield app for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or iOS. Browser extensions are available for both Chrome and Firefox although manual setup is required for use with routers.
Finally, this VPN is super fast for streaming and gaming thanks to its proprietary VPN protocol, and you can compare it to our other recommendations easily, thanks to its generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Servers in 80 countries including Germany
- Unlimited bandwidth for lag-free streaming
- 24/7 support via live chat and email
- No identifying logs of users
- Incredibly fast connections
- Stores connection logs
- Based in the US
- No Firefox browser extension
SERVERS IN 80 COUNTRIES:Hotspot Shield offers servers in 80 countries, Germany included. Works with ZDF, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Includes 24/7 live chat support. Provides security on public Wi-Fi. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
How to use a VPN to watch ZDF
Not sure how to go about using a VPN? The good news is that it’s both quick and easy. To watch German TV online, all you need to do is follow the simple step-by-step instructions provided below:
Here’s how you can use a VPN to stream ZDF:
- Sign up with a reputable VPN provider. We particularly recommend NordVPN for watching ZDF.
- Next, download and install the appropriate VPN app for your streaming device. Some of the VPNs listed also offer browser extensions.
- Open the VPN app and connect to a server in Germany. This is how you get a German IP address for unblocking ZDF from anywhere.
- Go to ZDF and select your preferred content (live or on-demand). It should now stream in your location without restriction!
Still blocked? Try clearing your browser’s cookies. Alternatively, try another server or contact your VPN’s customer support for further assistance.
ZDF VPN testing methodology
There are tons of consumer-facing VPNs on the market and they are not all worth your time and money. VPN websites often lie about the level of service they provide.
Some claim to be the fastest, but actually slows your internet by around 75%! Others claim to provide privacy but have dodgy policies that let them harvest your data and online habits.
To make sure we only recommend VPNs that are reliable and can be trusted, we have devised a scientific testing methodology. We test VPN apps to ensure they have reliable security features and encryption you can trust. We also check for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks, to ensure the VPN is delivering on its privacy claims.
Next, we carefully analyze the VPN’s servers to check their speeds and ascertain whether the VPN is good for torrenting, streaming, and gaming. We also check that the VPN can securely access the services you are interested in. This includes German services like DAZN, ZDF, NDR, and international services like Netflix, Hulu, and iPlayer.
Below, we have included a list of other features our experts looked for when curating this list of top VPNs for ZDF:
- A global server network that provides freedom of access
- Fully featured apps with a kill-switch and obfuscation
- Servers optimized for torrenting
- 24/7 live chat support to help you at any time
- Value for money
ZDF VPN FAQs
Can I use a free VPN to watch ZDF?
Unfortunately, free VPNs are not very good. Due to the challenges involved in running a VPN, including maintaining a global server network, secure apps with the latest encryption standards, and bypassing VPN blocks imposed by website devs, it actually takes a lot of money to run a VPN service these days. That is why it is important to be very skeptical about free VPNs.
VPNs are supposed to obscure your real IP address, and protect your data in transit so that it can't be intercepted. Free VPNs rarely provide this privacy, which means that using them gives you a completely false sense of security.
Free VPN services cut costs by implementing poor encryption and security, or none at all. They also have dodgy privacy policies that let them track everything you do while connected. They use this data to advertise and even sell it to any third party willing to pay. This is a huge risk to your digital well-being.
Besides the privacy risks involved, free VPNs are slow and fail to provide access to popular streaming services. Thus, even if you do find one with servers in Germany it won't work to stream ZDF. Streaming services blacklist known VPN servers to ensure their content is only delivered to viewers in the same country.
The extra work that goes into bypassing these regional restrictions is too expensive for free VPNs. The VPNs we recommend can get into video sites and all of the services on this list have been tested with ZDF.
Why does ZDF block me?
You can load the ZDF website from anywhere. However, when you try to stream videos outside Germany, a message informs you that the content is not available in your location.
This kind of block is standard in the broadcasting industry. TV stations have to buy in content from production companies and they only pay for the right to show that entertainment in their home country. The broadcaster signs a contract that obliges it to limit where it shows the content.
Restricting access is extremely easy, because when you visit a website it can easily, and automatically detect your IP address. If this address is outside of Germany, the error message is served.
A VPN masks your real IP address so that ZDF and all other websites only see the VPN's IP instead. This instantly allows you to pretend to be elsewhere to bypass geographic restrictions.
How do VPNs work?
A VPN is a type of service called a "proxy.” It works by providing you with a computer that stands in for your computer. That other computer is the VPN server.
When you install a VPN, you are actually just installing software that enables you to set up a VPN connection. That connection establishes a link between you and the VPN server, so that when you access the internet you seem to be in the location of the proxy server.
Responses from websites also go to the VPN server first, where they are encrypted and sent on to your computer. This prevents your ISP from being able to look at the data leaving your computer and heading back.
The encrypted connection to the VPN server, called a tunnel, protects all of your internet activity from snoopers. Not only does the tunnel protect the contents of data as it travels across the internet, it also obscures metadata like the destination website. This prevents your ISP from reporting on your activities to the government or selectively blocking or slowing your traffic.
Of course, another benefit of the VPN is that websites can't detect your real location, which allows you to pretend to be in Germany to stream ZDF. And the unblocking and privacy provided by a VPN are a marriage made in heaven because it means that if you choose to bypass blocks –such as government censorship, or restrictions on a work network – nobody knows you are doing it!
Can I watch live TV with ZDF?
Accessing ZDF is very straightforward, and you can easily watch live TV. You don't need to set up an account and no payment is needed. Once you connect to a VPN in Germany, all you need to do is go to the ZDF Live TV page and click on the play button.
The ZDF site offers a catch-up service that lets you see programming from earlier in the day and the past week. A “boxed set” section of the website includes content from even further back in time. You do not need to log in or identify yourself in order to access any of these features.