ARD and ARD Mediathek (its live stream counterpart) are the perfect solutions if you’re in search of content in the German language. The content available includes movies, TV shows, news and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The only problem is that the content on the website isn’t available to people outside of Germany. Attempt to access it and you run into an error message.
Fortunately, you can get around the restriction using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which encrypts your device’s incoming and outgoing online traffic and routes it through a VPN server in a specified location. The VPN disguises your location, making it seem like you’re accessing the website from a different location (Germany, in this case). As a result, you can access ARD regardless of your location. A VPN also enables you to access other popular websites available only in Germany, including MySpass, Zattoo, Welt (N24), Deutsche Well (DW), ZDF Mediathek, 7TV and Netflix Germany.
When deciding which VPN service to use, a sea of options is available to you but the quality of the services varies with providers. For content-streaming, you want a VPN that offers a speedy, reliable connection over a vast global server network. Furthermore, you need to prioritize security, privacy and top-tier customer support.
In brief, a good VPN for accessing ARD should meet the following benchmarks:
- Unblocks popular streaming services
- Has servers in Germany
- Offers reliable connections
- Provide top speeds
- Employs powerful encryption
- Has prompt, useful customer support
- Doesn’t keep logs
The following are our top recommended VPNs for ARD.
Thanks to its top-class performance, this provider makes it to the top of our list. Getting a reliable connection will not be a problem because ExpressVPN has a number of server locations in Germany, all of which are fast and have the capability of unblocking ARD, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu among other Geo-restricted streaming services.
Knowledgeable customer support representatives are always on hand to help you resolve issues and answer questions. ExpressVPN offers round-the-clock live chat support.
Security is a top priority for this provider, which has a wide range of excellent features. These features include 256-bit AES encryption along with Perfect Forward Secrecy, a default OpenVPN protocol, a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection. For privacy, ExpressVPN offers its own .onion website and a strict no-logs policy.
It has three subscription plans and native apps for Android, iOS, Linux, MacOS and Windows, as well as manual installation instruction for select routers.
This provider’s server network spans across 60 countries and has over 4,000 servers, more than 250 of which are located in Germany. Therefore, you can access content from ARD, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and Hulu hassle-free. Many of the servers in NordVPN’s network support double VPN, anti-DDoS and P2P file-sharing.
Privacy and security are top-notch as the service uses 256-bit encryption with Perfect Forward Secrecy and IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols by default. Also available is a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection. Android users can enjoy automatic Wi-Fi protection. Thanks to a strict zero-logs policy, you need not be worried about your data making its way into the hands of third parties.
With NordVPN, you can connect up to six devices simultaneously. (Most leading providers offer no more than five.) This provider has apps for MacOS, Windows, Android and iOS, as well as manual configuration for some routers and Linux devices.
The number of servers in this provider’s network continues to grow, and a number of them are located in Germany. With over 200 of them in the country, connecting is a breeze. You get top speeds and a connection you can rely on. Customer support is friendly, quick-responding and knowledgeable.
Additionally, CyberGhost unblocks Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and, yes, ARD. Other popular channels that you can view in “streaming mode” are ZDF Mediathek and 7TV. The VPN client automatically connects to the best server when you choose an item on the list.
With this service, you get five simultaneous connections, which is more than enough to cover all your main devices, for which CyberGhost offers native apps. Support is provided for some Linux systems and select routers.
This is arguably the smallest and perhaps the youngest VPN provider on this list. Nevertheless, it is a formidable contender as it offers top-notch performance. You get three servers in Germany to watch content on ARD. You can also watch content on many other Geo-restricted websites, such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Hulu and Netflix. In terms of speed, this service is among the fastest.
Fast speeds and a sizable server network make this one of our favorite VPN services for watching content on ARD. Getting a reliable connection is easy as it relies on 57 servers located in Germany. Of course, 256-bit encryption and Perfect Forward Secrecy are part of the package. These features are accompanied by a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection, as well as a zero-logs policy.
Surprisingly, IPVanish offers up to ten simultaneous connections for every subscription, which is far more than any competitor offers. This makes it perfect if you want to share your VPN with your roommates, family, or even coworkers. The service offers native apps for Android, iOS, MacOS and Windows, and can be configured for given routers and Linux systems.
Using free VPNs and DNS proxies with ARD
As you search for the right VPN for ARD, you’ve certainly come across free VPN services, and you might be tempted to use them. However, they’re not recommended because extremely cheap and free VPNs tend to offer sub-standard services. Your user experience might therefore be unfavorable.
In addition to that, many free VPNs don’t offer much variety in the ways of server locations, meaning your chances of getting a fast and reliable connection to Germany are reduced drastically. Many times, you may find yourself in a queue for making the connection as free VPNs usually have a multitude of users. Furthermore, when the connection is finally made, it will typically be slow and unconducive for streaming content.
That’s not all. Many free VPNs have been found to be engaging in questionable business practices in order to generate revenue. They’re a business, after all. A lot of these providers sell their users’ data to third parties or infect their users’ devices with adware to spy on their online activity and deliver targeted ads.
Using a well-established premium provider is your best bet. Protecting your online privacy and ensuring maximum security are worth a few dollars a month.
Just like free VPN services, DNS proxies can be quite tempting to use because they seem like a good deal. But it’s not advisable to use these either. First, DNS proxies don’t encrypt your data, meaning it’s accessible to your ISP and other interested parties, such as nosey government authorities. Second, streaming websites such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix can easily detect and block these proxies. Third, DNS proxy services offer few server locations.
Do I really need to use watch ARD using a VPN?
In some cases, some users are able to access some ARD videos without using a VPN, and they consider themselves in luck. However, we recommend always using a VPN, even if you’re able to access content with a bare connection because opening up unnecessary yourself to privacy violations and security threats is unwise.
Your ISP and government aren’t the only people interested in your data. Criminal hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the attacks they use so any added layer of security should be taken advantage of, especially if you frequently access the Internet through public Wi-Fi hotspots.
No account setup needed with ARD
Nearly all streaming services require you to set up an account in order to access content. As a result, the streaming service can figure out a user’s location by looking at their payment information. Fortunately, ARD content is available without the need for setting up an account. You can stream all the content you want without being required to input your login credentials.
Users can easily access the website’s main section and view content without using a VPN. However, a portion of the content on the website is available only to users in Germany. The ARD Mediathek is one example of a section that generates an error message if you try to access it from outside the US. Popular content on ARD and ARD Mediathek includes Schrotten!, Falk, PussyTerrorTV, Trauung mit Hindernissen, Woher kommt der Hype?, In Flammen and Planet Wissen.
Moreover, you can watch all 2018 FIFA World Cup matches (inclusive of German commentary) on ARD.