Compared to other countries, the data privacy laws in Germany are among the most favorable for consumers. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why people in Germany might still want to use a VPN for various online activities, not least being the fact that there have been collaborations between the NSA and Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in the past.
For example, in 2014, an employee of the BND was apprehended for sharing confidential information with the NSA. Later that year, Wikileaks released copious documents on the German-US intelligence collaboration. There are also reports which indicate that the sets of metadata gathered by the BND on a daily basis are in the heights of 220 million. These records include the duration, location, and identities of people in online, phone, and satellite communications.
All in all, Germany’s rules regarding P2P file sharing of pirated content are clear. For instance, the law firms in the country are known to work with Internet Service Providers to apprehend torrent users. In contrast, the country’s policies on fair use of copyrighted material are unclear: limited artistic or educational use of copyrighted material without permission from the owner is allowed. These are but a few of the reasons why people are better off using a VPN if they are in Germany.
A VPN encrypts all your online data and passes it through intermediary servers in locations of your choice. As a result, government agencies, Internet Service Providers, and hackers cannot monitor your traffic. You can, therefore, use it to get around censorship within your organization or country. Furthermore, by disguising your location and hiding your real IP address from apps and websites, a VPN unblocks Geo-restricted content on streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix.
VPN services aren’t all equal. For a VPN to be useful in Germany, its features must include an OpenVPN protocol, a no-logs policy, unblocking of Geo-restricted content, a powerful encryption standard, and great performance (stability and speed).
Here are our top 5 recommended VPNs for Germany.
ExpressVPN is often at the top of most VPN lists for various reasons. It doesn’t log usage and personal information. Its default protocol is OpenVPN, which it secures using powerful industry-leading encryption, perfect forward secrecy, strong authentication, and an in-built kill switch that terminates the Internet connection the moment your VPN connection drops.
In addition to unblocking the Netflix package for many other countries, ExpressVPN also gives you access to other Geo-blocked streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Hulu. If you have questions about which servers are the most suitable for particular tasks, the provider’s 24/7 live chat support is on hand to help. Finally, this VPN has intuitive apps for MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and select routers.
This VPN offers a 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy, OpenVPN protocol, and a built-in kill switch. Extra features include Tor-over-VPN, double VPN, super fast servers tailored to specific purposes, and anti-DDoS servers.
NordVPN is a solid option for unblocking Geo-restricted content and it gives you the option of choosing specific servers for Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix among other streaming services. Add to this six simultaneous connections and apps for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS, and you have a top-class VPN service.
This provider is among the few that, rather than lease third-party servers, owns and operates all the servers on its network. The result is that even fewer people have access to your data. Moreover, IPVanish does not log your metadata and traffic. This makes it the most suitable torrenting VPN, which explains why it is popular with Kodi users. The service relies on military-grade authentication and encryption to boot.
On the downside, IPVanish doesn’t unblock Hulu and Netflix, but it does give you access to BBC iPlayer and most other content streaming services. The supported device platforms include MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
Romania-based CyberGhost Pro recently overhauled its service after changing ownership, with the number of servers increasing to 1000 from a few hundred. This service doesn’t keep a log of your online activity or personally identifiable information. Its OpenVPN protocol is encapsulated in a 256-bit AES encryption.
CyberGhost performed well in our tests for speed and stability, and it unblocked Netflix and other streaming services quite reliably.
As far as your metadata and traffic are concerned, this provider stays true to its no-logs policy. It offers a variety of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, as well as an impenetrable 256-bit AES encryption by default. StrongVPN is among the few services that have in-browser unblocking for Netflix and Hulu. No data caps or limits on bandwidth are imposed by this VPN. It has clients for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. (Though we found its Windows client to be rather unimpressive.)
Are free VPNs any good in Germany?
There’s no shortage of VPNs in the industry, and they can be quite tempting, especially if you’re budget is rather tight. Still, many problems accompany these services.
First, their reliability and speed don’t match those of premium VPN services. Second, many free VPN services compromise heavily on user privacy and security. Moreover, many generate revenue by exploiting private user data, tracking customers’ online activity and selling it to the highest bidder.
The few dollars saved by using free VPN services in Germany are not worth it. You’re better off relying on a premium provider.