The Internet is free in France but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a VPN. Quite the contrary, there could be some limitations in the company you work for or in a school you attend where a VPN could help you bypass these (silly?) restrictions.
Furthermore, with a VPN – you get to unlock all content that could otherwise be outside of your reach, such as the US version of Netflix, HBO Max and so on.
Plus, let’s not forget public Wi-Fi hotspots, which use is everything but safe. Say a malicious actor is connecting to the same (public) network, he/she may be able to get ahold of your personal information as it travels from your device(s) and the Internet. Not if you’re using a VPN, which will encrypt all communication, thus making it impossible for hackers to intercept your data.
And that’s just a start, cause a VPN will ultimately get you anonymity online. Here are the best VPNs for France:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Furthermore, thanks to the availability of browser extensions - Hotspot Shield is also one of our top choices for Chrome and Firefox VPNs.
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that help continually improve its service.
There is one caveat though - it won't work in high-censorship countries like China. If you don't need that in the first place, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Its desktop apps are not among the prettiest ones, but they get the job done. The important thing is that installation is easy and straightforward, and that no logs are kept by the company.
When it comes to pricing, IPVanish is somewhere in the middle — it's not the most affordable option but also not the most expensive one. As noted, it will be most appreciated by heavy BitTorrent users, and — related — Kodi fans.
Internet censorship in France
Although an open and free society, France does have medium internet censorship that includes limited filtering of child pornography, laws against websites that promote terrorism or racial hatred, and attempts to protect copyright.
Nevertheless, the “Freedom on the Net” report by Freedom House has consistently listed France as a country with Internet freedom. Its global ranking was 6 in 2013 and 12 in 2017. A sharp decline in its score was noted in 2015 and attributed to “problematic policies adopted in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, such as restrictions on content that could be seen as ‘apology for terrorism,’ prosecutions of users, and significantly increased surveillance.”
Not everything’s cool in France…
The French government has undertaken numerous measures to protect the rights of Internet users. Among those measures are the passage of the Loi pour la Confiance dans l’Économie Numérique (LCEN, Law for Trust in the Digital Economy) in 2004.
In that sense, in 2010 – the OpenNet Initiative has found no evidence of Internet filtering in any of the four areas monitored: political, social, conflict/security, and Internet tools.
After 2010, the situation went downhill on the heels of France passing a new copyright law (so-called Hadopi law) threatening to ban users from the Internet upon their third violation.
Unsurprisingly, said law has drawn much criticism from privacy advocates as well as the European Union (EU) parliament.
As a result of this and a few other measures, Reporters Without Borders added France to its infamous list of “Countries Under Surveillance”.
Pirates are not welcome in France
Beyond passing the “three-stikes” law for pirates, France has also actively pursued blocking of websites distributing pirated content.
To that end, in November 2013, the civil court of first instance of Paris ordered French ISPs to block 16 video streaming websites for copyright infringement: dpstream.tv, fifostream.tv, allostreaming.com, alloshowtv.com, allomovies.com, alloshare.com, allomegavideo.com, alloseven.com, allourls.com, fifostream.com, fifostream.net, fifostream.org, fifostreaming.com, fifostreaming.net, fifostreaming.org and fifostreaming.tv
And there were more such cases, as well as different ones involving blocking of sites promoting hate speech, terrorism and other suspicious activities.
The problem, however, is that some of the laws have been abused to censor political content, though not to a big extent.
Yes, you need a VPN for France
But don’t get one just to be able to bypass restrictions of any kind in France; get the one for the whole world that will let you anonymously do whatever you want online. That being said, we don’t support piracy in any shape or form.
But we hold our freedom dearly. So get a VPN for all your existing and future needs, one that will cover a range of things you want or may want to do online. In that sense, a good VPN will let you do many things, including:
- Accessing content that could otherwise be restricted in your physical location.
- Preventing tracking and minimizing your digital footprint so that no one can track you online (at least not that easily).
- Avoiding throttling from your ISP – which is known to happen when you’re torrenting or accessing video streaming services.
- Bypassing firewalls in a workplace, university, school and so on.
- Bypassing censorship in places like China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East, and even Turkey and Russia.
- Securely connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots – with a VPN encrypting all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
The bottom line is – get a VPN that fits all your needs. The top contenders include the following: