The fact that Germany is a free and open society doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a VPN in the country. There will still be obstacles on your way, like when you want to access Facebook and YouTube from schools, universities and workplaces.
In addition, no free society can protect you while using public Wi-Fi hotspots when a malicious actor could be able to intercept your data and potentially obtain your personal information.
Plus, let’s not forget VPN’s ability to bypass various restrictions when visiting other, less free countries as well as to let you access US versions of popular streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and so on.
We’ve tested many VPNs and here are those that we deem to be the best for Germany:
- 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 Germany
While Internet censorship in Germany has traditionally been low, it is practiced directly and indirectly through various laws and court decisions. German law provides for freedom of speech and press with several exceptions, including some of the world’s toughest laws around hate speech.
An example of content censored by law is the removal of websites from Google search results that deny the holocaust, which is a felony under German law. According to the Google Transparency Report, the German government is one of the most active in requesting user data after the United States.
However, it is worth adding that most cases of Internet censorship in Germany occur after state court rulings.
The first known case of Internet censorship in Germany occurred in 1996 when some IP addresses were banned from Internet access.
Laws governing the Internet in Germany
There are several laws that are governing the Internet in Germany, including:
Access Impediment Act
Passed in June 2009, the Access Impediment Act or Zugangserschwerungsgesetz introduced Internet blocking of sites found to distribute child pornography. It came into force in September 2009 but was repealed in April 2011.
Ancillary copyright for press publishers
Passed in 2013, the law aimed to prevent search results from returning excerpts from news sites unless the search engine has paid a license for them. It was widely interpreted as an attempt to have Google subsidize German news. In response, Google modified search to only display headlines for certain sites. The problem, however, is that major media companies like Axel Springer saw an overall decrease in their readership following the law’s passage.
Network Enforcement Act
The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or NetzDG was passed in June 2017 and went into full effect in January 2018 as a measure to require social media companies in Germany to censor extremism online, with significant hate speech provisions as well. The law, which applies to for-profit websites with over 2 million users, demands the removal of offensive illegal content within 24 hours and allows for one week to review “more legally ambiguous content”.
Why do you need a VPN for Germany?
As we have noted above, free speech alone can’t protect you against hackers using the same public Wi-Fi hotspots as you do. Furthermore, without a VPN, you can’t access the likes of US Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu.
Plus, let’s not forget the extra anonymity you’ll get with a VPN — otherwise, your ISP, as well as Google and Facebook, will know every step you make online. And the same goes for torrenting, which will be totally anonymous with a VPN running in the background.
We have just scratched the surface here – a good VPN will:
- 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: