Germany has some of the best pro-privacy laws in the world, especially with the incoming EU General Data Protection Regulation. Next year when it goes into effect, the GDPR will enforce encryption, anonymization and proper data management on both EU and non-EU companies that stored and/or process the personal information of EU citizens.

This legislation will empower EU citizens with the right to portability, to be forgotten and to rectify their data. Oh yeah, and consumers will be able to sue companies for negligence in handling their private data if there are data breaches, which they will be required to disclose. Companies will finally have to justify why they need your data in the first place. But the proverbial cherry on top will be the administrative fines for noncompliance, which clock in at a whopping 2-4% of a company’s global annual turnover.

So, Why Do You Need a VPN in Germany?

GDPR was the silver lining. Now let’s get to the cloud.

Germany’s intelligence agency, BND, has extensive powers to spy on you. And they do spy on you, which is quite evident from the Snowden files. Germany signed the 14 Eyes treaty, and their data retention laws allow authorities to hold your metadata (including the contents of text messages) for up to 10 weeks. The BND collects an estimated of 220 million metadata sets per day, which consists of communication that travels over the Internet, mobile networks, landlines and satellites about who communicates with whom, when, from where and for how long.

Also, after the 2016 terror attack in Munich, the BND gained powers to spy on foreign individuals and businesses without a warrant. So, if you’re a foreigner living, working or traveling in Germany, you’re probably being monitored, and perhaps even more than German citizens.

And let’s not forget about Germany’s strict anti-piracy rules. German authorities don’t tolerate P2P file sharing of copyrighted material, and your ISP will report you for illegal torrenting. You could end up with a hefty fine if caught torrenting copyrighted content. Some German legal firms are even called “copyright trolls” because they specifically scan popular torrents for German IP addresses to identify the offenders.

Language related to the fair use of copyrighted material for educational and artistic purposes is vague, and authorities tend to view it as an infringement rather than the fair use.

Worse yet, a lot of the content on YouTube is unavailable from Germany because the German performing artists rights organization GEMA wants Germans to pay $0.12 every time they view certain videos on YouTube. Google said it’s downright discrimination, and blocked a ton of content for the entire country instead.

Additionally, most of Germany is “connected,” so you’ll enjoy lots of free public Wi-Fi, which is also plagued by malware looking to empty your pockets.

A VPN is an efficient – and dirt cheap – solution to all these privacy, security, and locked content woes.

So, without further adieu, here are my top seven picks of best VPNs for Germany based on:

  • robust security

  • fast speeds

  • transparent privacy policies

  • broad availability of servers outside Germany and the 14 Eyes allies

  • a clear stance on P2P file sharing


1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the go-to VPNs for Germany because of its zero-logs policy, AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN. They’re based in the British Virgin Islands, so the company is exempt from the mass surveillance of the 14 Eyes and fairly immune to anti-piracy laws. Also, ExpressVPN works great for unblocking region-based streaming sites like Netflix and P2P torrenting, and their stealth servers across 94 countries offer consistently great speeds for gaming and streaming.


They support the majority of popular platforms, and the apps are polished and easy-to-use. You can install ExpressVPN on up tp three devices, which covers your desktop and mobile browsing needs, but may be a bit too tight if you’re anything like me and like to multitask using multiple devices. That said, the client is fantastic – it’s flexible with advanced features like auto-connect, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch.


Their 24/7 customer support is one of the best in the industry, and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscriptions. If you commit to a long-term plan, you can land a pretty good deal of $99.95 per year. Their bi-annual plan will set you off $60 while the monthly plan comes at $13. ExpressVPN might not be the cheapest service out there, but it certainly is one of the most robust and reliable.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Zero logs, solid encryption, OpenVPN
  • Fast speeds ideal for gaming, streaming, P2P
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Kill switch, geospoofing
  • Servers outside the 14 Eyes
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Cross-platform

Cons:

  • No ad blocking
  • Only 3 devices per account
  • Logs non-identifiable metadata
  • Expensive

2. IPVanish

IPVanish is a zero-logs provider with a laundry list of features: 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited bandwidth for torrenting, superb speeds, servers in 60+ countries, and sophisticated cross-platform software you can install on up to 5 devices.


IPVanish does an excellent job of unblocking streaming websites like BBC iPlayer and keeping your identity safe from state surveillance and hackers. On the downside, it is a US-based provider, so data retention laws apply. Still, it's one of the best services to spoof into the US and UK, and they manage their servers instead of leasing them, so your data doesn't pass through third-party hands.


Subscriptions start at $10 per month, but the price drops to $6.49 per month if you commit to an annual plan, and all subscriptions come with a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Excellent round-the-clock support
  • Zero logs
  • P2P
  • Protection from Deep Packet Inspection
  • Intuitive interface
  • Excellent speeds
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • SOCKS5, OpenVPN, robust encryption
  • Up to 5 simultaneous connections per account

Cons:

  • US-based

3. PureVPN

PureVPN is pretty impressive, with 750+ self-managed servers in 141 countries, including 43 servers in Germany. They’ve been in the VPN game for 11 years and have evolved into a reliable service you might find just the right fit for your needs when browsing from Germany. They employ 256-bit AES encryption and keep a firm no-logs policy.


You can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, and they support more than 50 platforms including Smart TV, ROKU, Apple TV, and Boxee. PureVPN works great for unblocking streaming services, but the speeds might drop during peak hours.


They’re based in Hong Kong, which means no data retention laws, but make sure you test your connection for DNS leaks. PureVPN also keeps session – not activity – logs for troubleshooting purposes.


On the bright side, the client is a breeze to use and comes with all the bells and whistles you may want in a VPN – stealth browsing mode, secure FTP access, online banking security, multiple protocols and more. They even have servers specifically optimized for P2P and streaming.


It’s one of the most affordable providers on the list. You can get a three-day free trial and then choose from three plans - $12/mo in a monthly subscription, $9/mo in bi-annual and $3/mo in a two-year plan, each backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Based in Hong Kong
  • Split tunneling
  • Support available 24/7
  • Great add-on features
  • Impressive range of servers
  • Cross-platform, compatible with 50+ platforms
  • Up to 5 devices per account
  • Zero logs
  • Servers optimized specifically for P2P, streaming and over-IP cameras
  • Accepts gift cards from major brands

Cons:

  • Speeds might be inconsistent during peak hours
  • DNS leaks
  • No Perfect Forward Secrecy

4. NordVPN

NordVPN is hands-down one of the top providers for Germany because it’s tough on privacy. They’re based in Panama, which is far removed from 14 Eyes surveillance and anti-piracy laws. Top that off with a zero-logs policy, a kill switch, a DNS leak protection, a unique double encryption technology, VPN into Tor, and you’re in for a safe ride.


They run 830+ server locations across 57 countries, which grants you lightning-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth for P2P torrenting, HD video streaming, and gaming. Do note, however, that connections using double encryption tend to be slower than the regular AES 256-bit.


NordVPN client is easy to get the hang of, and you can install it on up to six devices. It’s also very flexible so you can tweak pretty much everything from the kill switch behavior to encryption protocols. They even offer the list of servers slated toward gamers and streamers (Ultra-fast) and the privacy paranoid (Ultra-secure).


NordVPN might not be the cheapest proposition in its $12 monthly plan, but the bi-annual subscription costs $42 while the yearly is $70 only, at which point NordVPN offers the best value for the money, and you can always count on the 30-day money-back guarantee

Pros:

  • Based in Panama
  • Up to six devices
  • P2P
  • Wide range of servers
  • Great speeds
  • Great customer service
  • Robust encryption
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Does not block ads or trackers
  • Speeds may drop if you use double encryption

5. HideMyAss

HideMyAss is based in the UK, so the Orwellian surveillance laws apply. It’s also run by AVG Technologies, which has a reputation of cooperating with law enforcement. So, no illegal torrenting here. If you’re okay with that, you’ll find HMA to be a fast, functional and cheap proposition.


HideMyAss is ideal if you’re on a tight budget and use a VPN occasionally because it allows only two devices per account. There is a lot of eye-candy in the GUI, and the client is intuitive if somewhat light on features. Switching servers is easy as they run a huge network in 190 countries.


Their prepaid plans come in at $10 in the monthly subscription, $40 in bi-annual and $60 in the annual plan. The summer sale cuts 56% off of all the plans. One side note here: the 30-day money-back guarantee doesn’t cover purchases made via iTunes or Google Play, nor can you exceed 10GB of bandwidth.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Granular controls in the desktop app
  • Pretty design, easy-to-use UI
  • Good performance
  • No IP leaks

Cons:

  • Sluggish speeds
  • Logs your IP
  • Did not unblock Netflix nor BBC iPlayer in my tests, but your mileage may vary
  • UK-based
  • Only two devices allowed
  • Sub-standard encryption
  • Restrictions to 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Only legal torrenting is allowed

6. VyprVPN

VyprVPN belongs to Switzerland-based Golden Frog, a conglomerate that manages its own infrastructure, including the 700 servers across 70 locations. So you get great speeds and reliability, 24/7 customer care, and a fully-featured client – all in a single swoop.


Gaming and streaming sites like Netflix or BBC iPlayer works seamlessly, but you may want to avoid illegal torrenting when using this VPN, even though they don’t block P2P file sharing or cap bandwidth. VyprVPN deploys solid encryption and proprietary Chameleon technology and keeps a zero-logs policy, so you get rock-solid privacy here.


Considering that they have a free three-day trial, it seems fair that they offer no refunds. You can choose between the Basic plan for three devices ($60/year if billed annually, and $120/year if billed monthly) and the Premium plan for five devices ($80/year in annual subscription and $155.4/year if billed monthly). The Premium subscription comes with VyprVPN Cloud, protection from DPI, a kill switch, and the Chameleon Protocol.

Pros:

  • Based in Switzerland
  • Up to five connections in the Premium plan
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Robust encryption
  • Great security
  • P2P
  • Cross-platform
  • Great customer service

Cons:

  • Does not block ads
  • Takes time to find fast servers
  • The Basic plan allows only three devices per account
  • Does not accept Bitcoin
  • This is not a con per se, but they’re explicitly against illegal P2P
  • No refunds

7. IvacyVPN

IvacyVPN is based in Singapore and offers just about everything you may want in a VPN for almost no money. They have 250 servers in more than 50 countries, including at least 4 servers in Germany. They allow up to five simultaneous connections and support Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux.


Top that off with servers optimized for torrenting, zero-logs policy and the fact that they openly advocate for free torrents downloading, and you’re in for a smooth P2P file sharing. IvacyVPN also has a brilliant range of add-on features like split tunneling, auto reconnect, Kodi and XBMC support.


Single-month plans come in at $12 per month, but an annual subscription plummets to a heavily discounted $2.50/mo, and $1.66/mo if you commit for two years. Surprisingly, these prices apply for a lifetime, so if you buy a 2-year plan now, it will renew at the same rate even if the current price is different. All plans come with a 7-day refund guarantee with restrictions – you can not apply for a refund if you paid via Bitcoin, Paymentwall, if you’ve consumed more than 7 GB of bandwidth or connected more than 30 times.

Pros:

  • Fast connections
  • Easy-to-use
  • P2P
  • 2-year plan is a bargain
  • Great features
  • Robust encryption
  • Accepts Bitcoin

Cons:

  • Mobile apps lack updates
  • Refund policy has restrictions