After testing several VPN providers, I concluded that the best VPN for Germany is NordVPN. You can check out NordVPN’s exclusive deal on offer.
Other strong contenders that stand out for their speed, security, streaming options, and value for money are ExpressVPN and Surfshark.
Each of these VPN providers has servers in Germany.
Top 3 VPN Services for Germany (November, 2023)
This BVI-based provider with 3200 servers in 65 countries with unlimited connections for only $2.49 per month would make sure you don’t break the bank whilst surfing the Internet in Germany. And you can do it on any number of devices.
A Panama-based service with 5486 servers in 59 countries including P2P-dedicated, obfuscated servers, Dedicated IP and QuickConnect feature. All of that allows you to browse, torrent and stream securely in Germany with little speed reduction, thanks to its 240 German servers.
With its strong security features, including bespoke protocols and RAM-free servers, you don’t have to worry about hackers or the government getting your traffic from Germany – whether you’re inside the country or traveling.
For the strongest security features, ExpressVPN is my go-to provider.
The provider that’s the best value for money is Surfshark.
NordVPN, however, is the provider that ticked those boxes and then some for me as the top VPN for Germany.
Do you want to know how I drew those conclusions? Keep reading to find out!
Which VPNs Did I Review?
I tested five VPN providers for the best speed, security, additional features, price and other factors to see whether they’re good providers for Germany.
These are my brief reviews of each one:
VPN Speed Test Results and Server Locations in Germany
|VPN Provider||Ping||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Locations||Price|
|NordVPN||47 ms||70.23 Mbps||7.91 Mbps||2||Check Price|
|Surfshark||55 ms||57.34 Mbps||68.17 Mbps||4||Check Price|
|ExpressVPN||56 ms||66.34 Mbps||68.78 Mbps||2||Check Price|
|PIA||67 ms||66.22 Mbps||20.94 Mbps||2||Check Price|
|CyberGhost||55 ms||55.10 Mbps||66.52 Mbps||3||Check Price|
|VeePN||55 ms||59.94 Mbps||82.19 Mbps||3||Check Price|
|OVPN||56 ms||42.28 Mbps||68.88 Mbps||2||Check Price|
|PrivateVPN||54 ms||53.47 Mbps||78.27 Mbps||1||Check Price|
|VyprVPN||53 ms||57.60 Mbps||60.56 Mbps||1||Check Price|
|PureVPN||42 ms||61.28 Mbps||29.73 Mbps||1||Check Price|
|iProVPN||52 ms||62.93 Mbps||4.30 Mbps||1||Check Price|
NordVPN - Top Choice for Germany
Ease of Use
When I installed NordVPN on my Windows desktop and my iPhone, I found it quite easy to use which saved me a lot of time.
If I just wanted safe browsing and decent speed, all I had to do was click “Quick Connect”, and the service connected me to the best server.
So, if you’re new to VPN, NordVPN’s straightforward interface and functions would be a great introduction.
The website is also very easy to navigate – the search button and the Live Chat feature that can pull up answers to FAQs meant I didn’t have to spend hours searching for answers. And a lot of pages on the website are available in German, if you’re struggling to make sense of the English-language features.
I also tested the provider’s speed. Before I turned on NordVPN, my desktop speed was like this:
Using NordVPN’s QuickConnect tool, it changed to this:
And when I connected to a German server, it changed to this:
The higher the Ping figure and the lower the Download figure, the worse the speed is.
From what you can see in the screenshots, in both cases, the speed reduction is slight and nothing I couldn’t cope with. But depending how far away your location is from your required server, the speed can vary.
If you’re looking to stream video content, I suggest using the Best Server tool for better speed – but some reduction in streaming speed should be expected.
I also recommend NordLynx protocol if you really need a quick and secure connection. This innovation of NordVPN is based on WireGuard. NordVPN has developed a double Network Address Translation system which generates unique IP addresses for each user’s tunnel.
That means that users of NordVPN in Germany can enjoy their favorite streaming service at a decent speed whilst their actual IP is hidden.
Security And Additional Features
I was also happy to see that NordVPN doesn’t compromise on security. It uses the AES-256 bit encryption and protocols of the highest standard. This means your traffic in Germany is encrypted with a cipher that would take billions of years to crack.
According to its policy, NordVPN doesn’t keep logs either, and Panama, where the company is based, doesn’t have data retention laws. That means that NordVPN won’t be forced to turn over any data. Not that there is much data to turn over – an audit conducted last year by PwC (available to users only) confirmed that NordVPN doesn’t keep logs.
NordVPN also has other cool features like Double VPN, and dedicated servers. A useful tool on their website lets the user know the best way to access what they need. For instance, if I want to secure my P2P file sharing, I choose “Secure P2P traffic” and that I want to connect from Germany. The tool suggests that I connect to a P2P server under Specialty Servers.
You can also use NordVPN to connect to the Tor network via their Onion Over VPN tool. The Tor network allows you to access websites your network might have blocked without your ISP seeing that you’ve accessed them.
A few days after using NordVPN, I was pleased to see they’ve released an update, which popped up on my desktop. I was happy to do it because I know how important the updates are to data’s security.
NordVPN works with Netflix. If you’re traveling outside Germany but want to enjoy your favorite German shows, you can connect to any of NordVPN’s German servers to do so. Chances are that you’ll find one that works – NordVPN has over 200 German servers.
If you’re in Germany and want to watch US Netflix’s content, connect to any servers outside the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Japan.
NordVPN’s obfuscated servers make any traffic of yours look like regular traffic which isn’t encrypted by VPN. If you encounter problems with Netflix or other streaming services like Hulu or BBC iPlayer whilst connected to a regular NordVPN server, connecting to these obfuscated servers can help.
Those features of NordVPN come at a price of $4.92 per month for a 1-year subscription, $3.71 for a 2-year one, or $11.95 per month. The latter option only has a single device connection. NordVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee.
These prices are slightly steeper than other providers’. However, NordVPN’s security features and the fact that they allow me to bypass geographical restrictions on streaming and offer P2P-tailored dedicated servers whilst keeping my data secure and have many servers which ensure decent speed are what I’m willing to pay more for.
So, for me NordVPN ticked all the boxes as the best VPN for Germany. I note its speed and availability of servers, security and additional features as factors that make them stand out.
ExpressVPN – Strong Security
ExpressVPN is based in BVI – a jurisdiction with some of the best privacy laws. Like NordVPN, they also had their procedures audited. According to PwC’s audit, they truly don’t keep any logs.
The provider uses AES-256 bit encryption and a variety of VPN protocols. ExpressVPN also built their own protocol called Lightway. Watch a video below for the introduction.
Its essence is that it maintains an “always-on” connection. So, whenever you switch Wi-Fi networks or your connection breaks, your connection to that ExpressVPN server doesn’t terminate and you stay connected to it the second you’re back online.
I can easily see the value of that protocol, in addition to ExpressVPN’s kill switch. It saves time when I’m switching between Wi-Fi and data on my phone and don’t have to go back to the app and re-connect. I’ve also noticed that using Lightway has a very slight effect on my battery.
ExpressVPN also doesn’t use hard drives. Instead, it uses RAM-only servers wiped after each reboot, for extra privacy. That way, your data can’t be seized from any hardware as it’s erased whenever the power is turned off. The only other provider on this list who also uses that technology is Surfshark.
Unlike other providers, however, ExpressVPN’s desktop version doesn’t update automatically or notifies you of an available update. It’s your responsibility to ensure you’ve downloaded the latest version.
That could be an issue for people who don’t have time to keep track of updates. And updating apps – desktop or mobile – is crucial for security. For each update, developers do a lot of work to patch security holes. If you miss out on an update, you’re potentially putting your device and data at risk.
Express VPN has over 3000 servers around the world. However, only 4 of those servers are in Germany.
I connected to one of the Berlin servers to test the speed.
When connected to a Berlin server (Deutsche Telekom):
So, the reduction is considerable, but it also depends on your Internet speed. ExpressVPN’s Smart Location tool can help you choose the best server for you with the optimal speed. But the further away you are from Germany, the slower your speed is likely to be.
ExpressVPN works with Netflix. For example, to watch US Netflix from Germany, you’d have to connect to a US server and log in to your Netflix account. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer dedicated streaming servers.
There is, however, a Desktop option to run a Speed Test which rates the servers by speed index. You can run the test whilst you’re disconnected from the VPN and choose the fastest server to connect to.
ExpressVPN also offers split tunneling. It’s a feature that allows you to keep the traffic you choose private. You might need it to access foreign and local websites from different devices simultaneously, for instance, or when you only need to keep sensitive data transfers private.
Value For Money
ExpressVPN is currently available for $8.32 per month for a 12-month subscription, or $9.99 for a 6-month one. If you use this link, you can get a discount of up to 49% for the 12-month deal and additional 3 months for free.
You can also get the $12.95 offer for one month. It’s slightly more expensive than NordVPN’s offer. All packages have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Overall, ExpressVPN has excellent security which includes bespoke additional features like split tunneling and Lightway protocol. However, I have concerns about remembering to check for updates, which I don’t have to do with NordVPN. ExpressVPN is also more expensive than the latter whilst only offering 4 German servers and 5 connections.
Therefore, I would use ExpressVPN in Germany, but only to protect sensitive data on occasions. And I would take advantage of their money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost – Best For Dedicated Streaming Servers
CyberGhost Privacy and Security
Like many VPN providers, CyberGhost offers AES-256 bit encryption. It’s located in Romania which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, and claims that it has a no-log policy. However, to date, their policies haven’t been audited by an independent provider.
Moreover, even though its parent company CyberGhost S.R.L. is located in Romania, it’s in turn owned by Kape Technologies, formerly known as Crossrider plc. That company has a history of creating malware products and hijacking browsers. It continued to do so even after CyberGhost was acquired in 2017. In fact, it changed its name to distance itself from such practices after it allegedly decided to focus on cybersecurity. However, Kape’s malware has been cropping up as recently as 2019.
CyberGhost S.R.L. might be a separate legal person and might not have ever been involved with these practices. However, the VPN service’s Terms and Conditions still make references to Crossrider Sports Limited in certain contexts as a third-party provider. That company is also owned by Kape Technologies plc.
In addition to these privacy concerns, Crossrider Sports Limited and Kape are all located in the UK – a 5/9/14 eyes jurisdiction. And it’s clear from CyberGhost’s policy that it shares at least some data with them and other stakeholders:
Knowing Kape’s history, I don’t feel comfortable with CyberGhost sharing my personal data with them. Which is why I don’t recommend CyberGhost in terms of security and privacy.
Speed and Streaming
CyberGhost currently has 619 servers in Germany. This is much higher compared to other providers and means much better speed – provided your own Internet’s speed is decent.
CyberGhost offers servers optimized for streaming. It unblocks Netflix (including Netflix DE), Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and other services, including German TV channels such as ZDF and ARD.
Read Also: VPN Provider Reviews
CyberGhost has 4 plans on offer. The cheapest one is $2.25 per month and covers 3 years and 3 additional months. You can also get:
- The 2-year deal for $3.49 per month.
- The 1-year deal for $3.99 per month.
- The 1-month deal for $12.99 per month.
CyberGhost’s prices are lower than NordVPN’s and ExpressVPN’s prices.
Getting CyberGhost is alright if you’re only looking to unblock Netflix and other streaming services. However, it doesn’t offer much else, apart from strong encryption, kill switch and modern protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard. Other providers like NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer many extra security features and are only slightly more expensive.
That, along with the privacy concerns , leads me to conclude that I don’t recommend CyberGhost as a VPN for Germany.
Surfshark – Best Value For Money
Privacy and Security
This provider, like ExpressVPN, is based in privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands. They claim to have:
- A no-logs policy.
- AES-256 bit encryption.
- A kill switch.
- Secure protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, Shadowsocks proxy and Wireguard.
I was pleased to see that Surfshark has commissioned an independent audit of their security features by Cure53. The audit confirmed that the tested applications “make a very robust impression and are not exposed to any issues, neither in the privacy nor in the more general security realms”.
Additionally, Surfshark uses RAM-only servers, like ExpressVPN. They’re an extra privacy tool the provider upgraded to in 2020. They ensure that your data is safe even if physical carriers like hard drives have been stolen – simply by not having such hard drives.
Since Surfshark uses virtual as well as physical servers, I wanted to make sure that they’re also RAM-only. I got my confirmation through the Live Chat, which I was very pleased with:
Value For Money
Surfshark is the cheapest provider on this list. For only $2.49 per month, you get all the security features on an unlimited number of devices for 24 months. For $6.49 per month, you get the same, but for six months. The one-month deal is $12.95.
Considering that there’s a 30-day money back guarantee and there’s no limit to the number of devices the packages extend to, I recommend Surfshark as a secure VPN provider if you’re on a budget.
Speed, Streaming And UX
Surfshark can boast of 3200 servers in 65 countries. However, it only has four servers in Germany – in Berlin, Nuremberg, Munich, and Frankfurt am Main.
I asked Surfshark’s Live Chat support which one of them was the best server to stream German content outside the country. They very quickly confirmed that I could use any.
I was very happy with this level of support. And after testing out all four servers, I saw that they were all working fine.
However, as I was quite far from Germany at the time of testing, my speed was about the same across all four. Whilst Surfshark did work with Netflix and other streaming services, I got better results in terms of speed from NordVPN. This is no surprise when you compare Surfshark’s 4 German servers with NordVPN’s 240.
Like NordVPN, Surfshark also offers obfuscated servers and Double VPN. The former ensures that your ISP can’t tell you’re using a VPN. Whilst Germany is a country where you’re unlikely to need that, it’s a good tool to have if you ever need to travel to countries with restricted Internet freedoms. It’s quite an easy tool to activate – I just had to turn on the Borders mode in the Advanced settings.
The DoubleVPN MultiHop tool is for users who are extra conscious about security or need to protect their sources. I wouldn’t use this feature on a daily basis in Germany, though, as it considerably slows down my connection.
Surfshark also offers an adblock called CleanWeb. It blocks ads and malware on browsers and apps (excluding YouTube). The feature is available in all packages, but I had to activate it manually.
Another Surfshark’s feature is called Whitelister and it’s similar to ExpressVPN’s split tunneling. It allows some of your traffic go through VPN whilst leaving other to flow as usual.
This feature is useful if you want to cherry-pick which traffic to keep encrypting. For instance, if I want to torrent while accessing my German bank account, I’d encrypt my P2P traffic and add the bank website to the list of “whitelisted” URLs. I found that very easy to do within Surfshark’s interface – all you have to do is add the URLs or apps to the Whitelister.
Overall, I am quite happy with the many security features on offer with Surfshark, and the price is very reasonable. I would recommend Surfshark as a VPN for Germany if security, rather than streaming, is your primary concern and you’re on a budget.
IPVanish – Best For Multiple Connections
Streaming and Privacy
The US-based IPVanish offers 62 German servers to date – all located in Frankfurt.
However, as I learned from their customer support, they don’t work with Netflix outside the United States.
In addition, they’re located in a country which is a 5/9/14 eyes jurisdiction with mandatory data retention laws.
The policy also specifies that this company is certified for the EU-US privacy shield. This shield has been invalidated since July 2020. That means that the US’ privacy standards are not compliant with the European data protection legislation by default. Certain legal measures must be taken on a case-by-case basis, about which I haven’t seen any information on IPVanish’s website.
IPVanish’s protocols on offer are IKEv2, OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP and PPTP. The latter is not secure, and many providers no longer offer it. Although IPVanish warns that it should only be used as the last resort, it also states that it’s the one most likely to work when others are failing.
A VPN provider must put their users’ security above all else. It shouldn’t offer such vulnerable services in the first place to users in Germany or anywhere– even as the last resort.
IPVanish offers two VPN solutions. The first one is just VPN, and the second is VPN plus storage.
- Monthly VPN plan costs $3.49 for the first month and $9.99 for each month to follow.
- Yearly VPN plan costs $2.62 per month for the first year and $89.99 for each year to follow.
- Monthly VPN + storage plan costs $3.84 for the first month and $10.99 for each month to follow.
- Yearly VPN + storage plan costs $2.92 per month for the first year and $99.99 for each year to follow.
IPVanish can be used on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. However, considering the lack of access to must streaming services, which other providers offer for a similar price, it’s not the best value for money.
Overall, IPVanish’s lack of clarity about privacy and its inability to unblock Netflix and other services outside the USA are what has made me conclude that there are better VPN providers for Germany.
Is a Free VPN Worth It?
AtlasVPN - an American Service With Restrictive Terms
This no-logs policy, however, hasn’t been independently audited.
The terms of service also states that by using AtlasVPN, we guarantee that we’re not in a country to which the US or the EU or any other jurisdiction has embargoed goods.
To me, this is quite restrictive as it means that any user in a country onto which the US or the EU has placed export or import restrictions (also known as sanctions) can’t use the service. A lot of people who use a VPN are from such countries and need a VPN to protect their activities from governments of those countries. Whilst Germany isn’t one of them, people can travel from there to those countries, and to them AtlasVPN would have no added value.
Currently, AtlasVPN’s free version only supports IPSec/IKEv2 protocols. That means that the free version only works on iOS. The paid plans work on other devices.
The provider’s website states that they have servers in 17 countries add new server locations every month. To me, this screams “virtual servers” because it’s quite time-consuming to get set up in different countries, some of which require a local representative office, which takes a lot longer than a month to get up and running.
The above privacy concerns and terms, together with limited support and few servers, lead me to conclude that I don’t recommend AtlasVPN’s free option for users in Germany.
ProtonVPN – Free Service With No P2P Support
ProtonVPN is a Swiss service created by cybersecurity professionals. And it comes with a free option.
That option does offer the same security features as the provider’s paid plans. It comes with no logs, AES-256 bit encryption and OpenVPN protocols.
However, the free option only offers connection to only one device, and there’s no P2P support or access to geo-blocked content. Also, only 3 servers are on offer, none of which are in Germany, which comes with speed lags. So, I wouldn’t recommend ProtonVPN’s free option for Germany.
TunnelBear VPN – Free Service With Limited Possibilities
TunnelBear is a Canada-based VPN provider which offers a free option and paid ones.
The free option allows up to 500 MB of secure browsing. Given the prevalence of the Internet in our lives, especially in tech-rich Germany, that isn’t all that much. Plus, given that the provider’s location is a 5/9/14 eyes jurisdiction, you’re better off with a different provider.
Also, German visitors need to bear in mind that the provider is legally allowed to transfer your data to Canada:
Whilst Canada is a safe country, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with such a transfer by default.
Those privacy concerns, coupled with TunnelBear free version’s limit on Internet usage, mean that I don’t recommend TunnelBear’s free – or paid – options for Germany.
Should I Get A Free VPN?
Every VPN has a commercial company behind it. And if it offers something for free, it means that it’s making money in another way. It’s very plausible that the data it gathers whilst you’re using a VPN is sold to advertisers and other companies. That defeats the very definition of privacy, doesn’t it?
So, I don’t recommend getting a free VPN. ProtonVPN’s free option might be secure, but it’s very limited in terms of what you can do with it in Germany.
What To Look For In a VPN For Germany?
Everyone uses a VPN for different reasons. Whatever yours might be, however, there are several things to consider before choosing a provider.
Safety And Security – For Everyone
Germany is a privacy-friendly EU country. However, it is part of the 14-eyes alliance. What’s more, it’s not a hacker-free zone, and data leaks can happen anywhere in the world. That’s why it’s important to keep your data secure through a VPN service that offers the highest encryption standards, modern protocols such as OpenVPN, and an automatic kill switch.
You should make sure to verify a VPN’s claim of no-logging policy. You can do that by reading their privacy and terms of service policies and checking the relevant laws of a country where they’re based. Some VPN providers also hire auditors to confirm that they don’t keep logs and publish reports on their website.
If a VPN provider is operating from a 5/9/14 eyes alliance country, there’s always a risk of your activities being exposed. So, you should choose a VPN located in a country with no data retention laws and not part of the alliance.
Access To Geo-blocked Content – For Travelers And TV Fans
If you’re visiting Germany from elsewhere and want to catch up on your favorite shows, you need a VPN that unblocks Netflix or other streaming services from your home region.
Similarly, if you’re from Germany and want to enjoy your favorite German programs abroad, a VPN that has servers in Germany is what you need. And the more German servers it has, the better the speed.
P2P File Sharing – For BitTorrent Users
Wherever you are in the world, using technology like BitTorrent to share files exposes your IP address and makes it vulnerable. So, a VPN is essential for P2P file sharing, and Germany is no exception. You want a provider that works with such technology and allows torrenting.
Even if you don’t torrent yourself, someone else using your network might, and you might be liable. I go into this in more detail below. For now, just keep in mind that a good VPN would be able to conceal your IP address from your peers during torrenting. And some providers even offer dedicated servers.
How To Get a German IP Address?
If a VPN service has servers in Germany, you can get a German IP address. A dedicated German IP address would only be used by you and give you access to IP-restricted networks and systems. It’s a great solution for corporate remote access, for instance.
NordVPN offers German Dedicated IP service for additional $70. You’d need a NordVPN subscription. To get a NordVPN Dedicated IP, you’d need to apply a coupon code norddedicatedip when you pay for your plan.
ExpressVPN and Surfshark don’t currently offer Dedicated IP. But if you want a German IP address, you can just connect to any of their German servers.
Is Streaming Legal in Germany?
Streaming services like Netflix are legal in Germany.
However, Under EU law, it’s an infringement of copyright to “obtain a protected work by streaming without the owner’s consent”. In layman’s terms, you can’t stream a movie or a TV show from a website that hosts pirated content and doesn’t comply with copyright. The fines can be as high as 1000 EUR.
You can even incur these fines if someone else on your network has been doing it, if your name is on the ISP contract. To protect yourself from those situations, you need to use a secure VPN.
Is Torrenting Legal in Germany?
Strictly speaking, file-sharing technology BitTorrent isn’t illegal in Germany. You may have different reasons for using such technology, which are perfectly legal. Education purposes is one such reason.
The aspect that German regulators are concerned with, however, is sharing of copyrighted material. Intellectual property laws prohibit unauthorized sharing of such material, irrespective of the method used. It’s equally illegal to use P2P technology to share copyrighted works without authorization as it is to do so by e-mail or messenger services.
After testing the five providers for speed, security and extra features, it’s clear to me that NordVPN is my choice for Germany, with Surfshark and ExpressVPN sharing second place.
All three are located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions and have been independently audited. NordVPN, however, has more servers than the other two providers combined, optimized streaming and torrenting servers, and additional security features. Plus, I found the UX much more user-friendly.
Therefore, I recommend you get NordVPN as your provider for Germany.