Besides being world-renowned for its precise engineering, Germany is well known as a safe haven for data privacy. It is part of the European Union, and thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that took effect in May 20181, Germany enjoys greater privacy than many other countries in the world.
Despite Germany’s commendable regulations, however, laws alone aren’t enough to protect its citizens’ and residents’ data privacy on an individual level. Cybercriminals aren’t exactly law-abiding citizens, so we need data-protection tools — such as a virtual private network — wherever in the world we happen to be. And if you happen to be in Germany, these are the five best VPNs you can use, curated by us after weeks of testing over a dozen VPNs.
We’re not in Germany. We live 4,000 miles across the Atlantic in New York, but we’ve been testing VPNs long enough (more than a decade and counting) to know that in order to find the best VPNs in a specific country, we should start by looking at their server networks.
A VPN’s main job is to encrypt your traffic and route it through a VPN server. It’s the routing of data that gives VPNs the ability to hide and change your IP address, unblock websites, and get around censorship, but you have to note the server’s location. If you’re trying to access a website blocked in Germany, for example, you’ll need to use a server outside the country to unblock it. If you’re trying to access a streaming service available only in the U.S., you’ll need to use a U.S. server.
Besides that, the location of the VPN server can have a huge impact on your browsing speed. The farther the server is from you, the farther your data packet will have to travel and the slower your connection will be.
What should you look for in a VPN if you want to use it in Germany?
Servers in Germany: For when you want to encrypt your data and enjoy the fastest speeds.
Servers in Europe: To access sites blocked in Germany without compromising much speed.
Servers in the U.S.: To access sites and services available exclusively in the U.S.
That’s where our hands-on tests come in. We checked each VPN’s stealth-mode features, such as a network kill switch and multihop. We also checked each VPN company’s data-logging policy to make sure it adheres to GDPR guidelines.
What is a kill switch? A kill switch is a VPN feature that stops your device’s internet connection if your VPN disconnects. It is a crucial feature for keeping your browsing history private, since even the best VPNs sometimes experience connection issues.
We also, of course, checked that each VPN worked as promised (i.e. encrypting data and not leaking our IP address to the sites we accessed). For that, we did DNS and WebRTC leak tests. The tests, which show if a VPN’s ability to hide IP addresses is flawless, are part of our standard review process besides testing VPN speeds.
These are the main aspects we’ll discuss in this roundup:
Server network and performance: Everything from the number of servers and where they are located to the speeds we got.
Privacy and security features: Covers encryption and tunneling protocols, as well as extra features such as malicious site blocking, obfuscation, and more.
Without further ado, let’s do a deep-dive into the best VPNs to use in Germany!
VPN Specs: VPN Performance in Germany Side-by-Side
Private Internet Access VPN
Best privacy features
Best for families
Best for accessing U.S. IP addresses
Best for accessing Europe IP addresses
Best servers in Germany
Minimum subscription cost (in Germany)
Minimum subscription cost (in the U.S.)
Server locations in Germany
Berlin and Frankfurt
Berlin and Frankfurt
Berlin and Frankfurt
Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt
Yes (via proxy)
DNS leak test
WebRTC leak test
Upload/ download speed on closest server*
78 Mbps/87 Mbps
80 Mbps/84 Mbps
67 Mbps/88 Mbps
77 Mbps/79 Mbps
80 Mbps/91 Mbps
Upload/ download speed on Germany server (connecting from the U.S.)*
Server network: A NordVPN subscription gives users access to nearly 6,000 servers (and counting!) spread across the world. We recommend it in Europe, in particular, because it has servers in 37 of the 50 European countries, including Germany, in which it has over 250 servers in Berlin and Frankfurt.
That’s crucial, because the best server to use is the one closest to you if you want to protect your data without sacrificing much speed. When we’re just browsing and don’t need to change our Mac’s location, we look for servers in New York or New Jersey because those are the closest to us. With servers in both the northeastern (Berlin) and western (Frankfurt) parts of Germany, NordVPN essentially guarantees fast servers for everyone in the country.
Privacy and security features: This is where NordVPN really shines. It goes beyond industry norms to provide top-level tunneling and encryption. It even has its own VPN protocol called NordLynx. A VPN protocol is a set of instructions for how to route traffic from a device to a VPN server, and it plays a crucial role in privacy and speed. Think of it as driving directions for your data that shows the fastest and safest route. NordLynx is built around WireGuard, one of the best VPN protocols available.
NordVPN also offers double encryption, also known as multihop. A VPN typically encrypts traffic once before sending it off to a VPN server. With multihop, the VPN encrypts traffic twice and routes it through two servers. It’s not something you’ll likely use on a daily basis, especially since it can severely slow down your connection. Multihop, however, is useful for tasks that require extra privacy. We use it when passing around passwords and login information for shared company accounts to prevent our passwords from being intercepted.
What We Like
Multihop, aka double VPN
Strict no-logs policy
Over 250 servers in Berlin and Frankfurt
Uses WireGuard-based NordLynx, which is fast and secure
What We Don’t Like
Slower connections on servers located overseas
Logs connection timestamps and device IDs (but deletes after 15 minutes)
Slightly pricier in euros than U.S. dollars
Maximum of six simultaneous connections per account
We’ve long known NordVPN is secure and private. It’s our highest-rated VPN, after all, and it has topped our annual list of the top VPNs for several years running. As a privacy-focused VPN, NordVPN did admirably well in IP-address-protection tests. It passed both DNS and WebRTC leak tests, and it also proved it can change a device’s IP address. Just a few months ago, we used NordVPN to access Hulu (a streaming site exclusive to the U.S.) while in Hong Kong.
NordVPN’s impressive routing ability took a slight toll on its speed though. We noted during our time in Hong Kong that Hulu episodes loaded much more slowly than they do back home, but it’s normal for VPN speed to dip a little when connecting to a server a long distance away. It’s still fast though. On a New York server, our download speed while connected to our 100 Mbps internet averaged 87 Mbps. That’s a speed loss of less than 20 percent. We typically see speed losses of up to 40 percent — see our FastVPN review, for example — so that’s a solid performance from NordVPN.
Bear in mind, however, that NordVPN isn’t the cheapest VPN. It’s not expensive — far from it — but you’ll spend a few more euros on NordVPN than, say, Private Internet Access, which is one of the most affordable VPNs, with prices as low as $2.19 per month. With NordVPN, a monthly subscription costs $12.99, while a two-year deal (the best price) costs about $3.79 per month. We still think NordVPN is worth it given its performance and privacy features.
Want to save? Besides checking NordVPN deals that sometimes offer up to three months free, check the current currency exchange. NordVPN charges the same amount for USD and euro purchases. Since the U.S. dollar is weaker against the euro right now, the $102.33 two-year subscription converts to only about €97. You can change the currency on NordVPN’s website by scrolling to the bottom and changing the language to English.
Server network: Just like NordVPN, Surfshark has servers in Berlin and Frankfurt. It doesn’t say exactly how many servers it has in the country, but the company has over 3,200 total servers in 100 locations around the world. Whenever we connected to a Germany server (we did so about 20 times throughout the testing period), we got a different IP address.
Another thing we liked about Surfshark was the Rotating IP Address feature. Essentially, it changed our IP address every five to 10 minutes, making it harder for anyone — even the sites we were on — to track and profile us. Only the IP address changed and not the location, though, so we stayed on whichever server location we selected initially. With 3,200 servers, there’s plenty of IP addresses to go around for every Surfshark user.
Privacy and security features: Most of Surfshark’s privacy and security features are actually geared for people who use the internet in restrictive networks or countries with strong censorship. We found, for example, that it’s one of the VPNs that can evade China’s Great Firewall3 on our recent trip to China.
Germany isn’t so restrictive, but some of Surfshark’s features may still come in handy. Camouflage mode, for example, makes your encrypted VPN traffic seem like normal traffic, so Surfshark is an option if your school or work doesn’t allow the use of VPNs. Like NordVPN, it also offers multihop.
Camouflage mode, rotating IP, multihop, and other privacy features
Fast speeds on nearby servers
What We Don’t Like
Logs IP addresses (but deletes them after 15 minutes)
Slower speeds on servers abroad
Expensive monthly plan ($15.45 monthly)
Prices for two-year plan increase after the initial plan expires
What we like most about Surfshark is that you can connect unlimited devices per account, so you don’t have to worry about device limits if you have multiple devices or you’re sharing a subscription with family members — unlike with NordVPN. You can even share subscriptions with family members (or work colleagues, in our case) anywhere in the world. We have two remote-work MacBooks, five office desktops, two Android phones, and four iPhones all connected to Surfshark.
More than the number of devices you can connect, what matters most is the quality of the connection. With Surfshark, we saw a number of features that improve the user experience. If you want quick and easy data protection, for example, the Surfshark app automatically recommends the fastest server. If you’re in Germany, that’s a server in either Berlin or Frankfurt (same as NordVPN). There’s also an auto-connect option that connects your devices to the VPN automatically whenever they connect to a Wi-Fi network.
When it comes to cost, Surfshark pricing is on the steep side if you buy a monthly subscription ($15.45), but super affordable if you go with a one-year or two-year plan. It costs $47.88 for a year ($3.99 monthly) or $59.76 for two years ($2.21 monthly), making it slightly cheaper than NordVPN. And remember: It has no device limits, so one subscription is all you need for the entire family.
3. Private Internet Access VPN - Best for Accessing U.S. IP Addresses
Server network: Private Internet Access is the best VPN in Germany to get a U.S. IP address, for tasks such as accessing streaming services or unblocking websites available only in the U.S. That’s because it has servers in all 50 U.S. states, which gives Private Internet Access a unique advantage for streaming. We’re on the East Coast, but we used Private Internet Access to change our YouTube TV location to access West Coast programming. We simply connected to a server in California, and voila!
Privacy and security features: Private Internet Access may not be as much of a heavyweight as NordVPN and Surfshark when it comes to privacy features, but it gets the job done and then some.
It doesn’t have traditional VPN multihop like the other two, but it does offer multihop via proxy. A proxy is an intermediary server that can change your IP address just like a VPN server. The difference between a proxy and a VPN is that the former doesn’t offer encryption. With PIA’s multihop via proxy, our IP address changed twice, but our traffic was encrypted only once. It was faster than traditional VPN multihop, though, which is why we preferred it for activities that require more privacy than a normal VPN provides, but faster speeds than VPN multihop, such as torrenting.
What We Like
Plenty of servers in the U.S.
Reliable in changing IP addresses
Affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions
Fast download speeds
What We Don’t Like
Slower uploads than downloads
Based in the United States
Limited privacy features (no conventional VPN multihop)
Hit-or-miss customer support
Private Internet Access is an affordable VPN, but it’s as good as VPNs come. Our Private Internet Access subscription, which we bought in USD, cost $79 for three years of access. If you buy it in Germany, it will cost you €70.
Despite its low price, we were impressed by the VPN’s performance. It was fast, especially on U.S. servers. It averaged 88 Mbps, but we once got 98.72 Mbps on our 100 Mbps network. That’s less than a 2 percent decrease — and maybe even less, considering we don’t always get 100 percent of our internet plan speed.
We also like that Private Internet Access comes with the option to tailor the encryption to the intended use. We recommend 256-bit AES for maximum privacy when you want to avoid detection while downloading a torrent, and the slightly weaker 128-bit AES for less private activities, such as online gaming. PIA, after all, is one of the best gaming VPNs we’ve tested. If you want a quick IP address change without encryption, that’s also an option with Private Internet Access’ proxy server in the Netherlands.
What Is A Proxy Server? Like a VPN server, a proxy server routes your traffic through itself to give you a different IP address. It doesn’t encrypt your traffic, though, so someone snooping on your network can still see your online activity. Proxies are not as secure as VPNs, but we found a good use for it with streaming and gaming because proxies are faster than VPNs.
Our one issue with Private Internet Access’ performance was with the upload speed. Whether connected to a server in the U.S. or abroad, there was always around a 20 Mbps gap between the download and upload speeds. Unless you’re uploading to YouTube like us or streaming yourself on Twitch, though, that won’t be a huge issue. The download speed is what usually matters for browsing, downloading, and streaming.
Server network: Being based in the U.S., the majority of IPVanish’s servers are in North America. Its reach in Europe still impressed us though. Out of its 2,200 total servers, over a quarter (560) are in Europe. It offers IP addresses in 31 European countries — almost as many as our top pick, NordVPN. In some of those countries, IPVanish offers locations in multiple cities. We were able to choose between London, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Manchester, for example, while picking a server to use for streaming on BBC iPlayer.
Privacy and security features: We didn’t find any other privacy features from IPVanish besides what’s standard with VPNs. It uses encryption (256-bit AES) and tunneling protocols (OpenVPN and WireGuard), of course, and it has a kill switch, but not multihop. Even the features IPVanish calls “innovative” on its website, such as the WireGuard tunneling protocol, are actually commonplace with VPNs.
Is IPVanish’s lack of extra features such a bad thing though? Not really. If anything, it makes IPVanish a good no-fuss day-to-day VPN. In our experience, IPVanish is easy to use. We didn’t do a lot of setting up to protect our data. We just chose a server and connected to it, and IPVanish was on the job, making it perfect for the devices we use on the go, such as laptops and smartphones.
Our tests on IPVanish revealed that it’s a good, reliable VPN in Germany and everywhere else in Europe. It passed our IP address and WebRTC leak tests, and it was also able to bypass geo-restrictions. We were able to access BBC iPlayer, for example, by getting a U.K. IP address.
IPVanish wasn’t the fastest VPN we tested, but it was consistent. It delivered about 70 to 80 Mbps on any server we connected to, both within and outside Europe.
IPVanish’s vast server fleet in Europe also makes it good for backpackers and frequent travelers, and the straightforward nature of its features makes it easy to use on the go. When we wanted to check on something online while waiting in line for coffee, for example, the app found the fastest server in our location without us having to scroll through its server list. That’s a handy feature for travelers, as we found while testing the best VPNs for travel.
Our one gripe with IPVanish is its price. It doesn’t offer a lot of extras, but it charges almost the same amount as NordVPN, our No. 1 pick for its privacy features. IPVanish costs $3.33 per month on average with a two-year plan ($79.99 total), which is only about $0.40 per month less than NordVPN. When we compared the features we got from both options, however, it was clear that we got more value from our top pick. NordVPN gave us access to multihop and malicious site blocking, neither of which IPVanish offers. NordVPN also has nearly three times as many servers as IPVanish.
Still, if simplicity and access to a wide selection of European IP addresses are what you want, IPVanish is a smart choice.
Server network: We recommend CyberGhost for getting German IP addresses because of the size of its server fleet. It has over 9,000 servers around the world, and 1,500 of them are in Germany. CyberGhost has more servers in Germany than any other country in the world — even more than its 1,300 servers in the U.S.
CyberGhost also offers more locations in Germany than our other top picks. It has servers in Berlin and Frankfurt — like NordVPN, Surfshark, and PIA — but it also has 23 servers in Dusseldorf.
Privacy and security features: Much like IPVanish, CyberGhost doesn’t have a lot of extra features to flaunt, but it’s a perfectly private and secure VPN for securing online data. It uses 256-bit AES for encryption, like every other VPN on this list, as well as the tunneling protocols OpenVPN and WireGuard.
We found, though, that CyberGhost has servers optimized for different uses, such as streaming, gaming, and torrenting. The specialized servers use unique networking to optimize the speed and quality of connections for each specific use. Some of the normal U.K. servers we connected to couldn’t access All 4, for example, but all the U.K. servers optimized for streaming were able to gain access.
What We Like
1,508 unique servers in Germany
Servers in Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt
Servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
Affordable subscriptions (starts at $2.11 monthly)
What We Don’t Like
Too simple app
Some servers are only virtually located
Limit of seven devices
CyberGhost is the best VPN to use in Germany if you want fast speeds and if changing your IP address to a different country is not a priority. Besides its vast server network, we recorded great speeds on CyberGhost’s Germany servers. It averaged 79 Mbps when we connected from New York.
The real highlight of our experience, though, was the 1,508 servers in Germany. With that many servers, users connecting from Germany are almost always guaranteed to find a fast server not shared with many other users. A server’s load — the number of users connected and amount of bandwidth passing through — greatly affects the VPN connection’s speed. Every time we looked at CyberGhost’s server menu, the Germany servers always had less than 40 percent load, which means they’re not congested.
Since you’ll be sharing VPN IP addresses with fewer users, you’re less likely to experience blacklisting or CAPTCHAs. Some websites use those security measures to protect themselves from bot traffic, but VPN users are caught in the crossfire because multiple traffic streams from the same IP address (i.e. VPN users connected to the same server) is considered suspicious behavior. With CyberGhost, we never needed to go through website security checks while connected to its Germany servers.
Hate CAPTCHAs? Try a static IP address from CyberGhost. With a static IP address, you’ll get the same IP address every time you connect, and this IP address is yours and yours only. You will not share it with other users. A dedicated static IP address can be purchased on top of a CyberGhost VPN subscription for $2.50 per month.
NordVPN, Surfshark, Private Internet Access, IPVanish, and CyberGhost have proven to be the best VPNs to use in Germany, but how do you know which one is the best for you?
Consider your priorities: How will you use the VPN? That will be the main deciding factor. If you’re looking for a VPN to stream U.S. TV shows, for example, choose a fast VPN on U.S. servers. In our tests, that was Private Internet Access. If you’re looking for a VPN to secure your data, choose the one with the best privacy features, which is NordVPN.
Set a budget:VPNs can cost anywhere from $10 to $15 per month if you pay monthly, or $50 to $100 total if you buy a two-year subscription. If you have a set budget for a VPN, narrow down your options by crossing off the ones that go over your limit.
See the server locations: VPNs typically have servers in at least a few dozen countries. Of the ones on our top-five list, NordVPN has the fewest (60 countries), while Surfshark and CyberGhost have the most (100 countries). You more than likely won’t use all those server locations, so list which countries you’ll want to connect to and see if your options have servers in those countries.
Device compatibility: All our top picks work with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices, but there may be other devices you want to protect, such as gaming consoles or smart TVs. Check how your top options work on those devices — and if they work at all — before buying.
Try out the VPNs: Although they’re affordable, buying a long-term VPN subscription is full of risks. Fortunately, a lot of VPN providers alleviate the risk by offering free trials. Don’t be afraid to test your options first, because most VPNs offer risk-free trials that allow you to cancel your VPN subscription and get your money back within a set time period.
The legality of VPNs varies around the world. There are countries where using a VPN can land you in jail, and there are others that severely restrict the use of VPNs. In most other countries, though, VPNs are completely legal. That includes the United States and, yes, Germany.
Of course, there’s a little footnote here. Using a VPN is legal, but it doesn’t excuse anyone from doing illicit activities while behind VPN anonymity. It’s kind of like driving. It’s legal to drive if you have a driver’s license, but that doesn’t mean you can do anything you want behind the wheel. You still have to follow traffic rules. The bottom line: You can use a VPN legally in Germany, but just make sure you don’t do anything illegal online.
Setting Up and Using VPNs
Now that you’re in the clear to use VPNs — and you probably have a VPN in mind — what’s next? Setting it up and using it.
We put together a handy guide of VPN how-tos that anyone from VPN novices to pros can learn from. The guide explains how to set up a VPN on Android, Macs, and many other devices; how to use VPN app features; how to do things like unblock websites and change IP addresses; and much more. Bookmark the page as you explore your VPN’s features to get the most out of your VPN subscription.
Are There Free VPNs in Germany?
Besides free trials, another way you can test a VPN is by seeing whether it offers a free version. None of our top picks offer free options — just free trials — but some premium VPNs offer free VPNs with limitations. Check out our list of the best free VPNs for examples. Some of the options there offer free VPNs with limited monthly data usage, fewer servers available, or speed caps. You can even use them for as long as you like, as long as you’re fine with those limitations.
Not all VPNs are good though. There have been reports of free VPNs that log browsing data and sell it to advertisers or that contain malware to infect users’ devices. Most free VPNs aren’t trustworthy, so use one only if you know you can trust the provider.
Are VPNs Worth It? Benefits of Using VPNs
Still not convinced a VPN is worth your time and money? Here are a few reasons you should use a VPN, as well as other benefits you can get by connecting to a VPN server.
Enhanced privacy: This is the reason VPNs came into existence in the first place. Your browsing activity is not private. Even with strong data-privacy laws such as the GDPR, the services you use online can still see most of your browsing data, which can be used to target you with ads. Even worse, companies that have records of your data can suffer a data breach and expose your private data to the public. Using a VPN can stop spying of any sort by scrambling the content of your online traffic.
Freer internet: Germany gets a good score on censorship — meaning the German government isn’t big on censoring information — but there may still be a few websites you can’t access because they’re blocked by your internet provider or your network administrator at work or school. Connecting to a VPN removes those blocks, allowing you to access any website.
Changed IP address: As a side effect of tunneling, the sites you visit will not see your real IP address if you’re connected to a VPN. That serves as protection as well. There are many things others can do with your IP address, so it’s best that your IP address is hidden for the purpose of digital security and privacy.
Hidden location: Your IP address is tied to your physical location, so if someone knows your location, they can also find out where you live — at least on a city level. By changing your IP address, VPNs can hide your physical location from services and websites that can see visitors’ IP address.
Access to more entertainment: If you put together those last three benefits, you get one more thing out of your VPN: access to a wider variety of entertainment options. We’ve already given a few examples, such as getting access to Hulu from Hong Kong and accessing BBC iPlayer from the U.S. Wild, right?
Using a VPN is not only good for your privacy, but it also has tons of other benefits. Even though the best VPNs often cost money, we truly believe they are worth it.
Using a VPN is a good way to protect your privacy, but it’s just one of the things we recommend if you want to enjoy safer browsing and more internet freedom.
To recap, the best VPNs for Germany are NordVPN, Surfshark, Private Internet Access, IPVanish, and CyberGhost. You can’t go wrong with any of these picks, but after extensive testing, we’re partial to NordVPN.
As long as what you’re streaming doesn’t violate copyright rules (essentially as long as you are using a commercial streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, or HBO Max), streaming is completely legal in Germany.
The best VPN for Germany is NordVPN. It uses military-grade encryption, has a strict no access logging policy, and utilizes multi-hop technology. In addition, it maintains over 240 servers in Germany, ensuring fast speeds.
intersoft consulting. General Data Protection Regulation. gdpr-info.eu/