Best VPNs for France

Thousands of tourists flock to France every year to explore its rich history, experience its sophisticated cuisine, and enjoy its fine wine or just to marvel at the City of Lights. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, it’s inevitable that you’ll use the internet. Therefore, this is a guide to ensure that you choose the best VPNs to protect your safety when surfing the internet.

Whenever you’re connected, Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy for a number of reasons. Top on the list is the need to keep yourself safe from intrusion. Unlike countries such as China which sensor some content, internet access in France is mostly unrestricted. Social media platforms are freely available, and the French government doesn’t censor websites for political reasons.

The above reasons notwithstanding, following the 2015 attack in Paris the government increased censorship with administrative measures put in place to block web pages suspected to contain terrorism related materials, or material containing child pornography. The Central Office for the Fight Against Crime Linked to Information and Communication Technology has a backlist of online sites with the prohibited material and sends prevails on the hosts to delete the content. If the request is not approved within 24 hours, the administration engages the internet providers to block and wait for a review after every four months.

The restrictions taken by the French government to address terror threats and pornography expanded the government’s surveillance powers, thus impacting France’s internet freedom. In 2015, French authorities adopted a controversial surveillance which requires ISPs to keep user data for one year. During this time, they monitor the behavior and trends of users they deem suspicious and relay the information to the intelligence services. By its definition of a potential threat, the entire population is suspicious.

For purposes of national security, the French government created an illegal biometric database in 2016 containing data of 60 million French citizens. The secret database contains information for almost everyone residing in France. Some of the crucial details captured include fingerprints, people’s photos, eye color, weight, IP addresses and geographical locations.

Cybercrime in France

Like most countries, France has prohibited torrenting of copyrighted material, and if you’re caught violating this law, you risk a hefty penalty if your ISP apprehends you. The anti-piracy law in France bans users from the internet if they violate the law three times. However, with the piracy now done through streaming services, it’s increasingly becoming hard to trace the culprits. As a result, the French Ministry for culture is trying to curb the malice by use of a national blacklist. The consequence of such a move is to keep popular streaming services offline. That way, it becomes practically impossible to view the banned content. If this is adopted, then only a VPN will help you access them.

A 2017 report by Norton Security revealed that France is a big target for cybercrime, though not as much as the Land of the Smiles (Thailand). The report indicated that more than 19 million people in France were victims of cybercrimes and about 6.1 billion euros was lost a year before the report was released. Some of the common threats reported include malware, credit and debit card fraud, and ransom.

Why You Need a VPN in France

Although there isn’t censorship to contend with, geoblocks restrict you from streaming certain services or content specific to some regions. However, you can bypass this hurdle using a VPN. To make effective, easy and reliable, ensure you choose a VPN that boasts a good network of servers. A VPN with numerous servers in different places is better at circumventing such blocks. If you plan to stream, then pick a VPN that has remarkable speed, such that you won’t have to wait impatiently as your favorite show loads. The VPN you pick shouldn’t have any bandwidth caps, implying that there’s no limitation on how much content you download or stream. This characteristic also comes in handy when torrenting.

Security is another crucial factor to consider. Besides shrouding your torrenting activities, it should also keep you masked from both the government and corporate surveillance. This way, you’re protected from cybercrime, allowing you to surf the internet with confidence. Also, the VPN should have an in-built kill switch particularly for torrenting purposes. It will sever your connection should the VPN disconnect. If possible, check reviews to ensure that it scores well with privacy, and that the operator has a no-logs policy. This means that the VPN won’t keep a history of the webpages that you visit online, thus making it impossible for the authorities to track your online activities.

Whereas those are the most important points to consider, there are other critical aspects that may influence your choice of a VPN. Some operators are more user-friendly than others, and you certainly don’t want a VPN that is hard to connect or navigate around. The operator should have a robust and responsive customer support to help you out in case you have issues, and the service should be affordable.

The Recommended VPNs to Use in France

Here is a list of the best VPNs to use in France.

NordVPN

This Panama-based VPN possess a wide range of features and is among the most widely used VPNs in the market today. With its strict zero-logging policy and more than 500 servers in more than 60 countries around the world, more than 140 of them located in France, it’s the VPN of choice. Its extensive network hosts servers optimized for streaming, making it easy to connect using the SmartPlay feature. Besides dedication to anonymous torrenting, the optimization allows servers to circumvent censorship, enabling you to access French sites from countries like China and Turkey.

NordVPN has a network that’s secured with a Double VPN encryption, encompassing crucial privacy protection features like DNS leak protection and a kill switch. Regardless of the platform you’re using, the network offers easy-to-use apps, enabling you to connect up to six connections simultaneously. The app gives users a seven-day free trial window, with a 30-day money-back guarantee for subscribers who wish to terminate their connections with the operator.

The app can unlock Netflix, Sling TV, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, Hulu and HBO. It also supports torrenting and has P2P specialty servers. In addition to its compatibility with routers, the app also runs on the following platforms: MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, Android TV and Firefox.

ExpressVPN

Widely known for its fast speeds, ExpressVPN delivers those speeds with an unmatched level of privacy and security. It has an extensive network spread out in 94 countries, with France hosting three high-volume servers. The operator secures the whole network with a military-grade encryption that offers an array of security protocols. The VPN has a split-tunneling option which gives users the leeway to choose the apps that utilize the VPN tunnel, and which ones access the web directly. This level of encryption improves your streaming speed.

The provider has a no-logging policy, and the app comes with an automatic kill switch as well as a public Wi-Fi protection. You thus don’t have to worry about France’s strict data protection laws. The apps are user-friendly, irrespective of the platform that you’re using, and you can concurrently connect a maximum of five devices.

ExpressVPN is a leader in torrenting, gaming and streaming, making it a popular app around the world. It may not be among the cheapest VPNs on the market, but its 30-day money-back guarantee should excite you. The app can unlock BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Sling TV, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Hulu and Netflix. Just like NordVPN, it also supports torrenting, and its servers support P2P activity. It runs on a wide range of platforms including Chrome, Firefox, Linux, Android TV, iOS, Android, macOS and Windows.

CyberGhost

This VPNs stands out from the rest due to its visually based, user-friendly apps for all the platforms it runs on. Both VPN beginners and tech savvy users speak highly of this Romanian-based app. Behind its simple interface are sophisticated security features such as the AES-256 encryption, widely used by the military. With its pre-set modes of secure browsing, anonymous torrenting and streaming, CyberGhost allows you to set VPN for your preferred task with a simple click.

CyberGhost boasts an extensive network of about 3,000 servers in about 59 countries with more than 200 located in France. Other features that give you assurance of your online privacy include a DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch and a very strict no-logs policy. The app allows connection of up to 7 devices at the same time, thus ensuring that the whole family is fully protected.

Compared to NordVPN and ExpressVPN, this app has a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, giving you enough time to test if CyberGhost meets your needs while in France. Its dedicated streaming profile has optimized servers that can unlock ESPN, Eurosport, Comedy Central, Hulu, Sky Go, BBC iPlayer and Netflix. CyberGhost supports torrenting, and its dedicated profile displays countries as well as the number of users. The app runs on the following platforms: Windows, Linux, Chrome, MacOS, Android TV, Android and Amazon Fire Stick.

PrivateVPN

This is a relatively small operator compared to the others mentioned above. It features about 100 servers spread out in about 50 countries, with France harboring two of them. Nevertheless, the small size doesn’t make it a lesser performer that the rest. With affordable subscriptions, this VPN delivers impressive speeds and a host of other features as the big players.

It employs a military-grade AES 256-bit encryption that secures your connections while enabling you to simultaneously connect up to six connections. This ensures that in a family of six, each family member is served well. A major strength of this app lies in its ability to seamlessly unblock Netflix anywhere, a feature that most VPN providers aren’t able to do.

The app supports P2P sharing and torrenting, although these features are limited to specific servers. You can remotely seek help through their user-friendly interface, thus allaying any fears that come with installation and setting up, particularly if you’re a first-time user. PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs policy, and you’ll enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee window. You therefore have enough time to assess and make a review of the app.

Just like the powerful NordVPN, this app unblocks services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, HBO, Hulu and Netflix. It supports torrenting, its servers support P2P activity and the app displays the optimized servers available. It runs on iOS, Android, macOS and Windows.

IPVanish

This is a very powerful VPN that can serve the entire family and a few friends. A single subscription can allow a simultaneous connection of up to 10 devices. It’s secure, easy to use and possess an array of exciting features. IPVanish has more than 1,000 servers located in more than 60 countries, France hosts 26 high-speed servers. Europe alone hosts more than 400 of the servers, allowing you to keep up with the events taking places around the E.U, including the best of sports coverage.

Like others mentioned before it, this app uses the military-grade 256-bit encryption, numerous VPN protocols and a kill switch to safeguard your data should the VPN connection fail. It offers a risk-free 7-day money-back guarantee. However, it can only unlock Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but it supports torrenting. IPVanish runs on macOS, Windows, Linux, Routers,Chromebook, FireTV, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Hide.me

With its excellent zero-logs privacy protection and impressive performance and speeds, Hide.me is a cherished app among most VPN users. Based in Malaysia, the provider has more than 115 servers spread out in 23 countries, mostly in the US, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. It saves the hassle of spoofing and an out of France. Their strategic location gives them fair immunity to the anti-piracy laws and the 14 Eyes Big Brother. They also don’t share data with anyone.

The app is sleek, simple and easy to install and set up either on your desktop or mobile. The reliability of Hide.me when unblocking streaming services is amazing. The app doesn’t leak DNS and allows P2P. The payment structure may appear complex at a glance, but a keener look shows that it’s very simple. They have a three-way payment structure with a 14-day money-back guarantee for you to test the service. The first plan is free but comes with limited server coverage in Singapore, Canada and Netherlands. The bandwidth is incredible, and you’ll have a 2 GB data transfer as well as limited protocol support. Unfortunately, this app doesn’t support multiple devices.

The second payment plan covers more than 30 server locations and offers unlimited bandwidth. Also, the plan includes a full protocol support making sure that you don’t encounter any restrictions. A single connection transfers 75 GB of data. The first configuration is a $9.95 plan billed monthly. The second configuration has a bi-annual bill of $40, and the last plan has an annual bill of $40. If you choose a premium plan, you won’t encounter any restrictions. Some of the added benefits of a premium plan include unlimited data transfer, port forwarding, five simultaneous connections, a fixed IP, a Kill Switch and SOCKS proxy.

BufferedVPN

Based in Hungary, BufferedVPN is an excellent option if you intend to stream in HD or require an extra layer of security to mask you when accessing the internet from France. Although Hungary is a member of EU, it laws are pro-piracy. So, they have a no-logs policy. If you love Netflix, then you’ll have an unrestricted access to its US libraries after circumventing the geo blocks.

BufferedVPN has a cross-platform, user-friendly software with all the features that you require in a reliable VPN. They include a DNS leak protection, a Port Discovery Mode for cell phones, a robust encryption, OpenVPN and a kill switch. Install this app on your mobile and access pubic Wi-Fi without a password, especially in hotels, cafes and restaurants.

This app allows a maximum of five connections, but you can install it on numerous family connections, allowing family members to enjoy its services. Irrespective of the subscription plan that you choose, you’ll enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee, refundable after you decide not to use their VPN within the first seven days. This, indeed, is a testament of their impeccable work ethics. BufferedVPN offers great speeds for P2P torrenting and HD streaming, and has live support that acts promptly.

PureVPN

Based in Hong Kong; a country with no data retention laws, this app boasts an extensive server coverage in the US and Europe consisting of more than 750 self-managed servers. It allows you to reliably spoof into France, the UK or into the U, located serves situation outside the 14 Eyes Countries and surf at decent speeds. Their strict no-logs policy ensures that no part of browsing history is kept, and operates on a 256-bit AES encryption, has a kill switch and a DNS leak protection. However, they keep a timestamp as well as the amount of bandwidth utilized.

The optimization of the PureVPN allows for unlimited P2P torrenting. One of their outstanding features is the ability to support a wide range of platforms, exceeding 50, including routers, ROKU, smart TVs, desktop and mobiles devices. It possesses other advanced features such as online banking security, split tunneling, secure FTP access, stealth browsing mode.

A single subscription allows a simultaneous connection of up to five devices, and the cross-platform is easy to use. The free trial is limited to three days, whereas the money-back guarantee is pegged at seven days. PureVPN has one of the most affordable subscription plans in the market. A two-year plan will cost you $3 per month, a bi-annuals subscription costs $9 per month, and the monthly plan is billed at $12 per month.

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is popular for its excellence in the VPN industry. The more than 700 self-managed servers deliver fantastic speeds for every online activity including HD streaming, gaming, and unlimited P2P file-sharing while in France. The app has a reputation of unblocking streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Besides, it offers a convenient, cross-platform client that is easy to navigate even with those who have limited I.T skills.

Operating from Switzerland assures its clients of absolute privacy due to Switzerland’s strong data protection laws. They have a strict no-logs policy, and use a VyrDNS, OpenVPN, proprietary Chameleon encryption, and a 256-bit AES. VyprVPN doesn’t block P2P torrenting, neither does it cap your bandwidth.

Unlike other VPNs in the market, VyprVPN doesn’t have a refund policy, but users have a three-day trial window to test if it suits their needs before accepting or cancelling. Its subscription plan is in two categories; monthly or yearly. A basic subscription accommodates a simultaneous connection of three devices, and an annual plan billed at $60 per year, but costs $120 if you pay on monthly basis. A premium plan allows a concurrent connection of up to five devices, with an annual plan billed at $80 per year, but rises to $155.4 when billed monthly.

GooseVPN

GooseVPN is the new kid on the block. Impressive as compared to most of the VPNs mentioned above. It boasts limited number of servers, but still those that are available do not disappoint. Paris has two of these servers, while Marseille has one. The app is easy to install and can run on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. They have an excellent customer service. If they’re unable to remedy your technical hitch, you’ll be required to submit a ticket and expect a response via email.

SaferVPN

Though small in service, their capability cannot be overlooked. Its power and resilience are as effective as is in other older providers. With a 256-bit encryption, SaferVPN delivers amazing and bank-level security. Besides, this self-managed, delivering faster service. The kill switch allows for automatic connections should the VPN fail. So, for all of your privacy fears in France, SaferVPN comes in handy.

ZenMate==

About 45 million globally use ZenMate, and indication that its reputable. With so many operations around the world, it still has customized its operations in France, delivering elegance amid splendor. The service is awesome and delivers impressive speeds. Your time in France won’t be interrupted due to high security provided by Wednesday. ZenMate has a user-friendly interface and is easy to install and use. A single subscription allows for a maximum of five devices.

Free VPNs in France

If you’re cash-strapped, you can still enjoy free VPN services in France. Hiding in plain sight, a simple search on Reddit or Google will bring them to the fore. Technically, free VPNs won’t charge you any subscription fee, but doesn’t imply they’re free in totality. It’s highly recommended that you avoid such options at all costs. Since they’re businesses, they equally require money to keep running. Therefore, be ready for a bombardment of very nasty advertisements. They do this while selling your data to third party companies to recover their money.

Users of free VPNs are vulnerable to malware attacks, and the speeds could be agonizingly slow. There’s no guarantee for a customer service, a family that all paid VPNs offer. In the end, it turns out that spending a few dollars to get excellent service from premium VPNs supersedes free plans.

VPNs to Avoid

There have been cases where some VPN operators were caught relaying data to authorities, or deliberately mining data history to sell to other parties, especially the advertisers. Here is our list of VPNs to avoid.

Hide My Ass

The 2011 incident where Hide My Ass collaborated with the governments of UK and US on data discredited Hide My Ass. The data belonged to the then 23-Old Cody Kretsinger after he hacked Sony Pictures. While it had claimed innocence, arguing that it had a zero-log policy. However, by collaborating with the US and UK governments, they betrayed many of their customer.

Hola

This Israeli-based VPN was soaring high with their browser plugin that ably circumvented geoblocks. Their reputation however, dwindled after they were caught engaging spurious activities like selling your data to the highest bidder. They also allegedly diverted traffic via the client’s private connection.

Betternet

This is a free VPN option that pops up whenever you’re doing Google search for free VPNs. On paper, it’s a great option as it allows for simultaneous connection of several devices. However, the advertisement platform accesses your cookies and starts filling your phone or PC with numerous advertisements.

How to Make Your VPN Faster

You’re bound to experience decrease in speeds, with 10-20% slower downloads. The possible impact is huge, particularly if you’re streaming a live event. It can also be annoying if it lags when gaming. However, there are things that you can do to increase speed of a VPN. Consider changing your servers. Expect slower speeds or VPNs that are located far away. Therefore, adjust the settings and choose a server that’s near someone you know.

Secondly, minimize the encryption levels. Encryption leads to about 20-50% increase in packet size. Stronger encryptions have larger packets. Numerous VPNs offer you a chance to switch between different encryption levels, making it easier to crack your data while increasing the speed. Sometimes a VPN could be slow because of your poor internet connection. Try tweaking some components of your VPN software. If need be, check the support pages of that particular provider. Alternatively, read through the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Five Eyes Country

Digital surveillance is critical, particularly with European nations. A 2000 leak showed that some nations had agreed to have information sharing mutual spying. The group was named Five Eyes and includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, United States and New Zealand. Although France is not part of the Five Eyes, it’s part of the extended Nine Eyes.

Generally, Nine Eyes are a bit safer than the other alternatives, despite the fact that piracy advocates still agitate for some changes in some laws and practices. Privacy is always the risk if you’re staying in one of the Eye list countries.

Getting a French IP Address

If you’re French and you intend to travel abroad on a vacation, job engagement, or permanent relocation, chances are that you will not be able to access local content from your second country. However, you can circumvent such a hurdle by connecting to any of the VPNs reviewed above. First things first: select a French server before launching your internet browser.

Besides accessing the geo-restricted content, a French IP address assumes you’re in France and therefore, customizes your search engine results, showing you what are relevant and the local language you use. A number of institutions, particularly banking and financial institutions ask for a local IP address before facilitating online transactions.

The Future of Internet in France

Following the 2015 Emergency powers put in place by the then president, Hollande, police now have the powers to raid and conduct houses arrests. They’re also allowed to search for any suspicious electronic devices including tablets, smartphones, PCs and laptops. About the same time, the French Constitutional Council okayed the provisions of the new law that compels internet providers to keep an eye on the behaviors of suspicious users and give that information to the intelligence agencies.

Most people have expressed their concerns that this law could be used to enforce far-reaching surveillance apparatus that will forcefully impact the daily lives of the French citizens. With such troubling developments, you’ll have no choice but to use a VPN whenever you’re accessing the internet. The VPN works by encrypting your internet traffic before routing it via a remote server, then masking its content and IP Address. This keeps you safe from hackers as well as from surveillance governments or corporates.

The United Nations committee for human rights has cautioned against the fundamentals of law. It urges the French government strike a balance between interference in private life based on principles of necessity, proportionality and legality. The law permits the intelligence service to monitor portable items such as a camera and install secret cameras and other recording devices in people’s homes.

Catching French TV When Overseas

If you’re abroad, you can use VPN to unlock French TV. For instance, if you’re in Senegal, but want to keep a close tab on the news in France, then obfuscate your location using a VPN. It’s recommended to install a premium VPN service. After connecting, choose a server in France, clear the cookies in our web browser before choosing which link you want to stream. With a premium VPN and a French IP address, you can access any of the following channels: PlayTV, Gulli, France 2,3, &4, M6, TF1, Pluzz, Eurosport, LCP, BFM TV, RTBF, Arte, TV5 Monde, France 24 and Euronewes.

Watching a Ligue1 Match Across the French Borders

Popularly known as Ligue1, the French nationals treasure their domestic teams. The allures of watching a live match on TV is irresistible. Use a VIP to alter your IP address to French. Thereafter, you’ll be free to log into channels like Eurosport and enjoy a live match. It’s recommended that you first register and sign up for the service using a French credit card. It’s therefore imperative that you first contact your French credit provider before you leave the country.