Given the history of the country, it’s no surprise that German internet users tend to be a little more concerned than users in other countries about protecting their privacy while they are online. While the country generally has very strong privacy protections for its citizens, a number of incidents in recent years have led Germans to question just how secure their data is and whether they need to do more to protect the trail of personal information that is built up when they use the internet.
One of the best ways to do this is to use a VPN service which provides a fully encrypted tunnel between a users’ computer and the internet server that they are connected to. Using a service like this means that there is no chance of a users’ data falling into the wrong hands. Most of the services out there operate strict no-logs policies and don’t retain any data about the websites that their users visit, meaning that there is little risk of a privacy breach being caused by a user’s reliance on a VPN.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular VPN services in Germany and run through their features so that you can make the right choice. We’ll focus in particular on features that are o0f interest to German users, such as the ability to pay for the service in euros and information about where the company behind the VPN service is actually based. Before we do that, however, a little information on how VPN services work and the advantages of using them.
Unlike some other countries where governments restrict access to many popular websites and there is the constant threat of your internet history being used against you, Germany has generally taken a fairly relaxed approach to the internet, at least by European standards. For this reason, it sometimes isn’t obvious why a German internet user would want to go to the trouble of setting up and using a VPN service to protect their internet browsing but in fact, there are several strong reasons for doing so.
The first is the ability to access content from other countries. If you live in Germany but have family connections or grew up in another country, then there’s a chance that you’ll want to watch films and TV shows from that country. The odds are that there are plenty of services that allow people in that country to do exactly that, either free of charge or for a low fee. Due to geographical content restrictions however, these services will not be available to users in Germany. That’s where a VPN service comes in. It will funnel all of your internet traffic through a server in a country of your choice so that it looks as though all of your browsing activity is taking place in that country. For example, if you select a VPN server in the UK, you will have access to streaming services such as the BBC iPlayer and All 4. This system also works if you travel abroad and want to access German content that would otherwise be unavailable.
The second reason to choose a VPN provider is for security and privacy purposes. An increasing number of organizations now track the activities of internet users all over the world and, just because the German government has tough privacy laws, doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t keeping an eye on you. The amount of tracking carried out by online advertising companies and other media firms has exploded in recent years, giving users every reason to want to protect themselves and their personal information.
Below, we look at a few of the VPN services that we think do a particularly good job of meeting the needs of German internet users.
This VPN is at the top of our list for a few reasons. The first is that it is a newcomer that has managed to shake up the market by offering excellent customer service and great prices. The second is that it gives customers the option of paying in euros, avoiding the high currency conversion fees that can otherwise be forced upon users who have to pay for services in US dollars and thirdly because of some of the extra features that it offers which aren’t available from other VPN providers, we’ll look at those in more detail later on in this review.
The first thing you’ll notice about SurfShark is how easy it is to get the service up and running. If you are using the VPN on a desktop computer, then you have the choice between downloading the app, which supports Windows, macOS and Linux or using one of the browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The extensions are a great plus if you’re using a computer that’s managed by someone else and which does not allow you to install your own software. On a mobile phone, apps are available for iOS and Android.
You also have the option of flashing the software on your network router so that it connects directly to one of the SurfShark servers. While this is a good option if you want to protect all of the devices that are connected to your network, you should keep in mind that this is a fairly complex process and that you can cause permanent damage to your router if you get it wrong. There are fairly comprehensive instructions on the SurfShark website but make sure that you know what you’re doing before you get started.
One of the best things about SurfShark is its wide range of security features. As well as offering the 256-bit encryption, kill switch and IP address scrambling that you would expect, the service has one particular feature that will make it of interest to those who are worried about online advertising companies tracking their browsing activity and building a profile of them off the back of it. This feature is known as CleanWeb. This works by removing all of the tracking code and advertising that infests so many websites nowadays at the VPN server level before the data is sent on to your system. It’s even more secure than using an adblocker tool as the data never reaches your computer in the first place. The company also operates a no-logs policy, meaning that it does not keep details about the servers its users connect to or the websites that they visit.
In terms of server locations and availability, SurfShark falls slightly behind some of its rivals but still has more than enough to keep the vast majority of users happy. The company has servers located in around 50 countries worldwide which allow access to streaming media content and other websites from these countries.
SurfShark also gives its users the option of paying for its service in euros, avoiding the currency conversion fees that can often make competing services seem more expensive. The standard price of a subscription currently stands at €9.89 per month but substantial discounts are available to users who commit to longer periods of service in advance.
The Panama based NordVPN is a name that you’ve probably heard quite a bit lately, even if you haven’t been in the market for a VPN service until now. That’s because the company has started a massive advertising blitz and is clearly trying to build its name recognition (and awareness of VPNs in general) among casual internet users. Thankfully, there’s a lot more to the product than just a slick brand and fancy ads. NordVPN is one of the most fully featured and well-balanced VPN services out there. Read on to discover whether it is the right choice for you.
When you first sign up for NordVPN, you’ll be asked if you want to download its software to your system. All of the big platforms are covered but the one thing you will want to remember is that there is a limit to the number of simultaneous connections that are permitted. That limit is currently set at six, which should be no problem for individual users but maybe an issue if you plan to share your NordVPN account with your family.
All of the usual security features are there. You’ll have the protection of a kill-switch in the unlikely event that there is a problem with the connection between your computer and the NordVPN server. You can also benefit from IP address masking, which can help to protect your identity while you browse the internet.
NordVPN is based in Panama and operates a strict no-logs policy in order to protect its users. This means that it would be almost impossible for anyone to get hold of NordVPN’s data via court order and there is no risk of NordVPN sharing your information with advertisers or other outside actors as it does not collect this type of data in the first place.
NordVPN’s standard monthly charge is $11.95 but significant discounts are available to users who commit to longer periods of service in advance. NordVPN wants your custom for the long-term and will offer its biggest discounts to users who commit to 36-months of the service when they first sign up. It does make the decision slightly easier however by offering a 30-day money-back guarantee to all users. If you decide that the service isn’t right for you at any point in the first 30-day, just get in touch with NordVPN via its live chat support and let them know you want to cancel.
This is one of the higher-end VPN services that has one killer feature that lifts it head and shoulders above the other services that we’ve looked at in one specific area. That feature is the number of countries in which its servers are located. ExpressVPN has servers in almost 100 countries worldwide, almost two times as many countries as some of its competing services. If this is important to you, then ExpressVPN may be the service that you have been looking for. If 40 or 50 countries is more than enough for you, you may be better off looking elsewhere, read on to find out which decision you should make.
Getting started with ExpressVPN is just as straightforward as the other services we have looked at. All you need to do is download the software to your computer and get going. You also have the option of installing software onto your router that allows you to connect it directly to an ExpressVPN server but that does come with some potential pitfalls. The other downside worth mentioning is that the browser extensions offered by ExpressVPN do not work independently. They are simply a means of controlling the ExpressVPN software which must also be installed on your system.
After you’ve got the service up and running, you’ll have access to a huge number of VPN servers and very fast connection speeds that are perfect for streaming media from countries all over the world. You’ll also be protected by the whole range of security features that you would expect from one of the larger VPN services.
Pricing for ExpressVPN is slightly higher than for some of the other VPN services that we have covered. The monthly cost is $12.95 and there is no option to pay using another currency. Discounts are available to users who commit to long periods of service in advance. However, these are not as large as for some other services. Overall, ExpressVPN is a great service if you require access to the huge number of servers that it offers. If this isn’t important to you though, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
If you are looking for a VPN that you can use in Germany, you are spoiled for choice and making the right decision can be very difficult. The most important thing to do is to decide which features matter most to you and then compare all of the available options methodically. By doing this, you’ll be able to find a VPN service that meets your needs.
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