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Best VPN for Germany: Comparing 27 Providers

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Thanks to streaming, anyone can enjoy video content from around the world as long as their Internet connection is up to the task. All the same, expatriates, language learners, and business travelers are just some of the people who might want to keep tabs on Germany while they're abroad.

Geo-blocking has made this difficult, however, a VPN can help you enjoy German media anywhere on the planet.

VPNs make it possible to not only securely and anonymously navigate the Internet, but also to go on a virtual world tour. Annoying geographic restrictions are bypassed the moment you connect to a server in the country you want to visit. For those interested in watching German content, just select a server based in Germany. The best part? Almost all VPNs offer German servers.

Annoying: People outside of Germany cannot access content in ZDF's media library.

In our comprehensive VPN review series, we tested 27 different services. Below, we'll let you know which are the best for German content.

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Best VPN for German Content: Our TOP 5

To determine our Top 5, we took the scores from our overall evaluation. Then, we looked at how each provider's German servers performed and whether we could access German media libraries and streaming platforms.

Since there are a lot of different streaming platforms, we chose ARD, ZDF, TVNOW, and Sky. For more on how our sample performed with international streaming platforms, be sure to check our individual reviews for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

We measured performance every day, and over time, this gave us an average speed. These results can be found in the "Performance" section of this article.

Now that we've explained how we judged our sample, here are our Top 5 VPNs for German content:

1.

NordVPN: Also Number 1 in Germany

Best Overall 2024
NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
NordVPN is our number one VPN because it combines speed, ease-of-use, and functionality in a slick package that's also pretty affordable.
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
 $3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee

NordVPN took first place in our EXPERTE.com test and impressed across the board: It was the fastest provider from our sample, offers intuitive applications, plenty of features, powerful security standards, and regularly submits to external audits.

With more than 5,400 servers across 59 countries, the provider also has a strong server network. Of those 5,400 servers, 240 are in Germany (Berlin and Frankfurt). For Germany, NordVPN also takes first place in terms of speed. This is important because it means that content can not only be streamed, but also enjoyed on ARD, ZDF, and TVNOW. Only Sky blocked NordVPN's way, but a mere 2 services from our sample were able to unlock it.

  • 240 German servers (Berlin and Frankfurt)

  • Excellent performance

  • Access ARD, ZDF, and TVNOW

  • No access to Sky

Review
9.4
excellent
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Check Review
Performance
10 / 10
Security & Privacy
9.4 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
9.4 / 10
Server Network
8.6 / 10
2.

ExpressVPN: Reliable Streaming in Germany

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
(736,465 )
ExpressVPN can impress with a strong performance, a huge server network, and excellently designed applications, but this quality also comes at a higher price.
3,000+ servers
160 cities in 94 countries
reliable performance
good for streaming
secure browser extensions
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
7
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
ExpressVPN 12 Months
 $6.67
monthly price
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30 days money-back guarantee

The only thing we didn't like about ExpressVPN was its price: The service is considerably more expensive than its competitors and the most affordable subscription costs double that of NordVPN. You won't get any unique or special features for this price either, since ExpressVPN provides the basics (we don't have any complaints about these).

ExpressVPN took third place in our German speed test, offering an unknown number of servers in Frankfurt and Nuremberg. This provider is as reliable as NordVPN, and users can access the ARD and ZDF media libraries, along with TVNOW. Once again, however, we didn't have any luck with Sky.

  • Fast

  • Large server network (94 countries)

  • Access ARD, ZDF, and TVNOW

  • No Sky access

  • Relatively expensive

Review
8.8
good
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Performance
10 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
8.6 / 10
Security & Privacy
8.0 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
3.

Surfshark: Lightning Fast in Germany

Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN
(207,223 )
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but it's a lot more than a great budget option: the relatively new VPN boasts strong protection, many features, and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
unlimited number of devices
many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
cheap 24-month plan
expensive monthly plan
8.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
 $1.99
monthly price
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Get 83% Discount

When it comes to price, Surfshark is at the opposite end of the spectrum as ExpressVPN: Our price-performance champion scores thanks to its excellent VPN clients and variety of configuration options and settings. During speed testing, Surfshark took second place, both overall and specifically for Germany. As such, it punches well above its weight.

Surfshark enables access to the ARD and ZDF media libraries, but not TVNOW or Sky. As far as server coverage goes, these can be found in Berlin, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, and Munich.

  • EXPERTE.com price-performance pick

  • Four server locations in Germany

  • Access ARD and ZDF media libraries

  • Doesn't unlock TVNOW or Sky content

Review
9.4
excellent
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Performance
10 / 10
Security & Privacy
9.4 / 10
Server Network
9.4 / 10
Support
9.4 / 10
Bedienung & Features
8.6 / 10
4.

Mullvad: 29 Servers at 2 Locations in Germany

Mullvad VPN
Mullvad VPN
(3,249 )
anonymous registration/ payment
independently audited
solid Performance
small network
few features
7.3
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
2
Contract Period
1 month
Mullvad Flatrate
 $5.35
monthly price
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During our comprehensive review, Mullvad VPN finished in the middle of our sample. It lost points because of its small server network (754 servers in 36 countries), minimal support, and lack of features.

Still, the Swedish provider did perform well and took maximum points in security thanks in large part to its regular external security audits. Mullvad has 29 VPN servers in Germany (Frankfurt and Dusseldorf), and so it's jumped to fourth place in this ranking. As with Surfshark, we were able to access the ARD and ZDF media libraries but were barred from Sky and TVNOW.

  • Access the ARD and ZDF media libraries

  • Register and pay without personal information

  • Independent security audits

  • Doesn't provide access to TVNOW or Sky

Review
7.3
good
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Security & Privacy
10 / 10
Performance
8.0 / 10
Bedienung & Features
6.6 / 10
Support
6.6 / 10
Server Network
5.4 / 10
5.

PureVPN: Best Streaming Performance

PureVPN
PureVPN
(61,320 )
PureVPN has servers around the world and covers underserved regions a bit better than many other VPNs. Its range of features is great, too. When it comes to performance, however, PureVPN is behind most of its competitors.
6,500+ servers in 70 countries
covers underserved regions
many features
weaker performance
possible privacy concerns
7.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5 - 10
Protocols
6
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
PureVPN 2 years
 $2.29
monthly price
Visit Website*
7-day trial

There are some trust issues with PureVPN. This is because the service has a bad habit of breaking its "No-Log" promise. More recently, its privacy policy has been updated and the developers have submitted to external audits. To be fair, in the other areas we examined, PureVPN earned "good" scores, or higher and also offers a massive server network.

For our German speed test, PureVPN only reached 10th place, but still squeezes into our Top 5 since it was the fastest service across all four German streaming platforms.

  • Access ARD, ZDF, TVNOW, and Sky

  • Impressive server infrastructure

  • 24/7 live chat

  • Has shared data with government authorities in the past

  • Only the 10th fastest VPN in Germany (from our sample)

Review
7.8
good
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Check Review
Server Network
9.4 / 10
Support
8.0 / 10
Bedienung & Features
7.4 / 10
Performance
7.4 / 10
Security & Privacy
6.6 / 10

How We Reviewed

To test all 27 services from our sample, we purchased a subscription to each and thoroughly evaluated their clients and apps. Each review is divided into six main areas, five of which were scored and are listed below:

Installation and Features

We first check how many desktop clients and mobile apps each provider offers, as well as how user-friendly they are. Then, we take a look at what features and configuration options they include. To score highly, a provider's clients and apps should be easy to use but also enable access to plenty of features.

Server Network

For this, we determined how many servers each provider has, as well as how many countries these are based in. In this article, we looked specifically at how many of these are in Germany, and where they're located.

Performance

This score is influenced by a few different factors: First, we use our speed test to assess how each provider performs. In addition, we also check how the services behave on a daily basis, for surfing or video streaming.

To compare services for Germany, we clocked the speeds for each VPN's German servers. The 10 fastest (as of the time of testing) can be found below:

1.
NordVPN
196.3 Mbit/s
Download
43.8 Mbit/s
Upload
2.
Surfshark
190.5 Mbit/s
Download
43.8 Mbit/s
Upload
3.
ExpressVPN
176.2 Mbit/s
Download
43.1 Mbit/s
Upload
4.
Mullvad
200.8 Mbit/s
Download
17.6 Mbit/s
Upload
5.
TorGuard
180.1 Mbit/s
Download
14.9 Mbit/s
Upload
6.
HideMyAss!
171.6 Mbit/s
Download
16.3 Mbit/s
Upload
7.
Proton VPN
162.0 Mbit/s
Download
21.6 Mbit/s
Upload
8.
hide.me
151.9 Mbit/s
Download
29.3 Mbit/s
Upload
9.
IPVanish
163.5 Mbit/s
Download
14.9 Mbit/s
Upload
10.
PureVPN
122.7 Mbit/s
Download
45.5 Mbit/s
Upload

The chart below shows which German media libraries or live-streaming platforms were accessible with which VPNs:

Platform

ARD Mediathek

ZDF Mediathek

TVNOW Live

Sky

NordVPN

Surfshark

ExpressVPN

Mullvad

TorGuard

HideMyAss

ProtonVPN

hide.me

IPVanish

PureVPN

Security and Privacy

Can you trust a particular VPN with your data? We examine each service's privacy policy to let you know if you can and whether there are any red flags. Beyond that, we also check their overall security standards, including what VPN protocols and encryption are offered and whether the provider passes our VPN leak tests.

Customer Support

To receive a high support score, a provider must offer direct contact methods, like a live chat. In addition, static support content, like guides and FAQs, needs to be informative, clearly arranged, and full-text searchable. For email support or tickets, we expect answers within 24 hours or less.

Overall Result

If you're looking for a VPN to consume German content while abroad, you'll likely find a great option among our Top 5 VPNs above. On the other hand, if you're looking for a reliable VPN that also performs well in Germany, we recommend taking a look at the providers in our overall ranking below:

1.
NordVPN
9.4
Review
excellent
2.
ExpressVPN
9.4
Review
excellent
3.
Proton VPN
9.1
Review
excellent
4.
Surfshark
8.8
Review
good
5.
HideMyAss!
8.6
Review
good
6.
hide.me
8.4
Review
good
7.
Private Internet Access
8.2
Review
good
8.
CyberGhost
7.8
Review
good
9.
PureVPN
7.8
Review
good
10.
Windscribe
7.8
Review
good
11.
Mozilla VPN
7.6
Review
good
12.
VyprVPN
7.6
Review
good
13.
Hotspot Shield
7.5
Review
good
14.
Atlas VPN
7.4
Review
good
15.
IPVanish
7.4
Review
good
16.
Mullvad
7.3
Review
good
17.
VPN Unlimited
7.3
Review
good
18.
Bitdefender
7.2
Review
good
19.
PrivateVPN
7.2
Review
good
20.
TorGuard
7.2
Review
good
21.
TunnelBear
7.1
Review
good
22.
ZenMate
7.0
Review
satisfactory
23.
Avast
6.8
Review
satisfactory
24.
PrivadoVPN
6.8
Review
satisfactory
25.
Perfect Privacy
6.6
Review
satisfactory
26.
Avira
6.4
Review
satisfactory
27.
VeePN
6.1
Review
satisfactory

Conclusion

In case you need German content, but can't physically make it to the country, VPNs offer an easy and legal way to access German media libraries (and navigate the Internet more safely and anonymously). However, not every VPN provider is equally good at unlocking the ARD or ZDF media libraries, or streaming platforms like TVNOW and Sky.

Our Top 5 help you to reliably stream German content. Detailed reviews of all 27 providers from our sample can be found in our comprehensive review series.

FAQs

Why should I use a VPN to access German content?

Most German streaming content is geo-blocked, meaning that you'll need a VPN to access the ZDF or ARD media libraries when abroad. A VPN tricks these platforms so that they think you're physically in Germany. As a result, you gain access to the content.

What's the best VPN for German content?

Our overall champion NordVPN helped us to stream from ARD, ZDF, and TVNOW. ExpressVPN and Surfshark took second and third place, respectively. Only PureVPN provided access to all four streaming providers we examined (ARD, ZDF, TVNOW, and Sky), however, its speeds were lower than the other services, which might cause some issues.

Is it legal to use a VPN in Germany?

It isn't illegal. VPNs conflict with the terms of use for most media libraries and streaming platforms, since these license content by country, and block access from abroad. You won't have to worry about any legal consequences though, and we're unaware of accounts ever being suspended or locked.

Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
Translation: D Bare
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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Best Overall 2024
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5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
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6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
Review
excellent
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