Best VPNs in Europe in 2022

Europe is the birthplace of democracy and free speech, but governments are increasingly spying on their citizens. If you’re worried about your online privacy, you need to use a VPN. Here are the best ones in Europe.

Government surveillance in Europe is on the rise, and big tech is also tracking your every move. Needless to say it’s more important than ever to protect your freedom and right not to have the government looking over your shoulder. The easiest way to do so is by using virtual private network (VPN). A VPN ensures your data stays out of the prying eyes of snooping agencies, nosy ISPs, and cybercrooks.

A good VPN will make it difficult for anyone to track your activities or steal your data by encrypting your internet traffic and masking your online identity. Even if you don’t care about privacy, a VPN is something everyone should have if they ever travel abroad and use public Wi-Fi networks in hotels, cafes, airports, or other public spaces. These are some of the most frequent places for data breaches.

NordVPN
  • Price: From €3.29/mo
  • No-logs policy: Yes
  • Servers: 5100+ 
  • Encryption: AES-256
ExpressVPN
  • Price: From $6.67/mo
  • No-logs policy: Yes
  • Servers: 3,000+
  • Encryption: AES-256
Surfshark
  • Price: From €1.96/mo
  • No-logs policy: Yes
  • Servers: 3200+
  • Encryption: AES-256

A good VPN service will not only protect you from hackers and malware but can also unlock geo-restricted movies, and TV shows no matter where you are in the world. For example, it’s possible to watch region-locked content on sites like BBC iPlayer or Netflix by getting an IP address located in the UK or US, respectively. A VPN makes it look like your data is coming from the country of your choice, so you can easily unblock any streaming service.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to improve your data privacy and get more freedom by investing in a good, paid VPN. In this article, we’re going all out and testing some of the most popular VPNs against several key performance metrics.

Why Can’t I Just Use a Free VPN?

The human brain is wired to want to get something valuable for nothing. This is why savvy marketers use the word “Free” to get our attention. However, there’s nothing free about a free VPN—it is a way to share your data freely, which is contrary to why you needed a VPN in the first place. You shouldn’t use a free VPN because they may sell you data to recoup their investment or run ads that could open you up to malware attacks. Just avoid free VPNs: they are NOT safe. Simple.

The best VPN services in Europe

The following list of the top 5 VPNs in Europe is a carefully curated selection that promises to deliver on all your data privacy needs.

  1. NordVPN – Best VPN for anonymity, security and encryption
  2. ExpressVPN – Best for streaming and speed
  3. Surfshark – Best “cheap” VPN
  4. ProtonVPN – Best Europe-based and free VPN
  5. CyberGhost – Best server coverage and discounts

Comparison Table of the Best Web VPNs in Europe

VPNNordVPN
ExpressVPNSurfShark
ProtonVPN
CyberGhost
Starting Price$11.95/month$12.95/month$12.95/month$5/month$12.99/month
Free TrialYesYesYesYesYes
Money-Back GuaranteeYesYesYesYesYes
Accepts Bitcoin?YesYesYesYesYes
Split TunnelingYesYesYesYesNo
Double VPNYes NoYes (MultiHop)YesYes
Onion Servers?YesYesYesYesYes
No logs policyYesYesyesyesYes (unaudited)
NetflixYesYesYesYesYes
TorrentingYesYesYesYesyes
IP AddressesDynamicDynamicDynamic or StaticShared with other usersStatic
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes Member?NoNoNoNoNo
Countries covered6094655591
Servers52003000+320013147177

Detailed review of the best VPNs in Europe

#1 NordVPN – Best VPN for anonymity, security and encryption

  • 5,100 servers in 60 countries
  • 30 day money-back guarantee
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Blocks ads and malware

NordVPN is a popular VPN based in Panama, and therefore a non-member of the prying Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 eyes alliance. A great deal if you are concerned about your online privacy because the company can never be forced to hand over your data. They have about 5,921 servers in more than 59 countries which are well distributed geographically.

Pros

  • Uses WireGuard VPN technology
  • Obfuscated, split-tunneling, P2P, and Tor connections
  • Over 5,000+ servers
  • Strong customer privacy stance
  • Allows 6 devices to connect simultaneously

Cons

  • Best discounts require longer subscriptions
  • Dedicated IP is not free

The NordVPN’s protocol of choice is the latest wireGuard Technology implementation, Nordlynx. This protocol enables incredible connection speeds and features the latest encryption technology for your security. Their privacy policy claims they do not log session information, connection time stamps, used bandwidth, IP addresses, or browsing data. However, they retain the time and username of the last session for only 15 minutes after you disconnect from the VPN. In addition to this strict no-log policy, NordVPN also features the AES 256-bit encryption and a kill switch to keep you safe and anonymous online. PriceWaterhouseCooper, an audit firm, has independently verified these claims to be true.

NordVPN works on up to 6 devices simultaneously, on almost every operating system. Split tunneling on the app lets you route different apps through or outside the VPN.

Starting as low as $3.30 a month, you would be hard-pressed to find a better VPN deal than NordVPN. But you have to pay upfront for 2 years to enjoy this jaw-dropping 72% savings. The 1-year plan will cost you $4.92 per month, and paying a subscription monthly will set you back $11.95 monthly. Even with these incredible offers, you can test all the features of NordVPN for a month and get your money back if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

NordVPN delivers blistering-fast connections for streaming, torrenting, and gameplay with little or no lag, even with heavy loads. Remarkably, the speed remained consistent even with far-flung servers. It offered seamless access to most geo-blocked streaming sites except for Netflix and SkyGo. Compatible with Windows, Android, Mac, and more, NordVPN can simultaneously take up to 6 devices on one license.

NordVPN has servers in almost every country in Europe, except Malta, including Germany, France, Spain, and Switzlerland. You can watch Netflix and use other streaming services to binge series and match films from other countries.

NordVPN has an extensive global network of servers, super-fast speed no matter the server distance, water-tight security, and privacy features. The best part? The entire package goes for just $3.71 per month.

#2 ExpressVPN – Best for streaming and speed

  • Split tunneling
  • Private DNS
  • Based in British Virgin Islands
  • Over 2,000 servers in 148 locations

A VPN is as good as the level of security it provides, and ExpressVPN offers all the security any user may want or need in a VPN. They are based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no mandatory data retention laws, and it’s outside the jurisdiction of the UK although technically a dependent of the UK. ExpressVPN has a proven strict no-activity logs policy in its proprietary lightweight protocol. It streamlines protocol selection by automatically choosing the best protocol for you based on the quality of your Internet connection. It features a kill switch that ensures that no data leaks if your connection drops and they do not keep track of your data.

Pros

  • Blazing-fast speeds
  • State-of-the-art security and privacy systems
  • Strict no-log policy
  • Allows streaming on most sites
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons

  • Premium VPN that’s more expensive

Additionally, ExpressVPN uses military-grade 256-bit encryption. PricewaterhouseCoopers has independently validated these security claims, indicating a level of transparency rare in the VPN world. Even better, the VPN service’s no-log policy was proven in legal action when law enforcement failed to retrieve data from their seized servers in Turkey.

With over 3,000 servers across 94 countries and rapidly expanding, ExpressVPN has one of the fastest speeds of all the VPNs we tested in Europe. Of course, connections to nearby servers delivered the best result. But more importantly, we were thrilled with the connection speed to far-away Australia and the US. 

ExpressVPN performed excellently well for streaming, torrenting and online gaming. You can quickly and securely access the UK, Canada, France, and Japanese versions of Netflix. Other region-blocked streaming sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, SkyTv, and Crunchyroll works just as well on ExpressVPN. 

Pricing for ExpressVPN starts at $12.95 per month. While this is not the cheapest VPN plan out there, their services are well worth the price. You can get ExpressVPN at $6.67 per month, plus free 3 months bonus if you pay for 15 months upfront. Paying for 6 months will cost you $9.99 per month. Obviously, you should lock in the cheaper pricing at longer terms to enjoy huge savings. In addition to the traditional ways of making payments, ExpressVPN also accepts Bitcoin.

You can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously on any Express VPN plan, supporting split tunneling. This feature allows you to choose the apps connected to the internet via VPN and those you want to be connected to directly. This is useful if you share P2P files as you can use the VPN for torrenting while your other apps connect directly.

Overall, ExpressVPN is a beast. It quickly downloaded files, unlocked all manners of regionally locked content, and bypassed China’s formidable Great Firewall. It is user-friendly and streams better than most VPNs while employing advanced security. It’s pricey, but then, it delivers all the goods.

#3 Surfshark – Best “cheap” VPN

  • Strict no logging policy
  • Cheaper than competitors
  • Double VPN hop
  • 3,200 servers in 65 countries

Surfshark is a VPN remarkable for its great assortment of useful features at a compelling price. It has more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries globally and supports all major desktop and mobile operating systems, even supporting browser extensions and Smart TVs. 

Pros

  • Unlimited number of devices for each subscription
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Excellent speed for regular internet use
  • Access to Netflix across countries
  • Excellent torrenting capabilities
  • Premium features at a low cost
  • Audited No logs policy
  • Valuable extra features like Whitelister (Split tunneling), AdBlocker, Camouflage Mode, and NoBorders Mode.

Cons

  • The speed is average
  • Static IP addresses

An outstanding feature of Surfshark VPN is its ability to connect an unlimited number of devices to your account, which is impressive when you consider that most other best VPN on this list supports only 5 to 6 devices. 

The user interface is compact, clean, and user-friendly both on mobile and desktop. Users can link up to helpful resources through a well-arranged menu and submenu. This makes it great for those less tech-inclined. 

Surfshark’s speed is not exceptional when compared to NordVPN and ExpressVPN. But the connections are stable and consistent: switching between servers and countries is exceptionally fast and seamless. 

If you love streaming shows and movies, Surfshark VPN is very capable. You can access most common streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney, and HBO. Downloading torrents are effortless as well; you can download large files quickly. Even better, Surfshark detects when you run a torrenting program and automatically switches you from a regular VPN server to a specialized P2P server to speed up the download.

Surfshark VPN also performs well in the all-important privacy criteria. The solid AES 256 encryption ensures that your safety and anonymity are preserved. It further protects your privacy by supporting different protocols and specialty servers such as OpenVPN and WireGuard. An integrated kills switch and no logs policy gives additional security. 

To even secure you further, Surfshark features special MultiHop servers that allow you to hook up to 2 VPN servers simultaneously, making your already secure connection even more secure. You enable camouflage mode automatically when using OpenVPN to make your connectivity appear as regular internet connectivity by removing any trace of VPN servers. It also has a NoBorder Mode for regions with strict VPN censorship. Finally, Sharksurf claims a strict no-logs policy stating they won’t collect details like your IP address, session information, browsing history, and used bandwidth and connection time stamps, precisely what you would expect from a VPN. Like the others, Surfshark backs these claims through an independent audit.

Surfshark boasts an expansive list of online resources on its website to sort by categories and search by keyword. You’ll also get easy-to-follow video tutorials to help you configure your setup. Finally, Surfshark has a 24/7 live chat which is responsive and helpful for when you get stuck.

Like the other VPNs, Surfshark offers a range of plans at different price points depending on the length of the plan you choose. Their prices are reasonable:

  • The 24-month plans cost only $2.49 per month.
  • The 6-month plans cost $6.49 monthly.
  • A monthly subscription costs $12.95 monthly.

There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you haven’t broken the terms of service.

Surfshark VPN is a secure, reliable, and fast VPN that works well for streaming, torrenting, and browsing. It features an impressive list of advanced features like ad blocking, GPS spoofing, and a Kill switch.

#4 ProtonVPN – Best Europe-based and free VPN

  • Switzerland-based
  • 1500+ servers in 61 countries
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Adblocker (NetShield) 

ProtonVPN is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and so, not subject to the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes surveillance agreement. This location alone gives them an edge over competition due to the Swiss strong privacy laws. Their privacy policy insists they keep no logs and never track user activity. To protect you from brute force attacks, they only store the timestamp of your last session, which is erased immediately when you log in again. To prove that they do not keep your data to hand over to anyone, an independent audit was conducted by security experts. The audit showed only 11 minor vulnerabilities that were impossible to use for malicious purposes.

Pros

  • Unlimited free plan
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 1500+ servers in 61 countries
  • 10 VPN connections
  • Highest speed (up to 10 Gbps)
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content 
  • P2P/BitTorrent support 
  • Adblocker (NetShield) 
  • Streaming service support 
  • Secure Core VPN 
  • Tor over VPN 

Cons

  • Premium VPN that’s a bit expensive
  • Relatively fewer number of servers

ProtonVPN uses the super secure AES-256-bit encryption, the industry’s gold standard in cryptography technology. Their servers connect to your device through several protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec. However, they do not use the popular tunneling protocol, WireGuard, which is about the fastest and most secure.

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland which is one of the best countries in Europe when it comes to data privacy.

Other additional security features include a Kill Switch which cuts off your internet connection once your link to the VPN server is severed, a secure core which is basically a double VPN feature that allows you to connect through 2 VPN, serves for additional security.

The ProtonVPN apps for both desktops and mobile are intuitive and straightforward. You can find helpful menu topics on the interface like Quick Connect, Profiles, Secure core toggle, and the world map. You have the option of selecting the country you want to connect to from the map or a sidebar with all the countries listed. Once you click on a country, you will see your connection progress, and once connected, you can see metrics like connection time, amount of bandwidth you are using, how long you’ve been connected, and the server load. This helps you know whether to switch to another server with a lesser load.

ProtonVPN works well for streaming, although they don’t have dedicated servers for the purpose. You can unblock and connect to US Netflix and other geo-blocked streaming platforms with ease.

ProtonVPN offers four pricing options: Free, Basic, Plus, and Visionary. The free version is barebones—just a single VPN connection and servers in 3 countries. The basic plans step up a bit with 2 VPN connectable devices and servers in 54 countries at the cost of $5 per month. The Plus plan allows you to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, plus many other features and costs $10 per month. The premium visionary plan costs $30 per month and offers 10 VPN connections and all the features of the lower plans plus a ProtonMail Visionary account.

Speed is not one of ProtonVPN’s most vital points. The tested speed reductions using OpenVPN(UPD) ranged from 26 % to 94%. The more secure OpenVPN(TCP) variant has even more significant speed reductions with up to 99% reduction when connecting to most remote locations.

In summary, ProtonVPN is a trustworthy and capable VPN. It doesn’t use WireGuard protocol which slows down the connection speed, but it offers excellent unblocking results, military-grade encryption, Tor over VPN for more security, and other useful features.

#5 CyberGhost – Best server coverage and discounts

  • Split tunneling
  • Private DNS
  • Based in Europe
  • Over 2,000 servers in 148 locations

Romania-based CyberGhost is a privacy giant with over 7,177 servers in 91 countries, making it one of the largest we have reviewed. With user-friendly apps for Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows, CyberGhost features a slew of advanced features, and it’s optimized for torrenting, streaming, and unblocking content in Europe. 

Pros

  • Massive global network of servers
  • Affordable
  • Excellent customer service
  • Neatly profiled servers
  • Streams geo-blocked content, including Netflix
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No third party audit
  • Less established than competitors

CyberGhost VPN has servers neatly labeled with the streaming platforms they best have access to. So you don’t have to spend time trying out several servers to get the best fit. Their excellent streaming and torrenting efficiency are aided by P2P-optimised servers. CyberGhost’s fine-tuned servers unblocked geo-restrictions on services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. 

CyberGhost VPN security and privacy arsenal include the formidable 256-bit AES encryption, built-in kill switch, ad blocking, and leak protection software. Also, they use the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols. In addition, they have a no-log policy. However, we had to take them by their words-the policy is yet to be independently confirmed by a reputable audit firm. 

CyberGhost is priced at $12.99 if you’re paying for a month. But like other VPN service providers, you’ll pay significantly less if you pay for a more extended period. A 3-year plan costs only $2.75 per month, which is quite affordable. But that is not all. You’ll also get 2 months extra as a bonus.

The 45-day money-back guarantee is the longest so far of all the VPNs we have reviewed. However, you have to pay for the 6-month plan or more to enjoy this guarantee.

If you love video streaming and torrenting, then the Cyberghost VPN is for you. It also offers several extra unique features that make it a great bargain considering the rock bottom pricing. However, its masterstroke is the finely optimized servers dedicated for different purposes.

Verdict: Which VPN Is Best in Europe?

In our opinion, NordVPN is the best overall VPN service in Europe. Feature-rich, blazing fast, super secure, and reliable, NordVPN leaves very little to desire in a VPN.

For speed and security, you can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN. It offers MultiHop, split tunneling, Tor connections, and a host of unique security features.

Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs available for Europeans and the best for torrenting with dedicated P2P servers that you automatically connect to once you initiate a torrent download.

ProtonVPN has the best free version, which offers almost the same capabilities as a fully paid service, while CyberGhost excels at streaming foreign content.

The 5 VPNs reviewed are all excellent choices, but each has distinct features that stand them apart. So go ahead and pick the one that best suits you. 

How to pick the best VPN in Europe for you

To narrow down the long list of VPN and compile this list of best VPNs in Europe, our experts extensively tested hundreds of VPN providers with these main selection criteria as reference:

Price

VPN providers charge a wide range of fees, which is why establishing a budget from the onset will help eliminate some of the VPNs. That said, when you have found a VPN you love, commit to a minimum of a 2-year term rather than paying month to month. That way, you save substantially—in some cases, up to 70%

Speed

A VPN routes your traffic through additional servers, which affects your connection speed. As it were, every VPN is going to slow you down, no matter how negligible. The VPN you want has the tiniest impact on your connection speed. It will allow you to stream, browse torrents without a noticeable drag.

Security

Security ranks right at the top of the criteria used in selecting the best VPNs in Europe. Privacy and security are the most essential functionalities for any VPN because the ultimate goal is to keep your browsing information away from prying eyes. Look for a VPN with WireGuard protocol, a new open-source lightweight, efficient and versatile protocol. As a second choice, the OpenVPN protocol works just as fine. For encryption, go for a VPN with the more-secure 256-bit encryption.

Money-Back Guarantee

While our reviews may point you in the right direction, you must test out the VPNs yourself before settling on the one that suits your particular circumstances best. A money-back guarantee or a free trial version allows you ample time to test out the capabilities of the VPN before committing for the long haul.

Countries supported

With many countries like Iran, China, and the UAE clamping down on VPNs, you know you have a solid VPN if it can work in those countries that actively try to stop them. The best VPNs work virtually in every country and feature different settings for muddying your tracks.

Number of servers

The more servers a VPN has distributed in each of its locations, the faster the connection speed. A VPN with a well-spread network of servers in different areas allows you to gracefully change your location without losing connection. You also can choose to log on through a less congested region of the world and enjoy better and faster connectivity.

Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes Member?

The five eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 eyes countries refer to an alliance of 14 countries with an international intelligence-sharing agreement. The implication of this union for online safety and privacy is that any of these countries can force VPNs registered in their jurisdiction to hand over your data to the government, which they can share with other member countries of the alliance. Hence, the best VPNs are not registered in countries that belong to the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliance.

Data logging policy: no logs vs. logs

For this criterion, we checked out the availability of a verified no-logs policy. A no-logs policy guarantees that your data is never collected, stored, or shared while you’re online. This means your digital presence is private and secured.

Split-tunneling 

Split-tunneling is an inbuilt function that allows you to simultaneously access a private and public network while staying protected. This is a valuable function because you may need to simultaneously be on a public and private network. With VPNs that don’t offer split-tunneling, you’ll have to switch off your connection when you have to access files on the public network. On the other hand, VPNs that provide split tunneling offers you the convenience of connecting through the encrypted tunnel and directly to the internet at the same time without toggling switches.

Advanced privacy features: Double VPN and Onion Servers

Advanced privacy features like Double VPN and Onion Servers add an extra layer of safety over your already protected traffic. VPN providers that offer Double VPN route your traffic through 2 VPN servers rather than just one. Effectively hiding your online activities behind 2 servers and encrypting your data twice, making it twice as hard for hackers to gain access.

Onion servers are configured to receive inbound connections only through the Tor browser. The server’s IP address is hidden and is only accessed through its onion address through the Tor Browser.

Cross-device support: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, browsers, and routers

The best VPNs offer clients a wide range of platforms to connect to multiple devices. All of the VPNs in this article offer support for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Most also have browser extensions and support for routers. The VPNs on this list also support a wide range of platforms, including Linux and Chromebook.

Netflix and streaming services

If you intend to stream videos from Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, and similar streaming services, check if your VPN supports streaming. Many VPN services do not allow streaming services. At the same time, many of the Streaming platforms typically block VPN connections. Therefore, choose a good VPN capable of geo-shifting: making a streaming service like Netflix think you are connecting from another region to access content with geographical restrictions.

Data study: VPN Usage, Adoption, and Development

Back in 1986, a Microsoft employee started work on the Peer to Peer Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). The whitepaper for PPTP, basically the precursor to VPN, was finally published in 1999. The idea behind the PPTP was to establish a more secure connection between a computer and the internet.

With the rapid growth of the internet, there was a massive demand for efficient online security systems. Anti-virus and similar software were developed to tackle the security menace. However, they were only effective at the end-user level, so VPN technology came into prominence because it could enhance the network’s security.

VPNs initially were exclusively used by businesses to secure sensitive data. This started to change in the early 2000s with a rash of privacy breach scandals such as Wikileaks, which made people more aware of their online privacy rights and how government agencies and corporations have been abusing them.

Another factor that popularised VPNs was the rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Now TV, Hulu, and others. These services offered to pay users tons of on-demand video content, but at the same time, they restricted who could access them based on region. People quickly figured out that VPNs could unblock these restrictions and allow them to access these platforms.

Furthermore, countries like China, Russia, and most of the middle east heavily censor internet usage. VPN has become widely adopted in those counties since it could help people bypass these unjust restrictions. Also, the ability of VPN to keep internet users safe and protect their personal data from cybercriminal attacks, especially when using public WiFi, has made its usage more and more widespread.

So who are the people using VPN? According to a Security.org report, Indonesia has the highest VPN usage, with 55% of their population using VPN. India follows with 43%, and the UAE, Thailand, and Malaysia reported 38%. The one thing these areas have in common is the lack of internet freedom.

The COVID-19 pandemic also played a significant role in the increased VPN usage. With the enforcement of lockdowns, most people were forced to work remotely from home, causing a surge in VPN usage. For instance, hit hard by the pandemic, Italy recorded a whopping 160% increase in VPN usage in 2 weeks.

As the population grows and access to the internet continues to increase, more and more people will turn to VPNs to escape increasing government censorship and protect their personal data. The global population’s VPN usage is projected to grow by 14% between 2020 to 2027. As expected, the Asia Pacific region is the most emerging market in the VPN industry, and growth is projected at 16%.

Why should I use a VPN?

VPN has become a critical component of online security. Here are the top reasons why you should get and use one:

  • Protect your privacy from the government: as a fallout of Edward Snowden’s leaks, people worldwide are becoming more aware of how the government tracks and collects their data. If you feel that your government might be prying into your online activities for whatever reasons, a good VPN will secure your data and give you peace of mind.
  • Safeguard yourself from online tracking: aside from the government, other parties may want access to your data. Your Internet Service Provider or ISP could harvest your data and sell it to advertisers; apps and internet services such as Facebook have suffered a backlash over how they handled users’ information in the past. A VPN does an excellent job of preventing apps and online services from linking your online behavior to your device’s IP address. It can also minimize the collection of your data.
  • Access international websites blocked in your region: Streaming service providers like Hulu, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer and supply content based on geographic locations. A VPN can bypass this restriction and allow you access to content not meant for your region.
  • Stream Netflix content unavailable in your country: Netflix is available in most countries. However, the offered content differs greatly depending on the region. These differences are attributable to the different licensing agreements in each area. A VPN allows you to spoof your location and access content unavailable in your country or region.
  • Bypass government bans and restrictions: Countries like China and Russia block specific websites and online services, including social media sites. If you are a resident or travel to such regions, good VPNs will grant you unrestricted access to your favorite sites and social media.
  • Activism work: you will need some anonymity if you’re fighting for a cause in a region that lacks freedom of expression. A VPN allows you to transmit sensitive information, and no government agency will be able to see what you are up to.
  • Avoid hackers: Free WiFi is a very convenient way of staying connected wherever you are. However, it exposes your data to cybercriminals who stalk the internet stealing people’s information for nefarious purposes. A VPN makes it appear as if your data is coming from another server – the VPNs, so the hacker will find it tough to identify you as the data source. Even if they can somehow lay hands on your data, the encryption makes it impossible for the hackers to make sense of it or even use it to their advantage.

What is a VPN?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a service that securely connects you to the internet and protects your online privacy by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address.

How Does a VPN Work?

A VPN works by hiding your IP address and rerouting it through a dedicated remote server run by the VPN provider. Now, when you connect online through the VPN, the VPN’s server appears to be the source of your data. Therefore, no third party can tell which sites you have visited or what data you transmit over the internet. The VPN scrambles your data so that even if someone manages to intercept it, it will appear as gibberish and won’t be useful to them.

Who should consider a VPN?

Anyone who connects to a public WiFi network needs a VPN. VPN is also for those who wish to bypass government, work, or school internet usage restrictions. If you are traveling internationally, you’ll also need a VPN to connect to a private Network in another geographical location. Finally, VPN is crucial for activists, journalists, whistleblowers, and anyone who wishes to be invisible online.

How to choose a VPN in Europe

Before you go shopping for a VPN, you should inventory your VPN needs. Here is a rundown of some of the most important criteria to help you select the ideal VPN in Europe:

Budget

When choosing the ideal VPN for you, the first factor is a good price point that fits your budget. With your budget range in mind, you’ve already filtered out many VPN providers that don’t work. The ones that made your list can now be quickly appraised based on other elements.

Simultaneous connections

Check if the VPN allows you to connect simultaneously on more than one device. A few VPN providers will enable you to install their app on as many devices as you like. But most limit the number of connections you can have at the same time to just two devices. That may be fine for some people. However, if you have many devices or want to connect with other family members, look for a VPN that supports up to 5 or more simultaneous connections.

Available in your country

The best VPN server location for speed is the one closest to you: a server in your country. But before signing up, learn all about the extant data laws in your country. Are they members of the sinister-sounding Five Eye, Nine Eye, !4 Eye surveillance alliance? Member coalition countries will give up your data to the government if push comes to shove.

Locations: Make sure that the VPN you choose has servers near where you’ll be using it. 

One of the most vital considerations for choosing a VPN in Europe and anywhere else is the proximity of their servers to your location. This will significantly enhance connection speed while at the same time ensuring you get the most out of the VPNs security and privacy features.

Safety

Security and privacy are the two most essential functions of a VPN. Therefore, when shopping for a VPN, check for critical security features like military-grade encryption, kill switch, double VPN, and no-log policy.

Headquartered in a safe jurisdiction

Since VPN providers commit to your online privacy and anonymity, ideally, they should have their headquarters in a country that doesn’t require them to log user online activities.

Two or multi-factor authentication

Your VPN of choice should have an additional method of verifying your identity other than your password when you want to log in. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your VPN by protecting you from credential theft.

Are VPNs legal in Europe?

Yes. VPNs are legal in Europe (with a few exceptions). However, there are some countries where using a VPN could get you into trouble. Here is a list of countries with a partial or total ban on VPN:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Belarus
  • North Korea
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Iraq
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • Oman

Are VPNs safe to use?

The providers we listed here are safe to use. However, you may need to familiarise yourself with the local laws surrounding VPN usage abroad.

Do VPNs track me?

Not if they have a no-log policy. All VPNs listed here have a no-log policy clearly stated on their websites. But some other VPNs may store information about their users, which could include:

  • the users IP address
  • amount of data used while connected
  • time and duration the user connected to the VPN
  • personal data of the user, including name, payment information, address, email, and more.

Before you sign up, Study the privacy policy of a VPN to ensure they don’t record any of your online activities.

Can I Trust my VPN? 

Not all VPNs can be trusted. Some of them record your online activities, which is totally contrary to why you needed a VPN in the first place. Here are some tips to know if your VPN of choice can be trusted.

  • Company headquarters should be outside a Five or Nine Eyes Jurisdiction: it goes without saying, a VPN provider headquartered in any of the 14 eye countries could be legally compelled to release your data to the authorities. Therefore, most VPNs reviewed here are headquartered offshore in countries with strong privacy laws and no data retention laws.
  • Their Privacy Policy should say Zero Logs: any VPN can claim to uphold their stated privacy policy, but how do you know for sure? The best VPN signals trust by having their zero-log policies independently checked by a third-party auditor.
  • Should use Strong Encryption with the latest encryption methods like AES-256: encryption is a vital component of a VPN. Your VPN provider should be using the latest encryption technology. The gold standard for VPNs is the AES-256-bit encryption.
  • Have a strong track record: the ideal VPN should have a good track record of safety, providing anonymity, and upholding their privacy policy, amongst other promises. For instance, Express VPN didn’t provide logs to the Turkish authorities who seized their server but couldn’t recover any record or customer data.

What Can’t a VPN Do?

VPNs generally do an excellent job of keeping your online presence secure and private. However, it may not be possible for many VPNs to hide all your data. Mainly if they are based in any country that is a member of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliance who could hand over your data to the government if required.

Again, using a VPN doesn’t authorize you to carry out illegal activities online, such as pirating content of visiting sites deemed unlawful in your location. Any online illicit activity without a VPN is just as criminal with a VPN.

Should I use a VPN all the time?

If you want to maintain your privacy and security online, you should always be connected through a VPN. Even if you are using your personal WiFi at home, your ISP could be nosing around your browsing activity, searching for data to sell. The only time you might want to connect without a VPN is when you want to access content that is only available locally. Also, avid online gamers may want to optimize speed by opting for a direct connection. 

FAQ

With news of private data compromise and government involvement in tracking information online, most online users feel unsafe and turn to VPN for security and privacy. 

That’s not all. VPNs also enable access to geo-blocked sites-you can enjoy the restricted content in your region. For businesses, VPN lets workers connect securely from anywhere. Just as if they were in the office.

No-log VPNs claim to never store or track users’ data. And all the VPNs that made our list are in that category. Some of these claims have been validated by external auditors. On the other hand, logging VPNs have no such claims and possibly tracking user data. The risk with logging VPNs is that your data could be harvested and sold to advertisers. 

Yes. A VPN connection can be slower than a connection without the service. But that is not always the case. Typically, a VPN connection passes through many servers and bottlenecks that slow it down. Most top-grade VPNs offer smart connections that discover and connect you to the fastest servers. Again, encrypting and decrypting all that data, especially with the top-grade 256-AES encryption, contribute a bit of lag. 

Still, a VPN connection will actually speed up your connection in some instances. This is because your ISP may throttle your connection due to high traffic at that point in time. With a VPN, your data will be routed through a dedicated server that bypasses the speed constraints of your ISP.