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5 Best VPNs for Spain in 2018 (and some to avoid)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 08:32 AM PST

The best VPNs for Spain.

Whether you're visiting Spain or are a resident of the country, chances are you'd like to get yourself set up with a VPN.

A VPN can give you access to sites that are geo-locked and not typically available in Spain, such as US Netflix and other popular streaming sites. It does this by passing your website traffic through an intermediary server, masking your IP address, and replacing it with one from a server located in a country of your choice. For example, you could mask your Spanish IP and use a US or UK one instead.

Not only does a VPN mask your IP, it also helps to protect your privacy. All traffic is automatically encrypted, so it prevents your ISP or anyone else from snooping on your activity. This is ideal in countries like Spain which are affected by the European Union's mass surveillance of the internet. It is also important if you're traveling and using public wifi because unsecured wifi networks are an ideal place for hackers to lie in wait. A VPN's encryption can ensure criminals don't get their hands on your information.

Considering all the benefits they offer, VPNs are relatively inexpensive and are typically very easy to set up. Although, not all providers offer comparable services and many are simply not worth the investment. Some of the major things to look out for when choosing the right VPN are speed, security, and choice of server locations.

To help you decide, we've put together a list of the best VPNs for Spain based on the following criteria:

  • Operates servers in Spain
  • Can unblock geo-locked content outside of Spain
  • Offers fast and reliable connections
  • Provides strong security
  • Keeps no logs

Note that we have a separate post for Netflix Spain specifically, but this article will look at the best VPNs overall for Spain.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN pricing

ExpressVPN, based in the British Virgin Islands, provides users with access to a network of more than 1,500 servers in 94 countries. In Spain specifically, it has two server locations, Barcelona and Madrid. This provider enables you to unblock Netflix libraries for the US, Canada, the UK, and more. Because Netflix keeps tabs on VPN IP addresses used to access its services, not all servers can facilitate a connection. Contact ExpressVPN's live customer support to find out which servers unblock Netflix.

Aside from Netflix, ExpressVPN provides access to other geo-locked content, including that provided by Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO, and Amazon Prime. Its ability to unblock content and its fast speeds make this provider a top choice for streaming. The speed optimization of all servers also means it's ideal for downloading large files, too.

Of course, there's privacy and security to consider as well, and ExpressVPN scores highly here too. It uses 256-bit AES encryption (considered military grade) and provides perfect forward secrecy. Additionally, DNS leak protection and a kill switch both serve to add additional layers of security.

ExpressVPN maintains a no-logs policy and does not track any user activity. It keeps minimal connection logs but no IP addresses, so session data cannot be traced to an individual user.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and some wifi routers.

TRY IT RISK-FREE: Get 3 months free here with ExpressVPN's annual plan. The deal includes a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee so you'll receive a full refund if unsatisfied.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN.

2. IPVanish

IPVanish discounted plans

IPVanish, a US-based provider, operates a network of over 1,000 servers in more than 60 countries. Unlike some providers, IPVanish owns its servers (as opposed to renting them), so it has maximum control of the traffic running through them. This service works especially well with Kodi and as such is popular among users. It doesn't currently unblock Netflix or Hulu, but you may have luck with other streaming sites.

Like ExpressVPN, IPVanish fairs well on the security front, too. It uses the same 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy and provides DNS leak protection and an optional kill switch. IPVanish has a true zero-logs policy with no traffic or connection logs. A basic plan allows for up to five devices to be connected simultaneously.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

READER DISCOUNT: As a Comparitech reader, you can save up to 60 percent on IPVanish plans.

Read our full review of IPVanish.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN 3 year plan

NordVPN is a Panama-based provider with a focus on privacy. Its network comprises more than 3,300 servers in over 60 countries, including 36 in Spain. For those looking to stream, you're in luck, as NordVPN unblocks US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and more.

Security measures are similar to those we've discussed above including 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. To ensure your privacy, NordVPN keeps absolutely no logs, not even bandwidth data. You can connect up to six devices at a time with a basic package and can opt to connect to specialized servers for specific use cases, such as super-fast streaming.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

SPECIAL OFFER: Take advantage of NordVPN's three-year plan and save a huge 77 percent.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

4. CyberGhost

cyberghost homepage

CyberGhost is a Romania-based provider, which means it's outside of the reach of the mass government surveillance of the 14 Eyes countries. It provides a free service, but this comes with a limited selection of servers and often requires users to wait in a queue to connect. Our recommendation is for the premium option, CyberGhost Pro. With this, you have access to a growing network of servers, currently almost 1,300 in 57 countries. More than 30 of these are located in Spain.

Since the company recently changed ownership, there has been a large focus on improving the unblocking capabilities provided with the service. CyberGhost can unblock US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime. The VPN client enables you to select the streaming service you want and will automatically connect you to the right server, saving time and (potentially) frustration.

This provider follows suit on the security front with 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. It keeps no logs of user activity and no connection logs that can be tied to an individual user. With a CyberGhost Pro plan, you can connect to up to five devices simultaneously.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

SAVE OVER 70%: Sign up for two years and save more than 70 percent.

Read our full review of CyberGhost.

5. PrivateVPN

privatevpn deal

PrivateVPN, based in Sweden, is a relatively new addition to the VPN market, but this isn't holding it back. It does operate a smaller network of servers than others on the list but still covers more than 50 countries. Plus, PrivateVPN boasts some excellent speeds which definitely makes it worth more than a second look. Add to its speed the ability to unblock sites like US Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and BBC iPlayer, and you've got yourself a great option for streaming.

This provider can compete on the security side of things, too. It provides strong encryption (126- or 256-bit depending on the chosen protocol) and perfect forward secrecy. Plus, you have a kill switch and DNS leak protection for additional backup. It maintains a strict no-logging policy to ensure the privacy of users. A PrivateVPN plan will enable you to connect up to five devices simultaneously.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Get a 67 percent discount here, plus five months extra free.

Read our full review of PrivateVPN.

Can I use a free VPN for Spain?

While you're browsing VPN providers, you'll no doubt come across a ton of free offers. These can certainly be tempting, but they typically don't provide the level of service you'd expect and need from a VPN. What's more, many providers are untrustworthy and have ulterior motives behind their services.

One of the major issues with free providers or free versions of paid services is that they offer a diluted version of the 'real deal.' Long wait times to access servers and slow speeds once you're connected can make for a frustrating browsing experience.

If you're looking to stream content, you may run into issues. Free VPNs typically have a small number of servers available so finding one in the country of your choice might be difficult, and again, you might have to wait in line behind other users.

There are also concerns with free providers from the standpoint of security and privacy. They're usually looking to make money somehow, so if they're not charging you for their service, it's likely they're profiting off you in some other way. This may include logging your activity, presenting ads while you browse, or enabling tracking cookies on your browser. Worst of all, some free VPN apps have been found to carry malware.

VPNs to avoid

There are so many providers out there vying for your business, and as mentioned some are simply not worth it. In case you decide to look elsewhere than our recommended top five above, here are a couple you may want to avoid.

PureVPN

PureVPN has been receiving some pretty bad press of late, notably reports of an FBI case in which its logs were used to track down an internet stalker. Clearly, we don't condone the actions of the criminal, but the case brought to light the issue that PureVPN may not have as strict a logging policy as it claims. It doesn’t track user activity directly, but according to the reports surrounding the case, it records timestamps and IP addresses. When used in combination with other data from third parties, this information can be used to tie activity to an individual.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is another provider that has been at the receiving end of some not-so-great press. It has been accused of profiting from users by redirecting them to affiliate sites. Privacy advocate group, the Centre for Democracy and Technology even filed a complaint with the FTC against Hotspot Shield in 2017. As such, it's probably not a provider you want to be involved with, wherever you are in the world.

Spain privacy laws

Countries in Europe are subject to the Data Retention Directive. This requires ISPs to collect certain data about users, such as source and destination IP addresses, timestamps, and location information. In Spain, this is implemented via the Spanish Law 25/2007. Data is stored for 12 months as standard, but could be stored for up to two years in some cases.

Spain is one of the 14 Eyes countries, and is subject to government surveillance collaboration between 14 countries, including the US, Australia, and the UK. These factors could offer reason for visitors or residents to employ the use of  VPN, which is perfectly legal in the country.

Recently, there have been reports of the Spanish government breaching EU laws by blocking certain websites due to political motivations. So residents in particular have another reason to employ the use of a VPN.

Is torrenting legal in Spain?

Torrenting copyrighted material is illegal in Spain and in 2011 the government adopted strict anti-piracy laws in an attempt to block offending sites. Despite this, reports in 2015 claimed that 88% of downloaded material in Spain was illegal. This made it one of the worst countries in Europe in terms of pirated content.

The country has continued to struggle with the issue and announced a new anti-piracy campaign at the end of 2016. There was a reported drop, albeit a small one, in illegal downloading that year.

Notably, Spanish courts ordered ISPs to block PirateBay in 2015, although this site is still accessible using a VPN.

Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading copyrighted material without permission.

"Spain Flag" by M W licensed under CC BY 2.0

The post 5 Best VPNs for Spain in 2018 (and some to avoid) appeared first on Comparitech.