Guide: Watching ZDF Using a VPN Outside Germany

Want to watch content outside of Germany with a ZDF VPN? Then this article is for you! We’ll guide you through how to unblock content on the ZDF website and app from anywhere in the world, with a VPN.

Not only does a VPN for ZDF provide a straightforward way to access the ZDFmediathek app from the US and elsewhere, but it gives you more security online. You can stream your favorite German TV shows in peace, knowing that no third parties can see what you’re doing.

Here’s everything you need to know about using a VPN for ZDF – made easy!

Other Great Streaming VPNs

How Can I Watch ZDF Outside Germany?

If you’re a fan of German media, you’ll know that ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) is only available in Germany, meaning that even if you download the ZDFmediathek app, you’ll be unable to use it outside of the country.

Fortunately, where there’s a will, there’s a way! With a VPN service, you can watch live ZDF broadcasts via the ZDF website or the app. First of all, you’ll need to set up an account with one of the VPNs from the list below.

create account

After creating your VPN account, download the necessary VPN installation files for your device. The download and setup process should be fairly easy, assuming you use a VPN with native apps for systems like Windows and Mac.

download the vpn

Once you’ve installed the VPN, you need to open up the app and find the server list.

server list

Connect to a server in Germany to get a German IP address.

Connect to German server When you are connected to the server, either open the ZDFmediathek & Live TV app or visit the website and log into your account.

login mein zdf

You should now be able to watch ZDF from wherever you are in the world!

VPNs that Unblock ZDF

Not all VPNs will help you watch ZDF outside Germany, but we’ve found those that do. Below are the best VPNs for unblocking ZDF and other streaming sites including Netflix Germany and Rakuten TV.

#1

VPN Service: NordVPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: 6
OS support: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Boxee Box, Chromecast, ChromeOS, FireOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Roku, Windows
Streaming: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouSee, DR TV, Disney+, Plex, Kodi, NBC, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, TV Player, HBO Go, HBO Max, Apple TV
Browser Extentions: Firefox, Safari, Chrome

Pros:

  • proiconFast connection
  • proiconZero-log policy
  • proiconMore than 5000 worldwide servers

Cons:

  • coniconFew payment options
  • coniconSplit tunneling unavaible
  • conicon6 Devices Maximum

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

NordVPN

The best VPN to watch ZDF outside Germany is, without a doubt, NordVPN. NordVPN has an extensive server network consisting of more than 5,100 servers worldwide. Over 240 VPN servers are based in two German cities, providing users with countless German IP addresses.

NordVPN is an excellent VPN for watching ZDF since it offers fast and stable speeds. Not only this, but NordVPN uses obfuscation on its servers to hide VPN use, making it easier for users to bypass firewalls on streaming sites and enjoy geo-restricted content.

Not only does NordVPN provide access to ZDF, but it can unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime Video Germany. Moreover, NordVPN works with all popular devices, including streaming systems such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV. Therefore, you can watch ZDF at all times on your favorite devices.

NordVPN offers six simultaneous connections per VPN subscription. This means you can use NordVPN on one device to stream ZDF without restrictions and install it on another device to access your online bank account or work documents securely.

In terms of security, NordVPN offers 256 bit AES encryption and DNS leak protection. This means your streaming activity on ZDF will remain private since no third parties will be able to see your internet traffic, and your DNS requests will remain confidential. For extra privacy, you can connect to a German server via Nord’s Double VPN servers, which change your IP address twice.

Finally, NordVPN employs a no-logs policy meaning it won’t store any data related to your activity on the Virtual Private Network.

Price Starting At: 3.29 $ / monthly 39.48 $ / annually
For New Users: 30 days free trial + 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 5400+
#2

VPN Service: Surfshark VPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: Unlimited
OS support: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows
Streaming:
Browser Extentions:

Pros:

  • proiconUnlimited simultaneous connections
  • proiconUnblocks streaming services
  • proiconBased in privacy-friendly country

Cons:

  • coniconNo phone support
  • coniconNo 12 month plan
  • coniconFew payment methods

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

Surfshark VPN

The next best VPN for watching ZDF from anywhere in the world is Surfshark VPN. With Surfshark, you can watch ZDF live streams as much as you want, thanks to its unlimited bandwidth and excellent unblocking capabilities.

Surfshark VPN has 3,200 servers with German servers in Berlin and Frankfurt. This means users can hide their real IP address by masking it with an IP from Germany and watch as much German content on ZDF as they wish to. Internet users can also watch Netflix Germany and other German-restricted streaming sites.

Every Surfshark VPN plan comes with unlimited simultaneous connections meaning users can install it on multiple devices at one time. There is support for mobile devices, streaming devices, and desktop computers, meaning you can watch ZDF on a streaming device or other suitable platforms.

Aside from helping users stream ZDF from anywhere, Surfshark VPN offers excellent online security and privacy. It provides secure connections thanks to advanced encryption, private DNS on all its servers, and secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN. The premium VPN also has a strict no-logs policy to ensure that none of your VPN activity on the ZDF site or elsewhere is shared with third parties.

One of the best things about Surfshark is that it is easy to install and set up the VPN software on any device. The Surfshark VPN app is extremely user-friendly, making it easy to connect and disconnect to a German server at any time. Overall, Surfshark is one of the best VPN providers for both novices and VPN experts alike.

Price Starting At: 2.49 $ / monthly 29.66 $ / annually
For New Users: 30 -day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 3200+
#3

VPN Service: CyberGhost VPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: 7
OS support: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Roku, Windows, Xbox 360
Streaming:
Browser Extentions:

Pros:

  • proiconLocated in privacy-friendly Romania
  • proiconAccepts Bitcoin as a payment option
  • proiconNoSpy server network

Cons:

  • coniconLimited Netflix unblocking capability
  • coniconNo phone support
  • coniconUses virtual servers

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

CyberGhost VPN

Another good VPN service for streaming ZDF in the US and other parts of the world is CyberGhost VPN. CyberGhost has one of the largest VPN server networks in the world, with more than 7,700 servers worldwide. It offers over 990 servers in 3 German cities, meaning you have plenty of German IP addresses at your disposal and won’t need to endure the dreaded error message when trying to watch ZDF.

CyberGhost provides users with a fast VPN connection and comes with unlimited bandwidth; this makes it a great VPN for watching ZDF and other streaming services without enduring buffering or low video quality.

Its advanced encryption keeps you safe and hides your activity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to prevent ISP throttling while watching ZDF; this is when your ISP purposefully slows down your internet connection when you’re carrying out a heavy-bandwidth activity like streaming.

As well as offering advanced encryption, CyberGhost comes with other great security features like its automatic kill switch. If the VPN drops, this springs into action, meaning that your ZDF streaming and any other internet activity won’t be exposed.

Every CyberGhost VPN plan comes with 7 device connections, and there is support for many devices. With CyberGhost, you can stream ZDF on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, as well as a host of TV streaming devices like Amazon Firestick.

If you’re a first-time CyberGhost VPN user, then you can take advantage of a super-long 45-day money-back guarantee. This allows you to try out CyberGhost VPN with no strings attached and get a full refund if they aren’t impressed with the offered services.

Price Starting At: 2.25 $ / monthly 29.25 $ / annually
For New Users: 45 -day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 7200+
#4

VPN Service: ExpressVPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: 5
OS support: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows
Streaming:
Browser Extentions:

Pros:

  • proiconPlenty of payment methods
  • proicon24 hours live chat support
  • proicon30 days money back guarantee

Cons:

  • coniconMore expensive than competitors
  • coniconOnly 5 simultaneous connections
  • coniconNo servers in Russia

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

ExpressVPN

If you want to watch ZDF and maintain your privacy online, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice. Not only does it allow users to connect to a German server to watch ZDF Germany, but it also comes with advanced encryption and DNS leak protection.

Streaming speeds are extremely fast, in large part thanks to the Lightway protocol. This is Express’ proprietary security protocol, which is based on WireGuard to offer extremely fast speeds.

Although there are only 5 simultaneous device connections per ExpressVPN plan, there is support for various operating systems. You can install ExpressVPN on your Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, and various other devices. You’ll be able to watch ZDF on all of your devices.

ExpressVPN is a great service for watching many streaming services across the world; it can unblock international streaming catalogs, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus in Germany. Moreover, ExpressVPN can provide access to geo-restricted websites, social media networks, and more.

The ExpressVPN app is easy to use, albeit a bit basic in design. However, setup is simple, and ExpressVPN even offers a VPN applet for routers, meaning you can use the VPN on your router without any difficulty and unblock ZDF on your entire network.

Price Starting At: 6.67 $ / monthly 99.95 $ / annually
For New Users: 30 days free trial + 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 3000+
#5

VPN Service: IPVanish VPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: Unlimited
OS support: Amazon Fire TV, Android, ChromeOS, FireOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Streaming:
Browser Extentions:

Pros:

  • proiconUnlimited simultaneous connections
  • proicon24/7 customer support
  • proiconUnblocks Netflix

Cons:

  • coniconBased in US (Five Eyes)
  • coniconLimited payment options
  • coniconDoesn't unblock BBC iPlayer

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

IPVanish VPN

IPVanish makes watching ZDF from the US and elsewhere easy. It offers 56 servers in Frankfurt, Germany. This means users can easily connect to a server in the country, change their IP address, and unblock geo-restricted German content.

Not only are there servers in Germany, but IPVanish offers more than 2,000 servers in other locations, with access to over 400,000 shared IP addresses. This means content on streaming sites such as HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Hayu is accessible regardless of your location.

IPVanish is one of the best VPN services for Kodi; this means you can watch ZDF Germany on the Kodi platform by using the add-on. Best of all, since there are no data caps, you can watch as much media content as you want to.

Like Surfshark, IPVanish also comes with unlimited device connections. There is support for multiple operating systems, including streaming platforms such as Amazon Firestick TV and Android TV, meaning you have plenty of choices on where to watch ZDF.

If you are new to the world of VPNs, then IPVanish is an excellent choice due to the 24/7 customer support it has on offer. The website offers a range of support guides, a live chat on the website, a customer service email address, and even a US-based telephone line. In short, if you need any help whatsoever, you’ll be able to find it thanks to IPVanish’s various customer support options.

Price Starting At: 4 $ / monthly 47.99 $ / annually
For New Users: 30 days free trial + 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 1600+
#6

VPN Service: PureVPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: 10
OS support: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, ChromeOS, FireOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Streaming:
Browser Extentions:

Pros:

  • proiconLarge server network
  • proicon31 day money-back guarantee
  • proiconAudited privacy policy

Cons:

  • coniconNo phone support
  • coniconExpensive monthly plan
  • coniconDoesn't work with all streaming sites

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

PureVPN

Another VPN service with an extensive server network is PureVPN. The VPN consists of 6,500 servers in over 78 countries, including Germany. Best of all, PureVPN offers dedicated streaming services which are optimized for the best speeds when watching ZDF and Netflix Germany.

Not only is PureVPN a great option for streaming, but it also offers P2P-enabled servers. This means you can enjoy fast downloads and hide your torrenting activity. PureVPN comes with excellent security features such as advanced encryption and strong tunneling protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2, which keep your download activity private.

As well as the above, PureVPN operates a strict no-logging policy. This means your use of the VPN to watch ZDF Germany won’t be recorded anywhere and ensures that no one knows what you get up to when using the VPN.

There are 10 device connections per plan, which means that you can watch ZDF on multiple devices at once. The app is easy to set up, and users can purchase app add-ons for a small fee, such as a dedicated IP address and port forwarding, which is helpful for fast streaming and torrenting speeds.

Price Starting At: 2.91 $ / monthly 44.95 $ / annually
For New Users: 31 -day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 6500+
#7

VPN Service: Private Internet Access VPN

Simultaneous connections / Users: 10
OS support: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows
Streaming:
Browser Extentions:

Pros:

  • proiconLarge server network
  • proiconSupport for torrenting on all servers
  • proiconBitcoin as payment option

Cons:

  • coniconLimited features
  • coniconBased in US (Five Eyes)
  • coniconNetflix access issues

Capabilities:

  • cross iconUnlimited Bandwidth
  • cross iconKill Switch
  • cross iconSplit Tunneling
  • cross iconZero Data Logging
  • cross iconFree Version / Trial
  • cross iconMobile App
  • cross iconBrowser Extention
  • cross iconNetflix Approved
  • cross iconFirestick Compatible

Private Internet Access VPN

Rounding up our list of the best VPNs for ZDF is Private Internet Access (PIA). Although PIA doesn’t disclose how many servers it operates in Germany, it has a fair few based in the European country. As well as this, PIA has servers in 78 other countries, meaning users aren’t limited by geo-blocks on the web.

One of PIA’s biggest selling points is its variety of advanced features. These include split tunneling, built-in ad and malware blocking, and the option to purchase a dedicated IP address. There is also flexibility when it comes to adjusting encryption levels and choosing encryption protocols. PIA offers both AES-128 and AES-256 bit encryption as well as many VPN protocols. This means you can adjust connection speeds which is ideal for streaming on ZDF.

You can use PIA on many different operating systems. There are 10 device connections per plan, meaning you can protect all of your devices at once; moreover, you can even enjoy the VPN’s lightweight browser extensions if you just want to unblock ZDF in your internet browser.

All PIA plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can get a full refund before the end of the first month if you don’t like the VPN service.

Price Starting At: 2.69 $ / monthly 40 $ / annually
For New Users: 30 -day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 25170+
Table of content

Stop Bandwidth Throttling on ZDF with a VPN

A great reason to use a VPN for ZDF is to improve your streaming connection. If you live in Germany, you may have noticed that your ZDF streams buffer. This is most likely due to ISP bandwidth throttling, which is when your network provider slows down your connection on purpose.

By activating a VPN connection, you can prevent bandwidth throttling since the VPN hides your streaming data. This means your ISP won’t know you’re consuming a lot of data on a streaming site and can result in a smoother streaming experience free from interruptions.

Is ZDF Free?

One of the great things about ZDF (and a reason it is so popular) is that it is a free platform full of excellent German TV shows and films. Unlike Netflix Germany, you don’t need to pay a monthly subscription fee to use the platform and watch a lot of streaming content. However, the only catch is that it isn’t available outside of Germany.

Fortunately, with a VPN, you can unblock ZDF and enjoy the platform for free outside of Germany. To get a ZDF account, you don’t need to provide proof of German residency, meaning international users can also set up an account and access the free media library.

Why Does ZDF Block Me?

Occasionally, you may access the ZDF website or app and see a message in German that states “For legal reasons, this contribution can only be shown in Germany.” ZDF error message

If you see this error message it could be due to a few reasons. Firstly, your VPN may not be connected. This means ZDF is detecting your real IP address and blocking your access. Check your VPN connection and connect to a German server to change your virtual location.

Another reason could be that ZDF has your VPN use and is blocking your access. Sometimes, streaming services can detect IP addresses linked to VPNs and automatically block them. Switch to another VPN server to fix this.

Finally, your VPN could be leaking. Check whether or not you’re experiencing a DNS or IP leak by using a leak checker. If this is the case, you may need to get a new VPN service (check out the ones listed above!) or clear cookies in your browser before running another leak test.

Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch ZDF?

There are plenty of free VPNs that claim to work with streaming services like ZDF, but we don’t recommend using all of them. Free VPN services often offer a lack of server locations and slow speeds which can affect streaming performance.

Fortunately, there are a couple of free VPNs we recommend for watching ZDF outside Germany. These are Tuxler and Hola VPN. These two VPNs are commonly used for unblocking geo-restricted streaming sites since they are community VPNs. This means your data is sent via another user’s device and guarantees faster speeds and greater unblocking capabilities.

The only downside to these two free VPNs for ZDF is that they offer reduced privacy protection. Your activity may be exposed to third parties and could be logged. However, if your only goal is to unblock ZDF, then Tuxler and Hola VPN are great free alternatives.

Free VPNs for ZDF

Is it Illegal to Use a VPN for ZDF?

No, it is not illegal to use a VPN for ZDF. However, it may go against the broadcaster’s terms of service, and if you are caught, you may be banned from reaccessing the streaming platform.

The best way to ensure that you aren’t caught and blocked from ZDF for using a VPN is to get one of the premium services from the list above. All of the VPNs on our list make it easy to unblock ZDF and use special features like obfuscation to hide the VPN use from websites.

The Bottom Line

A VPN for ZDF is necessary if you don't live in Germany. However, not all VPNs have strong unblocking capabilities so it is best to stick to the recommended VPNs above for guaranteed access to ZDF.
Pros

Pros

  • Get a Germany IP address
  • Watch ZDF anywhere
  • Stop ISP throttling
Cons

Cons

  • VPNs can sometimes slow down speeds
  • ZDF may block VPN IP addresses
  • Free VPNs aren't great with ZDF

FAQs

Can I watch German TV with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch ZDF and other German streaming services with a VPN. A VPN changes your IP address, making it appear as though your data is coming from Germany.

Can I watch ZDF in UK?

Yes, you can watch ZDF in the UK with a VPN. Simply connect to a German server with a VPN, and bypass the ZDF geo-block.

Is ZDF on Roku?

Yes, you can get ZDF on Roku and access ZDF content on your Roku media player.

Author Madeleine Hodson

Hi, I'm Madeleine. I'm a British writer with a global background, currently based in the UK. I have always been interested in the online world and how it connects people worldwide. My keen interest in the internet led me to ...
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PrivacySharks » 10 Best VPN Services of 2022 » Guide: Watching ZDF Using a VPN Outside Germany
Last updated: June 27, 2022