As a country, France appears to be open about internet censorship. However, with the rise in terrorism in France, things are very different than they used to be.
Like any country, the internet can appear to be getting smaller by what you can access.
France is no different, and it doesn’t matter if you are a resident, you will leave a track of your online activities when in the country.
Like other countries, there are restrictions for English TV, or for heading further overseas for US television shows and movies.
This is on top of the filtering on YouTube, and how hard it can be to purchase some things from the Play Store or iTunes because of their trimmed down content.
This is just the tip, and anyone in France is advised to use a VPN to protect their privacy and regain their internet freedom.
Here are five top French VPN services, so you can see how they stack up against each other.
ExpressVPN is a superb choice for streaming any Netflix library and/or for unrestricted P2P torrenting. It has no difficulty streaming HD content and has no delay in playing online.
It has a vast network of optimized servers to ensure high speed, stability, and privacy. They are based in the British Virgin Islands, so they are outside the 14 eyes jurisdiction.
They do not register traffic, DNS queries and use OpenVPN, 256-bit AES encryption, SmartDNS, and the perfect forwarding secrecy.
The apps come complete with a DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and auto-connect features. All the apps are sleek and easy to use.
Device support is extensive and includes Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS, Smart TV’s, Chrome and Firefox extensions, as well as many others.
The most reliable VPN for protecting user data and delivering the way to watch French television online.
CyberGhost is great for new users with easy-to-use, visual applications for all major platforms, from Windows to Mac OS, Android to iOS.
It offers advanced security features such as AES-256 encryption with OpenVPN over TCP, among others.
There are Pre-set streaming modes for Netflix and other streaming services, anonymous torrenting, and secure browsing which allow you to customize the VPN for the purpose with a single click.
It has a growing network of more than 3,000 servers in 59 countries, including more than 200 VPN France located servers.
Cyberghost has a strict no-logs policy, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks.
This ensures your online privacy when you use the VPN. You can connect up to 7 devices to protect the whole family.
Great VPN for new users who seek high levels of security and ease of use
NordVPN is a competitive rival to other providers, with an impressive server network and a true zero-logs policy. This is backed by OpenVPN over TCP and 256-bit AES encryption.
They have optimized streaming servers for video, Tor over VPN, and dual VPN. Along with this are a kill switch and DNS leak protection. This means you get one of the most robust VPN’s for encryption and security.
NordVPN can unblock streaming services such as Netflix and iPlayer, and other websites with geographical restrictions.
They allow unlimited torrenting and come with lax anti-piracy laws being based in Panama. This is outside any 14-eye jurisdiction.
It can run on up to six devices, including Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS, Smart TV’s, and many others.
Reliable VPN provider, which delivers security and allows easy access to blocked sites and services
This is one of the best budget VPN services on the market, but it takes a long tie in period to reach this rate. With unlimited connections, this makes it the best value VPN for French users.
Surfshark only has a small network of 800 servers, so it still has a long way to go to meet the big VPN vendors.
The speeds are good for the size, so there will be little buffering when streaming.
You can unlock US Netflix and other streaming platforms; this may change over time when its IP addresses become known. It also has torrent-friendly servers, and with no leaks, you are safe for downloading.
Surfshark also follows the leading VPNs that offer OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2 along with AES256-bit encryption.
It has a multi-hop feature, its CleanWeb ad blocker. In most cases, it offers as much as some of the competition and can keep users safe.
Delivers tight security with Multi-hop feature that uses more than one server
StrongVPN has a network that spans 26 countries. Their apps run on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS along with install guides for other devices. It delivers high levels of security with L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2 protocols.
It has zero logging, so user security is a primary concern, although Singapore has been seen to aid the 14-eyes in certain circumstances.
Streaming is not as reliable as other VPN’s, but it can unblock US Netflix and the BBC iPlayer.
Download speeds are above average with some areas performing better than others do. Europe and the US being the best performers.
- Lack of features
- Basic apps
The company uses its own secure DNS service rather than a third party.
Are VPN’s Legal in France?
Yes, VPN Francais, are legal to use in France, until the war on terrorism, they have been quite open about internet freedom.
Why You Need a VPN in France
There are a few reasons users of the internet need a VPN service when in France. One of the most simple being the unblocking of content that is geo-blocked.
This can be something as simple as a French person who is out of the country and wishes to catch up on their local TV.
France 2 streaming won’t be possible if they are traveling, but a VPN can help with this.
Add to this US Netflix has a larger library than the French one, and there is the BBC iPlayer which isn’t too far across the water. VPN’s help bypass geo-restrictions.
On a more serious note, in 2014 the French authorities brought in a surveillance law which allowed the collection of information of all documents and communications, which are sent digitally.
This will comprise lists of number called, the receivers of the calls and the time and duration.
On top of this, there was another bill passed that gave even more powers for private service providers for monitoring and analyzing data for suspicious patterns.
With this are retention periods which are extended.
How About a Free VPN for France?
There are countless free VPN’s around, so many individuals wonder why they need to pay. These free services in most cases, are over marketed of their abilities.
The best scenario is they harvest your data and use it for marketing and can bombard you with ads.
Worst case is, they sell your bandwidth, this means you get a slower connection, and if there is any illegal activity, you will be liable.
In France, this is one of the major things that authorities are looking for.
Aside from this, you could end up with malware infections, but you should remember, you will never get the same service from a free VPN France service, as a premium VPN service.
French PS Biometrics Database
In 2016, there was a database created by the French socialist party. This was in response to a national state of emergency and was called TES (Secure Electronic Titles).
This database contains personal and biometric details of almost every person in France. This includes facial pictures, eye color, fingerprints, weight, IP addresses, and their geographical address and location.
The extent of what this database contains makes it illegal. Aside from this, it is used for mass surveillance, and as France is a part of the 9-eyes federation, this information is shared with other nations.
While France has been open about internet freedom, they are now clamping down on illegal activities and terrorism.
A lot of this is without the internet user’s knowledge or consent. Should you use a VPN if you are just visiting France?
Well, Powers are in a place where authorities can seize electronic devices, so if they see something suspicious, anyone can be open to be raided without warning.
It doesn’t matter if an individual lives in France or is just visiting, they are all under the same law, so it is better to take precautions, to prevent becoming another number in illegal databases or being watched while you are carrying out your online activities.