While visiting Spain, you can bask in the beauty of its beaches, marvel at its famous architecture and sample wine at one of its many vineyards. Don’t forget to take a well-earned siesta between all that, though, and remember to keep yourself safe online while you’re there with our best VPN for Spain.
While many countries practice strict censorship, the Spanish government does not restrict access to most websites. Social media is freely available, as well as most other content and services. For a look at how bad censorship can get, read our piece on the Great Firewall of China.
The government has been known to block content that voices political opinions it doesn’t agree with, though. That has mostly been in response to activist groups promoting the Catalan independence referendum.
Torrenting copyrighted material is illegal in Spain and, in 2011, the government introduced tough anti-piracy policies to block offending websites. Our best VPN for Germany guide shows another country with strict piracy rules.
Despite Spain’s efforts, it was reported in 2015 that 88 percent of downloaded material in the country was illegal, making it one of the worst countries in Europe for pirated content. You may find that certain torrent websites are blocked, though. The Pirate Bay has been blocked since 2015, for example.
The Spanish constitution provides for freedom of speech and the government respects those rights, though there are exceptions. For instance, publishing content that the government considers to be glorifying or supporting terrorism is prohibited.
The law also states that hate speech directed at religion, race or ethnic group, sex or sexual orientation, disability and certain other groups or associations may be punished with a sentence of imprisonment for up to three years.
In 2016, the government tried to ban internet memes that appeared to mock politicians. It wanted to put a halt to the “spreading of images that infringe on the honor of a person.” Free speech campaigners criticized the proposal and the law was never passed.
Surveillance in Spain
While Spain claims it doesn’t participate in government surveillance, it is subject to the European Union’s regulations, which, at one point, had the Data Retention Directive in place. It required ISPs to collect certain user data, including source, destination IP address, location and timestamps. Reports suggest that there is some form of monitoring, too.
One example is Cassandra Vera, a 21-year-old student in Murcia who made jokes on Twitter that were seen as glorifying terrorism. She was found guilty of humiliating victims of terrorism and consequently given a 12-month suspended sentence and barred from doing a publicly-funded job for seven years. Lucky for her, the sentence was overturned later.
With that in mind, be careful what you post online. You don’t want to share an opinion or joke that leads to the authorities coming after you.
Best VPN for Spain 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for Spain
Most virtual private network providers include the same features, but some are better than others and there is the odd unique one. You want to make sure the one you choose has the best qualities for Spain. You need one that has good security, so that you are protected from online dangers, such as cybercrime, and hidden from surveillance.
A no-logs policy is also important as it will ensure your online activities are not recorded. If you like to torrent, it’s an especially useful feature to have.
You want a VPN with a good server network that covers as many countries as possible. That will help you bypass restrictions and geoblocks. If you want to access content restricted to Spain, you’ll need servers located there, too.
Speed is another big factor. A loading screen won’t keep you entertained for long, and if you want to torrent or stream, it’s a must have. Unlimited bandwidth is just as important as speed because without it the VPN would stop working once you reached the cap and leave you vulnerable.
Other features to keep in mind when you make your decision are the devices it supports, how easy the clients are to use and price.
Best VPN for Spain: NordVPN
NordVPN often earns a spot in the limelight at Cloudwards.net because of its great service. You can rest assured in the knowledge that you’re covered by its excellent security, including double-hop servers if you choose to use them. They basically encrypt the VPN tunnel twice over. You are also protected by a solid no-logging policy.
It boasts over 5,000 servers in 62 countries, giving you plenty of options for circumventing blocks. Forty are in Spain, so you can access content restricted to the country, as well.
Speeds are good, but you may find it slows down if you’re connected to a server that’s far away. That said, there are no limits on how much bandwidth you can use, which helped NordVPN top our best VPN for torrenting piece. Read our NordVPN review for more.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
After a smooth installation, you should be connected in minutes. It can be used on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
Customer support is available via live chat and email. Live chat is the quickest to respond and the staff is knowledgeable. There’s also a large knowledgebase for you to look at if you want to try to solve the issue yourself.
Opting for NordVPN’s monthly plan is not the best idea. It gives you value for your money, but you’d be much better off going for a longer term as you’ll save more. If you try it and decide you don’t like it, you can get a refund within the first 30 days.
- Priced well
- Lack of detail on server location
ExpressVPN is another favorite at Cloudwards.net and has similar qualities to NordVPN, as you can read in our head-to-head article. The service it provides is excellent, with great security that can be increased if needed. There’s a strict no-logs policy to ensure your activities stay under the radar, too. Read our ExpressVPN review to see why we like it so much.
It has over 2,000 servers in 94 countries. Though that isn’t as many as some of its competitors have, it has the widest coverage area of any provider in our VPN reviews. That includes servers in Barcelona and Madrid, so you can get Spanish content.
You’ll have no issues with speed as its the fastest VPN available and there are no bandwidth caps to worry about. Those features make it a good choice for torrenting and streaming, and they helped it come in first in our best VPN for streaming piece, too.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has easy-to-use clients that are perfect for beginners, but their settings can still be tweaked if you are more knowledgeable. They are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Plus, there are browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
You can contact customer support 24/7 through live chat and email. Live chat will get you the fastest response, but it is slower than other providers. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, though, and aims to get you sorted quickly.
Its monthly rate it quite high compared to its rivals’, but it is worth it for the quality of service you get. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
- 148 locations
- Easy to use
- Slow switch time
CyberGhost has great security, with AES 256-bit encryption out of the box. It also has specialized secure servers for extra protection. No logs are kept by the company, ensuring your privacy is honored.
There are over 2,000 servers spread across 62 countries, including 90 in Spain, which is the most we’ve seen.
Speeds are good, but, like NordVPN’s, they can slow down when connecting over long distances. They should be fine for most activities, though, and there are no bandwidth caps. Our CyberGhost review goes into more detail.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
Desktop clients are available for Windows and macOS, though the dynamic tile interface could be better. There are also mobile apps for Android and iOS.
For problems that pop up, you can use the extensive knowledgebase for help solving them. If you’re still stuck after that, you can speak to a member of staff through live chat or email. Live chat it the fastest route, but support is good either way.
CyberGhost’s monthly plan is affordable but its other plans work out better in the long run. There’s a seven-day trial you can take advantage of to make sure you are happy with the service, as well as a 45-day money-back guarantee for if you find you don’t like it further down the line.
- Dynamic tile interface
Private Internet Access doesn’t have the features that the other providers do, but it’s still a good choice for Spain. Its security is capable, but the default setting is 128-bit encryption. You’ll need to change the settings manually to get the recommended 256-bit, but doing so will slow down your connection. As with the others, no usage logs are kept.
It has over 3,000 servers in 28 countries. That’s not as widespread as our other choices, but it should be enough to bypass restrictions. It’s also good for accessing U.S. Netflix as most of its servers are located in the U.S. There are 12 servers in Spain, as well, meaning you can access content from there.
PIA excels in speed, but that’s mainly down to the lighter encryption it uses by default. As we said, it will slow down if you ramp the security up. Still, it should be fine for most activities and it doesn’t impose limits on bandwidth use.
Other Reasons We Like PIA
You can set it up on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The clients are straightforward and will get you connected fast.
Do not be fooled by the live chat button if you need help, though, as it will just send an email. There is no live chat, but we tested the help in our PIA review and found the response to be thorough, if slow.
It redeems itself in cost, though, as it has one of the best month-to-month plans on the market. That said, you can still save money by opting for a longer subscription and there’s a seven-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind.
- Easy, quick server switching
- Mediocre server network
- No live chat support
Our final recommendation for Spain is VyprVPN, which has good security and its own Chameleon protocol to provide even more protection. It doesn’t keep logs, so you can be sure your online activities are kept secret. Read our VyprVPN review for more details.
It doesn’t have as many servers as our other choices, but covers over 60 countries, meaning you still have a good chance of getting around restrictions. Plus, it has servers in Madrid for Spanish content.
It’s not the fastest VPN, but it isn’t the slowest, either, and you don’t need to worry about hitting a bandwidth limit.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
Clients are available for many devices, with desktop versions for Windows and macOS and mobile versions for Android and iOS. The desktop versions don’t have the best layout, but they’re still decent and you can get connected in minutes.
A handy FAQ is available to help you with simple problems. If you need more help, you can speak to a member of support through live chat or email. The latter is best for more technical issues because you’ll get a more thorough answer, but either way is good.
It’s monthly price is affordable, but you’ll save money by subscribing to a longer period. There isn’t a refund policy, though. Instead, the first three days act as a free trial, which should give you enough time to see if you like it.
- Chameleon protocol
- Three-day trial
- Network disappoints
- No refund policy
Now you know why you should use a VPN in Spain and what features are most important. You need to choose one that has great security and honors your privacy. It should also have a large server network you can use to circumvent blocks, as well as good speeds and unlimited bandwidth caps.
We’ve chosen NordVPN as our best VPN for Spain because it has excellent security and a massive server network. It’s a great choice, and, with the 30-day refund, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try it.
If you have experience using a VPN in Spain, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.