Sweden is an incredible country with beautiful landscapes and amazing cities. Its capital, Stockholm, is built on 14 islands that are connected by more than 50 bridges. The air is fresh and the water is clean, but the internet still has some uglies, so you should use one of our best VPNs for Sweden to protect yourself.
Using a virtual private network is sensible, no matter where you are in the world. Some countries give more reason to, whether it be for harsh speech laws or strict censorship. Read our piece on China to see just how bad it can get. Even when those reasons aren’t as applicable, though, you can still be at risk of online dangers.
The Swedish government does not place many restrictions on internet use, which is in line with its long history of respecting freedom. Sweden was the first country to have a constitutional law. It stamped out censorship and guaranteed freedom of speech, so people could speak their minds without consequence.
During WWII, Sweden was pressured into censoring anything that made the Third Reich look bad and an old law was dug up to prohibit offensive writing. When the war ended, the government scrapped everything and enacted new laws to offer stronger protection.
Sweden is a nation that believes in internet freedom, but even it has limits. Its internet service providers block websites that contain child pornography, which is good, but in recent years the government has turned its focus toward those that infringe on copyright laws.
It is one of the largest consumers of pirated content in the world and known for being the host of the popular torrenting website The Pirate Bay. In 2014, 280 million films and TV shows were streamed or downloaded illegally by Swedes. The reputation that has given Sweden, and the lost revenue from it, has pushed authorities to take action.
A court ruling ordered one of Sweden’s top ISPs, Bahnhof, to provide the personal details of those who infringe on copyright laws. The ISP pointed out the privacy of its customers and is appealing the decision, but the ruling could pave the way for requiring other ISPs to do the same.
There is also the Spridningskollen initiative, which operates on behalf of Scanbox Entertainment, Atlantic, Noble Entertainment and Crystalis Entertainment. It allows them to get personal data through the ISP without a court summons.
Spridningskollen uses special software to check if you’re downloading copyrighted material. If it finds that you are, you can face a fine of up to $250 per violation. There haven’t been many cases stemming from the initiative, but it is still something to note.
The Swedish government respects freedom of speech, but frowns upon hate speech. That includes anything that threatens or expresses contempt for people or groups based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religious belief or sexual orientation.
In May 2018, the Swedish parliament changed the constitution to include transgender people, giving them more protection and strengthening their rights. If found guilty of hate speech, you could be punished with a fine or prison sentence of up to four years.
Privacy and Surveillance in Sweden
Sweden has a long history of privacy laws. Even after Edward Snowden revealed the many surveillance activities governments around the world were involved with, there were no credible reports that Swedish citizens had been monitored without judicial authorization.
OpenNet Initiative, which documents internet filtering and surveillance in countries, doesn’t even have a file on Sweden. It was the first country to enact a data protection law in 1973, but, as a member of the EU, it is still beholden to EU regulations.
In 2006, the EU passed the Data Retention Directive to ensure that national ISPs kept logs of their customers in case they were needed for investigations or prosecutions. The data was to be held for a minimum of six months, but the Swedish government wanted nothing to do with it.
In 2010, Sweden still had not implemented the directive and was taken to court by the European Commission, which wanted the country to be fined for every day it had not been in compliance. Sweden put the directive in place in 2012 after paying a fine of 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to the EC.
After all that, in 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared the Data Retention Directive invalid, stating that it interfered with rights to respect for private life and the protection of personal data. Following the announcement, an ISP, Bahnhof, ordered its technicians to stop storing its customers’ data and destroy existing logs.
It seems that Sweden is prepared to stand its ground on internet freedom and privacy. Even Google’s G Suite was banned because the company breached the nation’s privacy laws. The Swedish government determined that its terms of service gives Google too much discretion over how data can be used and that data protection rights may not be protected.
Still, in 2009, the Act on Signal Surveillance for Defense Intelligence Activities was passed. Also known as the FRA law, it approved surveillance of internet traffic by state authorities. It was controversial because it went beyond the surveillance order outlined by the EC.
The law permits the National Defense Radio Establishment to monitor cross-border, cable-based internet traffic in order to combat external threats, such as terrorism and organized crime. That is only possible after obtaining a court authorization, though.
It just goes to show that even in a country as strong-willed as Sweden, you should make sure you are protected and hidden with a VPN.
Best VPN for Sweden 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for Sweden
While Sweden is not the most dangerous place, you still need to make sure you are protected from online risks, such as cybercrime. Security is almost important if you plan on torrenting, as it will keep you hidden.
You’ll want to pick a provider with good security and a strict no-logs policy. The latter will ensure that there isn’t a record of your online activities.
Speed is also a key factor, especially if you want to torrent and stream. Nobody likes a loading screen, so it’s best to choose one that is fast. Unlimited bandwidth comes in to play, too, as it will allow you to stream and download as much as you like.
You’ll want one that has a great server network, too. The more servers it has in different countries, the better your chances of circumventing blocks. With Sweden, we know not much is restricted, but this will help you bypass geoblocks, as well.
Maybe you’re out of the country and want to catch up on your favorite Swedish program. Choose one with servers in Sweden and you’ll be able to access channels there, such as SVT and TV4. The same can be said for U.S. Netflix, except you’ll need a server in the U.S. to access it.
Other factors you may want to consider are ease of use, devices supported, quality of customer support and price.
Best VPN for Sweden: NordVPN
NordVPN is often a winner here at Cloudwards.net and it checks all the boxes for Sweden. Its security is among the best on the market, with excellent encryption protocols and the option of double-hop servers. It ranks well with privacy, too, as it carries a solid no-logs policy.
Its speeds are good, but it can slow down when connected to distant servers. It’s still fast, though, and will be fine for streaming and most other activities. NordVPN has unlimited bandwidth, as well, meaning you can stream and download as much as you like without hitting a limit.
That, coupled with its win in our best VPN for torrenting piece, makes it the perfect choice if you want to do those activities safely.
Its server network is massive, boasting more than 5,000 in 62 countries, so you should have no problem finding one that suits your needs. That includes 135 in Sweden, so you can access content restricted to there. Read our NordVPN review for more on the service.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
You can use NordVPN on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Setup is quick and easy and it has simple-to-use clients.
If problems arise, you can use the large knowledgebase to help you fix them. If your issue is more complicated, you can contact support through live chat or email. Your best bet is live chat as it will be faster, but the staff is helpful either way.
The monthly rate isn’t bad, and NordVPN offers a lot of value. You would be better off opting for a longer plan, though, as you’ll save money. There’s a 30-day refund, too, in case you don’t like it.
- Gets into Netflix
- Gets into BBC iPlayer
- Lack of detail on server location
CyberGhost has great security, as well as a firm no-logs policy to keep your activities secret.
Like NordVPN, it has good speeds, but can get slow over long distances. Still, it should be fine for most activities, including streaming and torrenting. There is also no limit to how much bandwidth you can use.
It has many servers that cover over 60 countries. There are 50 in Sweden, so you can view content restricted to the region. Read our CyberGhost review for more information.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. You may find that you don’t like the dynamic tile style interface on the desktop version, but it is okay once you get used to it. That said, the mobile apps are good.
Customer support is available if you need it, with an extensive knowledgebase as your first port of call. If doesn’t solve your issue, you can contact a member of staff through live chat or email.
The monthly price is decent, but you’ll save money by opting for a longer subscription. You can make sure you like it by using the seven-day trial. There’s also a 45-day money-back guarantee for extra peace of mind.
- Dynamic tile interface
ExpressVPN is a brilliant provider with excellent security and a strict no-logs policy to keep you protected.
It’s also our fastest VPN, which is great for those who want to stream or torrent. Plus, there are no bandwidth caps to worry about, which is one of the reasons it won in our best VPN for streaming piece, too.
It has lots of servers, but not as may as our other choices. They are in 90 countries, though, which is more than any we’ve seen. There are some in Sweden, too, so you can watch your favorite Swedish TV channels. For a more detailed look at the service, read our ExpressVPN review.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
If you have little experience with VPNs, ExpressVPN is a good choice. It does almost everything for you. All you have to do is select the server you want and make sure you are connected, which can be done easily. You can adjust settings if you want, though.
ExpressVPN is available on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Plus, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox if you want to use them.
If you need help, you can contact customer support through live chat or email. It is slower than other providers, but it’s not too bad and the staff are knowledgeable. Live chat is the quickest option.
A downside to ExpressVPN is its price. It’s much more expensive than its competitors, but it’s worth it for the service you get. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, too, so there’s no harm in trying it.
- 148 locations
- Slow switch time
Private Internet Access has decent security, but it is set to 128-bit encryption by default. You can manually change that to the recommended 256-bit, but doing so will slow the VPN down. The company doesn’t keep a log of your activity.
Its speeds are good, even with the security ramped up, and there are no limits on how much bandwidth you can use.
Its coverage isn’t as wide as other providers, with servers in just 30 countries, but it’s still okay. You shouldn’t have a problem getting into U.S. Netflix, as most of its servers are in the U.S. There are 48 in Sweden, too, so you have plenty to choose from for Swedish content.
That said, it can struggle to get into other streaming services. Read our PIA review for more on that.
Other Reasons We Like PIA
Setup is easy and you can get connected quickly. Clients can be installed on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS and they are simple to use.
Its customer support could be improved, though, because it doesn’t offer live chat. There is a chat button, but clicking it only lets you send a message to support. You’ll still have to wait for a reply via email. That said, responses are thorough, if slow.
The monthly rate is good, but you can reduce it more by signing up for a longer term. There’s a seven-day money-back, in case you don’t like it.
- Gets into U.S. Netflix
- Mediocre server network
- Doesn’t get into most streaming services
- No live chat support
TorGuard has good, customizable security with different protocols to choose from, so it’s a good choice if you like to tinker. Just make sure you know what you’re doing. Your privacy is honored with a no-logs policy, too.
Its speeds are okay, but they can vary, so keep that in mind. To be fair, though, some of that is because of the extra security it has and depends on how you set it up. That said, it will still be able to handle most activities and there are no bandwidth caps to keep an eye on.
As for server coverage, it has over 3,000 in 55 countries, including Sweden, so you should easily find one that suits your needs.
If streaming is on you mind, you should know that the base version isn’t good at getting by some services’ geoblocks. You can use a dedicated IP address for the country you need, though. It comes at an extra cost, but is guaranteed to work. Check out our TorGuard review for more on that.
Other Reasons We Like TorGuard
TorGuard can be used on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The mobile apps can be a pain to set up, though.
There are guides and forums online to help you sort out minor problems. If you still need help after that, you can contact a member of support through live chat. It isn’t always available, though, so you may end up leaving a message and waiting for a reply via email.
Its monthly rate isn’t great, but you can reduce the overall cost by opting for a longer plan. There are add-ons and other deals available, too, so just work out what’s best for you. If you find you don’t like it, there’s a seven-day money-back guarantee to fall back on, as well.
- Large server network
- Blocked by Netflix
- Hard to switch servers
Even though Sweden is the last place you would think you would need a VPN, you can never be completely out of danger. There, you should choose one that has good security and privacy, as well as a decent server network and fast speeds.NordVPN is our best VPN for Sweden because it has top-notch security, decent speeds and many servers to choose from, including plenty in Sweden.
If you have experience using a VPN in Sweden, let us know in the comments. Thank you for reading.