Switzerland is a location that enjoys a lot of online freedoms, but it’s not without its problems. A Swiss VPN can improve your online privacy by encrypting the data coming and going from your devices to reduce the chances of government snooping.
A VPN also spoofs your IP address, switching it to one owned by the VPN provider and concealing yours in the process. This will allow you to unblock Swiss websites from outside of Switzerland – or to access geo-restricted websites and content that isn’t usually available in Switzerland (such as gambling sites).
In this article, we have listed the best VPNs for Switzerland and explained how a VPN can improve your internet privacy – while providing an insight into Swiss surveillance laws and what they mean for you.
What Are The Best Swiss VPN services
We have listed the best VPNs for Switzerland below. If you need more information about any of the services in this list, scroll below for an in-depth summary of each VPN.
To ensure that you get the best Swiss VPN, we have chosen services with the following features:
- Fast servers
- Strong encryption
- Ability to unblock content from around the world
- Swiss IP addresses
Best VPNs for Switzerland | In-depth analysis
We inspect the best VPNs for Switzerland below. If you need any more information about these services, check out our detailed VPN reviews.
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Why you should consider using a VPN in Switzerland
A VPN is an important tool for maintaining a healthy digital footprint. Preventing data about yourself from being constantly hoovered up and disseminated is the only way to protect your digital privacy – because once data has been disseminated it is very hard to claw the situation back.
To help you out, we have outlined some of the reasons why a VPN is so important below:
Privacy laws in Switzerland
Switzerland is somewhat at odds with the rest of Europe when it comes to internet surveillance, data retention, and online piracy. It is not part of the European Union, and for this reason, it is not subject to the EU Data Retention Directive 2006.
Despite this, Switzerland has introduced data retention laws, which came into effect in January 2002:
- Article 15 Federal Law of 6 October 2000 on the monitoring of Posts and Telecommunications (BÜPF).
- Regulation of 31 October 2001 on the monitoring of Posts and Telecommunications (VÜPF).
The Swiss government has far-reaching surveillance powers, and it is a wealthy country that is thought to have a powerful intelligence community. The government even has the right to deploy spyware on citizens for ‘particularly serious offenses.’
Such methods are only permitted when law enforcement authorities have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. Still, there is always a chance that your data could become collateral damage during government investigations.
In January 2013, Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga announced that the government was looking into expanding its surveillance powers to include the ability to monitor Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging (IM) services.
In 2016 there was a bit of good news when Swiss authorities enacted legislation requiring authorities to notify citizens who have been targeted by surveillance. However, in September 2017, a new law was passed that gives the FIS (Federal Intelligence Service) even more power to monitor citizens’ private communications.
Authorities can now tap phones, capture personal emails and text messages, and monitor internet traffic. In fact, authorities can even install malware on citizens’ phones and computers to monitor webcam activity. They can also listen in through a smartphone microphone and steal personal information.
With all of this in mind, there has never been more crucial to use a VPN tunnel to protect your privacy in Switzerland. VPNs are still perfectly legal and ethical to use in Switzerland, and they protect you from third-party eavesdroppers, be they the authorities or hackers.
Unblock gambling websites with a Swiss VPN
Though Switzerland still has a free and open internet, things are starting to change. On 29 September 2017, the Swiss parliament introduced its first major legislation to attempt to filter the internet.
The Money Gaming Act blocks online gambling portals. Taxation and economic concerns motivated the new law. Swiss gambling establishments were losing significant revenue to international online gambling sites. Thus the Money Gaming Act aims to benefit local gambling organizations. However, it could be the forerunner of further legislation that ultimately aims to restrict and filter the web.
Whether you’re a traveler or resident in Switzerland, you have the option to circumvent the government’s censorship of international gambling sites if you want to. However, you will need a highly secure VPN with strong privacy features such as a kill switch. To find out more about this topic, take a look at our VPN for gambling page.
Effects of Piracy
In 2010, the Swiss government commissioned a study on the effects of Piracy. Somewhat to the surprise of copyright enforcement bodies, the study concluded that, despite around a third of the Swiss population being involved in downloading movies and music, there was no negative impact on the amount people spend on entertainment. There may, in fact, be a slight gain.
Results from a Dutch study in 2010 indicated that ‘pirates’ spend more on media, attend more concerts, and visit gaming websites more than ‘non-pirates.’ The Swiss study also concluded that piracy was almost impossible to prevent. The responsibility lays on the entertainment industry to adapt to the new realities if it wishes to survive. The report concluded:
[[post-object type=”blockquote” author=””]]Every time a new media technology has been made available, it has always been “abused”. This is the price we pay for progress. Winners will be those who are able to use the new technology to their advantage and losers those who missed this development and continue to follow old business models.[[/post-object]]
The government decided, in light of this report, that no change in the law was necessary. It also rejected blocking website IPs, arguing that doing so would damage freedom of speech and violate privacy protection laws.
As a result, people are free to torrent in Switzerland, though it is still generally recommended that you conceal your downloads with a VPN to prevent copyright holders from ever being able to track you down to issue you a prospective invoicing letter.
What makes a good VPN for Switzerland?
There are many consumer-facing VPNs on the market and they were not all created equally. The vast majority are unreliable services that overcharge for a service that fails to provide strong privacy levels and reliably unblock websites and services.
In order for a VPN to be suitable for use in Switzerland, it must have certain important features and attributes. Below, we have included a list of all the features our experts looked for when compiling this list of the best VPNs:
- Strong encryption
- A no-logs policy
- Reliable apps for all platforms
- A large network of servers – with servers in Switzerland
- Fast VPN servers that will permit HD streaming and other data-intensive tasks
- Advanced privacy features such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and obfuscation
Setting up and using a VPN for Switzerland
All the VPNs we have recommended in this article have custom apps for all platforms. This makes those VPNs easy to install and use, because there is no manual setup required whatsoever. To explain just how easy it is to start using a VPN, we have included a setup guide below:
- Subscribe to one of our recommended VPNs. Remember: a longer subscription plan will usually save you a lot of money.
- Download the VPN software onto your devices.
- Install the VPN software and log in using your credentials.
- Set up any of the VPN’s advanced features (such as the kill-switch) in the settings menu.
- Choose a VPN server location and click ‘connect‘.
As soon as the VPN connection is established, your entire internet traffic is encrypted – making it impossible for local area networks, WiFi hotspot providers, ISPs, and government agencies to snoop on your data. And you can easily access geo-restricted content and services from right around the world!
For more tips on setting up your VPN, check out our guide to setting up VPN services on all popular platforms.
Can I unblock Swiss streaming services with a VPN?
Yes! As soon as you connect to a VPN server in Switzerland your real IP address (location) is concealed and you appear to be in Switzerland. As a result, you can access any local Swiss website services and streams.
If you are outside of Switzerland and you want to watch any of the TV streams mentioned below, simply choose a Swiss VPN server and click connect. Following that head over to the website to stream the Swiss content you want to watch.
- Rouge TV
- Comedy Central Schweiz
- Star TV
How to get a Swiss IP address
All the Swiss VPN services above have servers based in Switzerland, this means you can get a Swiss IP, just follow the steps below:
- Sign up for a VPN with Swiss servers – All the VPNs in our list have fast and secure servers based in Switzerland.
- Download the VPNs software – All the services above support Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. Private Internet Access has a Linux GUI client too.
- Open the VPN app and select the Swiss VPN server in the server list – The server list will be visible when you open the app.
- Once the VPN is connected, navigate to a Swiss website – You will now be able to access the site and other websites restricted outside Switzerland.
Using VPN servers in Switzerland
It is usually a bad idea to use a VPN service (and servers) located in your own country. Doing so makes it easier for authorities to demand the VPN hand over its logs (which is why it is important to opt for a no-logs VPN provider).
In addition, your data may travel a greater distance in a decrypted format between the VPN server and the real destination server. Thus it’s generally advisable to terminate your VPN connection as close to the destination host as possible.
However, because Switzerland does not require any legal data retention for VPN providers, Swiss users can happily use local servers. And, for people located outside of the country, Switzerland makes an ideal VPN connection endpoint in terms of privacy.
Will a free VPN keep me secure in Switzerland?
While there are many free VPN services available on the market, the reality is that you must avoid the vast majority of these services. We have found most free services to have concerning privacy policies, outdated encryption, unreliable apps, slow servers, critical data leaks, and even apps that contain spyware. Using this kind of free services is putting your data at vast amounts of risk.
The good news is that there are some free VPN plans available on the market that are not dangerous. These are made by premium VPN providers, offering a limited free plan to advertise their service to prospective buyers. This is useful for people who want some limited use of a VPN without paying.
However, please remember they always limit those free plans to make people pay for the full version. The kinds of limitations you can expect are:
- Fewer server locations to choose from (and no servers in Switzerland)
- Slower connection speeds to prevent congestion for other free users
- Monthly download limits (so you can only use the VPN a little each month on a free plan)
These kinds of restrictions will make the VPN much less useful than a full and unrestricted service. Fortunately, you can see the difference for yourself because all the premium VPNs we have recommended in this article have money-back guarantees. So you can test each service without restrictions, and without risking your cash.
Are VPNs legal in Switzerland?
Yes. VPN services are completely legal in Switzerland, and it is not illegal to have a subscription or to install the software on your devices. However, the act of bypassing government blocks of gambling sites is illegal. That is why it is essential to use a strong VPN that provides watertight privacy. For more information about the legalities of using a VPN service, check out our “are VPNs legal guide“.
Can I access Swiss streaming services with a VPN?
Yes. When you connect to a VPN server in Switzerland, you get a valid IP address in that country. This means that you appear to be physically located in Switzerland and can use any online platforms that are usually region locked.
For example, you can access Swiss financial services and internet banking from abroad. You can also use the VPN to watch Swiss TV broadcasts and streaming services while on vacation or traveling for work.
Below, we have included a list of Swiss streaming platforms you can access with a VPN:
- Swisscom TV
- UPC TV
Can I use a VPN to bypass blocks at work in Switzerland?
Yes. When you connect to a VPN server you appear to be outside of the local network. As a result, you can use the VPN without any of the blocks placed on a local network. This is good news if you connect to the internet at work, in school, or on any public wifi network that has implemented blocks.
The nice thing about a VPN is that it also encrypts your data. This prevents the local network administrator from knowing what you are doing online. As a result, you can not only bypass blocks at work but also do so with complete privacy.
Many people use a VPN to watch Netflix or YouTube, access their social media, or play games at work. The only caveat is that you should try to only bypass your workplace’s blocks at lunch or during a legitimate break.
Flouting the rules may get you reprimanded, and while a VPN can stop your boss from detecting that you are accessing restricted websites on a work computer, it cannot stop him or her from walking up behind you and noticing that you are playing Minecraft!
Switzerland VPNs Conclusion
The Swiss government already has robust data surveillance capabilities. While it’s not clear what the future will hold, it seems to be moving towards ever-greater monitoring powers.
The best way to protect your data from third-party eavesdropping and snooping is to encrypt it with a VPN. With one of the best VPNs for Switzerland, you can drastically increase your personal data security and privacy. So, go ahead and try a service now, by clicking on one of the links below:
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Best Swiss VPN services – FAQs
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I use a VPN for online shopping in Switzerland?” answer=”Yes. Using a VPN for online shopping is highly advisable in Switzerland, and in any other country where VPN usage is legal. VPNs will encrypt your online traffic and protect your sensitive data, making you much less exposed to data breaches, cybercrime, and malware. Besides, a VPN can change your IP address, so you get to access even the shopping services which aren’t yet available in your country – and potentially make a better purchase or save money.” /]]
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”What’s the cheapest VPN for Switzerland?” answer=”There are many cheap VPN options that work like a charm in Switzerland. Among the best cheap VPN options for Switzerland, we recommend Surfshark, Private Internet Access, and PrivateVPN – they are all stellar options, but make sure you pick the one that suits your needs the best. These VPNs all offer impressive server networks, top-notch security features, and great speeds, and they cost around two bucks a month if you opt for a long-term subscription.
Of course, there are even cheaper options than these available in Switzerland. But, at ProPrivacy, we never recommend the cheapest service (most of which come at the cost of your security) but the best value for money you can get.” /]]
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I use a proxy service or Tor instead of a VPN in Switzerland?” answer=”Yes, there are plenty of proxy services you can use in Switzerland and Tor is always an option too. However, keep in mind that none of these services offers the security levels that a VPN does.
Proxies, although they can help you bypass some geo-restrictions, don’t encrypt your data and, therefore, leave you exposed to various online threats – viruses, malware, and cybercrime. Besides, most of the time you can’t know who’s in control of a proxy server, or what they’re capable of doing with your data.
Tor, on the other hand, changes your IP address and conceals your data, but, in reality, this only works for browsing. Tor doesn’t extend to your apps, and it’s too slow to support data-intensive sites like streaming platforms. That’s why we always recommend VPNs instead. If you don’t want to give up Tor, however, there are some <a href=’/vpn/comparison/5-best-vpns-when-using-tor’>VPNs that support the service</a>, and even offer a Tor over VPN feature, which combines both for extra security.” /]]