Portugal is certainly one of the more privacy-minded countries in Europe, protecting its citizens' right to free speech and imposing very few restrictions. Despite this reputation, however, folks may still have trouble accessing P2P sites and streaming content from abroad – but don't despair! A VPN is an ideal tool to circumnavigate these roadblocks.
In this guide, we list the best VPNs for Portugal and explain the benefits of using one in the country.
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A VPN – or virtual private network – conceals your original IP address and assigns you a new, temporary one based elsewhere. Additionally, a VPN encrypts all incoming and outgoing traffic from your device. These tools enable you to browse the web securely and without pesky geo-restrictions imposed by your workplace, ISP, or government.
What are the best VPNs for Portugal?
We've highlighted 5 of the very best VPNs for Portugal below. Keep reading to check out our detailed VPN summaries.
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Before a VPN makes it into our top 5, however, it has to meet some critical criteria:
We've run through all the details below, so keep scrolling!
Best 5 VPNs for Portugal – looking in-depth
We take a closer look at the best VPNs for Portugal below. Our VPN picks can provide access to services from around the world as well as sidestep surveillance from your school or work, ISP, or government. If you still need more information, check out our detailed VPN reviews.
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Why do you need a VPN in Portugal?
With so much of our lives taking place in the digital realm, it's never been more important to stay safe online – and a VPN is a simple, reliable way of doing so. A VPN secures your browsing sessions and keeps your data private and anonymous. What's more, a VPN is your ticket to content that's usually geo-restricted!
Sites and streaming services can examine your IP address to get a rough idea of where you are in the world. Armed with this information, they can then grant or deny you access to content, as a result of licensing agreements or legal requirements – and this is what's known as a geo-restriction. You can bypass these website blocks with a VPN, however.
In order to do this, a VPN conceals your original IP address and assigns you a new one based on the location of the server you connect to. Anyone living in Portugal who wants to see what's new on US Netflix would simply need to connect to a VPN server in the United States and refresh the site! Then, Netflix will assume you're in the US, too, and grant you access to its American library of content.
But wait... there's more!
A VPN is a handy piece of kit for folks in Portugal wanting to bypass blocks, or anyone traveling outside of the country who wants to log into sites as usual – but that's not all a VPN can do!
Stay secure, stay private
We take to the web every day and share all sorts of personal information; we make social media posts, we make purchases, and input passwords and addresses. This convenience has a consequence, however. Plenty of cybercriminals target this data for their own unsavory ends, and your ISP – as well as you government – can track your online activity. VPN encryption puts a stop to this, and makes your data unreadable even if a crook manages to get their hands on it.
Smart torrenting and P2P activity
As you might expect, torrenting is something of a gray area in Portugal, and we'd advise anyone looking to use BitTorrent to do so at their own risk. In 2015, Portuguese ISPs were ordered to block a website for the very first time. That website was The Pirate Bay, as well as its proxies, and months later a slew of other sites were struck from the net for copyright infringement.
All of the VPNs we've recommended in this article support P2P activity, however, concealing your downloads (and general torrenting activity) from peers, your ISP, and anyone else who happens to take a peek. Check out our VPN for torrenting page for a list of the best services and some tips on how to stay secure when torrenting.
Sidestep ISP throttling
Your ISP keeps an eye on what you get up to online, and if you're doing something particularly data intensive – like streaming, joining a VoIP call, or gaming – it might just decide to reduce your internet speeds to preserve bandwidth. Now, ISPs would probably have an easier time if they invested in a more robust network and stopped penalizing customers, but until that day, a VPN can prevent this pesky problem. Because a VPN conceals your activity from your ISP, they won't know what you're doing, and if they can't tell if you're streaming or gaming, they can't put your connection on ice!
The notorious Wi-Fi hotspot
It seems innocuous enough, right? You're in a coffee shop, a hotel, or even an airport, and you connect to the free public Wi-Fi. Well, whilst these connections are convenient, they're also the target of cybercriminals hoping to snatch your data or identifiable information. By installing a VPN on your phone, you take its protection with you wherever you go.
Is there internet surveillance in Portugal?
Unlike some of its nearby neighbors, Portugal does not restrict its internet access, and citizens are afforded security and anonymity online. Laws and legislation protect the people's user rights and free speech, and the government does not intrude upon public communications without the proper legal mandates to do so.
Portugal has to abide by the laws that protect net neutrality as set out by the European Union in 2002.
But Portugal's government skirted net neutrality rules in one regard – by allowing certain broadband providers to offer pricing models where customers could purchase extra data to be used with specific sites. One such model allows users to pay an additional fee for data that could then be used to access Facebook and Twitter, or other social media sites. Naturally, these pricing models have drawn criticism, particularly from supporters of net neutrality, which cites that all content should be treated equally by ISPs.
Fortunately, in 2018 ANACOM, Portugal's national communications regulator, gave the country's three main ISPs 40 days to amend these pricing models so that they fell back in line with the EU's net neutrality laws.
So whilst Portugal doesn't suffer from the same level of online surveillance as the UK, France, or Belarus, it's still important to use a VPN to secure your browsing sessions. Crooks are constantly developing more insidious ways of capturing user data, and ISPs can still log your sessions. In order to access the internet privately – as was intended – we'd recommend using a VPN in Portugal.
What to consider when picking a Portugal VPN
There are hundreds of VPNs available on the market, and each one boasts that it's the best of the best – but sorting the bogus claims from the reliable gems can be as time-consuming as it is overwhelming. To help make your task of picking out the perfect VPN that much easier, we've put together a list of the most important factors to keep in mind when looking for a VPN for Portugal.
- Servers – it's important that your VPN has servers in Portugal, so you can surf the web as usual if you travel overseas, and also a wide selection of servers in international locations, too.
- Unblocking power – this one's a must for avid streamers, and it pays to check whether the VPN you're considering can access the services you're subscribed to.
- Encryption – a VPN should never skimp when it comes to keeping you safe, so be on the lookout for OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption, widely considered the gold standard of security.
- A no-logs policy – this one's vital, as you won't want your logs stored or given to your ISP, or government, particularly if you plan to torrent.
- Kill-switch – a handy feature that prevents your data, and original IP, from leaking in the event your VPN connection unexpectedly drops.
- Customer support – having an expert team of customer service agents on-hand, 24/7, comes in handy if you're having technical trouble, need help with choosing a server, or want to know more about what the VPN service can do.
These are our top considerations when it comes to a VPN for Portugal, but in reality, a VPN can do a lot more. If you're interested, be sure to check out our in-depth articles:
How to install a Portugal VPN
Installing a VPN is a piece of cake – even if you've never used anything similar before! Simply follow along with the steps below and you'll be connected, secure, and ready to browse a truly free internet in no time.
- First and foremost, you'll need to decide which VPN provider to go with. All of the VPNs we've highlighted are secure, reputable, and have servers in Portugal.
- Next, download and install the VPN software for your device. This is usually straight-forward, and you'll just need to follow along with the on-screen instructions.
- Log in to your VPN, and when prompted, connect to a server of your choice – the VPNs in this guide all have servers in Portugal, and you can select them via the map or the handy list. Once you've connected, you're good to go!
Portugal takes its citizens' online privacy seriously, with laws in place that protect freedom of speech and user privacy, but there are still threats lurking on the web. A VPN wards off cybercriminals and snooping ISPs, governments, and workplaces, whilst granting access to sites that were previously geo-restricted. With one subscription, you'll be able to surf the web securely and check out the latest from overseas!
Need a reminder of our top 5 VPN picks? Check them out below! Each provider boasts an impressive server network – with locations in Portugal – as well as simultaneous connections, industry-standard encryption, and speeds that make HD streaming a cinch.
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can I use a free VPN?" answer="You can, but we wouldn't recommend it! It's likely that a free VPN is actually a smaller off-shoot service offered by a premium provider, existing to tempt you into purchasing a full subscription. As a result, you'll often find these services come with monthly data caps, bandwidth limits, and a smaller selection of servers. These services are decent enough if you'll only be doing general day-to-day browsing, but quickly fall short if you plan to stream, game, or download anything. Worse still are the '<a href='/vpn/comparison/free-vpn-services'>unlimited free VPNs</a>' you see advertised here and there. We've never come across a free service that can back up this claim – and if you're not paying for a subscription, the VPN is making its money elsewhere, and probably from logging your data. These shady services are best avoided entirely!" /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Are VPNs legal?" answer="VPNs are currently legal in Portugal, yes! Plenty of people make use of VPNs to access the web without restrictions, and businesses around the world use VPNs to allow remote workers access to company infrastructures, too. It's worth noting that whilst VPN usage is legal, the things you get up to when using a VPN can still be illegal – like downloading copyrighted content. Check out our '<a href='/guides/are-vpns-legal'>are VPNs legal</a>' guide for further discussion on this and list of countries that ban VPNs." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Will a VPN increase my speed?" answer="Unfortunately, no. Using a VPN will actually result in a slight loss of speed, because the VPN needs to encrypt your traffic, but this loss should be negligible, hardly-noticeable, and not affect your browsing or streaming experience. Check out our <a href='/vpn/comparison/fastest-vpn-services'>fastest VPN</a> page for more information." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can I use a VPN on my mobile?" answer="You certainly can! All of the VPNs in this article are fully compatible with iOS and Android devices, meaning you can take your VPN protection with you on the go – which comes in handy if you'll be connecting to public WiFi hotspots. Simply download the corresponding mobile app from the provider website (or the App Store or Play Store) and run through installation as usual." /]]