NordVPN

5 Best VPNs for Switzerland in 2018

Joel Tope

Joel Tope

December 30, 2017

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 therefore not subject to the EU Data Retention Directive 2006. However, Switzerland introduced its own data retention laws, which came into force in January 2002. These were Article 15 Federal Law of 6 October 2000 on the monitoring of Posts and Telecommunications (BÜPF), and Regulation of 31 October 2001 on the monitoring of Posts and Telecommunications (VÜPF)).

ProviderPriceOur ScoreVisit
1Visit Site »
ProtonVPN review »
From
$4.00
/month

9.9

Our Score
Visit Site »
ProtonVPN review »
2
ExpressVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$6.67
/month

9.7

Our Score
Visit Site »
ExpressVPN review »
Chinese New Year Promo: 49% off today!
3
AirVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$4.82
/month

9.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
AirVPN review »
4
PrivateInternetAccess review »
Visit Site »
From
$2.78
/month

8.5

Our Score
Visit Site »
PrivateInternetAccess review »
5
CyberGhost review »
Visit Site »
From
$3.50
/month

8.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
CyberGhost review »
Chinese New Year Promo: 71% off 2-year plans!

Despite this, Switzerland has one of the freest internet infrastructures in the world (with one notable exception, which we’ll discuss shortly). It lacks censorship and restrictive internet legislation compared to the majority of other countries. Reporters Without Borders ranked Switzerland seventh out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Even though political, religious and cultural ideas don’t manifest into censorship programs (which is quite common in some areas, such as Southeast Asia), using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel in Switzerland is advisable for two main reasons.

Firstly, a VPN tunnel will help unblock foreign content that has been geo-restricted. Secondly, a VPN will protect your data from third parties, hackers and governmental surveillance programs. Privacy is a big concern due to legislation designed to increase logging and record keeping. These laws require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to log IP addresses and web server access details, and retain them for six months. Mobile and fixed line phone operators have to do this as well.

Ultimately, to protect your privacy, a VPN tunnel is essential. As such, let’s take a closer look at the best VPNs for Switzerland.

Best VPN Services for Switzerland: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ProtonVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • P2P traffic is allowed on select servers
  • Five simultaneous connections per account
  • European connections are fantastic
  • Secure Core network (double VPN)
CONS:
  • Highest service level is rather pricey

ProtonVPN is the best option for users in Switzerland, because this service has brilliant speeds in European locations. Furthermore, it has a lengthy list of features that make it a well-rounded service. The only thing I really didn't like was the cost of the Visionary plan, which will set you back €30 per month. Still, there's a free version and an inexpensive Basic version which only costs €5 per month, which is cheaper than many other competing services.

Try the Best VPN Service Today!

Visit ProtonVPN »30 day moneyback guarantee
ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Chinese New Year Promo: 49% off today!
  • Servers in over 94 countries
  • Fast and reliable servers
  • 30-day free trial
  • Three simultaneous connections
CONS:
  • Monthly plan is rather pricey

ExpressVPN has always provided a fantastic customer-focused VPN experience, with 24/7 customer support, easy-to-use apps, and a 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee. Recent improvements to the service ensure that ExpressVPN earns its place as an industry-leading VPN provider.

AirVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Only OpenVPN connections for increased security
  • Based in Italy
  • Strong network of servers in Europe and Switzerland
  • Tor over VPN, SSH and SSL connections
CONS:
  • Servers in only 16 countries

AirVPN has excellent encryption and security. Features such as VPN through Tor, OpenVPN support, and 3 simultaneous connections are just a few reasons why AIrVPN is a superb VPN service. Read my AirVPN review to see why!

4. PrivateInternetAccess

PrivateInternetAccess Homepage
PROS:
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • 67 servers in Switzerland
  • Only $3.33 per month
  • SOCKS5 proxy connections included
CONS:
  • Based in the United States

Private Internet Access is a well-established VPN that is both secure and private. It is a service that is often recommended because of its zero-logs policy. Customer care has improved significantly since last year: with wait times for responses arriving in less than half a day. It is based in the US, which might not be for everyone. This cheap VPN is perfect for privacy, but doesn’t unblock everything.

5. CyberGhost

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • Chinese New Year Promo: 71% off 2-year plans!
  • Based in Romania
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Fast connection speeds
CONS:
  • Does keep minimal connection logs

CyberGhost Pro is a good but not perfect VPN service. Its software is very easy-to-use while also being fully featured, and 5 simultaneous connections is good. Being based in Romania and keeping (almost) no logs is also a big draw, as is the superb connection speed results to nearby servers. CyberGost Pro undoubtedly has its flaws, but it also has enough cool features to make it a compelling choice for many.

Best VPNs for Switzerland: Considerations

The Swiss government has fairly wide powers of internet surveillance. It has the right to employ spyware for ‘particularly serious offences.’ These include the financing of terrorism, criminal organizations, and child pornography. Such methods are only permitted when law enforcement authorities have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. They are not a preventative method. Still, in the hunt for illegal activity, your data could be at risk of becoming collateral damage. The authorities could captured it because it was transmitted from the wrong network interface at the wrong time.

In September 2016, Swiss authorities enacted legislation requiring authorities to notify citizens who have been surveillance targets. Previously, 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 September 2017, a new law that was voted on a year before went into full effect. The law gives the FIS (Federal Intelligence Service) much more power to monitor citizens’ personal 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 microphones and steal personal information.

It has never been more crucial to use a VPN tunnel to protect your privacy in Switzerland. Even if you don’t want to pay for a quality service, I highly recommend, at the very least, using one of the best free VPNs. VPNs are still perfectly legal and ethical to use in Switzerland. Thus I recommend protecting yourself from third party eavesdroppers, be they the authorities or hackers.

Gambling Laws

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. The new law is motivated by taxation and economic concerns. Swiss gambling establishments were losing significant revenue to online international gambling sites. Thus the Money Gaming Act aims to benefit local gambling organizations. However, it could be the forerunner of further legislation to restrict and filter the web.

Whether you’re a traveler or resident in Switzerland, it’s inadvisable to attempt to circumvent the filter with proxy connections or other solutions to access gambling sites. Doing so would be a direct violation of the new laws, and could incite harsh consequences.

VPNs and Piracy

The mandatory data retention laws in Switzerland do not apply to VPN providers. VPN providers are under no obligation to keep logs of their users’ activities. These laws make Switzerland a very attractive location to locate VPN servers. In addition, the icing on the cake is that the Swiss government permits copyright piracy for personal use. It is still illegal to try to distribute pirated content for profit.

In September 2010, the Swiss High Court ruled that copyright troll legal firm Logistep AG was acting illegally when it collected IP addresses of people it believed were guilty of copyright infringement. The court ruled that this was a breach of the country’s privacy laws. That ruling not only protects downloaders, but also casual uploaders. In response, entertainment industry pressure groups campaigned for a change in the law. They cited damage to business and loss of profits for entertainers. Thus, in 2011, the Swiss government commissioned a study on the matter.

Interesting Results

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 onus lay on the entertainment industry to adapt to the new realities if it wished to survive. The report concluded,

“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 advantages and losers those who missed this development and continue to follow old business models.”

The government decided, in light of this report, that no change in law the was necessary. It also rejected blocking website IPs, arguing that doing so would damage freedom of speech and violate privacy protection laws.

Using VPNs in Switzerland

Swiss internet users therefore have no need to use a VPN service to protect themselves against copyright enforcement. However, they have a strong incentive to use one in order to defend themselves against government surveillance. A VPN can also protect against LAN-based attacks, such as hackers performing packet captures on public wireless networks.

It is usually a bad idea to use a VPN service (and servers) located in your own country. Doing so makes it easy for authorities to demand the VPN hand over its logs. Furthermore, your data may travel a greater distance in a decrypted format between the VPN server and the true destination server. Thus it’s generally advisable to terminate your VPN connection as close to the destination host as possible.

However, with no required data retention for VPN providers, Swiss users can happily use local servers.

For those outside the country, Switzerland makes an ideal VPN connection endpoint.

Conclusion

The Swiss government already has strong data surveillance capabilities. Though it’s not clear what the future holds, it seems to be moving towards greater monitoring powers. The best way to protect your data from third party eavesdropping and snooping is to encrypt it with a VPN. I’m a strong advocate for online privacy and security, and recommend that you start using a VPN immediately if you’re not already.

With one of the best VPNs for Switzerland, you can drastically increase your personal data security and privacy.

ProviderPriceOur ScoreVisit
1Visit Site »
ProtonVPN review »
From
$4.00
/month

9.9

Our Score
Visit Site »
ProtonVPN review »
2
ExpressVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$6.67
/month

9.7

Our Score
Visit Site »
ExpressVPN review »
Chinese New Year Promo: 49% off today!
3
AirVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$4.82
/month

9.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
AirVPN review »
4
PrivateInternetAccess review »
Visit Site »
From
$2.78
/month

8.5

Our Score
Visit Site »
PrivateInternetAccess review »
5
CyberGhost review »
Visit Site »
From
$3.50
/month

8.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
CyberGhost review »
Chinese New Year Promo: 71% off 2-year plans!
Exclusive Offer
SAVE 77% TODAY
LIMITED TIME OFFER
Get NordVPN for only
$2.75/month
LIMITED TIME OFFER
Get NordVPN for only
$2.75/month