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How to Watch ZDF Outside Germany in 2023

ZDF is my go-to Germany platform, but I find it unfair when denied access to keep up with my shows while traveling. So, I needed a way to continue watching my favorite shows when I'm away from home. Thankfully, there is an easy and safe solution to watch ZDF abroad.

You need a VPN to continue watching ZDF outside Germany. A VPN assigns you a new IP address, which leads ZDF to believe you're in Germany. That way, you can continue to watch your favorite shows and movies regardless of where you really are.

I tested over 40 VPNs, and ExpressVPN came out on top because of its ability to get past geo-blocks and provide a buffer-free experience, even in ultra HD. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free. If you don't like it, you can easily claim a refund within 30 days.

Start Watching ZDF Today

Quick Guide: How to Watch ZDF From Anywhere in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Get a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because of its ultra-fast speeds and great unblocking powers, allowing you to stream ZDF in HD.
  2. Connect to a server in Germany. That leads ZDF into thinking that you're in Germany, and you can access its content consistently from anywhere.
  3. Start watching ZDF. Head over to ZDF, sign in, and watch your favorite content.

Watch ZDF With ExpressVPN Today

Why You Need a VPN to Watch ZDF Germany

Most of ZDF’s content is only accessible in Germany. A few shows are also accessible from Switzerland and Austria. If you try to access its content anywhere else, you’ll receive an error message. The message appears because streaming platforms and television broadcasting companies implement geo-blocking to comply with existing copyright and licensing agreements. Geo-blocking is the practice of limiting access to specific content due to your geographical location.

Your internet protocol address (IP address) tells ZDF’s website you’re outside Germany. When ZDF detects your IP address is from a location it isn't licensed to distribute its content, geo-blocking activates, and you can't view it. However, with a virtual private network, you can get around ZDF’s geo-blocking technology safely by connecting to a server in Germany. A VPN replaces your actual IP address with a German IP address so that you can watch ZDF. It sends your traffic through one of its German servers, making it look like you’re requesting to watch ZDF from Germany.

Having a German IP address makes it look like you're in Germany and you’re able to watch ZDF. As not all VPNs are up to the task, I recommend you use one of the VPNs I tested to watch ZDF abroad.

Try ExpressVPN Today

Best VPNs to Watch ZDF From Anywhere in 2023

1. ExpressVPN — Ultra-Fast Speeds for Watching ZDF in HD

  • Lightning-fast speeds
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • Native apps for Windows, Android devices, and Fire TV
  • Can unblock: ZDF, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN Offer February 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN has super-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth so you can binge-watch without any buffering. I tested out its Frankfurt and Nuremberg servers, and they delivered an average of about 40 Mbps. Even though these servers were miles away from me, I watched London Boulevard and Suburra without any lag while experiencing drops of only 10%. Compared to your speed without a VPN, a slight drop of up to 20% is expected. Considering you only need 5 Mbps to stream in HD, you can count on this VPN to watch ZDF abroad with zero interruptions.

A screenshot showing ExpressVPN circumvented ZDF pesky geo-restrictions.You’ll have no problem accessing ZDF with ExpressVPN from a server in Nuremberg

ExpressVPN’s large server network makes it easy to find a server in Germany to bypass ZDF’s geo-blocks. On top of that, a vast selection means you can easily find another German server if your first selection underperforms. I tested servers in Frankfurt and Nuremberg, and they all allowed me to watch any show or movie I tried. You won’t have any problems watching ZDF from anywhere with such reliable servers.

I found ExpressVPN’s native apps for Windows, Android devices, and Fire TV straightforward to install. I spent roughly 3 minutes installing each app on my devices. I could get straight to streaming after installing them and connecting to a server in Germany. Even if you’re new to VPNs, I can guarantee you won’t need any guidance to install and use any of these apps.

My only complaint is that ExpressVPN has pricey subscription plans, starting at $6.67/month. However, I got a 49% discount when I signed up for its long-term plan, which even gave me a few months for free.

You can try ExpressVPN risk-free, and you have up to 30 days to request a refund. I tested if ExpressVPN keeps its word via the 24/7 live chat feature. The agent I got in contact with asked a few basic questions before approving my request. I saw the money in my account after 5 business days.

Watch ZDF With ExpressVPN Now

2. CyberGhost — Special Streaming Servers For Watching ZDF

  • Dedicated streaming servers for bypassing ZDF's geo-blocks
  • Great speeds
  • over 900 servers in Germany
  • Can unblock: ZDF, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
February 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost has special streaming servers designed to get around geo-blocks on ZDF. Its support team told me that connecting to a ZDF dedicated server means you can access the platform without any problems because that's the server's main function. On top of that, CyberGhost's extensive server network gives you a lot of alternatives for unblocking and watching ZDF. I tested over 15 servers, and no matter which server I used, each gave me instant access to ZDF. With over 900 servers in Germany only, you can count on always finding a working connection for circumventing ZDF’s restrictions regardless of your location.

A screenshot showing CyberGhost bypassed ZDF strict geo-blocks. Once you connect to a server in Germany, streaming ZDF in HD will be fun

CyberGhost’s fast speeds impressed me. I could watch ZDF during my travels without any buffering, regardless of where I was. I used CyberGhost’s German servers across Frankfurt, and the speed remained sufficient for streaming in 4K despite registering a 16% drop. All servers I tried were far away from my location and gave an average speed of 32 Mbps. I used its Frankfurt server to watch Westwall, and I didn’t experience any problem the entire time. CyberGhost will never spoil your fun with these speeds, even when binge-watching 4K content.

I found CyberGhost's apps to have a user-friendly interface that made it a breeze to find the best servers for streaming ZDF. I easily connected to a German server and instantly started watching my favorite comedies. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to use this VPN. Even if it’s your first time using one, I can assure you won’t have any challenges using CyberGhost’s apps regardless of the device you have.

The only thing I didn’t like about CyberGhost is its short-term subscription plan. I expected it to be cheaper and decided to take the long-term one as it was a better deal. To me, this plan was heaven-sent as it was just $2.19/month. If you’re on a tight budget, I recommend you consider this plan when signing up.

You can take CyberGhost for a test drive risk-free with a 45-day money-back guarantee. If it’s not for you, it’s easy to cancel your subscription via the live chat feature. I claimed a refund via the live chat option. The agent I got in contact with only asked a few questions and processed my request after confirming I wanted out. I received all my money back after 72 hours.

Watch ZDF With CyberGhost Now

3. Private Internet Access — A Ton of Servers in Germany to Watch ZDF

  • Extensive server network
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Rapid speeds
  • Can unblock: ZDF, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
February 2023 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

Private Internet Access has a massive server network, including a ton of servers in Germany. That means you can always find a server for watching ZDF when you need one, no matter where you are. During my tests, I had instant access to ZDF, allowing me to enjoy my favorite shows during my 1-week vacation in Spain. You can trust PIA’s huge network to watch ZDF from anywhere in the world.

A screenshot showing PIA unblocking ZDFYou can easily unblock ZDF with PIA and watch your favorite shows without any interruptions

It allows up to 10 simultaneous connections at once. That makes it ideal for a large household. Whenever I step foot outside Germany with my family, PIA comes in handy as it allows me to watch my favorite shows on all my devices with a single account. During my last visit to the US, I streamed ZDF on my laptop while my children watched their favorite German cartoons on their devices. I didn’t notice any buffering problem the entire time we stayed glued to our devices.

Its fast speeds allow you to watch ZDF in HD when connected to any German server. I took it for a test drive by connecting to over 20 servers during my test, and I was happy that the speed dropped only slightly. On average, they delivered 32 Mbps on a 40 Mbps normal connection. That was more than enough for watching my favorite thrillers with zero lags during my travels. You only need at least 5 Mbps to stream in HD. That means PIA will never let you down anytime you wish to take your binge-watching a notch higher.

What I didn’t like was its somewhat advanced interface. It has many customization options that may confuse first-time users. But this shouldn’t be a problem as it comes pre-configured and is a great option for advanced users. It worked for me without any further customization.

PIA subscriptions are not too pricey, and you can save more by choosing its longest plan, which also gave me when I signed up a few months of free access. For just $2.19/month, this plan gives you enough time to unblock and watch ZDF from countries where it isn’t allowed to broadcast its content.

If you wish to test PIA risk-free with its 30-day money guarantee, I recommend signing up for the long-term plan. If you're not completely satisfied with it, you can easily claim a refund within that period. I tested this guarantee after 26 days using the live chat option to see if PIA lives up to its word. The agent asked a few questions and tried to offer a better deal but processed my request right away after confirming I wanted out. I saw the money in my account after 3 days.

Watch ZDF With PIA Now

FAQ on Watching ZDF With a VPN

Can I watch ZDF outside Germany?

Yes, you can safely do that. Due to licensing agreements, ZDF implements geo-blocking to make sure you can only watch it if you're in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. When abroad, you won't be able to access it.

To make sure you can keep up with your favorite shows and news while traveling, you only need to use a reliable VPN. It’ll connect you to a server in Germany so you can comfortably watch your favorite content from any location buffer-free. But before using a VPN, I recommend making sure it’s okay to use one in the country you intend to stream from.

Is the ZDF library free?

ZDF’s media library is completely free and accessible if you’re in Germany. However, to unblock ZDF abroad during your travels, you need to get a VPN with reliable servers in Germany. All VPNs in my list have multiple servers in Germany for unblocking ZDF.

Can I watch ZDF in the USA, Poland, and Turkey?

Yes, you can watch ZDF from these locations buffer-free and round the clock when visiting. You only need a top-tier VPN with servers in Germany to do this safely. The VPN will assign you a German IP address to stream ZDF while you’re in Poland, the USA, and Turkey with increased security and privacy.

Try ExpressVPN For FREE Now

Start Watching ZDF Now

Watching ZDF outside Germany shouldn’t be a pain anymore if you get a top-tier VPN. It will help you get past ZDF’s tough geo-blocks by assigning you a German IP address to watch your shows and movies stress-free. Importantly, it will also secure your connection.

All the VPNs in my list are up to the task, but my top pick is ExpressVPN. With its lightning speeds for streaming in HD to ultra HD and impeccable large server network for unblocking ZDF, you can trust it to watch ZDF anywhere. You can take ExpressVPN for a test drive since it offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. If not completely happy, you can easily request a full refund. Customer support is available 24/7 to help with that.

To summarize, the best VPNs for watching ZDF are…

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About the Author

Lawrence is a tech writer who's passionate about cybersecurity, renewable energy, and SEO. He always talks about online privacy, loves testing VPNs, and enjoys learning new technologies.

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