Portugal is a gorgeous country to explore. It has amazing sites to visit, including the National Palace of Queluz, Castelo dos Mouros, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, and the Castelo de Almourol. But while tourists wander around the Braga, they’re also exploring the world wide web for information and entertainment. Now, when it comes to internet access, Portugal is also a shining example of how internet use and privacy on a national scale should be handled. However, despite the free internet access, there are still some limitations, which brings us to the importance of using a VPN service. But the question lies here: What is the best VPN for Portugal? Find out in this review.
Portugal is among the few countries in Europe where internet freedom is seen to be protected by the government. No reports or evidence state that the government monitors its netizens.
However, based on experience, most of us know that such unlimited internet does not exist. As we like to say: All that glitters isn’t gold.
Portugal is among a few of the European countries that protect its citizen’s digital privacy rights, where the freedom of speech is legalized. However, all that glitters isn’t gold.
Alright, so Portugal offers free internet but based on the fact that there will always be a few circumstances where websites are blocked, things change.
The government in the country clearly states that it is illegal to post certain things, propagating racism, incitement, and denigration of minorities and religious groups.
Also, it’s illegal in Portugal to download copyrighted material. If a user is caught in such activities, his/her crimes often carry sentences of up to 8 years and a minimum of 6 months.
The number of monthly active internet users in Portugal in 2020 reached 7+ million. All of these users cannot access certain websites, including The Pirate Bay.
This was due to a lawsuit brought by the Association for Copyright Management, Producers and Publishers (GEDIPE). In fact, by following the European trend, Portugal saw its first time ever where a website is blocked by ISPs in its premises.
Downloading pirated content isn’t illegal for no reason; companies due suffer from such actions. However, they’re still very popular and take up 24% of the global bandwidth.
Now let’s talk more facts. When users download torrents, their IP addresses become visible to everyone downloading the same file. This gives ISPs the chance to determine their location. As a result, copyright holders can issue a lawsuit to the person committing this action.
Portugal deeps torrenting as illegal, and ISPs must comply with what the government issues. Now, there’s another problem that torrent downloaders will face due to being in a download swarm.
Just like copyright holders, every single user in the same swarm can see each other’s IP addresses. However, not all of them are innocent downloaders, as some might be cybercriminals and hackers.
When a user’s IP is compromised, they can determine a lot of information about him/her, which can lead to drastic consequences. With an IP address, cybercriminals can determine one’s location, and we don’t want that.
With a VPN, a torrent user can download files using a fake IP address. The moment they connect to a server, the VPN cloaks their IP address and assigns a temporary one.
No matter how free the internet is in Portugal or any other country, geo-restrictions are everywhere. Anyone in any country has come across such incidents where websites they visit are blocked due to their location.
When it comes to Portugal, this comes in two different ways. First, we have those living in the country who want to access websites from abroad. For example, US Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more are streaming services that only function in the United States.
In other words, they only operate if a user approaches them with a US IP address. If he/she is in Portugal, that’s exactly what they lack as they’ll be holding a Portuguese IP, which leads to an instant block by the American channels.
This is called geo-blocking, and streaming channels mainly apply that for copyright reasons. They examine the IP address to determine the users’ locations and allow/block their access accordingly.
To shed more light on the matter, here’s what Portuguese residents will get if they try to stream HBO Max in the country:
“Not in service area. HBO Max is currently only supported in the U.S and certain U.S. territories.”
Residents in Portugal can fix this with a push of a button if they make use of Virtual Private Networks. With a VPN, they can connect to a US server and change their location as they obtain an American IP address in the process.
As a result, US American channels will take on the impression of them residing within their area of coverage, granting them full access to their content despite living in Portugal.
Now it’s time to talk about those who left Portugal for different countries, be it for vacation, work, or immigration. As we mentioned, geo-blocking is applied no matter where the streamers are.
So, if they leave Portugal, they’re going to lose access to their local channels back home. Due to complex copyright and licensing restrictions, Portuguese ex-pats won’t be able to watch the likes of SIC, TVI, and RTP1 in their newly-found home.
That’s because they no longer hold a Portuguese IP address, which dictates what they get to visit on the internet. Let us dive into more details for a better understanding of the mechanism.
Take RTP Play, for example. This channel is only available in Portugal and operates if the user has a Portuguese IP address. If that’s not the case, this error message will appear:
“Sem direitos de transmissao online.”
This translates to: “without broadcasting rights.” In other words, RTP Play doesn’t have the right to play this video outside the Portuguese region. Once more, using a VPN solves the problem.
All the users have to do is connect to a server in Portugal, wait a few seconds to obtain a Portuguese IP address, and stream RTP Play along with other local channels wherever they may be.
The Best VPN for Portugal – Top 4
Those who are looking for a VPN in Portugal will find hundreds on the market. However, not every one of them can be efficient for the task, let alone trusted.
The first thing users search for is a free product, which can be good most of the time. But when it comes to VPNs, nothing comes for free. These services make a profit out of the user’s private information by selling it to sister companies.
In other words, YOU BECOME THE PRODUCT. Your task is simple, always opt for reputable and premium services when you’re looking to protect your privacy.
In this review, we ran dozens of VPN providers through our strict evaluation process. Only four made it on our list, and the full review is up next.
ExpressVPNis a popular VPN across the globe that launched almost a decade ago. The service is based in the British Virgin Islands – a region where no data retention laws apply and far away from the Five Eyes’ reach.
Portugal is free when it comes to the internet, but precautions have to be taken regularly. You never know when new laws come into place. Even if that happened, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logging policy, ensuring that no user data gets collected or stored.
Not to mention that there’s a kill switch that cuts off the internet if the VPN suddenly fails. Also, they users can benefit from ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature to choose which apps they want to shield with a VPN connection.
Now, ExpressVPN allows any of its customers to connect to servers in Portugal, but it doesn’t stop here. They can also use servers in 93 other countries, giving them hundreds of options to unblock streaming content all over the world.
With such a top provider, streamers in and outside of Portugal can overcome geo-restrictions, and they’ll do so with excellent speeds. When we tried ExpressVPN’s servers, we didn’t deal with interruptions and buffering issues.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN allows up to five devices at the same time and provides a robust Smart DNS service for unblocking channels without the speed loss caused by the encryption.
Speaking of, security is one area that ExpressVPN takes very seriously. The company provides 256-bit AES encryption, DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection, all of which help keep your data secure.
As good as it may look, some of you might have different expectations. If anyone wishes to cancel, he/she can ask for a refund during the first 30 days of purchase.
BulletVPNis another top contender in the VPN industry that offers excellent security features and speeds altogether. The provider is based in Estonia, where online privacy is very respected.
The service adopts a strict no-logs policy, which means it does not keep any information about what its customers are doing. An added bonus to the “privacy” sector would be their kill switch if a sudden drop in the VPN connection occurs.
However, there’s more. BulletVPN provides an extra layer of privacy that comes in the form of Bullet Shield. While the kill switch cuts of the internet in case there was a problem, Bullet Shield does not allow an internet connection without a VPN one present, to begin with.
Aside from servers in Portugal, BulletVPN has a global server network that consists of 153 server locations in 54+ countries. With those, any BulletVPN customer can unblock the likes of Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.
The service has “Bullet” in the name for a reason. When we tested the provider, just to see if their claims are true, we found that BulletVPN does live up to everything their website states.
The speeds were excellent, especially when we used their UltraHD Support servers – no buffering or video quality issues were recorded. Moreover, BulletVPN allows 6 simultaneous connections and gives access to a free/excellent Smart DNS service.
Aside from that, BulletVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption alongside five top security protocols. A 1-day free trial is awarded to those who sign up through the Android app or contact customer support. When that ends, a 30-day refund policy kicks in, giving customers a lot of time to take the service for a test drive.
Unlocatorwasn’t always a VPN back in the day. In fact, it was a Smart DNS provider but recently joined the cybersecurity software industry. The service has been around since 2013, and it does have its solid reputation.
Now, it’s one of the most popular Smart DNS solutions out there. The VPN is based in Denmark, one of the countries in the 14 Eyes association. However, we weren’t alarmed at all as its no-logging policy is as strict as they come.
Unlocator’s server network isn’t that grand as the others on our list, but it still covers key locations in 39 different countries. However, just like its Smart DNS service, Unlocator VPN can unblock any streaming service that comes to mind.
Speed-wise, Unlocator didn’t excel much while using some servers. But with others, it managed to maintain a decent connection, allowing us to stream HD content without any issue.
If speed gave the user a hard time, he/she could always use its Smart DNS feature that can be configured on every single device, including TV boxes, desktops, mobiles, and gaming consoles.
Unlocator applies military-grade encryption, has a kill switch, and tops it all with Unlocator Shield. This technology doesn’t allow users to connect to the internet unless they’re using an Unlocator VPN server.
Finally, Unlocator has a 7-day free trial, which can be activated without having to submit any credit card information. Once that is done, new customers can also benefit from its 30-day refund policy.
NordVPN will conclude our list of the best VPNs for Portugal. The service is based in Panama, another region where no data retention laws apply. Not that it matters as NordVPN abides by a strict no-logging policy and has unique security features to back it up.
NordVPN has a lot of servers in Portugal, but in total, the provider has more than 5000 servers in 59 countries (one of the largest VPN networks in the industry).
Some VPNs have huge server networks, but they’re practically useless when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted channels. Well, not NordVPN, as it, during our tests, managed to circumvent every issue and access streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.
Speaking of streaming, NordVPN’s speed wasn’t that impressive on some servers. However, other ones proved to be efficient to stream content in full HD – no buffering issues were encountered.
When speed gave us a hard time, we used their SmartPlay feature (Smart DNS), configured it on our device, and streamed content without having to witness the speed drop their military-grade encryption caused.
With a single NordVPN account, users get a bunch of unique features to protect their browsing activities on 6 simultaneous devices. First, they get a kill switch for extra privacy.
Second, there’s Double VPN, which routes the user’s traffic through two servers instead of one. It doubles the encryption but also doubles the speed drop.
Third, NordVPN has CyberSec, a technology that fends off any malware, virus, or malicious software that might target a device. NordVPN has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV, as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Anyone can try NordVPN out, risk free, courtesy of their 30-day money-back guarantee.
256-bit AES encryption.
Unblocks Netflix, and more.
Smart DNS (SmartPlay).
Six concurrent connections.
30-day refund policy.
No free trial.
Best VPN for Portugal – Final Words
Despite having internet freedom, there will always be cracks, be it in the privacy department or any other one. No country is the digital paradise most people make it out to be.
That’s why a VPN has become a must. We’ve listed and reviewed the top four ones to use in Portugal. Check them out and let us know which one you ended up with, in the comment section below.
Best VPN for Portugal
Description: In order to access a free Internet in Portugal, download torrents anonymously, and bypass regional restrictions, you need to sign up with a premium VPN such as ExpressVPN.