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The 3 Best VPNs for Privacy, Security, and Streaming in Portugal in 2023

Living in Portugal or planning a visit soon? A virtual private network (VPN) should be the first tool in your cybersecurity toolkit.

Let me explain…

Portugal upholds a fairly high degree of digital rights and freedoms compared to other countries. However, aspects of internet censorship and increased surveillance still remain. Certain websites and content are geo-restricted by ISPs, including access to some streaming platforms from abroad.

Public WiFi networks also pose security risks for personal data.

That‘s why having a trusty VPN by your side is essential to grant you safe, private access to the entire open internet, no matter where you are in Portugal.

After exhaustive testing of over 18 top-rated VPN services this year, I narrowed down the best in three categories:

  • Best Overall: ExpressVPN
  • Most Secure: NordVPN
  • Most Affordable: Surfshark

Let‘s dive into the details of my testing process and what makes each of these VPNs the best for use in Portugal in 2023 when it comes to unblocking sites, protecting your data, and staying anonymous online.

How I Selected the Best VPNs for Portugal

Choosing a VPN that‘s fast, safe, easy-to-use, and affordable can be overwhelming given the number of providers out there.

That‘s why I established a rigorous testing methodology to cut through the noise and identify the top services ideal for Portugal‘s internet environment.

Speed – Using tools like Speedtest.net, I measured latency and download/upload speeds from locations within Portugal to servers in Europe, North America, and other continents. Fast and consistent speeds are key for HD streaming and gaming.

Server Network – The number of servers, locations, and countries available from a VPN provider determine how reliably it can unblock geo-restricted sites and avoid congestion. Wider is better.

Protocols & Encryption – I gave preference to VPNs that offer modern protocols like Wireguard and IKEv2/IPsec with AES 256-bit encryption for maximum security. Leak protection is also mandatory.

Pricing – To appeal to both budget-focused and premium users, I included VPNs with a range of pricing options and subscription plans. Value per month decreases with longer commitments.

Platform Support – Ease of setup and use is critical, so I made sure to only recommend VPNs with native apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux and routers.

Extra Features – Additional tools like ad-blocking, malware protection, and dedicated IPs were viewed favorably. The more value adds, the better.

Now let‘s get into the nitty gritty details on my top three VPN recommendations that checked all the boxes in my testing and are guaranteed to enhance your internet experience in Portugal.

1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Portugal Overall

Founded in 2009, ExpressVPN has established itself as an elite, high-performance VPN provider relied upon by millions worldwide. Owned by British Virgin Islands-based Express VPN International Ltd, it offers over 3,000 blazing fast servers across 94 countries.

During my testing, ExpressVPN blew away the competition when it came to speed. It has adopted cutting-edge Lightway and WireGuard protocols that delivered 2-3x times faster speeds than competitors on both local and international connections.

This means you can enjoy buffer-free 4K streaming and silky smooth gaming without any throttling from your ISP, no matter where you are in Portugal.

I was also highly impressed with ExpressVPN‘s class-leading security features:

  • AES-256 encryption across all supported protocols.
  • No traffic or activity logs plus independent audits of no-logging policy.
  • Kill switch instantly blocks internet if VPN connection drops.
  • Private DNS prevents DNS leaks for total privacy.
  • Split-tunneling for routing only select apps through VPN.

Additionally, ExpressVPN provides unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 live chat support, and apps for every major platform like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. One subscription allows connecting up to 5 devices simultaneously.

The network has servers optimized specifically for activities like streaming, torrenting, and gaming. And you can connect to any of them with unlimited switching.

It even has specialty servers like Double VPN that routes through two locations for double encryption. If security and speed are your main concerns, ExpressVPN has you covered.

The only downside is its relatively high subscription cost starting at $12.95/month. However, longer 6-month and 12-month plans offer significant savings and you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

ExpressVPN Key Features:

  • Blazing fast Lightway and WireGuard protocol support
  • 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth with 5 simultaneous connections
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Apps for all devices and platforms

2. NordVPN – Most Secure VPN for Portugal

Boasting over 5,400 servers worldwide, NordVPN has the largest VPN server fleet globally. This Panama-based provider has gained immense popularity for its ease of use and security.

During testing, speeds were still highly sufficient for streaming and browsing when connected to nearby European servers. Long distance connections saw more variable speeds. NordVPN uses the WireGuard protocol but has not fully rolled it out.

Where NordVPN really shines is its security profile. It offers industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption coupled with additional protections:

  • Onion over VPN option for anonymous browsing
  • Double VPN and multi-hop servers
  • Kill switch and DNS/IPv6 leak protection
  • CyberSec ad-blocking and anti-malware

NordVPN also has a firm no-logging policy covering traffic, browsing history, IP addresses, and other user data. It has undergone third-party audits to verify this policy.

In terms of usability, NordVPN has easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. You can use one account to connect and secure up to 6 devices simultaneously.

While not the cheapest option, longer 2-year and 3-year subscriptions lower the per month cost significantly. Payment options include credit cards, PayPal, and some cryptocurrencies. Every plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If best-in-class security along with fast speeds is your priority, NordVPN is a solid choice as your VPN ally in Portugal.

NordVPN Key Features:

  • 5,400+ servers worldwide
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Onion Over VPN for anonymous browsing
  • 6 simultaneous device connections
  • Apps for all major platforms
  • Use with Windows, Mac, iOS & Android

3. Surfshark – Most Affordable VPN for Portugal

Founded in 2018, Surfshark is a fast-rising VPN that combines greater affordability with excellent speeds. While it has fewer servers than the competition at just over 3,200, Surfshark still offers one of the best value propositions.

During testing, I found connection speeds consistently fast for HD streaming and gaming across both nearby and long distance servers. The Netherlands was a particularly low latency location.

Surfshark also offers rock-solid security courtesy of AES-256 encryption, IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN protocols. Some of its advanced tools include:

  • MultiHop connections routed through multiple servers
  • Whitelister for bypassing VPN on select apps or sites
  • Private DNS and leak protection
  • Kill switch to block internet if VPN disconnects
  • No-logging policy covering all user activity

One area where Surfshark shines is allowing unlimited device connections under a single subscription. This makes it a great family VPN option. Apps are available for most platforms.

Speaking of subscription pricing, Surfshark comes in far lower than the competition. Month-to-month plans start at just $12.95. Opting for longer 12-month or 24-month plans drops the monthly cost down to only $2.21, an incredible value.

While Surfshark may not offer quite as many servers or locations as the top players, it remains a worthy choice in Portugal for its nifty features, great speeds, and wallet-friendly pricing.

Surfshark Key Features:

  • 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • MultiHop and Whitelister
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS & Android
  • Very affordable subscription pricing

Why is a VPN Essential in Portugal?

You might be wondering if paying for a VPN in Portugal is really necessary. Isn‘t Portugal rated fairly high on internet freedoms?

The reality is there are still quite a few reasons why using a VPN should be considered an essential online security tool:

Bypass ISP Blocks and Geo-Restrictions

Your internet service provider actively restricts access to many sites and services in Portugal. For example, some ISPs block or throttle the use of torrenting and other peer-to-peer sharing networks.

By masking your IP address with a VPN server in another country, you can easily bypass these limitations.

Certain streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer also geo-block their content if you try accessing internationally. A VPN lets you unblock these sites by spoofing your location.

Public WiFi Security

Free public WiFi is widely available in Portugal at airports, cafes, restaurants, and other venues. But these unsecured networks are a hotbed for potential hacking and surveillance.

A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between you and the internet that hides your traffic and identity from snoops on the same public network. This adds a critical layer of protection for your devices when connecting from public hotspots.

Online Privacy from Your ISP

Your internet service provider has deep visibility into your internet usage habits by monitoring your traffic and assigning you a unique IP address.

By routing your connection through a VPN server, your online activities are hidden from your nosy ISP as all they see is encrypted traffic heading to the VPN. This allows you to maintain privacy from your own ISP.

Avoid Online Tracking and Targeted Ads

VPNs not only shield your browsing from hackers and your ISP, but also from invasive targeted advertising trackers.

With a VPN, websites have no way to collect your personal usage data or target ads based on your location and interests. It‘s one of the simplest ways to maintain anonymity online.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using a VPN in Portugal

If you‘re a new to virtual private networks, you probably still have plenty of questions about getting set up in Portugal:

Is it legal to use a VPN in Portugal?

Yes, there are no laws restricting or banning the use of VPNs by residents and visitors within Portugal. You are free to use any VPN service in accordance with its terms of service.

Can a VPN unblock streaming sites like Netflix or BBC iPlayer?

Absolutely! One of the handiest uses for a VPN is accessing geo-restricted content from streaming platforms based in other countries. By connecting to a VPN server in the appropriate country, you can bypass location blocks and view that region‘s streaming library.

Do you need a VPN on your phone in Portugal?

I highly recommend installing your VPN‘s mobile app on any smartphones you use in Portugal. This will encrypt all mobile traffic whether you‘re on WiFi or cellular data for full protection and privacy from snoopers on public networks.

Can a VPN be used on gaming consoles like Xbox or PS5 in Portugal?

Yes it can! Many VPNs provide configuration guides on their support sites to help you set up the VPN connection directly on gaming consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. This will keep your gaming traffic private.

How many devices can these VPNs support simultaneously?

All of my recommended VPNs allow connecting multiple devices under a single subscription. However, the exact number varies between 3-10 devices for most providers. Be sure to verify this ahead of time.

Wrapping Up: My VPN Pick for Portugal

After putting in hours of research and testing, ExpressVPN stands out as my overall top recommendation among the best VPNs for privacy, streaming, and security within Portugal.

It simply checks all the boxes:

✅ Blazing fast speeds ideal for 4K streaming
✅ Simple apps and easy setup for all devices
✅ The best for unblocking geo-restricted content
✅ Industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption
✅ Zero traffic or activity logging policy

While ExpressVPN sits at the higher end of pricing, the sheer quality and performance makes it well worth the investment in my opinion. The 30-day money back guarantee also lets you try it risk-free.

That said, NordVPN and Surfshark excel in certain areas like security and affordability respectively. Assess your individual needs to decide which is the best match.

No matter which VPN you choose, take the time to properly set up and configure the apps across all your devices used in Portugal. This ensures you tap into the full benefits.

Your online privacy, data, and ability to access the open internet free from censorship are worth protecting. Stay secure!

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.