The Art of Selecting the Best VPN Server Location

Uncover the top server locations worldwide: learn which countries have robust privacy laws, strict data regulations, extensive streaming libraries, and more!
We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

There are a vast number of virtual private networks (VPNs) available for download on the web, so we understand that selecting between all these services can be overwhelming. After all, each VPN has its own toolbox of features that can make it dizzying to choose from, especially if you are new to using a VPN.

Instead of focusing on a wide range of confusing features, we will cover some crucial aspects that make a VPN a viable choice: your VPN server network and VPN server location. These two factors can impact your internet speeds, potentially unlock expanded streaming libraries, and more.

In this article, we will dive deeper and uncover reasons why you should change your VPN server location, the best countries to connect to with your VPN, and how data protection laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can affect your VPN usage.

In this article
Why change your VPN location?
The best countries to connect to with your VPN
How to choose the best VPN server location for you
Server location FAQs
Bottom line

Why change your VPN location?

It is beneficial to change your VPN location for several reasons. First, it is ideal to conceal your local IP address, provided by your internet service provider (ISP), when surfing the internet to protect your privacy and gain anonymity. So changing your VPN server location can effectively mask your local IP address.

Beyond privacy reasons, it is beneficial to change your VPN location when connecting to the internet to access websites, stream content, download torrents, or play online games.

Hide your true location for privacy

You may want to hide your true location to protect your privacy while playing online games, browsing the web, working remotely, or for other reasons. Doing so also encrypts your data, providing an added layer of security. A win-win for privacy lovers!

Faster speeds and better performance

Selecting a VPN server location that is closer to you in range increases the likelihood of better speeds and optimal performance. That is because when your server location is far away, it normally takes time for the data to travel from the server to your device. This is called ping, or latency.

Access geo-restricted content

Some regions around the world may be blocked from accessing certain websites, streaming services, and online games. By changing your VPN server location, you can bypass these network blocks by appearing as though you are in another region or country that isn’t restricted or banned from the sites you wish to access.

Bypass internet censorship and avoid surveillance

In some countries, the government imposes strict internet censorship and surveillance measures. Changing your VPN location to a country with less stringent regulations can help you bypass these restrictions and access uncensored information and resources.

Take advantage of favorable data protection and privacy laws

Each nation has its own laws and regulations regarding data protection and privacy. For instance, the European Union follows strict rules like the GDPR, which is a comprehensive set of data privacy laws that protect user data.

Conversely, countries that are part of the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY) are renowned for their intrusive surveillance methods and data retention laws. By changing your VPN location to a country with stringent privacy laws, you can safeguard your data from third-party spies and snoopers.

The best countries to connect to with your VPN

Not all countries are equal when it comes to providing the best server locations. That is why we took the time to research and find out what companies have server locations best suited for your needs.

We’ve determined our top server locations that stand out whether you want to watch Netflix or other streaming services, download torrents, require fast speeds, or protect your privacy over an encrypted connection.

Best server location for streaming

Server locations in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom can typically bypass geo-restrictions and unlock access to more extensive streaming libraries on Netflix and other streaming services like HBO Max and Disney+. Servers in the U.K. can also unblock content on BBC iPlayer.

However, many streaming services have taken increasing measures to detect and block VPN servers. Even if your chosen server is located within the service's host country, you may be restricted from accessing streaming content. For instance, platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video are increasingly adept at detecting and blocking VPN servers within the U.S., so there is no guarantee that a VPN server location can unlock content even if it’s within the service’s host country. Additionally, streaming services’ regulations against accessing VPN servers are subject to change over time as well.

One potential workaround might involve using dedicated server locations to avoid detection but it’s not guaranteed. That being said, VPNs can help improve your streaming experience by providing a stable and secure connection and circumventing ISP throttling, which can significantly reduce your connection speeds while streaming.

Best server location for torrenting

The best VPN locations for torrenting are Switzerland, Romania, Iceland, and Panama due to their strong data privacy laws. These countries also abstain from participating in intelligence-sharing agreements, such as the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes alliances. The Eyes alliances consist of countries that have mutual agreements to exchange intelligence data, which VPN users who are privacy conscious may want to avoid. Sweden is also considered torrent friendly and typically offers servers with commendable speeds, despite being part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance.

Prior to selecting a VPN location within a preferred country, it's essential to familiarize yourself with its most recent privacy laws, as these can change over time. Be sure to take other factors into account too, such as connection speed and the country's stance on torrenting. Keep in mind that even if you are torrenting legally, it's vital to protect your privacy in order to avoid potential legal ramifications. Protecting your privacy can also shield you from potential cyberthreats like malware, phishing, and other threats associated with P2P file sharing.

Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly research and select a reputable VPN service provider that adheres to a strict no-logs policy verified by an independent third-party company. This will ensure you achieve optimal performance, privacy, and security while torrenting.

Best server location for speed

The best server locations for fast connections are usually those closest to your location. For example, if you are located in the U.S., it is ideal to choose an available server location in your state in a city nearer to you. On the other hand, if you are based in a European country, choosing a server location in Germany or the U.K. may be ideal.

Best server location for privacy

Switzerland is popularly known as the best VPN country if you prioritize privacy, due to its robust privacy laws and for being outside of the Five Eyes Alliance.

According to SwissMadeHost, here are some of the key laws that contribute to this protection:

  • Constitution: The Swiss Constitution enshrines the right to privacy as a fundamental right, which includes the right to privacy of communication and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Federal Data Protection Act (FDPA): This law outlines the rights and responsibilities of organizations and individuals with regards to collecting, processing, and storing personal data. The FDPA requires organizations to obtain consent before collecting personal data and to securely store the data.
  • Telecommunications Law: This law regulates the collection, processing, and use of personal data in the telecommunications sector. The law requires telecommunications companies to protect the privacy of their customers and to ensure the confidentiality of their communications.”[1]

How to choose the best VPN server location for you

There are several factors to consider when choosing a VPN server location that is best suited for your needs. Depending on what you are looking for — whether it is server locations closer to you, servers that have greater access to streaming services, servers with favorable data protection laws, or other needs — consider the following factors when choosing a VPN location that is ideal for you:

  • Proximity to your location: Connecting to a nearby server usually provides faster and more reliable connections, as it reduces latency (data travel time).
  • Number of servers in that location: A higher number of servers in a location can enhance the performance of your connection by helping to distribute user load, thus reducing the chances of server overload.
  • Streaming service availability: If you want to access geo-restricted content, choose a VPN server location in the region where the content you want to watch is available.
  • Data protection laws: For privacy and security, opt for a server located in a country with strong data protection laws, such as Iceland or the British Virgin Islands, and avoid countries that are part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes alliances.
  • Country's digital infrastructure: A country with a well-developed digital infrastructure can provide better connection speeds and overall performance.
  • Internet censorship: If you live in a country that has a lot of restrictions and high levels of internet censorship, like China, choose a server address or location in a country that has more internet freedom.
  • VPN provider's reputation and security features: Ensure the VPN provider you choose has a good reputation, offers strong encryption and robust privacy and security features, and adheres to a strict no-logs policy that has been audited.

How to change your VPN location

If you want to change your VPN location, the good news is that it’s easy. Assuming you have already selected a VPN service and launched your VPN app, follow these instructions to change your VPN location:

  1. Open the server location menu: In the VPN app, locate and open the list of available server locations from the country of your choice.
  2. Choose a server location: Select a server location based on your needs and preferences, considering factors like proximity, streaming service availability, and data protection laws.
  3. Connect to the chosen server: Click or tap on the selected server location to establish a connection.
  4. Verify your new IP address: Visit a website like WhatIsMyIPAddress to confirm that your IP address and location have changed.
  5. Clear browsing data: To prevent websites from detecting your VPN usage, clear your cookies, cache, and browsing history.
  6. Enjoy your new online location: With your VPN location changed, you can now access geo-restricted content, enhance your privacy, and enjoy a more secure browsing experience.

Certain VPN services offer more advanced VPN features like double VPN or multi-hop, which allows you to select a new server location that routes your data through two different server locations. This feature is effective for enhancing your privacy and security.

Server location FAQs


+

Should I set my VPN to a different country?

Yes, it can be beneficial to set your VPN to a different country, especially if you want to access geo-restricted content or streaming libraries on Netflix available in certain regions, optimize connection speeds, take advantage of torrent-friendly regions, and use servers that have more comprehensive privacy laws.


+

What is the best VPN location for Warzone?

The ideal VPN location for Warzone would be one that is in closer proximity to the game server to reduce latency. By reducing latency, you will reduce lag or buffering time, preventing delays in your connection. We recommend checking out our guide on the best VPNs for gaming to help you make an informed decision.


+

Which VPNs have the best server locations?

Renowned VPN providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark are recognized for their extensive server networks spanning across the globe.

Take a look at the number of servers or server locations these VPN providers offer globally:

  • ExpressVPN has servers in over 94 countries worldwide
  • NordVPN boasts 5,707 ultra-fast servers in 60 countries
  • CyberGhost offers an impressive 9,022 servers in 91 countries
  • Surfshark offers over 3,200 servers and the greatest number of server locations, reaching 100 countries worldwide

+

Which countries need VPNs the most?

VPNs are most beneficial in countries like China, who have strict internet censorship or limited access to specific online services and are known for their stringent internet regulations. Furthermore, VPNs can be a valuable service for users in regions with less internet freedom.

Bottom line

Choosing the right VPN server location is crucial for optimizing your online experience. Whether you’re working remotely, living in a country with less internet freedom, want to access geo-restricted content, or simply wish to hide your location, changing your VPN location can be convenient and advantageous. However, it’s important to choose a reputable VPN service that offers a wide server network with locations worldwide and is headquartered in a country with favorable data protection and privacy laws.

Travelers will find it especially essential to have a reputable VPN service that caters to their needs so that they can engage in their normal online activities abroad while enhancing their privacy and security. A well-researched VPN with server locations in the best countries can significantly enhance your online experience, no matter where your journey takes you.

To make an informed decision, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on the best VPNs for travel, which will help you stay connected and secure while exploring the world.

4.9
Limited-time offer: Up to 67% off
Learn More
On NordVPN's website

NordVPN
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Author Details
Mars is a cybersecurity professional and writer based in California. Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity, he serves as an Advisory Board Member for WEBGAP, specializing in browser isolation. With an interest in OSINT, ethical hacking, and threat intelligence, Mars enjoys writing security content and has experience as a Security Researcher, Cybersecurity Analyst (WEBGAP), and Editor-in-chief (Secjuice).

Citations

[1]: VPN IN SWITZERLAND - WHERE SECURITY MEETS PRIVACY