How to Watch ARD Mediathek Online With a VPN in 2024

Raven Wu
Raven Wu Writer
Updated on: June 3, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Raven Wu Raven Wu
Updated on: June 3, 2024 Writer

Only 3 Steps (Quick + Easy) to Watch ARD Mediathek Online With a VPN in 2024:

  • Download and install a VPN that works with ARD Mediathek. I recommend ExpressVPN because of its ultra-fast speeds and intuitive app interface.
  • Connect to a VPN server in Germany. If you’re not in Germany, you might consider using a VPN to watch ARD Mediathek’s content library. However, it’s important to be aware that this action could potentially infringe on copyright laws and is in violation of ARD Mediathek’s Terms of Service.
  • Log into your account on ARD Mediathek and start watching. Now you can securely watch ARD Mediathek.

ARD Mediathek is one of the most popular streaming services in Germany, but unfortunately, most of the content in its digital library is controlled by various licensing agreements, meaning you have to be in Germany to watch it. ARD looks at your IP address to determine what shows and content you can watch.

A VPN changes your IP address to one from a new location anywhere in the world. Theoretically, this means you could watch ARD even if you aren’t physically located in Germany. Unfortunately, this is against ARD’s Terms of Service and may even be considered copyright infringement (which the SafetyDetectives team doesn’t condone).

There are some great options if you want to watch ARD Mediathek with a VPN — they have fast connection speeds and are easy to set up and use on a large variety of streaming devices. I researched and tested all the major VPNs on the market and found these to be the best for watching ARD in 2024, though ExpressVPN is my favorite.

WATCH ARD Mediathek With ExpressVPN

Disclaimer: My team and I at SafetyDetectives strongly advise against copyright infringement. The VPNs listed below adhere to rigorous no-logging policies, ensuring they don’t monitor or record your online activities. As a result, it’s up to you to use a VPN responsibly, following all relevant rules and guidelines when watching ARD Mediathek.

Editors' Note: ExpressVPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

How to Watch ARD Mediathek Content on Any Device

PC or Mac

  1. Get a good VPN that works with ARD Mediathek. You want one that has great speeds and easy-to-use apps for Windows and Mac. I recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN. Just follow the instructions on the screen. It should only take a couple minutes tops.
  3. Open the VPN, connect to a nearby German server, and log into your ARD Mediathek account. You can now watch ARD on your computer in Germany.

Smartphone or Tablet

  1. Download a VPN that works consistently with ARD Mediathek. I recommend ExpressVPN. It has blazing fast speeds and user-friendly apps for Android and iOS.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. The installation wizard will guide you through this simple process.
  3. Run the VPN, connect to a server in Germany, and log into your ARD Mediathek account. Watch anything you want on ARD from anywhere in Germany with your tablet or smartphone on the go.

Smart TV

  1. Choose a VPN that has fast speeds and servers in Germany. ExpressVPN is my personal recommendation.
  2. For Android TVs. Download and install the VPN app from the app store. ExpressVPN’s app is fast and super easy to set up. Then open the VPN and connect to a local server in Germany.
  3. For non-Android TVs. Download and install the VPN on your router (ExpressVPN has a router app and provides clear and simple instructions on how to get it set up). Configure your VPN to use a local German server. Now, every device in your home (including your smart TVs) will be connected to the VPN.
  4. Log into your ARD Mediathek account and start watching. You’re all set! Enjoy watching ARD protected on the big screen.

Gaming Console

  1. Find a VPN that is compatible with ARD Mediathek and works on routers. ExpressVPN satisfies both conditions and has super-fast connection speeds.
  2. Install and configure the VPN on your router to connect to a local German server. ExpressVPN’s router app is quick to download and has detailed guides on how to set everything up.
  3. Open ARD Mediathek on your Xbox or Playstation and log into your account. You’re now able to watch ARD on your gaming console.

Amazon Fire Stick

  1. Look for a VPN that works with ARD Mediathek. I like to use ExpressVPN because it has great speeds for streaming content and an easy-to-use Amazon Fire Stick app.
  2. Set up your VPN on your Amazon Fire Stick or Fire TV. This should be fast and pain-free.
  3. Open the VPN on your device and connect to a nearby German server. You can now watch all of ARD’s content on Fire devices.

Best VPNs for Watching ARD Mediathek Content in 2024

Quick summary of the best VPNs for Watching ARD Mediathek Content in 2024:

  • 🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for watching ARD Mediathek in 2024 (works 100% + very fast streaming speeds).
  • 🥈2. CyberGhost VPN — Great for VPN beginners with dedicated streaming servers for ARD Mediathek.
  • 🥉3. Private Internet Access — Customizable VPN for streaming ARD Mediathek (lots of configurable options).

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Watching ARD Mediathek in 2024

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Watching ARD Mediathek in 2024

ExpressVPN is unbeatable when it comes to streaming ARD Mediathek. It’s our #1 VPN for streaming and its customer support assured me that it works with ARD (my colleague based in Germany confirmed this). Plus, it has the fastest speeds in the industry, so your favorite ARD content will stream without any interruptions.

I really like how ExpressVPN has 3 server locations in Germany. There are 2 locations in Frankfurt and another one in Nuremberg, which gives you tons of server options in the country for the best connection.

ExpressVPN has an intuitive interface on all of its apps and clear setup guides in both written and video format on its website to help you get started. Because of this, getting everything up and running was a breeze and only took me a few minutes.

ExpressVPN has both monthly and yearly plans that start at $6.67 / month. It lets you connect up to 8 devices at once and backs all of its plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN: Save 49% on the 12-month plan + FREE months!
Get a full 15 months (12 months + 3 free months) at a 49% discount.

Read our full ExpressVPN review

🥈2. CyberGhost VPN — Optimized Servers for ARD + Beginner-Friendly Apps

🥈2. CyberGhost VPN — Optimized Servers for ARD + Beginner-Friendly Apps

CyberGhost VPN has dedicated servers for all major streaming services, including ARD. These servers are optimized to provide the best speeds and reliability. CyberGhost’s live chat representatives claim that the ARD dedicated server should work every time (and they worked just fine when my German colleague tested them).

I really like that CyberGhost provides 11,528 servers (the highest out of all of the VPNs listed here) and has servers in Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt. The servers are a bit more spread out across the country compared to ExpressVPN, which only has servers in Frankfurt and Nuremberg (both cities are pretty close to each other). CyberGhost allows you to connect to a server in a city that is closer to your location for the best speeds.

CyberGhost VPN offers very cheap plans (they start at just $2.03 / month) that let you connect up to 7 devices. One thing to note is that its yearly plans come with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, but its monthly plan only comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

CyberGhost: Save 84% on the 24-month plan + FREE months!
You can save 84% if you act right now.

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review

🥉3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Highly Customizable VPN for Streaming on ARD

🥉3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Highly Customizable VPN for Streaming on ARD

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a fast, secure, and extremely flexible VPN for streaming on ARD. You’ll have no trouble watching ARD in Germany since it has multiple German locations to choose from (it has servers located in Berlin and Frankfurt).

You can optimize your PIA experience by managing 20+ preferences. It’s one of the few VPNs that lets you choose to use 128-bit AES instead of 256-bit AES encryption. This delivers slightly better speeds while streaming on ARD because 128-bit AES uses less encryption (but it’s still very secure).

Private Internet Access has very affordable monthly and yearly plans, with its longest-term plan providing the best value at $2.03 / month. All of its plans let you connect unlimited devices simultaneously, and they are all backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access: Save 83% on the 24-month plan + FREE months!
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Read our full Private Internet Access review

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

Quick Comparison Table

VPN Starting Price German Server Locations Simultaneous Connections Works With Netflix Germany Smart DNS Money-Back Guarantee
🥇1. ExpressVPN $6.67 / month 3 (2 in Frankfurt, plus Nuremburg 8 30 days
🥈2. CyberGhost VPN $2.03 / month 3 (Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt) 7 45 days
🥉3. Private Internet Access $2.03 / month 2 (Frankfurt and Berlin) Unlimited 30 days

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

How to Choose the Best VPN for Watching ARD Mediathek in 2024

  • Find a VPN that works with ARD Mediathek. The VPN you choose should have at least 1 server in Germany and work with ARD 100% of the time. I have confirmed with customer support from all of the VPNs on this list that they work with ARD, plus my colleague from Germany assured me he could watch ARD with each of my top picks.
  • Ensure your VPN provider offers fast connection speeds. Any VPN will slow down your internet speeds a little due to the encryption process, so you’ll need a fast VPN to avoid video load times and buffering while streaming ARD content. ExpressVPN had the best speeds in our tests.
  • Ensure that the VPN is easy to use. All of the VPNs above have clear setup guides for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, smart TVs, routers, and more, plus intuitive app interfaces that make it easy to watch ARD Mediathek.
  • Look for a VPN that has strong security and privacy. The VPNs I recommend all include essential security features such as 256-bit AES encryption (military-grade encryption that renders your data indecipherable to anyone without the key), a kill switch (cuts your internet if you’re unexpectedly disconnected from your VPN), and a strict zero-logs policy (they store no data on you). Plus, they all have full IP leak protection, which stops your IP address from leaking through your VPN.
  • Determine whether the VPN offers good value. I recommend VPNs that are not only affordable but come with lots of extra features like split-tunneling, allow a minimum of 5 device connections, and back their plans with a money-back guarantee.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I watch ARD Mediathek outside of Germany?

It’s quite easy using a VPN. It only takes three quick steps. You need to download a VPN that works with ARD Mediathek, like ExpressVPN, and connect to one of its German servers. This will allow you to access all of the content on ARD. However, ARD is only available in Germany. While you could hypothetically watch ARD from a different country with a VPN, it’s important to note that doing so violates the Terms and Conditions of ARD, so it’s not something I recommended.

What’s the best VPN for watching ARD Mediathek?

ExpressVPN is my top VPN for watching ARD Mediathek in 2024. Its customer support reps confirmed it works really well for watching ARD, it has 3 server locations in Germany, and it maintains very fast speeds.

Can I stream ARD Mediathek with a free VPN?

Free VPNs aren’t great for streaming on ARD Mediathek. Many free VPNs don’t have German servers at all, which is required for watching ARD. Most also impose data and/or speed limits, which will seriously restrict the amount and quality of content that you can enjoy. And unscrupulous providers may even sell your personal information to third parties.

I recommend getting an affordable, paid VPN instead such as ExpressVPN. It’s a great VPN for streaming, it will protect your digital privacy, and it maintains super-fast speeds.

Can I watch ARD Mediathek while using a VPN?

Yes, you can watch ARD Mediathek using a VPN if you’re in Germany. A VPN helps you establish a secure and private connection.

Why can’t I watch ARD from outside of Germany?

ARD content is primarily licensed for distribution within Germany. When content is broadcasted or streamed, it often comes with licensing and copyright agreements that restrict its availability to specific regions or countries. These restrictions are in place to protect the rights of content creators, distributors, and local broadcasters who might have exclusive rights to certain shows or films in their respective territories.

Theoretically, using a VPN can let you watch ARD content from abroad. However, this may violate ARD’s Terms of Use, so I don’t recommend it.

Best VPNs for ARD Mediathek in 2024 — Final Score:

Our Rank
Our Score
Best Deal
save 49%
save 84%
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About the Author
Raven Wu
Raven Wu
Updated on: June 3, 2024

About the Author

Raven Wu is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. He is a strong advocate of internet freedom and is very passionate about technology, and he’s honed his craft by researching and writing about a variety of other topics including education, literature, health, pop culture, and games. Outside of work, he's an amateur novelist and history enthusiast who enjoys hard games, spicy food, and thinking way too hard about everything.