How to Stream ZDF from Abroad

Are you having trouble watching your favorite programs on ZDF? Well, chances are you’re a German national living abroad. Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, commonly known as ZDF, is one of the most popular TV broadcasters in Germany. The channel offers news, politics, entertainment, sports, and many other programs for viewers in Deutschland. But unfortunately, the service is unavailable abroad. Unless…

Unblock ZDF Outside Germany

How to Unblock ZDF Outside Germany

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In this article, we will show you how to unblock ZDF from anywhere in the world using a VPN or Smart DNS proxy, so that you don’t miss your favorite German shows.

Where is ZDF Available?

Due to copyright issues, you can only access ZDF from within German territories. If you’ve tried to stream anything from their website like I once did, I’m sure the below message appeared on your screen:

Error Message - ZDF

ZDF Location Error Message

For non-German speakers, this roughly translates to: “Sorry, you can’t watch this video due to legal restrictions.” In other words, the channel is geo-blocked outside Germany. Once the channel reads your foreign IP address, it will block its content and leave you out in the cold. Cruel, right?

But VPNs and Smart DNS proxies will make you feel right at home because these tools can bypass geo-restrictions and help you unblock ZDF.

Unblock ZDF Using VPN

In order to access ZDF from abroad, you need something to spoof your geographic location. A virtual private network can do just that by rerouting your internet connection to another network. Also, it hides your original IP address and replaces it with a different one from any region you’d like. This will make it appear as if you were in Germany, and trick ZDF to unblock its content.

It’s genius yet so simple. And to make it even easier, just follow the below steps to watch the channel from abroad:

  1. Choose a good VPN provider and subscribe. We recommend you use ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and install the app on your device. Well-known services have apps to almost any device, platform, or operating system. You can also even install them on routers, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.
  3. Sign in and connect to a server from Deutschland.
  4. Visit to see if you successfully switched to a German IP address.
  5. Watch whatever you want on ZDF from wherever you are.

Best VPNs to Stream ZDF from Abroad

It may be difficult for you to choose the right VPN brand, especially if you’re a beginner. Every provider promises the best features, but in truth, that’s not the case. Free VPNs, for example, are services you must completely avoid because they’ll give away your traffic and data to third parties.

Therefore, the best course of action is to subscribe to reputable providers. They may be a bit pricy, but at least you know they’ll protect your online privacy. And to make it easier for you, we researched the highest-ranked VPN companies on the market and put the results in the table below.

VPN Provider
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We think ExpressVPN deserves the top spot. It can easily bypass any online restriction and unblock any website no matter where you are. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The company offers a set of outstanding features like:

Vast Server Network

ExpressVPN has one of the largest server networks in the business. With more than 1,000 servers in 160 locations, including 94 countries, you can definitely unblock ZDF and any other restricted channel from abroad

Security and Privacy

The company also offers strong security and privacy features. We’re talking about split tunneling, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and a military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. The latter guarantees total anonymity and protection from hackers, ISPs, and government surveillance.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN implements a strict no-logging policy: “We never keep traffic logs, and we also don’t keep any logs that might enable someone to match an IP and timestamp back to a user. We work entirely on the basis of shared IPs, meaning that a single IP does not track back to an individual user,” the company states.

The brand is also transparent and honest about data collection: “We record aggregate data-transfer amounts and choice of server location, neither of which are data points that can identify a specific user as part of an investigation. We may collect the following information: dates (not times) when connected to our service, choice of server location, and the total amount of data transferred per day.”

Incredible Speed Rates

Furthermore, ExpressVPN offers one of the highest speeds in the business, despite using strong encryption protocols. This comes in handy when you want to stream live HD programs.

Netflix Compatibility

The brand is one of the very few providers that still have full access to Netflix. You can watch any library, including the US version.

Torrenting and P2P Allowance

You can enjoy full torrenting and P2P file-sharing activity. Your internet speed won’t be affected by the strong encryption, which means you can download your favorite films in a jiffy. Moreover, the AES-256 bit encryption will protect you from legal action from copyright holders. 

High Compatibility

One of ExpressVPN’s best features is its high compatibility. You can install it without issues on almost any operating system, platform, and device. It has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS. It is also compatible with routers, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.

Stream ZDF with Smart DNS Proxy

I think we can all agree that a VPN is the best method to unblock ZDF. Not only does it bypass geo-blocks with ease, but you can also use it whenever you go online. But if you don’t want a tool that alters so much in your internet connection, you could try using a Smart DNS proxy.

This baby only reroutes the URLs that expose your location, but your IP address will remain intact. Also, Smart DNS proxies don’t encrypt your traffic. Though it is not the ideal solution for people who enjoy their online privacy, those who don’t mind potential snooping will be fine with a Smart DNS.

However, you should note that these proxies can’t unblock any streaming service. They only have a list of supported channels, so make sure the one you’re using can access ZDF.

Just follow the below steps and you’re all set:

  1. Sign up to a well-known Smart DNS service. We recommend Unlocator.
  2. Make sure the service supports ZDF.
  3. Set up Smart DNS on the device you want to use. You could also install them on routers, gaming consoles, or Smart TVs.
  4. Unblock ZDF from anywhere in the world.

ZDF Supported Devices

ZDF is a versatile platform, which means you can watch it on almost any device or platform, including:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android smartphones and tablets
  • PC
  • Mac
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Hbb TV
Stream ZDF from Abroad Using VPN or Smart DNS

How to Stream ZDF from Abroad Using VPN or Smart DNS

How to Stream ZDF from Abroad – Final Thoughts

German expats don’t have to worry about missing their favorite ZDF shows anymore. This channel has been around since 1963 and obviously, it has a lot to offer. No wonder it’s one of the most popular services among German-speaking viewers. Therefore, it would be a shame to let geo-blocks prevent you from watching it when you’re abroad, especially when you can get a VPN or Smart DNS proxy.

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