6 Best VPN services for Poland

Poland is home to 38.5 million people, and, as of today, nearly 70% of its population has access to the Internet. The Central European country is also well-known for producing some of the world’s top computer programmers, and perhaps unsurprinsingly, the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) has long been popular among its rather tech-savvy populace.

Like in many other parts of the world, Poland’s residents are known to use VPN services to encrypt their internet traffic (with the aim of circumventing data retention and subsequent surveillance), as well as to bypass geographic restrictions by changing the IP address on their computer or mobile device. In this guide, we will explain a bit more about why VPN use has become increasingly prevalent in the country and recommend six of the best VPN providers for Poland.

Summary

Provider Features Price Links
1 ExpressVPN
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
  • Zero logs
  • Live chat
$8.32
/month
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2 IPVanish
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
$10
/month
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3 Hide My Ass!
  • Large network
  • 256-bit keys
  • Custom apps
  • Live chat
  • Free proxy
$11.52
/month
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4 PureVPN
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
  • Smart DNS
  • Live chat
$9.95
/month
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5 HideIpVPN
  • Smart DNS
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
  • No logs
  • Free trial
$5.99
/month
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6 ibVPN
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Zero logs
  • Smart DNS
  • Custom apps
  • Free trial
$7.95
/month
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Internet use in Poland

As of the end of 2014, 67.5% of the population had access to the internet and there were 14 million Facebook users. Currently, around 49% of internet users connect through Wireless broadband. The cost of broadband is considered high in comparison with other destinations in Europe, which is due in part to a lack of competition among internet service providers (ISPs).

Many young people inside and outside of Poland use the internet to access media, particularly streaming channels for music, TV and films. With increasing internet access, including home use and public Wi-Fi, the demand for VPN (and Smart DNS) services is rising.

Data retention

In 2009, the government introduced the Polish mandatory data retention law without consulting the public. The law stipulates that telephone and internet traffic data is stored for 1 year and grants law enforcement agencies and judges access to retained data to prevent any crime, no matter how trivial, and to support civil cases. There is no oversight in the sharing of retained data among agencies and accessing data is straightforward.

There are several civil rights groups campaigning against the data retention legislation in Poland, including Panoptykon, a digital civil rights group which, along with increased public protest and media coverage led to the announcement of amendments by the government in 2011 though the amendments were later shelved.

Another challenge to the legislation came in 2014 when the European Data Retention Directive was ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice. Despite the ruling, there was little political response and ISPs continue to retain data in the same way.

Censorship and anti-piracy

The Polish state does not censor online content since the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and forbids censorship. There have been no credible reports of restricted access other than through the statutory legal framework.

In 2011, large protests and petitions caused the government to abandon anti-piracy legislation, while later that year, Polish citizen Robert Frycz was taken into police custody after he set up the website Antykomor.pl, which satirized Polish President Komorowski, including a game called ‘Komor Killer’. The website was shut down temporarily and the President himself claimed not to be aware of the operation afterwards.

The following year, Frycz was sentenced to 15 months of restricted liberty and 600 hours of community service for the charge of defaming the president.

In 2012, thousands of Polish citizens and websites protested the Prime Minister’s signing of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which established international regulation concerning intellectual property rights and was suspected by the protesters to be ushering in online censorship.

Oblawa Manhunt
In 2014, thousands of presumed ‘pirates’ had received fines and threats of legal action for illegally downloading the movie “Oblawa”. Image: www.film.onet.pl

In 2014, it was reported that thousands of people had received a demand for payment of 500 Zloty for illegally downloading the movie “Oblawa”. Having claimed that over 100,000 copies of the movie were downloaded illegaly via torrents, the movie’s producers turned to German-based copyright protection agency Baseprotect, who, on behalf of the content owners, sent out thousands of fines and threats of legal action to deemed infringers.

VPN Services

Though Poland may not be the most extreme example of a country with a heavily regulated or censored internet, its residents still have good reason for concern, particularly when it comes to dealing with data monitoring and copyright trolling. Consequently, VPNs have become somewhat of a must-have tool for many internet users in the country.

Below, we’ve reviewed six of the best VPN services with one or more encrypted servers in Poland, as well as numerous other regional locations.

Provider Features Price Links
1 ExpressVPN
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
  • Zero logs
  • Live chat
$8.32
/month
Visit Provider
Read Review
2 IPVanish
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
$10
/month
Visit Provider
Read Review
3 Hide My Ass!
  • Large network
  • 256-bit keys
  • Custom apps
  • Live chat
  • Free proxy
$11.52
/month
Visit Provider
Read Review
4 PureVPN
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
  • Smart DNS
  • Live chat
$9.95
/month
Visit Provider
Read Review
5 HideIpVPN
  • Smart DNS
  • Custom apps
  • 256-bit keys
  • No logs
  • Free trial
$5.99
/month
Visit Provider
Read Review
6 ibVPN
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Zero logs
  • Smart DNS
  • Custom apps
  • Free trial
$7.95
/month
Visit Provider
Read Review

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Poland

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where data retention is not mandatory. The VPN uses 128-bit or 256-bit SSL encryption and support the following protocols: L2TP-IPsec, OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), SSTP and PPTP. There are several servers in Poland, including in the large cities of Warsaw and Wrocław.

ExpressVPN has a strict no log policy since user activity and connection data are not recorded.

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IPVanish

IPVanish

IPVanish operates out of the United States and as such is not required to retain internet users’ data. Available encryption protocols are OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2 and PPTP with OpenVPN supporting AES 128-bit and 256-bit ciphers.

Currently, IPVanish has two servers in Warsaw. Traffic and connection data are not logged.

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HideMyAss!

hidemyass

HideMyAss! (HMA) is a VPN provider with its headquarters in London, UK. In 2015, the parent company, Privax, was purchased by the computer security experts AVG.

HMA offers OpenVPN TCP encryption as standard, with the following protocols also available: L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN UDP and PPTP.

Currently, there are two HMA servers in Pomerania in Gdansk (246 IPs) and one in Warsaw (120 IPs). HMA does not log user activity but it does store basic connections data for 2-3 months, including a time stamp, volume of sent and received data and IP addresses.

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PureVPN

PureVPN

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, where, unlike in mainland China, data retention is not required by law. VPNs use up to AES 256-CBC encryption with OpenVPN as standard. The following protocols are also supported: IKEv2, PPTP, SSTP and L2TP/IPSec.

Currently, PureVPN has two servers in Warsaw. Traffic activity is not stored but basic connection data are logged for 30 days, which includes bandwidth usage and a time stamp of connection.

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HideIPVPN

HideIpVPN homepage screenshot

HideIPVPN is a VPN and Smart DNS provider with its headquarters in Europe (though it operates under U.S jurisdiction). Its VPN service supports the following protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP and SoftEther.

Its Smart DNS service can be bought separately or together with a VPN subscription and unblocks a broad range music and video-on-demand (VOD) channels, including Polish services such as TVP PL, Iplex.PL, Kinoplex, HBO Go, VOD Onet, Strefa VOD, Cineman VOD, Player.PL.

HideIPVPN is a relatively small provider with servers in 7 countries, including several in Poland. Traffic and connection logs are not kept.

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ibVPN

ibvpn

Romania-based ibVPN is not required to retain subscriber data. It offers both VPN and Smart DNS services. Access to the VPN is available over OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP or SSTP protocols. Traffic activity is not collected but basic connections data are stored for one week.

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Glancing back at the curve.

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