Best VPN for Streaming

In recent years, streaming VPNs have become vital. Whether you are using a VPN for streaming movies or to access a major streaming service in another region doesn’t matter; there are numerous reasons to install a streaming VPN.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) will enable you to get more out of streaming by allowing you to bypass geo-blocks and access restricted content. Installing a VPN on your device will mean you can access streaming websites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more. A VPN will give you access to a host of television shows and movies that would not typically be available in your country.

Not every VPN is the same, and some are better suited to streaming than others. These include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and several others. Read on the learn more about our top picks for streaming VPNs.

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Do I Need a VPN for Streaming?

If you have subscriptions to a range of streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+, you’ll likely be limited to the television shows and movies available in your country. However, what do you do if you want to stream your favorite TV shows but they aren’t available in your region?

A streaming VPN can serve to mask your real IP address, replacing it with one from another location. This enables you to access content from major streaming services around the world such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

If you are a sports fan but struggle to access coverage in your country, by using a streaming VPN you will be able to watch live sports events worldwide, perfect if you’re based in the US but want to watch the UK premier league.

Finally, many VPNs offer optimized streaming VPN servers, for the best performance. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase a VPN that offers the appropriate technology to provide you with the best streaming performance.

How to Choose the Best Streaming VPN

When choosing the best streaming VPN, there are many things to consider:

unblock netlflix

What is the Best VPN for Streaming?

If you want to continue to access your favorite streaming services while abroad, or you want to access geo-blocked sports coverage that is not available in your region, a good VPN is a necessary addition to your device. Here are our favorite VPNs for streaming.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN offers an excellent streaming VPN service complete with technology specifically designed to access streaming sites.

NordVPN is a great option if you are looking for a streaming VPN. The provider offers SmartPlay technology, which is specially designed to overcome geo-restrictions on major streaming sites. The SmartPlay feature can be connected to your Smart TV or your router to ensure easy access to a host of streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Many streaming services, including Netflix, possess strong firewalls and VPN blocking technology, which are difficult to bypass. However, NordVPN uses obfuscation to hide your VPN use and enable you to get past these difficult blocks.

NordVPN’s client is compatible with all major operating systems, and it provides dedicated desktop and mobile apps for macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. You can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously, which means you can enjoy your favorite content on your phone, tablet, computer, SmartTV, and laptop.

Speed tests reveal impressive and reliable connection speeds, meaning that you do not have to worry about lag or buffering when connected to one of NordVPN’s servers. You may experience a slight increase in latency with long-distance connections; however, this is expected.

NordVPN offers access to an extensive range of over 5,000 servers across 80 locations, which means that you have endless choices when choosing IP addresses from the same countries as your desired streaming libraries.

NordVPN is also relatively affordable, considering the first-rate service on offer. While the monthly price stands at $11.95, if you are ready to commit to the 1-year plan, you will receive a discount on the subscription price of up to 70%. However, if you are not happy with the product, you can receive a refund within the first month thanks to its risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. ExpressVPN

Express VPN is one of the best streaming VPNs on the market thanks to its impressive Lightway protocol that offers fast speeds.

ExpressVPN offers a first-rate streaming VPN product that makes watching content from around the world simple and easy. Whether you want to watch TV shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or HBO Max, ExpressVPN will enable you to do so with ease.

Connecting to ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer will enable you to overcome geo-blocked content thanks to its smart DNS technology. However, this feature will not offer the same protection and encryption as an actual VPN. To use the Media Streamer, it is necessary to connect the VPN to your router and then set your devices to utilize the DNS servers. This is a great option if you do not want to encrypt your internet data, but you want to unblock streaming services.

ExpressVPN offers access to an impressive range of over 3,000 servers across 94 countries, ensuring lightning-fast and reliable connection speeds, no matter what server location you choose to connect to.

When it comes to security and privacy, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs. It utilizes a host of advanced protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP.

If you are looking for the fastest speeds and security isn’t your top priority, consider PPTP or IKEv2 protocols. However, OpenVPN will offer the highest levels of security. ExpressVPN also provides complete DNS leak protection, ensuring that your real IP address is always secure and protected.

NordVPN offers a range of sophisticated clients, enabling you to stream on your Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, or Linux devices. ExpressVPN’s user-friendly interface enables an automatic connection to the optimal available server to ensure the fastest speeds. This feature is handy if you are traveling abroad and are unfamiliar with the servers that are located in the region.

The VPN offers protection for up to 5 devices simultaneously, which is sufficient for most users, despite being less than many other VPNs offer.

Customer support is good and there is a 24/7 live chat on the website should you need assistance when it comes to accessing your favorite TV streaming services.

ExpressVPN is also one of the more expensive options when it comes to choosing a VPN service. However, it provides a 30-day money-back guarantee with all of its plans, allowing you to make sure that the VPN unblocks all of the major streaming services you want to access before you commit to a paid subscription plan.

3. Surfshark VPN

Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for streaming, and it comes at a fraction of the price of some of its competitors.

Surfshark can unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and YouTube with ease, making it one of the best streaming VPNs to access geo-blocked TV shows and movies.

Not only does this streaming VPN come at a great price, but it offers unlimited simultaneous connections too. You can use VPN to stream content on your iPhone, tablet, Smart TV, laptop, computer all at the same time. In theory, you could share the subscription plan with your friends and family too.

Surfshark is compatible with all major operating systems, including macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux. It is also suitable for connection on your SmartTV, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV.

The provider utilizes advanced protocols such as IKEv2/IPSec, and offers access to an extensive range of over 3,200 server locations, ensuring fast, stable connections. Surfshark will enable you to watch your favorite content in high-definition, without buffering.

If you enjoy split tunneling, Surfshark will allow you to use the VPN for streaming while allowing your other online activity to run through your normal IP internet connection. The Whitelister (or split-tunneling) feature is available to activate on most of the provider’s platforms and clients. You can choose which apps and sites use the VPN and which bypass it.

Although it may not have such an extensive range of security and privacy features as some of its competitors, Surfshark does offer a truly great streaming VPN at an excellent price. There is also a great 24/7 live-chat support feature in case you run into any issues and a 30-day money-back guarantee for additional peace of mind.

4. Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield provides first-rate security features and its Hydra protocol produces extremely fast speeds for streaming.

Thanks to its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, Hotspot Shield promises super-fast connection speeds for streaming. It offers access to over 3,200 servers in more than 100 locations, meaning that you have an endless choice when it comes to choosing a fast server location. This means that you can stream your favorite shows in 4k high definition (HD) with ease.

Hotspot Shield is successful at unblocking Netflix and a range of other popular major streaming websites such as Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Hulu. The VPN will enable you to bypass geo-restrictions and stream new movies as soon as they are released, even when they are not available in your region.

When it comes to privacy while streaming, Hotspot Shield offers complete DNS protection, which means that your actual IP address will never leak as long as the VPN is activated.

Hotspot Shield provides protection for up to 5 simultaneous devices, which is enough for most typical users and is an average number among its competitors. If you require a streaming VPN with a greater number of connections, you can set up Hotspot Shield on your router to use the service on all of your devices.

With Hotspot Shield’s premium plan’s there is also a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is more than most providers offer. This means that you can try the product risk-free for 45-days and request a refund if you are not completely satisfied.

5. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN one of the best VPN providers for accessing streaming services, especially if you are concerned about your online security.

ProtonVPN is known for its exceptional privacy and security features, however, it is successful at unlocking some of the best streaming services too. It allows access to YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, US and UK Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.

The provider has significantly expanded its service in recent years and now offers over 1073 servers across 53 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, North America, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea. This extensive range of server locations means you should have no issue accessing a server in the same region as your desired Netflix library.

ProtonVPN Premium offers up to 10 device connections, depending on the plan you choose, which is double the industry average, and means that you can stream your favorite shows on all of your devices, and even share your subscription with friends and family.

When it comes to user privacy and security, ProtonVPN is one of the best VPN providers. The VPN includes a kill-switch, complete DNS leak protection, and utilizes military-grade encryption to ensure your real IP address and personal data remain safe and secure online.

ProtonVPN also boasts an excellent no-logging policy that reassures customers that it will never monitor or store user internet activity and cannot pass such information on to third parties.

All of Proton’s subscription plans are covered by a limited 30-day refund guarantee, which means that you will only receive a refund for your unused subscription period. Therefore, if you signed up to the VPN for a month and request a refund after 2 weeks, the provider will only refund half of your subscription fee.

6. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost is a great choice for streaming content from around the world. Its extensive range of sophisticated features makes for an excellent streaming experience.

Thanks to its huge server network and advanced features, CyberGhost is one of the best streaming VPNs. If you want to access streaming services from around the globe on all of your devices, CyberGhost will enable you to do so thanks to numerous server locations.

It is compatible with all major operating systems including Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles. The provider also offers support for up to 10 devices, enabling you to share your subscription with the rest of your family.

CyberGhost even boasts dedicated streaming servers that enable you to bypass geo-restrictions and access geo-blocked Netflix libraries easily. The provider is successful at overcoming Netflix’s strong firewall and VPN blocker. Its website even features a list of the best servers for accessing different Netflix libraries.

Speed and streaming performance are also great with this provider, meaning that you can watch your favorite content in high-definition and without buffering.

The provider is based in Romania, a country that enjoys good data retention laws and is not part of the 5-Eyes-Surveillance-Alliance. CyberGhost also has an excellent no-logs policy which ensures that your data and online activity are never stored or misused, and a kill switch to keep your streaming data private at all times.

CyberGhost also offers impressive customer service with a 24/7 live chat support option and comprehensive set-up guides on its website.

If you are ready to commit to a long-term plan, CyberGhost’s 18-month plan works out at an impressive $2.75 per month. Its 6-month and 18-month subscription plans also come with a reassuring 45-day refund policy for additional peace of mind.

7. Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN

Private Internet Access is one of the best streaming VPNs thanks to its eye-watering number of physical and virtual-based servers.

PIA boasts a huge range of over 20,000 servers across 76 countries. Its extensive VPN server network ensures access to US Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+. However, the provider cannot overcome BBC iPlayer’s strong VPN blocking technology, which may be a disappointment for those wanting to stream geo-blocked UK content.

It is compatible with all major operating systems including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux, meaning you can stream on any device you own. The VPN’s clients are easy to install and simple to navigate, making the service a great choice for even beginner VPN users. There is also support for up to 10 simultaneous device connections, which is twice the industry average.

PIA provides an excellent range of comprehensive troubleshooting guides on its website. There is no live chat, meaning that it may take a few hours for a response. This is disappointing, especially considering the excellent live services offered by many of the provider’s competitors. However, considering PIA’s low cost, the slow response regarding customer service is not a massive issue.

PIA’s long-term subscription offers incredible value for money at less than $3.30 per month. There is also a 30-day refund policy in place in case you change your mind.

Should I Use a Free Streaming VPN?

We would typically recommend that you avoid free VPN services if your main goal is to stream content. Most free VPN plans come with meager data restrictions and bandwidth limits, and limited server locations, rendering them useless for streaming.

It is necessary to remain cautious when it comes to free VPNs in general. While a VPN provider’s free version may be decent, there are less reputable, free VPN providers can pose a harmful threat to the users they claim to protect. A free version of a VPN may come riddled with adware or malicious advertising and weak protocols that put your data and identity at risk. Some providers even log and sell private user information to third parties for profit.

Which is the Best Free Streaming VPN?

The best free streaming VPN in terms of its ability to unblock almost any streaming service is Hola. However, Hola is very unsafe since it is a P2P community-powered network, meaning you’re using the IP addresses of unknown people, and they are using your IP to do whatever they like online.

Are Streaming VPNs Expensive?

A good VPN that can unblock your favorite streaming service may be more expensive than other personal VPNs. This is due to the high level of technology that is required to bypass VPN blocks on TV streaming sites such as BBC iPlayer. Moreover, a streaming VPN will often come with extra features and support such as 24/7 live chat support.

How to Use a VPN with a Streaming Service

Using a VPN with a streaming service is easy. You need to download the VPN app (e.g for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, or Linux) and connect to a VPN server in the country of your choice.

From here you can change IP addresses and then visit the streaming service website in question. Your geo-location should have changed, meaning you can now access content that was previously geo-blocked.

Will a Streaming Service Ban Me for Using a VPN?

This is a likely eventuality; if a streaming site such as Netflix detects you using a VPN, it has every right to ban your account as you are breaking its Terms of Service.

Yes, using a VPN is legal. However, when you use the VPN to do something that is illegal such as downloading copyrighted content, you could get into trouble.

Do Streaming VPNs Work in China?

Some of the VPNs on our list work in China and can help with streaming movies in the restricted country. We recommend NordVPN or Surfshark if you want a VPN for China.

Author Cliff Durward

Hi, I'm Cliff. I'm based in Cleveland, Ohio, with my wife and two kids. I have a keen interest in cybersecurity and have been writing about it for around a decade now. Due to my background in computer science, I am familiar ...
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Last updated: July 6, 2021