You've run into the trailer of a certain TV show, and at the end of it, you learn it's available on a streaming site like Netflix or Amazon Prime. But when you log into your account to look for that show, you learn it's unavailable in your country. Before giving up, did you know you can use VPN to mask your real location and access geo-blocked content? It's that easy. The only challenge you may encounter is choosing the right service, as they're many. Read on to learn the best VPN services for streaming.
Top 10 Best Streaming VPN Services
What is the best VPN for streaming? Whether you're traveling and want to enjoy local content or want to stream content not available in your country, here are some VPN services you should consider.
Table of content
- Top 10 Best Streaming VPN Services
- ExpressVPN: Best Overall
- NordVPN: Best VPN for Security
- Surfshark: Best VPN for International Streaming
- CyberGhost: Best for Frequent Travelers
- Proton VPN: Best Open-Source VPN
- Private Internet Access (PIA): Most Affordable VPN Service
- PrivateVPN: Best for Beginners
- Windscribe: Best Free VPN Service for Streaming
- IPVanish: Best Customer Support
- Atlas VPN: Best Freemium VPN
- How Do VPNs Work With Cable and Other Streaming Products?
- How Do You Use a VPN With Streaming Services?
- Streaming Services That Work With a VPN?
- Is Streaming Through VPN Illegal?
- Frequently Asked Questions
ExpressVPN: Best Overall
ExpressVPN takes the No. 1 spot in our ranking for several reasons. It's easy to use and has a massive network of servers (3000+) in 94 countries. It's also one of the fastest VPN services for 2023. Expect to stream with almost zero issues.
With this VPN, you can watch shows and movies on Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Max, Sling TV, Showtime, Disney+, Apple TV, and BBC iPlayer. In fact, you can even watch Formula 1. In addition, with one subscription, you can connect more than five devices simultaneously.
One of its outstanding features is that the company offers a Wi-Fi router with an in-built VPN, allowing you to secure all connected devices.
Its biggest drawback is the pricing which is $99.95 per year. This places it on the list of expensive VPNs. Nonetheless, unlike most VPN services that increase their prices during renewal, ExpressVPN prices are fixed.
- 24/7 live chat support
- Easy to use
- A broad network of servers
- Not the cheapest option
NordVPN: Best VPN for Security
Next in line, we have NordVPN, which has excellent privacy features. This is thanks to the secure 256-bit AES encryption, excellent VPN protocols, including NordLyncy and OpenVPN, and threat protection, which blocks trackers.
It has more than 5500 servers around 60 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, India, and Japan. This sets a good foundation for this VPN's streaming capabilities. Although it lacks dedicated streaming servers, the Smartplay feature allows you to access all types of content.
Some of the streaming sites you can access with NordVPN include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, DAZN channel, and BBC iPlayer.
One of NordVPN's outstanding features is the dark web monitor, which notifies you if your information leaks on the dark web.
- 24/7 support
- Ad-blocking and antivirus features
- Dedicated IP address add-on
- Rates increase after the promotional period
Surfshark: Best VPN for International Streaming
Surfshark is a fast and reliable VPN that lets you connect with an unlimited number of devices. That means you can stream on various devices simultaneously without paying an extra cent.
With over 3200 servers in about 100 countries, including some African countries, the app is one of the best for streaming international content. It works with Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Hotstar. That said, the app isn't exactly the fastest, meaning you can experience some lagging when streaming content in 4K.
What sets this VPN service apart is the unlimited connections allowing you to get the most out of your subscription.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Speeds could be faster
- No phone support
CyberGhost: Best for Frequent Travelers
CyberGhost is one of the VPN services with the largest number of servers (9438 across 91 countries). This makes it a good option for anyone who travels and wants VPN coverage in different areas of the world.
Considering it has dedicated streaming servers, you can unlock plenty of geo-blocked content on Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, and ITV. However, we have to mention that it's not the best for streaming Netflix because it doesn't unblock a huge number of catalogs like other VPN Services. For example, it's not possible to watch Netflix Japan.
What sets Cyberghost apart is the fact that it's quite keen on protecting users' privacy. They have done this by developing 'no spy servers' which mask user data and activity.
- Easy to use
- A huge network of servers
- Free trial on macOS and Windows last only 24 hours
- Doesn't work with Netflix Japan and the UK
Proton VPN: Best Open-Source VPN
Popularly known for its encrypted email service called Proton Mail, Proton VPN is one of the best VPN services for streaming TV shows and movies. It has over 2900 servers across 65+ countries, with dedicated streaming servers in most locations. As such, it has exceptional streaming capabilities and is easy to use.
Proton VPN allows you to access content on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, ABC, FuboTV, Peacock, and Pluto TV. Unfortunately, the free plan doesn't allow streaming.
That said, one of the unique features you will love about this service is the VPN accelerator which ensures you get fast speeds no matter where you are.
- Prevents DNS leak
- VPN accelerator
- 10 simultaneous connections
- You have to pay to enjoy streaming services
- Not the best customer support
Private Internet Access (PIA): Most Affordable VPN Service
Private Internet Access might just be the cheapest streaming VPN in 2023 with quality services. If you commit to longer terms, you get significant discounts. In a yearly plan, you'll pay $39.95, equal to $3.33 monthly. It gets cheaper when you pay for a three-year plan of $79, which is $2.03 a month.
When it comes to streaming, you get access to streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Eurosport, and France TV, among others. Often, VPNs can slow down connections because of speed routing processes. However, PIA's Smart DNS feature redirects your DNS for optimum speed. That means hardly will you notice a drop in steaming quality.
Considering that PIA has 35,000+ servers across 84 countries, you can easily connect to a server near you and keep enjoying content from these platforms.
- Unlimited connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Lacks free version
- Not the fastest VPN service
PrivateVPN: Best for Beginners
Not to be confused with Private Internet Access (PIA), Private VPN is another great VPN service for streaming. Thanks to its very user-friendly interface on all its apps, you can manually connect to one of its servers across 63 countries.
Private VPN's dedicated IP servers will help you access geo-restricted content from Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Hotstar India, and ITVX.
When it comes to pricing, the plans are very affordable. For a monthly plan, you'll pay $9.90, but if you commit to a three-year plan, you pay $2.
The biggest challenge with Private VPN is that due to a limited number of servers, sometimes the connection can be slow. That means you may have challenges streaming quality videos.
- 10 simultaneous connections
- 7-day free trial
- Small server fleet
Windscribe: Best Free VPN Service for Streaming
Windscribe is one of the best free VPN services in the market. In fact, even on the free plan, you can unlock geo-blocked content on Netflix. That said, the free plan has a data cap of 15GB. This is roughly about one TV show.
You can also access other streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. The paid plans have no data cap. For a monthly fee of $9 or $5.75, if you pay an annual fee of $69, you can seamlessly stream most of the content you want.
Windscribe's biggest weakness may be its customer support. It's a ticket system that takes a while before getting feedback.
- Access to geo-blocked content on the free plan
- Limited global network
IPVanish: Best Customer Support
IPVanish is a user-friendly, feature-rich VPN service that's good for streaming services. With more than 2,200 servers across 52 countries, you can bypass many regional restrictions on various streaming platforms.
Some platforms it works with include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+, and YouTube TV. In addition, it has apps for Fire Stick, Fire TV, and Fire Cube, making streaming more convenient.
When it comes to customer service, they have outdone themselves by providing different options such as 24/7 chat support, email, and phone line. They also have a knowledge center with guides and multiple FAQs where you're likely to find a solution to an issue you're experiencing.
Although this VPN service isn't costly, as prices start from $3.33 a month, after a year, the prices increase.
- Unlimited connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Fast speeds
- Military-grade encryption
- Price increase after a year
- Dated interface
Atlas VPN: Best Freemium VPN
If you're looking to enjoy geo-restricted content without spending too much money, consider Atlas VPN. It has over 1000+ servers across 42 countries, making it easy to access a wide variety of content. Its WireGuard protocol makes this VPN speedier, ensuring you can enjoy quality videos faster.
Atlas VPN has dedicated streaming servers you can use to access content from sites like Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Also, with unlimited simultaneous connections, you can connect as many devices as you have.
The software packs a few unique privacy features, like the data breach function, which protect you from data breaches. In addition, the tracker blocker ensures your location can't be tracked and keeps away intrusive ads.
That said, it lacks certain features, such as RAM-only servers for extra security when streaming. Hopefully, we can see them in the future.
- Unblocks most streaming servicesUnlimited connections30-day money-back guaranteeFree version
- Limited server fleet
How Do VPNs Work With Cable and Other Streaming Products?
All VPNs work the same, which is masking your location so that it appears as if you're in a different place. So, if you're in Canada, you can set the VPN to show you're in the US. This way, if a TV show is only accessible to US residents, you can now access it as well.
Keep in mind that certain providers prohibit using VPNs to access their content. But hardly will they cancel your subscription because they have discovered you use VPN. The most they can do is probably block access when they detect an active VPN and let you in when they can't.
How Do You Use a VPN With Streaming Services?
Using a VPN with a streaming service is very simple. Here are the steps to follow.
- Pick a VPN provider: From our list, choose the provider that suits you most. Remember you want a provider with servers in the area where you need access.
- Download on your device: Install the VPN software and follow the instructions given to activate the software, and ensure it's running.
- Connect to a server: Pick a server in the region where you want to access the content.
- Log into the streaming service: Once you log in, the streaming platform automatically assumes you're in the region you have chosen, and so it gives you access to content available in that region.
- Enjoy your shows and movies.
Streaming Services That Work With a VPN?
Many streaming services work with VPNs, but those you can access will depend on your chosen VPN provider. Popular VPN services like ExpressVPN give you access to a wide variety of streaming platforms. That said, here is a list of streaming services you can access through VPNs.
- Amazon Prime Video
- BBC iPlayer
- ITV Player
- beIN Sports
- AT&T TV Now
Is Streaming Through VPN Illegal?
Using VPNs is legal in many countries. Users are simply taking measures to protect their online privacy, which is not a crime.
That said, some countries like China, Russia, Iran, UAE, and Oman have banned the use of VPNs, meaning if you're caught, you'll be charged. If you choose to use VPN in such countries, choose a VPN service with solid obfuscation to disguise your VPN traffic as normal HTTPS traffic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a VPN for streaming, and is VPN necessary for live-streaming?
You don't need a VPN for streaming unless you need to access content unavailable in your region. The same applies to live-streaming, where you won't need VPN unless you want to stream content in another region you lack access to.
Should I go for a free streaming VPN?
While you can go for a free streaming VPN, it's not advisable. Chances are that a lot of people are flocking on such VPNs meaning the servers will be overcrowded, leading to low-speed connection and an awful streaming experience. In addition, they may collect your data and sell it to third parties to make money.
Will a VPN slow down your streaming speed?
A VPN will slow down your streaming speed, but in most cases, you might not notice, especially if you're using quality VPN services.
What should I do if I experience slowdowns?
If you experience slowdowns, pick a different server, particularly one close to you, for faster speeds.
What happens if you don't use a VPN when streaming?
If you don't use a VPN when streaming, you'll only be able to access content available in your location.
How do streaming services know you're using a VPN?
Most streaming services will know you're using a VPN if the location of your DNS server and IP address don't match. Most VPNs route your online activities through a provided DNS server to ensure your traffic and DNS server match to avoid streaming services from detecting VPN use.
Do streaming services hate VPNs?
Streaming services hate VPNs because of content licensing agreements. Since licensing agreements are governed by geographical boundaries, when you access content from a region you shouldn't, you're making them violate the terms of the licensing agreements.
What is the fastest VPN for streaming?
The fastest VPN for streaming is ExpressVPN. It has exceptional speed giving users a seamless experience free from throttling.
Can I unblock streaming content with a free VPN?
While you can unblock streaming content with a free VPN, in most cases, they cap the data and only give you a few hours to stream content.
Can you stream 4K with a VPN?
You can stream 4K with a VPN as long as the VPN service has exceptional speeds.
Does a VPN block streaming services
Hardly does a VPN block streaming services. In fact, it's the other way around where they unblock streaming services.
Can I use a streaming VPN to watch sports?
Like any other type of content, you can use a VPN to watch sports by unblocking geo-restricted sports channels.
The best way to access geo-restricted content on streaming services is by using VPNs. However, you must find the best VPN service that unblocks a wide range of content and is fast for a seamless experience. This guide has provided some of the best VPN services you can consider for streaming. It will help you pick the right service for your needs.
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