A powerful VPN can unleash a whole new world of entertainment. That's because you'll get to access new streaming services (otherwise unavailable in your country), as well as expand the libraries of the streaming services you already use. However, you can make that happen only if you use the best VPN for streaming, which is what we'll help you find.
The truth is that finding a VPN capable of effortless streaming requires some effort on your part. After all, you wouldn't want to waste your money trying a VPN that's not optimized for streaming. You'll want to avoid those pesky geo-block messages that sites such as Netflix are quick to display (if you use a less powerful VPN, that is).
On top of that, it's no longer enough for a streaming VPN to let you bypass geo-based blocks. The best VPNs for streaming must unblock streaming services while also providing you with streaming-friendly Internet speeds. That means many VPNs now offer specialized servers for streaming, making your choice even more difficult.
That's why you need guides like this one, which we produced after testing dozens of VPNs. As yes, we tested them with Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Kodi, and more.
Some streaming services have more capable systems of blocking VPNs, so you must find the best VPN for specific streaming services, recommended only after in-depth testing. That said, our recommendations come with guarantees from our team of experts.
In this article, you'll find a selection of the best streaming VPNs, with detailed descriptions highlighting their pros and cons. Also, we'll show you how to use a VPN for streaming, as well as explain what kind of performance you can expect, how to resolve technical issues, which streaming services to use, and plenty more.
9 Best Streaming VPNs - Our Shortlist
- ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated Best VPN for Streaming in 2023
- NordVPN – Best VPN for Streaming for High-End Enthusiasts
- CyberGhost VPN – Best for Hard-to-Unblock Streaming Services
- IPVanish - Best for Unblocking Kodi Add-ons
- Private Internet Access - Best for Advanced VPN Users
- Surfshark – Best for Unblocking US-Based Streaming Platforms
- Ivacy VPN – Best VPN for TV Streaming on a Budget
- Proton VPN - Best for Streaming + Digital Privacy
- PrivateVPN – Best Beginner-Friendly VPN for Streaming
How to Use a VPN for Streaming
You can start using a streaming VPN in under a few minutes - it's that easy! You need to install a VPN and then connect to its server. Here's how that's done:
- Subscribe to a streaming-friendly VPN (we recommend ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the VPN on your device.
- Launch the VPN app and reach its home screen by logging in to your account.
- If you want to unblock a US-based platform, pick a US-based VPN server.
- You can now access your desired streaming service. That's it!
Best VPNs for Streaming in 2023
The best streaming VPN must, first and foremost, be capable of unblocking all your favorite media streaming services and apps. That's also why it's essential to pick a VPN with native apps for all your devices (computers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, and more). You'll also want a sizable server network, with servers in countries that have access to your streaming apps.
Since we're talking about streaming here, the best VPN for streaming must have fast speeds to help you avoid playback issues. Speaking of performance, VPNs with SmartDNS functionalities tend to be faster than traditional VPNs. However, it's also important to pick a VPN with plenty of simultaneous connections.
Finally, you can minimize any risk by picking a VPN with a solid money-back policy (lasting typically up to 30 days) and 24/7 live chat customer support.
Following the criteria explained above, these are the 9 best VPNs for streaming:
1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated Best VPN for Streaming in 2023
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ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming because it unblocks any streaming service out there, on any device imaginable, with as little fuss as possible. Also, it's easy to use, ultra-fast, and suitable even for first-time VPN users.
This VPN works on 60+ supported devices, with native software available for any smartphone, computer, tablet, and media streaming device. ExpressVPN also comes with something called 'MediaStreamer,' which is a 'Smart DNS' system that lets you access streaming platforms even on devices that don't run VPNs natively (such as game consoles and TVs).
Then, ExpressVPN lets you unblock just about any streaming platform (it has 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries). We've been using it for several years now, and we have yet to find a platform out of this VPN's reach. So, you can count on watching Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Discovery Plus, Prime Video, and a range of live TV streaming services (yes, ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for TV streaming as well).
In terms of Netflix, you get the added benefit of accessing its region-based libraries reserved for the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, and more. That means you can unblock titles available in those countries only (exclusive titles).
We'll also add that ExpressVPN is a high-speed VPN service, even if you don't change any of its settings. On top of that, even if you pick a server on the other side of the planet, you can still stream reliably in 4K if you have a fast-enough Web connection (over 30Mbps, in that case). On top of that, you get 5 simultaneous connections.
Finally, we'll add that you get 24/7-available customer support with live chat. There's also a 30-day money-back policy, which means getting an ExpressVPN subscription is a risk-free decision.
- Works on any device.
- Unblocks any streaming service.
- Unblocks 10+ individual Netflix libraries.
- Incredibly easy to get started with.
- Stable and reliable performance.
- 3,000 servers in 90+ countries.
- No data logging whatsoever.
- No in-depth fine-tuning.
2. NordVPN - Best VPN for Streaming for High-End Enthusiasts
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NordVPN is another reputable streaming VPN that'll never let you down. That applies to both protecting your privacy and streaming media on the Web. However, we recommend it to more advanced users, as it has several unique features that stand out.
The flagship feature of this VPN is its double encryption. Instead of routing traffic through 1 server, it does that with 2 secure servers. This helps you unblock streaming sites in countries with rigorous Internet roadblocks. However, that also means that some throttling is present.
You need a fast Web connection to keep streaming in HD and 4K. This isn't the fastest VPN out there, even though you can do a lot to optimize its speed. Still, based on our experience, those with faster (fiber-like) Internet connections will be happy with this VPN the most.
Even though NordVPN works excellently with a vast range of streaming platforms (including Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more), it doesn't offer dedicated servers for streaming. So, some manual labor is needed as you must try several servers to find which one works best.
Speaking of NordVPN's servers, you'll find 5,500+ units in around 60 countries. You can access those servers from practically any device (you get 6 simultaneous connections), thanks to NordVPN's modern-looking applications.
Let's not forget that NordVPN's SmartPlay is a 'Smart DNS' feature. So, media streaming is possible even on devices with no support for VPNs. However, NordVPN continues to offer a dedicated app for Fire TV and Android TV devices, so you have plenty of options overall.
Like any other capable VPN, this one offers 24/7 customer support, which includes live chat. Also, you'll have 30 days to change your mind and have your money back, which seems like a generous offer.
- Highly polished interface.
- Works on any device out there.
- Works with any streaming service.
- Very easy to install and get started with.
- Includes a 'Smart DNS' service.
- 5,500+ servers in 60 countries.
- Some fine-tuning is required.
3. CyberGhost VPN - Best for Hard-to-Unblock Streaming Services
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CyberGhost VPN is a capable VPN if you want to protect your privacy and hide your sensitive data. However, it also is a hugely powerful streaming VPN option - if you're not afraid to do some fine-tuning.
Know that CyberGhost VPN comes with one of the most extensive networks of VPN servers, spread across 90+ countries (over 9,500+ servers in total). That's great for media streaming (especially since you get 7 simultaneous connections), as those servers allow you to unblock even some niche streaming services (which seems to be extra useful if you're into European streaming platforms).
CyberGhost VPN also works great with big-name streaming sites. We had no issues accessing Netflix US, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, and Disney Plus, among others. You can also count on accessing different versions of Netflix and Prime Video - but that only applies to those using CyberGhost VPN's fully-featured apps, as explained below.
This VPN offers a 'Smart DNS' feature, making it compatible with devices that don't allow VPN apps. However, you'll get to access Netflix (US and UK) and Hulu only in those cases. To access any other platform, you're forced to use CyberGhost VPN's apps - which are available for phones, tablets, computers, streaming devices, and even routers.
We must also mention that, even though it's one of the best VPNs for streaming, CyberGhost VPN can be slow - especially if you don't take your time to inspect its options (which are limited on macOS, sadly). So, to get streaming-friendly speeds, you must have a high-speed Web connection or be prepared to dive into fine-tuning this VPN.
In addition to everything said so far, this VPN uses solid encryption to secure all your incoming and outgoing data and has a "zero logs" policy in place. And, let's not forget to mention that CyberGhost offers 45-day money-back guarantees, as well as 24/7-available live chat support.
- Modern-looking software.
- Suitable even for complete beginners.
- Dedicated servers for streaming.
- Unblocks different versions of Netflix.
- Works with many streaming services.
- Offers dedicated (and anonymous) IPs.
- Can be slow (if you don't optimize it).
- Limited 'Smart DNS' feature.
4. IPVanish - Best for Unblocking Kodi Add-ons
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IPVanish is a rather peculiar US-based VPN service that brings a combination of practical features without trying to overwhelm you with too many options. So, if you're after the best VPN for streaming mainstream platforms only, you should direct your focus to IPVanish.
Unlike our previous recommendations, IPVanish works with a limited range of services. Based on our tests, it unblocks Netflix (the US-based library), Disney Plus, iPlayer, and also works with many Kodi add-ons. You'll also get to unblock Hulu and Prime Video, but not consistently.
IPVanish has a range of applications for computers, smartphones, tablets, and media streaming devices (including Fire OS and Android TV). However, it doesn't offer a 'Smart DNS' service, so you'll need to install it on a router to use it on platforms that don't support VPN apps. On the upside, you get unlimited simultaneous connections.
In the past, IPVanish was known as a relatively slow VPN. However, thanks to recent updates to its infrastructure, it's now among the fastest options. You won't notice drastic slowdowns even if you connect to highly remote servers. Therefore, this is a good option even if your Web connection is on the slow side.
Aside from streaming, we also recommend IPVanish for protecting your privacy. It has a nice set of options related to fine-tuning, which also means you can optimize its performance. Also, it helps that you get access to 2,000+ servers in 75+ locations.
In the end, we'll add that IPVanish comes with a 30-day money-back policy. It also offers live chat on its website, but it looks like that option isn't available 24/7.
- Good for basic streaming needs.
- Unblocks the most popular platforms.
- Suitable for Kodi users.
- Very simple to install and use.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Focuses on mainstream platforms.
- Relatively small VPN server network.
5. Private Internet Access - Best for Advanced VPN Users
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Private Internet Access has done plenty lately to position itself as a viable streaming VPN. This VPN used to focus on digital privacy primarily. That's still one of its strong sides, which means you'll get a multi-purpose VPN service.
Based on our recent tests, PIA works smoothly with practically any popular streaming service. It has servers in 80+ countries, as well as in every US state. So, if you wish to unblock US-based streaming services, PIA is an excellent option.
We also recommend this VPN for bypassing sports blackouts in the US. Since you get to pick servers in every US state, you can easily overcome local blackout restrictions.
PIA works on any device. So, no matter if you stream on a computer, phone, tablet, or media streaming device, you'll get to use PIA's native software. You also get unlimited connections and the ability to install this VPN on a router.
This is also the best VPN for streaming for more advanced VPN users. It allows you to fine-tune every single aspect of your connection. So, if you know what you're doing, you can reach very fast Internet speeds. Unless you're willing to tinker with this VPN, know that remote servers can be slow.
PIA is also known for its customer support, which now includes 24/7-available live chat. There are also plenty of other types of resources, so you'll get to resolve any technical issue in no time.
Lastly, PIA comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you change your mind once you start using this streaming VPN, you can get your money back easily.
- Servers in 80+ countries.
- Works great for streaming.
- Works great for privacy.
- Reliable customer support.
- 30-day money-back policy.
- Best for more advanced users.
- Requires some tinkering.
6. Surfshark - Best for Unblocking US-Based Streaming Platforms
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You might be surprised to see Surfshark among the best streaming VPN services, as this is a relatively new VPN. However, upon testing its capabilities, this VPN got us quite impressed. That's why we're more than happy to recommend it - and we think many of you will love using it.
First, know that Surfshark covers a range of platforms via its native software. You can choose to use its native app(s) or Web browser extensions. And when it comes to devices that don't support VPNs, Surfshark's 'Smart DNS' is there. This feature is easy to activate and set up, and it's already included in the cost of Surfshark's subscriptions.
We've had an easy time using this VPN to unblock various platforms. In fact, you'll have a hard time finding a streaming platform that doesn't work with Surfshark. It can also unblock different versions of a single streaming service, with Netflix taking the lead (giving you access to over 10 individual country-based libraries).
There's another reason why this is the best VPN for streaming if you need a wide server fleet. It used to offer servers in around 60 countries, which is more than what the average home user needs. However, it now provides 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, giving you access to even more streaming platforms.
Surfshark gives you an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. It also doesn't log any of your data and is one of the most transparent VPNs. There's also a solid 30-day money-back policy as well as 24/7 live chat customer support.
- Highly-polished applications.
- Very easy to set up.
- Fully automated (great for beginners).
- 3,200+ servers in 90+ countries.
- Unblocks a range of streaming apps.
- Unblocks different Netflix libraries.
- Includes a 'Smart DNS' service.
- Can take a while to connect.
7. Ivacy VPN - Best VPN for TV Streaming on a Budget
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Not everyone needs a high-end streaming VPN that offers an endless array of privacy-protecting options. Some require a fully-automated and straightforward solution, and that's precisely why we've included Ivacy on our list of the best VPNs for streaming. So, here's what it offers.
Ivacy gives you a wide range of apps for pretty much any platform. However, it doesn't offer a 'Smart DNS' service. So, if you have a media streaming device or game console that doesn't support VPN apps, you'll need to install this VPN on a router.
However, if you have a device that supports VPNs (like a computer, tablet, phone, and some streaming devices), know that Ivacy is a one-click solution. It offers dedicated servers that unblock Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, as well as TV channels like ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS, alongside various European channels like NRK, RAI, ZDG, ARD, and more.
We also need to add that Ivacy's performance can vary. It's not the fastest VPN, so be prepared to do some fine-tuning (like using a different protocol or a different VPN server). That's why we recommend this VPN to those with a fast Web connection.
Also, we'll mention that Ivacy gives you 10 simultaneous connections. On top of that, its server fleet now consists of 3,400+ servers in 100+ locations.
And finally, remember that Ivacy now offers live chat via its website, available around the clock. So, in case of any questions or technical issues, you'll always have someone to ask for assistance. Aside from that, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Fully-automated VPN solution.
- Works with many streaming services.
- Unblocks different versions of Netflix.
- Compatible with many devices.
- Helpful customer support.
- Can be slow at times.
- Doesn't offer a 'Smart DNS' service.
- Doesn't allow in-depth fine-tuning.
8. Proton VPN - Best for Streaming + Digital Privacy
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Proton VPN has a reputation for being among the most secure VPNs. Its open-source nature goes hand-in-hand with its transparency. However, this is no longer a VPN suitable only for privacy protection. It's among the most powerful streaming VPNs as well.
You'll find apps for all the currently popular platforms. That includes Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. When it comes to media streaming devices, Proton VPN provides apps for Fire OS (which powers Amazon's Fire TV Stick devices) and Android TV. On top of that, advanced users can set up ProtonVPN on their routers. Also, you get 10 simultaneous connections.
If you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, or Prime Video, know that Proton VPN unblocks all of those. It also works with FuboTV, CBC Gem, ESPN+, Peacock, and ITV. Streaming is also possible via ABC, Syfy, Canal+, RAI, Mediaset Infinity, Zattoo, TF1, and more - making it one of the best VPN for TV streaming.
Let's not forget that Proton VPN has a medium-sized server network. It gives you access to close to 2,000 servers found in 60+ countries. So, not the most extensive server fleet - but it should get the job done for most users. You also get 10 simultaneous connections.
Per our latest tests, Proton VPN offers much faster performance than ever. Many of its servers are 10 Gbps servers powered by a feature called "VPN Accelerator." That feature breaks down your traffic in an innovative way, managing to avoid throttling even when using highly remote servers.
In the end, we'll note that Proton VPN offers a 30-day money-back policy. That means you'll spend your money without any risk. In case of any issues, you can turn to Proton VPN's extensive database of articles and tutorials or contact its team via email. Unfortunately, live chat isn't available on the Proton VPN website.
- Supports many streaming platforms.
- 10 simultaneous connections.
- Among the fastest VPNs.
- Suitable for privacy protection as well.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Live chat isn't available.
- Medium-sized server network.
9. PrivateVPN - Best Beginner-Friendly VPN for Streaming
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When it comes to budget- and beginners-friendly options related to the best VPN for streaming, you’ll hardly find a better deal than PrivateVPN. Based in Sweden, this streaming VPN is trying its best to be as transparent as possible. That includes not collecting sensitive data – even PrivateVPN won’t know what you’re doing on the Web.
When it comes to streaming, there's plenty to like about PrivateVPN. Based on our tests, it works with major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney Plus. In fact, this VPN allows you to check out 10+ versions of Netflix, helping you reach more TV shows and movies than ever before.
We'll add that PrivateVPN is incredibly simple to use. It doesn't have the most polished UI, but it gets the job done quite easily. However, the only problem is that you're forced to use its apps (which are widely available), as there's no 'Smart DNS' found here. So, if you can't install this VPN on your streaming devices, you'll have to install it on a router.
Another drawback is PrivateVPN's performance. Unless you have a fast Web connection (50+ Mbps), there's not much you'll get to do to speed it up. So, that is definitely something to keep in mind. On the other hand, if you already have a fast Web connection and want a straightforward VPN that's great for streaming, PrivateVPN is a solid option.
Another limitation is PrivateVPN's server fleet, which has 200+ servers in around 60 countries. In terms of simultaneous connections, your limit will be set to 10.
Once you become this VPN's subscriber, you'll get to rely on its 24/7-available customer support (and yes, live chat is there as well). Aside from that, you'll benefit from this VPN's 30-day money-back policy.
- Basic-level VPN service.
- Suitable for complete beginners.
- Works with major streaming services.
- Unblocks 20+ Netflix libraries.
- Live-chat customer support on offer.
- Can be slow in some cases.
- Limited customization options.
- Limited server network.
Why Do You Need a VPN for Streaming?
You need a streaming VPN to bypass geo-blocks imposed by streaming services. That said, a capable and fast-performing VPN is the most effective way to unblock the Web and gain access to new digital services.
Without the best VPN for streaming, digital services will be quick to detect your location. They all follow certain broadcast and streaming rights, so you'll only see the content licensed for your specific region or country. That's why most streaming services block VPNs, leading to messages such as "Proxy Detected," "Something went wrong..." and similar.
However, a VPN helps you change your virtual location. By connecting to a server in, let's say, Japan, you'll get an IP address from that country. So, when streaming services read your IP, they'll think you're in Japan. That's exactly how you can unblock websites and digital services not available in your country.
Also, we'll add that many ISPs perform selective throttling of Web connections. For example, if they see you streaming a lot, they might reduce the speed of your connection to save some resources. However, you can bypass ISP throttling using a VPN, as those applications encrypt (hide) your Web data.
There's plenty more to know about VPN services. So, visit our central guide that explains what is a VPN, especially if you're a first-time user.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Streaming?
Finding the best VPN for streaming can be a tedious task. So, let's make it simpler for you by telling you how to choose the best option per your needs. Here are some pointers:
- Pick based on the streaming platform(s) you want to unblock. Most VPNs work with Netflix, but not all of them can unblock just about any streaming platform out there. So, know which media streaming platforms you wish to unblock and go from there.
- Check which devices are compatible. Do you plan to stream media on your laptop, tablet, phone, or a dedicated streaming device? Based on the device(s) you own, ensure you're getting a VPN that offers native apps across the board.
- Ensure any important locations are covered. Do you plan to unblock streaming services that work in the US only? Or maybe you want to watch TV channels from France, Sweden, Japan, or Australia? To ensure your needs are met, check each VPN's server network.
- Inquire about customer support. VPNs are technical solutions, and their performance can vary. That's why it's crucial to get a VPN that offers 24/7 customer support. Those VPNs are quick to resolve any issue you might have, so you can return to streaming in no time.
- Make sure a money-back guarantee is on offer. And lastly, know that any reputable VPN will give you a chance to try their services without being afraid you'll lose your money. In most cases, you'll have up to 30 days to change your mind.
What Are the Best Streaming Services?
There's a streaming service for just about any type of content these days. With that said, the most popular (and for many, the best) streaming service is Netflix. Here's our list of the best on-demand streaming services available today:
|Streaming Service||Available In||Resources|
|Netflix||190+ countries||Best VPNs for Netflix|
|Amazon Prime Video||200+ countries||Best VPNs for Amazon Prime Video|
|Disney Plus||130+ countries||Best VPNs for Disney Plus|
|Hulu||USA and Japan||Best VPNs for Hulu|
|HBO Max||70+ countries||Best VPNs for HBO Max|
|Paramount Plus||25+ countries||How to Watch Paramount+ Outside the US|
|Discovery Plus||45+||How to Watch Discovery+ Outside the US|
|BBC iPlayer||United Kingdom||Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer|
|ESPN+||US||Best VPNs for ESPN+|
|Kodi||Globally||Best VPNs for Kodi|
|Crunchyroll||Globally||Best VPNs for Crunchyroll|
|ITV Hub||United Kingdom||Best VPNs for ITV Hub|
Aside from on-demand streaming services, live TV streaming services also exist. Those allow you to stream dozens of TV channels live while also offering on-demand libraries. So, here are the most popular live TV streaming services:
|Live TV Streaming Service||Available In||Resources|
|FuboTV||US, Canada, Spain||Best VPNs for FuboTV|
|Hulu + Live TV||United States||How to Watch Hulu + Live TV Outside the US|
|Sling TV||United States||How to Watch Sling TV Outside the US|
|YouTube TV||United States||Best VPNs for YouTube TV|
|Philo||United States||How to Watch Philo Outside the US|
Why Do Streaming Services Block VPN Users?
Streaming services block VPN users due to broadcasting and distribution rights as a way to ensure their content is available from certain countries or regions only.
More precisely, streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max bid for individual TV shows and movies. That's how they acquire the rights to offer that content in select countries only for a limited period.
Consequently, streaming services are obliged to prevent access to users from other countries, and they even go one step further as they try to block VPNs as well. As you already know, VPNs are often used to unblock streaming platforms, which is why you truly need the best VPN for streaming if you wish to unblock "hidden" titles.
If you wish to dive deeper into this topic, we recommend our guides that explain why Netflix blocks VPN services, as well as why Hulu blocks VPN users.
What Can You Use a Streaming VPN For?
You can use a streaming VPN to unblock new streaming services that aren't yet available in your country. Also, you'll get to unblock new titles on the platforms you already use.
Since VPNs give you a new IP address (which can be associated with any country), they help you browse the Web as if you're elsewhere. That means you can access media streaming services that are not available in your region. For example, here's how to watch Shudder, Pluto TV, EPIX, BeIN Sports, and NBC Sports - even outside the United States.
A VPN also helps you take full advantage of the services you already use. For example, you can change your Netflix region. That streaming service offers country-based libraries. Some of those can be pretty limited, which means that a VPN can potentially unblock hundreds (if not thousands) of new TV shows and movies.
Is It Legal to Use a VPN for Streaming?
Yes, it's legal to use a VPN for streaming. However, keep in mind that some streaming services might prohibit the use of VPNs and similar types of software.
In that sense, Netflix reserves the right to terminate your account if you're caught using a VPN. You'll find similar directions in the legal documents of any top-tier streaming service.
However, we have to say that we've never heard of a single individual losing their account for using a VPN. The worst you can expect in day-to-day use is to see a proxy error that prevents your access - until you turn off your VPN.
You can learn more in our guide that explains whether is it legal to use a VPN for Netflix.
Is It Safe to Use a VPN for Streaming?
Yes, using a VPN when streaming online media is perfectly safe. In fact, doing so will protect your privacy and eliminate online trackers.
Like any other website or app, media streaming sites/apps use trackers to collect data regarding your usage habits. And aside from that, if you often watch Netflix on the go (using public Wi-Fi or mobile data), know that various third parties collect your data.
With that said, using the best VPN for streaming isn't only perfectly safe - it's actually preferable for you to do so as a way to preserve your privacy (here's how safe is a VPN).
Is a VPN Good for Streaming?
Yes, a VPN is an excellent option for streaming, as it allows you to unlock new content. Without a VPN, something like that is impossible to do.
A reliable VPN service helps you unblock, sign up, and use streaming services unavailable in your area, region, or country. That way, your options for media streaming become practically endless.
And if you already subscribe to any streaming service, you can use a VPN to unblock it from abroad. So, a VPN will help you bypass geo-restrictions if you're a frequent traveler.
Once you get a VPN, we're sure you'll want to test it with new streaming services. That said, make sure to check our guide to the best streaming services. Also, here are the best live TV streaming services (for watching both live TV and on-demand content).
Do I Really Need a VPN for Streaming?
Yes, you need the best VPN for streaming to bypass restrictions and access previously blocked streaming services (from home or abroad).
You'll find a range of solutions on the Web, saying they can unblock websites and optimize your connection for streaming. However, in most cases, those are just proxies that filter your traffic. As such, they're not effective and can actually endanger your privacy. That's because those proxies come from unknown companies, and they can collect your browsing data.
So, yes - you really need the best streaming VPN. By going for a reputable VPN, you can ensure your privacy is intact while getting the best possible streaming performance.
Does a VPN Improve Streaming?
Yes, a VPN can improve your streaming experience - if your ISP (Internet provider) tends to throttle your Web connection's performance.
ISP-induced throttling is more common than you might think. Many reports have said that virtually all US-based ISPs throttle streaming services. Due to how a VPN works, you'll get to hide your incoming and outgoing Web data, making it impossible for your ISP to make any changes to your Web connection.
In other words, aside from reaching more movies and TV shows than ever, a VPN can improve your Web connection's streaming-related performance by making it more secure and stable.
What to Look For When Choosing a Streaming VPN?
Almost every VPN promises to bring the ultimate media streaming experience. However, don't fall for those marketing messages; try to think of your needs first. That said, here's what the best VPNs for streaming must bring:
- Website-Unblocking Capabilities: First and foremost, think about which streaming platforms you want to unblock. Only a few VPNs unblock a huge number of platforms, so you'll often find specialized VPNs. Therefore, make sure to read reviews before reaching your decision, as you generally shouldn't trust what VPNs say on their websites.
- Cross-Platform Support: Media streaming platforms are available on computers (via websites), as well as on smartphones, tablets, and media streaming devices (via apps). If you want to stream media on different platforms, pick a VPN with native apps for those platforms.
- Speed & General Performance: Typically, VPNs tend to throttle your Web connection, as your data has to travel more. So, find out what kind of performance to expect by reading hands-on reviews (you can rely on TechNadu for that).
- Available Servers & Locations: Going for a VPN with plenty of servers is always a good idea, especially when streaming media. This will give you a lot of freedom to unblock all kinds of websites. Also, these VPNs tend to perform better as they can accommodate a larger number of users at once.
- Reliable Customer Support: VPNs work on improving their servers all the time, so downtimes can happen (not often, though). To continue using your favorite streaming apps, you can rely on your VPN's customer support. Send a message (via live chat, preferably), and you get to know which server works for a specific media streaming platform.
How Fast Does My VPN Need to Be for Streaming?
Once you connect to a VPN server, the speed of your Web connection should be from 1 to 3 Mbps to be able to stream any video.
If you're after streaming in HD, you need a 5 to 8 Mbps connection. And if you want to stream in 4K (available on select media streaming services and if you have a subscription that supports 4K streaming), you need a 16 to 25 Mbps Web connection.
For more precise information, check out the following table. We made sure to cover the most popular streaming platforms, as you can see just below.
|SD Streaming||HD Streaming||4K Streaming|
|Netflix||3 Mbps||5 Mbps||25 Mbps|
|Hulu||3 Mbps||8 Mbps||16 Mbps|
|Prime Video||1 Mbps||5 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|YouTube||1 Mbps||5 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Disney+||N/A||5 Mbps||25 Mbps|
|Apple TV+||N/A||5 Mbps||25 Mbps|
Know that no matter which VPN you pick, it will slow down your Web connection to a certain point (here's why a VPN will slow you down). With that said, here's how much a VPN will slow you down and how to speed up a slow VPN.
Can You Use a Streaming VPN to Watch Sports Online?
Yes, you can use a VPN to stream sports online. In fact, a reliable VPN will give you something you won't find elsewhere if you're into sports.
We're talking about sports blackouts here. As a consequence of various deals, sports streaming services are forced to introduce blackouts to specific markets, making it impossible for you to watch those games as they happen.
Just like it unlocks new content, the best VPN for streaming will also help you bypass blackout restrictions by making you appear as if you're somewhere else.
To help you learn more, we've already prepared a series of articles focusing on bypassing blackouts related to the MLB, NHL, NFL Game Pass, and NBA League Pass.
And if you need some recommendations, here's our guide to the best VPN for live sports streaming - showcasing the best option as per our hands-on, real-world tests.
If you're into sports, we have a couple of valuable resources for you. First, check out the best sports streaming services. Also, here are the best NFL streaming services.
What's the Best VPN Country for Streaming?
The best VPN country for streaming is the country of origin of the streaming service you plan to unblock. Sounds complicated? Well, let's make it simple.
Let's say that you want to watch Hulu outside the United States. As we all know, this streaming platform isn't available elsewhere, which means that you must use a VPN and connect to a US-based server to unblock it. In that sense, know that many VPNs let you pick a server by pinpointing its location, which is crucial for countries as large as the US.
In other words, based on which part of the world you come from, you need to choose a server closer to your physical location (in terms of the US, you can pick a server on the east or west coast or somewhere in the middle).
Almost all of the worldwide-popular streaming services come from the USA, which is why VPNs offer an added number of servers in that country to bypass overcrowding. They also tend to provide multiple servers in Canada, the US, and Australia.
What to Do When a Streaming VPN Doesn't Work?
Even the best VPN for streaming can encounter an issue from time to time. When that happens, you'll want to clear your browser's cache, switch to a new protocol, or try another server. Find more information below.
- Clear Your Browser's Cache: Cookies and similar types of data allow your Web browser to know which sites you've visited in the past. If you were blocked from accessing any of them, your browser remembers that as well. So, the trick here is to remove your browser's cache. Here's how you can do that in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
- Switch to a New VPN Protocol: Older protocols like PPTP or SSTP (as well as L2TP and IPSec at times) won't help you unblock media streaming sites. Instead, we recommend using the OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols. Make sure to visit your VPN's settings and switch to a more capable protocol.
- Switch to Another Server: There could be many reasons why an individual VPN server might give you a hard time. For example, it might not be optimized for streaming, or it might be overcrowded. So, before you give up, try some alternative servers first.
If you're a Netflix subscriber, we offer guides on resolving streaming issues with specific VPNs. That said, here's what to do if ExpressVPN is slow on Netflix, what to do when Surfshark isn't working on Netflix, and what to try when IPVanish isn't working with Netflix.
You can also find more information in our guide on how to bypass VPN blocks, especially if you're certain that you use a capable VPN but can't unblock streaming platforms.
Can I Use a Free VPN for Streaming?
No, you can't use a free VPN for streaming. That's because free VPNs come with limited speeds or limited bandwidth. So, using them for streaming will lead to a very frustrating experience.
To stream media, you need a relatively fast Internet connection. That's especially true if you want to stream 4K movies, but it's also true for HD content. That's why many premium VPNs can't bring fast-enough speeds to sustain media streaming without any buffering.
So, knowing that free VPNs are typically used by many, their servers are under a heavy load 24/7. Even those free VPNs that don't limit their speeds are known to be painfully slow.
On top of that, unblocking high-end streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, or Prime Video requires a VPN with a solid infrastructure. That's another reason free VPNs can't be used for streaming (or anything other than basic Web browsing).
If you're still willing to try a free option, here's our guide to the best free VPN services. Still, don't get your hopes up, as even the best free VPNs require you to jump through many hoops.
The best VPN for streaming should be a multi-faceted VPN, capable of unblocking websites and delivering impressive Internet speeds. So, no matter which of our recommended VPNs you pick, you can rest assured they'll serve you more than well for media streaming.
Ultimately, know that our #1 recommendation for streaming is ExpressVPN. That's because it can unblock practically any streaming service on any device. On top of that, it's fast and secure, protects your privacy, and gives you access to 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. So, it's easy to see why it's the best VPN for streaming - miles ahead of its competition.
Is VPN Worth It for Streaming?
Yes, a VPN is more than worth it for streaming, as that's the most effective way to unblock new streaming services and gain access to more TV shows and movies.
Do I Need a VPN to Stream Movies?
Yes, you need a VPN to stream movies if you wish to unblock geo-blocks imposed by media streaming services. Also, a VPN will help you discover more movies on Netflix and other services, while also optimizing your connection's speed and stability.
Is Streaming Faster with VPN?
If your Internet provider throttles your Web connection while streaming, a VPN can give you faster speeds overall (as it hides what you do online).
If no throttling is present, VPNs will make your connection slower, as they'll force your data to travel more. That's why we've recommended the most optimized VPNs for streaming in this guide. Scroll up to return to our recommendations.
What Is the Fastest VPN for Streaming
At the moment, the fastest VPN for streaming is ExpressVPN. Based on our tests, you won't find an alternative with faster speeds on both nearby and remote servers.
Which VPN Protocol Is Best for Streaming?
For streaming, we recommend WireGuard and OpenVPN. Your first option should be WireGuard, as it seems to be the best option for streaming right now.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Streaming?
Yes, ExpressVPN is more than good for streaming. In fact, it's our #1 recommendation, as it has the power to unblock any streaming service out there.
Aside from that, ExpressVPN brings ultra-fast performance, servers in over 90 countries, and works on even the most restrictive networks. So, it's a bulletproof pick.
Is NordVPN Good for Streaming?
Yes, NordVPN is a good option for streaming. Even though it doesn't label its servers as streaming-friendly, you can use NordVPN to unblock a range of streaming apps.
Which VPN Is Best for Streaming?
Based on our tests, the best VPN for streaming is ExpressVPN, which is the only VPN that checks all the right boxes.
What's the Best VPN for Streaming Movies?
ExpressVPN is the best option for streaming movies as it works with practically any on-demand movie library, unblocking dozens of streaming platforms.
So, no matter if you wish to stream movies via Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney Plus, or some other streaming service, ExpressVPN will meet your needs.
What's the Best VPN for Streaming Sports?
The best VPN for live sports streaming is ExpressVPN, which is the fastest VPN you'll find today (great for streaming in HD and 4K).
As you know, streaming sports live requires you to have an ultra-fast Web connection. So, if you wish to avoid blackouts while getting to stream in high-definition, ExpressVPN is the best option at your disposal.
What's the Best VPN for Streaming Netflix?
The best VPN for Netflix is ExpressVPN, as it unblocks more than a dozen different Netflix libraries, revealing thousands of previously inaccessible titles.
If you subscribe to ExpressVPN, you'll get to reach new Netflix libraries on practically any device without any fine-tuning at all.
What's the Best VPN for Streaming and Torrenting?
The best VPN that successfully combines streaming and torrenting would be ExpressVPN (get started risk-free for 30 days). If you wish to explore other options, here's our guide to the best VPN for torrenting.
How Much Data Does Streaming Use per Hour?
Streaming in low quality will use around 0.3 GB per hour while streaming in high quality can use anywhere from 3 up to 7 GB of data per hour.
In other words, you need a 1-3 Mbps Web connection to stream in the lowest resolution possible. And if you want to stream in 4K, you need a 25 Mbps connection.
That's all for our guide on the best VPN for streaming. We hope that we've helped you reach your decision about which VPN to pick. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions or remarks. Thanks for reading!