Criterion Channel VPN in 2021

During lockdown, I got bored of many of the streaming services I usually use, like Netflix and Amazon Prime. In a search for alternatives, I found the Criterion Channel, which has a wealth of great movies perfect for cinema buffs. 

I'm from the UK, and the Criterion Channel is only available in the US and Canada – so I had to use a VPN. here, I'll show you how to do the same. 

 

The best Criterion Channel VPN services

We list the best Criterion Channel VPN services below. for more information, check out our in-depth summaries.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for unblocking the Criterion Channel. Excellent security features and top-of-the-range speeds.
  2. NordVPN - A great choice for accessing geo-restricted content in the US. Tonnes of servers and a lightning quick service.
  3. CyberGhost VPN - A solid option for unblocking the Criterion Channel, with slick apps for all platforms.
  4. Surfshark - A speedy, budget-friendly VPN that has great security features and can unblock lots of geo-restricted services.
  5. Private Internet Access - A shrewd choice for streaming the Criterion Channel thanks to its huge US server network.

Why are these the best VPNs for the Criterion Channel

There's a whole load of VPN features discussed further down in this article, and if you have other streaming services or sites you'd like to access, then there will be a number of different factors to consider before making your purchase. For the Criterion Channel, however, ensure your chosen VPN has:

The US VPN servers are the most important part – but luckily, all the VPNs discussed in this article have servers in multiple locations in the USA. I just quickly tested them too to be 100% sure – and they all got past the geo-block just fine.

In-depth analysis of the best VPNs for the Criterion Channel

All of the services listed in our article unblock the Criterion Channel, however, they do differ. To find out more information about these services, read through the summaries below, or, check out our detailed VPN reviews.

ExpressVPN impresses us time and time again with it's reliable speeds, excellent security features and ability to unblock all sorts of geo-restricted content.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months + 3 months FREE + Backblaze backup: $6.67/mth
      48% OFF
    • 6 months: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo
ExpressVPN Demo


ExpressVPN is a fantastic choice for unblocking the Criterion Channel, as it's one of the only VPNs that can consistently unblock streaming services from all over the world. ExpressVPN has over 10 server locations in the United States in places like LA, New Jersey, and San Francisco, so you'll always have a good spread of servers to choose from, which makes for a quick connection. Not only is ExpressVPN great for the task at hand, but it's known for being able to consistently unblock numerous Netflix libraries and sites like BBC iPlayer. The provider's new custom protocol, Lightway, has improved speeds even further. 


ExpressVPN isn't just about speed and streaming – it's also about security too. If you live in a country where some of the content you're watching might be banned, blocked, or frowned upon and you're worried about your connection dropping, don't be – ExpressVPN has a kill-switch, which will automatically drop your internet connection if your VPN disconnects. ExpressVPN was also one of the first VPNs to run all their servers on RAM, which means nothing is ever written to hard drives. ExpressVPN gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you're unsure, why not try it out and reclaim your money if you're not happy!

NordVPN just gets better and better. It comes with robust security and excellent features – all at a low cost!

  • Pricing

    • Cyber Monday Special - 24 months: $3.29/mth
      72% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.92/mth
      58% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Nord Demo

Nord Demo
Nord Demo


NordVPN is one of my favorite VPNs purely because if of its speed. On our daily speed tests – which we run for over twenty major VPN providers – NordVPN is almost always head and shoulders in front of the rest of the pack. This makes it an incredible choice for streaming things in other countries; the provider has over 5,000 servers worldwide spread across 62 countries (including the USA). 


NordVPN isn't just about speed, however, and also excels when it comes to providing innovative privacy tools other VPNs tend to omit. The Double VPN function, for example, reroutes your traffic through two private servers instead of one for an extra layer of protection, whereas the CyberSec malware and ad-blocker is one of the best on the VPN market. They've also developed their own protocol called NordLynx, which is based on WireGuard but even quicker and safer. Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to take advantage of. 

Cyberghost have been in the VPN game for over 15 years, and they've been flying the privacy flag the whole time – it's a VPN you can trust.

  • Pricing

    • Black Friday Special - 24 months + 3 months FREE: $2.17/mth
      81% OFF
    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.25/mth
      82% OFF
    • 6 months: $6.39/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

CyberGhost Demo

CyberGhost Demo
CyberGhost Demo


CyberGhost is great for streaming – I've used it many times to access and unblock content from various locations around the world, connecting through one of their huge network of over 6,000 servers in 88 countries (including over 1,000 in the USA and more than 300 in Canada ). It has really easy-to-use apps for Android, iPhone, and various other operating systems, which makes it an excellent piece of software for beginners who are still getting to grips with the VPN world. CyberGhost also has an excellent customer support team, so if you have any problems unblocking The Criterion Channel, they'll be able to help you get back on track. 


In terms of security, CyberGhost is at an advantage being based in privacy-conscious Romania, which has no mandatory data retention directives. This is where their NoSpy servers are managed and maintained by CyberGhost staff end-to-end. Of course, CyberGhost wouldn't have been in the game for so long without doing the essential bits well – which is why they use AES-256 bit encryption and provider their users with a kill-switch. CyberGhost actually affords its customers 45 days to decide if they want their money back too, longer than any of the other providers in this article, which is great if you think it'll take you a while to make up your mind. 

Surfshark continues to impress in the VPN sphere, keeping up with the rest of the premium pack without any speed or security sacrifices.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $2.49/mth
      80% OFF
    • 6 months: $6.49/mth
      49% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Surfshark Demo

Surfshark Demo
Surfshark Demo


Surfshark, bar NordVPN, is the quickest VPN on this list and also the cheapest. For just a couple of dollars a month, you'll have access to 28 different server locations in the USA (as well as servers in 65 other countries), so streaming your favorite Criterion Channel movies will be a breeze. Surfshark will let you use one account on as many devices as they want, so you'll never have to worry about signing in or signing out, and your friends can use it too without paying. It's a lot newer than most of the VPNs on this list, but Surfshark actually won our Newcomer Award in 2019, a testament to the quality service the provider gives to customers. 


Surfshark has some useful security features, which will come in handy if you live in a region controlled by a government that doesn't take too kindly to VPN usage. Camouflage Mode, for instance, disguises your traffic as normal traffic so even your internet service provider can't see you're using one. The provider has also recently switched to completely diskless servers, which is a lot safer and more secure. Surfshark, like the other providers, will also give you 30 days to make a decision before your payment becomes non-refundable.

Private Internet Access (PIA) is an trusted VPN with an no logs claim that's been proved in US court, and one you can rely on to unblock the content you want to view.

  • Pricing

    • Black Friday Special - 36 months + 3 months FREE: $2/mth
      83% OFF
    • 26 months: $2.69/mth
      77% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.33/mth
      72% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

PIA Demo

PIA Demo
PIA Demo


Private Internet Access is a great VPN for unblocking the Criterion Channel because it has so many servers to choose from in the US. It has over 17,000 servers in the country – as well as over 4,500 in Canada – so it can ensure you get a good connection for streaming The Criterion Channel. These US servers constitute just one section of its enormous worldwide fleet, so if you'll also be able to access a number of other geo-restricted streaming services with PIA. 


Private Internet Access also has great security features too, equipping their customers with a kill-switch, AES-256 bit encryption, and both OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols. PIA will also let you use the same account on up to 10 devices, so if you've got family and friends who also want to unblock sites like The Criterion Channel, then this might be the VPN for you. PIA also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and see how it feels before committing to a long-term purchase. 

How to set up a VPN for the Criterion Channel:

  1. Sign up for one of the VPN services discussed on this page. 
  2. Download and run the software on your chosen device.
  3. Connect to a server in the USA or Canada. 
  4. Head over to the Criterion Channel's webpage. 
  5. Create an account and log in!

That should be everything you need to get your VPN for the Criterion Channel up and running. 

Why do I need a VPN for the Criterion Channel? 

Every device connected to the internet has something called an IP address. IP addresses are essential to making sure data that is requested gets sent to the right place – just like house addresses are essential to ensuring we all get the right letters. 

Every website you visit will know – or have processed – your IP address, or else it wouldn't have loaded. But the problem is, not all websites are available in every region of the world – a site like Criterion Channel is likely to only have the rights to show the movies it has in its library in the USA and Canada, for example. So, to ensure the Criterion Channel is only accessible to people in the North America, like many other sites, geo-restrictions are enforced and determined by your IP address.

This is where a VPN comes in. VPNs tunnel all your traffic through a private server before it reaches the internet. This means websites you visit won't see your true IP address. Instead, only the IP address of the server you're connecting through will be visible. So as long as you connect through a server in the USA, the Criterion Channel will think you're from the US, and you can enjoy watching free of restrictions! 

How much does the Criterion Channel cost?

A monthly Criterion Channel subscription costs $10.99, but you can get a year's subscription for $99.99. You can choose exactly when you pay your subscription – and if you haven't yet got one, you can still check out the movies they have available on their website without an account. 

The Criterion Channel also offers a 14-day free trial, so you could always test it out for a week or two and decide whether you'd like to extend your access at the end of that period. 

What is on the Criterion Channel?

The Criterion Channel is definitely for cinema obsessives and boasts an unrivaled collection of both unusual and seminal films from around the world, with some titles that date back to the 1960s and 70s. 

By applying the filter on their site, you can search films by director, decade and the country they're from. The 'All Time Favourites' section currently houses: 

Whereas as the 'Hollywood Classics' collection includes titles like:

They have a lot of other content too, including commentaries you can watch along to at home, music-based classics like Quadrophenia, and interviews with actors. 

Can I use a free VPN for the Criterion Channel?

I personally wouldn't recommend it – and I don't think many of the other writers here at ProPrivacy would either. We recommend that, in general, you should stay away from free VPN services, simply because so many of them have associated risks you're unlikely to experience with a free service. 

That's not to say there aren't any good, free VPNs out there. Some of the most popular free VPNs available on the App/Google Play Stores have been found to:

  • Sell data to advertising companies for profit
  • Allow malware to infect the devices of users
  • Keep extensive activity logs of customer traffic
  • Have regular DNS and WebRTC leaks
  • Not even be a VPN at all, but a proxy service
  • Have overly invasive app permissions 

Sometimes, free services even admit to these misdemeanors – particularly relating to advertising and activity logs – in their privacy policies. The problem with free services is that they just don't have the capital to keep up with the premium providers, and won't invest as readily in things like security. There's also less of an incentive to retain customers as they're not paying anything.

To reiterate, there are good ones out there – it's just they're so few and far between, and so many trusted VPNs have such a cheap subscription price that it's really not worth it. 

Can I use a VPN to access other streaming services?

Yes! VPNs have a long list of use cases. This is why they're so popular – they come in handy for so many things. Hundreds of thousands of people use VPNs every day to bypass authoritarian governments with stringent censorship laws, access other geo-blocked streaming services, and even find cheaper airline tickets and video games before release.

Final thoughts

The Criterion Channel has movies on it you won't find anywhere else, and with a VPN it doesn't matter where you live – you can watch them. Here's a reminder of our top providers for the job: 

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for unblocking the Criterion Channel. Excellent security features and top-of-the-range speeds.
  2. NordVPN - A great choice for accessing geo-restricted content in the US. Tonnes of servers and a lightning quick service.
  3. CyberGhost VPN - A solid option for unblocking the Criterion Channel, with slick apps for all platforms.
  4. Surfshark - A speedy, budget-friendly VPN that has great security features and can unblock lots of geo-restricted services.
  5. Private Internet Access - A shrewd choice for streaming the Criterion Channel thanks to its huge US server network.

Written by: Aaron Drapkin

After graduating with a philosophy degree from the University of Bristol in 2018, Aaron became a researcher at news digest magazine The Week following a year as editor of satirical website The Whip. Freelancing alongside these roles, his work has appeared in publications such as Vice, Metro, Tablet and New Internationalist, as well as The Week's online edition.

0 Comments

There are no comments yet.

Got Something to Say?

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives:

The fastest VPN we test, unblocks everything, with amazing service all round

Large brand with very good value, and a cheap price

One of the largest VPNs, voted best VPN by Reddit

One of the cheapest VPNs out there, but an incredibly good service