5 Best VPNs for Streaming - Tested for speed, reliability, and unblock popular services

One of the main benefits of using a VPN is that it enables you to unblock streaming sites and live TV channels online, from anywhere in the world. A VPN changes your IP address and encrypts your connection, allowing you to unblock streams that are currently blocked in your location. 

However, if you have ever tried streaming with a VPN, you will know that not every service is suitable for streaming. On top of this, streaming sites block VPN users and so not all VPNs will give you access to these services.

In this article, we list the five best streaming VPNs and give you some top tips on how to use a VPN for streaming content from anywhere in the world.

What are the best streaming VPN services?

We have listed the best streaming VPNs below. If you need more information about any of these services keep scrolling to see an in-depth analysis of each service.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for streaming. One of the fastest VPNs we test, has servers in over 90 countries, and unblock everything.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use streaming VPN. It has speedy servers, and fantastic apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
  3. Private Internet Access - A secure VPN that's great for streaming. It has solid encryption, a no-logs policy, and unblocks everything you could want.
  4. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for streaming, it offers plans for less than $2. It's Fast and unblocks loads of stuff and packed with features.
  5. Ivacy - A fast service that is great value for money. It has dedicated streaming unblocker tool which is fantastic.

Best VPNs for streaming - In-depth analysis

We take a closer look at our recommended VPNs below. If you need any more information about these services, check out our detailed VPN reviews.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming. It is consistently one of the fastest VPNs we test, it has servers in over 90 countries, and it unblocks almost every streaming service.

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN have servers in 94 countries across the globe, but they're all lightning fast and reliable - making Express a top option for streaming in HD. A VPN for streaming needs to provide privacy, and ExpressVPN is ideal because it provides OpenVPN encryption implemented to an incredibly secure level. The outcome is a VPN with unrivaled streaming capabilities, and its subscribers can use the services to unblock video content in most regions around the world. They are also permitted to watch content from torrent (P2P) sites like Popcorn Time (which feels like streaming but is really torrenting - if you're after a VPN for torrenting rather than streaming, click here).


With the security and privacy that ExpressVPN gives you and the speeds to watch anything, this truly is an HD VPN. In addition, Express is one of the only VPNs that still unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer. As such, this VPN video solution is an all round winner. Reliability and uptime are also absolutely astounding on this streaming VPN. The software is lush and is available for all platforms. This VPN will even keep you secure when traveling and on public WiFi. Finally, customer care is via live chat and is 24/7: this is brilliant because you can get help unblocking any stream at any time. With a 30-day money-back guarantee on the table, it would be silly not to give them a try!

CyberGhost is an easy to use VPN for streaming. It unblocks everything and great value for money. It has fantastic apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. Great for beginners.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.25 - $13.47
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Unlimited bandwidth and a massive network of 6,300 servers make CyberGhost a stellar pick for anyone wanting a VPN to stream with. CyberGhost banishes ISP throttling and easily accesses a wealth of in-demand streaming sites; Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer included.


CyberGhost is compatible with most devices, and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox users are also available. Up to 7 simultaneous connections are allowed, meaning you can share your subscription with the family and keep all of your devices safe - and CyberGhost's AES 256-bit encryption really will provide a secure online experience.


What's more, CyberGhost is a staunchly no-logs service based in Romania, and you'll be able to make use of industry-leading protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2.


24/7 customer service is at hand whenever you need help, and a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee ensures you can fully test the service before committing to a subscription.

Private Internet Access is known for privacy, but also a great VPN for streaming HD content. It has customziable apps and a fast server network.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.59 - $10.51
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a great choice for streamers on a budget - particularly when purchased yearly. For the diminutive price tag, you get a premium feeling service and speedy servers.


PIA offers more than 2,700 servers in 47 countries, meaning you won't be stuck for content. HD streaming isn't a problem, either, as PIA doesn't enforce any bandwidth or data caps to slow you down.


Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android devices can all support PIA, and up to 10 simultaneous connections are allowed with your subscription. What's more, PIA can unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer libraries - so the whole family can catch up.


Besides strong AES 256-bit encryption, PIA will keep your information and traffic secure with top-notch protocols, and you can take your pick from OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and WireGuard.


A 30-day money-back guarantee lets you try before you buy, and if you're stuck at any point, PIA's 24/7 customer service team is on hand to help.

Surfshark is the cheapest VPN for streaming. It's a great all-round performer that's also good for HD streaming. It has some great extras like a Smart DNS.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.49 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Surfshark always impresses us with the quality of service it provides for its very low price tag. It has servers in over 60 countries around the world, which are fast for streaming and Surfshark successfully unblocks sought after services like Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime. Besides its VPN service, Surfshark offers Smart DNS service to all customers. This might work when the VPN is blocked, and it can be configured on devices such as games consoles and smart TVs that don’t support VPN apps.


The split-tunneling feature for Windows and Android is also useful for streaming, as it allows you to include (or exclude local services if you usually connect to an overseas VPN server) only selected websites and apps in the VPN - such as streaming sites and apps! Surfshark is otherwise a great no-logs VPN that offers lots of bells and whistles, including unlimited simultaneous VPN connections, Smart DNS, static IP addresses, DNS ad-blocking, and MultiHop VPN. Test it yourself risk-free with the company's 30-day money-back guarantee.


 

Ivacy is a super-fast VPN service that is perfect for unblocking HD streaming services. They have a dedicated unblocker tool which reliable unblocks popular streaming sites.

  • Pricing

    From  $0.99 - $9.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Ivacy took the third place prize for "Best Overall VPN" at the the ProPrivacy.com Awards - the industry gold standard for recognizing achievement within the VPN sector. What's more, Ivacy also scooped the award for Best VPN for Speeds, solidifying the provider as a fantastic all-rounder and top pick for Netflix junkies. 


Ivacy has a large pool of servers to pull from, with more than 1,000 in over 100 locations worldwide. These servers are all speedy, and you won't need to worry about ISP throttling slowing your streams. Ivacy's Purpose Selection tool is a nifty little feature that makes it even easier to select the best streaming server.


Allowing up to 5 simultaneous connections means the whole family can stream without buffering hiccups or lag spikes.


Ivacy is compatible with most devices - Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS included, and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox are also available. Ivacy is a no-logs VPN provider based in Singapore. Although it’s been around for years, Ivacy has recently and quite dramatically reinvented itself to become one of the most spectacular “new” players in an industry that is becoming increasingly professional.

Why are these the best VPNs for streaming?

When selecting the best VPNs for streaming above, we considered several important factors. These are as follows.

What are the fastest VPNs for streaming

To ensure that you can stream content without buffering, we test VPN services every week. Check out this week's results below. 

For more information about how we test speeds, check out our fastest VPN services page.

VPN not unblocking streams

There are plenty of VPNs that have trouble accessing streaming services, largely thanks to sites like Netflix actively blocking IP addresses that belong to VPNs. This barrage is hard to keep up with and so VPN services fail to keep up with VPN blocks. 

There are some things you can try to get your VPN service up and running again. Here are some of our tips:

How to use a VPN for streaming

Using a VPN for streaming is remarkably easy - even for VPN newbies. We've outlined four steps below that'll get you set up:

  1. Sign up to a service that has the features you need – we've made some recommendations below.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your device. All of our recommended VPNs are compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS.
  3. Connect to a server in the location you want to pretend to be in. For example, if you want to access US Netflix, connect to a US server.
  4. Then access the website you want to unblock! Because your IP address is changed, you'll be able to access content that is blocked in your actual location.

How do I pay for US streaming platforms from abroad?

If you want to subscribe to Hulu, HBO Max, Prime Video, YouTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV, or any other US-only service, you will need a valid US payment method. The good news is that you can use a virtual US debit card to pay online. 

We recommend US Unlocked because it is the easiest, fastest, and most reliable way to get a valid US debit card – it even comes with a valid US address. As a result, you can easily top up your virtual US card with your money and then pay for any streaming service you want.

Get US Unlocked

Can I use a free VPN to stream?

Probably not. There are free VPNs that we’d recommend for day-to-day browsing, but they aren’t viable for streaming - and certainly not in HD. Streaming sites like Netflix are constantly blocking the IPs of VPN servers, and most free services will struggle to navigate around this.

There are some services you can trust. Check out our best free VPN page for a list of these

What’s more, a free VPN is often the smaller sibling of a premium service, and often come with limitations you wouldn’t experience with a subscription:

  • Limited bandwidth - As well as congested servers, a limit to your bandwidth means you’ll encounter lag spikes and sluggish sites more often.
  • Data cap - A number of free services do offer unlimited usage, but typically, you’ll be stuck with a measly 500mb per month. This won’t be enough to stream consistently.
  • Reduced number of servers - A free VPN may not offer you access to all the servers that’d be available with a paid subscription. This greatly reduces your options when it comes to accessing geo-blocked content.

Streaming VPN - Conclusion

A VPN is the perfect way to unlock a global library of content to stream. From classic box sets and movies to live sports, a VPN can spoof your location to wherever it needs to be. We’d recommend any of our top five VPN picks for the job, but be sure to vet any potential services for server numbers and locations, and average speed. What’s more, a VPN comes with a whole host of other benefits – catch all your favorite shows as they air, and stay secure whilst you do so!

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for streaming. One of the fastest VPNs we test, has servers in over 90 countries, and unblock everything.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use streaming VPN. It has speedy servers, and fantastic apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
  3. Private Internet Access - A secure VPN that's great for streaming. It has solid encryption, a no-logs policy, and unblocks everything you could want.
  4. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for streaming, it offers plans for less than $2. It's Fast and unblocks loads of stuff and packed with features.
  5. Ivacy - A fast service that is great value for money. It has dedicated streaming unblocker tool which is fantastic.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

2 Comments

Jenny
on February 20, 2018
Reply
It's strange that nordvpn is missing in this list. I manage to use nordvpn for streaming quite well it worked with BBC I Player and Kodi as well.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Jenny
on February 20, 2018
Reply
Hi Jenny, NordVPN is very good, and appears in many of our lists (and it no. 2 in our Best VPN Services list!). As you can see from our new speed tests, though, while NordVPN is no slouch, there are faster VPN out there.
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