In recent years, installing a VPN has become an essential tool for people who want to stream their favorite content. Whether it’s because you don’t want to miss out on a top show while you’re abroad, finding coverage of sporting events doesn’t broadcast where you live, or want that extra layer of security they give you, there are plenty of reasons to look for the best streaming VPN.
With a VPN for streaming, you can also bypass restrictions and access geo-blocked material – like watching shows that are not available on US Netflix or streaming the BBC iPlayer when it’s not in the UK. But not every VPN is equalized, so there’s some serious picking and choosing to be done – luckily for you, we’ve assembled the best streaming VPNs after extensive testing.
Best Streaming VPN
When looking for the best streaming VPN, you need to look for three things – reliable access to numerous streaming sites, numerous servers, and excellent speeds. Our top choice NordVPN combines all of this with a clean, polished interface that makes streaming overseas content super easy, in addition to perfect privacy.
The best streaming VPN right now
NordVPN is built for security, and it’s an excellent streaming VPN to use if you’re worried about someone else watching with you. The fact that it offers over 5,500 servers in 59 countries is just a bonus that ensures incredible speeds wherever you go.
In addition to excellent encryption, there is a convenient SmartPlay feature. It encrypts your data in a more streamlined way so that you can remove every last drop of performance from your connection. SmartPlay from Nord is especially useful for streaming in HD and also offers VPN blocking tools for streaming services, which means you are guaranteed to have access to everything you want to view.
In our tests, we had some very minor problems with accessing BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. Only the desktop client’s use did not give us access, and after following Nord’s instructions, we got it working via the browser extension. So, while you can access it, sometimes it’s a bit of a faffle.
NordVPN’s mobile apps are fully equipped and offer much the same experience as desktop clients. However, we would have liked the map-based interface to have changed – on a handheld screen, selecting servers is a hassle, and we would like to see a regular list from the beginning. Apart from minor problems with the apps, NordVPN is the best streaming VPN that almost always performs reliably. Read more in our NordVPN Review.
An excellent VPN for streaming – and everything else
Our tests show that ExpressVPN is our number 1 on the market. However, one of its outstanding features is its excellent capabilities as a streaming VPN, as it offers the triple whammy of speed, security, and excellent international coverage. All this means you can access more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries, so wherever you are, it should be possible to get stuck in streaming media from home. Connection speeds are reliably fast, so even streaming in 4K and HDR shouldn’t be a problem.
Unlike many other VPNs, Express opens up Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and more – all the more impressive when you know that these streaming services are continually trying to block VPNs actively. However, recent developments have made it difficult for users to access BBC iPlayer. If this is restored, ExpressVPN’s title will be as the best streaming VPN, but currently, the lack of support for iPlayer is one of the few shortcomings of Express – and in this round-up, it’s essential.
If you run into a snag, the 24/7 live chat customer service is always there to get you back on track. It’s staffed by expert and sincerely helpful people who want – and know-how – that you get what you need. While streaming can be a priority, security is also paramount, and ExpressVPN sports enterprise-level encryption along with a selection of protocols. That means you are assured of online anonymity, so you can stream in peace without the threat of third parties that might violate your privacy.
All that, and you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means that it is essentially free to try for a month to see if it suits you perfectly. Read more in our ExpressVPN Review.
Incredible speeds for high-quality streaming
Surfshark provides an excellent mix of speed and value but does not scratch safety. It is an ideal streaming VPN for Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and more. Something trusting is that Surfshark even lists the countries in which it has access to Netflix – there’s no guesswork here. Another bonus is that Surfshark works well as a Fire Stick VPN, so it is an excellent option for getting geo-blocked media streaming on your big TV. It is easy to use, perfect for beginners, but there are also quite a few settings to tweak.
Compared to some others, further down the list, there’s not a huge amount of configuration available – but if you’re only interested in getting access to Netflix overseas, then that’s probably not a problem, and the unlimited simultaneous connections mean you can protect any device you own. With an incredibly attractive price and a 30-day warranty, Surfshark is the best streaming VPN that should be on your list. Read more in our Surfshark VPN review.
The fastest streaming VPN on the market
Just like Surfshark above, Hotspot Shield is a back-to-basics streaming VPN that is reliable and can give you access to just about any service you can imagine. The striking feature of the Hotspot Shield is its Catapult Hydra protocol, which allows it to reach the heady heights of over 400Mbps (on a suitable base connection, of course). That’s almost twice the speed that any other VPN can get, but a few problems are involved. Thanks to the fact that Hotspot Shield only uses Catapult Hydra, you can’t use the VPN with anything other than the bundled apps.
This is not going to bother many users, but it is worth taking into account. The apps are also relatively light. Again, for casual users, this could be more positive than negative – with very few options, they ‘just’ work – but you won’t find a considerable amount of configuration on offer, even if you start digging. Overall, however, if you want a fast and the best streaming VPN, Hotspot Shield is a real contender. Read more in our Hotspot Shield VPN review.
Feature-packed streaming VPN
CyberGhost is an eye-catching streaming VPN built for the job. Unlike other VPNs where you might have to guess which servers are unblocking what, CyberGhost saves you every trial and error and has a list that can give you access to what. Choose which service you want to use from the smart filtering system, and CyberGhost will automatically set you up.
With nearly 7,000 servers in over 90 countries, CyberGhost offers high-speed connections wherever you are. There is also a handy optional data compression tool that allows you to limit the amount of data coming through your device – perfect for viewing Netflix or YouTube on a 4G phone.
Although CyberGhost has focused on making its service work as a streaming VPN, there are a few minor interface issues that let it down a bit – especially the lack of support for iPlayer. However, it does offer an unusually long 45-day money-back guarantee, so if you really can’t master the apps, you’re not out of your pocket. Even though it’s not as polished as some of its competitors, CyberGhost’s powerful streaming specialization deserves a place on this list of the best streaming VPN. Read more in our CyberGhost VPN Review.