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Best VPNs for streaming in 2023


Whether you want to give Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO, or any other streaming service a go, it’s not possible to do it from any spot of the world. That is unless you use a streaming VPN, such as NordVPN.

A lot of the streaming sites limit the content available based on your country or region. So, you may not be able to access your favorite movies or TV shows because of geo-blocks. But if you use a VPN, you can spoof your IP address and access geo-restricted content from anywhere.

However, not all VPNs are capable of unblocking streaming content and can offer fast and unrestricted access to video content. That’s why we tested numerous services from different countries and compiled a list of the best VPNs for streaming in 2023.

Top 5 best VPNs for streaming

  1. NordVPN – the best VPN for streaming
  2. Surfshark – most affordable VPN pair with Netflix
  3. IPVanish – server-loaded choice for streaming
  4. ExpressVPN – premium VPN with top streaming features
  5. CyberGhost VPN – secure and reliable streaming VPN

What makes the best streaming VPN?

Like most things in life, different VPNs are best suited for different purposes too. That's why when it comes to streaming, not every VPN will do the job equally well. Therefore, we've made a list of things that make a VPN best for streaming:

  • Capability to unblock your preferred streaming services. You don't need a VPN that only unblocks YouTube TV if you want to watch Netflix. Choose the one VPN that unblocks the streaming service(s) you need.
  • A large server fleet. The more, the merrier. Streaming services have different libraries for different locations, and you want to be able to access them all.
  • Additional streaming features. With features such as Smart DNS, you can unblock geo-restricted media without even installing a VPN. Others, like split tunneling, can help you manage your VPN connection.
  • Multiple simultaneous connections. This is nice to have if you want to save money and share the VPN with your friends or family, so they could also stream geo-restricted content.
  • Speed and performance. This is really important for streaming content without interruptions and buffering. No one likes to get cozy on the couch with a new season of their favorite Netflix show only to find out that it isn't loading.

The best VPNs for streaming in 2023 – our detailed list:

When picking and ranking streaming VPNs, we checked what streaming services each one unblocks. This includes Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and more. We also checked which services experienced less buffering. Continue reading to find out which streaming VPN is the right one for you:

1. NordVPN – best VPN for streaming overall

nordvpn banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5500+ servers in 60 countries
Unblocks US Netflix:Yes
Current deal:🔥Get NordVPN with 63% OFF🔥

NordVPN is the top VPN for streaming, and for many reasons. Aside from the fact that it offers very fast speeds and a buffering-free experience, it’s also a VPN that will let you enjoy many streaming services.

Servers: The service owns 5500+ servers across 60 countries. This ensures that you'll have plenty of options to choose from. So, if you want to connect to a particular national broadcaster and need a specific country IP address for your disguise, you won't have any problems.

Streaming: We tried unblocking Netflix with NordVPN, successfully accessing US, UK, and other libraries. But that’s not all – NordVPN can also unblock such streaming services as HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube TV, Disney Plus, and more.

Security: The service uses advanced encryption ciphers and cutting-edge tunneling protocols to keep your connection private without sacrificing speed. No one will know what you've been watching and all your online activity will remain well-hidden.

Speed: NordLynx, the proprietary tunneling protocol, ensures blazing-fast connection speeds and buffer and lag-free streaming experience. Additionally, with NordVPN you can also be certain that live streaming will be of the highest quality.

Additional features: Some media devices in your home might not support VPN apps. Luckily, NordVPN has no problem there because it has the SmartDNS feature. It can be configured even on devices that don't work with VPNs like Apple TVs and any other Smart TV, consoles, or certain media players.

NordVPN's price doesn't bite, starting from $3.49/month. Plus, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and see if you like it first.

To learn everything about this provider, read our full NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark – streaming VPN for multiple devices

surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Servers/countries:3200+ servers in 100 countries
Unblocks US Netflix:Yes
Current deal:🔥Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE🔥

Surfshark is another top candidate when it comes to streaming, primarily because of its speeds and unblocking capabilities. In fact, the blazing-fast speeds are one of its main selling points, which means no buffering.

Servers: With over 3200 servers in 100 countries, you can connect to virtually any part of the world and access endless streaming libraries.

Streaming: we put Surfshark to a test, and we managed to access Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, and more! Speaking of which, Surfshark does unblock more than just US Netflix. You can access region-specific British, Indian, Italian, Norwegian, German, Australian, and many other libraries.

Security: You won’t be making any privacy compromises, either. Surfshark is one of the safest VPN services. They're using impenetrable encryption ciphers to make everything you do when connected private and work on RAM-only servers.

Speed: One of the fastest VPNs on the market right now, Surfshark employs WireGuard tunneling protocol so your streaming experience will be speedy and lag-free.

Additional features: Even if your device doesn't natively support VPN apps, Surfshark has SmartDNS that is configurable on most media players and gaming consoles. With it, your device will connect as if it were using a VPN, bypassing blocks that would otherwise not allow you to watch content. Also, you can use Surfshark with unlimited devices simultaneously.

You can try the service out with a 30-day money-back guarantee, but if you’re satisfied, the prices start from $2.30/month.

To learn everything about this provider, read our full Surfshark review.

3. IPVanish – secure choice for streaming

IPVanish banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:2000+ servers in 50 locations
Unblocks US Netflix:Yes
Current deal:🔥Get 66% OFF IPVanish!🔥

IPVanish is a reliable VPN for streaming, even if it doesn’t unblock as many streaming platforms. And considering that the provider competes with some of the fastest VPNs on the market, you’ve got yourself a great service for watching global content.

Servers: You’ll be able to connect to 2000+ servers in over 50 locations. Whether you want to access the US or Australian Netflix library, you’ll be able to do it all easily.

Streaming: IPVanish offers applications for Fire devices, like Amazon Fire TV, which makes the process of viewing geo-blocked content much easier. But that’s far from all that it can do. With this VPN, we unblocked various Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Disney Plus.

Security: The military-grade AES-256 cipher protects the connection itself. No hacker will manage to decrypt it to learn what you've been up to online.

Speed: Although you get a wide choice of tunneling protocols, the famous WireGuard protocol is the star of the show. You can use it to get the fastest streaming experience that IPVanish can offer.

Additional features: Also, every plan supports unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning all of your family members or friends can use the VPN to access streaming services.

IPVanish isn’t particularly expensive, as the prices start from $3.99 a month. You can also make use of its money-back guarantee, but keep in mind that it applies to yearly plans only.

To learn everything about this provider, read our full IPVanish review.

4. ExpressVPN – fast and reliable streaming VPN

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3000+ servers in 94 locations
Unblocks US Netflix:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF the 1-year plan! 🔥

ExpressVPN unblocks all the main streaming platforms, and offers a wide variety of features to make streaming easy and very convenient.

Servers: With over 3000 servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN doesn't have the biggest fleet: but it offers a massive list of international locations to stream from.

Streaming: ExpressVPN cracks even the toughest streaming tasks – such as unlocking the famously finicky Japanese Netflix library, and confidently unlocks Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer. Rare issues with VPN getting detected might happen, but they're fixed by quickly swapping to a new server.

Security: ExpressVPN runs on RAM-only servers, meaning all your information is regularly purged from the database. On top of that, a full no-logs policy and opt-out from usage information collection guarantee no information about you is collected. For keeping your original IP secure, there's a fully working kill switch, dubbed as Network Lock.

Speed: ExpressVPN's proprietary Lightway protocol offers solid overall performance. It might not be as fast as some other VPNs, but there was no noticeable buffering, and we could watch everything in crisp high-definition quality.

Additional features: ExpressVPN's router app connects it to Asus, Linksys, and Netgear routers. This easy setup helps change the location for all devices connected to the Wi-Fi – even if they don't have a VPN app. We also love the Shortcuts feature, which lets you immediately access essential apps after connecting to a VPN server, helping to get to streaming as quickly as possible.

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN – with subscriptions starting at $6.67/month, more than most other VPNs. However, you can test the premium with no risk, with a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Learn more about it at our ExpressVPN review.

5. CyberGhost – secure and convenient streaming VPN

CyberGhost VPN banner
Based in:Romania
Servers/countries:9700+ servers in 91 locations
Unblocks US Netflix:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% OFF + 2 months FREE 🔥

CyberGhost is an excellent streaming VPN. Even though it took a while for libraries and media to load, specialized streaming servers managed to unblock every video service we threw at it. It's a solid all-around option, too – offering solid security features and decent overall speed.

Servers: CyberGhost VPN offers a whopping 9700 servers in 91 countries, giving it one of the best international fleets in the business. This allows you to access a massive variety of streaming libraries.

Streaming: during our tests, we've unblocked Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. For best results, we had to connect to specialized streaming services, and in some cases, the initial loading times were worse than average. All in all, however, CyberGhost provided a very positive high-definition streaming experience with no buffering.

Security: CyberGhost's security features go hand-in-hand with the top VPN market players. WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN protocols offer multiple options for secure and quick streaming, the automatic kill switch keeps your privacy safe when the connection is lost, and the no-logs policy means no information about you is collected.

Speed: CyberGhost routinely clocked highest speeds using the IKEv2 protocol. WireGuard, the usual gold standard of speed, lags a little behind. CyberGhost is a bit slower than the quickest VPNs in the market: but if you have a fast internet connection, there will be no issues streaming media here.

Additional features: CyberGhost offers the NoSpy servers, offering additional privacy and faster overall performance. Plus, Smart Rules will let you automatically configure this VPN to connect to specific servers in certain situations – this feature can be helpful working in tandem with your streaming apps.

Interested in getting CyberGhost? A subscription starts at $2.19/month a month. Alternatively, you can test it with the 45-day money-back guarantee and a free trial.

Here’s our full CyberGhost review for more information.

6. Atlas VPN – great pick for first-time VPN users

Atlas VPN banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:750+ servers in 38 countries
Unblocks US Netflix:Yes
Current deal:🔥Get Atlas VPN, now 81% OFF!🔥

Atlas VPN is one of the most user-friendly VPNs for streaming your favorite tv shows or movies. Even though the server fleet is on the smaller side, this is still a very solid pick for streaming from abroad.

Servers: Altas VPN offers a 750+ servers in 38 countries, so you get geographically varied location picks for unblocking vast options of content libraries.

Streaming: During our tests, Atlas VPN effortlessly unblocked several Netflix libraries. In fact, we didn’t have any trouble accessing other streaming services as well, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more. Each unblocked streaming platform's videos were in full HD, and we had no sight of any lagging.

Security: As for the service itself, Atlas VPN uses military-grade encryption, a very reliable kill switch, and also implements a solid no-log policy. So, your data is truly anonymous and protected from cyber threats.

Speed: Since the implementation of the WireGuard tunneling protocol, the speeds of Atlas VPN have drastically improved. The solid performance ensures a smooth streaming experience, meaning you shouldn’t have much trouble with buffering.

Additional features: The best part about Atlas VPN is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections. So if your partner or other family members want to stream geo-restricted content on their devices too, they’ll be able to do it at no additional cost.

On top of a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can get Atlas VPN for $2.05/month. So if you're looking for an affordable VPN that can help you unblock Netflix and several other streaming services, this is a great route to take.

To learn everything about this provider, read our full Atlas VPN review.

How we researched streaming VPNs

If you're looking for a VPN for streaming, your search criteria must adjust accordingly. It might even depend on what kind of service you're trying to unblock. Even if a service unblocks Netflix, there's no guarantee that HBO Max or BBC iPlayer will also work. You have to check specifically.

Plus, some streaming methods like Kodi add-ons rely on copyrighted content, so it's a good idea to protect your privacy as well. So, here's what qualities we emphasized when ranking them. This list should also help if you need help choosing the right VPN with your streaming service.

  • Streaming options. We test each reviewed VPN's streaming capability by trying it with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube (+ a few others). This gives a pretty good idea of how a service performs when unblocking different platforms.
  • Speed. The mere fact the service bypasses blocks isn't enough. For streaming, especially at UHD and 4K resolutions, you need your speeds to be high and consistent. This will allow you to enjoy movies and TV shows without buffering issues. No one likes to stare at a blank screen while the movie loads.
  • Useful features. Some features can help you set up VPN-like connections, such as SmartDNS. With them, you can unblock geo-restricted media without even installing a VPN. Others, like split tunneling, can help you manage your VPN connection. As a matter of fact, there are many useful VPN features to consider when picking a streaming VPN.
  • Network size. What if you're interested not only in unblocking US services/libraries? What if you're from a smaller country and need to unblock some local broadcaster while on vacation? Whether this is possible will entirely depend on the total number of countries covered by your provider. The better the coverage – the better your chances to unblock even niche content from local broadcasters.
  • Privacy and security. Your VPN shouldn't collect your data and make security compromises. If you are streaming via Kodi add-ons, this will be one of the first boxes you'll have to tick.
  • Price. Paying the highest price doesn't automatically mean you'll be getting the best possible performance. You have to take into consideration how much you're actually getting for your money.

Why you need a VPN for streaming

You need a VPN to be able to access different content libraries that some of the streaming providers have. A reliable VPN helps unblock geo-restricted content or platforms that aren't available in your location.

In addition, some streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, or Amazon Prime limit the content based on your geographical location. So, while, for example, Netflix US offers more than 5,000 titles, other places like Spain have just over 3,500. So, a VPN is the best way to access all available shows the streaming platform has to offer.

But that’s not all – in some cases, a streaming service may not even be available in your location. Whether you live there or are traveling, a VPN for video streaming can help you bypass restrictions and explore different platforms, be it sports entertainment, streaming movies, or your favorite TV shows.

Streaming sports games is another point, where a VPN is a valuable tool. Whether the game isn’t available for you because you live in a different location, or if you’re experiencing local game blackouts, changing your VPN server location will access all the games you wish to watch.

How to use a VPN for streaming?

No one method will work with every VPN service you encounter in the wild. All VPN services are different and might have additional steps to work with streaming media. Some will require connecting to special streaming servers, while others will work out of the box. So, here’s the step-by-step guide on how to set up a VPN for streaming:

  1. Choose a VPN provider that can unblock your preferred streaming service(s). We recommend NordVPN, which can access a wide range of platforms.
  1. Purchase a subscription and create an account.
purchase nordvpn subscription
  1. Download and set up the VPN on your device. You'll get it either from an app store or the provider's page.
download and set up nordvpn
  1. Launch the program, log in, and connect to a server in a country where the streaming service is available.
nordvpn connect to us server
  1. Open the streaming service's website or launch their app while being connected to a VPN. That’s it, enjoy!
nordvpn unblocks netflix library

What are the best TV streaming services?

These days, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to the number of streaming services that are out there. That is not to say that all of them will be available everywhere, so to access them, you'll have to rely on a VPN service.

Here are some of the most popular streaming services that you can try out with the help of a VPN:

Streaming serviceCategoryCountries availableBest VPN for this streaming site
NetflixTV series and movies190 countries but library size variesNordVPNBest VPNs for Netflix
HuluTV series and moviesUnited States and JapanSurfshark, NordVPNBest VPNs for Hulu
HBO MaxTV series and moviesUnited StatesNordVPN, SurfsharkHow to unblock HBO Max
Peacock TVTV series and moviesUnited StatesNordVPNHow to watch Peacock TV
Disney+TV series and moviesOver 130 countries but library size variesSurfshark, NordVPNHow to watch Disney Plus anywhere with a VPN
SlingSportsUnited StatesNordVPNHow to watch Sling TV outside the US
Fubo TVSportsUnited States, Canada, SpainNordVPNHow to watch Fubo TV online with VPN

Can I use a streaming VPN to watch sports?

Yes, you can definitely use trustworthy streaming VPNs to watch NHL, MLB, NBA All Star, and other favorite sports games. But the keyword here is trustworthy. Major streaming service providers detect and block low-quality VPNs.

Unlike those, reliable VPNs have servers whose IP addresses are continuously updated to avoid detection. Also, they employ innovative technologies to bypass VPN blocks. Thus, users get unlimited access to international streaming sites and can easily watch UFC fights or other sports online.

Additionally, premium VPNs provide blazing-fast speed and stable connection which are essential for seamless streaming of sports events. You should definitely opt for one if you don’t want to miss another buzzer beater when watching NBA games.

Can I unblock streaming content with a free VPN?

No, streaming with a free VPN won't work. The reason for this is that unblocking streaming platforms isn't a small feat. Netflix continues to block IP ranges associated with VPN users, meaning that after a service's IP addresses are blacklisted, they need to acquire new ones. This makes it costly and is one of the key reasons you likely won't use a free VPN to bypass these restrictions.

That said, some free versions of premium VPN services might work. The performance won't be amazing as no one is sweating to ensure that free edition users are getting the best possible performance. Besides, it might work one day then suddenly stop working. Consistency isn't one of the things that you're promised when you're using a free version.

Alternatively, you can try out premium VPNs that will let you access different streaming libraries for free:

  • NordVPN. Unblock all your favorite streaming platforms with NordVPN using its 30-day money-back guarantee. Combine it with the free 7-day NordVPN trial on your Android or iOS device, and you’ll basically have 37 free days in total.
  • Surfshark. With Surfshark VPN, you can effortlessly enjoy all major streaming services for free by making use of its month-long money-back guarantee. Plus, there’s a free 7-day Surfshark trial for iOS, Android, or macOS devices.

Final thoughts

With so many streaming platforms, it is only natural that we want to watch everything they offer. But some of the platforms are only available in specific countries, and others have different libraries for different locations. But we don’t have to sit deprived of our favorite shows anymore.

A VPN can help bypass the geo-restrictions and allow you to access countless streaming services and their libraries regardless of your location. However, not every VPN unblocks every streaming service.

We found that the best VPN for unblocking streaming platforms is NordVPN. It lets you effortlessly access various streaming services, including Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and others. Plus, it allows you to watch content without constant buffering issues and even lets you access geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPN connections.

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FAQ

Comments

Harwood
Harwood
prefix 1 year ago
i use a free vpn and 50% of the time get these netlix vpn errors. can streaming with vpn lead to your account getting suspended? does that ever happen?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 year ago
No, Netflix will usually give you an error message if it detects VPN and doesn’t play the video. Sometimes the used IP address can be blocked, so if you’re using a VPN, that address will be flagged and won’t unblock videos for other users.
Haley
Haley
prefix 1 year ago
My current vpn is slower than I expected and I barely can watch stuff, especially on BBC iPLayer. What would you say is the best vpn for streaming on Mac? And I know that even the best vpns can lag (because I have one of them), what do I do if that happens? Which protocol to pick for streaming and also, what if I need the same country but different server, can I select a specific server? How do I pick that ( on NordVPN) ? Thank you for help, greatly appreciated/
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 year ago
Usually, the best solution is to test several tunneling protocols and connect to a different server. However, if the problem persists, I’d reach out to the customer support agents – maybe they have some tips on how to resolve the issues.
Tomlinson
Tomlinson
prefix 1 year ago
I am not from the US but I want to see US netflix. I have Smart TV, therefore, I need a vpn for tv streaming. Which one is the best and most easy to set up on Samsung?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 year ago
If you’re using Samsung Smart TV, you won’t be able to use VPN apps on it.
The easiest way to set it up would be using providers that have SmartDNS. NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN come to mind as the ones that have this feature.
Mila Mer
Mila Mer
prefix 1 year ago
I’ve recently started streaming on twitch, all good so far, a growing number of people seem to be interested which I’m very happy about. I came across one guy, has way more followers than me, but he is using a proxy in order to avoid denial of service attacks (DDoS). I’m interested to hear what you think about use proxy or vpn for twitch streaming to protect my IP.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 year ago
A VPN can soak up the damage, which can be a method to avoid DDoS. That way, you wouldn’t be affected.
On the other hand, there are other factors to consider. For example, a VPN will undoubtedly increase your ping. So, if you’re playing in various leagues competitively, this might be important.
Always ask
Always ask
prefix 1 year ago
Interesting article! What would you say is the best VPN for streaming Kodi? Do all of the VPNs in this list work with Kodi? Thank you for your time and effort.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 year ago
Some other nuances are important when choosing a VPN for Kodi. You might want to give a read to our best VPNs for Kodi article to find out about our picks.
Happy
Happy
prefix 1 year ago
Is vpn for streaming even legal? 😀 i consider buying nordvpn but still in doubts
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 year ago
There are some nuances. Using a VPN to unblock streaming services is legal, but it may go against the streaming service’s terms of use.
same lices
same lices
prefix 1 year ago
I’ve purchased Surfshark, use it mainly for streaming and I’m very happy. The price and quality balance is unbelievable.I wish they had dedicated IP function though, I find myself needing it all the time.
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