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The best VPNs for streaming in 2024


Using a top streaming VPN is an easy way to access loads of content affordably. By appearing as if you're in another country, you can unlock foreign movies, TV shows, and even avoid sports blackouts, enjoying certain content for free on platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

However, expecting every VPN to consistently unblock a wide range of content, including movies, shows, sports events, and more, is unrealistic. So, with the help of the research team, I tested 42 popular streaming VPN services to uncover the top 5 options for achieving your TV-viewing goals. These VPNs will help you bypass geo-restrictions on platforms like Netflix and Hulu, watch favorite shows like Doctor Who for free, and bypass blackouts for NBA, NHL, and other events.

Best VPNs for streaming in 2024

Why use a VPN for streaming?

VPNs enhance your online experience in several ways. They provide privacy, security and allow you to access region-locked streaming content.

By masking your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic through a remote server, a VPN makes it appear as if you are browsing from a different location. This unlocks content that would otherwise be restricted in your area. Whether you want to access foreign Netflix libraries or stream sports content while traveling, a VPN is a valuable tool for your entertainment needs.

Additionally, using a VPN for streaming enhances security. It encrypts your connection, protects your data from hackers, and masks your IP address to keep your online identity private. It prevents ISPs from throttling your speed and ensures safe use of public Wi-Fi. Just make sure you pick a reliable VPN, which can match your expectations.

The best streaming VPNs in 2024

The 42 reliable VPNs had to pass a rigorous evaluation process. As you can imagine, in-house tests had to measure their geo-block bypass and HD streaming capabilities on countless platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more. I also tested the VPN's ability to unblock specific movies, TV shows, and free streaming content and checked if it can bypass blackouts.

With that in mind, here are the top 5 best VPNs for streaming you should consider using today.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for streaming and bypassing geo-restrictions

nordvpn banner
Streaming services unblocked:
Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more
Servers/countries:6400+ servers in 111 countries
Simultaneous connections:
10
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now up to 72% OFF + free travel data!

NordVPN is my top pick for the best streaming VPN. It excels at unblocking content with minimal speed loss, retaining around 90% of original speeds. During NordVPN in-house tests, I accessed foreign libraries on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube TV, Netflix, and others. For example, I streamed Poor Things on Disney+ through a Canadian server, even though it's typically on Hulu in the US. The streaming quality was excellent, with no buffering, even for 4K ultra HD videos.

Streaming services constantly update to block VPNs, but NordVPN overcomes these challenges. You can watch movies and even bypass sports blackouts on popular operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. Additionally, NordVPN works well on devices like Android TV, Firestick, and Chromecast. Plus, you can stream simultaneously on 10 devices.

In addition to excellent encryption for just $3.39/month, I liked that NordVPN offers a useful SmartPlay feature for streaming. This combines Smart DNS with your VPN connection to optimize performance for smoother, faster content watching.

It's great for HD streaming and bypasses VPN blocks, giving you access to your favorite content. When testing, I discovered that NordVPN similar to Surfshark also provides the option for a dedicated IP address. It works very well with both providers – and helps avoid issues with sites like Netflix that block traffic from shared IP addresses.

NordVPN isn't the cheapest streaming VPN compared to Surfshark and IPVanish. However, it offers a free trial for mobile users and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test all of its features risk-free if you have any doubts. NordVPN is the fastest VPN around, so I strongly advise this provider for avid streamers who need a simple but reliable and secure VPN.

2. Surfshark – the cheapest streaming VPN to bypass sports blackouts

Surfshark banner
Streaming services unblocked:
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more
Servers/countries:3200+ servers in 100 countries
Simultaneous connections:
Unlimited
Current deal:Get 83% OFF Surfshark + 3 months FREE

Surfshark is another great pick for streaming VPNs. All VPNs slow down your internet connection, but Surfshark had one of the smallest speed drops during in-house tests. Leaving retention at around 86% of original speeds. I experienced no buffering or stuttering, even while streaming 4K UHD content.

Surfshark lets me easily access Disney Plus, YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other libraries. Using Surfshark on Chromecast with Google TV, I watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Netflix UK, a movie usually available only to Max and Peacock subscribers in the US.

Overall, Surfshark is an ideal streaming VPN for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Hulu, and FuboTV. Like NordVPN, Surfshark lets you watch movies and bypass sports blackouts on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also works well on devices like Android TV, Firestick, and Chromecast. One standout feature of Surfshark is its unlimited simultaneous connections, allowing you and your family to stream on all your devices at once.

Surfshark offers many useful privacy features at a budget-friendly price of just $2.19/month. You can boost your privacy by routing your connection through two servers with Surfshark’s Dynamic Multihop feature or by shuffling your IP address using the IP Randomizer or IP Rotator features.

I particularly liked Surfshark's GPS spoofing feature, which lets you securely access content worldwide by matching your location to your chosen VPN server. This ensures that even if some streaming apps request your physical location, you'll still have access.

If you are eager to try a Surfshark provider, like NordVPN, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee for a refund or try Surfshark with a 7-day free trial. I would recommend this provider, especially for those who are searching for a cheap but feature-rich VPN for their online activities.

3. IPVanish – all-around streaming VPN for unlocking content

IPVanish banner
Streaming services unblocked:
Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and more
Servers/countries:2400+ servers in 55 locations
Simultaneous connections:
Unlimited
Current deal:Get 83% OFF IPVanish + 3 months FREE!

In my testing, IPVanish excelled as an all-around VPN for streaming. I found that this provider consistently performs well in terms of speed and stability. Like Surfshark, it supports unlimited simultaneous connections, boasts a great security suite, and employs an advanced WireGuard protocol. However, it's a bit more expensive, starting from $2.19/month, slower, and has fewer servers. Despite that, IPVanish is faster than many other VPNs available. It retains 80% of the original speed.

When testing IPVanish's ability to unblock content, I discovered it could unlock popular platforms like Netflix and YouTube TV. However, it struggles with others such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

Unlike CyberGhost, IPVanish doesn't have specific servers for streaming, which can sometimes help in this case. This can be frustrating because it may be difficult to access important streaming sites. Additionally, when unblocking services like BBC iPlayer, I encountered some quality issues and buffering.

On the other hand, IPVanish works with the most popular operating systems, including iOS, Windows, macOS, Android, and Linux, and allows unlimited device connections for only $2.19/month. Moreover, you can stream your favorite shows with IPVanish on Apple TV and Android TV.

I really appreciated that IPVanish offers DNS leak protection for streaming. It keeps your DNS requests safer from your ISP or anyone trying to listen in. Plus, like NordVPN and Surfshark, the kill switch feature worked well in my testing. If the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, IPVanish automatically cuts off your internet access.

Take note that each plan includes a 30-day money-back insurance. If you’re looking for a great VPN with unlimited connections, IPVanish is a decent alternative to Surfshark.

4. ExpressVPN – fastest streaming VPN for geo-restricted content

ExpressVPN banner
Streaming services unblocked:
Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more
Servers/countries:3000+ servers in 105 locations
Simultaneous connections:
8
Current deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!

ExpressVPN is a premium-priced streaming VPN with a great performance. Although it’s a bit pricey, starting from $6.67/month, but it's one of the fastest VPNs I've tried. It retained about 77% of my initial speeds during testing. I've used it to access Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services without any issues. Streaming videos was smooth, and the quality was great. However, one downside is that while ExpressVPN has an ad-blocking feature, sometimes streaming services like Hulu detect it and ask you to turn off the ad blocker.

ExpressVPN is highly regarded for streaming, and known for its capability to unlock a vast array of online content. It can easily unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Max, BBC iPlayer and others. It also works seamlessly with various operating systems and streaming devices, including those that don't support VPNs, such as Kodi, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Roku.

ExpressVPN is pricier than other top providers and allows only 8 simultaneous connections, which is fewer than what Surfshark and IPVanish offer with their unlimited connections.

I found that ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer tool for devices like Smart TVs and gaming consoles adds a lot of value. Even if your device doesn't support VPNs, this tool can still help you access extra content by spoofing your location to bypass geo-restrictions.

Moreover, ExpressVPN ensures data protection with DNS protection, multiple layers of privacy, AES-256 encryption, and various protocols. This lets you browse and stream your favorite content with peace of mind.

To try ExpressVPN risk-free you can use a 7-day trial for mobile devices and a 30-day money-back guarantee. For those, who are not afraid of the price, ExpressVPN would be the best bet as it combines great unblocking capabilities with robust security and privacy measures.

5. CyberGhost – the best streaming VPN for IP address variety

CyberGhost VPN banner
Streaming services unblocked:
Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+
Servers/countries:11500+ servers in 100 locations
Simultaneous connections:
7
Current deal:Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% + 2 months FREE!

CyberGhost is one of the most versatile streaming VPNs available. It has a vast selection of over 11500 servers, including specialized ones for streaming. Its security features reliably protect your data while browsing online. The connection speeds are solid, providing a lag-free streaming experience. During in-house evaluation, the average speed retention was about 86%.

Together with the research team with CyberGhost I managed to unblock the most popular libraries of Netflix, Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and others.

For best results, I had to connect to specialized streaming servers, and in some cases, the initial loading times were worse than average, and not all streaming sites worked from the first try. But when it worked, the video quality was great, with no lags or other discrepancies. Additionally, you can stream with CyberGhost on all popular OS like Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. However, it lacks some features on mobile devices, for example, the kill switch on iOS.

Like all our top providers, CyberGhost offers a Dedicated IP, giving you a server and IP address just for you. It also has a strong ad blocker for uninterrupted content. But what I loved most about CyberGhost are its streaming-optimized servers, which easily connect to popular platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

If you’re on a tight budget and need a decent streaming VPN with extra perks, CyberGhost is the option for you. Prices start at $2.03/month and include a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Best VPNs for streaming compared

RatingUnblocks streaming platformsServers worldwideSpeed retentionSimultaneous connectionsCompatibilityPrice
NordVPN
4.9
Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more6400 servers in 111 countries90%10Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS$3.39/month
Surfshark
4.7
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more3200 servers in 100 countries86%UnlimitedWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS$2.19/month
IPVanish
4.5
Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and more2400 servers in 55 countries80%UnlimitedWindows, Mac, Android, iOS$2.19/month
ExpressVPN
4.3
Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreServers in 105 countries77%8Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS$6.67/month
CyberGhost
4.2
Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+11500 servers in 11500 countries86%7Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS$2.19/month

How we tested and selected the best streaming VPNs

Ranking streaming VPN services isn't simple. At Cybernews, our experts regularly test VPNs to give you accurate information for making informed decisions. We adjust our testing frequency based on changes in the VPN landscape and any updates from providers. Here's what we test when ranking streaming VPNs:

With the help of the Cybernews research team, we tested 42 VPN providers to find the best ones for streaming.

For testing purposes, we used all popular operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Using a VPN with WireGuard protocol, we connected to different servers in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, Japan, Italy, Greece, Spain, France, and others. The servers we used to access streaming services depended on the service and its available locations.

speed testing tool

After testing, I selected 5 VPNs that made it to our list. Here are the main criteria my team and I considered when choosing these VPNs:

  • Unblocking. A streaming VPN must be capable of unblocking popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, and others. It should also bypass sports blackouts. Additionally, it’s important that a VPN can access various streaming libraries in different countries, such as Indian Netflix. To test this capability, together with the research team I connect to different VPN servers to assess their effectiveness in bypassing geo-blocks.
  • Speeds. Speed is crucial when streaming to get the best quality without buffering. During in-house testing, regular internet speeds are compared with those when connected to a VPN. My team and I connect to the nearest server and use a formula to calculate speed retention. We also test servers in countries like the US, UK, and Germany for consistency. For these tests, Speedtest by Ookla is used, and we look for at least 75% speed retention to ensure good performance.
  • Security and privacy. When connecting with a VPN in highly restricted areas, it’s important that the traffic is encrypted and your data is not leaking. We prioritized VPN services with advanced encryption, like AES-256, specialized servers, a strict audited no-logs policy, and other features that enhance privacy and security.
  • Features for streaming. For extra security and a worry-free streaming experience, I look for features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection. To test the kill switch, the research team intentionally disrupts the VPN connection multiple times and on various devices to ensure reliability.
  • Compatibility. It’s important that a VPN is compatible with popular platforms like Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android, including streaming platforms like FireTV.
  • Server network. Together with the research team, I review each service's server network to find those with global coverage, only including VPNs with excellent worldwide server distribution.
Expert comment
Security advocate and senior tech writer

How to choose the best VPN for streaming

When choosing a streaming VPN, prioritize three things: reliable access to many streaming sites, a variety of servers, and robust security measures.

Many VPN providers clearly state which streaming services they support and what servers they offer. Popular services like Netflix and Disney+ usually work, but access to all geo-locked content may vary.

Also, consider the VPN's security track record. Prefer VPNs that are open to external audits and have no recent major data breaches. Look for providers that continually and transparently improve their security.

How to use a VPN for streaming

Using a VPN for streaming is easy. Just download and set up your chosen VPN, connect to a server in the country you want to access streaming content from and go to the streaming service's app or website to start streaming as usual.

The setup process may differ depending on your VPN provider, device, and intended streaming platform. However, the steps mentioned above are universal and work with most platforms.

Do I recommend a free VPN for streaming?

No, you’re unlikely to unblock geo-restricted streaming content using free VPNs. Even if you do, the so-called best free VPN for streaming will disappoint you in other areas, such as connection speed, security, and device compatibility.

Furthermore, trustworthy free VPNs for streaming typically include monthly data caps that limit the number of movies and TV shows you can binge-watch. Meanwhile, a less-reliable free VPN may collect your data or inject malware into your device or whole network.

To save yourself from frustration and risks, I recommend using premium VPNs with free trials. This may appear as a temporary solution, but it’s your best bet to watch a specific geo-restricted movie for free. Another approach is taking advantage of a provider’s money-back guarantee. Don’t overthink your options and choose from these leading streaming VPNs.

  • NordVPN. The king of online streaming VPNs offers a 7-day free trial to anyone holding an Android device. If that’s not you, go with the 30-day money-back warranty route.
  • Surfshark. The runner-up made its 7-day free trial available on Android and iOS app stores. Another testing option is going with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

What streaming services work with a VPN?

Although hundreds of streaming services are available, I focused my testing efforts on the most popular options (listed below). You’ll have no trouble unblocking these platforms regardless of which recommended streaming VPN you choose. Plus, these VPNs will most likely work with countless other well-known and obscure streaming platforms I didn’t test.

Streaming serviceCategoryCountries availablePriceFree trialResources
NetflixTV series and moviesOver 190 countries but library size variesFrom $6.99/monthNoBest VPNs for Netflix
HuluTV series and moviesUnited States and JapanFrom $7.99/monthYesBest VPNs for Hulu
MaxTV series and movies25 European countries, Latin America and the Caribbean, United StatesFrom $9.99/monthYesHow to unblock Max
Peacock TVTV series and moviesUnited StatesFrom $5.99/monthYesHow to watch Peacock TV
Disney+TV series and moviesOver 60 countries but library size variesFrom $9.99/monthNoHow to watch Disney Plus anywhere with a VPN
SlingSportsUnited StatesFrom $15/monthNoHow to watch Sling TV outside the US
Fubo TVSportsUnited States, Canada, SpainFrom $79.99/monthYesHow to watch Fubo TV online with VPN

Streaming local TV with a VPN

If you're on the go and want to enjoy your preferred home media or desire to stream international shows, movies, or sports events from wherever you are, a VPN can provide the solution. Nevertheless, it's essential to choose a VPN service that offers a wide range of servers in diverse locations.

Take a look at the following compilation of the top VPN providers and their server locations, along with helpful resources on accessing various TV channels from any part of the world:

CountryNordVPNSurfsharkIPVanishWatch local channels abroad
US1970+ servers in 16 locations600+ servers in 25 locations1106 serversWatch American TV online
UK440+ servers in 111 locations212 servers in 4 locations4 locationsWatch UK TV in the US
Canada480+ servers in 3 locations120+ VPN servers in 3 locations50+ serversWatch Canadian TV in the US
France230+ servers in 2 locations65 servers in 3 locations30+ serversWatch French TV from anywhere
Spain90+ servers62 servers in 3 locations30 serversWatch Spanish TV from anywhere
Germany240+ servers in 2 locations2 locations50+ serversWatch German TV in the US
Italy60+ servers2 locations13 serversWatch Italian TV in the US

Final thoughts

A reliable streaming VPN is an affordable way of expanding your TV show and movie library with minimal effort. It will change your location and bypass geo-blocking on any streaming service with different content selections based on region. Moreover, a VPN is a powerful online security and privacy tool, making it handy even when you’re away from your home movie theater.

I think NordVPN is the best for streaming. Testing it was simple – accessing services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime was smooth, and I could watch content with just a few clicks. Besides great speeds and quality, NordVPN also offers strong security features for streaming and other online activities, all at a good price.


More VPN guides from Cybernews:


FAQ

Comments

Harwood
prefix 2 years 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
prefix 2 years 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
prefix 2 years 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
prefix 2 years 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
prefix 2 years 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
prefix 2 years 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
prefix 3 years 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
prefix 3 years 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
prefix 3 years 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
prefix 3 years 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
prefix 3 years ago
Is vpn for streaming even legal? 😀 i consider buying nordvpn but still in doubts
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 3 years 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
prefix 3 years 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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