To stream content from the internet using streaming services you need two things: a VPN and good internet speeds.
Unfortunately, most VPNs drastically reduce internet speeds which is why we’ve written this guide to the best VPNs for streaming that offer the fastest servers for the best streaming experience. Every time you connect to one of these VPNs, you’ll feel like you’re living life in the fast lane.
Let’s get started.
What Is Streaming?
The best way to think about streaming is as a convenient way to consume audio and video content without going through the process of downloading the content to your computer. You don’t need the content files to consume what’s in them when you’re streaming. You can bypass the download on easy-to-use streaming sites and immediately start streaming the show or movie you want to watch.
While this explanation depicts downloading and streaming as opposites, it doesn’t mean that they have nothing in common. For example, both downloading and streaming can be done in a variety of different ways. Sometimes you can stream content through your web browser and at other times you have to use a purpose-built software application to stream content.
Note:Internet speeds are especially important for streaming because of the immense role they play in the streaming experience.
If you’re just downloading a file to watch it later, slow internet speed may be an inconvenience but it won’t keep you from eventually watching the content. However, if you’re streaming the content, your experience can be completely ruined by slow internet speeds. You’ll be stuck watching a buffering icon instead of the show you want to watch if your internet is too slow.
What Restrictions Are There When Streaming?
Streaming used to be pretty straightforward and painless. All you had to do was either go to YouTube to start streaming content or purchase a subscription to a service like Netflix and you were all set. Now there are all sorts of geo-restrictions, A/B testing, censored content for specific people and internet throttling. In fact, just a couple of months ago back, Netflix and YouTube both announced they would start throttling connection speeds and video quality for people living in Europe.
To answer the question of why Netflix did that, the streaming service said it was the company’s response to the E.U. commissioner’s request.
Apparently, the commissioner was concerned that the coronavirus lockdown would push people to stream more content than ever before and would clog the E.U.’s broadband internet highways.
Whether the commissioner was right or not is irrelevant. The important bit is that after Netflix and YouTube made this decision, several other streaming services quickly followed the same policy. As you can imagine, such actions forced people living in the E.U. to live with bad streaming quality while they were stuck at home due to COVID-19.
Of course, Netflix later announced that it would stop limiting the bandwidth usage of E.U. users. Current trends suggest though that Germany is perhaps the only country that has seen its pre-coronavirus speeds restored. In places like the U.K. and others, the situation remains the same.
Streaming services, internet service providers and individual apps can all put restrictions on streaming content. There’s no doubt that Netflix will restore previous internet speeds throughout Europe and the rest of the world, but some sources say that it all depends on the negotiations that internet service providers in different E.U. countries are having with Netflix and other streaming services.
It turns out, if internet service providers in Germany can show streaming services like Netflix that they can supply the required bandwidth then Netflix will likely remove restrictions on streaming. All in all, you need a VPN service if you don’t want to get caught in such situations and want to bypass bandwidth restrictions.
Are VPNs Good for Streaming?Yes. A VPN provider is the best and most convenient way to access sites like Netflix and Amazon if you happen to live outside the U.S. Of course, you’re going to have to make sure that you sign up for those VPNs that work with top streaming services in the world and have advanced security features to change your location and IP address without getting detected.
VPN services not only change your location to unlock content, but they also provide you security via encryption. That stops government agencies as well as marketing companies, third-party software developers and internet service providers from spying on you and recording your internet activities.
What Do I Look for in a VPN for Streaming?
While there are certain traits that every VPN should have, VPNs for streaming are different. This is primarily because to be a good VPN for streaming, a VPN has to cater to the streaming service itself before it can offer the kind of features that attract users.
For example, there’s no question about Netflix being the king of streaming services at the moment. Since so many people want to watch the U.S. version of Netflix, the programmers working on the Netflix streaming platform have developed the most sophisticated forms of VPN blocks. Therefore, it’s very hard for VPN services to unblock streaming services like Netflix.
Only the most elite VPNs can do so with the help of advanced security features and fast VPN servers which are the two things you need to look for in a VPN for streaming. Of course, it never hurts to have other advantages as well. VPN services should offer connections that don’t drop often.
They should also have measures against buffering issues. For all of this to go smoothly, VPNs need to make sure that they have a big enough server network to accommodate many users at once.
Then we move on to the part where you should think about the clients a VPN is offering. Clients should be light and should offer options that optimize your streaming experience. It’s always a plus if a VPN offers dedicated VPN apps for all platforms and devices.
Finally, a good VPN on Netflix or any other provider should offer at least a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support in order to solve any problems that a user may run into while setting up or using their VPN client.
Pro Tip:All of the best VPN providers have some sort of money-back guarantee. Keep in mind that you can always use your 30-day money-back guarantee to evaluate the provider and if you find that the VPN isn’t easy to use then you can ask for your money back.
Now we can move on to our list of the best VPNs for streaming. All of the VPNs on this list meet the criteria we’ve discussed here. Let’s get started.
Which VPN Is Best for Streaming?
Simultaneous Connections: Five
Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days
ExpressVPN is the most versatile VPN service, offering over 3,000 of the fastest servers in over 160 different locations all over the world. They also offer over 30,000 IP addresses along with up to six simultaneous connections per account. All of this is why ExpressVPN is so good when it comes to unblocking streaming websites. It’s our VPN provider of choice for unblocking Netflix, ESPN, Disney+ and to get a safe IP address.
ExpressVPN has been among the best VPNs that offer great speeds for many years now. It’s been highly rated as a general privacy service for even longer and it deserves all the praise it gets.
Each ExpressVPN package comes over 3,000 servers that all work pretty fast and are spread across over 90 countries in over 160 locations.
As with some of the other services on this list, users get to use dedicated desktop and mobile clients with ExpressVPN. They also get access to high-quality browser extensions and facilities to unblock DNS content to access streaming services.
ExpressVPN servers have full support for P2P activities and the website offers a separate section which consists of tutorials on how users should go about installing and using the service. If that doesn’t work for you there’s also customer support available 24/7.
In terms of privacy and security, ExpressVPN is right up there with the best of them with a zero-logs policy, 256-bit AES encryption, multiple protocols and a great DNS solution.
If there’s one thing about ExpressVPN that we don’t like, it’s the lack of a free trial. There’s no free tier service either.
However, users who want to take ExpressVPN for a spin can do so by taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Just use the provider for a period that doesn’t go beyond 30 days and if you don’t like it, ask for your money back.
ExpressVPN doesn’t offer huge discounts but the longer you subscribe to the service, the more money you’ll save. The service’s one month plan costs $12.95 per month while the 12-month plan costs $6.67 per month.
- Fast, secure apps
- Huge server network
- Lacks a free trial
Our Score: 8.9/10
Click here to read our full ExpressVPN review.
Simultaneous Connections: Six
Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days
NordVPN is ranked among the top three VPNs for streaming almost everywhere because it can unblock streaming sites like DAZN, H.B.O, Sling TV, B.B.C iPlayer, Amazon and Netflix without any problems.
Moreover, the massive amount of client support it provides on platforms like Linux, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows means you can use NordVPN to watch any content at home or while you travel. Not only that, but NordVPN is also one of the handful of services that has support for devices such as Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
With over 5,000 servers in over 80 countries, you can rest assured you’ll be able to watch any streaming service from any country.
Each NordVPN package comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee which you can easily use as a 30-day trial period and ask for your money back before the 30 days run out if you end up not liking the service. Each account allows up to six concurrent connections so you’ll be able to protect all of your devices.
With NordVPN help is always available. With features such as email support and live chat, you don’t have to waste hours of your time to set up NordVPN on any platform.
- Huge server network
- Good performance
- Unblocks all streaming services
- Not all servers are fast because of strong security protocols
- Mobile apps need a bit of work
Our Score: 9.8/10
Click here to read our full NordVPN review.
Simultaneous Connections: Seven
Money-Back Guarantee: 45 days
CyberGhost is for people who want lots of features in their VPN clients but also want the user interface to be simple enough for beginners. This provider has no problems in unblocking streaming sites such as HBO, Sling TV, B.B.C iPlayer, Amazon and Netflix and, just like NordVPN, it supports all major platforms such as Linux, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.
Since it’s an elite VPN provider you can use CyberGhost as your primary VPN provider on devices such as Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. Most VPNs won’t work with these devices, but the best VPNs can protect these devices with ease.
In terms of servers, it offers over 6,000 servers in over 110 countries for an absolutely mammoth server network. You have the option of using the 45-day money-back guarantee period as a trial period and can use the service for more than a month and ask for your money back if things don’t work out.
Keep in mind that CyberGhost allows you to connect up to seven devices simultaneously per account. This should be enough to cover your whole household and with live chat available as a feature, you can get help any time you need it.
- Can unblock most streaming services
- Live chat is good
- Windows client is excellent
- Servers need to be faster
Our Score: 9.3/10
Click here to read our full CyberGhost review.
Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days
With Zenmate you get to use over 3,000 servers located in 74 countries along with over 3,000 IP addresses. That’s a great start for a VPN that wants to be ranked for streaming.
Each package allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices per account and its apps for different platforms offer enough features for it to be effective in unblocking streaming sites like Netflix. It doesn’t work with Hulu at the moment but that can change in the future as Zenmate continues to evolve.
Zenmate is an economical and secure VPN that you can use not only for streaming but also for plenty of other tasks such as browsing, torrenting and downloading. It has good downloading speeds for streaming and is able to unblock most of the desired streaming services.
- Free trial
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Unblocks Netflix
- Can’t compete with the best when it comes to features
- Average server speed
- Logging policy isn't the best
Our Score: 8.8/10
Click here to read our full ZenMate review.
Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee: 30 Days
SurfShark is the best VPN for streaming for those who are on a budget. It provides you with the ability to unblock streaming services such as DAZN, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix but doesn’t require a huge sum of money for doing it.
Just like all the good VPN services on the market today, it offers its service for platforms such as Linux, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. Moreover, it supports devices such as Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon FireTV.
Users should have no trouble getting around various restrictions on the internet by making use of over 1,700 servers located in over 100 countries. Perhaps the biggest reason why you should sign up for SurfShark is that it offers an unlimited number of simultaneous devices per account.
Also, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee which you can use as a trial period and then ask for your money back if there’s something you don’t like. Before asking for a refund though, make sure to use the live chat feature to get your problem solved.
- No limit on simultaneous connections per account
- Live chat is good
- Doesn’t have some of the extra features that other VPNs have
Our Score: 8.5/10
Click here to read our full SurfShark review.
So there you have it, folks.
Selecting a good Netflix VPN or any kind of VPN provider isn’t hard once you know the basics of a good VPN. Expats living in different parts of the world can bypass geo-blocking measures and then stream content from sites Spectrum TV and others.
As always, we’ve tried our best to list the best VPNs for streaming but it’s possible that we missed one of your favorites. If that’s the case, use the comment section below to let us know or ask us for help if you need it.