The best streaming VPN for unblocking your favorite platforms in 2024

Keep up with your favorite show with a streaming VPN

The best streaming VPN services route your information through a secured server that both encrypts your user data and reassigns your device's IP address. This helps you look like you are someone and somewhere else, providing a shield for your online activity so it can't be tracked back to you, and giving you keys to unblock geo-restricted content, especially tv streaming services. 

We've thoroughly tested each of the virtual private networks (VPNs) on our guide, and dozens more, to give you a good list of the best streaming VPNs. On top of discovering which streaming services they can unblock, we also looked closely at their overall security, the tools offered, and any issues that may cause some concern.

The providers on our list unlock the most popular tv streaming services around the globe. We've also made note of any other special features that help each one stand out from the others, just in case you need a VPN for more than just watching tv. Here are our top three favorite tv streaming VPNs.

Image

1. <a href="https://go.expressvpn.com/c/4550836/1330033/16063?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.expressvpn.com%2Foffer%2Frecommended-deal" data-link-merchant="expressvpn.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ExpressVPN: the best streaming VPN on the market
ExpressVPN impresses when it comes to streaming. Highlights include 3,200 servers, access to Netflix, high speeds, great security features and so much more. 

T3 readers can claim three months free on any 12-month plan, saving you 49% compared to paying monthly. You also get a full year of secured cloud storage free.

Image

2. <a href="https://get.surfshark.net/aff_c?offer_id=61&aff_id=1691&source=hawk&aff_click_id=hawk-custom-tracking&aff_sub2=hawk-article-url&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsurfshark.com%2Fdeals%3Fcoupon%3Dsurfsharkdeal" data-link-merchant="get.surfshark.net"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Surfshark: an affordable streaming unblocking wizard
Already exceptionally affordable, this VPN has upped its game as a viable option for the best streaming VPN. It unblocks all the top streaming services with a ridiculously fast overall performance.

On top of its already cheap prices, Surfshark gives new users an extra 2 months free and a 30-day money-back guarantee to try it out.

Image

3. <a href="http://go.nordvpn.net/aff_c?offer_id=564&url_id=10992&aff_id=3013&aff_click_id=hawk-custom-tracking&aff_sub2=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="go.nordvpn.net"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">NordVPN: the biggest name is still one of the best
NordVPN is another well-established, feature-packed streaming VPN. One of the best if you're after a handful of fantastic security features, we particularly love its more unique security features like Double VPN.

This VPN service lets you try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee, plus adds in antivirus and ad blocking for all its VPN users.

The best streaming VPNs in 2024:

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Make sure you're investing in the right VPN for you. Here are the best VPNs for both security and tv streaming right now.

Best streaming VPN

ExpressVPN interface across devices

The most secure VPN for streaming and everything else

Specifications

Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Sling TV, HBO, DAZN, Kayo, Peacock
Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox
Number of servers: 3,200
Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
24/7 live chat: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Unblocks most major streaming services
+
Great security features
+
Quality apps for both beginners and pros

Reasons to avoid

-
Only supports 8 devices
-
Pricey
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need the most secure VPN: over the many years we've been testing VPNs, ExpressVPN has always come out on top because of its unwavering security.

✔️ You have a lot of streaming accounts you want to access: ExpressVPN unblocks everything including sites like 9Now, C4, 10Play, and ITV.

✔️ You want to watch content everywhere: ExpressVPN has servers in more locations than most other VPNs. That's an impressive 160 locations worldwide.

Don't subscribe if:

You're on a budget: though we feel ExpressVPN is worth every penny, it is very expensive. You can get decent protection and access to most streaming services cheaper with Surfshark.

You want a little more protection than a VPN gives: ExpressVPN will keep you shielded and private while online, but it isn't an all-in-one security suite. if this is something you're after, check out NordVPN.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 ExpressVPN is the most secure service we've tested, on top of being able to unblock popular tv streaming services around the world. We have no reservations about giving ExpressVPN our stamp of approval.

Want to learn more?

It's no secret which VPN we feel is the best. Our ExpressVPN review gives more detail about the tests we've run and a longer list of features you get when you choose this VPN.

ExpressVPN is certainly the best in the business and once again tops one of our guides as the best streaming VPN available to meet all your needs. It offers a range of great security and privacy features, including a kill switch, private DNS, 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and comprehensive privacy guides.

During our in-house tests, we discovered ExpressVPN has a healthy network of 3,200 servers based in a staggering 94 countries. From here you'll be able to access just about any streaming platform you like. We've tested Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, ESPN Plus, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer, all with great success. It even manages to retain its access to Netflix (US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan), which many VPNs have lost the ability to do so since the streaming giant cracked down on the use of VPN and IP addresses. Other channels Express gives you access to include 9Now, C4, 10Play, and ITV. 

Subscribe to ExpressVPN, our top VPN pick, and get 3 months free

Its speeds are also above average, and big change since our last round of testing. Six months ago ExpressVPN hit a max speed of 560 Mbps using its exclusive Lightway protocol. During our latest round, speeds jumped up to an average of 750 Mbps meaning it can easily support tv streaming on multiple devices at the same time. It's also more than enough to banish the dreaded buffering screen or see any impact on your connection speeds at all.

You are limited in the number of connections you can have at a single time. ExpressVPN caps this at eight. This is actually an increase since last year it only allowed five, but it's still a limit. Surfshark doesn't limit simultaneous connections at all if you feel you need that benefit. ExpressVPN has apps for almost all operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and even routers. Most game consoles and streaming devices are also compatible, so you're not limited to watching your favorite shows on a small screen. 

ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPN services, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee should you want to cancel. If you do commit to using ExpressVPN for a year, you'll get three additional months for free and a full year of secured cloud storage.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ExpressVPN test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignEasy, uncluttered, and intuitively designed⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useAuto-connect functions and good for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceNot as fast as we'd like to see, but still fast enough for streaming and torrenting⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingStruggles with some Netflix regions everything else is a breeze to access⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyThe best and most secure VPN period⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportExcellent, helpful, and available anytime you need it⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceMore expensive than most other VPN services⭐⭐⭐

Best value streaming VPN

Surfshark interface across devices

The best value streaming VPN

Specifications

Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, HBO, DAZN
Compatible devices: Chromecast, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox
Number of servers: 3,200
Server locations: 180 in 100 countries
24/7 live chat: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Super cheap
+
Unblocks major streaming platforms
+
Very fast performance
+
Unlimited devices

Reasons to avoid

-
Kill switch niggles
-
Awkward online support
-
Steep prices on plan renewal
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the best budget VPN: Surfshark is cheap but also includes a long list of tools and features making it an all-around good value.

✔️ You need a VPN in a lot of countries: Surfshark has over 3,200 servers in 100 different countries. That's more country locations than any other streaming VPN.

✔️ You have lots of devices to connect: unlike ExpressVPN, Surfshark

Don't subscribe if:

You want to stream using Amazon Fire TV: this is one streaming device Surfshark doesn't support. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN do is you need this feature.

You need a secure VPN without any risk: we did notice some kill switch issues while running Surfshakr on Windows test computers. It didn't happen often, but it's enough to risk possible DNS leaks.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Use Surfshark VPN to stream your favorite show on your favorite services and on your favorite devices. You're never limited to a small laptop or phone screen with this streaming VPN.

Want to learn more?

Read how this VPN performed in our security and speed tests in our in-depth Surfshark review.

If you want a service that won’t break the bank and still packs a punch, you should check out Surfshark. It’s not only one of our go-to recommendations for a VPN, but also provides exceptional value for money, and works beautifully when it comes to unblocking your favorite streaming service.

Surfshark boasts more than 3,200 servers across an impressive 100 countries, which will allow you to unblock Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DAZN, and many other streaming sites. It's also one of the best Netflix VPNs around right now following our most recent testing, able to open the gates to Netflix exclusives in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Get Surfshark, the cheapest VPN, for a great starting price

And let's not forget its exceptional performance in our speed tests. While its OpenVPN speeds slipped below average with peaks of only 90 Mbps in the UK and 130 Mbps in the US, its WireGuard protocol left many of its competitors in the dust, reaching highs of over 950 Mbps putting it in the top bracket where not many VPNs land.

One of the things we love about Surfshark is that it provides support for unlimited devices, so you’ll be able to stream content on all of your devices, too. Another great feature is apps for a range of different operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. You can also use Surfshark on Xbox, Playstation, and Apple TV. It doesn't work with Amazon Fire Stick, though, so it does have a few limitations.

Another area where Surfshark excels is security and privacy, protecting users from online threats like malware, phishing, trackers, and advertisements. There’s also a whitelist, a kill switch, a no-logs policy, private DNS and leak protection, as well as 256-bit encryption. We did notice some issues with its kill switch on the Windows app. It didn't happen often, but sometimes it seemed to engage without letting us know it was on or that the VPN connection had dropped. Also, it seemed to disconnect without notice when a lot of pressure was placed on it. While this is very rare and it happens under extreme pressure, there is still a small risk of a data leak.

The cheapest price plan works out at a measly $2.49/£2 per month (though watch out for steep rates when your plan auto-renews). Surfshark also offers the market standard 30-day money-back period, as well as 24/7 support if you’re not happy with the service. If you do stick with it, Surfshark will throw in an extra 2 months for free. Also, know that if you decide to renew your subscription with Surfshark, the price will nearly double for the next year.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Surfshark test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignSimple, detailed, and good looking⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useOne of the best for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFaster than any of our top VPN picks⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingStruggles with one or two sites, but overall is good for streaming⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyKill switch issues on Windows, plus its antivirus isn't one we'd recommend⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportA healthy library of online support articles, but it isn't easy to find the one you need⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe cheapest VPN and the best overall deal that's hard to beat⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best streaming VPN with antivirus

A highly secure VPN for streaming

Specifications

Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Sling TV, HBO, DAZN
Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox
Number of servers: 5,670
Server locations: 80 in 60 countries
24/7 live chat: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great security features
+
Fast speeds
+
Reliable unblocking of streaming sites

Reasons to avoid

-
Map interface is not for everyone
-
Fewer server locations than both ExpressVPN and Surfshark
-
Ad blockers aren't the best
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need an all-in-one security solution: NordVPN includes malware protection, add blocking, and anti-trackers for additional online protection.

✔️ Netflix is your primary streaming service: NordVPN is our top pick for the best Netflix VPN because it has always reliably unblocked every region in our in-house tests.

✔️ You need a good value VPN: this VPN strikes the perfect balance between top-notch security and a long list of features at a comfortable price point.

Don't subscribe if:

You travel outside your viewing area a lot: though NordVPN unblocks popular streaming services, its servers aren't located in as many countries as Surfshark of ExpressVPN, meaning there may be places where you can't access your streaming accounts.

You need a simple interface: the interactive map is a cool feature, but it's a little buggy and very busy causing usability issues and some confusion, especially for beginners.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN is the absolute best for streaming Netflix because it easily unblocks every region. You also get extra protections with Nord's antivirus and ad-blocking tools, and the option to double-encrypt outgoing data.

Want to learn more?

Check out our NordVPN review to see how its security features and toolset compare to other popular VPN services.

What impresses us about NordVPN is the fact that it’s been designed with security and privacy in mind, which is great for those who want to access blocked content without having to worry about third parties spying on them. This VPN provides features such as double encryption (which uses two servers for routing internet data), malware protection, a DNS leak test, a no-logs policy, and a solid kill switch. 

In addition to great VPN security, NordVPN includes antivirus. This tool prevents you from visiting dangerous websites that are known to hide malware. It also stops malware files from downloading to your device if you accidentally click on a bad link. 

Get NordVPN, the best Netflix streaming VPN

NordVPN also includes ad blockers and anti-trackers. Ad blockers remove ads from websites. This makes your online experience more enjoyable, but also reduces the risk of you clicking on an ad that is actually a malware file. Unfortunately, when we tested it, NordVPN only blocked 32% of the malware and 56% of the ads we exposed it to. While we like that these tools are included, they aren't nearly as effective as using a standalone antivirus program.

You won’t have any problems accessing content internationally as NordVPN has more than 5,600 servers in 60 countries, and they’re capable of delivering impressive speeds. In fact, NordVPN bumped up its speeds to become one of the fastest VPNs with an average of 950 Mbps using the WireGuard protocol (and the one we recommend using for tv streaming). Its server locations are a bit disappointing. ExpressVPN has servers in 160 locations over 94 countries while Surfshark has 180 server locations spread across 100 different countries.

NordVPN will let you access Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, DAZN, and other streaming sites. It's also cracked Netflix again, with the ability to access Netflix in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan. It's one of the few VPN services that can tap into all Netflix regions and one of the big reasons it's on our best streaming VPN list.

You can use up to 6 devices with your account. This used to be more than ExpressVPN, but Express has recently bumped up its connection allowance to 8. Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections. You can use a lot of different devices for streaming with NordVPN, including Amazon Fite TV, Apple TV, Roku, and both PlayStation and Xbox.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NordVPN test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignBeautifully designed, but a bit busy⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThe interactive map is big and causes some navigation issues⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceA fast, reliable VPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks all regions of Netflix and other popular streaming sites⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyVery secure and includes malware protection and ad blocking⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportFriendly, helpful, and always available⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceA good balance between a good value and the number of security tools included⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best of the rest

ProtonVPN interface across devices

The speedy streaming VPN

Specifications

Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, Disney, Hulu, YouTube
Compatible devices: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (GUI), routers
Number of servers: 2,738
Server locations: 85 in 67 countries
24/7 live chat: No

Reasons to buy

+
Free unlimited data plan
+
Decent streaming unblocking
+
Effective kill switch
+
Dedicated torrenting servers

Reasons to avoid

-
Below-average speeds
-
Apps aren't the easiest to use
-
Limited support options
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want to really try it before buying: Proton VPN has one of the best free services and while it doesn't allow streaming, it does have unlimited bandwidth so you get a good feel of how it works and what it has to offer.

✔️ You want a VPN with solid security: this VPN uses open-source code so anyone can look and make suggestions on issues they find. Proton also allows third-party audits of all its services.

You need a fast VPN: though it's fast enough to support tv streaming, at 460 Mbps, Proton VPN is one of the slowest we tested.

You want to use a streaming device: Proton VPN isn't compatible with popular streaming devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Roku. All three of our top streaming VPN picks support at least two of these devices, and then some.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Proton VPN takes security seriously so you're always protected while watching your favorite TV shows. You can try its limited free version for as long as you'd like.

Want to learn more?

Read our Proton VPN review to learn about its free app, its limitations, and the benefits of upgrading to Proton's paid subscription.

ProtonVPN’s Plus plan delivers the goods for unblocking. To begin with, you can enjoy 10 simultaneous connections, allowing you to install and use across all your devices - and maybe even share a connection or two.

This is great news for keen streamers, considering ProtonVPN makes fairly easy work of bypassing geo-restrictions across the top streaming platforms. It ticks off BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus, nailing some of the most popular streaming platforms and allowing you to tune into your preferred broadcaster when you’re outside of the country, and not miss a moment of your favorite TV show or a live sporting event.

Get started with Proton VPN for free

Increasingly, Netflix has been a considerably harder nut to crack. In the past, ProtonVPN has been beaten to the punch by the likes of Surfshark and NordVPN which more easily circumvent Netflix libraries around the world while Proton has struggled with some regions. However, our latest round of testing in June 2023 shows Proton VPN has joined the ranks of the handful of VPN services able to unblock every Netflix region. It also easily gives you access o UK and Austria channels like ITV, C4, 9 Now, and 10 Play.

With the introduction of WireGuard, the provider saw a huge boost in its performance. It isn't enough to be considered one of the fastest VPNs. In fact, Proton VPN dropped its speeds within the last six months from 510 Mbps to 460 Mbps. In both cases, this is well below the industry average for VPN speeds. It's still plenty fast enough to support streaming in 4K and multiple devices streaming at once without worrying about buffering or slowdown. However, if you want really fast speeds, we recommend either Surfshark or NordVPN which reached peak connection speeds of over 950 Mbps.

Looking to stream under the radar, ProtonVPN comes equipped with some excellent security features, including an incredibly effective kill switch and feature-packed and audited open-source apps. In fact, you can inspect its open-source code and recommend fixes for anything sketchy you find. Proton VPN is very responsive when it comes to issues found and reported.

With a boost to its network of servers, too, there are now over 2,700 servers spanning 67 countries, which should make streaming no matter where you are in the world a lot more straightforward. Of course, it's also worth noting while you won't be able to unblock streaming services with its free VPN, this is a great way of trying the service before committing to Proton's paid subscription.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Proton VPN test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignA stunning, dark mode design⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of usePretty easy on mobile, more complex on desktop⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceLots of variation between apps, and lower speeds⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingFree version doesn't allow blocking, paid version unblocks a lot⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyVery secure with military-grade encryption⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportIt's not easy to get a hold of live support, but online articles are helpful⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe free plan is great, paid subscriptions are on the pricy side⭐⭐⭐⭐

Private Internet Access interface across devices

Huge network of servers allows streaming worldwide

Specifications

Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock
Compatible devices: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (GUI), routers
Number of servers: 20,000
Server locations: 100 in 84 countries
24/7 live chat: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Huge network of servers
+
Open source apps
+
Lots of customization options

Reasons to avoid

-
Super slow speeds compared to most VPN services
-
Not the best for beginners
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN with a solid privacy policy: PIA has proven its no-logs policy in court, twice. It also has open-source apps so everyone can have a look at what's happening under the hood.

✔️ You need a torrenting VPN: all of PIA's servers are configured to support P2P transfers, plus it has tools specific for torrenting like split-tunneling and port-forwarding.

Don't subscribe if:

You want a VPN with the latest and the greatest: it has a lot going for it, but we haven't seen PIA release anything real updates to its apps in a while and it seems to be hurting its chances to move up in our VPN rankings.

You need fast speeds: at 360 Mbps, PIA is the slowest VPN on any of our guides. For the fastest speeds, each of our top three VPN picks clocked above-average speeds.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Private Internet Access has over 20,000 servers worldwide to make it easier to access popular streaming services around the globe.

Want to learn more?

Our Private Internet Access VPN review gives you a few more details on what we found during testing, customization options, and torrenting capabilities.

Private Internet Access (PIA) gives you access to an impressive 20,000 worldwide server network. That means plenty of choice for finding a server that works at accessing your chosen streaming service no matter where you are. On top of that, PIA has configured every single one of its servers to support both streaming and torrenting.

PIA has a decent track record of unblocking the most popular services. Our latest round of testing showed it's added more streaming services to its unblocking list. This includes every Netflix region, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer. Private Internet Access is also a good choice for unblocking UK and Australian networks like ITV, C4, 9Now, and 10 Play.

Choose Private Internet Access and get access to over 20,000 dedicated streaming servers

This VPN takes care to ensure your online movements and privacy is solidly secured. All its apps are also open source. This means PIA is pretty confident in its security and privacy credentials, allowing any Tom, Dick, or Harry to have a look. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, the highest level available and the one used by militaries and financial institutions to secure their sensitive data.

Private Internet Access has a no-nonsense privacy p[policy. It promises to never collect or share information about its users. Because it is based in the US, PIA is technically obligated under the Five Eyes Alliance to keep some personal records on its users. However, PIA has defied that treaty and twice has proven its loyalty to customer privacy in court.

It’s worth noting, in comparison to other VPN providers, it’s not the fastest VPN out there. In fact, Private Internet Access is the slowest VPN on this guide and most others. In our latest speed tests, PIA dropped its overall connection speeds using WireGuard from 510 Mbps to a meager 360 Mbps. This is well below the industry average and placed it as number 18 of 21 VPNS for overall speeds. That said, these figures are still more than enough for streaming without problems. You only need 45 Mbps to run a VPN without noticeable slowdown.

Over the last few years, we've noticed Private Internet Access hasn't made any significant updates to its program. The apps look and work the same, the tools are the same, and the configuration is the same. It's still a good, secure VPN, but the lack of change may be an indication of why its speeds are slipping and why it just doesn't move up in our overall rankings. We still recommend it for VPN enthusiasts who want a great customizable VPN and for those who do a lot of P2P transfers.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Private Internet Access test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignLots of customization, though it looks simple and basic⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNot a good choice for new VPN users, great for seasoned pros⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceAverage speeds, not easy to use⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingThousands of servers worldwide and each one optimized to support torrenting and streaming⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacySellar security and a privacy policy that has been proven in court twice⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportExcellent online support articles and helpful agent available to chat 24/7⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceGreat overall value for the price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to choose a VPN for streaming

There are a number of things to consider when it comes to looking for the best streaming VPN, and you certainly shouldn't deprioritize important factors like security and performance either. 

Fundamentally, a streaming VPN needs to be able to unblock various streaming services. Just because a VPN can unblock one doesn't mean it can unblock them all. The likes of BBC iPlayer and Netflix are far trickier to circumvent, with the latter really cracking down and beginning to block IP addresses tied to VPN networks.

Our top recommendations will always be ExpressVPN, as well as the uber-affordable Surfshark should more than fit the bill - and the latter comes with unlimited connections. Both of these VPN services have a good number of servers in multiple countries to help circumvent geo-restrictions.

They both nail it when it comes to performance, with ExpressVPN delivering above-average speeds of 560 Mbps, and Surfshark soaring ahead with peaks of 960 Mbps.  

In layman's terms, this means you shouldn't see a significant lag in your overall internet performance. Add to that your VPN prevents your Internet Service Provider from seeing what you're doing and potentially throttling your bandwidth, you can stream undetected and without that dreaded buffering pinwheel.

Wherever possible try before you buy. In some cases, there won’t be a free trial, but most reputable VPN providers offer a money-back guarantee if the service doesn’t meet your expectations.

Netflix logo on a screen in front of a table

(Image credit: Mollie Sivaram via Unsplash)

How we test streaming VPNS

We test dozens of VPN services to ensure they are safe, fast, and reliable enough for us to recommend. This is done through hands-on evaluations several times throughout the year, so we can stay on top of any changes.

When it comes to security, we check for any DNS leaks, both when the VPN is connected and when the kill switch is engaged. We want to make sure nothing sneaks through while you're using one of our top-rated VPNs.

If there are any specialty tasks a VPN claims to support, like torrenting or tv streaming, we check it out. We'll let you know if we find any issues...

Part of our evaluation process includes reading the fine print of each VPN service's no-log policy. Sometimes there are conditions where a service might hold on to some information, such as which servers you connect to and how long you use a VPN. This information is collected so the service knows where to put additional servers to prevent slow connections during peak times. Companies that collect this info delete it once it's received, and won't record or tag it as yours to maintain your online privacy.

We test the speeds of the VPNs we get our hands on. Using several online speed test sites, like nPerf and SpeedTest, we connect to multiple servers around the world no less than 120 times. This gives us a good overall average speed that you can expect when you connect to the VPN.

If there are any specialty tasks a VPN claims to support, like torrenting or tv streaming, we check it out. We'll let you know if we find any issues, like sites that aren't unblocked, or slowdown during P2P transfers so you are completely in the know before picking a VPN.

Best streaming VPN FAQ

Can you get a free streaming VPN?

Everyone likes a freebie, and there are certainly hundreds of free VPN services out there. But if you want a great streaming experience, you’re better off choosing a premium option. Free services won’t give you access to many streaming platforms, are usually very slow (so you can expect buffering) and/or impose data caps. Free VPN providers who have premium options also usually restrict what features you can actually use without dropping your card details. This is the case with ProtonVPN's free service.

Generally, they’re not great to use and are only suited towards simple tasks. Plus, a lot of these services are spammy. What's more, you could always just opt for a super cheap provider like Surfshark if you’re concerned about pricing. 

Is streaming with a VPN legal?

The use of a VPN for streaming is not illegal. However, it's worth noting that it can go against terms of use for some streaming services.

In Netflix's terms of use, for example, it states you are not to "use any robot, spider, scraper or other automated means to access the Netflix service". While the streaming giant doesn't specifically call out VPN, then, it does not condone the use of software to gain access to its libraries.

It's, therefore, a good idea to check out the small print before you decide whether or not you want to risk it.

Of course, the use of VPN in itself is not illegal either, though this will differ from country to country. Some countries have banned the use of VPN, including China, Russia, and North Korea. 

More VPN guides you might fancy: