While the best VPN has many perks and quirks that help boost security and online anonymity on your device, one of its most exciting functionalities is its ability to bypass blocks on geo-restricted content and allow users to access it wherever they are in the world. The best streaming VPN can offer just that - but how?
Each VPN has hundreds, if not thousands, of servers within its network based around the world. By connecting to one of these servers, this in turn changes your IP address to make it appear as if you're browsing from somewhere else. Whether you're hopping on a local server to circumvent blocks in your school or workplace so you can watch YouTube, or you're abroad and want to tune into a live stream back home through your native broadcaster, the best streaming VPN is the tool to have in your back pocket.
Giving you the lowdown on the best streaming VPN below, these providers ensure you can watch the likes of Prime Video, Disney Plus, YouTube, Hulu, Peacock, and more, not matter where you are around the globe.
Top 3 best streaming VPN at a glance:
1. ExpressVPN – the best streaming VPN on the market
ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN on the market, and it also impresses when it comes to streaming. Highlights include 3,000 servers, access to Netflix, high speeds, great security features and so much more. Plus, T3 readers can claim three months free on any 12-month plan, saving you 49% compared to paying monthly.
3. 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.
The best streaming VPNs in 2022:
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. With exceptional unblocking prowess, nifty features, and great performance, it ticks all our boxes.
Diving straight in, you'll discover ExpressVPN has a healthy network of 3,000 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, which many of this list have lost the ability to do so since the streaming giant cracked down on the use of VPN and IP addresses.
Its speeds are also above average thanks to its own Lightway protocol, hitting 570-580Mbps - more than enough to banish the dreaded buffering screen or see any impact on your connection speeds at all.
ExpressVPN also 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. There are apps for almost all operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and even routers, but the downside is that you’ll only be able to connect 5 devices at once.
However, if you ever need a question answered, you can make use of a 24/7 live chat, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee should you want to cancel.
A new entry into our choice of the best streaming VPN, ProtonVPN’s Plus plan delivers the goods across both unblocking and speed. An increase of double the devices is the icing on the cake now with the ability to utilise 10 simultaneous connections at any one time.
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.
Increasingly, Netflix has been a considerably harder nut to crack, but ProtonVPN is one of the few that manages to access UK, US and Canadian libraries, showing a few niggles when it comes to Australia and Japan. That makes it a great Netflix VPN, too.
With the introduction of WireGuard, the provider has seen a huge boost to its performance, too, reporting speeds at 720-740Mbps. For streamers, this reduces the chance of being cursed with an aggravating buffering screen.
On top of that, for those 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.
With a boost to its network of servers, too, there are now 1,400+ servers spanning 61 countries, which should make streaming no matter where you are in the world a lot more straightforward.
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.
You won’t have any problems accessing content internationally as NordVPN has more than 5,100 servers in 59 countries, and they’re capable of delivering impressive speeds. NordVPN will let you access Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, DAZN and other streaming sites. Netflix proves a bit more difficult for NordVPN. If you're looking to unblock US Netflix, you may have to look elsewhere. Otherwise NordVPN was able to access other foreign libraries.
NordVPN is highly focused on security and privacy, providing features such as Double VPN (which uses two servers for routing internet data), malware protection, a DNS leak test, a no logs policy and a kill switch. What’s more, you can use up 6 devices with your account and have plenty of affordable subscription plans to choose from. On top of all of this, you also get 24/7 support and 30 days to ask for your money back.
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 the best VPNs on the market, but also provides the best value for your money.
Surfshark boasts more than 3,200 servers across 65 countries, which will allow you to unblock Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DAZN and many other streaming sites. 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. Other great features for streaming include fast servers, unlimited content and apps for a range of different operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.
Another area where Surfshark excels is security and privacy, protecting users from online threats like malware, phishing, trackers and advertisements. There’s also a whitelister, a kill switch, a no-logs policy, private DNS and leak protection, as well as 256-bit encryption. The cheapest price plan works out at a measly $2.49/£2 per month, but it’s also worth pointing out that there is a 30-day money-back period and 24/7 support if you’re not happy with the service.
As BBC iPlayer is added to Private Internet Access’ repertoire of websites it can unblock, it finds itself in T3’s best streaming VPN buying guide. Alongside Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus, Private Internet Access also has some success with unblocking US Netflix, too, though if you’re looking to circumvent any other geo-locks for other foreign Netflix libraries, you’ll need to look elsewhere closer to the top of this list.
Still, it’s a great choice for streaming if you’ve rinsed through Netflix and are after geo-unblocking elsewhere, with a selection of clients across devices that we really rate, including its iPad VPN.
Recent changes also see the addition of a new, cheaper 3-year plan, ideal if you want to bring your monthly rate down and are prepared to commit to Private Internet Access for a longer period of time. Now spanning 78 countries with its huge network of 10,000+ servers, no matter where you are in the world, you should be able to find the right location for you, connect to the server and bypass any geo-restricted content without a problem.
It’s worth noting, in comparison to other VPN providers, it’s not the fastest VPN out there. Private Internet Access’ OpenVPN speeds ranged between 190-300Mbps. Comparatively better, its WireGuard performance offered results of 430Mbps, though this is still well below the average with the likes of NordVPN and ProtonVPN taking the lead. Still, these figures should be more than enough for streaming without running into any problems.
What makes a good streaming VPN?
When looking to choose a streaming VPN that will provide a great experience, you want a provider with access to lots of streaming platforms. If you're particularly keen on watching specific streaming platforms, it's important to ensure the VPN you choose can actually unblock the content you want to watch. Checking out our iPlayer VPN guide in particular is a good idea, known for being notoriously difficult to hop over geo-restrictions at times.
A large server network is also key, meaning you'll be able to watch the latest content internationally. Fast speeds to prevent issues like buffering, on top of unlimited bandwidth and great apps for streaming content on a range of devices make for the best streaming VPN.
Of course, no provider is truly perfect, and some are better in certain areas than others. But these are the things you should consider if you want to improve the way you stream TV shows, movies, sports and music.
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 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?
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.
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