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Best VPN for Streaming

Simon Migliano
Simon MiglianoUpdated

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for streaming means you can enjoy private, unrestricted access to your favorite streaming sites worldwide without your speeds being throttled by your ISP. It can be hard to know which one to choose, as there are so many options on the current market, but that’s why we’re here. We regularly test each VPN so we can give you comprehensive reviews to make the process quick and simple.

Our top picks for streaming allow you to access popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer through a secure, encrypted connection. Our proprietary speed testing technology allows us to monitor VPN performance in several locations worldwide, meaning you can rely on our choices to be capable of buffer-free HD streaming across multiple devices. We even check out the apps to make sure they’re suitable for both new and experienced users.

The 5 Best VPN Services for Streaming
  1. NordVPN
  2. CyberGhost
  3. ExpressVPN
  4. HideMyAss!
  5. IPVanish
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for Streaming
NordVPN

Very fast zero-logs VPN. Works with Netflix and other popular streaming sites.

Best price
$3.99 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
62 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
What we like
  • Superb performance - global average of 54Mbps
  • High speed access to Netflix, iPlayer and more
  • P2P and torrenting permitted on many servers
  • Compatible with streaming devices like Apple TV
  • Connect securely to 62 countries
What we like less
  • Slow email support
  • Browser extensions are proxies
  • Extra protocols require manual config
Bottom Line

NordVPN is our top pick for streaming and one of the only providers that still works consistently with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Incredibly fast downloads (332Mbps on the Frankfurt server) are among the best we’ve seen in our speed tests, meaning you can stream in ultra HD without any buffering issues. A generous limit of 6 simultaneous connections means you can even stream securely on several devices at once.

The simple yet powerful apps are available for the major platforms only, while the lack of city-level servers could be off-putting for some. Privacy-wise Nord is one of our top picks due to a strict zero-logs policy and a ton of advanced privacy features, including a VPN killswitch, DNS leak protection and servers optimized for Double VPN.

Customer support is excellent but responses to email and live chat can be slow. If you’re willing to commit to a 2-year subscription, NordVPN is also incredible value for money, coming in at just $3.99 monthly, which is made even better by the fact that it’s the most reliable choice for fast access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more.


Read our full NordVPN Review

2
CyberGhost

Fast zero-logs VPN. Easy access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Cheap 18-month plan.

Best price
$2.75 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
60 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
What we like
  • Fast download speeds- 174Mbps global average
  • Easy access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more
  • Optimized servers for torrenting and P2P use
  • Simple setup on most popular devices
  • Connect securely to 60 countries
What we like less
  • No native apps for streaming devices
  • Torrenting not permitted on US servers
  • Server network could be bigger
Bottom Line

CyberGhost boasts dedicated streaming servers which make it incredibly easy to access popular streaming sites, such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and more. Access to BBC iPlayer hasn’t been as consistent as NordVPN, but for just $2.75 a month on the 18-month plan and blistering local download speeds of up to 174Mbps, it’s definitely worth considering.

CyberGhost is a super secure VPN with a strict zero-logs policy and loads of extra privacy extras, including a killswitch, IPv6 and DNS leak protection. Combined with optimized servers for P2P activity and a manual setup guide for Kodi, it’s a top choice for torrenters too.

The custom apps are innovative and user-friendly, but, unlike Nord, CyberGhost doesn’t currently offer any native apps for Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick. Customer support is very impressive, with friendly and helpful agents available 24/7 and some great online resources. CyberGhost falls just short of top place for streaming with lightning-fast local speeds and easy access to most popular services, but no native apps for streaming devices.


Read our full CyberGhost Review

3
ExpressVPN

Super-fast speeds for HD streaming. Access to major streaming sites including Netflix.

Best price
$6.67 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
94 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
3
What we like
  • Fast speeds - global average of 45Mbps
  • Reliable access to Netflix
  • No restrictions on P2P traffic
  • Instant setup on streaming devices like Apple TV
  • Connect securely to 90+ countries
What we like less
  • Price could be lower on shorter plans
  • Three simultaneous connections only
Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is by far the best all-rounder and hard to beat for speedy, uninterrupted access to Netflix, but unfortunately has recently fallen victim to the BBC’s crackdowns on VPN providers, pushing it out of the top spots. However, it’s easy to look past that if you take into account ExpressVPN’s incredible overall reliability and local download speeds of up to 128Mbps, which are more than fast enough to ensure uninterrupted HD streaming.

ExpressVPN is also one of the most secure VPNs in the current market, with a pleasingly minimal logging policy and loads of privacy extras such as a VPN killswitch and split tunneling. The user-friendly apps are available for a long list of devices but you’re limited to just 3 simultaneous connections. This may not be as generous as rival providers but it won’t be an issue for most people.

Customer support is the best we’ve seen with 24/7 support via live chat and a whole host of online resources to solve any potential issues. It’s by no means the cheapest option out there but you get what you pay for, and you can cut the monthly cost down by 48% to $6.67 by opting for an annual subscription. ExpressVPN offers the perfect balance between privacy and performance, it’s just a shame that BBC iPlayer is currently blocked.


Read our full ExpressVPN Review

4
HideMyAss!

Fast, reliable VPN that works with Netflix. Huge global server network.

Best price
$3.50 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
190+ Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
What we like
  • Fantastic global performance of 40Mbps
  • Easy, high speed access to streaming services
  • Servers optimized for US and UK streaming
  • Compatible with Amazon Firestick and Roku
  • Connect securely to over 190 countries
What we like less
  • Based in the privacy-unfriendly UK
  • Collects detailed connection logs
  • Limited to OpenVPN on the desktop app
  • No native apps for streaming devices
Bottom Line

HideMyAss! offers optimized servers for fast, hassle-free access to streaming services. The Liberty Island server works with Netflix and other popular US sites and Donkey Town has recently started working with BBC iPlayer, even if it requires a little bit of experimentation with browsers to work. Superb download speeds of up to 160Mbps on local servers mean you can watch your favorite shows in buffer-free HD.

However, HMA! falls down when it comes to privacy. An intrusive logging policy means your connection details (including your IP address) can be stored for up to three months, but this shouldn’t bother those just looking to stream securely and hide their browsing history from their ISP.

The well-designed apps are available for all popular devices but we’d love to see some more advanced options to play with. We were impressed by customer support, with quick responses to email and live chat. It’s a reasonable price considering the global scale of HMA!’s server network and the raw speed on offer, and you can save yourself over 71% on the 2-year plan.


Read our full HideMyAss! Review

5
IPVanish

Quick, zero-logs VPN that works with Netflix. Lots of extra privacy features.

Best price
$6.49 per month
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
61 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
10
What we like
  • 34Mbps download speeds for HD streaming
  • Most US servers currently working with Netflix
  • P2P and torrenting permitted on all servers
  • Works with streaming devices, including Roku and Apple TV
  • Connect securely to 61 countries
  • Very strict zero-logs policy
What we like less
  • Currently blocked by BBC iPlayer
  • Limited customer service options
  • Short refund period (7 days)
Bottom Line

IPVanish’s superb server performance makes it a smart choice for streaming. Download speeds of up to 234Mbps on some local connections are among the fastest we’ve seen, so waiting for shows to buffer will be a thing of the past. It has recently started working with Netflix, and you’re able to access the service through the majority of US servers, but unfortunately BBC iPlayer remains blocked.

The desktop apps can be clunky at times but do a good job of getting you optimally connected to the best possible location. IPVanish is a fully zero-logs provider and comes with an impressive suite of privacy features, including a VPN killswitch and first-party DNS servers.

Customer support is good enough but don’t expect video tutorials or a live chat option. It isn’t a budget VPN but if you commit to a 12-month plan you can reduce the monthly cost by 46% to an affordable $6.49. IPVanish is a great choice for streamers, torrenters and anyone else looking for raw speeds and high level of privacy.


Read our full IPVanish Review

How we picked the best VPN for streaming

Our top picks for streaming have been tested as working smoothly with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and other popular services while also protecting your privacy online. The best providers deliver extremely fast performance on their most popular servers (US, UK and Australia) and offer advanced privacy features such as DNS and IPv6 leak protection. We also check out all the custom apps to ensure a smooth, user-friendly experience across all platforms.

We constantly test all the VPNs for streaming on our site to keep our reviews and recommendations as current as possible. Our daily speed tests mean we can analyze each VPN’s performance to make sure buffering won’t be an issue, and we even check out the customer service so you can be sure your problems will be solved quickly and efficiently.

How to use a VPN for streaming

For the smoothest streaming experience while using a VPN, you ideally want to select a server that’s optimized for video. If your VPN provider doesn’t offer this, then the next best option is to choose the closest server to your physical location, as this will give you the quickest speeds. Our speed test results will give you an unbiased view on which servers offer the best performance.

Before you begin streaming, you need to decide whether you’re going to install the VPN on your router or directly on the devices you’re going to use. While it is generally more convenient to have it on your router, it can be tricky to install and makes switching between servers more difficult. Installing the software onto multiple devices is the more popular way to do it, however you’ll be restricted by the number of devices you can protect at the same time.
Some VPN apps choose your protocol automatically, however we advise setting it manually to the most suitable choice for streaming. In most cases this will be OpenVPN, as it offers the best balance between privacy and performance. You also need to ensure you choose the most suitable location for your streaming service, for example if you’re in the UK and want to watch BBC iPlayer, you need to choose a UK server as all other locations will be blocked.

If you ever get a proxy error when trying to access streaming sites such as Netflix, don’t worry, simply try connecting with a different server. Netflix attempts to block VPN access and popular servers are occasionally blacklisted, although in most cases this isn’t permanent. You should avoid accessing Netflix from VPN servers in countries other than your actual location, as this breaches their Terms of Service due to copyright restrictions.

How to choose a VPN for Streaming: 8 Tips

  • Will it allow me to access popular sites such as Netflix and iPlayer?

    Most popular streaming sites have majorly cracked down on VPN providers, so you need to be sure you choose one that still allows you to access sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Our top picks tend to work with most major streaming services, but be sure to check the relevant section of our reviews for the latest updates.

  • Is it fast enough that I won’t experience any buffering?

    There’s not much point in finding a provider that works with Netflix if your connection isn’t fast enough to stream an entire show without any buffering issues. Look for the fastest possible download speeds, but reliability also plays a big factor here, so be sure to check that we didn’t experience any connection drops during our tests. A VPN offering quick, consistent performance means you’ll be able to watch all of your favorite shows in buffer-free HD.

  • Does it have servers optimized for streaming?

    The streaming process is made a lot easier if you don’t have to scroll through countless servers trying to find one that works. Many top-tier VPNs eliminate this problem by offering dedicated streaming servers, so all you have to do is select the relevant country or site (BBC/Netflix/Hulu etc) and you’re good to go.

  • Does it have servers in the locations you need?

    For the best possible performance, you’ll want to connect to the closest possible server to your physical location. Consider any needs outside streaming you may have and make sure there’s a decent number of servers in relevant locations. The more servers, the better the performance as there will be less congestion.

  • Does it work on your preferred devices?

    You’re not always going to be streaming on a laptop or computer, whether you want to watch Netflix on a tablet whilst travelling or access Hulu through your Smart TV. Almost all VPN software will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some VPN services are also compatible with other internet-connected items, such as routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as the Amazon Firestick.

  • Are their client apps and software easy to use?

    Nobody wants to use an outdated, confusing app. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, simple and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two!

  • What is their logging policy?

    Every VPN will tell you it is does not track your internet activity or is a “zero logs” VPN. In reality, delivering high performance across an extensive global network is impossible unless you are monitoring at least some connection details of your users. You could read a ton of privacy policies and terms of service to find out exactly what’s collected and for how long it’s stored or let us do that for you and just check the logging policy section of our review that explains this in plain language. Ideally you want a VPN that does not log your IP address at all and limits timestamp logging to just the date of your connection.

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind. 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.