Is It Illegal to Use a VPN for Streaming?

In the US, UK, and most European countries it is completely legal to use a VPN to access different international content libraries. In other words, there is no risk that streaming with a VPN will result in legal penalties.

Many users are worried that bypassing geo-restrictions is somehow similar to piracy. Piracy is illegal because it allows people to access copyrighted material they have not paid for. When you use a VPN for streaming, you still pay for the platform you’re accessing.

Simply put, using a streaming VPN doesn’t allow you to access content for free, it simply allows you to circumvent licensing restrictions.

While using a VPN for streaming isn’t illegal, some streaming platforms do state that accessing geo-blocked content is against their terms of service.

Is Streaming Faster with a VPN?

In most cases, using a VPN will not increase your streaming speeds. In fact, VPNs marginally slow down your internet speeds as your traffic has to travel further before it reaches its destination.

However, your ISP may throttle your connection to streaming services to manage how much bandwidth you’re consuming.

In this case, installing a VPN can conceal the websites you’re accessing from your ISP and allow you to stream at normal speeds.

What is Smart DNS?

SmartDNS is a technology that reroutes your DNS (Domain Name Server) requests to servers in a different country.

Smart DNS alone does not encrypt your browsing data or mask your public IP address. However, it does allow you to access websites and services that aren’t available in your country.

That’s because the websites you visit will see your DNS requests have originated from a different country.

Smart DNS is often used to bypass geographic restrictions on devices that do not support native VPN applications. Once you’ve signed up to a VPN that support Smart DNS, you simply update the DNS settings of your device with the DNS details your chosen VPN server.

If you’re looking to configure Smart DNS on a particular device, take a look at our VPN Setup guides.

Smart DNS is by far the easiest way to watch restricted content on games consoles and Smart TVs. However, many VPN services simply don’t offer Smart DNS functionality.

If you’re looking for the best VPN with Smart DNS, we recommend using ExpressVPN, Surfshark or CyberGhost. They all come with a Smart DNS feature and unlock the most popular streaming services.

However, if you’re looking to watch streaming content on desktop or mobile, we strongly recommend using a full VPN over any Smart DNS feature.

Not only are VPNs more reliable than Smart DNS, they also encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP address – protecting your privacy in the process.

A VPN will also allow you to access content from more regions than Smart DNS, which typically only supports US and UK streaming libraries.