The best VPN for streaming – Start browsing

By Jovan Milenkovic July 31, 2020

Don’t you just hate it when your video starts buffering out of nowhere or it takes ages to load? Restricted access to your favorite services like Hulu or Netflix can be pretty frustrating too.

Whether you want coverage of your favorite sports event, or you’re hoping to bypass geographical restrictions, installing a virtual private network has become a key tool in helping you stream content online. Choosing the best vpn for streaming has become a necessity for anyone who wants to stream with no interruptions and stay secure at all times. 

But not every VPN is made equal, so we’ve had to do some serious hand-picking from an extensive pile of VPN service deals. Here is what we found.

Best VPN for Streaming

  • 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Supports OpenVPN across all platforms
  • Strong privacy policy
  • Few simultaneous connections allowed
  • Above-average prices
Price $starts at8.32/mo
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  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Decent performance with most locations
  • Great privacy features, and 1,300 anonymous VPN servers
  • Average interface
  • Limited global server presence
Price $starts at6.49/mo
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  • Allows six simultaneous connections
  • Decent speed performance
  • Blocks ads, malware, and other web threats
  • Intuitive interface
  • Limited global server presence
Price $starts at3.49/mo
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  • Allows seven simultaneous connections
  • Strong privacy policy
  • Inexpensive
  • Poor speed on some servers
  • Complicated free trial policies
Price $starts at2.75/mo
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  • Allows six simultaneous connections
  • Solid encryption package
  • Inexpensive
  • Limited amount of servers
  • Based in Sweden
Price $starts at3.82/mo
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Best 5 VPN for streaming:

1. ExpressVPN -
" Best comprehensive VPN service "
2. IPVanish VPN -
" Best private VPN service "
3. NordVPN -
" Best intuitive VPN with unusual extras "
4. CyberGhost review -
" Best inexpensive VPN service "
5. PrivateVPN -
" Best simple and highly-functional VPN service "

Assessing Your VPN Needs

Finding a top VPN can be a daunting task. Every user is going to have slightly different VPN needs, so be sure to take a careful look at your needs before investing in a reliable service. But, before you start, we invite you to think about the following:

Why Use a VPN?

Most of what you need to know about a private VPN service is right there in the name – virtual private network. Think of it this way – going online is like taking a commercial airline flight. Baggage handlers, security personnel, and flight attendants all use pieces of your information to make your route between destinations possible. A similar exchange is taking place on the web. These exciting destinations could be fun lifestyle websites, but it could also be your bank account. When you employ the best VPN service, your data is encrypted and transferred to the VPN server. As a third party, it connects you to the web on your behalf. Without a VPN, your connection is fully open and exposed. So, whether you are concerned about your cybersecurity, or you just want to connect to a server in a geo-restricted country, VPN software makes this possible.

What to Look for in a VPN Service?

If you want to watch something that’s only available in certain countries, you should make sure to look for a geographically diverse VPN provider. Another feature that can make or break your experience of streaming with VPN is speed metrics. While you browse for the most suitable product, you’ll want to ensure that download and upload speeds, and ping time of your VPN are satisfactory. These metrics will depend on your VPN needs, so if you download large files or stream a lot, you should look for a VPN with a high download speed. Upload speed is important if you use your network for sending significant amounts of data. And if you are a frequent Skype user or gamer, you should look for VPN providers with low ping metrics.

Levels of privacy, logging options, and the personal information that the VPN provider logs are also factors to keep in mind when looking for the most secure VPN provider. The less they store the better. But, what else should you look for in a good VPN service?

  • Client features
  • A number of simultaneous connections
  • Any restrictions?
  • Helpful customer service

As you can see, there are a plethora of things to think about when choosing a VPN connection worthy of your investment.

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of relevant criteria and have chosen the best VPN for streaming that can suit your needs without emptying your pockets. There’s no need to take a self-taught crash course on network security to find the best VPN for streaming – we’ve done all the legwork for you.

1. ExpressVPN

" Best comprehensive VPN service "

  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, IPSec, IKEv2
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • VPN server locations
    160
  • Netflix Unblocking
    Yes

Things we liked / disliked:

  • 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Supports OpenVPN across all platforms
  • Strong privacy policy
  • Few simultaneous connections allowed
  • Above-average prices

Things we liked / disliked:

  • 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Supports OpenVPN across all platforms
  • Strong privacy policy
  • Few simultaneous connections allowed
  • Above-average prices
  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, IPSec, IKEv2
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • VPN server locations
    160
  • Netflix Unblocking
    Yes

ExpressVPN is known as the best VPN for video streaming. As far as international server coverage is concerned, ExpressVPN’s features are pretty impressive. This VPN network has over 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries – including 27 Asia Pacific countries. Users should have no trouble accessing Netflix, HULU, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime.

As for the other valuable technical features, you should not be scared about failures or latencies, as this is one of the fastest VPN for streaming on the market. ExpressVPN connects quickly, and its download speeds are more than satisfactory. This operator has a minimal 5-6% reduction at 68-70Mbs with UK and US servers. Moreover, its multi-platform support includes apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and detailed setup guides for Apple TV, Fire TV, PlayStation, Chromebooks, and Kindle Fire.

ExpressVPN’s extra browser extensions include WebRTC leak blocking, location spoofing and HTTPS Everywhere support for Chrome and Firefox. If you’re worried about security, rest assured that this top VPN service protects your online activities by using its DNS servers and high-end encryption technologies. 

Manufacturers included a split-tunneling system that helps you control which apps are connected to the VPN network services, and which can be routed through your internet connection. This can be useful if you aren’t sure which app in your network is lagging, and if you want to have complete control over who can see what you’re doing.

Moreover, this VPN provider doesn’t log any sensitive information, and its servers confirm the company’s privacy policies. Unfortunately, given the price tag, it is disappointing that ExpressVPN limits you to only three simultaneous connections, while the industry standard is set to five. Aside from that, everything looks pretty great about this top rated vendor.

If by any chance you experience any issues with ExpressVPN, the company’s support team is available around the clock via chat support. These helpful agents are professionally-trained experts who are capable of walking you through just about any technical issue you encounter during your private internet experience. You can also always send a quick email to the support staff if you have any technical questions. 

This operator employs a simple pricing structure consisting of three plans. The first plan is $12.95 per month, but users who sign up for longer periods can receive favorable deals. With the six-month plan, the price drops to $9.99 per month, and the annual plan is only $8.32 per month. This is definitely one of the best streaming VPN services on the market, so we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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2. IPVanish VPN

" Best private VPN service "

  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, AES 256-bit, SOCKS5
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • Shared IPs
    40,000
  • P2P-friendly servers
    1,300

Things we liked / disliked:

  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Decent performance with most locations
  • Great privacy features, and 1,300 anonymous VPN servers
  • Average interface
  • Limited global server presence

Things we liked / disliked:

  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Decent performance with most locations
  • Great privacy features, and 1,300 anonymous VPN servers
  • Average interface
  • Limited global server presence
  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, AES 256-bit, SOCKS5
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • Shared IPs
    40,000
  • P2P-friendly servers
    1,300

This is another top rated VPN provider that offers an extensive list of features, some of which you won’t be able to find elsewhere. The performance of this VPN provider is excelling in providing a network with over 40,000+ shared IPs, 1,300 and P2-friendly servers in over 75 countries. IPVanish doesn’t have browser extensions, but you can rest assured that this VPN network is compatible with broad service and platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, routers, and FireTV. Similar to ExpressVPN, IPVanish users can use split-tunneling, and disable the apps they don’t use. There is no need to worry about its ability to bypass geo-restrictions and VPN blocks. IPVanish is the best VPN for streaming movies and videos. It is able to unblock Netflix on multiple servers. In addition, you can watch Fox US, Vudu, ESPN, ABC.com, Hotstar India, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, and HBO GO. You can connect up to ten devices simultaneously. 

IPVanish offers above-average connection speeds, and it is more than able to handle large data activities like torrenting, gaming, and streaming in HD. There is barely a noticeable change in loading times while browsing and watching videos. As one of the fastest VPN service providers, IPVanish delivers above-average connection speeds – the average download speed on the four servers is around 48.6Mbs.

IPVanish protects you with its solid AES-256 encryption technology, and its support for secure protocols, OpenVPN and IKev2. You are also able to choose your OpenVPN port (1194 or 443) to boost your connection. You can use OpenVPN Scramble to reduce the chances of your VPN tunnel being detected or blocked in anti-VPN countries like China or Iran.

We checked for leaks on sites including IPleak and DNS leak test, and IPVanish was rock-solid at all times. Moreover, the company has no record of any connection or traffic as it employs a zero-log policy, so you can count on your identity being completely secure with this top rated VPN service provider. 

If your VPN is not working as it should, live chat is available on the site. According to IPVanish’s VPN ratings, genuinely helpful agents are working around the clock, ready to give you accurate and professional replies within minutes. The email support is also pretty great – if you provide the team with screenshots or log files, you can expect your issue to be resolved within 12 hours. The quality of assistance is great, no matter how complex your issue. In addition, there is a range of support articles available online that can be pretty helpful.

While the best movie streamers tend to cost a lot, IPVanish isn’t too bad. This provider offers three basic plans: $10 a month, $8.99 for three months, and $6.49 for one year. Overall, it’s a pretty decent VPN cost for the value of the features you’re getting. IPVanish offers highly configurable apps with the possibility of 10 simultaneous connections in an extremely safe online environment. And, let’s not forget about its excellent customer support team.

3. NordVPN

" Best intuitive VPN with unusual extras "

  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, AES-256, PTTP, L2TP/IPSec
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • No. of servers
    5,400

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Allows six simultaneous connections
  • Decent speed performance
  • Blocks ads, malware, and other web threats
  • Intuitive interface
  • Limited global server presence

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Allows six simultaneous connections
  • Decent speed performance
  • Blocks ads, malware, and other web threats
  • Intuitive interface
  • Limited global server presence
  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, AES-256, PTTP, L2TP/IPSec
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • No. of servers
    5,400

It is hard to beat a VPN service like NordVPN. This top rated VPN for streaming boasts a solid collection of servers, an impressive arsenal of rarely seen tools, and strong security practices. Some of the technical features you can expect include: OpenVPN support with strong AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection in line with best current practices. Whether you will be streaming on Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Linux, macOS or Windows, you will be able to use this VPN provider, and enjoy a maximum level of protection.

Users were extremely satisfied with NordVPN’s user-friendly interface divided into two tiers: novices and power users. You can opt for each of them at any given moment by clicking on a pop-up window on the side. This best VPN software employs Onion support for extra security, and ad, malware, and phishing protection via NordVPN’s Cyber Sec technology. P2P support and NordVPN’s Panama registration are a major plus, and with a clear no-logging policy, this is a good VPN that will give you above-average reassurance that your internet traffic will be protected from prying eyes. 

To improve your privacy, you can access the Tor anonymization network that will let you access hidden websites, and protect traces of your connection along the way. You can also count on strict no-logs policy with this best rated VPN operator.

NordVPN’s NordLynx is a high-speed protocol based on WireGuard technology, but a very limited number of servers support it. Manufacturers have made several claims that they are working on rolling out support for this feature across the full network and client range, but there is no ETA just yet. You should bear in mind that this VPN provider allows up to six simultaneous connections, which is slightly above average. 

As for other features, SmartPlay – integrated into all NordVPN servers – helps you get past geographical restrictions. It starts automatically, so connecting to a server is enough. In the comprehensive FAQ section, you will be able to find guides on how to stream Netflix, Hulu, BBC, and Amazon Prime Video. 

This top VPN is able to maintain 60.4% of the base non-VPN speed. It’s not out of this world, but there are absolutely no connection failures. At an average 65-69Mbs, an acceptable 6-8% drop was noticed. NordVPN averages 125-300Mbs – better than many other providers. With this VPN, you will be able to connect to even the most distant servers in a matter of seconds. There are some exceptions, though. You might find it challenging to connect to Indonesia. But, luckily, NordVPN has a list of 59 countries that NordVPN’s servers have access to – covering areas across Asia, Central and South America, Central and Eastern Europe, and a handful of locations in India and the Middle East.

This VPN is best in one other category – customer support. Get the assistance you need from the company’s many available knowledge pages, and tips and tutorials posted online. You can also take advantage of the live-chat team at any time of the day.

VPN apps of this provider have long been at the top of the ranking lists, and it is easy to see why. The monthly plan comes at $11.95, but if you pay a year upfront you will receive a 41% discount. If you wish to commit, a two-year and three-year plan will cost you $4.99 and $3.49, which is around the standard average. This provider is far from the most expensive VPN around. Its international server coverage is decent, and with P2P-optimized servers, malware blocking, and one of the strongest privacy policies on the market – NordVPN is one of the best VPN services that will be able to suit all levels of users. 

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4. CyberGhost review

" Best inexpensive VPN service "

  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, AES-256, PTTP, L2TP/IPSec
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • No. of servers
    5,900+

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Allows seven simultaneous connections
  • Strong privacy policy
  • Inexpensive
  • Poor speed on some servers
  • Complicated free trial policies

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Allows seven simultaneous connections
  • Strong privacy policy
  • Inexpensive
  • Poor speed on some servers
  • Complicated free trial policies
  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, AES-256, PTTP, L2TP/IPSec
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • No. of servers
    5,900+

This is a Romanian provider with a German-based residency and a large fan base – over 10 million users enjoy using CyberGhost VPN. As one of the top VPN for streaming services, it boasts over 5,900 servers across 58 countries with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android as custom clients. The online VPN can be set up on additional platforms like Raspberry Pi, Synology NAS, Chrome OS, game consoles, smart TVs, routers, and more. As for simultaneous connectivity, you should know that CyberGhost VPN software can be run on up to seven devices. If you install CyberGhost on one of the supported routers, you can increase the number of devices you can connect on. But users have tested this, and don’t recommend this option as it will slow down your internet connection. 

CyberGhost has a strong and fast network that supports torrenting on its servers as it is optimized for a safe P2P file exchange. With this VPN for streaming you will be able to bypass the regional restrictions to many streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Cruchyroll, and many more. All apps have a kill switch, as one of the mandatory mechanisms for privacy protection. A split tunneling option is provided to Android users, and Windows clients can whitelist the websites they want to leave out the VPN protection. Looking further into the privacy aspects of this provider, we can see that apps have the option of blocking malicious websites, ads, online tracking, and they have data compression for enhanced speed. This top rated VPN service employs 256-bit AES encryption technology and protection mechanisms that prevent Port Forwarding and DNS leaks. The company follows a no-logs policy, so you can rest assured that your details are not compromised. You will be able to follow their annual transparency reports about malware activity flags, number of complaints, and key statistics about its infrastructure. 

Measuring a VPN’s performance is difficult, there are too many factors to consider. CyberGhost performs well, but only during testing of the nearest UK and US servers. It averages around 63Mbs on fiber broadband lines. With added OpenVPN encryption, VPN servers of this provider cut speeds by about 6-7%, a minimal increase. Its speed can range between 125-155Mbs, which is a bit slower than its competitors. Unfortunately, the speed gets worse in Australia and most Asian countries. Overall, the performance of this relatively cheap VPN is mixed, and if you are more of a casual user, this won’t affect you very much. You will be able to get past most of the geo-restrictions, and as long as you use US or UK servers – CyberGhost will be able to follow through. 

As far as support is concerned, CyberGhost has a comprehensive FAQ section, and a professional support team on hand. Users had some issues with the ways troubleshooting articles are sorted, but they have proven to be very helpful. The VPN customer support team is available via live chat and email support 24/7 in English, German, French, and Romanian. 

It costs $12.99 per month, $5.99 per year, $3.69 for the two-year plan, and $2.75 for the three-year subscription. Overall, this is one of the best cheap VPN options out there.

5. PrivateVPN

" Best simple and highly-functional VPN service "

  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, PTTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • No. of servers
    100+

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Allows six simultaneous connections
  • Solid encryption package
  • Inexpensive
  • Limited amount of servers
  • Based in Sweden

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Allows six simultaneous connections
  • Solid encryption package
  • Inexpensive
  • Limited amount of servers
  • Based in Sweden
  • Apps available for
    Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Browser plugins
    Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Devices
    Routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, xBox, Android TV, and more
  • Encryption
    OpenVPN, PTTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2
  • Torrenting and P2P
    Yes
  • Netflix unblocking
    Yes
  • No. of servers
    100+

This VPN site has been in business for a while, offering some interesting features and high-performing services. PrivateVPN’s network is relatively small, with 59 countries and “over 100 servers” covered. But it seems they are all highly-functional, and supported everywhere. These are not the best VPN services out there, but the company is mostly proud of its technical features, which include OpenVP, L2TP, and IVEv2 support, Port Forwarding, a kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, and the ability to connect up to six devices at the same time. As this is a privacy-conscious company, you can count on its strict no-logs policies. However, you should bear in mind that even though PrivateVPN uses Blowfish-128CBC encryption, and it doesn’t collect your data – the company is based in Sweden, which is part of the 14 Eyes Alliance. That means that this VPN for streaming is obliged to give users’ data to the authorities if requested. But with IPv6 and DNS leak protection, strong encryption technology, and an automatic kill switch – you can rest assured that your identity is safe with this private VPN operator. 

Apart from a standard VPN connection, you can use SOCKS5 proxy servers to boost your connection speed. The client provides you with ping values for each server, so you can easily stream to servers with dedicated IPs for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Fox, NBC, CBS, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer. PrivateVPN offers dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS users. Connections are quick, and the client uses desktop notifications and displays your new IP on its interface, which is more than easy to navigate. As far as performance of one of the cheapest VPN providers is concerned, UK server speeds range from 40 to 60Mbs, the same as with Europe connections. With long distance connections, you can rely on a serviceable 10-15Mbs – not worth bragging about, but quite enough for most browsing, streaming, and light downloading tasks. 

PrivateVPN has 24/7 customer support, which can be contacted via emails and a live chat feature on the site. Helpful agents will be more than glad to assist you with any query you might encounter. But if you are more self-reliant, try out the “Getting Started” section on the VPN site, here you can find knowledgeable articles and tutorials for your preferred devices and platforms. 

The pricing plan was created for those who enjoy the cheapest movie streaming services. It starts at $7.67 per single month, $4.88 over three months, and $3.82 if you opt for a full year. It seems that the company put all this functionality aside, and provided a small, but highly-functional VPN streaming service to its users. There are more vendors out there that can give you a more powerful product, but they are not always that reliable, and often come at a higher price. This is an interesting VPN that covers all the bases for a very fair price. 

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FAQ

What is the best VPN for streaming?

Most of the best VPNs available in 2020 can be used for streaming without any issues, as providers usually make streaming a top priority when creating the service. Still, VPNs like NordVPN, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN stand out as some of the top choices among the users themselves.

Do VPNs work for streaming?

Yes. A good VPN should be able to handle the streaming of video content without any issues, but there are some providers that put more focus on this part of the service, so if streaming is your main reason for using a VPN, it is best to shop around and read through user reviews to determine the best possible choice.

How do I stream through VPN?

All you need to do to start streaming through a VPN is to install it, select the location and use your favorite streaming service as you would normally. Just make sure to select the correct region of the world if you wish to watch some shows that are, for example, US-specific.

Can I use VPN for Netflix?

In general, yes, but Netflix tries hard to combat this, which is why even the very best VPN streaming services sometimes stop working until a new work-around is patched in. The ability to stream Netflix therefore fluctuates as the largest streaming company and the world’s leading VPN providers always try to outwit each other with new solutions.

Does a VPN make streaming faster?

No, using a VPN can never increase your connection speed. In fact, connecting to a VPN will always have a negative impact and reduce your usual internet connection speed. This is why VPN companies are always putting so much emphasis on just how little their service impacts it, and why a lower percentage of speed decrease remains such a huge selling point.