The 9 Best VPN For Streaming & Content Access In December 2020

  • Confirmed works with Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Now, & more
  • Combines the best of VPN and Smart DNS
  • Global content access w/ servers in 59 countries
  • Stream on up to 6 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Available on:
  • Microsoft Windows logoWindows
  • Apple Mac logoMac
  • iOS logoiOS
  • Android logoAndroid
  • Linux logoLinux

VPN Service

Features

Rating

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1

NordVPN

  • Confirmed works with Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Now, & more
  • Combines the best of VPN and Smart DNS
  • Global content access w/ servers in 59 countries
  • Stream on up to 6 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
2

SurfShark

  • Confirmed works with Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Now, & more
  • Unlocks 15 Netflix libraries - tied for most
  • NoBorders mode works in restrictive regions
  • Stream on unlimited devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
3

ExpressVPN

  • Unlocks 15 Netflix libraries - tied for most
  • Excellent app for most smart TVs
  • Split-tunneling capabilities
  • Stream on up to 5 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
4

CyberGhost

  • Confirmed works with Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Now, & more
  • Global content access w/ servers in 90+ countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
  • Stream on up to 7 devices with one account
  • Free trial & 45-day money-back guarantee
5

Private Internet Access

  • Unlocks content from US, UK, NL, CA, RO, DE, FR, SE, & CH
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Easy router set up
  • 12400+ servers in 78 countries
  • Protect up to 10 devices with one account
6

SaferVPN

  • Stream on the go with automatic WiFi security
  • No discernible decrease in download/upload speed
  • Lightweight extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  • Stream on up to 5 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
7

IPVanish

  • Unmetered connections
  • Best VPN app for Amazon Firestick & Kodi
  • Great for streaming sports
  • Stream on unlimited devices with one account
  • Exclusive pricing for students
8

HotSpot Shield

  • Rated fastest VPN by ZDNet, TechRadar, PCWorld, & Comparitech
  • Hydra protocol masks VPN traffic
  • Great for HD & 4K streaming
  • Stream on up to 5 devices with one account.
  • 45-day money back guarantee
9

Hide My Ass

  • Global content access w/ servers in 190 countries
  • Split-tunneling capabilities
  • Friends & family plans offer more connections
  • Stream on up to 5 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

What Is A VPN For Streaming?

While VPNs are used for a wide range of reasons, streaming is among the most popular use cases. Due to the geographic limitations of the top streaming platforms, it’s not uncommon for those outside the U.S. in particular to embrace VPNs to ensure accessibility to favorite shows and movies.

Simply put, VPNs for streaming are well-equipped to accommodate streaming video, TV shows, and movies. Most VPNs are not limited to a single purpose and are effective in a number of different functions, but some are better for streaming than others.

Stream international content with a premium VPN.

How Does A VPN Work?

VPNs, regardless of performance, all work in the same way. Normally, surfing the web involves using the network available through your chosen internet service provider. Data is transmitted using your own IP address, which is visible to sites you are using and is tethered to your location. This can make it impossible to access sites with geographical blocks. This can also use your devices open to attack, particularly if you’re using public WiFi.

A VPN encrypts data at the source, effectively creating a tunnel between your connection and an exit node located elsewhere, anywhere in the world. This associates information sent with the VPN you are using rather than your own network, obscuring movement. Your personal IP address is hidden, too; instead, your IP address reflects that of the VPN. 

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In terms of streaming, this means that your IP address is associated with the location of the server your VPN is using. If, for example, you are located in a European country and are trying to watch Netflix, a VPN with access to U.S. servers can help you connect.

Types Of VPN

VPNs come in many different shapes and sizes with varying priorities. Most VPN users are seeking one of the following:

  • Privacy: A VPN with an emphasis on privacy is just that – the ability to mask online movements. Those looking for a privacy VPN are often solely concerned with hiding activity with other features seen as secondary.
  • Business: VPNs are widely used in business to grant remote access to networks as well as to protect confidential information. VPNs used for business are usually singularly focused as employees are not expected to use VPNs for non-corporate purposes.
  • Gaming: VPNs for gaming emphasize a strong connection and stellar speed, letting users connect to their favorite games easily and privately.
  • Torrenting: When using a VPN for torrenting, users can prevent their own ISPs from detecting illegal use. Torrenting VPNs can also protect against files with malware attached that may try to breach an unsecure network.
  • Streaming: As outlined above, a streaming VPN prioritizes streaming, offering a variety of location options to best support access to location-specific sites. Speed is also a priority for streaming VPNs.

How To Choose The Best VPN For Streaming

If you are seeking a streaming VPN, it’s important to understand the the elements that go into a great service. A VPN that is intended for something like business may not support the streaming results you need.

Choosing the best VPN for streaming requires evaluating the components that are most important for streaming: speed and location.

While some people simply want privacy, most users choose a streaming VPN to access platforms in other countries. Platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and Disney Plus are notorious for their geo-blocking. Effectively, if you don’t live in the United States, these platforms are either inaccessible or available solely in limited forms. 

Where to find a fast and secure streaming VPN.

Other streamers want to watch sports not aired in their home countries; for example, European League soccer can be hard to stream in North America.

Streaming also relies on speed. Streaming usually requires an excellent internet connection for efficient and quality streams, so a fast connection is a must. Some VPNs are faster than others, so choosing one without adequate support can lead to frustration and compromised functionality.

Not Everyone Needs A VPN For Streaming

As with all technology, it’s important to remember that choices are subjective. Not everyone will need a streaming VPN. For example, those living in the same geographic location as a desired streaming service may not benefit much by streaming through a VPN.

Further, which streaming VPN is best is also a personal decision. Even though there are VPNs that are ideal for streaming specifically, they’re not right for everyone. What works for one person may not be right for another. As such, it’s important to do your own homework versus relying on what friends or family think. Identify your own priorities first, and then use this as the basis of your evaluation process.

How To Compare Streaming VPNs

There are a few different priorities when it comes to streaming VPNs, and these should be the basis of any comparison.

  • Speed: Speed is a critical part of efficient VPN usage. As most streamers know, trying to stream anything over a slow connection can be immensely frustrating. Accordingly, any VPN chosen should support speeds that can facilitate streaming. When comparing the best VPNs for streaming, slow load times are a red flag. Be aware that after a certain point, speed becomes negligible, so don’t prioritize speed in excess of what is needed. This is particularly true when one VPN has additional strengths over the competition outside of speed capabilities.
  • Location: Location is a top priority when evaluating the best streaming VPNs. For those who want to stream across multiple platforms across varying countries, it’s important to have servers that tick every box. Also consider VPNs with multiple servers in the countries you prioritize. If one isn’t working properly or providing the right experience, having a backup can ease functionality issues.
  • Security: Security is always a feature of a good VPN, regardless of purpose. When the best comparing streaming VPNs, your choice should also include strong security protocols in addition to other factors. For example, some free VPNs are used to collect data unlawfully or can carry viruses, so steer clear of these options that can cause more problems than they solve.
  • Logs: Logs aren’t something many novice VPN users consider, but are an important part of choosing a VPN in general. The point of using a VPN is to enhance security while improving online activities, and extensive logs can interfere with this objective. While most VPNs keep some kind of records, VPNs that log things like traffic extensively can raise red flags about security practices. Some VPNs keep logs that are deleted every 24 hours, which can be an adequate compromise for some users. Whether or not using logs is okay can be personal choice based on individual privacy preferences.

Should You Get A VPN For Streaming?

Those who love to stream TV have likely considered a streaming VPN at one point or another. From accessing international sports to seeing shows not available locally, VPN use can expand streaming options greatly. However, there are always pros and cons to consider.

Why you should use a streaming VPN.

Pros

  • Access to geo-blocked or censored content. Arguably the most important factor for those considering VPNs, access to geo-blocked or censored content is a huge advantage. For those living in countries with strict streaming policies or who have limited streaming options, a VPN can circumvent this. For those in countries with great streaming options, streaming VPNs can still be effective in granting access to niche sports or productions in other areas. With options that span virtually every country, there’s a best streaming VPN option for everyone.

  • Stop targeted advertising. Targeted advertising can be an annoying issue for web users. The cookies left behind when visiting websites can be frustrating and distracting, leaving users to feel stalked or watched. VPNs can effectively stop this; with the encrypted nature of data transmissions, ads stop stalking you from site to site to site.

  • Protect your financial information. With a rise in cyber crime around the world, protecting information is more important than ever. VPNs can help offer this support, protecting financial information for transactions of all kinds. This is particularly important for streamers who have to sign up for sites that require a subscription, like Hulu or Disney+. With protected use, streamers can feel better about accessing sites around the world.

Cons

  • VPNs can violate terms of service. Sites like Netflix and Hulu can easily be accessed with the right VPNs, this doesn’t mean that all streaming platforms encourage this behavior. Using a VPN can violate the terms of service on some sites, make use illegitimate. If discovered, streaming platforms can suspend accounts, IP addresses, or credit cards, making your efforts worthless.
  • Challenges with effectiveness. While many VPNs offer access to servers around the worlds, finding those sophisticated enough for streaming sites can be a challenge. Not all VPNs can accommodate logging in to platforms like Hulu, so choosing any old VPN with fast speeds and server variety isn’t enough. Finding a VPN that meets your needs can take a lot of research, which can be frustrating for some users.
  • Problems with speed. Speed is absolutely paramount with the best streaming VPNs, but not all VPNs can keep up with demand. Inadequate VPN speeds can compromise streaming, rendering streaming sites largely useless. The struggles with both speed and access can make some users shy away from the process of using VPNs to stream.

How To Make The Most Of Your VPN

If you choose to move forward with a streaming VPN, there’s a lot you can do to maximize use. Streaming VPNs open the door to content of all types not available locally, expanding entertainment options greatly. Getting a streaming VPN for a favorite show or sports team is the primary motivation for most users, but there’s so much more that can be done with a great VPN. When you invest in a good product, making the most of it can enhance your overall experience.

Streaming Sports vs. Media Content

Streaming comes in two main forms: media content and sports. Streaming video is usually the most popular choice for streamers, but sports content can be equally compelling. Many sports are popular among those outside of a sport’s location – American basketball in Europe, for example – and can thus demand VPN access. Further, some sports, like gymnastics, have a small footprint and events may not be broadcast everywhere.

Those who invest in a streaming VPN for niche options, like regional sports, may wish to expand to other media as well. With so many options out there, sticking to one kind of content can limit the opportunities the best streaming VPNs can offer.

The Features You Need

Some VPNs are more than just a device to aid in streaming, offering additional capabilities that can improve overall use. Many people use VPNs for multiple reasons, and additional features can improve overall experience. When considering streaming VPNs, keep an eye out for these other valuable features:

  • Regular VPN platform updates to improve security and device compatibility
  • A logging policy that is clear and as non-intrusive as possible
  • Customer support with wide availability in case issues arise
  • SmartDNS capabilities
  • A network lock or kill switch that shuts down network access if VPN connectivity is interrupted to prevent against inadvertent unsafe connections
  • Split tunneling capabilities
  • A wide range of available servers across multiple locations
  • Strong and up-to-date encryption protocols that consistently evolve with the introduction of new technology
Find the VPN you should use to stream content

VPN Not Working? Try This

Sometimes, even the best VPNs have problems that can stand in the way of functionality. However, this doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon your VPN. There are a few troubleshooting options to try to improve your likelihood of effectively streaming.

  • Change servers. Sometimes, server errors arise. Changing servers can help mitigate this, allowing for better performance.
  • Change network ports. Most VPNs let users choose a network port to use. Changing can prevent system issues or ISP attempts to throttle bandwidth through a particular port.
  • Restart the VPN client. This can terminate a challenging connection and allow for a new one.
  • Reinstall the VPN client. Sometimes, the software you may have installed could be out of date or be experiencing other issues reinstalling can address.
  • Close programs you aren’t using or restart your computer. Sometimes, too many open windows and programs can slow down processing speed, affecting VPN performance.

Other Types Of VPN To Consider

The best streaming VPNs can make a big difference for those who love entertainment of all kinds, providing a way to tap into sports, movies, and shows from around the world. In addition to this, VPNs can offer amazing benefits in other areas of web usage, from business to gaming and torrenting. No matter what you are looking to gain from your online experiences, there’s a VPN right for everyone.

VPNs have changed web use for the better, making it easy to encrypt web transmissions and browse safely and securely. When you’re ready to find your perfect VPN, we’re ready to help. 

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