The best free VPNs are Windscribe and TunnelBear. The former gives you unlimited data and the latter offers a free 500MB of data every month. Alternatively, most VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you try the service for free.
- VPN for streaming. Enjoy the best speed & HD quality
- Which country offers the best Netflix library?
- How to use a VPN in 3 simple steps:
- 1. Get a VPN
- 2. Set up a VPN
- 3. Choose a server
- Why I need to use a VPN?
- Quality Concerns When Streaming Over a VPN
- How to Stream Securely Without Losing Your Speed
- The best VPN for streaming for 2022
- Best streaming VPN 2021
- What Can I Do If A Streaming Service Blocks My VPN?
- The Great VPN Crackdown of 2021
- Blocked, Open, and Limited
VPN for streaming. Enjoy the best speed & HD quality
Servers overload and slow down when they can’t handle the large number of people connecting. When it comes to streaming with a VPN, this can happen with the most popular entertainment providers such as the US.
Surfshark servers are at least 1 Gbps per connected port. When it comes to locations as hot as the US and UK, this number increases to 2x10Gps per server. Our engineers optimize servers depending on the number of people connecting to them.
By offering higher server bandwidth per user in popular locations, we avoid overcrowding our VPN servers. Users can enjoy low latency and minimal speed reduction.
Which country offers the best Netflix library?
Stream award-winning shows and movies safely no matter where you are.
At Surfshark, we took Netflix into our own hands. We’ve put together a comprehensive study of which countries have the best-rated, award-winning movies and TV shows in their Netflix libraries. You can see how your country compares to the rest of the world in terms of the best TV shows and the best movies!
Disclaimer: Surfshark does not encourage use of a VPN in any way that would potentially violate other providers’ Terms of Service.
Now, if you tend to use multiple devices at the same time (or just want to share your subscription with family members), you should consider getting a VPN that allows multiple simultaneous connections. Most of the time, you’ll get five, however, some VPNs (such as Surfshark) don’t limit the number of simultaneous connections at all.
How to use a VPN in 3 simple steps:
Learning to use a VPN will not require sitting in a lecture or reading a book. You don’t even have to be a computer genius. All setup can be done in minutes. If you go through this, you are almost ready for life.
Here’s how to get started with a VPN in just a few steps:
1. Get a VPN
If you want to learn how to use a VPN, the first (and most important) step is choosing the right VPN service. Compatibility with your device, functionality and speeds are some of the things you should consider. Our top recommendation is NordVPN as it easily ticks all the checkboxes for the best VPN service. Also, check out our list of the best VPNs available in 2022.
2. Set up a VPN
No matter what type of device you use, setting up a VPN should be a piece of cake. Typically, you’ll need to download the app, go through the installation process (which usually takes a few clicks), and log in to the app with your VPN account.
3. Choose a server
Which country would you like to connect to? Browse the list of regions available on your VPN and select the one you need.
Why I need to use a VPN?
Learning how to use a VPN can be extremely useful. Here are the most common reasons for getting this service:
- Internet security. If you are a freelancer or avid traveler, working at an airport or coffee shop can be part of your daily routine. However, in most cases, public Wi-Fi is unencrypted, making it a real treasure trove for cybercriminals who are lurking in order to steal personal data. By encrypting your data, a VPN will protect you from these threats.
- Unblocking websites. So Omegle has blocked your IP address or you just cannot access the usual social media platforms while you are working. Luckily, a VPN can help you deal with these problems by giving you a different IP address.
- Circumventing censorship. It’s no secret that countries like China, Russia, and Egypt have really strict internet censorship laws. This applies not only to their residents, but also to reporters and travelers. Thanks to obfuscated servers (and sometimes Shadowsocks proxies), some VPN services will be able to bypass this censorship.
- Viewing geo-blocked content. Have you ever been frustrated that your Netflix library is missing some movies or shows available in other regions of the world? Don’t worry – a VPN can just fix it. By entering an IP address from another country, you can trick Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube into thinking your traffic is coming from another country.
- Safe access to the dark and deep web. Contrary to popular belief, browsing the dark and deep web doesn’t make you a criminal. It simply means that you are accessing content not available in your popular browser. However, it’s still a bit of a risk, and using a VPN as an added layer of security reduces the risk of getting into trouble.
With WireGuard support, VyprVPN offers great speeds, which is an added bonus if you have a high-speed broadband connection (over around 100Mbps). For streaming, WireGuard is not a must-have feature as OpenVPN and IKEv2 do an excellent job of it.
Quality Concerns When Streaming Over a VPN
Both playing games and live streaming require a high-quality, low-latency, high-speed connection. So how does using a VPN for streaming affect performance? Some streamers find that they are losing speed over VPNs due to the extra connections needed to be routed through another server before connecting to their service. This can affect streaming quality, lower bitrate and stream resolution, and have a negative impact on gameplay. While it’s true that a VPN can add extra latency, there’s also some evidence that the service can improve performance by routing traffic over more reliable connections.
There is also the issue of ISP (Internet Service Provider) throttling. Since the amount of data streams sent to sites like Twitch, some ISPs limit bandwidth to and from them. With a VPN, your ISP has no way of knowing where your data goes or where it is coming from, and it cannot throttle traffic based on your website. This can significantly improve your connection speed, especially during peak hours when ISPs are more likely to throttle your bandwidth.
How to Stream Securely Without Losing Your Speed
There is a trade-off when it comes to speed. Some streamers choose the best of both worlds using split tunneling. Split tunneling allows specific applications and websites to bypass the VPN and use a direct internet connection. For example, the user can select a game connected directly to the game service and stream with a VPN, thus ensuring privacy on the stream. Split tunneling is available on some VPNs such as NordVPN (for Windows and Android) and ExpressVPN (for Mac users).
The answer is yes and no. The top livestreaming professionals on sites like Twitch take everything into account when looking for the best connection to both your game and streaming. Two of the biggest problems are speed and security. Finding the best combination of the two may prompt a streamer to use a direct connection, use a VPN, or use a split tunnel VPN to get the best of both worlds.
The relationship that has developed between major streaming sites and VPN privacy services over the past decade has been complex, a story full of twists to justify its own series on Netflix.
The best VPN for streaming for 2022
Watching your favorite shows and movies whenever you want is one of the greatest benefits of video streaming services. What’s not so great is when you can’t access these services because they are not available in your country or you are traveling in another country and your home services are blocked for you.
In some cases, even if you can watch in your home country, you won’t find the same list of shows and movies as in other countries.
The reason for all of this is the licensing rules. All streaming services use region locking to ensure that only people in certain countries can watch movies and TV shows. You cannot watch HBO Max or Hulu if you are in the UK for example, nor can you access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK.
But the good news is, you can bypass these blocks with a VPN. And that’s the main reason you are reading this now. Just remember that accessing any of these services from another country may violate their terms of service and you risk losing your account, so proceed at your own risk. With that said, we haven’t heard of someone canceling their account yet: these services want you to keep paying, so they only go for VPNs that bypass their locks.
The worst you’ll experience is that – sometimes – you may not be able to unblock, say, Disney + with your chosen VPN service. When that happens, use their tech support, which is usually available as 24/7 live chat, to find out how to fix the problem. Or just try to connect to a different server in the same country.
Another thing to look for when choosing a VPN specifically for unblocking streaming services is to check which VPN services it claims to unblock, and specifically the regions of Netflix you may want to use.
Beyond that, of course, a fast and reliable service is desirable, as is the availability of the app for devices you want to watch the video on, such as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and more.
Keep in mind that Xbox, PlayStation, and Apple TV don’t natively support VPN connections, so if you see an advertisement for the service that it works with these devices, it’s always a workaround for using a spare laptop or other device, and it’s certainly not a quick and convenient process.
If a VPN doesn’t seem like the right option for you, StreamLocator Hub is worth considering. Rather than connecting to different servers, this Hub designs its own Wi-Fi network to connect to and automatically bypasses geo-blocked content.
But for the low monthly price, a VPN is exactly what most people need to unblock streaming services. Here’s what we consider to be the best options for watching TV and movies online.
Best streaming VPN 2021
- Reliably unblocks popular streaming services
- great speeds
- Not the absolute cheapest VPN
- Limited to six simultaneous connections
- Best Price Today:
NordVPN is another great choice for streaming thanks to its great speeds and wide device support.
The service reliably unblocks Netflix in various regions, as well as many other streaming services, including the UK’s BBC iPlayer. Thanks to SmartPlay, you don’t have to think about choosing the right server: just select your country and the applications will choose the best server for streaming.
NordVPN’s apps are available for just about any device you may want to use for streaming (except those that don’t support VPN as mentioned), and there is 24/7 tech support if you need it.
Using the NordLynx protocol, based on WireGuard, Nord’s connection speeds are some of the fastest and the apps are very easy to use.
It’s not as cheap as Surfshark and has a limit of six devices using the service at the same time, but if those aren’t the problems (and they won’t be for many) then NordVPN is your best bet.
- Good unlocking
- Very affordable
- It does not list which services it unblocks
- Best Price Today:
Surfshark is a great choice for unblocking streaming services. It doesn’t do what many rivals do and doesn’t list the services it unblocks, but it has thousands of “streaming optimized” servers in 65 countries.
More importantly, we found it to reliably unblock video from various streaming services in our testing, and we had no issues with iPlayer when we tried to watch something.
It will also unblock 15 Netflix regions, including Japan, as well as Disney +, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and more.
The reason we ranked Surfshark above the others is because it is such a great price: it places no restrictions on the number of devices you can use, it supports WireGuard for very high speeds, and it has a great selection of apps including Amazon Fire TV.
Therefore, it is the best choice for most people: a two-year subscription is excellent value for money.
Read our full Surfshark review for more details.
- Unlocks a wide range of services
- Additional MediaStreamer service
- Expensive monthly prices
- Best Price Today:
If you judge a VPN based on the number of streaming services you unblock, ExpressVPN is the clear winner. It claims to not only unblock over 200 of them, but also actively monitors all of them and ensures that they are all working.
Of course, most people don’t subscribe to as many streaming services, so ExpressVPN really does the job with more obscure services that other VPNs won’t unblock.
You can use this VPN for as low as $ 3.71 a month. And if you suddenly feel the need to try a different VPN, you can take advantage of NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money Back Guarantee: 30 DAYS
- Netflix app
- Netflix browser
- Hulu app
- Hulu Browser
- HBO now
- BBC iPlayer
- Amazon Prime Video
ExpressVPN does a good job of unblocking online video streaming services, although it doesn’t openly advertise its capabilities. For this reason, it is not obvious which servers users should connect to. We won’t post them here as they sometimes change and we don’t want to draw undue attention to them. Instead, users will have to contact customer service to ask which servers to connect to in order to use which streaming service.
Thankfully, ExpressVPN has a live chat service on its website that rarely makes customers wait more than five minutes. They are professional staff who know the product well. They may ask you to prove you are a real customer, not a Netflix boost by asking for the email address you set up your account with and the last server you connected to. After passing the test, you’ll get a short list of servers that should bypass the firewall.
The apps are available on Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and some Wi-Fi routers. You can connect three devices at the same time.
- Access geo-restricted content from anywhere
- Blazing-fast server networks are great for HD streaming and fast downloads
- Military-grade encryption, security, and privacy throughout
- It operates over 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- The support is top notch, fast and competent
- Advanced setup for advanced users is a bit limited
- Cheaper options higher on this list
EASY UNLOCKING: ExpressVPN is fast and reliable. Unblocks all major streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Great privacy features and doesn’t keep any logs. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money Back Guarantee: 45 DAYS
- Netflix app
- Netflix browser
- Hulu app
- Hulu Browser
- HBO now
CyberGhost has recently stepped up its unblocking efforts to bring more streaming services to its users. Works with all tested sites. The app has a dedicated “Unblock Streaming” section where you can select a server according to the streaming service you are unblocking. Not all of the tests we tested are on this page, but we were able to unlock them nonetheless. For example, Hulu is not listed, but the Netflix server was able to unblock it anyway.
Everything looks fine for CyberGhost subscribers, but bear in mind that this is a fairly recent update so we’ll see if it lasts. Live chat support is available to customers on the website, but only during business hours. The ticket submission system replaces it outside working hours.
The apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV. You can connect up to seven devices at the same time.
- Unblocks most geo-restricted streaming content
- Some of the fastest streaming servers we’ve tested
- A kill switch in all apps and doesn’t keep any logs
- easy to use, choose an activity and connect to the most suitable server network
VALUE AND PRODUCTIVITY: CyberGhost is Great for Beginners Reliably streams HD video. It works well with Netflix, but not so well with other popular streaming services. 45-day money-back guarantee.
This means that while larger providers may still offer Hulu functionality, smaller providers can only afford to buy IP blocks for Netflix functionality as this is where most of their customer needs reside.
What Can I Do If A Streaming Service Blocks My VPN?
Please try again. Whether that means trying a different server in the same region in the same VPN service or using a brand new VPN service, unfortunately, no VPN provider has the ability to predict when the next one will be hit by the service’s IP blacklist streaming.
As we mentioned earlier, large vendors can afford the manpower and resources necessary to buy new IP blocks when the old ones go down and minimize downtime between waves of prohibitions. This means that if you want to guarantee the most consistent access, you should always go for a VPN provider that offers subscriber numbers in the hundreds of thousands or more (ExpressVPN, NordVPN, etc).
If you subscribe to a large provider and encounter a proxy error, we recommend trying a new server in the same region first, and if that doesn’t work, wait a day or two and try again before you leave and cancel your service completely. VPNs are blocked / unbanned on a daily basis, so what didn’t work today can be restarted and up and running in 24 hours or less if the provider tries hard.
Smaller VPN providers may find it difficult to buy new IP blocks once the old ones are blacklisted (if they are able to buy new addresses at all). This means that if you’ve been using a smaller VPN and run into a proxy error several days in a row with no sign of access on the horizon, that VPN may be gone for good.
Before canceling your service, please contact customer service and ask if there are any new IP blocking purchases on the horizon and see if they plan to restore access to your preferred streaming portal in the near future.
By limiting the high speed of the Internet, ISPs passively encourage their customers to switch to more expensive plans. Getting a VPN is an effective way to hide your internet traffic from your ISP and enjoy high-speed streaming anytime.
The Great VPN Crackdown of 2021
In the summer of 2021, news emerged that seemed to indicate Netflix was taking a tougher stance on VPNs accessing streaming content. I wanted to see how this works in practice, so I’ve compiled a list of 15 VPN products taken from an older version of this article, our list of the best VPNs overall, and our list of the best VPNs for Netflix access in the US.
To run these tests, I installed each of the VPNs one at a time and tried to access Netflix while connected to different servers. In these tests, I looked at VPN servers in the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the UK.
For each service, I have tried to make the best of all the unlocking tools that each company provides. I gave each country five attempts to load the content and each time tried a different IP address. Sometimes it meant moving to a different server in the same location, and other times it meant trying a completely different location in the same country. If a VPN provides servers specifically designed for streaming, I tried them the same way.
Not all VPNs will allow you to select specific servers or server locations outside of the country level, and others do not make it easy to manually change your IP address. Under these circumstances, I just hung up and then reconnected. Sometimes it will take you to a different server, but it’s not for sure. In each case, I tried to use as many unique IP addresses as possible.
Blocked, Open, and Limited
During my testing, I found that Netflix works in three different ways. The first state was as if I was normally interconnected within a given country. I was able to see all the content available in that region and successfully watch each of them. I called it Open. The second state was simple. Browsing the content generated an error message, usually related to using VPN or proxy servers. I called it blocked.
The third state was a kind of Netflix purgatory where I could only watch and stream a subset of movies and shows, most of which were tagged as Netflix originals. It’s as if Netflix recognized I was a paying customer, but wasn’t sure which region I was in, so it just presented the content available in each region. Although nothing was locked in this state, the possibilities were limited, so I called it Restricted. Note that in previous versions of this article, I referred to this status as “Netflix Originals”. However, a closer inspection revealed that some of the content available is internationally licensed by Netflix (such as the Uncut Gems movie), as well as shows and movies produced by Netflix itself (such as She-Ra and the Princesses of Power).
When comparing my results for 2020 and 2021, it’s worth noting that VPNs are rarely completely blocked now. Restricted Mode is much more common. While this is frustrating for people trying to access region-restricted content, I think it is an improvement for customers. Netflix seems to admit that it can’t stop people from using a VPN. Providing Restricted Mode allows VPN users to see something.
That said, it’s frustrating that customers who use a VPN to improve their privacy sometimes have to choose between security and their favorite shows.
I know from years of testing VPNs that using them often feels like working with a black box. You provide input, observe the results, and guess what happens in between. Testing a VPN and Netflix is like testing two black boxes at the same time. When I was doing these tests last year, I ran into surprising scenarios where it wasn’t always clear what was going on with Netflix. This time, I am relieved to find that the results were much simpler. That said, I still tried very hard to check and recheck my work whenever possible. Even so, there’s no way to avoid my results coming in without any specific knowledge of how Netflix works from the inside out.