From ExpressVPN to Surfshark, these VPNs for streaming will let you unblock geo-restricted streaming services and content globally.
Virtual private networks (VPN) have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years due to promises of online privacy and the ability to access geo-restricted content like overseas Netflix libraries. If you want a secure way to access any streaming service, it’s one of the few methods that works.
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However, there are some key factors to consider before deciding the best VPN to use. Streaming requires fast servers, so most free tools are off the table. It also needs servers in the regions you wish to unblock content since most streaming services track your IP address to determine your location. With that in mind, we put the leading apps through their paces so you can choose the best streaming VPN for you.
Our top 8 streaming VPNs in 2023
ExpressVPN Best overall
Bypass geo-restrictions quickly and securely
With 4K streaming speeds and servers in over 90 countries, ExpressVPN is the natural pick for the best streaming VPN. Its easy-to-use app is also available on almost every platform, including Android TV and Fire TV.
- Multiple servers for many locations
- Consistently fast speeds at up to 10Gbps
- Flawless leak prevention
- No free trial
- No GPS spoofing on mobile
$12.95/mo at ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is a name we’ve all heard, and despite growing competition, its continued popularity is warranted. In 2023, its impressive server infrastructure now covers 94 countries and 160 cities. Many locations also have multiple servers. On the off chance you can’t connect, it takes two seconds to get another IP address in the same location. Rest assured, if there’s a streaming platform out there, ExpressVPN can unblock it.
Its fast VPN network runs between 1-10Gbps. You’ll have no trouble streaming in 4K, and there are no inherent bandwidth limits. Moreover, the app works on up to eight devices at once, allowing multiple household members to stream simultaneously.
Its split tunneling feature can exclude certain apps from the encrypted tunnel. For example, you might watch an overseas Netflix show with the VPN while allowing your online game access to your regular internet connection. The app works flawlessly and is available on desktop, mobile, Android TV, and Fire TV. If that doesn’t cover it, configuring a VPN router is possible.
To bypass geo-restrictions, one of the best things about ExpressVPN is its advanced leak prevention. It has ironclad tech to stop IP, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. Plus, the kill switch halts all internet traffic automatically if the VPN connection drops. Not even the strictest streaming platforms will find your real location.
It doesn’t have any extras like safe search or ad blocking, but such bundled VPN features tend to be less effective than your average antivirus and security suite.
ExpressVPN is $12.95 per month and has no free trial. However, you can make savings by committing to six months ($9.99 per month) or 12 months ($8.32 per month). Since it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, there aren’t data retention laws like the mainland U.K. This keeps your account data safe.
ExpressVPN is the top streaming pick unless Android mobile is your primary device. Then, you might consider Surfshark’s GPS spoofing feature.
NordVPN Best throttle prevention
Stops ISPs from detecting streaming traffic
NordVPN takes regular VPN encryption and gives it a boost with obfuscation and other specialized protocols. Unblock any geo-restricted streaming services with ease.
- Masks streaming traffic as regular HTTPS activity
- Lots of extra privacy features at no extra cost
- Native apps for desktop, mobile, Fire TV, and Android TV
- Six device limit
- Available in fewer countries than other picks
- Pricey monthly plan
$12.99/mo at NordVPN
If you have one of those annoying ISPs that likes to artificially slow down streaming speeds, NordVPN has an impressive way to prevent that by using obfuscated servers. While all VPNs encrypt the contents of traffic, NordVPN also hides the type of traffic. This means your ISP won’t know you’re using a VPN or if you’re streaming. It can’t throttle what it can’t detect.
That’s just one of the many excellent features it offers. You can set up to six simultaneous connections across Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android Smart TVs, and Fire TV. With over 5,000 servers in 60 countries, you’d be hard-pressed to find a streaming service it cannot unblock. It works for everything from Netflix to 6Play in France and TOD in Saudi Arabia. Simply locate the relevant country in the app, and it will auto-connect to the fastest server at that time.
For those in particularly restrictive countries, NordVPN also deserves praise for its Double VPN and Onion Over VPN features. The first routes your internet traffic through two different VPN servers, making it extra hard to track. The latter connects to the Tor network via a VPN connection, applying both forms of encryption at once.
You’ll also find a kill switch, split tunneling, and all the other features you’d expect from a leading VPN. Safe browsing and an ad blocker are welcome additions without paying any extra. The company is based in Panama, which is outside the jurisdiction of Five Eyes and other surveillance alliances, keeping your billing and any other data private.
NordVPN charges a pricey $12.99 for a standard monthly plan with no free trial. For a year upfront, it’s $59.88 ($4.99 per month), and $102.33 for two years ($3.79 per month).
Surfshark Best Android streaming VPN
Spoof your mobile GPS for foolproof location hiding
On Android, Surfshark matches your mobile GPS location with your new IP address to unblock the strictest streaming services. Choose from over 100 countries and 3,000 servers.
- Consistent 1Gbps server network
- GPS masking at its finest
- Dedicated IPs available
- Desktop app can be slow
- Free trial requires billing information
$12.95/mo at Surfshark
Based out of the data-private Netherlands, Surfshark is ideal for those who stream a lot on Android mobile devices. That’s because it spoofs your GPS location, not just the IP address. Of course, you could revoke the location permission from the streaming app, but for some that will stop it from working altogether. Matching your location service to the VPN server solves the problem instantly.
Buffering is also a thing of the past, thanks to Surfshark’s consistent 1Gbps server network. This easily lets you stream content in 4K wherever you’re trying to access it. That could be in one of over 100 countries, with 3,200 individual servers to choose from. The app will fetch the fastest option for your chosen location, but it’s always good to have the option to choose.
One often overlooked issue with VPNs is the constant rotation of IP addresses. While this helps to hide your activity, streaming sites sometimes see it as suspicious or bot-like. Surfshark solves this by offering multiple static IPs in hotbeds like the U.S. and U.K. Alternatively, you can pay for your own dedicated VPN IPs for your favorite streaming locations. You’ll want to consider this now Netflix has clamped down on multiple-location account sharing.
The Surfshark app supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Fire TV. An account costs $12.95 a month, $47.88 for a year upfront ($3.99 per month), or $59.76 for two years ($2.39 per month). While a 7-day free trial is available on iOS, macOS, and Android, it requires signing up to a 12-month plan. Extra features include an ad, cookie, and pop-up blocker without needing to pay for its security suite.
CyberGhost Best optimized server recommendations
Dedicated options for all the major streaming services
CyberGhost makes streaming easy with preset recommendations for all the big streaming platforms across the world. Alternatively, you can pick from over 9,000 individual servers, all fast enough for streaming.
- Servers dedicated to different streaming platforms
- 24-hour free desktop trial
- Advanced split tunneling
- Rare macOS bug may require re-installation
- No split tunneling on iOS
$12.99/mo at CyberGhost
CyberGhost stands out because its network is built for different activities. Want fast speeds for torrenting? Choose a torrenting server. Need to reduce gaming ping? Choose a gaming server. You’re also spoiled for choice for streaming. These cover the U.S., U.K., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and more. Just go to the streaming tab and find options like Servus TV in Austria or BBC iPlayer in the U.K. Even if the streaming service you want isn’t available, you can still connect to a regular server, and it will work 99% of the time.
You can get apps on desktop, including Linux. Android, iOS, Android TV, and Fire TV are supported too. However, Apple TV and other Smart TVs require configuring DNS settings. You get a rare no-commitment one-day free trial, but this is reserved for Windows or macOS.
CyberGhost maintains over 9,000 servers in 91 countries. You can also pay an extra fee for your own dedicated IP address in your chosen country. With a dedicated IP, as far as any streaming service is concerned, you’re logging in from home.
Furthermore, CyberGhost’s split tunneling feature supports apps and URLs, which is not always the case with other VPNs. The drawback is this isn’t available on the iOS app. Another somewhat useful feature is the ability to block known ads, trackers, and malware based on a DNS block list.
All apps work well, but a rare macOS bug can prevent the app from launching and requires completely removing CyberGhost and reinstalling it. Always make sure to use the latest version to stay ahead of any bugs.
CyberGhost costs $12.99 per month, $41.94 for six upfront ($6.99 per month), or $56.94 for two years ($2.19 per month). Based in Romania, it’s not an international surveillance jurisdiction.
IPVanish Unlimited devices for streaming
Make your IP vanish on as many devices as desired
With no bandwidth, user, or device limits, IPVanish lets everyone in the household and beyond stream their favorite content. Free trials are rare for VPNs, but you can try it on the iOS version for seven days without any restrictions.
- Genuine free trial on iOS
- Use on unlimited devices
- Covers 75 countries
- Dated user interface
- Based in the U.S.
$11.99/mo at IPVanish
Most VPNs limit the number of devices or simultaneous connections that can be made from a single account, but not IPVanish. Whether you have a large home network, want to set it up in the office, or are sharing with friends and family, it has zero user or bandwidth limits.
Granted, 15 people streaming in high definition on the same network would cause problems even without a VPN. However, it’s still nice to know you’re not going to get booted off because the kids have logged in.
It uses the WireGuard protocol, which is known for being both secure and fast, so tasks like streaming and gaming are not much different from using your regular connection. Furthermore, the app lets you select from 75 countries that cover all conceivable streaming channels. Just get the app for desktop, mobile, or Fire TV, and you can be up and streaming in minutes.
It’s also one of the few with a no credit card free trial if you download the iOS version of the app. Unfortunately, this trial does not extend to any of the other supported platforms. Other than that, it is a basic VPN with no bells and whistles. In fact, the interface could be described as dated.
As all VPNs should, IPVanish takes your privacy very seriously and has an independently verified no-logs policy. However, it’s based in the U.S., which means your billing info could be shared by court order.
It costs a respectable $11.99 per month, $53.88 for a year upfront ($4.49 per month), or $79.99 for two years ($3.33 per month).
Private Internet Access Largest number of servers
Benefit from 30,000 fast streaming VPN servers
Private Internet Access has one of the biggest VPN server networks on the market, making it fast and stable for streaming in 84 countries. Its obfuscated technology also prevents ISP throttling.
- Huge 10Gbps server network
- Custom DNS support
- Affordable pricing plans
- No split tunneling on iOS
- Lacks Fire TV app
- Based in the U.S.
$11.95/mo at PIA VPN
A VPN provider dedicated to expanding its server network cannot be ignored. Private Internet Access (PIA) now has a backbone of 30,000 individual servers, which is just what we’re looking for when streaming is the goal. Its app selection includes PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, but it lacks native solutions for Fire TV or any free trials.
To ensure a buffer-free experience, it connects users to the fastest server at any given time from its 10Gbps network. Meanwhile, obfuscation ensures your ISP can’t detect or throttle streaming traffic. All you have to do is select the country, and the PIA VPN app does the rest. For the U.S., you can also select the state and city, which is particularly useful for bypassing regional sports blackouts.
In some cases, the DNS used by your ISP can be exposed when you’re using a VPN and cause streaming to fail. As well as preventing DNS leaks, PIA also lets you use your own custom DNS, which can improve speeds. For example, it’s common to use Google’s public DNS.
PIA costs a fair $11.95 per month, $39.95 for a year upfront ($3.33 per month), or $79 for three years ($2.03 per month). Any extras like its antivirus feature require an entirely different plan and may not be worth it if you already have a reputable antivirus program.
Mullvad Best value
Affordability and anonymity with excellent streaming support
Mullvad is the budget pick with premium features. It supports streaming up to 4K and your data is so private, you don’t even have to give a name or email address.
- Purchase completely anonymously
- Half the price of most VPNs
- Up to 10Gbps servers
- Fewer countries and servers than most
- Only a five-device limit
- No Fire TV support
$5/mo at Mullvad
When it comes to a good premium VPN for streaming, you can usually expect to spend almost $13 for a monthly plan, with discounts if you commit to a year or so upfront. However, Sweden-based Mullvad comes out swinging with an excellent 5 euros ($5.43) flat monthly plan.
It isn’t lacking in key features either. You get split tunneling, double VPN, and an automatic kill switch. Its user-friendly app can be downloaded on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, with a five-device limit. Unfortunately, Fire TV isn’t supported. There are also no additional tracker blocking or antivirus features.
The servers are between 1-10Gbps, which is perfect for streaming up to 4K. Unlike other VPNs, the official site lists all 655 of them, their speeds, and online status, which is helpful. While it supports fewer countries than some (currently 43), these still span every continent. Therefore, all major streaming sites and services can be unblocked.
Mullvad is an almost completely anonymous service, requiring only an account number when registering. At no point do you need to provide a name, email, or phone number, and you can purchase a plan with cryptocurrency.
ProtonVPN Best free streaming VPN
Unlimited bandwidth and streaming support for free
A usable streaming VPN is rare for free, but there is one catch when using the free ProtonVPN app. It only has servers in the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands.
- Genuine free-forever plan
- 3,000 servers on premium plan
- Based in Switzerland for data protection
- Not the fastest
- Uses IP instead of URL split tunneling
- Only servers in three countries
Optional $12/mo at ProtonVPN
For those on a budget, ProtonVPN offers a free-forever VPN plan with unlimited bandwidth and a 1Gbps network, which is fast enough to support streaming, but real-world performance varies. Its main drawback is you can only change your IP to the Netherlands, Japan, or the U.S.
That’s ideal if you are based in Europe or elsewhere and want to access one of the popular U.S. streaming services. However, for those located in the U.S., you’ll only want the free version if you don’t stream geo-restricted content and only want a VPN for its encryption.
ProtonVPN has the distinction of being headquartered in Switzerland, which puts it outside the legal jurisdictions of the U.S. and Europe. In other words, your data, which it claims not to collect, cannot be seized. If you want absolute anonymity, it also offers the Tor over VPN protocol. However, because it takes time to route traffic through many different nodes, it’s more for browsing than streaming.
Get it on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Android TV, but not Fire TV. Upgrading to a premium plan (€11.49 or $12.40) introduces 69 countries and 3,000 servers, so it’s no slouch compared to the other premium providers.
Just note that it’s not the fastest, and you won’t want multiple users streaming at the same time. It also has a convoluted IP-based split tunneling method rather than just entering URLs in a white or blacklist.
Final words on the best streaming VPNs
There’s certainly no shortage of VPNs out there in 2023. The best streaming VPN for you may depend on your unique requirements, such as needing unlimited devices or a budget option like Mullvad. If your main streaming device is Android mobile, for example, Surfshark has its useful GPS spoofing feature.
However, overall, you can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN for streaming and unblocking regional content. It’s more than affordable if you commit to a longer billing period, it covers all the countries imaginable, and it consistently passes leak prevention tests.
ExpressVPN Best overall
With a VPN infrastructure of up to 10Gbps and the ability to unblock all conceivable streaming services, ExpressVPN is the go-to streaming VPN in 2023.
$12.95/mo at ExpressVPN