Bypass Geoblocking

Best VPNs for Streaming 2022: Comparing 22 Providers

Martin Gschwentner
Author
Last update

Netflix was just the beginning; video streaming is growing in popularity, and the number of services offering it seems to increase from year to year. To keep up with all the series and movies that everyone is talking about, as well as pop culture, you'll need more and more accounts.

However, because streaming services' content libraries vary from country to country, this can be complicated. For example, a movie that's available on Netflix in the US might only be available on Acorn TV in the UK or limited to a local media library. You can forget about these regional differences if using a VPN, since they make it possible to access otherwise geo-blocked content from anywhere.

Why Stream With a VPN?

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and others don't acquire global rights for movies and series. Rather, licensing agreements are made country by country, explaining why the content that is available varies based on the viewers' location. So, for example, if you're reading about an interesting Netflix series on an American site, you may not find it in the UK's Netflix catalog. Connecting with a VPN changes that, making it possible to watch that show or movie as if you were in the US.

A VPN doesn't just mask your identity on the internet; thanks to its globally-distributed servers, it also provides users with an IP address from a country of their choosing. Therefore, if you (physically in the UK) connect to a VPN server in the US and then access Netflix, the US catalog will be displayed.

However, not every VPN service is suitable for streaming. The truth is, using a VPN to stream otherwise geo-blocked content from abroad is something of a legal gray area (more on this later), and streaming services do exert some effort in preventing users from bypassing region restrictions.

We assessed 22 VPN providers, comparing how they fared in terms of accessing streaming content from abroad. Due to the massive list of available streaming services, we limited our review to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and the BBC's iPlayer.

Below, we'll briefly introduce you to our Top 5 VPN providers for video streaming:

The Best VPNs for Streaming

1.

NordVPN

Best Overall 2022
NordVPN Test
NordVPN
(655,084)
5400+ servers, 60 countries
Excellent performance
No logs
6 devices simultaneously
Inexpensive 2-year package
NordVPN combines speed, user-friendliness and functionality into a coherent overall package that is also fairly affordable.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
$3.29
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.7 / 5
excellent

NordVPN secured first place in our review. The Panama-based VPN delivers a well-rounded package at a fair price. Their elegant, user-friendly app comes with all the most important VPN features, including split tunneling and specialized servers. When streaming, it's also important that VPNs offer fast connections, and with NordVPN, you won't have anything to worry about, since it came out on top in our speed ranking.

During our review, we were able to effortlessly stream content from abroad with NordVPN. And thanks to its top-notch performance, the service didn't stall once—even when accessing servers in the US.

Bypasses restrictions on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services

First place overall in EXPERTE.com's comparison

Fastest VPN in our speed ranking

Limited protocol options

Review
4.7 / 5
04/2021
excellent
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Installation and Features
4.7 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.7 / 5
Server Network
4.3 / 5
2.

Surfshark

Surfshark VPN Test
Surfshark VPN
(99,770)
3200+ servers in 65 countries
Unlimited number of devices
Many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
Saves no logs
Very cheap on the 24-month plan
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but besides the price also impresses with strong protection, many features and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
$2.49
monthly price
Visit Website »
Get 83% Discount
Review
4.4 / 5
good

Surfshark is one of the most affordable and most reliable VPN services on the market. Their 3-year contract costs less per month than NordVPN's lowest-priced monthly rate (and is around 1/3 the cost of ExpressVPN's most competitive monthly fees). When it comes to speed and features, Surfshark is almost on par with the competition.

Fast connections help when streaming video content from abroad, as does being able to access all streaming platforms. Surfshark excelled in both of these areas, making it a practical choice for anyone interested in watching geo-blocked programming on Netflix and the like.

Bypasses region restrictions for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services

Affordably priced

Excellent speeds

Server network could be larger

Review
4.4 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Installation and Features
4.7 / 5
Customer Support
4.3 / 5
Server Network
4.0 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.0 / 5
3.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Test
ExpressVPN
(505,256)
3000+ Server
160 cities in 94 countries
Excellent performance
Saves no logs
30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN impresses with strong performance, a huge server network and excellently designed applications, but this quality also comes at a higher price.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
3
Protocols
7
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
ExpressVPN 12 Months
$8.33
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.7 / 5
excellent

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market. To see how exactly it measures up to our overall best-in-show, NordVPN, be sure to check out our head-to-head comparison of the two providers. Although the two services are similar in many respects, in terms of price, they differ greatly: ExpressVPN's most affordable monthly rate is more than twice as expensive as that of NordVPN.

That being said, ExpressVPN did score points for fast speeds and its expansive network of servers. They also didn't disappoint in terms of video streaming; we were able to access content from abroad with every service we tried it on.

Bypasses region restrictions on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services

Great performance

Intuitive app

Comparatively expensive

Review
4.7 / 5
04/2021
excellent
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Server Network
4.7 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.7 / 5
Installation and Features
4.3 / 5
4.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Test
ProtonVPN
(68,360)
Strong focus on security
1200+ servers in 55 countries
Headquarters in Switzerland
Solid performance
Open Source & external audits
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
ProtonVPN Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.3 / 5
good

When it comes to free VPN services, our first choice is ProtonVPN. You won't need to worry about any data or speed limitations, however, it isn't possible to stream video content from abroad with ProtonVPN's free version. With their Premium plan, however, we were able to unlock all services assessed in our review.

ProtonVPN also scored points with us for its transparent open-source philosophy, user-friendly app, and extra security features.

Bypasses region restrictions on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services

Open-source and verified as secure by external audits

User-friendly applications

Few support options

Review
4.3 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Installation and Features
5.0 / 5
Security and Privacy
5.0 / 5
Performance
4.3 / 5
Customer Support
3.7 / 5
Server Network
3.7 / 5
5.

hide.me

hide.me VPN Test
hide.me VPN
(23,248)
1900+ servers
75+ locations in 47+ countries
Saves no logs
14-day money-back guarantee
with free plan
Data volume
10 - ∞
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
7
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
hide.me Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.2 / 5
good

Hide.me scored at least "good" in all of our assessment categories. We found its user-friendly app particularly impressive owing to its numerous features and settings. They also emerged in the upper third of our speed ranking, taking a respectable 7th place. Unfortunately, we did experience occasional disconnections during our review. In addition, the provider last submitted to an independent security audit in 2015—a more current audit would certainly be desirable.

During our review, we were able to access content from abroad on every steaming service we tried with hide.me.

Bypasses region restrictions on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services.

Good speeds

User-friendly applications with plenty of features and settings

Occasional disconnections

No independent audit since 2015

Review
4.2 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Bedienung & Features
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.3 / 5
Performance
4.0 / 5
Server Network
4.0 / 5
Sicherheit & Privatsphäre
3.7 / 5

Alternatives

Ten of the 22 providers in our VPN review were able to bypass geoblocking on all four streaming services. Apart from our Top 5 listed above, these were:

Windscribe VPN Test
Windscribe VPN
(118,936)
500+ servers in 60+ countries
Free version with 10 GB limit
Connect unlimited devices
Good for video streaming
Headquarters in Canada
Data volume
10 - ∞
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
2
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Windscribe Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
Download for free
Review
3.9 / 5
good
VyprVPN Test
VyprVPN
(76,324)
700+ servers in 70 countries
Saves no logs (Audited)
Company location in Switzerland
Premium: own VPN protocol
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
6
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
VyprVPN 12 months
$8.33
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
3.8 / 5
good
Hotspot Shield VPN Test
Hotspot Shield VPN
(1,684,599)
3200+ Server
70+ countries
Offers free plan
Below-average performance
Headquarters in the USA
Data volume
0.5 - ∞
Devices
1 - 25
Protocols
5
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Hotspot Shield Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
Review
3.7 / 5
good
VPN Unlimited Test
VPN Unlimited
(53,572)
500+ servers in 50 countries
Static IPs available
Offers lifetime plan
Few features
Data protection questions
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
6
Contract Period
0 - 36 months
VPN Unlimited 3 Years
$2.78
monthly price
Visit Website »
Review
3.7 / 5
good
PrivateVPN Test
PrivateVPN
(9,621)
Good Performance
Simple user interface
Well suited for streaming
Only 100 servers
No external audit
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 36 months
PrivateVPN 36 months
$2.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
Review
3.6 / 5
good

How Does Streaming via VPN Work?

Once you've chosen a VPN provider, using it to access streaming content from abroad is a breeze.

1. Install the VPN's client or app on your device and launch the program.

2. From the server list, select the country in which you want to access streaming content and connect to a server there.

Select a server in the country which you want to stream content from.

3. Once connected, visit the streaming service of your choice. If you were already on the website before you established the VPN connection, you'll need to reload the page.

With a VPN, you can access series or movies that aren't available in your location's Netflix catalog.

4. You can now browse the selected country's streaming catalog.

Things To Remember When Using a VPN for Streaming

For a VPN to facilitate streaming content from abroad, pay attention to the following:

Supported Streaming Services

Not every VPN supports bypassing geo-blocked streaming video content, and not every streaming-enabled VPN facilitates access to all services. Therefore, make sure that the VPN you choose is suitable for the streaming services that matter most to you.

We tested all providers for their ability to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and the BBC's iPlayer in specific regions. In separate articles, we've listed the best VPNs for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

The table below shows which VPN services from our review worked with each streaming service. Please note, however, that the information below is only a snapshot—a VPN's streaming capability is not set in stone.

ProviderNetflix (USA)Amazon Prime Video (USA)Disney+ (USA)BBC iPlayer (UK)

Avast

Avira

Cyberghost

ExpressVPN

hide.me

HideMyAss

Hotspot Shield

IPVanish

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

Mullvad

NordVPN

Perfect Privacy

Private Internet Access

PrivateVPN

ProtonVPN

PureVPN

Surfshark

TorGuard

TunnelBear

VyprVPN

Windscribe

ZenMate

Performance

While video streaming isn't very demanding, it still requires a stable Internet connection. Poor quality or constant buffering can instantly spoil any viewing experience. You can find out which VPN services offer the fastest and most reliable connections in EXPERTE.com's VPN speed ranking.

Server Infrastructure

In order to watch movies and series from another country, you'll need to log in to them with an IP address from that country. Therefore, it's important that your chosen VPN has streaming servers in the country where your favorite content is located. Most VPNs have good coverage of Europe, North America, and parts of Asia.

Is It Possible to Stream With Free VPNs?

No. We aren't aware of any free VPNs that allow users to reliably access content from abroad on major platforms. Even "freemium" VPN services, which are streaming-capable, usually don't offer this in their free versions.

Of course, on occasion, it may be possible to access some streaming services with a free VPN, however, reliable video streaming via VPN requires a paid subscription.

Is It Legal to Stream With a VPN?

Streaming video content with a VPN is not illegal. Even though you're not breaking any laws, the truth is, that you're operating in a bit of a gray area. This is because by circumventing region restrictions, you're violating the streaming platform's terms of service. As a result, your account could be blocked if they discover you're using a VPN, however, this is unlikely and we aren't aware of any related account closures or suspensions.

In short, you don't have to fear any legal consequences when streaming via VPN.

Conclusion

VPNs help get the most out of any streaming services that you already pay for. Netflix and others offer different movies and series from country to country. Using a VPN to change your virtual location makes it possible to access a huge selection of new content with the tap or click of a button. While you'll likely be violating the platform's terms of service, you don't have to fear any legal consequences.

That being said, not all VPNs are streaming-capable, and not all streaming-capable VPNs manage to bypass every services' region restrictions. Our Top 5 VPN services made content from abroad available on some of the major streaming services. Just remember to find out whether your favorite service is currently supported before signing a contract.

We assessed the streaming capabilities, as well as a host of other factors, of 22 provides in our comprehensive EXPERTE.com VPN review.

FAQs

Which VPNs are meant for streaming?
It depends on which streaming services you use. NordVPN is our top pick for streaming, and also the winner of our EXPERTE.com review. With it, you can access content from abroad on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and the BBC's iPlayer without difficulty. ExpressVPN and Surfshark are also reliable streaming companions.

Why use a VPN for streaming?
The kinds of content available for streaming varies by location because the rights for movies and series are acquired on a per-country basis. With a VPN, you can borrow a foreign IP address and access Netflix's and other streaming providers' content otherwise unavailable wherever you might be.

How do you watch Netflix with a VPN?
Simply install a VPN program such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Surfshark, and connect to a server in the country with the content you'd like to access.

Can you stream with NordVPN?
Yes. During our EXPERTE.com review, we confirmed that NordVPN is capable of accessing content from abroad on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
Translator & Editor: Lisa Torelli-Sauer
Other languages:
Deutsch Italiano Français