Best VPN for Streaming 2021: Cutting Cables

If you’re an aspiring cord-cutter, you probably know that you can’t watch every show, everywhere. A VPN will let you bypass geoblocks that restrict certain shows from being available, and we’ll show you what the best VPN for streaming is.

Sandra PattisonAndrej Hadji-Vasilev
By Sandra Pattison (Editor) & Andrej Hadji-Vasilev (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-10-18T06:31:35+00:00

A lot of people are turning toward streaming services nowadays rather than using traditional cable television. The beauty of cord-cutting is that you can watch your favorite show at home or on the go. Geoblocks mean that not every show is available everywhere; to get past that, you’ll need one of our picks for the best VPN for streaming. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Using a good VPN for streaming allows you to access geo-restricted content on your favorite streaming services. 
  • ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming content and the excellent speeds guarantee a great streaming experience. 
  • NordVPN, CyberGhost and PIA are all more affordable VPN streaming solutions, but they come with certain compromises, such as not being able to access BBC iPlayer (PIA) or Hulu (CyberGhost). 
  • Windscribe is the best VPN that offers free servers, unlimited connections and decent speeds overall, but you’ll want a paid plan to access all VPN server locations. 

Virtual private network (VPN) software will secure your connection and keep you hidden from both surveillance and your internet service provider. That’s especially important if you prefer to use extralegal streaming counterparts. Take Kodi, for example. Although it’s not illegal to use the platform, the content that you can access is often copyrighted material made available through torrents.

When it comes to using a VPN, out of our list of the 10 best VPN services, we recommend that you use ExpressVPN. Keep reading to find out about the geo-restrictions of some popular streaming platforms, what you should look for in a VPN for streaming and which VPNs are the best for such a task.

  • 10/17/2021 Facts checked

    Updated list to reflect changes to VPN services.

  • No, a VPN won’t get you better streaming performance. However, it will allow you to access content that would otherwise be blocked due to your geographical location.

  • A VPN allows you to bypass limitations imposed by streaming services on which content is available where, and lets you watch your favorite shows regardless of where you are.

  • Yes, a good VPN is definitely worth it if you want to access the best TV streaming services, and ExpressVPN is our recommendation for the best streaming VPN.

  • Windscribe is the best streaming VPN for people who don’t want to spend any money, but it does come with certain limitations, such as a data cap and limited access to servers.

Top VPNs for Streaming

  1. 1
    • : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
    • : 5
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  2. 2
    • : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
    • : 6
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  3. 3
    • : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Paymentwall
    • : Unlimited
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  4. 4
    • : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
    • : 7
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  5. 5
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : 10
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How to Choose the Best VPN for Streaming

There are far too many VPN apps to choose from, and they all offer perks to entice you to choose them. Some give you unlimited simultaneous connections, others opt for unlimited internet traffic, and there are even some that come with a free version that’s great for streaming. That being said, the five options below are our favorite picks. 

  1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN service for streaming 
  2. NordVPN — Great alternative with respectable streaming speeds
  3. Windscribe — The best free VPN for streaming content
  4. CyberGhost — Affordable streaming VPN provider with decent performance
  5. Private Internet Access — Great streaming VPN with plenty of customization

When choosing a VPN for streaming, there are several things to look for. You need it to be fast so it doesn’t struggle with buffering and higher resolutions, you need it to have a high (or unlimited) data allowance and you want it to bypass geoblocks imposed by streaming services. 

The Top 5 VPNs That Unblock Streaming Services

Out of all the providers you have available, these are the top VPN services that do the best job when it comes to streaming and enjoying geoblocked shows and movies. All of them are great in one way or another, but some are definitely a better choice for a streaming VPN.

Here are a few services you might want to use with a VPN.

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video 
  • Hulu
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Sports streaming service providers

The VPNs we chose can unblock the following major streaming platforms.

VPN service:Unblocks NetflixUnblocks Amazon Prime VideoUnblocks BBC iPlayerUnblocks Hulu
ExpressVPN
NordVPN
WindscribeX
CyberGhostXX
Private Internet AccessX X

Let’s take a closer look at these top VPNs. 

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn windows client
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for gaming and streaming.

More details about ExpressVPN:

  • Pricing: $6.67 per month on the one-year plan
  • Provider website: expressvpn.com

Pros:

  • Best-in-class speeds
  • Gets into any streaming service
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Expensive

Unblocks:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • BBC iPlayer

ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market for many reasons, and its streaming ability is one of them. It has lightning-fast speeds, which is a major plus for loading and playing whatever flick you fancy in full HD or even 4K. Read our full ExpressVPN review to get a better idea of what it’s capable of.

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting cut off right as you’re about to find out “whodunit” in Sherlock, so you’ll be pleased to know that ExpressVPN comes with unlimited data and bandwidth. It also features up to five simultaneous connections, so you can stream as much as you want on multiple devices. 

Unblock All Major Streaming Services

ExpressVPN is also the leader when it comes to accessing streaming platforms because it can get into pretty much any service you throw at it. You might need to bounce around different servers to get into Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, but it has no issue accessing BBC iPlayer and Netflix, including most international Netflix libraries.

expressvpn get started
ExpressVPN doesn’t mind boasting that many consider it to be the industry-leading VPN service. 

That said, ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs available, but it’s well worth the money. If subscribing, you want to go for the yearly plan, which gets you a price of $6.67 per month, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind. However, this is our go-to streaming VPN, earning it the top spot.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn app
NordVPN has one of the most intuitive UIs we’ve seen on a VPN, letting you see where geographically you’re connected.

More details about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: $3.67 per month on the two-year plan
  • Provider website: nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Respectable streaming speed
  • No data limit
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds when using OpenVPN

Unblocks: 

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • BBC iPlayer

Another great streaming VPN choice is NordVPN, which is comparable to our first pick, as you can read in our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN throwdown. However, it misses out on the streaming VPN crown because of its long-distance speed dips when you’re using OpenVPN instead of their NordLynx protocol. 

There are no bandwidth limits, and NordVPN can get into all major streaming platforms, though you may need to play around with different servers to get the best performance. Its VPN server switch time is fast when using NordLynx, which is great for if you need to switch servers frequently because of speed or access issues. You can read more about our experience with it in our NordVPN review.

NordLynx Protocol Makes Streaming Video a Breeze

NordVPN makes use of NordLynx as its default protocol, and it’s a faster, more secure take on WireGuard. For streaming, the improved speeds when compared to OpenVPN are what should pique your interest, as they’ll allow you to enjoy your content without any buffering, even at higher resolutions. 

nordvpn cta
NordVPN does put a strong focus on security, and it’s no slouch in terms of speeds either — both things are prominent on its website. 

NordVPN’s price is wallet-friendly. Its monthly deal isn’t the best choice, but a two-year plan at $3.67 per month is much better. If you don’t feel ready to commit to such a long term, there’s a 30-day refund window you can fall back on for this excellent streaming VPN.

3. Windscribe

windscribe app
Windscribe knows its 10GB of data isn’t enough, so it gives you a quick link to get more data within its desktop app. 

More details about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: Free; $4.08 per month on the one-year plan
  • Provider website: windscribe.com 

Pros:

  • Dedicated streaming servers
  • Very easy to use
  • Very configurable

Cons:

  • 10GB data cap on the free plan
  • Only three-day refund period on the paid plan
  • Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer

Unblocks: 

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu

When you want to keep your VPN cost as low as possible, and don’t intend to watch full HD movies and shows too often, Windscribe should be right up your alley. This free VPN can get access to geoblocked content on major streaming websites with relative ease, and it’s as good a streaming VPN as any of the paid options. It’s also the best free VPN out there — you can find out more about it in our Windscribe review.

While accessing streaming websites and enjoying content isn’t a problem, you won’t be able to do too much of it — Windscribe comes with a 10GB data cap on its free plan. 

This isn’t much, and you can easily reach that if you aren’t careful, which is why it comes in third on our list of VPN services for streaming. That, and the fact that it failed to unblock BBC’s iPlayer (it worked with other streaming services though). 

Unlimited Simultaneous Connections for Streaming Media

One of Windscribe’s best features as a streaming VPN is that it puts no limit on the number of devices. Whether you opt for the free version or the paid plan, you can use the same account on as many devices as you’d like within your immediate family.

windscribe home page
Windscribe had a UI update a few months ago, and the (beautiful) new UI is prominently displayed on their website. 

The free plan, as we mentioned, comes with certain limitations. Besides the data cap, you can only access 10 locations (still generous for a free service). The paid plan eliminates those restrictions for just $4.08 per month if you pay for a year up front. We aren’t fans of the three-day refund period, though. 

Build a Plan
  • : Per “Pro” server location
  • : 10 GB
  • : Unlimited
  • :

4. CyberGhost

cyberghost ui us streaming
You’ll find a host of streaming-oriented servers in the CyberGhost app, but not all of them work as intended.

More details about CyberGhost:

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable VPN provider
  • Dedicated streaming servers
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Only good for Netflix & BBC iPlayer

Unblocks: 

  • Netflix
  • BBC iPlayer

Next on the list is CyberGhost, which is a great choice, even if it isn’t quite as good as our first three picks. Its speeds are decent, but unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, it only works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer rather than all major streaming services.

There’s no frustrating bandwidth or data limit, which is good. CyberGhost has a great interface that’s easy to use and a reasonable limit of seven simultaneous connections, and if you install it on your router, you can bypass that limit. You can find out more about it in our CyberGhost review.

Dedicated Servers for Streaming Media

While not exclusive to CyberGhost, the VPN provider has dedicated servers for streaming, which provide a slightly better experience if you need it for Netflix or BBC iPlayer. The dedicated streaming servers cover quite a few countries, so you’ll probably be able to find one that’s best for you. 

cyberghost cta
CyberGhost runs discount deals often, and you also get an unmatched 45-day money-back guarantee. 

CyberGhost’s monthly rate is pretty bad, but if you opt for a longer plan, you get one of the most affordable VPNs for streaming. At $2.25 per month on a two-year plan, it’s dirt cheap, and there’s also a 45-day money-back guarantee on the subscriptions.

5. Private Internet Access

pia streaming
Private Internet Access has a very simple UI, but you can expand it if you want more information at your disposal. 

More details about Private Internet Access:

Pros:

  • Very affordable pricing
  • Streaming-oriented servers
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with Hulu and BBC iPlayer

Unblocks:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video

Private Internet Access has many things going for it, but affordable pricing is its main forte. The download speeds are great and there is minimal latency, which makes this a great choice for streaming. You also get unlimited bandwidth.

PIA is able to access Netflix, as you can read in our Private Internet Access review. Many of PIA’s servers are located within the U.S., and it has no trouble accessing Amazon Prime Video. It doesn’t have much luck with Hulu and BBC iPlayer, though. Both services were able to detect the VPN, which is why it comes in fourth on our list.

Unparalleled Ease of Customization

Where PIA excels is the ease of customization. All the settings are explained with tooltips that allow even the least tech-savvy person to understand what they do (and how to set them up). This includes DNS server settings, port forwarding, kill switch options — you name it. If you’re a tinkerer, this means you’ll easily be able to get the best performance out of it by changing a few settings. 

pia cta
If you sign up for PIA, you can get their antivirus free (it usually costs extra, but it’s rather affordable).

Price-wise, while the monthly plan isn’t a very good value, the three-year plan makes PIA dirt cheap — it’s the most affordable VPN on this list if you want to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, at only $2.19 per month. There are some extras, too, such as antivirus and a dedicated IP address, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video & Others

Although you may not have realized it, all of these streaming services have regional restrictions in place. It’s often due to license and copyright agreements, but it means you won’t get the same content in every country that the service is available. 

Let’s take Netflix, for example. Much of its content is produced by other companies, and those companies get to say where it’s shown. If the company has a deal with another network, Netflix may be restricted from showing it in the same country. Some of Netflix’s own content is only viewable in certain countries too.

Other services are in the same boat, such as Amazon Prime Video (read our best VPN for Amazon Prime Video article), and some are completely restricted to a particular country. For example, Hulu is only available to the U.S. audience, and BBC iPlayer can only be used by U.K. residents (read our best VPN for BBC iPlayer and best VPN for Hulu guides). 

Whatever restriction you come across, a VPN can help you get around it. Netflix has an extra hurdle for you to jump through, though. The Netflix VPN ban has made it all the more difficult to get into. Thankfully, there are some VPNs that are up to the task, as you can read in our best VPN for Netflix piece.

How to Choose the Best Streaming VPN Service

Not all VPNs are created equal, and although some excel in usability and speed, that doesn’t necessarily make them the best for streaming. Some VPN services offer dedicated streaming servers but don’t actually perform well, as you can read in our Avast VPN review. The streaming VPN you choose should include the criteria below.

Streaming Service Unblocking

A top priority is making sure the VPN is capable of unblocking streaming services in the first place. If it can’t, then the only thing you’ll be watching is a lovely error message. All of the services we’ve picked have proven themselves in some way or another, though each differs when it comes to which services it unblocks. 

Speed

Speed is an important factor when it comes to streaming. The VPN needs to have good speeds in order for you to watch your favorite shows or movies without it buffering every time you get to a good bit. Though not all of our picks are the fastest VPN services, they’re still good enough for 4K streaming if you have a decent unprotected speed.

Bandwidth & Data

Another crucial factor is the bandwidth and data allowance. Most VPNs offer unlimited data, but there are some that limit you to a monthly allowance. If you hit the limit, the VPN will stop working. A VPN with no bandwidth limits will make sure your VPN connection is always the fastest it can be, even if multiple people are using the VPN.

Price

If you want a solid service with all the goodies included, you’re going to have to pay for it. Some of the best free VPNs aren’t bad, but they’re not the best performers when it comes to streaming. Prices vary, though, so you’ll need to make sure it fits your budget, along with all your streaming subscriptions.

Device Compatibility

Last but certainly not least, you should pick the VPN that has the best support for the devices you use. For example, if you stream primarily on Amazon Fire TV, make sure the VPN supports it. Apple TV user? Make sure the VPN you’ve chosen has an Apple TV app, or an app for the smart TV software you’re using. Most VPNs come with mobile apps, so that’s not a concern. 

Final Thoughts: Streaming VPNs

We hope we’ve opened your eyes to how differently VPNs can perform when it comes to streaming, especially when they have to break through geoblocks. Many VPNs are able to punch through the walls of one or two streaming platforms, but there are only a few that can access them all (and still have respectable speeds for streaming). 

With those being the main points, ExpressVPN is the best VPN service for streaming. For starters, it can get into all streaming services, including Netflix in lots of countries. In addition to that, it has ultra-fast speeds and includes unlimited bandwidth. The cost is higher than other VPNs, but you get a brilliant service, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on.

How did you get on using a VPN to stream your favorite streaming service? Let us know in the comment section below. We have other VPN articles that may help you out — while you’re here, check out our streaming articles and our entertainment library. As always, thanks for reading.