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VPNs for Streaming Movies 2021: Each Tried and Tested

Last updated: January 11, 2021 By Dean Chester

VPN for streaming

Removing geo-restrictions from streaming sites is easy. It is enough to use a good VPN and use it to connect to the desired country. In this article, you will find 10 of the best streaming VPNs that I have tested many times and got a lot of positive user reviews.

 Table of contents:

To unblock streaming sites, you need to install a VPN. You can do this on almost any device, even on a TV if it supports it. Also, you can configure a VPN for the entire home network at once, and all devices connected to it will be able to seamlessly unblock previously unavailable content of streaming platforms.

Rating of the best VPN services for streaming

However, not all VPN providers support streaming movies. Most often, popular online video content broadcasting services use protection against anonymizers, which include Virtual Private Networks.

 
Best VPNs for streaming:
  1. ExpressVPN The most efficient and powerful service. Has a truly unblemished reputation that is confirmed in numerous trials.
  2. NordVPN Low-cost service with ultra-fast connection support. Suitable for all devices, including TVs and routers. Has many positive reviews.
  3. Surfshark The cheapest streaming VPN. At the same time, it is practically not inferior to the leaders in the number of supported sites.
  4. CyberGhost A service with dedicated servers. Stably supports a limited list of streaming platforms. There are drawbacks when working on weak devices.
  5. PIA Interesting in that it supports networks in which other services don’t work. Doesn't support some streaming sites.

⚠️Use only verified VPNs to unblock streaming sites. This is an effective way to bypass geo-restrictions, which will save your account from being blocked if the streaming platform strictly prohibits anonymizers.

Anyone can install a VPN. I will describe step by step how to install a streaming VPN.

You can also learn more about using VPNs on the most popular streaming platforms by following the links in the list below.

 
Streaming HUB (articles):
  1. Netflix VPNs Effective ways to break the restrictions of the largest online streaming platform.
  2. VPNs for Amazon Prime Video How to access any content from the Amazon video service.
  3. Hulu VPNs Access Hulu content from anywhere in the world.
  4. VPN services for BBC iPlayer Unblock TV shows and movies from the most famous English operator.
  5. VPNs for online services HBO How to watch HBO Max / Go outside of the United States.
  6. Pandora VPNs How to listen to music and podcasts anywhere in the world.
  7. Spotify VPNs Streaming audio without geo-restrictions and blocking.

The main problem with modern streaming sites is that they broadcast different content for different regions. Often, new items also appear at different times. With a VPN, we get the “superpower” of moving around the world from the comfort of our couch. This opens up access to any content of interest. A few clicks are enough to simulate almost any country in the world without the use of hacking techniques.


Installing a VPN for streaming step by step

In order to unblock streaming platforms, you need to install an app on your VPN device.

In some cases, it is more convenient to use the VPN directly on a WiFi router. You can learn more about this in a separate article.

Use our guide to install streaming VPNs correctly and quickly.

1. Select a VPN service

There are about 300 VPNs, but only 20-30 of them are suitable for streaming services. And only a few of them really steadily bypass geo-restrictions and protection without reducing video quality.

Choose any service listed in this article. All of them have passed the test of time, dozens of tests, and have positive user reviews.

The best VPN in existence today is ExpressVPN. NordVPN and Surfshark are also very similar in performance.

2. Register on the service’s website

Any streaming VPN has a registration page. This is required for the app to work. Communication with a special server on the Internet through which encrypted traffic will go requires authentication.

To register, as a rule, you need to choose a tariff plan. But don't worry, all the listed services will refund your money if something goes wrong.

3. Download and install the app

The software you need to install to unblock streaming platforms is completely safe and legal. You can also set up a VPN connection in the device settings. In 2021, all smartphones and computers have this option.

I recommend using the app where possible. This isn’t only more convenient but also creates a more stable and secure connection with additional features that increases stability and protection.

4. Select the desired location and activate the connection

As a rule, apps offer by default to connect to a VPN server in the nearest country. But for streaming, you need to select the country whose content you want to unblock.

For example, if you want to watch the news on BBC iPlayer, then you need to select the UK. If Hulu, then the US. Netflix is ​​available for many countries, so which country you choose depends on your preference.

Turn on the VPN connection.

In all high-quality apps I know of, the power button is in the most prominent place.

After connecting, you will be automatically "transferred" to the selected country. From this point on, streaming sites will see your new IP address, and your real location is impossible to find out.


Bypassing geo-restrictions on computers and smartphones

Streaming without restrictions on the main OSs (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux) can be accomplished in the easiest and fastest way to by installing additional software provided by VPN services.

There are two options for unblocking streaming services on computers and smartphones:

  1. Installing a full-fledged VPN app (universal)
  2. Installing a proxy add-on for streaming (desktops only)

Let's take a closer look at both of these methods. They are both equally effective, but you need to consider how you watch video content on your devices.

Learn more about VPN apps

VPN app appearance for streaming

Pros:
  • Protection of all apps on the device
  • Advanced features
  • Convenient connection management
  • High reliability
  • Suitable for desktops and mobile platforms
Cons:
  • Somewhat heavy load on the processor (there are exceptions)

More about VPN add-ons

VPN add-on appearance for streaming

If you are watching Netflix, Hulu, HBO, iPlayer, or any other service on a Windows or Mac desktop or laptop, you can use a dedicated web browser add-on.

Most good VPNs nowadays offer add-ons for Google Chrome and Firefox. You can also find add-ons for Opera.

Their main feature is work “inside” a web browser. No need to install additional software. It is enough to connect to the required country in the add-on and launch the streaming site.

The simplest and most effective VPN add-on for streaming is made by NordVPN.

Pros:
  • Integration into a web browser
  • Minimum CPU load
  • Instant connect / disconnect
Cons:
  • Support only for desktop browsers
  • Changes the IP address only in the web browser

VPN for streaming movies on TV platforms

More and more often, viewers are choosing modern platforms for comfortable viewing of their favourite movies on the big screen.

But no matter how strong a TV is, it's not a computer. Can you unblock streaming platforms on TV?

Answer: Yes!

Moreover, there are three ways to do it at once:

  1. VPN app
  2. Smart DNS
  3. VPN router

Only the third method is completely universal, but it has significant drawbacks.

The choice between the first two methods depends on the type of your Smart TV.

1. VPN App

If you are lucky and have an Android TV, Firestick (Fire TV), or Apple TV, then you can install a full-fledged VPN app on them just like on a computer or smartphone.

To do this, you just need to go to the store of your platform and download the app of your VPN service.

All VPNs presented in this article are suitable for installation on a TV or a set-top box based on the listed platforms.

Further use is similar to that described in the previous section - select the desired location and connect. After that, you can launch the app of your streaming operator and watch the video content of the selected country.

Pros:
  • The easiest way
  • Easy to change the region, turn on and off
Cons:
  • Not supported on all modern TVs

2. Smart DNS

Some VPN providers offer a special technology with which you can change the viewing region on devices that can access the Internet, but which cannot be installed with a VPN app.

This technology is called Smart DNS. To use it, you need, as in the case of the app, to register on the VPN site. After that, you need to configure the connection following the instructions. You can read more about how to do this in my article VPNs for Smart TV.

Pros:
  • Supported on most Smart TV platforms
  • Doesn’t load the system
Cons:
  • Complex customization
  • May interfere with viewing other content
  • Not 100% effective

3. VPN router

There is a way to do unlimited streaming on all devices in one Wi-Fi network at once. To do this, you need to install a VPN on your router.

Most router models support configuring PPTP or OpenVPN tunnelling protocols. This is quite enough to unblock video content on all devices in a few minutes.

Setting up streaming VPN on the router.

  1. Register on the site of a VPN service that provides settings for routers (presented below).
  2. Get the configuration for your router model, taking into account the required region.
  3. Register the settings via the web panel of the router.

Now the traffic of all devices will go through the VPN server of the selected country.

Pros:
  • The most versatile way
  • Suitable for the TV without VPN installation
Cons:
  • The speed is highly dependent on the power of the router
  • More suitable for advanced users
  • Difficult to change countries

Best tested VPN services for streaming

The best VPN service for streaming for any country has five main characteristics:

  1. Using technologies to bypass geo-restrictions and VPN blocking. The main problem when choosing a service is that most existing VPNs cannot bypass the protection of streaming platforms. You need to use a service that pays enough attention to this issue and resists blocking.
  2. Has servers in over 30-50 countries. Most often, the number of supported locations also speaks about the provider's equipment level. The more countries you have, the stronger and effective the VPN is.
  3. Support for all OSs and platforms. The VPN app or configuration must be available for any device that can broadcast streaming channels.
  4. Stable speed over 25-30Mbps. It is very important that the service distributes the load evenly and doesn’t allow the speed to drop below the required minimum. Testing has revealed many speed stability issues with many VPNs. 
  5. Operational work of technical specialists. With HD streaming, it often happens that an unexpected situation arises. For example, your dedicated IP address has stopped unblocking access. In this case, only the support service can help. Therefore, you can ask any question any time from any part of the world. That’s really important.

Since 2016, I've been testing all the best VPNs for streaming movies several times a year. I present to you a list of Top 5 services with which you can unblock the content of any site for any region.

Comparison of the main VPN characteristics of the best services

Service Ranking
(out of 10)
Speed, Mbps Supported
services
Price
(monthly)
ExpressVPN 10 >100 All $6.67-12.95
NordVPN 10 >60 All $3.49-11.95
Surfshark 10 >60 All $2.21-12.95
CyberGhost 8 >40 Netflix
BBC iPlayer
Spotify
$2.75-12.99
PIA 5 >20 Amazon Prime
Spotify
Pandora
$2.69-9.95

1. ExpressVPN for streaming

ExpressVPN and streaming

Overview

ExpressVPN is the best in testing on 7 different streaming platforms. It showed the best speed, connection stability, and, most importantly, it bypassed any site restrictions in 10 out of 10 cases.

I love its knowledge base, which has detailed instructions with videos on how to set up any device. This makes ExpressVPN the perfect choice for newbies.

At the same time, the service has strong advanced features for flexible work settings, which makes it also an excellent choice for experienced users. 

Supported streaming sites

Streaming Service Permission Number of regions
Netflix Ultra HD all
Hulu Ultra HD US
HBO Max/Go Ultra HD US
Amazon Prime Video Ultra HD all
BBC iPlayer Ultra HD UK
Pandora Hi-Fi US
Spotify Hi-Fi all

Summary

  • ExpressVPN is great for all streaming platforms
  • Supports all regions
  • Has super-fast servers for buffer-free streaming
  • Allows up to 5 connections simultaneously
  • Has detailed guides
  • Suitable for any other purpose, as it is one of the most secure VPNs
ExpressVPN Preview
Get an extra 20% discount
 

Also read:

Review of all the features of ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN and other VPNs for Netflix


2. NordVPN for streaming

NordVPN and streaming

Overview

I especially like the next VPN service. This is NordVPN. While it supports 61 countries versus ExpressVPN's 94, it has a significant advantage - support for the ultra-modern WireGuard protocol, which is considered the fastest and most productive to date.

NordVPN works so smoothly and unnoticeably that you may not think about it for weeks. And during this time, there won’t be a single unexpected reconnection or disconnection.

At the same time, it supports almost all regions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, which is effective for unblocking Hulu, HBO, iPlayer, and audio streaming services.

Supported streaming sites

Streaming Service Permission Number of regions
Netflix Ultra HD All, besides DE
Hulu Ultra HD US
HBO Max/Go Ultra HD US
Amazon Prime Video Ultra HD All, besides DE
BBC iPlayer Ultra HD UK
Pandora Hi-Fi US
Spotify Hi-Fi All

Summary

  • NordVPN supports all streaming sites
  • Works with almost all regions
  • Allows up to 6 connections simultaneously
  • Convenient both as an app and as a Smart DNS
  • Suitable for any other purpose, as it is one of the most secure VPNs
NordVPN Preview
Take advantage of the current promotion -68%
 

Also read:

Review of all the features of NordVPN

NordVPN and other VPNs for Hulu


3. Surfshark for streaming

Surfshark and streaming

Overview

I also recommend Surfshark as the most balanced service in terms of price and quality. This is the best option for those who want to save money on a long-term subscription and at the same time have stable access to all popular regions of the streaming industry leaders.

Over the past two years, I've tested Surfshark's capabilities more than 20 times and only got positive results in most locations.

Only in the US does it show less speed than its competitors. But it is also enough for high-quality buffer-free streaming.

Supported streaming sites

Streaming Service Permission Number of regions
Netflix Ultra HD All, besides DE
Hulu HD/Ultra HD US
HBO Max/Go HD/Ultra HD US
Amazon Prime Video Ultra HD All
BBC iPlayer Ultra HD UK
Pandora Hi-Fi US
Spotify Hi-Fi All

Summary

  • Surfshark is the best budget streaming VPN
  • Effective for all popular video providers
  • Unlimited number of used devices with one subscription
  • Advanced features
  • Has an advanced VPN protocol masking technology for countries with internet censorship
  • MultiHop (double protection)
Surfshark Preview
Install an efficient VPN for $2.21 + per month
 

Also read:

Review of the features of Surfshark

Surfshark and other VPNs for BBC iPlayer


4. CyberGhost for streaming

CyberGhost and streaming

Overview

Previous VPNs support streaming movies automatically. A user of those doesn’t need to do additional manipulations. ... But some have Streaming-Optimized Servers. They take the demanded locations and configure some of the servers in a special way. The best one of these is CyberGhost VPN.

Is this good or bad?

There are some pros and cons. It is easier to keep the adapted streaming servers in working order and users don’t need to change the server (reconnect) if the current one is suddenly “broken”.

At the same time, individual streaming servers are more often overloaded, as traffic is poorly redistributed.

Supported streaming sites

Streaming Service Permission Number of regions
Netflix HD/Ultra HD 4
Hulu HD US
HBO Max/Go HD US
Amazon Prime Video HD/Ultra HD 2
BBC iPlayer SD UK
Pandora Hi-Fi US
Spotify Hi-Fi All

Summary

  • CyberGhost has dedicated servers for streaming
  • Supports 4 Netflix countries and 1-2 for other platforms
  • Allows you to order a dedicated IP address
  • Allows up to 7 connections simultaneously
  • Testing revealed the low speed of steaming servers
  • Windows app can put a heavy load on the processor, resulting in excessive noise

Also read:

Review of all the features of CyberGhost

The best VPNs for Prime Video


5. Private Internet Access for streaming

PIA and streaming

Overview

The next VPN doesn’t differ in the number of supported video platforms and doesn’t have adapted servers, but it may be the only solution if you are on a very limited local network with Internet access. I’m talking about the Private Internet Access VPN service.

Its main feature is port forwarding. If some ports are blocked on your network and the apps of the streaming operators you need don’t work, then you can use this function. This function “forwards” the required app port to the server bypassing the network filters.

The downside of PIA is poor support for streaming platforms. You'll have to try and find a working server for the popular Netflix or Prime Video.

Supported streaming sites

Streaming Service Permission Number of regions
Netflix Ultra HD 1-3
Hulu Ultra HD May not work
HBO Max/Go Ultra HD May not work
Amazon Prime Video Ultra HD 0-5
BBC iPlayer Ultra HD May not work
Pandora Hi-Fi US
Spotify Hi-Fi All

Summary

  • Private Internet Access bypasses port blocking
  • Strong setting up a connection
  • Unstable support for streaming networks
  • Allows up to 10 connections simultaneously
  • High speed
  • WireGuard and Shadowsocks support

Also read:

Review of all the feaures of CyberGhost

Unblocking websites in the UAE


Streaming VPN and the law: Is it legal to change your region?

Many law-abiding people are suspicious of technologies that push the boundaries and allow, being in one country, to get unlimited access to the content of another region.

What does the law say about this?

In no country in the world is it considered a crime to change the IP address that the Internet provider gave out when connecting. There are countries where it is forbidden to hide traffic and visit prohibited sites, but there are no places where it is forbidden to use the Virtual Private Network technology itself.

I will say more, tens of thousands of companies around the world exist only because their employees and branches are united into one network using a VPN.

How does a VPN for streaming work?

A direct encrypted communication channel is created between the device on which the VPN app is installed or the system settings are configured and a special north anywhere where there is the Internet. Traffic from the main device goes to streaming sites through this server. And they see not the real IP address, but the address of this server.

The new IP address becomes the virtual address of the device on which the streaming site is open or there is an app for viewing it.

As a result, the site “thinks” that the user is in the country where the server is located and gives them the appropriate content.

How do streaming platforms relate to VPNs?

Most of the major video streaming providers discourage the use of anonymizes that change the user's IP address. Thus, they protect licensing agreements.

The struggle is most often expressed in the addition of the IP addresses that belong to VPN providers into the blacklist. If you got, for example, on Netflix from such an address, you will see the following message instead of the video:

Netflix message about the inability to continue watching due to the use of the anonymizer

Hulu, iPlayer, HBO internet services, and even music streaming sites do the same.

VPNs, in turn, come up with new tricks and change IP addresses to "clean" ones.

In short, this confrontation is harmless for the user. If a legal confrontation begins, it won’t be with viewers, but with anonymizers.


Free VPNs for streaming that sometimes supports streaming sites

I will say right away: in 2021 it is very difficult to find a free way to bypass geo-restrictions. This is due to the complexities I described in the previous chapter. Free providers simply cannot provide timely server changes and the development of expensive unblocking technologies.

In this regard, without going into the specifics of the device of one or another free VPNs, I tested all in turn, and here are the results I got:

  1. None of the tested apps allow you to watch streaming sites without restrictions.
  2. The video quality is very low (except for TunnelBear)
  3. Any obstacles are created, as long as the user switches to a paid subscription.

1. Free Windscribe

Unblocked at least two Netflix regions, but failed in the US and UK. By the way, the service specifications indicate that streaming is available only with a paid subscription. But I see that this isn’t entirely true.

Disadvantages: Monthly traffic limit (10 GB maximum), limited choice of countries, low speed.

2. Free TunnelBear

If not for the 500 MB per month limit, this would be the perfect free VPN. It supports US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services at high speed. Moreover, it is available for more than 20 countries.

Disadvantage: Not enough free traffic included.

3. Free hide.me

Previously the best free VPN for streaming. Now "passed" the position and is suitable only if you cannot install other VPNs. Only once in over a week of testing did it unlock movies. Moreover, it wasn’t possible to repeat this, since the app doesn’t allow you to select a specific server.

Disadvantages: Low efficiency and 10 GB monthly traffic limit.


FAQ

⏱ Does streaming with a VPN slow down the internet?

Any VPN works on the principle of creating an encrypted communication channel within a regular connection. Because of this, the speed drops, since the operation of this channel, encryption, and decryption require additional time and processor power.

For conventional VPN protocols, the speed drop is 10-15%.

If it is essential, you can choose a service with WireGuard support. This protocol slows down the speed by less than 5%. The best service with WireGuard by far is NordVPN.

❔ When can a VPN improve internet speed?

There are two cases in which the Internet speed increases with a VPN:

  1. It isn’t uncommon for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to lower your streaming data speed to save money. In this case, the VPN will mask the type of traffic and this will remove the restriction.
  2. If there are many distribution hubs between the device and the streaming site. In this case, a VPN launched on the basis of a UDP connection (UDP is used by default) will work directly, along the shortest path, bypassing the chain of nodes.

In all other cases, a VPN cannot increase your internet speed.

👉 How common is using a VPN for streaming?

By indirect indications (the popularity of this topic on Reddit, the share of the attention of VPN services to this topic, the frequency of search queries on this and related topics), I can estimate the market for tools for removing geo-restrictions in tens of millions of users.

With the speed of networks increasing and viewers moving from going to theatres to watching TV shows at home, the popularity of unlimited streaming continues to grow.


All information presented in the article is either verified by me personally or taken from reliable sources to which links are given.

I would be glad if in the comments you describe your experience with streaming VPN or comment on an article.

Dean Chester.

CoolTechZone - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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