Not all Virtual Private Network providers offer the same benefits and features. Therefore, when looking to sign up with a provider with the aim of watching geo-restricted content it is important to choose one that is able to overcome those restrictions, as not all can. With this in mind, we have chosen some of the providers we think are the best VPN for streaming that offer the ability to overcome restrictions.
Along with having what it takes to beat the restrictions imposed, which are dependent on your location, the providers below offer much more. A VPN offers anonymous web browsing, security and the chance to save money, among other things.
So now onto what to look for in a provider if your focus is on unblocking services and the content offered.
Things to look for in the best VPN provider
Several factors should be considered when choosing a Virtual Private Network based on unblocking content on platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, BBC iPlayer and more.
We will now take you through what to look for, and then later explain why you need a VPN to unblock geo-restricted content. We will also show you how to do it using a Virtual Private Network and finally give our choices of some of the providers that we consider among the best VPN for streaming.
Make sure the provider can unblock content
It goes without saying that the first thing you need to consider is whether the provider can actually unblock the streaming portal you want to use to stream content.
Some providers out there claim to offer the best VPN for streaming when in fact they are not being truthful.
Overcoming Netflix restrictions is one of the most difficult. The portal is known for its sophisticated VPN detection technology. Few providers are able to fool them, but we have found some.
Thankfully, we have done the hard work for you as we have determined which providers do offer a service that can unblock streaming platforms. This means all you need to do is choose which one to sign up with.
When considering the top VPN providers for unblocking geo-restricted content, along with checking they can in fact unblock content, we considered the following criteria.
Number of servers offered
We took the number of servers the Virtual Network Providers offer into account. This is an important factor when looking at providers who are among the best VPN for streaming as the more servers the less congestion and faster the server.
If a provider has only a few servers and many users, the servers are going to be congested with users trying to connect at the same time. This can lead to poor connections that often disconnect and have long buffer times.
This means your HD content might not be so crystal-clear and the movie or TV series is constantly stopping and starting. This is not good when looking for the best VPN for streaming.
So, one of the things we based our choice of favourite Virtual Private Network providers on was how many servers the provider offered.
Where servers are located
Another factor in our decision was where the actual servers were located. This is important if you want to unblock content from certain regions.
For instance, Netflix is offered around the world but not everyone gets access to the same catalogue of content.
USA Netflix gets access to a full catalogue of TV shows and movies, while the content shown to the rest of the world depends on where you are located.
Some locations around the world only get access to just over a quarter of the content offered in the United States.
If you want to access the unrestricted full catalogue of Netflix content, you will need to choose a provider that offers numerous servers in the United States. The providers we have chosen do.
How fast are the servers
When it comes to streaming content in HD, you need servers that are blazing-fast. It is no good choosing a provider just because they offer many thousands of servers, if those servers are slow or have limits on them.
We have specifically chosen providers that offer fast servers and connection.
HD content uses a great deal of bandwidth when you stream content so this is something of a concern when choosing a provider.
The providers we have chosen offer unlimited bandwidth so you will not find that halfway through that latest episode you are watching your bandwidth is throttled. Throttled bandwidth means slowdowns and worst case scenario coming to a full stop.
Why is content restricted?
You now know some of the most important factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the best VPN provider to stream. Now we will move on to why you have to go to the trouble of finding ways to overcome geo-restrictions. So, why isn’t the same level of content offered in all countries?
Geo-restrictions are imposed mainly due to licensing and copyright laws. For instance, networks and production companies of TV shows and movies in the USA put a lot of money into the production of them. They only want this prime content shown in a prime location, namely the USA.
The networks and production companies license their content for only showing in the United States so it is restricted in other countries around the world. Distributors may also put deals into place with networks in certain countries for exclusive viewing rights. This means a TV show may have a deal for it to be shown in one country under one distributor, while in another country a local network might have the rights for showing it.
Another factor that goes towards content not being available in certain countries is if that country restricts certain content from being shown. For example, some countries ban content with sexual references in them, drugs, violence and/or content with a religious theme.
Geo-restrictions are put into place based on IP addresses. All countries have a range of addresses and all devices have a unique address. When you visit a website, it picks up your IP address and you are given access to the local version of the streaming platform.
How to overcome restrictions with a VPN?
Thankfully, there is a way to get around the geo-restrictions, with a VPN of course.
A VPN provides tools that allow you to mask your IP address and take on one from any country around the globe. You do this by connecting to a server in a specific country.
While the steps required may differ slightly based on the provider you choose to sign up with, they should be very similar.The first step to unblocking content is to choose the best VPN for streaming out of the ones that we have picked out for you.
Pick a plan that suits you
Next, choose a plan. There are different plans available based on paying month by month and upfront for a longer term.An example of the savings that can be made with premium provider ExpressVPN can be found below.
When you have signed up with your provider you can go ahead and choose the apps, you want to install on any devices you use to stream content.
The providers that we have chosen offer a range of apps, so choose, download and install them and continue to the next step.
Activate your protection
Open up the app on your device and you will see a dashboard similar to the one below, in this instance we chose ExpressVPN.
The last step is to choose a server. Depending on your chosen provider, you might be able to click one button to connect to the best server available for the platform you want to stream, or you can choose a server.
For instance, if you want to watch USA Netflix from anywhere in the world you would choose a server located in the states. We have shown this below in the app offered by ExpressVPN, one of the best VPN for streaming.
So, choose a server and click on the button to connect. The word “connected” is shown and it should be highlighted in green as above. Of course, you might have chosen a different provider so the dashboard might be slightly different.
If you want to watch content from your home country, if you do not live in the states, simply choose a server based in your own country instead.
Our choices of the best VPN providers
Now you know what a provider should offer and how to connect to one in order to overcome the geo-restrictions. Now you can go on to check out some providers we consider offer the best Virtual Private Network.
We have put ExpressVPN in the number one spot for many reasons but the biggest is because the provider is among the few that can unblock all platforms successfully, including US Netflix.
ExpressVPN is also among the few providers that can unblock streaming portals and websites even in countries with high censorship, such as China.
This is the best VPN for streaming thanks to the provider offering many thousands of servers, with a lot based in the USA. All of their servers are fully optimised to deliver blazing-fast speed, along with a reliable connection that is not going to leave you stranded halfway through an exciting episode of your favourite TV show.
They also offers unlimited bandwidth with their plans, so you can be sure that your HD stream is not full of stops and stutters or slow-downs. This puts the provider firmly on top as being among the best Virtual Private Network providers for unblocking any platforms or websites.
ExpressVPN can unblock geo-restrictions on numerous platforms including:
- Best speeds
- Unblocks lots of platforms
- 24/7 client support via live chat
- Usable on many devices
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
- 5 simultaneous connection
- Expensive solution
CyberGhost is an excellent choice for unblocking restricted content. They are among the best VPN for streaming as they can bypass a huge amount of portals and channels.
The provider offers access to many thousands (5200+) of lightning fast servers in numerous countries around the world. CyberGhost helps you to turn any screen into the movies, offering apps for a range of devices.
Note that unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost offers specific servers to help you unblock any video content.
The platforms and channels the provider claims to be able to unblock include:
- 24/7/365 client support (in different languages also)
- Servers optimized for streaming
- No log policy
- Wide server coverage
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Not usable in China
NordVPN deserves a place on our best VPN for streaming guide as they support unblocking for more than 400 platforms. The provider offers access to many thousands of servers from around the world.
NordVPN is a great choice when looking for a VPN with the focus being on unblocking content as they offer what they call “SmartPlay” technology.
The technology allows users to overcome any geo-restrictions easily. The tech not only ensures you get a fast connection for streaming content due to providing direct access, the app chooses the best server for you. This means you do not have to guess which might be the best.
Even better is the fact that the NordVPN SmartPlay feature can be used with one single click. Using the one click feature means that the smart algorithm of the provider will choose the best one for the streaming platform you want to overcome geo-restrictions. This makes them one of the top Virtual Private Network providers for unblocking content and the best VPN for streaming.
Platforms that NordVPN can help to unblock include:
- 5800+ servers
- Really easy to use app
- Great security options
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Speed can be disappointing sometimes
Surfshark is a good choice of provider as it boasts “NoBorders”. This essentially means that the client works anywhere around the world. It allows you to overcome blocks and restrictions. This is a great choice for watching from countries with high censorship, such as China and Russia.
On the downside they do not offer the same massive choice of servers as many of the providers in this list do, they offer hundreds instead of thousands.
The provider is able to unblock numerous channels and websites. This includes US Netflix and various other Netflix countries. They do this with zero buffering and offer streaming on unlimited devices.
Surfshark can unblock:
- Very cheap prices
- Strict no log policy
- Unblocks Netflix
- Good speeds
- Not so many servers
- Application can bug from time to time
We have included HideMyAss on our list of the top VPN providers for streaming as they offer numerous servers in a wide range of locations. Not only this, the servers are extremely fast.
The service can be used for unblocking websites and every content platform. However, there has been some doubt about how good the provider is for overcoming Netflix and some other websites. This means they are not among the best Virtual Private Network for unblocking content, nor the best VPN for streaming.
For instance, the service cannot unblock DAZN and some users have reported issues when trying to unblock Netflix.
It seems to be a case of it works sometimes and other times it does not work for overcoming geo-restrictions. This means it certainly is not as reliable as ExpressVPN, NordVPN and CyberGhost.
Users have reported that with the servers of HideMyAss you can log into your Netflix account. However, it is not possible to stream. Netflix know you are using a VPN server and block that server.
Therefore, if you want a provider for primarily unblocking Netflix content you might want to choose one of the other recommendations below.
- Good prices
- Many countries covered
- Great option to bypass geo-restrictions
- Free VPN for 7 days
- Only 900 servers for more than 160 countries
- Keeps some logs
We have shown you what we think are the top five best VPN for streaming. Each of the providers mentioned offers a good level of service with plenty of benefits and features.
ExpressVPN may not be the cheapest but you do get what you pay for with the provider. They are one of the top Virtual Private Network providers out there. They offer access to many thousands of servers in numerous countries around the world. All servers are optimised and blazing fast, perfect for watching content in HD.
The provider also excels in overcoming geo-restrictions and offer servers that bypass the strict watchful eye of Netflix. This makes them the best VPN for streaming blocked content.
If you are on a tight budget and need a cheaper solution, Surfshark offer the most affordable plans. However, you do not get access to the biggest range of servers. However, they can unblock Netflix and many other platforms and the service works in high censorship countries. This makes them a good contender for being among the best Virtual Private Network for unblocking content.
Have you decided which VPN provider is your choice as the best VPN for streaming and overcoming geo-restrictions?
Alison has joined the team in the early stage because she wanted to share with us the experience she had while using VPNs over the last few years. As she’s travelled a lot, she tested many VPNs and wanted to share this with you. Alison cares about staying anonymous and not leaving any footprints on the internet. Therefore, you won’t have the chance to see her face ;).