Most VPNs aren’t advanced enough to bypass ESPN’s location filters. I tested 20 top VPN providers, and only a handful unblocked my paid ESPN+ account and let me watch with no interruptions. I narrowed it down to the 3 best that gave me the fastest speeds for reliable live sports streams. ExpressVPN’s blazing connections made it the only provider to give me lagless ESPN even in HD. If you want to see it for yourself, you can try ExpressVPN completely risk-free as it comes with a fully vetted money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you have 30 days to get a refund. Watch ESPN with ExpressVPN today!

Quick Guide: 3 Steps to Watch ESPN Live From Anywhere

Watch ESPN with ExpressVPN

How a VPN Can Help You Watch ESPN in January 2023

ESPN is only available in the U.S. because of licensing agreements. Streaming sites with ESPN use advanced algorithms to track your location and block any IP address outside of approved regions. That means even though you pay streaming fees no matter where you are, you won’t necessarily be able to watch your favorite sports. Only with a VPN can you watch ESPN’s live sports and original shows like Around the Horn any time you want, getting full value for your streaming money. A VPN routes your connection through an encrypted server, giving you a new IP address. By using a server in the US, ESPN streaming services will believe you are at home and allow you to access your paid account. Now even when you’re traveling, you can still catch all the games you pay for month after month. Many top VPNs for Windows, macOS, mobile, and other devices struggle to get past ESPN’s filters. While all 3 providers on my list are capable of unblocking ESPN, ExpressVPN was my MVP. It took home the gold medal in the VPN speed category, giving me bufferless streams even in HD. Better yet, it unblocked every streaming site with ESPN that I tested. It has a money-back guarantee I tested myself — you get 30 days to make sure it works and you like it. That’s why there’s no risk to try ExpressVPN to watch live ESPN. Try ExpressVPN risk-free

3 Best VPNs to Watch ESPN in January 2023

1. ExpressVPN — Lightning-Fast Speeds to Watch Lag-Free ESPN in HD

Key Features: With the fastest servers of any VPN I tested, ExpressVPN was the only provider to give me zero lag whatsoever for watching HD sports on ESPN. I ran speed tests while connected to ExpressVPN locations in the US, France, Germany, and Australia, and always got results upward of 89Mbps. This is fast enough for bufferless live sporting events in 4K quality. Faraway servers tend to be slower (since your data takes longer to travel back and forth), so I was really impressed with these speeds. Since it has invested in the most sophisticated network technology, ExpressVPN was able to obfuscate its servers and prevent DNS leaks. This not only hides your real IP, but also prevents streaming services from being able to see that you’re using a VPN. That’s why ExpressVPN was so good at unblocking every ESPN streaming service I tested, no matter which server in the US I used. With features reserved for only top-of-the-line VPNs, ExpressVPN makes it easy to watch ESPN even in heavily-censored countries that monitor citizens (like China). Most VPNs can’t get through government internet blocks in territories with restricted internets, but ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that can get past Chinese firewalls. Just keep in mind that it’s not legal to use unauthorized providers in China. While the authorities aren’t known to arrest VPN users, you could face fines and other legal trouble. I don’t condone doing anything illegal and laws can change fast, so always check the rules before using a VPN in countries with strict censorship. To find the fastest server for ESPN, I used ExpressVPN’s integrated speed test. After I chose “Americas” from the dropdown menu, running the test took under 2 minutes. After selecting the fastest server in the US, I added it to my favorites by clicking the star. This would let me connect to it instantly whenever I want to watch sports. Since all of ExpressVPN’s servers are optimized for streaming, just pick the fastest one and you’ll be watching the big game a few moments later. Although ExpressVPN is a bit pricier than other VPNs, that’s because it has the fastest speeds, most reliable connections, and super-dependable unblocking capabilities. If you’re like me and always want to make sure new software works before you commit, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free and make sure you’re happy with it. If you decide you’d rather use a different provider, you have up to 30 days to make a decision before you have to claim your refund. I used the 24/7 live chat to ask for my money back after testing ExpressVPN for 20 days, and my request was immediately approved — no questions asked. I saw the money in my account just 3 days later. Watch ESPN with ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Optimized Servers Reliably Unblock ESPN 24/7

Key Features: CyberGhost has optimized servers that were designed specifically for reliably unblocking sites that offer ESPN. Whether you subscribe to ESPN+, Sling TV, YouTube TV, or a different service, CyberGhost includes multiple ESPN-friendly options in its “For Streaming” menu. During every single one of my tests, these servers unblocked their streaming sites instantly and let me watch ESPN. If you don’t see your streaming service covered in the menu or your chosen server becomes crowded with users and slows down, CyberGhost’s location-based servers in the US unblocked multiple ESPN streaming sites as well. I tested servers in New York, California, Illinois, and Florida, and was able to log into my AT&T TV NOW and YouTube TV accounts and watch a basketball game with no issues. While I got a 10-20 seconds of initial buffering on CyberGhost’s non-optimized servers, they still let me watch ESPN without further lag or pixelated video. With its free browser extension available worldwide, CyberGhost is an excellent choice for organizing viewing parties. I organized a streaming party with colleagues located hundreds of miles away from where I live, and we all successfully connected to CyberGhost. We were able to log into ESPN and watched an NFL game from start to finish in real time without anyone encountering lag or sudden disconnections. To see how it performed on multiple devices at once, I connected to CyberGhost servers in the US and logged into my paid ESPN+ and YouTube TV accounts. Each account allows 3 devices so I watched a live basketball game on 3 PCs, 2 Androids, and a Samsung Smart TV using both services. Even on 6 devices not a single shot, block, or score was ever ruined by buffering interruptions. I only had a 10-15 second delay at the very beginning of the game, and then could watch as if it were on regular TV.. If you’re still unsure, you can try CyberGhost risk-free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee. Getting a refund is simple — I contacted customer support using the 24/7 live chat and got paired with an agent in minutes. The representative didn’t even ask why I was canceling, she just processed my request. I had my money back 4 days later. Watch ESPN with CyberGhost

3. Private Internet Access — Huge Network Never Slows Down ESPN Streams Due to Overcrowding

Key Features: Despite being the most affordable provider on this list, PIA had more servers in the US for unblocking ESPN than any other VPN I tested. With so many options, your server of choice never gets overcrowded and slows down. This is really important for watching live sports — on a big game day, there will be tons of people trying to watch all at once. With PIA’s huge network, you’ll never miss a single moment of the most important games of the year (like the Superbowl and World Series) due to annoying buffering. PIA let me log into my ESPN+ and YouTube TV accounts and watch a basketball game on every server I tested. When I tried logging into AT&T TV I did encounter a few options in New York, Texas, and Las Vegas that didn’t work. However, with so many servers to choose from, it only took a minute to find working alternatives in Colorado and California. Despite up to 20 seconds of initial buffering, I never encountered lag once my stream started with PIA (which could have ruined an epic save). An integrated ad and malware blocker called PIA Mace prevented marketing trackers from running in the background. Not only do ads and tracking bots violate your privacy, they slow down streams by taking up system resources on your device. By automatically blocking URLs associated with advertising bots, PIA keeps your ESPN streams as smooth as on regular cable. You can use PIA on up to 10 devices, which is more than any other VPN on this list. That lets you share it with friends and family who are big sports fans as well. IPVanish is one of the only other providers that allows more than PIA (it allows unlimited connections). However, I personally have never needed to use more than 10. Even sharing it with a few friends and family members I could still watch on my own TV, PC, and Android without worrying about maxing out my account. If you aren’t feeling enough confidence to commit yet, you can try PIA using its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you decide to go with one of the other providers on my list, you can cancel your account before 30 days and get your money back. The refund works on all their plans — monthly, annual, and 2 years. The small con is you have to do it via support ticket, but after just a single request I had my money back the same week. Watch ESPN with PIA

How can I sign up for ESPN with a VPN?

If you are traveling and won’t be back home in the US before the big game, you can sign up for a paid ESPN+ account from abroad with a VPN. Once you connect to a server in your home city, you’ll be able to buy your subscription from ESPN’s website and start watching live sports in about 5 minutes. If you have trouble with the ESPN website or app, there are several streaming services to watch ESPN live. FuboTV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV NOW, and DirecTV all have the ESPN channel. They are only available to U.S. residents, so connect to a VPN server near your home address and enter your zip code when you sign up. Once you’re back from traveling, you’ll be able to log into your paid account and keep watching. Watch ESPN with ExpressVPN today

Is there a way to watch ESPN for free?

To watch ESPN free for 7 days, combine the Hulu + Live TV trial with the money-back guarantee of one of the top VPNs. While ESPN no longer offers a free trial of its native streaming service, you can pair Hulu’s free trial with one of the VPN providers I found for this list. That gives you a full week to watch for free before you have to cancel. YouTube TV and fuboTV have 7-day free trials as well. By using the free trial you can catch a really important game, then cancel before you’re charged. Since it has the longest refund policy of any VPN I’ve tested (45 days), I advise you to try CyberGhost with ESPN and then get a refund after your weeklong Hulu trial ends. You can even on the YouTube TV and fuboTV trials to give yourself 14 more days to watch ESPN. If you ultimately decide not to keep the VPN, you just ask for a refund via online live chat before the 45 days are up.

I’m connected to a VPN. Why can’t I watch ESPN?

If you download a VPN from this list and still can’t access ESPN, it could be because your chosen VPN server has been blocked by the streaming service you’re using. While more common with lesser-known VPNs, streaming sites are always updating their algorithms to get better at detecting proxy servers. If you are unable to access ESPN with any of the top 3 VPNs above, I recommend you clear your cache and delete all cookies to clear background data that could be revealing information about you. If you still can’t access ESPN after taking these steps, contact the VPN’s customer service. As long as you pick a provider with 24/7 live chat (like ExpressVPN), they should be available within minutes to recommend the best servers to watch ESPN with the best performance. Watch ESPN with ExpressVPN

The ESPN stream is bad, did my VPN cause this?

You might experience low quality because your native internet connection speed is slow or you’re connected to a congested server. However, every VPN I tested for this list gave me reliable ESPN streaming in HD quality. If you encounter pixelated video or other problems, you can try connecting to a different server in the US or restarting your VPN. If the issues persist it’s likely to be your internet connection, so contact your ISP.

How to Watch ESPN Online?

As long as you live in the US, there are many subscription online TV services that let you watch the ESPN channel. They are:

What else can I use my VPN for?

Besides watching ESPN, you can use a VPN to unblock other sports streaming services like DAZN, NBA TV, CBS All Access, NBC, and more. With a VPN you won’t get shut out from watching a championship match on a streaming site you subscribe to just because you aren’t at home. A powerful VPN can also: ExpressVPN could do all of these things during my tests, with the fastest speeds and servers that unblocked every streaming site I tested. If you want to try ExpressVPN to get the most out of the web, it has a 30-day guarantee that makes it completely zero-risk. That gives you plenty of time to make sure it can do everything you expected it to. Try ExpressVPN risk-free

Start Watching ESPN From Anywhere Today!

I pay for ESPN+ and YouTube TV every month, so it’s a ripoff that I can’t use them to watch ESPN when I travel abroad. Until they make it available to more countries, the only way to get full value out of my ESPN streaming account and watch whenever, wherever I want is with a VPN. ExpressVPN had the fastest server network for streaming live sports and shows on ESPN. I could always watch lag-free even in HD, and never missed a second of a game due to annoying buffering. Since there’s no commitment, it’s zero-risk to try ExpressVPN with ESPN for 30 days and make sure you like it. If you find it doesn’t work as well for you as it did for me, you can get a refund using its money-back guarantee. Watch ESPN with ExpressVPN

Summary — Watch ESPN Now With These VPNs (Updated 2023)