However, not all VPNs can grant you access to your accounts, as many streaming services actively block VPNs and proxies due to copyright and broadcasting regulations. That’s why I’ve tested more than 30 services to find the best VPNs for streaming in 2023. ExpressVPN takes the #1 spot, with blazing-fast speeds and easy access to multiple streaming services worldwide. Plus, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free to make sure it’s right for you. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund. Try streaming with ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: Best VPNs for Streaming in 2023

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The Best VPNs for Streaming (Tested in January 2023)

1. ExpressVPN — Lightning-Fast Speeds on Global Server Network for Smooth, Lag-Free Streaming

Key Features: ExpressVPN is the top VPN for streaming, with blazing-fast speeds that allow for smooth, uninterrupted streaming across its server network. Thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol, ExpressVPN can mitigate the speed loss that usually happens with a VPN — even long-distance connections show a minimal drop in my test results. I could stream in UHD on my local accounts, and my colleagues abroad had excellent speeds — on average, just an 18% drop from regular speeds. This is especially good if your standard speeds are around 20Mbps or less. ExpressVPN can easily access a huge range of streaming services, including: The reason ExpressVPN can effortlessly connect to US Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more is because of its server obfuscation. This masks your VPN traffic to look like regular traffic, avoiding VPN detection technology — your streaming service can’t tell you’re using a VPN, so it can’t block you. During tests, I didn’t see a single proxy error message or limited content library. I could easily connect to my streaming accounts and see the full range of content. If you have issues connecting to your favorite account, contact ExpressVPN’s customer support. The agents are friendly and knowledgeable, and they’ll be able to suggest a working server connection in just a couple of minutes. To protect your data and privacy when streaming, ExpressVPN has the following features:

Military-grade encryption on every server keeps your data and activity anonymous. Data leak protection prevents accidental IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. Automatic kill switch cuts internet access if the VPN connection is interrupted accidentally. Split tunneling is ideal for streaming your favorite content when abroad while shopping and browsing locally. TrustedServer Technology uses only RAM-based servers that cannot store data. Audited zero-log policy ensures your data is secure when connected to ExpressVPN’s servers.

You can connect up to 5 devices on a single ExpressVPN account, with apps available for popular platforms like Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and more. If you have a device that doesn’t support VPNs, like an older smart TV or game console, you can use ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS feature to connect to your streaming accounts. MediaStreamer doesn’t use an encrypted connection but does provide fast streaming speeds. While ExpressVPN is slightly more expensive than other services, I think it’s worth the price for lag-free streaming and easy access to your favorite content. You can subscribe to ExpressVPN for as little as $6.67/month for a 1-year + 3 months plan. If you’d like to try streaming with ExpressVPN, you can do so risk-free — the service has a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t feel it’s right for you, you can get a full refund with no questions asked. I tested the guarantee, and the refund process was simple. I contacted the 24/7 live chat and asked to cancel my account, and the agent processed my refund immediately. Best of all, I had my money back in just 5 days. Try streaming with ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Optimized Streaming Servers Guarantee Fast Access to Your Local Accounts

Key Features: CyberGhost’s optimized servers are a great choice for streaming as they are regularly tested to ensure a working connection to your local streaming accounts. These optimized servers are available in 24 locations worldwide and support a huge range of streaming services, from the popular Netflix and Disney+ to lesser-known Yle and Digi Online. During tests, Cyberghostd could access accounts with the following services: During tests, I also discovered that CyberGhost’s optimized servers are faster than its regular connections. My speeds were only slightly reduced by around 20%, allowing for UHD streaming on all the optimized servers I tested. I had no issues streaming my favorite shows and movies without any lag.

I was pleased to find CyberGhost has native apps for many devices and also offers a Smart DNS feature for devices that don’t support VPNs. I could configure the Smart DNS with my PlayStation and start streaming in a couple of minutes. CyberGhost’s DNS servers are based in Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US. To keep your actual location and personal data safe when streaming, CyberGhost provides the following security and privacy features:

Military-grade encryption keeps your data and online activity away from prying eyes. Data leak protection stops accidental IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. Automatic kill switch protects your privacy if the VPN connection is interrupted. Malicious ad blocker stops shady ads from infecting your devices with malware. Audited zero-log policy and RAM-based servers ensure your data is protected and anonymous.

The downside to CyberGhost is that long-distance connections have a significant impact on speed. When my team and I tested servers more than 10,000km away, we experienced an average slowdown of 45%. While this didn’t impact my streaming quality due to my regular speeds being fast, you will notice buffering and slower connections if your speeds are around 20Mbps or less. As CyberGhost is a more expensive monthly VPN, I recommend signing up for a long-term subscription for the best savings — plans start at just $2.19/month for a 2-year + 2 months subscription. You can try streaming with CyberGhost risk-free as the service has a 45-day money-back guarantee. If you change your mind or you’re done binge-watching, you can contact the 24/7 live chat to arrange a refund. The agent I spoke to processed my refund without trying to change my mind, and I had my money back in less than a week. Try streaming with CyberGhost

3. Private Internet Access — Huge Server Network With Dedicated Streaming Servers Provides Easy Connections

Key Features: Private Internet Access (PIA) has an impressive server network for easy connections to streaming services. With more than 35000 servers available, I found server congestion was practically zero — I never had issues making a reliable connection to start streaming. Plus, PIA offers a range of optimized streaming servers in 7 popular locations, including the UK and the US. In my tests, these provided the most reliable connections to streaming services. It’s easy to find the fastest servers for streaming as PIA displays the ping (or latency) for each connection. By choosing servers in my desired location with low ping, I was able to find fast connections for smooth, lag-free streaming. Overall, my speeds were fast enough for UHD streaming, with a reduction of around 34%. You’ll notice more of an impact if your internet speeds are slow and could experience minor buffering before and during streaming. If you find your speeds when connected are slow (20Mbps or less), you can give yourself a speed boost by configuring PIA’s encryption settings. By reducing the encryption level from AES-256-bit to AES-128-bit, you can improve your speeds without compromising on overall security — ideal if you need a few extra Mbps for buffer-free streaming. PIA also has the following security and privacy features:

Data leak protection secures against accidental IP and DNS leaks. Automatic kill switch keeps data secure if the VPN is interrupted, cutting internet access until the connection is restored. Split tunneling lets you choose which apps use the encrypted connection, boosting speeds and lowering data use. Audited zero-logs policy guarantees your data is always secure and anonymous with PIA’s servers.

When testing different streaming services with PIA, my team and I were pleased to find we could access our local accounts for the following: Unfortunately, PIA doesn’t always connect to streaming services on the first try. It struggled to access some US services. It took trying several servers before it could access some local Netflix accounts. There were also errors with some servers when attempting to access BBC iPlayer. If you find you’re having issues connecting, make sure you’re using an optimized server, if possible, or contact customer service — they will be able to suggest a working server. You can try streaming with PIA risk-free and for a reasonable price — its plans start at $2.19/month for a 2-year + 2 months subscription. If you change your mind about subscribing, you can contact customer service within 30 days for a refund. I tested this myself by sending an email cancellation request to — I had my money back within the week. Try streaming with PIA

4. PrivateVPN — Strong Security and Stealth VPN Feature Provide Access to Streaming Services

Key Features: PrivateVPN’s small but robust server network can easily access multiple streaming services, despite being significantly smaller than other top VPNs like ExpressVPN. These features include:

Customizable encryption, with AES-256-bit as standard, to boost speeds without compromising on security. Data leak protection stops IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks from occurring. Kill switch blocks internet access if the VPN connection is unstable or interrupted. Audited zero-log policy shows third-party confirmation that your data is never logged or stored. Stealth VPN server obfuscation masks your VPN traffic to avoid detection.

I was particularly impressed with the Stealth VPN feature, as this is excellent at connecting to streaming services. Stealth VPN masks your VPN traffic, so it looks like regular traffic. This helps avoid proxy detection technology that services like HBO Max and Netflix use to restrict your viewing. I had no issues connecting to all streaming services tested with Stealth VPN active.

With such high-level security, I was concerned my speeds would suffer. Still, I was pleased to find PrivateVPN is reliably fast across its server network. While there was some slowdown, my speeds never reduced by more than 35%, even when connecting to distant servers. However, my speeds are fast to begin with — if your speeds are slower, around 20Mbps or less, it’s likely you’ll notice some buffering and take longer to connect. During tests, PrivateVPN could easily access the following streaming services: For users on a budget, PrivateVPN is an affordable option, even if you subscribe to a monthly VPN plan. Long-term plans offer even better value, with prices starting at just $2.00 per month for a 3-year subscription. The downside to PrivateVPN is that its small network sometimes experiences user congestion. This can make connecting to a server difficult, especially popular servers in the UK and US at peak traffic times. I occasionally had trouble making a connection, with PrivateVPN taking up to a minute to connect to a server. Fortunately, there were no interruptions or issues once the connection was established. If you’d like to try streaming with PrivateVPN, you can rest assured knowing the service has a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can get a full refund by sending an email to customer support. I tested the process and stated that I no longer needed a VPN, and my refund was approved. I had my money back in a week. Try streaming with PrivateVPN

5. IPVanish — Unlimited Device Connections Let You Stream as Much as You Want on Multiple Platforms

Key Features: During tests, IPVanish was able to access the following services: With more than 2000 servers in its network, you’ll find it easy to connect to IPVanish and start streaming. To help you find the fastest server for streaming, IPVanish shows the ping and user load for each connection. By picking a server with low ping and load, I could ensure my speeds were fast, and my connection was reliable. To protect your data and anonymity when streaming, IPVanish has these top-tier features:

Military-grade encryption ensures your data and devices are secure on every server connection. IP and DNS leak protection block accidental data leaks to constantly maintain security. Automatic kill switch instantly cuts access to the internet if your connection is unstable, protecting your data. Scramble obfuscation masks your VPN traffic to look like regular traffic, avoiding detection on restrictive networks (available for OpenVPN protocol). Audited zero-log policy confirms no user data is ever logged or stored while you’re connected.

My only issue with IPVanish is that it’s a little expensive for what it offers. Services like CyberGhost have a wider range of features for a lower price. However, IPVanish does provide a good discount when you subscribe to a long-term plan — its prices start at $3.99 per month for a 1 year  subscription. If you’d like to try streaming your favorite content with IPVanish, you can try it risk free for up to 30 days. If you change your mind, the refund process is easy — just log into your IPVanish account through your browser and click “Cancel Now” in the Subscriptions menu. I did this and had my money back within 4 days. Try streaming with IPVanish

Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Streaming VPNs

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How I Tested and Ranked the Best VPNs for Streaming

I tested more than 30 services to find the best VPNs in 2023 for streaming. Each VPN was tested and ranked against these criteria: Start streaming with ExpressVPN

What is the fastest VPN for streaming?

The fastest VPN for streaming is ExpressVPN. In my tests, ExpressVPN’s speeds were blazing-fast across its entire server network — ideal if you need to connect to your local streaming account from a distant location. These fast speeds are partly due to its proprietary Lightway protocol, designed for fast speeds without compromising on security. I found using the Lightway protocol always resulted in the best speeds for me, so I could always enjoy smooth, lag-free streaming.

Which VPN is the best for Netflix?

My test results show that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Netflix. ExpressVPN can access more than 40 Netflix libraries, so it’s an excellent choice for connecting to your local account when traveling abroad. My team and I could always make a connection with ExpressVPN — we never experienced any proxy error messages or limited Netflix content. Plus, ExpressVPN has the fastest streaming speeds of all the VPNs tested. This means you can easily watch your favorite content in HD streaming quality, as Netflix recommends a minimum speed of 3Mbps. ExpressVPN surpassed this on every connection my team and I tested.

Can a VPN improve my streaming quality?

Sometimes — it depends on your network connection. Most of the time, a VPN connection will cause a slight slowdown in your speeds. The best VPNs can mitigate this slowdown, so it doesn’t reduce your stream quality, but you won’t see an improvement either. If your network is being throttled when streaming, a premium VPN can help increase your connection speed by navigating around these restrictions. With faster download speeds and increased bandwidth, you could notice an improvement in your streaming quality.

What’s the best VPN for streaming on my game console?

I recommend ExpressVPN for streaming on your PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and more. Your game console won’t natively support a VPN app, but ExpressVPN has router compatibility and a MediaStreamer feature that can get you streaming on these devices.

Router compatibility: You can configure ExpressVPN with a compatible router to control the encrypted connection, then connect your game console to your router. MediaStreamer: This is a SmartDNS feature designed for streaming. You can configure your game console with ExpressVPN’s DNS servers to change your location and access your streaming account.

Can I use a free VPN for streaming?

You can use a free VPN for streaming, but I don’t recommend it. You’ll only get the best stream quality, fast speeds, and top security with a premium VPN. You’re likely to have a frustrating — or even dangerous — experience with a free VPN. Some shady, free VPNs claim to provide unlimited data and access to streaming services, but in reality, they’re logging and selling your data to dubious third parties. Worse still, some free VPNs have been found to contain malware that compromises your data security. Even the best free VPNs available aren’t ideal for streaming. While they’re safe to use, they often have data limits, access to only a handful of servers, and restrictions on streaming services (only available for premium users). Instead, I recommend you try a premium service with a long money-back guarantee, like CyberGhost. With CyberGhost, you have up to 45 days to use the VPN risk-free — great if you’re traveling on holiday or just want to try the VPN before subscribing.

I tested the refund process myself, and it was simple. I chatted with a support agent for a few minutes, and they arranged my refund without question. I had the money back within a week. Try streaming with CyberGhost risk-free

Start Streaming With a Quality VPN Today

You shouldn’t have to miss out on your favorite shows and movies when traveling abroad, especially when you’ve paid to view that content. Fortunately, you can easily access your local streaming accounts from anywhere when you use a quality VPN. To ensure you get the best streaming experience, I tested over 30 VPNs with popular services like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more. Overall, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming in 2023, providing smooth, lag-streaming for multiple services on its global server network. Best of all, you can try streaming with ExpressVPN risk-free, as it’s backed by a money-back guarantee. If you’re not fully satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund.

Summary — Best VPNs for Streaming in 2023