The best streaming VPN in 2024

Man on a sofa streaming TV shows on a laptop via a VPN
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Once upon a time, the best streaming VPNs were relatively limited. You could count on one hand the services that could reliably unblock foreign Netflix and Amazon Prime Video libraries, or allow you to watch live sports on your domestic free-to-air streamer.

The field of best VPNs for streaming has now grown substantially, with teams of people at the biggest providers dedicated to making sure that their software is able to avoid the geo-restrictions put in place by global TV platforms. That's fantastic news for you, but makes life for me recommending the very best more difficult than ever! During our rigorous testing, I check each and every VPN to see whether they let you watch the shows, movies and sports you want from abroad. Not to mention their security, ease-of-use, value for money and other key criteria.

That means any and all of the five providers we recommend below will prove an indispensable tool for travellers and general TV lovers alike. So if you're an American currently overseas wanting a little taste of home with a show like "The Voice" or "Survivor" that are generally unavailable elsewhere, these VPNs will let you access your usual stream. Or maybe you're a Brit who wants to watch free FA Cup live streams but finds coverage geo-blocked outside the U.K. A streaming VPN will come to your rescue there, too.

Keep reading to see the results, with our top 5 picks of today's very best streaming VPNs.

My top 3 VPNs for streaming

1. NordVPN – the very best streaming VPN

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NordVPN is seriously quick, super-secure, and can access virtually any streaming platform you point it at. That includes big platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and regional sites like Australia's 9Now.

With reliable speed, minimal buffering, and quick content unblocking, NordVPN is great pick. It's reasonably priced, too, and you can take it for a test run with its 30-day money-back guarantee

2. ExpressVPN – a super-secure and speedy service

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ExpressVPN is a titan of the VPN world that constantly impresses and allows you to unblock a world's worth of content.

You get 1 year of unlimited cloud storage and 3 months of extra protection for free if you go for the 12-month subscription. However, if you’re still not fully convinced, we suggest putting it to the test with its 30-day money-back guarantee before going all in.

3. Surfshark – the best cheap streaming VPN

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Surfshark manages to combine bargain prices with impressive unblocking power, thanks to its network of 3,200+ servers in 100 countries. You'll also get reliable speeds, meaning you can check out your favorite Netflix originals (and content from all over the world) in HD.

If you sign up for the 2-year plan, you'll pay from $2.29/month, and its 30-day money-back guarantee is a great way to test out this streaming VPN without committing.

Recent updates

In February, we released the latest results of our mega, in-depth six-monthly VPN tests. For the first time in six years, ExpressVPN was knocked from the top spot of our overall list, with NordVPN replacing it. However, Nord and Express were already #1 and #2 respectively on this list of best streaming VPNs, so I haven't had to change the order of providers on this page.
That doesn't mean there hasn't been plenty of changes made with my latest article update, however. It reflects, for example, some of the recent improvements that NordVPN (i.e. server locations and simultaneous devices) and the others have been busy making to their VPN products. I've also brought my recently added 'What VPN works where on which streaming service?' quick reference box bang up-to-date.

The best streaming VPNs today

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Whether it's Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video or just about any other streaming site you regularly watch, the following VPNs can get you watching anywhere in the world. I test them in real-world conditions, and I'm confident recommending these to my readers as effective tools to avoid geo-blocks.

NordVPN: the best streaming VPN available

NordVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

The best streaming VPN that's also hot on security

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers | Server locations: 140+ in 111 countries | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Excellent streaming performance
Functional kill switch
Serious speeds
Huge array of global servers
Divisive mobile interface
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN to stream Netflix: NordVPN is, hands down, the best choice for streaming HD or 4K Netflix content from anywhere in the world.

✔️  You want the perfect quality-cost combo: NordVPN delivers excellent performance in terms of speed, security, and unblocking capabilities for a good price.   

✔️ You like to stream local websites: with security as its strongest suite, NordVPN will safeguard your device against phishing and malware threats from local websites.  

Avoid if:

❌ You’re looking for a simple interface: while NordVPN’s map-style interface is backed by several tutorials, if you want the simplest of interfaces, I recommend ExpressVPN.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

NordVPN is a perfectly balanced streaming VPN that ensures both accessibility and security at a reliably high speed. Try it for yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

NordVPN is built for security, and it's my #1 streaming VPN. In fact, it recently went to the top of my chart for best overall VPNs, too – for a more in-depth analysis, check out my NordVPN review. The fact that it offers more than 6,000 servers in 111 countries is just a bonus which ensures great speeds no matter where you end up.

Streaming service providers keep challenging VPNs with constant updates to prevent geo-unblocking, but NordVPN has consistently cracked the code to almost every streaming site you could wish to get your hands on. To put it simply, you get access to dozens of streaming services, including Netflix, iPlayer, Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and many more.

> Sign up to my top-rated streaming VPN

On top of excellent encryption, there's a handy SmartPlay feature. This combines Smart DNS with your base VPN connection to allow you to eke out every last drop of performance from your connection for smoother, faster streaming. Especially useful for streaming in HD, Nord's SmartPlay also sidesteps streaming services' VPN blocking tools, meaning you're near-guaranteed to have access to anything you want to watch.

If you're loyal to just one streaming platform, NordVPN tops the list of my top Netflix VPN recommendations. This is down to its ability to effortlessly bypasses geo-restrictions and get you into tons of global libraries, including the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan.

When it comes to speed, NordVPN impresses, topping out at over 950 Mbps in my testing. Plus, you can also use your subscription on up to 10 devices (recently upped from a stingy six) at a time, which should be sufficient if you’re looking for a streaming VPN for your whole family.

Along with reliable speeds, NordVPN won’t fail you on the security front either, thanks to its special obfuscated servers for enhanced privacy. Obfuscated servers make it look like you aren’t using a VPN when in reality, you are. This gets you a green light from tools meant to block VPN traffic.

Nord’s kill switch is pretty flawless, in that it’s very reliable and doesn’t allow any leaks if activated. Additional security options include a dedicated IP address and Onion Over VPN.

Despite having the same set of features and being similar to the desktop site, NordVPN’s mobile app interface is a little less intuitive than rivals ExpressVPN and Surfshark. However, NordVPN has plenty of explainer guides and support articles (plus excellent 24/7 live chat support) to help you along your way and combat any issues you may be having when trying to access your show or TV event of choice.

If all of this fits your expectations, try NordVPN with its 30-day money-back policy. If you don’t like it, just cancel within the first month, and you’ll get a 100% refund. 

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NordVPN test results
DesignGenerally useful interface but might seem a little crowded for some users ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThough simple to use, the map-like design might not work for everyone ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest with an average speed of 950Mbps on NordLynx⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingEffortlessly unblocks most content streaming platforms⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyStrong encryption with additional features like Threat Protection for safe streaming⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportReliable 24/7 customer support⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceProvides ample value for the price.⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN: premium provider is excellent for streaming

ExpressVPN on a range of devicesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

A great VPN for streaming – and everything else

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers | Server locations: 160 in 105 countries | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Maximum devices supported: 8 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Unrivalled streaming access
Excellent 24/7 customer support
Stream on any device
Top-quality apps
Previously suffered some minor issues with Netflix
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN that excels in privacy: ExpressVPN ensures class-leading privacy with a built-in password manager, AES 256-bit encryption, and a kill switch. 

✔️ You need a straightforward streaming VPN: with an auto-connect feature, 24/7 customer support, and online tutorials, you’ll find it easy to run ExpressVPN even if you aren’t tech-savvy. 

✔️ You use multiple devices for streaming: the VPN is compatible with almost all operating systems and devices, including Android, iOS, Microsoft, and even smart TVs and gaming consoles.

Avoid if:

❌ You want a Linux App: you can install ExpressVPN on a Linux device, but you won’t get a graphical user interface (GUI).

❌ You want your VPN to have multi-hop servers: if you want an additional layer of security that rests in a multi-hop or Double VPN, you’re better off with NordVPN.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

ExpressVPN is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a fast and reliable VPN with servers all over the world for limitless content unblocking. Its wide coverage, 360-degree security, strong unblocking capabilities, and 24/7 customer support make for a silky-smooth streaming experience. Try it first-hand with its 30-day money-back guarantee.  

In my ExpressVPN review, the British Virgin Islands-based provider stood out for its massive feature list and excellent performance as a streaming VPN. It offers a triple whammy of speed, security and excellent international coverage.

ExpressVPN is premium-priced, but its streaming-focused MediaStreamer tool for devices like Smart TVs and gaming consoles really adds value. Even if you don't have a device that VPNs work on, ExpressVPN can still get you extra content with this tool. It spoofs your location to help you access geo-restricted and overseas content. 

You get seamless unblocking of Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and more – all the more impressive when you know these streaming services are constantly trying to block VPNs. Plus, connection speeds are reliably fast, so even streaming in 4K and HDR shouldn't be an issue. 

ExpressVPN boasts 3,200 servers spread across 105 countries in 160 different locations. While this may not be as high as NordVPN’s 6,000+ servers, I’ve never had buffering issues while streaming – every server is super reliable and delivers good speeds across the board.

ExpressVPN provides the best coverage in U.S. and Europe, but it's pertinent to note that it has more global locations than many of its rivals, with 27 in Asia-Pacific locations alone. Fans of Asian content and K-dramas needn’t look any further. 

Although seamless streaming is the goal we’re trying to achieve, security should always be a priority with any VPN. With a secure DNS (Domain Name System), multiple layers of privacy, and industry-standard AES-256 encryption along with a selection of protocols, the company provides ample assurance that it prioritizes data protection so that you can freely browse through any website and stream the content you love.

It’s a plus that ExpressVPN has a rock-solid no-logs policy, meaning whatever you decide to do online is private knowledge. I recommend turning on the kill switch to protect your sensitive data from being left vulnerable to detection in case the VPN connection lapses. In my testing, it’s very stable and allows no leaks.

Overall, ExpressVPN is a fantastic VPN for accessing streaming content. If you want a VPN to trust your life with and aren't put off by the pricing, I'd heartily recommend Express as a superb alternative to NordVPN.

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ExpressVPN test results
DesignSimple, navigable design that’s easy on your eyes and straightforward to understand⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useBeginner-friendly, little to no expertise needed⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceReliable and very fast, although some others deliver higher peak speeds.⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingServers in 160 locations and 105 countries ensure limitless content⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyTop-notch security with 256-bit AES encryption⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportExpert assistance is available 24/7⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceMore expensive than other options ⭐⭐⭐

Surfshark: the best cheap streaming VPN

Surfshark on a variety of devices

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

Bargain provider that's great for streaming

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux (GUI), routers | Server locations: 143 in 100 countries | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Class-leading connection speeds
24/7 Live chat support
Excellent value for money
Use it on as many devices as you want
Some kill switch issues in extreme conditions
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need unlimited simultaneous connections: one Surfshark subscription is enough to cover the streaming needs of all your friends and family members.

✔️ You're looking for the best budget VPN: for the price, Surfshark is an unbeatable streaming VPN that can unblock just about anything you want.

✔️ You want a fast VPN: Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs, thanks to its WireGuard tunneling protocol, offering a lag and buffering-free streaming experience. 

Avoid if:

Kill switch is non-negotiable for you: When pushed to its limit in my review, Surfshark’s kill switch did have an issue. While this is very unlikely to happen in real life, other providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN are marginally better equipped.

You’re using older versions of Windows: Windows versions below 8.1 do not receive Surfshark updates, nor is the 7-day trial you get on mobile available for Windows.  

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Surfshark provides unlimited simultaneous connections, extraordinary speed, and value for money, along with solid security measures like RAM-only servers. Get started with the best budget VPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee on all platforms.

In my hands-on Surfshark review, I found that the provider delivers an excellent mix of speed and value. It's an ideal streaming VPN for use with Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, 10 Play, and 9Now, as it comfortably unblocks these services in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and more. 

One thing I really like about Surfshark is that it provides unlimited simultaneous connections. With just one subscription, you, your family, and your friends can stream your favorite content together with as many devices as you please, and Surfshark will never throw anyone out. 

Of course, this is meant to be limited to your household, but that rule is rather tricky to enforce when the VPN boasts a strong no-logs policy and collects no data about its users.

Surfshark also has a GPS spoofing feature which allows you to get secure access to content from across the globe by coordinating your current location to that of your chosen VPN server. This means that even if some apps request your physical location before granting access, you will be covered.

In my testing, Surfshark peaked at around 950 Mbps. And at 640 Mbps, it has the very fastest OpenVPN speed on test right now. No wonder it ranks so high on my fastest VPN services guide. That all comes together to makes streaming a breeze, even in 4K. And not just streaming – if you’re someone who likes to watch downloaded content, Surfshark is clearly an ideal pick. 

Surfshark’s RAM-only servers ensure you’re kept extra safe online. In short, this means that the servers that you connect to store absolutely no data about you or your activity. While ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and many other VPNs also only use RAM-only servers, it’s definitely a big green tick.

In my testing, I found Surfshark excels as a Fire Stick VPN since it has a custom app for the Amazon Fire TV. It's simple to use, which is perfect for beginners, but there's a fair number of settings to tweak, too. In practice, it’s one of the easier VPNs to use on Fire Stick.

However, Surfshark’s biggest selling point is its price. It’s almost always less than $2.50/month, and promotions have seen this drop to under the $2-mark. Thanks to this combination of value and performance, I rate it as my #1 cheap VPN.

Note that if you have older versions of Windows like 7, 8, or 8.1, this probably isn’t the best choice for you because compatible apps no longer receive updates from the VPN’s end. That said, having an updated OS will benefit your streaming in more ways than just Surfshark updates. 

You get a 7-day free trial for your Android, iOS, and Mac, and if you’re still not 100% sure that this VPN is cut out for you, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. Combined with that bargain price, Surfshark's an excellent streaming VPN that should be on your list.

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Surfshark test results
DesignMinimalistic, clean, and intuitive design ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useBeginner-friendly and easy to understand⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSeriously impressive speeds⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingGreat at unblocking streaming apps and getting around censorship⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyKill switch isn’t the best, but everything else is excellent⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportDecent 24/7 customer support and tons of help articles⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceCheap VPN with excellent value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Proton VPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

The best of the rest

4. Proton VPN

Great streaming VPN with free-to-try option

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux (GUI), routers | Server locations: 119 in 91 countries | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: Email, knowledgebase

First-class Netflix unblocking
Good speeds
Powerful, secure apps
Relatively expensive
Free version can't stream
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN to set and forget: Proton VPN’s always-on feature will ensure that you’re always connected.

✔️ You value a trustworthy VPN provider: As an open-source platform, anybody is free to check out Proton VPN’s code. Also, the platform has been independently audited.

✔️  You have a number of devices to connect: Proton VPN allows you to stream on up to 10 devices simultaneously with the same VPN plan, making it ideal for most families.  

Avoid if:

❌ You’re looking for a free streaming VPN: while Proton VPN’s free version works perfectly for normal use with access to three locations, rival PrivadoVPN free is a much better choice for streaming.

❌ You want tons of servers: with around 4,200 servers, Proton VPN falls behind the likes of PIA and NordVPN.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½