How to watch overseas content with a VPN

How to watch overseas content with a VPN
(Image credit: TUBI)

Knowing how to watch overseas content with a VPN is a skill that might not cross your mind most days. However, there are plenty of scenarios when it’ll prove all but essential. I know from my experience that when you’re itching to rewatch your favorite series or cross a great film off your watch list, the last thing you want to hear is that it’s not available on your region’s streaming service. With a VPN, you can enjoy content from another country with virtually no hassle.

By utilizing the location-spoofing capabilities of a Virtual Private Network, you can make it appear as though you’re watching from an entirely different part of the world. While any service will perform the same basic task of location spoofing, the best VPNs deliver unrivaled choice when it comes to streaming services and locations, as well as a superior level of security, value, and ease of use.

Read on to see which VPN providers provide the best services for watching content from another country. 

Best streaming VPNs in 2024 - quick answer

1.The best streaming VPN across the board: NordVPN30-day money-back guarantee

1.The best streaming VPN across the board: NordVPN
NordVPN delivers a range of pricing plans that allow you to customize your service to suit your needs. That flexibility, added to its mix of quality and value, makes it a perfect choice for most users.

If you’re not already convinced by NordVPN, why not try it out? With its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can take one of the best VPNs for a test ride without any penalty.  

2. The best streaming VPN for VPN newbies: ExpressVPN

2. The best streaming VPN for VPN newbies: ExpressVPN

If you want to take the guesswork out of using a streaming VPN, ExpressVPN’s super straightforward user experience and attentive 24/7 customer support is an ideal combo.

ExpressVPN also boasts servers in over 160 locations, meaning you’ll be hard-pressed to find a region you can’t enjoy content from. You’ll even get an extra three months free with your 12-month subscription. 

3.The best streaming VPN on a budget: Surfshark

3. The best streaming VPN on a budget: Surfshark

While Surfshark can certainly hold its own among the top VPN providers, its most significant draw is its affordability.

Despite the provider offering impressive content-unblocking capabilities and some of the fastest speeds of any VPN we tested, you can enjoy global streaming with Surfshark for as little as $2.29 a month. That kind of value makes it an easy recommendation.  

How to watch overseas content with a VPN

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

How to watch content from overseas using a VPN

Once you’ve chosen your VPN provider, getting set up to watch content from overseas is a straightforward process. Even if you’re not especially tech-savvy, you should be able to sort out your streaming VPN setup in just a few minutes. If you do get stuck on any part of the process, many providers offer troubleshooting FAQs and customer support that can guide you through your concerns.

To watch overseas content with a VPN, start by logging into your account on your chosen streaming service(s). You’ll have to make sure your VPN of choice offers content unblocking for the streaming site you’re accessing. However, the top VPN providers can unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and more. 

Once you’re logged in, launch your VPN app on your device. You’ll then need to choose the server you want to connect to. While there are a few variables to consider while doing this, the primary one is location. You should pick a server that is in a region that would usually have access to the content you want to watch. For example, if you want to access BBC iPlayer, connect to a server in the UK. 

As soon as you’re connected to your VPN server, jump right in and check out your new unblocked library of foreign streaming content. You’ll be able to enjoy movies, tv shows, and sports events from your region of choice as long as you’re covered by your VPN. Once you want to return to your usual streaming library, it’s as easy as swapping back.

The only concern that comes with watching overseas content with a VPN is the possibility that it violates your streaming service’s terms of service. As you’re accessing content that has been geo-blocked for licensing or copyright purposes, you’re liable to have your account terminated if you’re caught and your streaming service decides to take issue with it. Thankfully, the likelihood of this happening is very low.    

Best VPNs in 2024

NordVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

The best streaming VPN across the board

Specifications

Server numbers: 6,300+
# of locations: 140 in over 110 countries
# of simultaneous connections: 10
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers
Streaming platforms: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Reasons to buy

+
Great for streaming, especially in HD or 4K
+
Reliable security 
+
Impressive speeds

Reasons to avoid

-
UI can be awkward to navigate on smaller screens
SUBSCRIBE IF:

✔️ You'd like a top-notch streaming VPN
✔️
You want a suite of privacy tools
✔️
You want value for your money

AVOID IF:

❌ You find it difficult to navigate cramped phone apps
❌ You're on a very tight budget

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Check out the full NordVPN review for a more in-depth look at its features and performance.

NordVPN is my choice for the #1 streaming VPN, and for good reason. Thanks to its 6,300+ servers in 111 countries, it offers an expansive collection of global streaming libraries to choose from. You can enjoy streaming content from across the world from services including Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and a whole lot more.

When it comes to security, you're in the right hands with NordVPN. The service uses AES-256 encryption, which is considered the gold standard of data encryption measures. For reference, a 256-bit encryption key length is used to guard highly sensitive financial information and even top-secret government data.

While you likely don't have anything nearly as high-stakes floating around on your personal devices, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you're getting top-of-the-line security even when streaming on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Thanks to the reliability of NordVPN's kill switch, you don't have to worry about losing that security at any point. All of these impressive features come at a reasonable price too, making NordVPN the perfect bang-for-your-buck streaming VPN.

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NordVPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignMap layout is visually appealing but can appear cluttered on smaller screens⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useGood knowledgebase and 24/7 live chat ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceTop of the line speeds on NordLynx (NordVPN’s WireGuard-based tunneling protocol)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingShowed near limitless content unblocking capabilities in streaming tests⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyDoubly reliable kill switch and a well-defined demonstrable no-logs policy means you don’t have to worry about your security or privacy being compromised⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportFriendly customer support on hand 24/7⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceImpressive value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN services

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

The best streaming VPN for VPN newbies

Specifications

Server numbers: 3,000+
# of locations: 160 in 105 countries
# of simultaneous connections: 8
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers
Streaming platforms: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use app 
+
Attentive customer support team 
+
Strong speeds, ideal for streaming

Reasons to avoid

-
On the expensive side
-
Lacks additional privacy software
SUBSCRIBE IF:

✔️ You'd like an app that's easy to use
✔️
You want a top-of-the-line VPN
✔️
Your privacy is important to you

AVOID IF:

❌ You're on a budget
❌ You want GUI Linux support

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Check out the full ExpressVPN review for a more in-depth look at its features and performance.

While it may be just behind our first pick, ExpressVPN still stands out as one of the top choices for streaming. Firstly, its lightning-fast speeds ensure smooth streaming of HD content without buffering or interruptions. So, whether you're watching movies, TV shows, or live sports, ExpressVPN's reliable performance will offer a great viewing experience.

Alongside connection quality, you also get quantity. ExpressVPN boasts a vast server network spanning 160 locations in 105 countries. This server coverage allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and access a wide range of streaming services from around the globe. Whether you want to watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Disney+, ExpressVPN has you covered with its many server options.

Moreover, ExpressVPN's servers are optimized for streaming, meaning they are specifically configured to deliver the best possible performance when accessing streaming services. This optimization translates to faster connection speeds and smoother streaming experiences for users.

Additionally, ExpressVPN prioritizes user privacy and security, employing AES-256 encryption and a strict no-logs policy. This ensures that your data remains private and secure while streaming content. With ExpressVPN, you can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows with peace of mind, knowing that you're protected.

The combination of blazing-fast speeds, an expansive server network, streaming-optimized servers, and robust security features make it a top-tier streaming VPN. Whether you're binge-watching your favorite series or catching up on the latest blockbuster movies, ExpressVPN ensures a seamless streaming experience from anywhere in the world.

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ExpressVPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignStraightforward, well laid out app⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useVery approachable for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceNot the fastest but still more than fast enough for most scenarios⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingPlenty of servers that can provide unblocking across every streaming service we tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyRAM-only servers and a DNS leak test tool are reassuring for the security/privacy conscious⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportExcellent FAQ section can help with most concerns, but the speedy 24/7 live chat can help you with anything beyond that⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceSlightly more expensive than its competitors⭐⭐⭐

Surfshark VPN on a range of devices

3. Surfshark

The best low cost streaming VPN

Specifications

Server numbers: 3,200+
# of locations: 160 in 100 countries
# of simultaneous connections: Unlimited
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers
Streaming platforms: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use app 
+
Attentive customer support team 
+
Strong speeds, ideal for streaming

Reasons to avoid

-
Kill switch can struggle 
SUBSCRIBE IF:

✔️ You have lots of devices
✔️
You have a need for speed
✔️
You're on a budget

AVOID IF:

❌ You rely on your killswitch heavily

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Check out the full Surfshark review for a more in-depth look at its features and performance.

Surfshark stands out as one of the top choices for streaming VPN services. Firstly, Surfshark offers an extensive network of servers spread across more than 65 countries. This global coverage allows users to easily bypass geo-restrictions and access a wide range of streaming content from around the world, including platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

Surfshark's optimized servers for streaming ensure reliable and fast connections, minimizing buffering and providing a seamless viewing experience. These servers are specifically designed to prioritize streaming traffic, ensuring smooth playback of high-definition content without interruptions.

Unlike many other VPN providers that limit the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously, Surfshark allows you to connect as many devices as you like under a single subscription. This makes it an ideal choice for households with multiple users or people who use multiple devices for streaming.

Its affordability compared to some other streaming VPN services makes it a really attractive option for budget-conscious users. Despite its lower price point, Surfshark doesn't compromise on performance or security, making it a compelling choice for those seeking a reliable streaming VPN solution without breaking the bank.

Overall, Surfshark's combination of a vast server network, optimized streaming servers, unlimited simultaneous connections, and affordability locks in its position as one of the top streaming VPN services available.

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Surfshark test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignClean app design, easy to use and navigate⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useSimple to use, great for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSome of the fastest speeds of any VPN tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingNo problem unlocking popular streaming libraries in many regions⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyStrong encryption but kill switch can be unreliable⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 support is reliable and super helpful, knowledgebase can be a little unwieldy to navigate⭐⭐⭐⭐
PricePerfect for those on a budget⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Proton VPN apps running on Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android devices.

(Image credit: Proton VPN)

4. Proton VPN

The best streaming VPN for the privacy conscious

Specifications

Server numbers: 4,462
# of locations: 119 in 91 countries
# of simultaneous connections: 10
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers
Streaming platforms: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Support: Email ticketing, knowledgebase

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional unblocking
+
Secure Core servers for extra safety
+
Has a free tier

Reasons to avoid

-
On the expensive side
SUBSCRIBE IF:

✔️ You want a service with excellent content unblocking
✔️ You're big on internet freedom
✔️
You want a service with a free tier to try before you buy

AVOID IF:

❌ You need a low-cost plan
❌ Great customer support is your top priority

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Check out the full Proton VPN review for a more in-depth look at its features and performance.

Proton VPN, while not as well-known as some of its competitors, earns its place as the 4th best streaming VPN due to its focus on privacy, security, and reliability. While its primary focus may not be streaming, it still offers several features that make it a solid choice for users looking to access geo-blocked content.

One of Proton VPN's standout features is its Secure Core architecture. This sounds fancy but it's a simple way to boost security by routing user traffic through multiple servers in privacy-friendly jurisdictions. This not only enhances security but also helps bypass geo-blocks by providing users with IP addresses from different locations.

Additionally, Proton VPN offers specialized streaming servers optimized for accessing popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. These servers are designed to provide fast and reliable connections, ensuring a smooth streaming experience without buffering or interruptions.

Proton VPN's commitment to privacy and its strict no-logs policy also means that users can stream content without worrying about their online activities being tracked or logged. 

While Proton VPN's server network may not be as extensive as some of its competitors, it still covers a significant number of countries, allowing users to access a wide range of content from around the globe.

Overall, Proton VPN offers a reliable and secure streaming experience, making it a worthy choice for users prioritizing privacy and security while streaming content online.

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Proton VPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignAttractive, bold design ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useUI is slightly awkward to navigate ⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSuper fast speeds⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingPaid plans unblock streaming libraries with ease⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyStrong security and proven no-logs policy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportNo live chat, but support is still helpful and timely⭐⭐⭐
PriceFree plan is limited and the paid plan is slightly pricey⭐⭐⭐⭐

PIA on a range of devices

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)

5. Private Internet Access

Low cost, high security streaming VPN

Specifications

Server numbers: Exact figure undisclosed
# of locations: 91 countries
# of simultaneous connections: Unlimited
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers
Streaming platforms: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Support: 24/7 live chat, knowledgebase

Reasons to buy

+
Unlimited simultaneous connections
+
Great for security-conscious users
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Level of customizability can be overwhelming
SUBSCRIBE IF:

✔️ You have lots of devices to protect
✔️
You want a low-cost plan
✔️
A server in every US state sounds useful to you

AVOID IF:

❌ You need simplicity
❌ You want the fastest VPN out there

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Check out the full Private Internet Access review for a more in-depth look at its features and performance.

Private Internet Access (PIA) stands out as one of the best streaming VPNs for several reasons. First and foremost, PIA boasts an extensive server network spanning 91 countries, offering users a wide range of options for bypassing geo-restrictions and accessing region-locked content. Whether you're looking to stream movies, TV shows, or sports events from around the world, PIA ensures you can do it with ease.

While PIA's speeds don't quite match up to that of other providers, you can still enjoy high-definition video content without buffering or lag. This is thanks to PIA's robust infrastructure and high-speed connections, which are designed to handle bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming.

PIA also prioritizes user privacy and security, employing AES-256 encryption and a strict no-logs policy to ensure that your online activities remain private and anonymous. This is crucial when streaming content, as it protects your personal information and browsing history from prying eyes.

Another key advantage of PIA as a streaming VPN is its affordability. Despite offering top-notch performance and security features, PIA's subscription plans are competitively priced, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious users who still want access to a premium streaming experience.

Overall, Private Internet Access combines fast and reliable connections, extensive server coverage, robust security features, and affordability, making it one of the best VPNs for streaming content from anywhere in the world. Whether you're a movie buff, a TV show enthusiast, or a sports fan, PIA ensures you can enjoy your favorite content without restrictions.

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Private Internet Access test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignInterface is bogged down by so many options ⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useAimed towards tech-savvy VPN users, not especially beginner friendly⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceNot as fast as other VPNs but this shouldn't pose an issue for most users⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks a wide variety of services in almost every region you'd need⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyProven no-logs policy and top-of-the-line security ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportArticles on the knowledgebase could offer more detail and guidance to new users, but customer support team are helpful and prompt⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceVery competitively priced, one of the cheapest on the market⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to pick a VPN to watch overseas content

When selecting a VPN for streaming content overseas, there are a few key factors you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth and reliable experience. 

Server Coverage: Look for a VPN provider with a wide range of servers in different countries, particularly in the region where the specific content you want to access is located. The more server locations available, the better your chances of finding one that works for your specific streaming needs.

Performance: Streaming requires a good internet connection and fast speeds to avoid buffering and lags. Choose a VPN that offers high-speed servers and has a reputation for reliable performance.

Unblocking Capabilities: Not all VPNs can bypass geo-restrictions imposed by streaming services. Choose a VPN based on its ability to reliably unblock content from your favorite streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.

Security and Privacy: While streaming, your online privacy and security should remain a top priority. Ensure the VPN you choose offers strong encryption, a no-logs policy, and other security features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Compatibility: Make sure the VPN works on all your devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. As well as that, make sure to check if the VPN allows multiple simultaneous connections so you can stream on different devices at the same time.

User-Friendly Interface: A user-friendly interface and easy-to-use apps make the streaming experience more enjoyable. Look for VPNs with intuitive interfaces and apps that are simple to set up and navigate.

Customer Support: In case you encounter any problems while streaming or setting up the VPN, reliable customer support can be invaluable. Choose a VPN provider that offers responsive customer support through live chat or other methods like email or phone.

Pricing: Compare the pricing plans of different VPN providers and choose one that fits your budget while offering the features you need. There are plenty of great discounts you can get to make the best deal you can.

With these things in mind, you can select a VPN that best suits your needs for streaming content overseas while ensuring a secure and seamless experience.

How we test streaming VPNs

At Tom’s Guide, we like to be as thorough and fair as we can when testing any VPN. To reproduce the average customer's experience as closely as possible, we make sure to register for our subscription anonymously. This way, providers can't deliver any special treatment just because they know they're being tested.

Once we access the VPN service, these are the main areas we pay attention to in our tests: 

App: Everything starts with installing and opening the VPN app. We like to complete this process across multiple platforms to ensure that no matter where you're using your VPN, the experience   

Unblocking capabilities: This is the most important element of a streaming VPN, and so, we put a real focus on browsing the libraries of pretty much every popular streaming service we can think of. Each time we do this, we connect to a server in a different region. This way, we can form a clear picture of each service's content-unblocking abilities. 

Security: In testing the security of each VPN, we consider what tunneling protocols and encryption methods 

Speed: We don't expect you to have to sacrifice speed for security. To confirm you’re getting the best balance of both, we measure the performance of each VPN across a 24-hour period. 

Privacy: If you've chosen to subscribe to a VPN, the last thing you want is a privacy breach, We read the fine print on each provider’s private policy so we feel confident that your data is safe. As well as this, we check out the results of any third-party audits each company has received.

Streaming VPNs FAQs

What's the best streaming VPN?

The best streaming VPN for watching content overseas is NordVPN. As well as having robust security features, NordVPN offers a wide range of servers across the world, providing you with lots of options when it comes to streaming content from around the world.

NordVPN unblocks a whole host of streaming services and is especially useful as a Netflix VPN. Thanks to its speedy performance, you won't have to worry about buffering or quality issues too.

Can I use a free streaming VPN?

There are a number of VPN providers out there that offer free VPN services or a free tier. However, opting for one of these usual means accepting in-app ads and reduced functionality. Not choosing a reliable VPN provider also leaves you at greater risk of having your data breached.

For this reason, it's best to avoid using a VPN to stream content overseas. If you are especially budget-conscious, consider low-cost VPN plans like those from Surfshark or Private Internet Access. Alternatively, you can try out a free trial of a full service to get a sense of whether it's worth it.

Disclaimer

We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another