If you haven’t yet armed your computer or mobile devices with a quality VPN service, now is the time to get involved. With lockdowns continuing across the world, we’re relying on safe data transmission now like never before.
But it’s not all about working from home, a VPN not only secures your online activity, but it also allows you to unlock content from around the world for your streaming pleasure—what better way to while away all those extra home-based hours!
Here, we’re going over the best VPNs for streaming TV and movies in 2020 including:
All our choices have their benefits, but our personal favorite has to be ExpressVPN for its speed, number of servers, and excellent customer service.
Reviews: The 5 Best VPNs for Streaming in 2020
Rated by PC Mag Australia as “Excellent,” ExpressVPN is known and loved for its broad range of geographically diverse servers—something you’ll need for the very best streaming prospects. The company boasts more than 3,000 VPN servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, that’s 30 odd more countries than our second pick, Nord VPN.
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to streaming options because ExpressVPN has so many servers in so many different countries. Connect to Australia to unlock content from SBS and ABC or watch AFL. Then switch to the US for a broad range of Netflix shows. The possibilities are endless.
The VPN provider’s software is user-friendly, and newbies have no issues downloading the app or navigating the simple, clean interface. Tech-savvy users are catered to as well. Unusually, ExpressVPN offers apps or installation instructions for a huge number of platforms, so if you’re looking to secure every single web-connected device you own, you’re off to a good start here.
- Plenty of servers across the world and in more countries than other VPNs we reviewed
- ExpressVPN even has servers in countries with repressive internet freedoms including Russia and Turkey
- Excellent customer service and easy in-app contact options
- Easy to navigate interface, suitable for the least tech-savvy among us
- Works with BBC iPlayer and Netflix
- Each subscription supports up to three devices
- ExpressVPN also offers VPN routers to secure your home network and all connected devices
- Multiple payment options available including Bitcoin, Alipay, and PayPal
- Not the cheapest VPN out there, but you certainly get what you pay for, and your ExpressVPN app won’t bug you with upgrade options every five minutes
NordVPN is historically one of the most popular VPN services on the market. With 5,700 servers, it has a decent network, but it does only cover 60 countries. Some of the more advanced features include double encryption and obfuscated servers to provide an extra level of privacy and security that helps bypass China’s restrictions and other restricted networks.
The NordVPN app is quite large as it incorporates a world map from which you select a server. It’s not as neat and tidy as some other VPN apps, and it takes up a lot of desktop space when using the Windows client. Considering there’s a list of countries on the left-hand side, the map seems pretty redundant.
NordVPN is available for iOS, Windows, and Linux and can be used as an extension for all the major browsers. As well as Netflix, the VPN works well with other streaming websites, including Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
- NordVPN is much faster than it used to be
- Unlocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon and most other popular streaming sites
- Each subscription allows you to install NordVPN on six different devices
- Double encryption
- Fast response time from customer services through 24/7 live chat support
- NordVPN offers some good deals for longer subscriptions, but you have to search for them.
- More advanced users may be disappointed when trying to access smaller streaming sites, such as DAZN
- Fees are higher if you purchase directly from its homepage
- The app and desktop client could be much cleaner and offer a better user experience
- Doesn’t accept PayPal
CyberGhost has been working hard over the past year and has nearly doubled the number of VPN servers to 7,000 across 90 countries. That said, it’s still far off our first choice, ExpressVPN.
What sets CyberGhost apart is the way its app and desktop client are organized. Servers are arranged into sections for streaming and downloading, making it easy to select the right server for a particular task. Within the streaming section, each server is then clearly labeled according to the service they unlock, such as “Streaming Netflix US” and “Streaming SBS Australia.”
Thanks to a crowdsourcing campaign, CyberGhost has become the first company to create its self-managed no-spy servers. This basically means it’s on the way to having full control over its servers without having to rely on third-parties.
- A good option for torrenting
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Each subscription supports up to seven devices
- Easy to set up
- Organized and labeled servers make it easy to find the best one for a particular task
- Payment accepted through credit card, PayPal, and Bitcoin
- CyberGhost has difficulty getting past the Great Firewall of China
- Live chat support is not available 24/7 and email response times are longer than other VPN services
- Connection times can be slow
VyprVPN operates a decent-sized network with around 700 servers throughout 64 countries. More importantly, it owns and manages all its servers without relying on third-parties, which means good security. The VPN allows you to unlock most major streaming sites, including Netflix, Eurosport, Hulu, and DAZN.
Still, unfortunately, there seems to be an issue with some country-specific services, such as those in France and Japan.
Both the website and app are simple to use, and the site has a great range of tutorials to help users get started and manually set up a VPN on any device. However, VyprVPN does not offer browser extensions having discontinued them a couple of years ago.
In late 2018, VyprVPN moved to a strict no-logs policy providing more privacy and anonymity. Although the company doesn’t encourage torrenting, the no-logs policy means it’s unable to provide useful information to potential Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests.
- VyprVPN owns its servers
- Supports up to five devices
- Offers a free three-day trial
- Excellent price point and discounts available
- Fast customer service through live chat support
- Unlocks most major streaming websites
- Very slow at times especially when compared to ExpressVPN
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
- Some customers experience kill switch issues
- VyprVPN unlocks Netflix US, Canada, UK, and Germany but seems to struggle with France and Japan
- Cannot be used with Linux
For beginners to the VPN world, IPVanish offers an easy interface to learn and understand what a VPN can really do. It’s quick and easy to download, and set-up guides are provided for every platform. When logging in for the first time, new users can go through a detailed tutorial that will show them the ropes.
IPVanish is another company that manages its servers and currently has 1,300 across 75 countries. Each subscription allows you to connect up to 10 devices, which is generous and good news for small businesses and large families.
The biggest downside to using IPVanish is that it doesn’t bypass all VPN blocks. For example, Netflix US, Vudu, ESPN, and HBO Go can all be streamed through US servers, but BBC iPlayer can’t be unlocked, even through UK servers. For that reason, it’s last on our list of the best VPNs for streaming.
However, IPVanish allows unlimited P2P connections, which means it’s a good option for those wanting to torrent anonymously.
- An easy-to-use interface makes it great for beginners
- Each subscription supports up to 10 devices
- Addon available for KODI
- Unlocks Netflix
- Includes 250GB of web storage
- Great VPN for torrenting
- Good customer service
- Also available as a router VPN
- A very stingy 7-day money-back guarantee
- Expensive if subscribing on a month-to-month basis
- Doesn’t unlock BBC iPlayer
- Some features of the app are best described as simply awkward
- Infrequent updates
- Can’t get over the Great Firewall of China
- Kill switch only available with iOS and Windows
Why You Need A VPN?
We live in a world where everything is connected. From online banking and gaming to working from home and watching TV, data is constantly being transferred through smartphones, computers, and other digital devices. Finding ways to keep information secure and private has never been more important, and that’s where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in.
By routing your digital traffic through specialized servers, VPNs create a secure connection and encrypt data to hide and protect your activity from hackers. In short, a VPN minimizes exposure and keeps you shielded from online threats when surfing the web.
Plus, when you have freedom over your IP address, you can conquer a world of previously unavailable content.
VPNs offer much more than just added security. In this age of streaming services, we have access to more TV and movie content than ever before. Unfortunately, many of these services are location-specific or “geo-blocked.”
For example, Netflix US is only available if you live in the United States, and you can only access BBC iPlayer from within the UK. A VPN allows users to be located in whichever country they want at the touch of a button. They fool geo-locked websites into thinking they’re being accessed from the right geographical region.
What to Consider When Buying A VPN?
So, now you know how useful a VPN can be, it’s time to decide which to invest in.
A quick search on the internet reveals that hundreds currently available. So with so much choice, how do you narrow down the pack?
Decide What Features Are Important to You
Figuring out what you need your VPN to do is the first step to narrowing down the field. Each company prioritizes something from speed and encryption to anonymity.
If you plan on streaming movies and TV shows, it’s important to find one with reliable connections, high speed, and unlimited bandwidth. Bear in mind that not all VPNs can bypass geo-locked content.
So, if you want to access streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or Amazon Prime Video, look for a VPN like ExpressVPN that can unlock pretty much everything!
Buying a VPN that offers simultaneous connections means that you can install the VPN on multiple devices with the same subscription. If everyone in your household has more than one device, you might want to consider a VPN router to secure the whole network.
Frequent travelers who rely on public wifi networks need to look for a VPN with servers in a large number of countries and offers excellent security. For those who value their privacy, a VPN that offers secure encryption and doesn’t retain logs should be the priority.
A Quick Word on China
Some of the pros and cons of our featured VPN providers mention China.
The Chinese government is renowned for limiting internet services, and blocking website content, earning its policy the nickname of the Great Firewall of China. A VPN is essential if you live, work, or travel in China to tackle restrictions and censorship laws.
Number and Location of Servers
The more servers a VPN has, the better it will perform on a global scale. To allow a large number of users to connect and use its service, a company needs the ability to handle the traffic well. A greater number of servers results in users getting more bandwidth and faster speeds when connected.
As a VPN works by disguising your location, always look for a VPN that’s present in numerous countries. It’s no good if you want to unlock SBS or ABC, but your VPN doesn’t have a presence in Australia. Finding a provider with servers across the world ensures you can stream content from whichever country you choose.
The majority of VPNs are compatible with the main platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android.
If you use an Android phone but use a Windows laptop, check that your VPN of choice supports both platforms.
Some VPNs have a complex setup and complicated user interface. If you’re not the tech-savvy type, you’ll want to find a VPN that has simple procedures, and easy-to-use interface, or even a virtual setup where everything’s done for you.
Our top pick, ExpressVPN, has an interface even the least technologically aware user can navigate.
Price and Payment Plans
For what they offer, VPNs are not that pricey, but costs do vary depending on features. Renewing a subscription every month works out as more expensive than signing up for a year or more. A positive to come out of the lockdown is that companies know users are stuck at home during this time, and many are currently offering large discounts.
Payment options can also vary. Some VPNs accept Bitcoin and other anonymous payment methods, while others allow you to purchase gift cards without providing personal information. These options are great for staying invisible and maintaining your privacy.
Are Free VPNs Safe to Use?
Free VPNs can seem very tempting but are not something we would recommend.
Free usually means slow speeds, limited bandwidth, iffy security, and a bombardment of ads every couple of minutes. Plus, if the company isn’t making enough from ad revenue, how do you know it’s not selling your data?
With high-quality VPNs costing less than your Netflix subscription per month, it’s not worth taking the risk and using something that could leave you open to attack.
Some VPN companies give you the chance to “try before you buy,” but this is usually limited to a day or two. Luckily, most offer a money-back guarantee, so you don’t get stuck with a product you don’t like or want.
It does mean that you will have to sign up to a contract and pay a subscription fee upfront. Look for a VPN that promises a refund within a set amount of time and allows you to get out of your contract easily. Our five featured suppliers all offer some form of a money-back guarantee.
Reliable Customer Service
Most people overlook customer services when it comes to research. However, VPNs are continually changing, and it’s crucial to be able to contact someone, no matter the issue you’re facing.
Having to email and raise tickets can take hours or even days to receive a response. For prompt customer service and an answer in minutes, we prefer a provider who offers a 24/7 live chat option.
In these strange times, more and more of us will be working from home and using the internet to keep ourselves amused and occupied. Now is the time to invest in a VPN and ensure your data and devices are hidden from prying eyes. They’re also a great way to get around regional restrictions so you can stream your favorite box set.
For secure surfing and speedy streaming, ExpressVPN is our top pick. It will help you stay hidden, stay safe, and keep you entertained for hours on end!
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.