Best VPN for Streaming

A fast and reliable VPN service makes streaming a breeze.
  • NordVPN
    Monthly price
    $11.95/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    5,500+
  • MullvadVPN
    Monthly price
    $5.41/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    600+
  • Hotspot Shield
    Monthly price
    Free
    Number of VPN servers
    3,200+
  • Private Internet Access
    Monthly price
    $9.95/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    3,300+
  • Surfshark
    Monthly price
    $11.95/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    1,700+

When it comes to streaming media and using a VPN (virtual private network) service, there are two primary considerations. Speed and reliability.

Let’s talk about speed for a second. If the VPN client provides the security and privacy you need but tends to make Netflix or Hulu stream at a slower speed, it’s not helpful.

Every VPN adds encryption to your Internet connection and some bandwidth overhead, but a few tend to also run lightning fast.

Another big consideration is reliability. If you sit down for movie night with the family and can’t find a good connection for the VPN, it ruins the experience for everyone. Not every VPN offers the reliability and trusted connection, and some can even be flaky and unreliable at best.

Fortunately, we’ve found the best VPNs for streaming that offer fast upload and download speeds and a high number of servers all over the globe. Even if you travel to Spain for a week or visit Brazil (assuming the pandemic crisis is dissipating), these top picks offer the fastest speeds and the highest number of servers we’ve found.

Movie night will go as planned.

Best VPN for streaming comparison
BrandPriceSpeed testNumber of serversDetails
NordVPN$11.95/mo.132 Mbps5,500+View Plans
MullvadVPN$5.41/mo.90 Mbps 600+View Plans
Hotspot Shield$12.99/mo.83 Mbps 3,200+View Plans
Private Internet Access$9.95/mo.65 Mbps 3,300+View Plans
Surfshark $11.95/mo.60 Mbps 1,700+ View Plans

Data effective 5/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

1: NordVPN

The fastest VPN according to an independent test.

NordVPN consistently ranks high as a top VPN overall, and scored above many of its competitors in our own evaluation. With an average speed of 132 Mbps, you can connect to YouTube, HBO Now, or other streaming content, find a speedy connection for torrents, and trust that you’ll have access to Netflix for 4K video streaming without any hiccups.

NordVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceSpeed testNumber of VPN serversDetails
NordVPN$11.95/mo.132 Mbps5,500+View Plans

Data effective 5/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is NordVPN best for?

  • Fastest speeds according to an independent test
  • High number of server locations
  • Overall top pick for quality and a professional interface
  • Mobile VPN app available

Check out our NordVPN review for more information.

2: MullvadVPN

Mullvad ranks second in overall speed.

Mullvad VPN uses a quirky interface that sticks out from the pack. However, that’s not the number one reason to consider using it for streaming. An independent test found that the average speed of 90 Mbps is second-best of the VPN services tested. That’s speedy enough to stream 4K movies, watch entire seasons of Lost in Space on Netflix, or download movies from your favorite legal media storage site.

MullvadVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceSpeed testNumber of VPN serversDetails
MullvadVPN$5.41/mo.90 Mbps 600+View Plans

Data effective 5/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is MullvadVPN best for?

  • Super fast connection at 90 Mbps on average
  • High number of server locations
  • Quirky and fun interface

Check out our Mullvad VPN review for more information.

3: Hotspot Shield

Ranked third-highest in speed at 83 Mbps.

Hotspot Shield is one of those high-quality, professional VPNs you can trust. It’s also lightning fast. The average speed of 83 Mbps means a steady and reliable connection for streaming movies on Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, or whichever app you choose. With that speed, you can also download 4K movies from legal sites that distribute content without having to wait for your connection to keep up. Other VPN services add too much overhead to the connection and make HD streaming more of a chore.

Hotspot Shield plans and prices
PlanPriceSpeed testNumber of VPN serversDetails
Hotspot Shield$12.99/mo.83 Mbps 3,200+View Plans

Data effective 5/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is Hotspot Shield best for?

  • Professional VPN from a reliable company
  • Third-highest speed test of 83 Mbps on average
  • Good selection of server locations

Check out our Hotspot Shield VPN review for more information.

4: Private Internet Access

Another speedy VPN service that’s well-known and reliable.

One thing that’s helpful with any VPN service is when the brand is well-known and reliable. Private Internet Access is one of the most trusted VPN providers around. With an average speed of 65 Mbps, it’s also plenty fast. We like the higher-than-normal number of server connections as well, and Private Internet Access tends to run smoothly and without any hiccups according to our own evaluation of features and services.

Private Internet Access plans and prices
PlanPriceSpeed testNumber of VPN serversDetails
Private Internet Access$9.95/mo.65 Mbps 3,300+View Plans

Data effective 5/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is Private Internet Access best for?

  • Reliable and well-known VPN service
  • Fast connection at 65 Mbps on average
  • High number of VPN servers available

Check out our Private Internet Access VPN review for more information.

5: Surfshark

Ranking high in terms of bandwidth, Surfshark is also fun to use.

Surfshark is another fun, quirky VPN service.

The professional interface makes this VPN service easier to use than most. It ranks fifth on our list of best VPN services for streaming for testing out at 60 Mbps on average. That’s not as high as our number one pick which provides about double that amount of bandwidth (NordVPN tested at 130 Mbps on average), but it is still pretty speedy without compromising the security you’re looking for in a VPN.

Plus, there’s a cartoon shark as the mascot. Who doesn’t love that?

Surfshark plans and prices
PlanPriceSpeed testNumber of VPN serversDetails
Surfshark$11.95/mo.60 Mbps 1,700+ View Plans

Data effective 5/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is Surfshark best for?

  • Fun and quirky interface
  • Fast and reliable connection
  • High number of VPN servers available

Check out our Surfshark review for more information.

Price Tag icon
What about a free VPN service?
Free VPN services are hard to come by because they can be… questionable. We suggest sticking with a paid VPN provider. But you can always try a free trial first.

Note: (Hotspot Shield also has a free VPN basic package, but it’s limited to 2 Mbps.)

Why you should get a VPN for streaming.

You never know when the “need to stream” will hit you. During the coronavirus lockdown, many of us are in a lockdown situation or stuck at home working. The explosive growth of Netflix has meant there are now tons of interesting and appealing shows, movies, documentaries, and other media options out there.

A streaming VPN gives you flexibility

If you stream a lot, you’ll benefit from having access to a vast number of servers. That’s because you never know where you might need to connect. By switching to an IP address in Chicago, for example, you might find a more consistent and reliable connection. If you travel overseas, you can connect to a server in a foreign country and trust that you can not only stream at high speeds but with added security. And, you can connect to a server in the United States to keep streaming Netflix even if you are in a foreign country.

When the Disney+ network launched recently, media streamers went a bit nuts. With a show like The Mandalorian, about a mercenary in the Star Wars universe who never takes off his helmet, you might decide to lock yourself in a room and watch every episode.

Fortunately, a VPN service gives you that flexibility. You can pick the server that works best for your area of the world or let the VPN pick it for you automatically. Then, you can sit back and trust that your connection is secure and reliable for an entire season.

A streaming VPN keeps you secure

Media streaming is one of those online activities that does open all of us up to hacking. For starters, criminals are always on patrol looking for accounts they can sell to the highest bidder on the Dark Web. They prowl around looking for users who don’t encrypt their Internet connection or IP address, or who transmit credit card data over an open feed on social media. They know how to use an IP address to capture the Wi-Fi signal coming from a laptop you are using to watch Hulu and, if it’s unencrypted by a VPN, they can steal your personal info.

Get a streaming VPN that won’t slow you down

Maybe you are not the target for hacking, but there are many other benefits to using a top-tier VPN provider. One is related to speed. Experts suggest that most VPN services add about 5-10% of overhead to a connection, thanks to that extra security protecting your sensitive data. A lesser VPN can add as much as 20% of extra bandwidth.

Our top picks run at lightning speeds, even with the added security precautions. Our top pick is NordVPN, and it runs at a blazing 132 Mbps on average. That’s fast enough to download a 4K movie quickly even though you’re still using a VPN. It’s also fast enough to perform a data backup from a laptop of an entire movie collection.

Maintain access to your paid streaming platforms

One last benefit to think about. You should not use a VPN for illegal streaming. There are times, however, when you might need to access your paid streaming platforms, movies, and shows that aren’t available at your current location.

The most obvious example here is Netflix streaming, which has tight country restrictions. You may have a legitimate account and want to connect while you’re traveling overseas. By selecting a server in your area, you can keep right on streaming as much as you want. The best picks for a VPN all offer a wide array of servers all over the world in many countries to choose from.

The VPN you use doesn’t have to interfere with your streaming. It can even enhance how you watch movies and shows, and from where you do that.

Recap: What’s the best VPN for streaming?

We recommend using NordVPN for steaming. It’s the fastest VPN and it won’t compromise your security—not to mention it has over 5,500 servers to connect to worldwide.

Media streaming is all about speed and reliability. If the network bandwidth is too low once you start using the VPN and add the encryption, look out. It will ruin movie streaming night. However, with enough speed and connections available, you can stream Netflix and Hulu in 4K without issues.

Additional contributors

Chyelle Dvorak