Best VPN in 2022 for unblocking your favorite platforms

Geo-restricted content is a thing of the past for vacationers and expats alike, thanks to the best streaming VPN for accessing services like Disney Plus, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer.

Best VPN in 2022 for unblocking your favorite platforms
Best VPN in 2022

While the best VPN has many features that help improve your device's security and online anonymity, one of the most exciting is its ability to bypass geo-restricted content blocks and allow users to access it from anywhere in the world. That's exactly what the best streaming VPN can provide - but how?

Each VPN's network contains hundreds, if not thousands, of servers located all over the world. By connecting to one of these servers, your IP address is changed, making it appear as if you're browsing from a different location. The best streaming VPN is the tool to have in your back pocket, whether you're hopping on a local server to circumvent blocks in your school or workplace so you can watch YouTube, or you're abroad and want to tune into a live stream back home through your native broadcaster. 

These providers ensure that you can watch Prime Video, Disney Plus, YouTube, Hulu, Peacock, and other streaming services no matter where you are in the world, as detailed below. Best VPN FREE

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What is a VPN?

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are software or apps that allow you to access the internet through secure, encrypted tunnels. For many people, getting a VPN service is all about privacy; you may want to use it to keep your online activities completely hidden from prying eyes such as your ISP (which is especially useful for torrents) or even your government.

However, because the best VPNs also allow you to change your IP address to that of a different city or country, these services have become much more popular. VPNs are ideal for streamers who want to access a vast library of shows and films, or who want to watch a sporting event in a location where they wouldn't otherwise be able to.

While an online Best VPN will allow you to use the internet in the way you've become accustomed if you're on vacation and find your favorite app is blocked (consider some of the internet censorship in Cuba, Turkey, China, and even Canada), it will not allow you to use the internet in the way you've become accustomed.

With services like Netflix and countries like Russia becoming increasingly hostile to VPNs, knowing which provider is the most powerful is critical. While there's a lot more information about the software further down the page.

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The best VPN services for you in 2022

The best streaming VPN on the market

SPECIFICATIONS
Number of servers: 3,000+
Server locations: 160
Maximum devices supported: 5
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
REASONS TO BUY
+
Large server network
+
Unblocks Netflix and other major streaming sites
+
Great security features
REASONS TO AVOID
-
Only supports 5 devices

ExpressVPN is certainly the best in the business and once again tops one of our guides as the best streaming VPN available to meet all your needs. With exceptional unblocking prowess, nifty features, and great performance, it ticks all our boxes.

When you dive right in, you'll find ExpressVPN has a robust network of 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries. You'll be able to access virtually any streaming platform from here. Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, ESPN Plus, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer have all performed admirably in our tests. It even manages to keep its Netflix access, which many of the others on this list have lost since Netflix cracked down on the use of VPNs and IP addresses.

Its speeds are also above average, reaching 570-580Mbps thanks to its own Lightway protocol, which is more than enough to eliminate the dreaded buffering screen and have no effect on your connection speeds.

ExpressVPN also includes a kill switch, private DNS, 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and comprehensive privacy guides, among other security and privacy features. There are apps for almost every operating system, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and even routers, but you can only connect up to 5 devices at a time.

If you ever have a question, you can use the live chat feature, which is available 24/7, and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to cancel.

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The best speedy streaming VPN

SPECIFICATIONS
Number of servers: 1,400+
Server locations: 60+ countries
Maximum devices supported: Up to 10
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu
REASONS TO BUY
+
Unblocks Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video
+
Incredibly fast WireGuard speeds
+
REASONS TO AVOID
-
Have to pay for the Plus plan for streaming unblocking
-
No Fire TV or Apple TV clients yet

ProtonVPN's Plus plan, a new addition to our list of the best streaming VPNs, delivers on both unblocking and speed. The ability to use 10 simultaneous connections is the icing on the cake now that the number of devices has been doubled.

This is fantastic news for avid streamers, as ProtonVPN makes it relatively simple to bypass geo-restrictions on the most popular streaming platforms. It supports BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus, making it possible to tune into your preferred broadcaster while traveling outside of the country and not miss a single episode of your favorite TV show or a live sporting event.

Netflix has become increasingly difficult to access, but ProtonVPN is one of the few that can get into the UK, US, and Canadian libraries, with a few hiccups in Australia and Japan. It's also a great Netflix VPN because of this.

WireGuard has given the provider a significant boost in performance, with speeds ranging from 720 to 740 Mbps. Streamers will be less likely to be plagued by a vexing buffering screen as a result of this.

Furthermore, for those looking to stream anonymously, ProtonVPN offers a variety of security features, including an extremely effective kill switch and feature-rich and audited open source apps.

With a boost to its server network, there are now over 1,400 servers spread across 61 countries, making streaming much easier no matter where you are in the world.

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3. NORDVPN

A highly secure VPN for streaming

SPECIFICATIONS
Number of servers: 5,200+
Server locations: 59 countries
Maximum devices supported: 6
Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
REASONS TO BUY
+
Pretty cheap
+
Big server network
+
Great security features
REASONS TO AVOID
-
Apps may be on the basic side 
What we like best about NordVPN is that it was built with security and privacy in mind, which is ideal for those who want to unblock content without worrying about third parties spying on them.
NordVPN has over 5,100 servers in 59 countries that can deliver impressive speeds, so you won't have any trouble accessing content from anywhere in the world. Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, DAZN, and other streaming services are available through NordVPN. Netflix is a little more difficult for NordVPN to access. If you want to unblock Netflix in the United States, you'll have to look elsewhere. Other than that, NordVPN allowed access to other foreign libraries.

NordVPN prioritizes security and privacy, with features like Double VPN (which routes internet traffic through two servers), malware protection, a DNS leak test, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch. You can also use your account on up to 6 devices and choose from a variety of affordable subscription plans. On top of that, you'll have access to 24/7 customer service and have 30 days to request a refund.

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The best value streaming VPN

SPECIFICATIONS
Number of servers: 3,200+
Server locations: 65 countries
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
REASONS TO BUY
+
Super cheap
+
Unlimited devices
+
Unblocks major streaming platforms
REASONS TO AVOID
-
Privacy policy could be more detailed 

Surfshark is a good option if you don't want to spend a lot of money but still get a lot of bang for your buck. It's not only one of the best VPNs available, but it also gives you the best bang for your buck.

Surfshark has over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, allowing you to unblock Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DAZN, and a variety of other streaming services. One of our favorite features of Surfshark is that it supports an unlimited number of devices, allowing you to stream content across all of your devices. Fast servers, unlimited content, and apps for a variety of operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, are also great features for streaming.

Surfshark also excels in security and privacy, safeguarding users against online threats such as malware, phishing, trackers, and advertisements. There's also 256-bit encryption, a whitelisted, kill switch, a no-logs policy, private DNS, and leak protection. The cheapest plan costs $2.49/£2 per month, but it's worth noting that there's a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer service if you're unhappy with the service.

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A huge network of servers allows streaming worldwide

SPECIFICATIONS
Number of servers: 26,000+
Server locations: 78 countries
Maximum devices supported: 10
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus
REASONS TO BUY
+
A huge network of servers
+
Good value for money
+
Unblocks all top streaming services
REASONS TO AVOID
-
Only unblocks US Netflix
-
WireGuard speeds below average

Private Internet Access has been added to the best streaming VPN buying guide after adding BBC iPlayer to its list of websites it can unblock. Along with Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus, Private Internet Access has had some success unblocking US Netflix, though you'll need to look elsewhere closer to the top of this list if you want to bypass any other geo-locks for other foreign Netflix libraries.

Still, if you've exhausted Netflix and are looking for geo-unblocking elsewhere, it's a great option for streaming, with a variety of clients for various devices that we recommend, including its iPad Best VPN.

In addition, a new, less expensive 3-year plan has been added, which is ideal if you want to lower your monthly rate and are willing to commit to Private Internet Access for a longer period of time. With a massive network of 10,000+ servers spanning 78 countries, you should be able to find the right location for you, connect to the server, and bypass any geo-restricted content no matter where you are in the world.

It's worth noting that it's not the fastest VPN available when compared to other options. The OpenVPN speeds of Private Internet Access ranged from 190 to 300Mbps. WireGuard's performance was slightly better, at 430Mbps, though this is still well below the industry average, with NordVPN and ProtonVPN taking the lead. Nonetheless, these figures should be sufficient for streaming without causing any issues.

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6. CyberGhost

Feature-packed clients and impressive configurability

SPECIFICATIONS

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux 

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, iPlayer  

24/7 support: Yes 

Trial period: 45 days 

Number of servers: 7,500+ 

Server locations: 105+ 

Countries: 91 

Maximum devices supported: 7

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent performance levels

+

Loads of features

+

Speedy live chat help

+

Lots of locations

REASONS TO AVOID

-

No security audit

-

The odd usability issue

A virtual private network For a long time, CyberGhost has been a firm favorite of ours, and its user base of over ten million subscribers comes as no surprise. With over 7,000 servers spread across 90 countries, apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, torrents allowed, and quick live chat support, the company excels at the basics.

CyberGhost shines regardless of the device you intend to use it on. A sea of fantastic features and functionality lies beneath its clean, easy-to-use interface. If you're looking to stream or torrent, for example, it will quickly connect you to the appropriate server.

Extra touches, such as the Smart Rules panel, show that CyberGhost's engineers have given the user experience a lot of thought. When you boot up your computer, it allows you to automatically connect to your preferred server and launch a specific app (such as your default browser in incognito mode). It's a genuinely useful bonus.

We need to take a moment to highlight the speeds that CyberGhost demonstrated in our most recent tests. When we switched to the WireGuard protocol, we saw connection speeds that rivaled NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Website unblocking has always been a strong suit of CyberGhost's, and we're happy to report that it's improved even more in our streaming tests. Through its servers, we were able to access US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus. While we were unable to access exclusive Netflix content in Canada and the United Kingdom, this is not unusual for VPNs in 2022.

We'd like to see CyberGhost smooth out a few of the rough edges we saw in order to break into the top five. It irritates us that after you've registered your seven devices, you have to deregister one before you can use CyberGhost on another computer, phone, or another gadget and that the Windows app keeps shtum when it disconnects.

CyberGhost is still worth a closer look, thanks to a generous 45-day money-back guarantee and reasonable pricing (especially if you're willing to commit). You're in the hands of an organization that constantly seeks to push the envelope, with parent company Kape showing increasing ambition in the cybersecurity field (we mentioned its purchase of ExpressVPN above).

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7. Hotspot Shield

A strong VPN service that has been overtaken by others

SPECIFICATIONS

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

Streaming sites unblocked: iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

24/7 support: Yes

Trial period: 45 days

Number of servers: 1,800+

Server locations: 110+

Countries: 80+

Maximum devices supported: 5

REASONS TO BUY

+

Fast connection speeds

+

Super-easy to use

+

P2P support

+

Excellent exclusive pricing

REASONS TO AVOID

-

Speeds no longer market leading

-

Would welcome more privacy peace-of-mind

The premium VPN from Hotspot Shield gives you full access to 1,800+ servers in over 80 countries, support for up to five devices, 24/7 customer support, and, of course, no ads. It's yet more proof that paying a few dollars a month for a better VPN experience is well worth it, especially when you consider the special pricing available only to TechRadar readers.

Hotspot Shield's proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, which helps deliver some of the fastest and most consistent download speeds around, has been a major selling point for a few years now. However, it has recently stood still,' and services that use WireGuard or have their own proprietary protocols (such as ExpressVPN's Lightway or Nord's NordLynx) have now surpassed Hotspot in terms of outright speed.

Hotspot has added functionality to support use on routers, Linux, and TV streamers, in addition to being able to run the service on devices where you can use its native Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS apps. A SmartVPN feature, which allows you to choose which websites are bypassed by the VPN, is also a welcome addition, especially if you only want to use your VPN for shopping, banking, streaming, and so on.

Hotspot unblocks most of the major streaming services if you just want a VPN to help you stream more diverse content. Unfortunately, Netflix's recent strategy of blocking IP proxies is working quite well, and Hotspot Shield is currently useless as a Netflix VPN.

We'd like to see Hotspot bring in some independent auditors to verify its logging practices in order to get back to the top of this chart. Particularly given that the provider admits to logging Best VPN sessions, bandwidth, domains visited, and IP addresses. All of these are justified on Hotspot's website, but we'd appreciate an auditor's opinion. Its iOS app could also use some work, as it doesn't quite match the high-quality desktop or Android experience.

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8. IPVanish

A really solid VPN solution - but streamers should look elsewhere

SPECIFICATIONS

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu

24/7 support: Yes

Trial period: 30 days

Number of servers: 2,000+

Server locations: 75+

Countries: 50+

Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

REASONS TO BUY

+

Owns and manages its own servers

+

Powerful, configurable apps

+

WireGuard option has electrified speeds

+

Reliable security features

REASONS TO AVOID

-

Patchy streaming unblocking

-

Bit pricey

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For years, IPVanish has been a consistent performer in our Best VPN tests. The following are some of the service's impressive statistics: Unmetered P2P traffic, unlimited simultaneous connections, and 24/7 customer support. 40,000+ shared IPs, 1,900+ VPN servers (and growing) in 70+ locations, unmetered P2P traffic, unlimited simultaneous connections, and 24/7 customer support. On the subject of customer service, we like that you can get it right from your Android or iOS app.

When you first start using IPVanish, there's something about it that feels safe. The reassuring graphs and charts in the desktop app are most likely to blame. But don't worry, it's not just about appearances: IPVanish has the security smarts (AES-256 encryption, kill switch, DNS, and IPv6 leak protection) to make it a great choice for privacy-conscious users.

While the Android and iOS apps don't appear to be updated or refreshed all that frequently, there's probably a good reason for that: they work great. IPVanish's Android Best VPN app is particularly impressive, with more settings and options than most of the competition and the ability to customize it to your exact needs.

With companies like Nord, Express, and Hotspot launching their own proprietary security protocols, IPVanish was starting to feel a little behind the times in terms of modernization and speeds. Enter WireGuard: the service has finally added the feature, and as expected, speeds have skyrocketed.

So far, everything has gone well. IPVanish, on the other hand, does not claim to be your best friend if streaming is your thing. It shows: our most recent round of testing revealed difficulties unblocking Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and large swaths of Netflix shows, making it difficult to recommend wholeheartedly if you're looking to discover a new world of content to watch.

Overall, if you require unrestricted simultaneous connections or the power and configurability of its apps, this VPN service is worth considering. And if you're not satisfied for any reason, you're covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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9. Windscribe

Reliable VPN service with a tempting free tier

SPECIFICATIONS

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

Streaming sites unblocked: iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

24/7 support: No

Trial period: N/A - free version available

Number of servers: 400+

Server locations: 110

Countries: 63

Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

REASONS TO BUY

+

Unlimited device connections

+

Crammed with features and functionality

+

Speedy WireGuard protocol supported

+

Handy freebie to try out

REASONS TO AVOID

-

Fewer servers than the competition

-

Where's the live chat support?

Windscribe is a well-known Best VPN provider that offers a high-quality service with a lot of features. Clients for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, for example, as well as slick browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, are available for beginners. A single subscription also covers an unlimited number of devices, so you can use Windscribe to protect them all.

Experienced users will appreciate some of Winscribe's more advanced features that aren't available anywhere else. Take, for example, the ability to connect to other providers' servers using OpenVPN setup files from Windscribe's app. Perhaps a bit niche, but we like the fact that Windscribe is thinking outside the box.

Windscribe can also be used to watch Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube. That makes Windscribe a viable option for streamers looking to watch foreign content or their own programming from afar - unless you're a Netflix subscriber, in which case Windscribe has struggled to respond to Netflix's most recent blackout.

Although the network has locations in 110 cities across more than 60 countries, its 400-plus servers are far fewer than those offered by most other providers. WireGuard is now fully operational and reliable, even if speeds aren't quite up to par with other providers' peaks.

Unfortunately, there is no 24/7 support, so any questions you may have may take some time to be answered. With all of the big competition offering an on-the-spot advisor to pick up queries, that seems like a big miss these days. Similarly, it's past time it joined the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN in enlisting the help of a third party to audit its privacy policies.

Windscribe doesn't check every box, but it does have a lot of interesting features. Use the free plan to see what Windscribe can do for you if you're looking for a new VPN. The free tier restricts you to ten locations but provides you with a generous monthly data allowance of 2GB-10GB.