To put it simply, streaming sites are those sites where you go to watch something online, without having to download it via a torrent. Think of an entire episode of Game of Thrones – you don’t want to waste time or bandwidth by downloading it, so you navigate to a streaming site in order to watch it.
Some of the most visited streaming sites in the US and UK – Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, 4OD and ITV Player and others – are wildly popular, having some truly outstanding features to attract willing streamers, including HD playback, a wide selection of titles to choose from and rapid access – meaning that streaming is instant and easy to do. Ultimately though, streaming is great for people who are geo-blocked from accessing certain content, or just don’t have the time, data limit or bandwidth to download their favorite TV shows and films.
Our Top VPN Picks to Unblock Streaming Websites
Why Can’t I Watch This Streaming Site?
Which brings us onto this slight problem: even though online streaming sounds like a perfect solution for fans of certain shows – most streaming sites are blocked for international viewers. Take the US Netflix library, for example, often considered to be the gold standard of streaming sites. US Netflix is only available to those physically located in the US and the same goes for the UK Netflix library, whereby it is only available to UK viewers. In other words, each country has its very own unique Netflix library that varies wildly in terms of the available content. Someone in Japan for example wouldn’t be able to see the multitude of programs of the US Netflix library from within Japan itself due to the geo-restriction. This is mainly down to the copyright laws surrounding US Netflix’s content – mainly that the US only holds the American rights to certain series….which means that, unless you live in the US, you won’t be able to see or stream whatever is bound by American copyright law.
The same goes for sports – sports streaming services, including ESPN and NBC Sports Live – are unavailable to non-US residing viewers. Certain news sites including; NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News are unavailable to non-US residents to live-stream. This is down to the US’s copyright laws but can also be as a result of their government’s internet access laws and practices.
A VPN Will Unblock Streaming Sites
But – luckily, there’s an easy solution to unblock streaming websites – and it’s called a VPN. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will help to disguise your current internet IP address, and make it appear as if you’re browsing online from a different location entirely. This allows you to unblock video streaming sites worldwide – bypassing both government and geo-restrictions. You can easily use a VPN for streaming movies, to unblock YouTube fast streaming, or unblock streaming media sites, such as Netflix, Hulu etc.
Set Up A VPN for Streaming Online Content
Setting up a VPN to unblock video streaming is really straightforward to do.
First, choose which VPN service you’d like to use, simply sign up and create your login details. We’ve recommended some below.
- Follow all instructions to download the VPN software and install it.
- Once installed, choose a location – a ‘server’ – you’d like to connect to – this could be either from a list of servers in various countries worldwide, or from a world map with servers marked out.
- Choose the server you’d like to connect to.
- And now browse online to your heart’s content.
Once you’re all set up, you’re ready to unblock streaming sites of your choice.
Select the Right VPN to Unblock Streaming Sites
There are several features to keep in mind when selecting the best VPN for streaming, and some might be more important to you than others:
- No traffic or connection logs – some VPNs like to keep a record – a log – of everything you do online – the best VPNs will have a ‘no log’ policy, meaning they aren’t monitoring or keeping tabs on your browsing or streaming activity – or when you connect to the VPN.
- Strong encryption technology – keep your streaming private from any unwanted or nosy snoopers – the government, or other agencies – with foolproof network tunnels.
- Numerous servers – a wide range of potential locations to connect to will definitely help you to unblock video streaming sites, for choice alone, but also for the strength of your connection.
- DNS leak protection – to keep your browsing anonymous and private, even the VPN you are using shouldn’t be able to see the content you are accessing.
- High speed and unlimited bandwidth – you want to be able to stream content quickly and hassle-free, not to mention be able to enjoy higher quality streaming.
- Ability to trial the VPN – you need to see if there’s a money-back guarantee, so you can try the VPN before you buy.
- Good customer support – just in case!
- Supports many devices – maybe you’d like to browse on your tablet while streaming on your phone, and playing music from your laptop – having a VPN which supports multiple devices is important!
#1 ExpressVPN – Streaming Dedicated Servers
With a huge variety of server locations to choose from (95+ countries!) and a ‘no log’ policy, ExpressVPN is one of our favorites – the tech industry considers it the best VPN protocol for streaming. It has military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption. ExpressVPN works at fast speeds and has 24/7 customer support – a near perfect VPN, in our opinion!
Additional features: It’s compatible with virtually every device out there (we haven’t found one it’s not compatible with yet), so you can stream content from your phone, tablet, laptop and more. Its servers are incredibly fast too!
- $12.95 a month
- $9.99 a month for a six-month plan
- $6.67 a month for a 15-month plan (+ three months free!)
- Includes a 30-day money back guarantee
For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.
#2 NordVPN – Security First
NordVPN – as similarly respected as ExpressVPN and with servers in 61+ countries, NordVPN is great for online VPN TV streaming particularly. It comes with a fun little add-on called CyberSec, which protects against malware, ads and bots – which, if the recent Netflix malware attack is anything to go by, is an important add-on.
Additional features: There’s a 5% speed loss, which is minimal and pretty good for streaming content online, or listening to unblocked music streaming, and will be barely noticeable.
- $11.95 a month
- $7.00 a month for a six-month plan
- $5.75 a month for a 12-month plan
- Special deal: $3.29 a month for a 24-month plan
- Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee
For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.
#3 Hotspot Shield – US Based VPN
Hotspot Shield has incredibly high-speed and unlimited bandwidth – which is great for streaming online content, and it has high SSL encryption levels – which is particularly important if you’re streaming from a country which has restricted internet laws. Even better – Hotspot Shield has a free version which you can login and use straight away.
Please Note: You’ll never know where your VPN server is connected to, as Hotspot don’t disclose where their servers are located. Also, for streaming sites like Netflix, you need to upgrade to their Elite account…which is more pricey than ‘free’, but also worth it for access to streaming sites.
- $12.99 a month
- $8.99 a month for a six-month plan
- $5.99 a month for a one year plan
- Current limited offer: $119.99 Lifetime plan – one-time payment!
- 45-day money-back guarantee.
For more information on Hotspot Shield features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.
Get a VPN and Never Miss an Episode of Game
Ultimately, having a VPN is a must for all internet users looking to unblock streaming sites, it keeps you protected and private while watching the newest episode of your favorite show, or playing the latest game online – and on top of that, you can watch shows in high quality and lag-free, hassle-free. Now you can go catch up on Jessica Jones on the US Netflix library – and if you haven’t already seen it, go check it out!