HD Online Streaming – Can VPNs Hurt? Which One to Use?
Using a quality VPN service makes it possible to stream content that is made available only in certain countries because it lets you get around restrictions. Moreover, a good VPN offers privacy and security without compromising on performance. In some cases, it might even improve speeds.
Needless to say, the quality of service varies from one VPN provider to another, so you need to test and research various VPNs on the market to determine the best one for streaming. Thankfully, our experts carry out these tests on a regular basis to spare you the work. They take into account a number of considerations.
In the case of streaming, performance is clearly one of the most important factors to consider, because a reliable and fast connection makes for an excellent streaming experience with no buffering. A larger, global server network is also an advantage when it comes to finding a good connection.
- Vast server network
- Top performance
- Subscription plans are a bit pricey
It’s clear that NordVPN prioritizes streaming capabilities because it’s invested in Smart Play technology, which it uses to circumvent Geo-blocks by streaming websites. All VPNs apps come with this feature, which automatically routes your streaming traffic through the most suitable server. As a result, you can access Netflix and 400+ other streaming services.
Our performance tests revealed commendable consistency and speeds that were above average. There was, however, some latency over long-distance connections. The provider has a network of over 4,400 servers.
This Panama-based VPN also excels when it comes to security. Its Double VPN feature routes your traffic through two VPN servers. NordVPN uses 256-bit encryption, supports all the top security protocols and has an automatic kill switch. Additional options include Onion over VPN and a dedicated IP address. In terms of privacy, the provider has a solid no-logs policy.
You get a free trial with this service, although it’s rather strange that this is not mentioned on the website. Its price plans all come with a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.
- 3-day free trial
- Lightning fast
- No refunds
- Keeps some logs (IPs, connection times)
In our performance tests, we observed top connection speeds, which were likely a result of VyprVPN owning and controlling its entire server network. Download speeds were twice as fast as regular non-VPN speeds, which is remarkable. Finding a good connection is easy thanks to 700 servers in more than 70 locations worldwide. This is useful for 4K streaming.
The provider offers some interesting security features. VyprVPN’s Chameleon protocol is a beast when it comes to beating throttling and VPN unblocking. This ensures that performance is consistent. The provider uses 256-bit encryption, which is accompanied by the typical security protocols, the VyprDNS service, and a NAT firewall.
You can use the 3-day free trial to test the service though the provider doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. The best price plan to subscribe to is the yearly plan, and the premium package is worth purchasing because it comes with some neat advanced features.
- Vast server network and numerous locations
- Excellent mobile clients
- No free trial
- Quite expensive
ExpressVPN takes pride in having over 2,000 servers spanning 94 countries. When we conducted performance tests, the service demonstrated top speeds and little variations.
It offers native clients for Mac, Windows, and Linux, but the clients for mobile are the ones that truly shine. The provider has highly intuitive apps for Android, iOS, and some Blackberry models. Instructions for installing the VPN on other devices are easily available. As a bonus, the clients automatically connect to the most appropriate server to deliver unmatched speeds.
In terms of security, this provider offers an automatic kill switch and an automatic and manual selection of security protocols, which include SSTP, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN. You get powerful 256-bit encryption as well as zero-knowledge DNS, among other things.
The main downside of ExpressVPN is its pricing, which is quite expensive. It does, however, offer a money-back guarantee for all its price plans, of which the yearly plan gives the most value.
- Generous money-back policy
- Great speeds
- Low latency
- A bit pricey
This Hungary-based provider performed well in our tests. The download and upload speeds were solid, and it had lower latency than the regular non-VPN connection. It has native apps for Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows. Setup instructions for other devices are available.
Like other leading VPNs, Buffered claims to have a no-logging policy, meaning you can browse free of paranoia. Among the advantages of this service is its generous policy with regard to refunds. You can get your money back provided that you haven’t used more than 10GB of data, 100 sessions, or 10 hours of connection time (whichever comes first).
On the downside, though, Buffered is among the higher priced VPN services on the market. To get the most value, go for the annual plan.
- Free plan with 1GB per month
- Speed boosted through channel bonding
- Only two plans
- No advanced controls
One of the reasons this provider is so popular with users is its “channel bonding” feature, which increases the speed of the connection by joining various connections (fixed broadband, cellular, Wi-Fi). Furthermore, latency is low, making it perfect for streamers.
Speedify has an impressive server network and its performance was satisfactory according to our tests. The connections were speedy even without using the channel bonding features. The provider has apps for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS though they’re not exactly fancy. The apps are rather basic and don’t offer low-level controls that would appeal to advanced users.
The encryption used with this service is called “ChaCha” and it is accompanied by a strict no-logging policy that ensures your online activities remain private. The service has two commercial plans, both of which come with a money-back guarantee.