Do You Need a VPN for Streaming? (Probably, Here’s Why)
With the large number of VPN services available, and the constant need to remain protected, it is easy to believe that you need to use one for all your online activities, like streaming. In fact, it is almost impossible to spend a few hours on sites like YouTube without having a VPN ad pop up. But is a VPN really necessary for streaming? Well, that depends.
What Is a VPN and Why Is It Necessary?
To decide whether or not you would be needing a VPN for streaming, you must first understand what a VPN is.
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. This network offers a top-notch protection service for users on the web. It does this by creating a more secure connection for users over a public network such as public Wi-Fi and home networks, like the one offered by your internet service provider. The VPN encrypts your data and passes it through servers that help to protect your online activity from threats found on the web, like hackers, or sites that sell or keep logs of your data.
A Virtual Private Network is used for different reasons by different people. Security and privacy are just some of its many uses. Some corporate organizations make use of VPN services to protect their sensitive information from the government or hackers; but for individual users like you, it is often used for a different purpose. Individuals mostly use VPN providers to stream content that would have been inaccessible.
Many times, you don’t have access to content on your favourite streaming sites because the companies have geoblocked their sites, thereby restricting users from certain parts of the world from accessing the sites. These georestrictions are mainly resultant effects of archaic unresolved copyright laws between the streaming site and the government of your country. But there really is nothing to worry about.
With a VPN service, it has become very easy to bypass and even unblock these restrictions right there on your device. All you would be needing is a quality VPN provider. This VPN would then encrypt your data and provide you with an anonymous identity that presents you as though you were in a location that allows you access to restricted sites.
Concisely, a VPN grants you privacy on the web, as well as security from malicious sites and other online dangers.
Do VPNs really guarantee Privacy for Streaming?
It is okay to wonder how and whether VPNs actually deliver on their promise of protection and anonymity since they take over the task of tracking your data in place of your ISP. The truth however, is that even with a VPN, you may not always be totally anonymous, but, there are major steps you can take using a VPN, to ensure you are anonymous whenever you stream content online. Check out a few below:
- No-Logs Policies
It is pertinent to note that because a VPN promises privacy does not mean it makes you anonymous online. To achieve that state of anonymity, you need to make use of a VPN service that runs under a ‘no-logs policy’.
Not all VPN services offer this feature, however, most of the strong, top-quality ones do. A ‘no-logs policy’ simply means that your data that is being passed across their servers will never be retrieved, gathered, stored or sold. Your VPN provider will not be able to have any access to any sensitive information that you may have passed across their servers.
Fully aware of this, to ensure that you operate under a completely private network, you definitely need to make use of a VPN working under a no-logs policy. This will ensure you have total anonymity on the web to be able to bypass geoblockers that restrict you from your favourite sites.
- The Onion Router
For a further shot at anonymity, it’s a great idea to combine The Onion Router, also known as TOR, with your Virtual Private Network. TOR is a network that keeps you anonymous by sending your traffic through about three relays before it gets to its destination. You can achieve this in two ways:
- TOR over VPN: This way, you first need to connect to your VPN, and then to TOR so that third parties that may be trying to get in on your online activity will not be able to see you’re using TOR bypass as this may cause suspicion.
- VPN over TOR: Here you first connect TOR so that your data gets passed through TOR first, and then exits through an exit node which is then passed to your VPN’s server.
For proper privacy, anonymity and security measures, VPNs are your surest bet.
How Easy Is It to Set Up a VPN?
It is as easy to set up a VPN as you make it to be. What does this mean? If you do it right, setting up a VPN can be easy. Depending on a user’s needs, there are various types of VPNs to suit them. For instance, if you are only looking to encrypt your data and ensure safety on the internet, then you may only need a compact VPN with minimal features. However, for individuals who need a VPN for specific purposes such as streaming, torrenting and geo-unblocking, a high-end VPN with tons of features designed to assist with such needs would be useful. In any of these cases, VPNs are quite easy to use and can be set up in a jiffy with little or no complications.
What Is the Best VPN for Streaming?
Since we have established that VPNs are indeed necessary for streaming some type of content, the question then is, which of these VPNs would be the best to use for this purpose? There are a few that readily come to mind. However, it is necessary to note that not all VPNs are free. In fact, most of the high-end VPNs are not free, and rightfully so. The services they offer are highly efficient and give you great returns for your money’s worth. Therefore, the VPN providers that would be discussed below are all paid VPNs.
When selecting a VPN provider, a few of the things to be on the look-out for are the number or server locations, the pricing, connection speed and its key security features. A few of these VPNs have remained reliable and trustworthy for streaming on the VPN market, take a look at them and their features below:
- Number of servers: More than 3,000
- Speeds: Unlimited
- Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- 24 live chat: Yes
- 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
- Fastest VPN out there
- Strict no logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Few discounts
This provider tops our list because it is one of the fastest VPN for streaming. It has a reach of over 3000 servers in about 94 countries and a record for top speed across its wide range of server locations. Your location doesn’t matter, even while on a trip outside your usual location, as long as you are connected to this VPN you remain protected.
Another reason why you may want to try this VPN is because of its extensive security features. It gives its users total anonymity on the web and even runs under a no-logs policy so your data remains safe. In cases where connections may drop, ExpressVPN provides an automatic Kill-Switch that seals off your data from leaking or being tampered with.
It also allows up to 5 of your devices to connect to its services once you subscribe to any of its plans. This way you can remain connected even if you’re on the go. You can access the VPN on your mobile device as well as on your laptop since the VPN has made available different apps that are compatible with any of your devices. Apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux devices.
Although this VPN does not come with a free-trial, it has an equally impressive 30-day money back guarantee that allows you access all the sites features once you make a subscription to any of its plans, (monthly, half a year or annually). Once subscribed, you may call for a refund if you find yourself dissatisfied with the VPN’s services. For further help on how to go about that, the VPN has a dedicated and excellent customer support team that is always ready to assist to ensure you get your money back, or deal with other challenges you may encounter.
- Pros: Fastest VPN out there; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
- Lowest price: $6.67
- Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
- Servers: 5342 in 58 countries
- Lots of pricing options
- Netflix support kept up to date
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow app
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN has a satisfactorily large coverage of servers with over 5,200 of them in about 60 countries, making it a great fit to stream content from anywhere in the world. It is very secure and trusted in unblocking streaming services, and also offers great security features. It helps to protect your data using Double VPN and Onion Over VPN while also running a ‘no-logs’ policy. Additionally, it features an automatic kill-switch that safely traps in your data.
Its pricing plans are affordable and a little cheaper than ExpressVPN, and it has no free version nor trial period, only a 30-day money back guarantee. NordVPN, however, boasts of a relatively fast speed, and allows up to 6 simultaneous connections. It comes with a wide range of compatible devices, efficient customer support service, and a Quick Connect feature that automatically connects to the fastest and freest server near you.
- Pros: Lots of pricing options; Netflix support kept up to date; 256-bit AES encryption;
- Lowest price: $3.71
- Free trial? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
- Ad blocking? Yes
- Servers: 1000+ in 61 countries
- No footprints
- Allows torrenting
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Not the fastest
This VPN makes this list because of its highly dependable NoBorder unblocking feature that can unblock the toughest geoblocks worldwide. Although it covers only about 1000 servers in 50 countries, it has military-level encryption, an ad-blocker and kill-switch option that keeps you quite safe on the internet.
Along with its 30-day money back guarantee, another feature that makes Surfshark stand out is its fast connection speed that can play HD videos with little or no buffering delay. This would be great for users who want to stream video content. Best of all, this VPN allows its users an unlimited simultaneous connection for all of your devices so everybody stays connected always.
- Pros: No footprints; Allows torrenting; 256-bit AES encryption;
- Lowest Price: €2.09
VPNs have come to make life on the web easier, and most importantly, safer for users with all the security and protective features they have to offer. However, the restrictions surrounding many streaming sites for users all around the world makes the need for online anonymity become very prominent. While one may not necessarily need a VPN on ALL streaming sites, MANY streaming sites are restricted from millions of users globally, and only a VPN can grant you access to stream on such sites.