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Technology.

12 July 2021

Best VPNs for privacy and streaming 2021

Whether you want a VPN for streaming video, or just want to bolster your security and privacy, this guide will show you the very best.
Michael Passingham

Our tests have shown that different VPN services are good for different things, with some excelling at privacy, and others working well to get past geo-blocked video content, meaning you can stream your favourite shows from anywhere in the world. 

Below, we show you the very best VPNs for privacy and for streaming. 

Need some help shopping around? Read our guide on how to buy the best VPN.

How we test VPNs for streaming

Our VPN tests look at whether a VPN is easily detected by streaming services that block VPNs. We do this by logging into eight different services in various countries, including the UK and the US, and seeing whether the connection is blocked.

Using a VPN to access content that is outside of the country you are in may well be in breach of that service’s terms and conditions. However, we’re not aware of anyone having their streaming account terminated for doing so. Still, if you choose to use a VPN for this reason, it will be at your own risk.

Top VPNs for streaming

  • 73%
    £114.00

    This is a good all-round VPN that, while not the fastest, has plenty of apps for various devices and is easy to use. It also managed to connect to seven of the eight services we tried it with. Find out which ones it worked well with by signing up to read the full review.

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  • 72%
    £106.00

    This VPN has plenty of apps for different devices so, no matter what you’re watching on, you should be able to find a way to connect. In our tests, it was able to connect to seven of the eight services we tested in a snapshot test, which puts it joint-top with the other contender here.

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How we test VPNs for privacy and security

Our privacy and security tests are very strict. So strict, in fact, that only three services were able to net both a full five-star privacy rating and a five-star security rating.

For a VPN to obtain a five-star privacy rating, none of its apps for Windows, Android or iOS can make any connections to third-party servers where potentially unique device information is shared. While this information being shared is neither uncommon nor a sign of data misuse, we rate VPNs that keep the connection from your device as limited as possible, because the fewer connections a VPN makes, the fewer chances there are for the data to be misused.

Our tests also check to see whether the connection is intercepted at any point on the journey from the VPN to the open internet, and also checks for a variety of common security flaws found in computer and smartphone software.

Of course, we can only take into account what we can see. All VPNs advertise themselves on their privacy-boosting credentials, but ultimately it’s entirely based on trust because no matter how in-depth our tests go, it’s impossible to see what goes on inside a VPN company’s servers. Many VPNs say that their services get audited by large reputable companies, such as KPMG and PWC, so this may boost your trust levels too.

The products below are the ones we can definitively say did well in our tests.

Top VPNs for privacy and security

  • 79%
    £97.00

    This VPN is not only the top-rated of the services we tested, but also the joint-best for privacy and security. It’s far from the fastest, but its speeds aren’t so slow that you’ll be hindered from getting things done, and it’s really easy to use, too. The only downside is that it was detected and blocked by some of the streaming services we tested.

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  • 70%
    £40.00

    This VPN comes from a well-known antivirus company, so security and privacy expectations are high. Fortunately, it aced our tests in this regard with no issues detected by our lab. The main downside is that it wasn’t reliable for streaming, with five out of the eight services we tested detecting and blocking us from connecting using this VPN.

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  • 68%
    £85.00

    For those in the know, the company behind this VPN is well regarded for its secure email service. Its VPN lives up to that reputation, with an airtight privacy and security test from our lab. Unfortunately, it was one of the slowest VPNs on test, on average and, while the average speed is still faster than many UK broadband connections, it was still a bit disappointing. The upside is that it was also pretty reliable when connecting to streaming services, making it a good all-rounder.

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For more on keeping your privacy and security tip-top, see our guides to the best antivirus software