Is Streaming with a VPN Legal?

Justice Ekaeze  - Tech Expert
Last updated: November 20, 2023
Read time: 12 minutes

Join us for a round of exploring as today we ask and answer the pressing question: Is streaming with a VPN Legal?


VPN use is largely considered legal and safe, but what if this was not the case? In certain countries, such as the US and European countries, VPNs are legal, even in streaming censored content. But in other locations, VPNs are banned. This article discusses the intricacies of the ever-shifting legality of VPNs and how to stay safe while using them, particularly for streaming.

Our readers commonly ask, “Is streaming with a VPN legal?” We will address this question and give you the answers you need. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) software allows you to hide your online identity and browsing history while bypassing geo-restrictions.

The use of VPN for streaming is considered legal in most countries like the US and other countries in the Western World. While using a VPN to stream is legal, slight issues arise when the content you stream isn’t legally meant for your location. These streaming platforms license certain regions to show their content; the locations without this license cannot. A VPN ensures you can consume the content without the hassle of a license.

Streaming platforms do not particularly like VPNs for this very function because it infringes on the scope of their copyright permissions. While regular users only get a few streaming platforms, you gain access to all of them with a VPN. So you can access the entire Netflix library even if it was initially blocked from your location. 

Continue reading to find more answers on what streaming with a VPN service involves the best VPN services for streaming, and their legal implications.

Best VPNs for streaming legally – Quick list

  1. ExpressVPN: Top recommended, best VPN for streaming. Get swift connection speeds and excellent service with ExpressVPN.
  2. Private Internet Access (PIA): Good price, better service. Enjoy the budget-friendly option with PIA.
  3. NordVPN: Doing so much with so much never looked so elegant. Make use of the fastest yet the most secure server network in the market today with NordVPN.

Stream using a VPN today: General overview

A VPN has two primary surface functions: keep your online identity private and allow you to get beyond geo-restrictions. However, is the use of VPN legal? The short answer is yes; major organizations recommend using VPNs to secure your connection.

Therefore, if you must use a VPN, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • VPN use is prohibited in some places of the world.
  • The use of a VPN does not make illegal activities legal.
  • Major streaming platforms support the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).

It would interest you that Disney Plus and Amazon Prime prevent users from using VPNs. So, for instance, if you wish to access either with a VPN, there are VPNs optimized for streaming Disney Plus or unblocking Amazon Prime. These specific VPNs can let you use the streaming platforms without them knowing.

Well, it primarily depends on where you are. The answer will be ‘yes’ in some places, while it will be a ‘no’ in others.

For example, the US and most of the West permit the use of VPNs and consider them legal. While VPNs are illegal in Iraq, North Korea, China, and Turkey.

So we advise that as you go on vacation or a work trip, you acquaint yourself with the regulations surrounding VPNs and their usage before using yours.

Surprisingly, just a few countries have prohibited the use of VPNs in totality. These include Iraq, North Korea, Belarus, and Oman. While in countries like Turkey, China, and the UAE, VPNs are strongly restricted.

Due to the variance in rules regarding VPN usage, the companies have to establish differing operation parameters with each country. This is why a VPN X gives the full range of services in some locations but is reduced in others. This difference often raises the question: is it legal to stream with a VPN?

As of the time of writing, these are the countries known to have banned the use of VPNs.

What happens if you’re caught streaming with a VPN?

If you are caught in a location where a VPN is legal, there will be no punishment for accessing geo-restricted content. The worst thing that can happen is the streaming platform blocking you from using the service.

But if you were caught in a location where people can’t use VPNs, you might face stricter consequences. Hence, we urge you to learn about the regulations governing VPNs in the locations you visit. 

We must also add that using a VPN does not grant illegal activities any honorary legality status. These illegal activities include pirating, streaming, or downloading pirated content.

First, it is necessary to note that using a VPN will not grant illegal activities automatic legitimacy. As a result, if you use it to download illegal torrents of games, music, television series, movies, and software, you will be breaking the law.

Downloading a file without the consent of the individual or company holding the copyrights is popular worldwide but also largely illegal. Moreso, European law prohibits this entirely.

In addition, it is illegal to watch TV shows and movies using free-to-watch platforms such as Soap2Day, Kodi, Popcorn Time, and PrimeWire. Furthermore, it would be best to familiarise yourself with the prevalent laws in your current location before turning to sites for free movies.

Even with a VPN, you can still be fined for illegally downloading copyrighted content. However, VPNs make it quite challenging to apprehend you, as they obscure your online and physical locations.

So before you use a VPN, consider all your options meticulously to avoid getting entangled with the law. For example, Netflix works just fine without a VPN and will display content they have the right to display. You should also note that not all VPNs are compatible with Netflix.

Technically, no. Although if you access Netflix’s entire library, your location is only supposed to have limited access — you may not get into any trouble in most countries.

With a VPN, users can easily bypass any geographic restrictions usually coming with streaming services. For example, streaming platforms such as Peacock and Hulu only work in the US, but with a VPN, you can access them anywhere. You would just need to select a server location in the USA to access the content only allowed within its borders.

Although this action is entirely legal, it goes outside the terms and conditions of the streaming platform’s copyright.

The copyright’s provisions are within the terms and conditions you agreed to upon registering with the streaming platform. And once you use a VPN to access content outside your location, you can risk getting blocked — if you are discovered.

Why do streaming services dislike VPNs?

Due to the often high cost of licensing agreements in some regions, streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and Netflix are constrained from freely distributing their content.

The limitations often result in a variance in the package from place to place. With some users getting an entire library and others getting a depleted version. VPNs can ensure this disparity is a thing of the past since it can make you appear to be where you are not — and most importantly, where you can access the full content. 

For this reason, streaming platforms do not like the software, as it nullifies the censor put on their content.

Firstly, VPNs are such a helpful tool when it comes to privacy. VPNs can ensure that your passwords and sensitive data are not stolen, even if you use a public or untrusted network. Whatever data you input, share, or receive will stay encrypted.

And secondly, major streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video often restrict the content library from place to place. This usually leaves users wholly shut off from some of the content available on a streaming platform to which they have an active subscription.

However, a VPN service allows you to access the entirety of the content library regardless of your location and geo-restrictions.

How to use a VPN to watch Netflix 

While accessing Netflix using a VPN is notoriously tricky, some providers don’t have this problem. They can effectively help you get around any geo-restrictions. Below are the steps to follow to use a VPN to watch Netflix.

  1. Sign up for a VPN service. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN app for your device.
  3. Find the server location in the country you want to access its Netflix library and connect to it.
  4. Open the Netflix app and log in.

You can now access the Netflix library in the location of your choosing.

We have conducted a series of tests to ascertain the best and legal options for VPNs. The test saw us go through over 20 different VPNs, and after our legality tests, only 3 performed well enough. 

These 3 VPNs have incredible speeds, large server networks, excellent security features, and reliable customer support. Below are the top-rated legal VPN options.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN new features block logo 120 by 120 now

A legal and highly recommended VPN provider that offers dedicated servers for safe streaming and blazing-fast servers all around the world.

servers Has a network of robust servers scattered across 90+ countries
Trusted servers nord A reliable server network powered by TrustedServer technology
encryption An industry-standard AES-256-bit encryption
Zero-logs policy Does not monitor users’ online activities
Split tunneling feature Offers effective split tunneling
network lock feature Locks your internet connection by an efficient Network lock (kill switch)
tor compatible Offers Onion over VPN servers for better security
P2P optimized servers Peer-to-Peer connection enabled servers
simultaneous connections Can connect up to five device connections at once
money-back guarantee A tested 30-day refund policy
  • Has an effective MediaStreamer feature
  • Owns a great router app compared to other VPNs
  • Speed remains constant across all servers
  • Lacks a SOCKS5 proxy feature

ExpressVPN is an excellent legal VPN option and our top recommended service for our readers. The VPN has super fast servers, great for streaming movies and TV shows. Thanks to its impressive server network of over 3,000 active servers in over 94 countries, you can access just about any streaming platform’s library, regardless of location. 

Regarding speed, ExpressVPN performs quite well, showing download and upload speeds averaging 89.42 Mbps and 84.64 Mbps, respectively, in a standard 100 Mbps connection. This VPN’s privacy features include split tunneling and a kill switch (Network Lock) alongside the MediaStreamer that grants you access to geo-restricted media content.

ExpressVPN is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows; it also works excellently with Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, and Firestick. Users can also protect up to 5 devices simultaneously.

You can subscribe to this VPN for $6.67 monthly, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Their customer support is very responsive and helpful for technical issues.

2. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Private internet access pros cons block logo

A super-secure VPN network that provides secure streaming and unlimited torrenting with full P2P support.

servers A network of thousands of servers present in 80+ countries
P2P optimized servers Unlimited P2P sharing
encryption Protects your connection by a reliable 256-bit encryption
Ad Blocker feature An efficient adware and malware protection; MACE
Zero-logs policy A strict policy against data logging
Trusted servers nord Runs on RAM-based servers
Split tunneling feature Provides a secure tunnel for accessing local content by Split tunneling
Kill switch Shields your internet connection by a functional Kill switch feature
simultaneous connections Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee A trusted 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Accepts anonymous payment methods
  • Does not limit bandwidth
  • Provides stable connection all around the servers
  • Some servers take longer to connect

Private Internet Access (PIA) is another outstanding option if you need a legal VPN to access Netflix. This VPN service gives you airtight protection with its automatic kill switch. The kill switch is unique, with three modes: off, always, and automatic.

If you are streaming your favorite TV shows or movies using a public internet connection, PIA will automatically disconnect if you lose the internet connection. Doing so helps you maintain anonymity, protecting you from anyone monitoring your activities.

With a massive network of servers and military-grade encryption, PIA provides a safe and fast streaming experience at all times. You can also enjoy HD quality on every streaming session. And with the Split Tunneling feature, you can simultaneously use apps other than streaming apps.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

A multi-functional VPN service that offers smooth and legal streaming. It boasts dedicated P2P and streaming-optimized servers.

servers Boasts a server network of over 5,000 VPN servers across 60 countries
Ad Blocker feature Dependable threat protection (malware, tracking, and ad blocker)
encryption Industry standard, most secure encryption available: AES-256
Kill switch An easy-to-use kill switch feature
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling feature works efficiently
MultiHop mode Offers Double VPN for extra protection
tor compatible Provides seamless Onion over VPN functionality
Zero-logs policy Does not store users’ data
simultaneous connections Users can connect up to six devices simultaneously with each account
money-back guarantee A no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Boasts high-performing security features
  • Offers a 7-day free trial to its Android users
  • Allows unlimited torrenting with P2P sharing
  • Distant servers exhibit slow speeds

Of the three options on our list, NordVPN boasts an impressive network of servers — with over 5,500 servers in over 60 countries and more than 1900 in 15 US locations. Our speed tests show that NordVPN records download and upload speeds of 86.49Mbps and 79.42Mbps on a standard connection of 100Mbps.

NordVPN may have a lot of servers but make no mistake; each one is optimized and very reliable. Thanks to the AES-256 encryption and its high-quality Kill Switch feature, they maintain this status. The VPN is also compatible with major operating systems, with unique apps for iOS and Android devices. It also works great on Smart TVs, Xbox, Roku, and Apple TVs.

For $3.49 a month, you can enjoy NordVPN and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Your family and friends aren’t left out either since the VPN lets users connect up to 6 simultaneous connections.

How to choose the right VPN for streaming

The average user may not be fully aware of how a VPN can protect their sensitive information and how it can be great for streaming. We have also found that some VPNs only offer half the package, with others only offering one type of service.

Fortunately, we know what to look for when picking a VPN service; it is how we arrived at the best three on our list.

Below are the major things to consider when choosing a VPN.

1. Server network

An extensive server network means more comprehensive access from different locations globally. This also means you can easily bypass any geo-blocking. A great VPN choice should have multiple servers in multiple locations.

2. Speed

Since most users need a VPN because they want unrestricted streaming, it stands to reason that streaming capability should also be considered. What makes a great streaming experience is a fast connection speed. For this reason, you must use the VPN with the fastest speeds and unlimited bandwidths to avoid throttling.

3. Security protocols

A VPN, first and foremost, must protect. To do so, it needs robust security protocols. This way, your data is always safe and encrypted when you use the internet.

Advantages and disadvantages of streaming with a VPN service

Using a VPN for any online activity will have pros and cons, just like any other software or tool. While it can be a great way to subvert geo-restrictions, its use has noticeable drawbacks.

  • A VPN allows you to stream geo-restricted content
  • It improves your security and privacy while using the internet
  • Since your IP address is hidden, there’s no risk of getting caught for accessing illegal content
  • You can subvert any digital censorship imposed by governments or ISPs in some countries
  • Using a VPN for streaming can negatively affect your connection’s speed
  • Depending on the quality of the connection from the service provider, this drop in speed can be drastic if you’ve slow base speed
  • If you’re connected to a distant server, the drop in speed can be considerably worse
  • Users who access platforms via VPNs can be banned following copyright laws and agreements in certain countries or regions

Legally watch Netflix (and other platforms) using a VPN

In several countries, including the US and the Western world, the use of VPN for streaming is permitted. A VPN can also offer pseudo or temporary legality if your VPN replaces your original IP address with a location without geo-restrictions.

However, the semantics does not remove the copyright conditions. These conditions enable streaming platforms to readily shut down your access if they discover the use of a VPN to stream restricted content.

So now, in all fairness, there are VPNs optimized for Netflix.

But the question then is: Is it legal to stream using Netflix VPNs? The answer is yes; with the right Netflix VPN, you can bypass the geo-restrictions regardless of where you may be. But we must advise caution as VPNs are still prohibited in certain countries, so if you must use them, be aware of the regulations.

Below is a table showing the TV shows and movies you can legally stream with these popular streaming platforms.

Streaming PlatformPopular Shows and Movies
NetflixYOU, The Witcher, Money Heist
HBO MaxMare of Eastown, House Of The Dragon, Barry, Succession
HuluMike, Under the Banner of Heaven, Fool
Adult SwimAssy Mcgee, Rick and Morty, American Dad
BBC iPlayerThe English Strike


If you read up to this point, we hope you now have answers to your questions. While VPNs are legal in many countries, the legality of streaming copyrighted content using a VPN depends on several factors and varies from country to country. 

Furthermore, whether or not a VPN is used, streaming copyrighted information without sufficient authorization is often considered a violation of copyright law.

However, this article is not legal advice; also, legislation may change over time. So, stay updated about your country’s VPN-specific rules and regulations to prevent breaking the law.


VPNs do a great job of protecting you from illegal individuals online, but they cannot make unlawful streaming suddenly gain any legality. Another factor to consider is that VPNs are banned in some countries.

A VPN lets you stream TV shows and movies and access video content from many platforms. This content may have been inaccessible to you previously, but the VPN fixes that. However, you will still need a subscription to these streaming platforms even though you use a VPN.

You can use a VPN to anonymously download torrents since your IP address stays hidden the whole time you are connected. As a result, you can remain anonymous and download movies and series secretly.

A VPN Warrant Canary is a statement issued by the VPNs which states that they have not received any legal requests to share customer-sensitive data. However, this warrant canary is removed from the service’s website if it gets a legal warrant, letter, or subpoena demanding access to said data.

Share this article

About the Author

Justice Ekaeze

Justice Ekaeze

Tech Expert
50 Posts

Justice Ekaeze is a freelance tech writer with experience working for specialized content agencies. Justice has acquired extensive content writing experience over the years. He’s handled several projects in diverse niches but loves the cybersecurity and VPN sectors the most. His friends call him 'the VPN expert.' In his free time, he likes to play football, watch movies, and enjoy a good show.

More from Justice Ekaeze


No comments.