IPTV, or internet protocol television, is an umbrella term usually used to describe a video service that live streams TV channels over the internet. IPTV providers offer dozens or even hundreds of live channels for a low monthly price. The channels are typically the same as what you’d get on terrestrial TV, cable TV, or satellite TV, but strictly over the internet.
Most legitimate IPTV services are region-locked, meaning they can only be used from a specific country. If you’re outside of the country and try to stream IPTV, the stream could be blocked. Connecting to a VPN in the right country will unblock the stream while you’re traveling abroad.
Using a VPN for streaming will also prevent your internet service provider and other third parties from monitoring what you watch online. Some ISPs throttle internet connection speeds for users watching video. A VPN prevents them from being able to distinguish and discriminate against specific types of data and internet usage.
There are over 300 VPN services, but very few offer the speed, online privacy protections, and compatibility with streaming and IPTV services to make our list.
We’ll dive into each VPN providers we recommend in detail, but for those of you who want a summary, these are the best VPNs for IPTV:
- NordVPN Our top choice for IPTV. Strong security and privacy features. Works well for safely streaming video. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark Best budget VPN. Strong on privacy and security, and easy to set up with streaming platforms.
- ExpressVPN Fast connection speeds and great online privacy features make this VPN a favorite with those looking to access streaming services abroad.
- CyberGhost A low-cost VPN with fast connection speeds and good security features.
- IPVanish Good connection speeds and privacy features make this VPN popular with torrenters and Kodi users.
- PrivateVPN A new entrant to the VPN market that works well with streaming services.
IPTV gives you access to television shows over the internet. If you want to stream video over the internet and watch live shows in HD, then you really can’t afford to let anything slow down your connection. When accessing IPTV from another country, those long-distance connections will probably be slower and you will find that overseas video streaming services block access as soon as they detect that you are in another country.
How to access IPTV from anywhere using a VPN
These days, most legitimate IPTV providers geo-restrict their content. That said, it’s still possible to stream your favorite shows while traveling abroad. Below is a step-by-step explanation.
Here’s how to use IPTV with a VPN:
- Start by signing up for one of the VPNs above (we recommend NordVPN).
- Next, download the VPN app, making sure to install it on any device you plan to use for streaming. Most providers allow around five connections at once, but this varies.
- Log in to the VPN and connect to a server in the required location. You’d need a US server to access Hulu with Live TV, for instance, or a British server to access the UK Xumo library.
- Now, just visit your chosen IPTV service like you usually would and try watching something. If all has gone to plan, your stream should begin right away. If not, you may want to clear your browser’s cookies, use another server, or contact your VPN’s support team for further assistance.
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The Best VPNs for IPTV
A VPN will resolve the problem of getting around blocks on international access to IPTV content. However, not every VPN service in the world will be good enough to stream HD quality video in real time. These are the key attributes that you need to look out for when selecting a VPN service to access HD video from IPTV services.
- Fast connection speeds
- Servers in the countries that you want to access TV from
- Good customer support
- Service for mobile devices
- Ability to dodge regional restrictions
- Keep your browsing private
With the above criteria in mind, we have put together a list of the five best VPN services for HD-quality IPTV:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is a popular choice for those in China who want to get IPTV video streams from outside the country. The system is very secure and so the snoops that enforce the Great Firewall of China won’t be able to block your access to overseas sites. That is particularly good news if you have a Netflix subscription because Netflix is not normally accessible in the People’s Republic.
We have tested the performance of NordVPN with Netflix and found that it can get you into the libraries for the USA, the UK, Canada, France, and India from outside those countries. If you like Hulu, you can use NordVPN to get into video streams from the USA and Japan. NordVPN can get you into ABC in the USA and ITV and Channel 4 in the UK even when you are outside those countries.
The server network of NordVPN is very large. It operates a total of 3,657 servers in 62 countries. One problem with the NordVPN app, however, is that it doesn’t allow you to specify a city location — you can only choose a country. That may present a problem when you are trying to work around the blackouts of sports streaming services from the USA.
When you want to use NordVPN on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, things get a whole lot easier because the company provides self-installing apps for those operating systems. If you want to keep apps on your computer outside of the VPN tunnel and just protect your browser traffic, you can opt to use the NordVPN browser extension for Chrome or Firefox instead of the app.
NordVPN’s Help Desk isn’t available live. However, the Customer Support team responds quickly to queries posted through the Contact form on the website, or sent directly to them via email.
- Large server network spans 60 countries, works great with IPTV
- Excellent security and military-grade encryption standards
- Unblocks all major streaming platforms, e.g. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
- Even works well in China and gets around their foreign site blocks
- Extremely high speeds
- Desktop app and speeds aren’t always reliable
BEST VPN FOR IPTV:NordVPN is our top choice. A high-speed all-rounder that works well with IPTV in HD. Strong security features and allows up to 6 connected devices to be used simultaneously from one account. No data caps for unlimited streaming. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a fast, reliable VPN with servers in 60+ countries around the world. These features make it ideal for streaming live TV online, even before you consider that it can unblock popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. In stark contrast to its rivals, many of which only allow up to six simultaneous connections, Surfshark has no connection limit, making it ideal for people looking to secure their whole household.
This VPN pays particular attention to your security and even works in China. It uses effectively uncrackable 256-bit encryption to conceal your traffic, blocks ads and malware, and automatically prevents IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. There’s also a kill switch that guarantees your online activities aren’t exposed even for a second. Perhaps most importantly, Surfshark doesn’t log any identifiable information. Customer support is available 24/7 over live chat.
Surfshark provides apps for Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, and Linux devices.
- Unblocks numerous region-locked services abroad
- High speeds make for flawless streaming
- Numerous advanced security features
- Zero-logs provider
- Has the occasional slow server
- Fairly small network
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is cheap and easy to set up with IPTV and you can use it on all your devices. Connections are secure and reliable. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a fast and reliable VPN with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. It’s very good at getting around the regional restrictions imposed on access to video and IPTV sites and can even can get you into the US library for Netflix from outside the country. It can also get cross-border access to the Netflix libraries for the UK, Canada, and Germany. You can access Hulu content for both the USA and Japan with ExpressVPN and you can also get into Sky Go and Amazon Prime Video from abroad with this VPN service. The company is also able to get into the major TV services around the globe including the BBC iPlayer.
The requirement for high connection speeds for HD streaming do not present a problem for ExpressVPN and you will be able to watch IPTV without interruptions for buffering or breaks in transmission from anywhere in the world.
If you aren’t very good with technology, the round-the-clock online Help Desk will come in handy. The company is able to solve problems quickly and has a back office team of technical experts to solve really complicated problems.
Overall, customers are very happy with the ExpressVPN service and the company knows it. This is why they are prepared to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. You get an allowance of five simultaneous connections to the service, so that’s great for loading the VPN on your router and also having it operating on your mobile connected devices for when you are out and about.
- Highest quality IPTV streaming from almost anywhere
- Superfast servers are great for streaming HD content
- Military-grade encryption makes for solid security and privacy
- Live chat customer support – 24/7
- Limited advanced options for power-users
- Higher monthly price than others in this list
LARGE NETWORK:ExpressVPN gives you plenty of choicewith fast servers in 94 countries. Unblocks IPTV and streaming platforms with ease. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost offers very good speeds on international connections and that makes this service a good choice for streaming IPTV in HD. The app for the VPN opens with an activity screen. One of the pre-set activities that you can select is streaming video. Once you select that option, the app will reconfigure itself to optimize the service for internet TV access. CyberGhost can get you into the Netflix USA library from outside the country and it can also get you into the top TV station online streaming services.
The session establishment encryption of CyberGhost is very strong. That makes it a good option for China and other countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the government monitors and blocks internet activity. Fortunately, that security doesn’t slow down connections, so this is also a good choice for internet telephone and chat apps as well as HD video streaming.
CyberGhost operates servers in 54 countries and has a total of 204 servers in the USA. The app enables you to specify a city location when you connect and CyberGhost’s US servers are distributed around 19 cities. That will help you when you are streaming sports in HD from the USA.
The app is available for computers running the Windows, Mac OS X, and macOS operating systems. If you want to install the VPN on your mobile device, CyberGhost provides apps for Android and iOS.
- Low-cost alternative for IPTV from abroad
- Operates a network of more than 3,000 fast servers in 61 countries
- Unblocks Netflix US, UK, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Doesn’t reliably work in China or UAE
- Few advanced features
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish gives consistently high speeds. In fact, in our tests, IPVanish turned out to be the fastest provider of all of the VPNs that we monitor. The company owns and manages all of its own infrastructure and invested heavily in high-speed connections. This is a good choice for a VPN to channel IPTV through Kodi and most of the major TV channels in the world can be accessed over the internet with the mediation of IPVanish. Those stations include NBC and CBS in the United States and ITV and Channel 4 in the UK. If you’ve got Netflix, you can get into the Netflix USA library from outside the country with the assistance of IPVanish.
If you like to stream sports from the USA, you need to have a choice of locations within that country so that you can dodge the blackouts on service that sports broadcasters impose when your local team is playing, be that home or away. IPVanish has servers in 17 US cities, so that gives you plenty of opportunities to appear to be in a city other than the one that your favorite team comes from. The company has a total of 417 servers in the USA and a presence in 60 countries worldwide.
The app for the VPN works well on mobile devices, so if you are traveling and you rely on public wifi hotspots for your internet connection, you can install the system on Android and iOS devices. The company also produces apps for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, and Amazon Fire. You can manually install the IPVanish VPN on Linux computers, flashed routers, and set-top boxes.
- No issues using their Windows 10 app during testing
- Impressive speeds and reliable connections
- Works well with Kodi add-ons for remote control users
- No-logs policy
- Apps don’t work in China
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
SECURE EVERY DEVICE:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Handles several simultaneous connections well. OK with IPTV in HD. Works in most places except China. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Swedish-based PrivateVPN was created by torrenting enthusiasts and activists for internet freedom. They made privacy a big feature of the service. PrivateVPN is also good for streaming TV in HD. It offers good speeds and has a lightweight, easy-to-use app. This service can get you into Netflix USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Italy, and France. It can also help you access the world’s major TV station online streaming services.
You can use the PrivateVPN service in China. However, the company warns that its regular OpenVPN service is blocked there. They offer the faster L2TP VPN system for customers who are behind the Great Firewall of China. The company runs servers in 55 countries and it has a presence in nine cities in the USA. You are able to specify a city preference when you connect to the VPN service, so PrivateVPN will help you to get around blackouts on sports streaming systems.
PrivateVPN offers all customers a 30-day no-questions money-back guarantee.
- Gaining a solid reputation for unblocking geo-restricted content, including IPTV
- Our tests revealed impressive speeds
- Growing list of streaming sites it can unblock including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime
- A newer network that is still growing, so fewer servers to choose from
- Live chat is not around the clock
- Support staff are good, but only operate during European business hours
Great Speeds:PrivateVPN is easy to use. Allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Small network of servers but fast connections with no data caps. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
IPTV streaming problems
Although you might be used to streaming video at home or on your mobile device during your daily commute, you might not have encountered one of the major problems of online video access, which is the issue of international access blocks.
There are several very good reasons that video streaming services restrict access to their libraries by country. The two biggest reasons are legal. Video delivery systems have to buy-in their content. Producers of entertainment sell the rights to show their productions by country. So, different TV companies own the rights to show the same show, but in different countries. Broadcasting companies have to commit to restricting access to videos to only those people located in the countries that are written into the contract. In order to enforce this obligation, video streaming services block access from overseas.
The second legal reason relates to national broadcast licensing. Governments allow only authorized companies to show entertainment within their borders. Not only that, but all content shown in a country has to be approved by the government. This rule applies in all countries in the world, not just strict nations, such as Iran or Indonesia. Even though you may see the same show scheduled for broadcast in different countries, the video that is available in each place is different.
Broadcasters and producers of entertainment have to edit their content to comply with the laws of each county. In some cases, the show might be so far from what anyone is legally allowed to show in a country that it just isn’t feasible to cut out all of the illegal bits and no one will broadcast that show in that place. Online video streaming services can be sued, and its employees might be sent to prison if their content is shown in places where that edit breaches local laws.
VPNs can get around these content access restrictions for you when you are traveling abroad. So, even though the government of China doesn’t want you to watch US documentaries from home, their efforts to block the stream of video are nullified by the privacy protection that the secure encrypted VPN tunnel provides.
Related: How to unblock video streaming sites
Can I use a free VPN for streaming IPTV?
Not all VPNs will help you when you want to stream video from abroad. The technology involved in protecting video streams, adapting the service whenever a TV service upgrades its blocking technology, and providing adequate speed for streaming high-quality HD video costs money. Some VPN services don’t even try to get into video streaming services that have tough content access restrictions. Online TV sites don’t just block access from overseas, but they also take every available measure to detect and block VPN traffic.
A VPN service that is free or very cheap may seem attractive. The problem is, they aren’t any good. There isn’t any way that a genuine VPN company could provide a service that breaks through access blocks and is capable of carrying HD video without charging.
Many free and cheap VPN services are not being completely honest with their users. They cover their costs and make profit by other means. For example, some so-called VPNs don’t include any encryption, which means that their advertisers are lying when they call them VPNs. Free and cheap VPNs make money by selling the personal information of their customers. Others inject paid adverts into the sites that users access and allow paying marketers to monitor the online activities of the VPN’s customers. There are even a few “VPNs” that appropriate the internet bandwidth of their users and sell that capacity onto paying customers — letting other people route their internet traffic through your computer.
Here is a list of ten popular IPTV providers.
Warning: the legality of many IPTV services has been called in to question. The IPTV services listed just below appear to be legitimate at the time of writing, and some are even free to use. However, you’ll find a list of IPTV to avoid at the bottom of our article as well. As always please do your own research and stick to legal streaming services.
Xumo is a free IPTV service that offers over 100 live channels. You’ll find content from major news networks like Bloomberg, Newsy, Cheddar, CBC, and MSNBC, as well as sports content from options like Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, PGA, NCAA Football. There are even unique, 24/7 movie channels like Filmrise, and Hi-Yah, as well as TV channels for kids.
Xumo has apps for a large number of devices, as well as a plugin available for Kodi users.
Xumo may need a VPN to work in some international locations, however.
Pluto TV is similar to Xumo. It offers over 100 live TV channels for free. You can watch it on the web or through a plugin for Kodi. The only difference between Pluto.TV and Xumo are some of the unique channels, so you may find it useful to get both downloaded on your favorite device.
You’ll also find Pluto.TV is blocked in many locations outside of the US, so a VPN will be required to get easy access in many locations.
Sling TV is one of the most popular IPTV streaming services around — and one of the oldest. It’s a current leader in the “cord-cutting” movement and offers over 40 channels for $25 per month. There are three packages to choose from, and you’ll get a mixture of sports, entertainment, news, and local TV through the platform.
You’ll find Sling TV is blocked outside of the US, however, and signing up will require US payment information. But if you’re traveling, you can still sign up via a VPN and use your current US-based account information.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu’s on-demand service is just another feature with Hulu with Live TV. Through this $40 per month service, you’ll get over 50 channels, including local networks, sports channels like ESPN, and entertainment networks like AMC, History, Discovery and more.
Hulu is also one of the most feature-rich options, offering a 50-hour cloud DVR, 2 simultaneous streams per account, and apps that function with a wide set of devices, including the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
As with most US-based streaming options, you’ll need US payment information to sign up, and you’ll need a VPN to stream anything while outside the US.
IPTV providers to avoid
Some IPTV providers offer what is essentially a “good to be true” deal. They deliver hundreds, and sometimes thousands of television channels over the web, often for less than 20 per month. These types of services are regularly found to be infringing on copyrights, as they often avoid paying the carriage fees required to offer these channels.
While we cannot verify whether or not these services are operating in that manner, the following popular IPTV options fit into the “too good to be true” category.
Insight TV claims to offer over 1,500 channels for a low cost: only $75 for a one-year subscription. The service only takes payment in Euros, and only allows for payments to be received in 3, 6, or 12 month subscription periods.
There is no official app on any reputable streaming device for this service.
RocketStreams states that it offers over 1,500 channels, with a subscription cost that comes in at just under $80 per year for a 12-month subscription.
You will not find an app for RocketStreams on any streaming device or operating system.
IPTV Forest states that it offers a somewhat surprising 6,000+ channels, with over 500 Arabic channels and over 400 UK channels. The cost of this? Only $10 per month, which is a bit hard to fathom for what it’s claiming to offer.
There are no official apps for this service.
Premium IPTV’s benefits seem fairly clear on the surface. It only streams in HD, claims to offer more than 3,000 channels and has an on-demand section with over 4,000 movies. It also offers all of that for a suspiciously low price of just $17 per month, or $112 per year.
The company processes payments through PayPal and charges in Euros. You can take out a subscription for one month for 15 Euros ($17), two months for 19 Euros ($22), six months for 59 Euros ($70), or a year for 95 Euros ($112). You probably won’t be likely to sign up for the one year package because, at just 4 Euros more, you can get a lifetime subscription for 99 Euros ($117).
Besides paid IPTV services, there are many free IPTV streaming options. However, you are unlikely to find a free service that is legal.
You may find it strange that many IPTV providers boast that their systems are compatible with VPNs. As the providers have already stripped out the regional restrictions on the channels that they broadcast, you don’t actually need a VPN in order to watch those channels from outside of their intended country of broadcast. So why use one?
The truth is that many IPTV providers pirate their channels from official sources and resell them to subscribers. We can’t vouch for or against any of the providers listed above, but it stands to reason that an IPTV provider shouldn’t be able to sell access to channels cheaper than the channels themselves do. Nor should they be free from the regional content licensing restrictions on content that all other streaming services must abide by.
If there is even a chance that you could inadvertently stream pirated video, you need to protect your identity. That’s why you still need a VPN to watch IPTV, even though you pay for the service.
Authorities don’t seem to be as tough on those who accidentally stream video illegally as those who download torrents. However, there is no guarantee that the same attitude will prevail forever. Right now, the most probable risk that you face with paid IPTV providers is that they get shut down before your subscription expires.
Internet speeds for streaming HD video
Depending on where you live and how good your internet service is, you may encounter difficulty getting sufficient speeds to watch live HD video streams from IPTV services. Adding a VPN to the line will slow down your connection even further.
HBO states that you need connection speeds of at least 3 Megabits per second in order to receive an uninterrupted stream with its online video services — HBO only streams in HD. Netflix HD streams won’t work with data throughput speeds of less than 5 Megabits per second. These speeds may seem easily achievable. Live streams are often less compressed than on-demand video and so require even greater transfer rates.
A VPN can protect you from blocks imposed by repressive governments because it encrypts all of your connections and diverts them so that no one who is able to watch the passing data stream, such as your internet service provider, can see where you are connecting to or the type of traffic that is passing down the line.
The work that VPNs do to encrypt, decrypt, divert, and forward all of your traffic has a time cost. Streaming video in real time requires high speeds because you need all of the code that gets compiled into an image on the screen to be refreshed every second in order to get the video to move on. HD video generates an even greater volume of traffic because the high quality of the picture is created by more tightly packed pixels. So, each HD video requires the fast transfer of a lot of data.
If your internet connection is slow, the video you watch will pause as the player waits for more image data to arrive — this is called “buffering.” The need for speed means that video transfer systems don’t include the connection management procedures of many data transfer systems. This means that frames for the video may arrive out of sequence or at irregular intervals, which is called “jitter.” The transfer might also encounter overloaded or broken routers along the journey, resulting in lost data. When this happens, you will see the video break up periodically.
If you have a fast internet service, your enjoyment of online video can still be ruined by a slow VPN. When you watch HD video streams that originate from a server overseas, the speed issue becomes even more critical. International video transfers have to travel further and pass through a lot more routers than the journey of a stream from a nearby video service. More hops in the route provide more potential points of failure. For these reasons, you need a high-quality VPN that can perform all of its transfer management tasks with very little speed impairment. The recommended VPNs on this list are all top-quality services that are ideal for streaming IPTV in HD quality. Below you can see the results of our speed test of the top VPNs on our list plus some other reputable services for comparison:
IPTV VPN FAQ
Which is better for online streaming: VPN or SmartDNS?
Generally, VPNs are a better choice since they actually encrypt your network traffic, preventing it from being read by snoopers like your Internet Service Provider. However, some platforms (notably games consoles and some smart TVs) have very limited app stores, which makes installing a VPN much more difficult. In situations like these, Smart DNS services can be a quick and easy workaround, as long as you’re not overly concerned about privacy.
Which is better: VPN or proxy?
There’s one important distinction between VPNs and proxy servers: VPNs encrypt your traffic. This means that your activities can’t be read by the government, your employer, or your Internet Service Provider. Proxy servers, on the other hand, just reroute your traffic, making it appear as though you’re somewhere else. When you consider that VPNs also have this capability, it becomes clear that there’s really no reason to choose a proxy.
How does IPTV work?
There’s no great mystery as to how IPTV works; it’s just like regular TV, only the content you want to watch is delivered via the internet instead of cable. In fact, if you’ve ever used Twitch or YouTube, or streamed live TV on the ABC, NBC, or BBC websites, you’ve already used IPTV services.
Are subscriptions to IPTV legal?
Usually, yes. For instance, IPTV Services like fuboTV, YouTube TV, and Hulu are completely legitimate. However, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This means that if you find a website offering access to any movie or TV show you can think of for $1 a month, it’s almost certainly illegal. This kind of site is extremely unlikely to have the rights to the content, plus there’s no telling what the owners will do with your payment information.