Best VPN US expats watch abroad

If you are traveling abroad and want to carry on watching all your favorite shows from back home, you will need the help of a VPN. A VPN allows you to spoof your location and access your home streaming services from anywhere in the world. We reveal the best VPNs for Americans abroad plus how to get set up, even if you’ve never used one before.

As an American, one of the biggest challenges you face when traveling is access to decent TV shows. Even in the UK or other English-speaking countries, access to the latest and greatest American content is limited. Most places in the world get US TV shows one season behind the latest US release if they get them at all. US entertainment is exported all over the world, but in foreign-language countries, the audio is often dubbed over. So, if you don’t fancy lipreading reruns, you need to tool up.

“VPN” means “virtual private network.” You don’t need an IT degree to use one. The supporting technology is a little complicated but all you need to know is that when you install a VPN you appear to be in a different country to websites, apps, and services on the internet. There’s a wealth of VPNs to choose from, but only a handful can reliably bypass geographic restrictions and unblock US TV shows.

We’ll discuss each of the best VPNs for watching US TV online abroad in more detail, but if you don’t want to stick around, here are our top picks:

  1. NordVPN: Our first choice for expats. Blazing fast speeds, an excellent security record, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: A great budget VPN that doesn’t skimp on speed or security features. Unlocks most US streaming content.
  3. ExpressVPN: Fast provider that works with US Netflix and most of the major US TV networks. Best-in-class security and privacy features.
  4. CyberGhost: Low-cost performer that unblocks most US streaming sites. Good security features.
  5. IPVanish: Scores highly for speed. Very popular with torrenters and Kodi users but a less reliable choice for watching Netflix.
  6. PrivateVPN: An increasingly popular service with fast speeds. Good for streaming.
  7. Atlas VPN: Fast speeds for lag-free streaming of American TV. Strong unblocking of content such as Prime Video and HBO Max. Ad blocker included.

Fortunately, almost all US TV channels put their content on the internet. You can watch live US TV channels like ABC and CBS or browse on-demand video libraries from online services and streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, HBO, and Hulu.

Unfortunately, US TV streaming channels block access to internet users outside the country. So if you’re outside of the US for your vacations and still want to access your favorite shows you need to deploy technology in order to keep the entertainment flowing. To get around those restrictions, we recommend using a VPN. If you want to know how to watch Hulu in China or how to get Netflix USA in France, read on.

WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?

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There are no hidden terms – just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

Best VPNs for US expats to watch American TV abroad – at a glance

We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for US expats to watch American TV abroad.

No valueNordVPNSurfsharkExpressVPNCyberGhostIPVanishPrivateVPNAtlas VPN
Websitewww.NordVPN.comwww.Surfshark.comwww.ExpressVPN.comwww.Cyberghost.comwww.IPVanish.comwww.PrivateVPN.comwww.atlasvpn.com
Ranking for US Expats1234567
US Servers15 cities / 1970+ servers23 cities / 600+ servers11 cities / 1121 servers12 servers1,329 servers12 servers7 cities
Avg Speed (Mbps)100+ Mbps323.6 Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps71 Mbps100+ Mbps
Devices SupportedWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, RoutersWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, MacOS, Linux (command line), iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android
Popular Sites Unblocked95%88%86%85%70%85%93%
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Our list of the best VPNs for American expats to watch US TV abroad is based on the following criteria:

  • High speeds for streaming
  • Location cloaking capabilities
  • Works with the USA library of Netflix
  • Multiple US locations to dodge sports blackouts
  • Strong security measures for use in repressive countries

Here is our list of the best VPNs for expats to watch US TV from abroad:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN Oct 2022

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is another good choice if you go to a country with strict government controls on internet access. This service works well in China and it can get you into most US TV networks over the internet. It can also get you into the US library of Netflix from abroad. The company has 1,592 servers in the United States. However, you aren’t allowed to specify a city when you connect, so that might get you trapped by a blackout when you want to watch US sports, such as MLB.

NordVPN has some interesting security features. You can connect to the Tor network through specialized NordVPN servers. The company offers “double hop” routes that pass your traffic through two servers in different locations and places double encryption on your connection. Another feature offered by NordVPN is extra DDoS protection that is particularly useful if you are into online gaming and are likely to get attacked by an opponent.

As an added extra, you can choose to have your own dedicated IP address. This means that whenever you connect to the service and wherever you connect from, you will be represented by the same substitute IP address out on the internet. The company offers dedicated addresses in four locations. To access US sites, you would need to ask for a dedicated IP address from Buffalo. Getting a dedicated IP address will let you run your own media server, such as a Plex Server. That means you can store movies and documents back home and then access them all from a storage-limited mobile device when abroad.

The main security method used by NordVPN is OpenVPN. The company’s implementation uses AES encryption with a 256-bit key to protect data, and session establishment is protected by RSA encryption with a 2048-bit key.

You can download and install a NordVPN app on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, Linux and iOS. The system can be installed manually set top boxes, and routers. If you just want to get your browser covered by the VPN, try the extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

NordVPN offers an allowance of six simultaneous connections to each customer.

Pros:

  • Over 1,500 servers in the US can unblock just about anything
  • Offers secure, encrypted connections at all times
  • Great-value option for torrenting and streaming
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat
  • Fastest speeds of all the VPNs we’ve tested

Cons:

  • Automatic server selection may not suit all use cases

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR US EXPATS:NordVPN is our #1 choice. An exceptionally fast and secure VPN that works well with US streaming content. Solid security and privacy features. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

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2. Surfshark

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark is a strong choice for expats thanks to its reliable speeds and strong unblocking ability. This VPN not only works with major platforms like Netflix US from abroad, but it also allows you to access region-locked services like NBC and CBS from anywhere. Perhaps best of all, Surfshark has no connection limit, meaning it’s perfect for those who want to stream safely both at home and on-the-go.

This service puts your security and privacy first, using 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks to keep you anonymous online. You can also pay in cryptocurrency if you like, but as no personally identifiable information is logged, you can’t be traced either way. Should you need any help, you can reach customer support 24/7 over live chat.

Surfshark has apps for Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, and Linux devices. Manual configuration is required before use with network routers.

Pros:

  • Unblocks popular US services abroad
  • Unlimited devices
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Powerful security features
  • Anonymous registration possible

Cons:

  • Fewer servers than some other VPNs
  • Has the occasional slow server

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark is an affordable VPN that makes streaming a breeze and doesn’t limit you to a set number of devices. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of Surfshark

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3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN can access Netflix USA when overseas and can easily unblocks online video from all the major US TV networks. Not all of ExpressVPN’s US servers work with every US streaming outlet, however; be sure to ask the 24/7 live chat support which ones to use with your favorite channels.

You may notice that ExpressVPN is a little pricey. However, you will need the extra-strength encryption and cloaking methods of ExpressVPN if you go to places such as China or Iran where advanced censorship stops most VPNs working. Very few VPNs offer sufficient protection in China, so if that’s where you are headed, you will find that ExpressVPN’s price is worth every cent. The Chinese authorities regularly scan internet traffic and try to block VPN-protected connections, but ExpressVPN consistently stays one step ahead.

If you subscribe to sports channels in the USA, it is important to have a choice of locations to connect through. ExpressVPN lets you choose a city, not just a country, when you connect to the service. The company has servers in 18 US cities, including a location in Los Angeles that routes through Hong Kong.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Kindle Fire devices, and certain wifi routers. If you have a device that doesn’t support VPN apps, ExpressVPN subscribers can use the included MediaStreamer smart DNS service to unblock content instead, but without the security provided by a VPN.

Pros:

  • Servers in 18 US cities can unblock geo-restricted content from almost anywhere
  • Can securely access sites like US Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime with ease
  • High-end security features with good privacy protection
  • Provide 24/7 live chat support

Cons:

  • Not as cheap as some other providers
  • Lack of customizable features may prove frustrating for power users

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

EASY STREAMING:ExpressVPN boasts high speeds and the ability to stream major streaming services including US Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime. Great privacy features and keeps no logs. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN.

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4. CyberGhost

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost offers good speeds for streaming and you can preset the VPN client at the beginning of a session to optimize it for watching videos online. The system can get around access blocks on most US TV channels’ websites and also Netflix USA. The company runs over 600 servers in the USA and these are located in 19 cities.

The security measures included in the VPN service are excellent and the company offers free extras to its customers, such as an immunizer against ransomware attacks. CyberGhost primarily uses the OpenVPN protocol. CyberGhost employs very strong session establishment encryption by giving its RSA cipher a 4096-bit key. Data exchanges are protected by AES encryption with a 256-bit key.

The account management procedures of CyberGhost are designed to provide total anonymity. The company doesn’t collect payment itself and you are only identified on the CyberGhost computers by an account number. All the company knows about you is the date that your account will expire. When you want to subscribe for another period, you load up your account with more credit over at the payment processing company. If you want even more privacy, you can opt to pay with Bitcoin, which means you can’t be traced through your bank account.

Apps are available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can set up the VPN manually on Linux and some routers and set-top boxes. You are allowed to connect to the service seven times concurrently. This is a stylish piece of software and the company is so confident that you will enjoy using it that they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Over 600 servers in the US get around most geo-restrictions.
  • Some of the fastest servers we’ve tested
  • Kill switch on all apps and keeps no logs
  • Apps are great for beginners

Cons:

  • Torrenting and P2P might not work on all servers

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

VALUE & PERFORMANCE:CyberGhost has a simple set up. Great privacy, zero logs and DNS leak protection. Can struggle with some popular streaming sites. 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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5. IPVanish

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish is based in the United States and it offers good speeds for connections to the USA from anywhere in the world. Speed is an essential factor that you need from a VPN if you intend to stream video from back home while abroad. IPVanish can get you into US TV channel web services and it’s great for Kodi. This VPN service can also get you into Netflix USA from overseas.

You can choose a city located in the USA when you connect to the VPN service. IPVanish has a total of 418 servers in the USA spread across 17 cities. If you like to play online games while abroad, IPVanish could be your best choice. It has servers located very close to all of the major game servers in the USA, which means less latency. For example, IPVanish has 41 servers in Seattle, very close to Steam’s West Coast base, and 42 servers in Ashburn just a couple of miles from Steam’s East Coast HQ.

IPVanish operates a dynamic IP address system. When you connect to a server, you get allocated a new IP address to represent you for the duration of the session. While connected, you are the only person using that address. When you disconnect, that address goes back into the pool and someone else will use it. You almost never get allocated the same address twice.

The VPN service uses the protection of the OpenVPN system. This is implemented with a 256-bit AES cipher to protect data. Session establishment is carried out with a 2048-bit RSA cipher.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. The VPN can run on Amazon Fire devices, but you have to set those up manually. You get unlimited simultaneous connections with IPVanish and the company gives a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Over 400 servers in 17 cities throughout the US
  • Particularly favored by remote control users with Kodi devices or Fire TV Sticks
  • Impressive 4K streaming speeds achieved during testing

Cons:

  • Not all servers work with Netflix
  • Apps don’t work in China

Our score:

4 out of 5

UNLIMITED DEVICES:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Handles several simultaneous connections well. Recommend for their high standard of privacy, but keep shopping if you want to watch US Netflix from abroad as well as access US TV. 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of IPVanish.

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6. PrivateVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN is a good option for streaming video from US sites to overseas locations. The company offers good speeds on international connections and it can get around regional restrictions on most US TV websites. It can get you into Netflix USA and also the Netflix libraries for UK, Canada, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Italy, and France.

Although PrivateVPN is based in Sweden, all of its support staff speaks excellent English, so you won’t need to worry about language skills when you need to contact them for help. The Help Desk of PrivateVPN is one of its strong points and it is available online during Swedish business hours. If you aren’t so tech-savvy, the support technician can take control of your computer and fix the problem for you.

A second strong point of PrivateVPN is its commitment to privacy. The company was founded by torrenting enthusiasts and they still campaign against European laws that try to trace users or block downloading activities. The service keeps no logs at all and all payments are processed by a third-party. You are only identified on the PrivateVPN system by an account number.

The server network of PrivateVPN is not as large as those of the other VPNs in this list. However, it has servers in nine cities in the USA. All of the locations offer the option to connect using OpenVPN. However, the company recommends that those using the service in China opt for the L2TP VPN system because its OpenVPN connections get spotted and blocked by the authorities there.

PrivateVPN gives each customer an allowance of six simultaneous connections and you get apps for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can also install the VPN on Amazon Fire devices, Linux, and manually on some set-top boxes and routers.

Pros:

  • Servers in 9 US cities achieve good streaming speeds
  • Gaining popularity for their growing list of sites they unblock
  • Can connect up to six devices simultaneously

Cons:

  • Has fewer servers in the US than other providers on this list
  • Needs manual tweaking to work in China
  • Kill switch only works on the Windows app

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Works with US Netflix and allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Small network of servers but fast connections. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of PrivateVPN.

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7. Atlas VPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android

Website:  www.atlasvpn.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Atlas VPN is one of the best VPNs you can use when it comes to accessing region-locked TV streaming services from the US. It consistently works with the likes of ABC, Hulu, and Netflix  What’s more, it’s also one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, averaging 247 Mbps in our tests. This means that you can stream in high resolution (1080p HD or even 4K) while traveling abroad, all without lag or buffering.

Traveling abroad and accessing public wifi networks comes with some risk. Atlas VPN protects you from hackers and snoopers alike with 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. Indeed, you can even connect to a MultiHop server for two layers of encryption while there’s also an ad blocker. Atlas VPN doesn’t keep identifying logs of users which means your browsing activity stays private.

Secure all of your devices with the Atlas VPN apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. You can also find apps for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.

Pros:

  • Consistently unblocks US TV streaming services
  • High-speed connections so you can stream lag-free
  • Connect all of your devices at the same time
  • MultiHop servers and an ad blocker included

Cons:

  • Relatively small network of servers (around 700)
  • No option to pay anonymously in Bitcoin/cryptocurrency

Our score:

4 out of 5

STRONG UNBLOCKING:Atlas VPN works with most popular TV streaming services while its fast speeds let you stream in 4K without interruption. Connect all of your devices simultaneously. Secure with an ad blocker. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Atlas VPN review.

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How to watch US TV abroad

Using a VPN to access your favorite shows is simple. Below is our guide for US expats wanting to watch American TV abroad online.

Here’s how to watch US TV abroad:

  1. Sign up to your chosen VPN provider. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download the relevant app for your device from the VPN provider website or an official app store.
  3. Install the app and log in using your new credentials.
  4. Connect to a server in the US, this will give you an American IP address. The exact server location doesn’t matter unless you want to unblock streaming websites restricted to a specific US region.
  5. Navigate to the stream you’d like to watch and enjoy!

If you run into any issues, you can contact your VPN’s customer support team for assistance.

VPNs for American TV: our methodology

While there are countless VPNs offering servers in the US, many are unsuitable for streaming be it due to slow server speeds or poor unblocking ability. Our methodology helped us find the best VPNs for US expats to watch American TV from abroad by seeking out the following:

  • Servers in the US: Of course, the very first thing we look for in a VPN for watching American TV from overseas is servers in the US. This is how you can get a US IP address from anywhere. In some cases, the VPNs we’ve covered offer as many as a thousand US servers across one or even two dozen cities.
  • Speed: While it’s advantageous if a VPN has a good quantity of servers available, it’s little good if the connection speeds are too slow for streaming. The good news is that we’ve found the fastest VPNs for watching American TV by conducting speed tests. All of these VPNs offer unlimited bandwidth and allow for streaming in high definition.
  • Unblocking: One area in which many VPNs struggle is the unblocking of geo-restricted content. This is particularly the case with popular streaming services, many of which have implemented anti-VPN measures. By testing each VPN with services including Disney+ and HBO Max, we found those that are most consistent.
  • Security: Whether you’re browsing or streaming, a VPN should encrypt your internet traffic, protecting you from a wide range of security threats. In the case of some of the VPNs selected, you’ll even find additional features such as automatic wifi protection and Double VPN servers, taking your security to another level.
  • Privacy: Although many VPNs claim to operate no-logs policies, this isn’t always true. We took 140 VPN logging policies and studied the small print to find those that actually protect your privacy. In some cases, you’ll also find the option to sign up anonymously — all you need to do is use a burner email and pay in Bitcoin.
  • Ease of use: Regardless of how many servers a VPN service offers or the security it provides, it should remain easy to use. This means offering beginner-friendly apps for desktop and mobile platforms. Furthermore, live chat and email support are available 24 hours a day in the case of all of the VPNs listed in this post.
  • Value for money: Regardless of asking for the above, we haven’t compromised on price. The best VPNs for watching US TV online from abroad remain excellent value for money. Choose between competitive month-to-month and multi-year plans and save even more when you use one of our VPN discount coupons.

Our VPN testing methodology involves extensive hands-on time with each VPN. We’re then able to establish if it offers the above as well as to what degree (particularly in relation to speed, security, and unblocking).

How to watch US TV abroad FAQ

How do I watch US TV abroad on Android or iOS devices?

Generally, the methods you would use to watch US TV abroad are the same whether you’re streaming on a desktop PC, a laptop, or a mobile device. Once you install a VPN and connect to a server in the required location, you should be able to access all of your usual US streaming services, regardless of where you are in the world. 

That said, there is one tactic that some streaming platforms use that is specifically designed to detect VPN users on Android and iOS. Certain major broadcasters will cross-reference your IP address with your phone’s GPS location to make doubly sure that you are where you say you are. A handful of VPNs allow you to override your GPS location automatically, but more often, you’ll need a third-party GPS spoofing app to do this. 

Can I watch Hulu outside the US?

At the moment, Hulu is only available in the US and Japan. These regions each have different content, though, so if you’re a US subscriber hoping to access your home country’s library while traveling in Japan, you’ll need a VPN. 

These services work by changing your IP address, which is what streaming platforms use to determine where you are in the world. By connecting to an American server, for instance, you can make it appear as though you’re in the US, which will grant you access to services like Hulu. If you wanted to view the Japanese library, you’d just use a Japanese server instead. 

Is it legal to watch US TV abroad?

Obviously the rules are different everywhere you go but in most countries, there are no law against streaming geo-restricted material from outside of its intended broadcast area. It’s worth noting that doing so is likely against the terms of use for whichever service you’re using. This isn’t worth losing sleep over, though: even if a platform realizes that you’re using a VPN, the harshest consequence you’re likely to see is being asked to turn it off. 

Where can I watch American TV shows online for free?

Plenty of American TV networks let you watch their shows online for free. In fact, there are even several cable channels that have no problem with you streaming recently-aired episodes on-demand for a limited time (usually a week or so). Take a look below for a few of the most popular American channels offering either a free live stream or free-to-watch episodes:

What are the restrictions on video access in the USA?

It is great to have the option of accessing TV over the internet. Some premium entertainment systems, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, are only available over the internet. However, they aren't available to everyone in the world.

Some websites require a subscription before they will let you access their content. However, payment is not the only requirement that they place on viewers. You also have to be in the right location. If you travel on vacation to Hawaii or Miami, you won't notice these access controls. This is because the restrictions on access to video streams are imposed to enforce national boundaries. So, when you decide to travel abroad, you will suddenly find that all of those video sites you use at home don't work anymore. This can be particularly irritating if you are trying to access a service that you have paid for.

Video access controls are known as "regional restrictions" or "geo-location restrictions." All bona fide video streaming services use this method of control. That means, not only do video sites in the USA limit access to people who are in the country, but almost all video sites all over the world do it -- except for pirate sites.

See also: Best VPN for UK expats

How do they locate me?

Every device connected to the internet has to have a unique address, called the IP address. In most residential cases, the IP address is allocated to a computer or mobile device by an internet service provider. Every IP address in the world can be traced to a physical location.

The IP address that you connect with probably isn't registered to your home address, but it will be registered to your ISP. Your IP address will be locatable to your city. If you live in the countryside, your IP address will be traceable to the closest major city. Even though you won't be traced to your door by the video service you access, the nearest city gives the video streaming server enough information to decide whether to send your computer the video stream.

In most cases, the regional restrictions kick in at the point of video delivery. Premium services such as Amazon Prime and Spotify only let you use the service from the country that you signed up in. If you aren't in that country, you can't watch videos. Netflix is a little different because it lets you watch the service for the country that you are in, no matter where you subscribed.

How can VPNs help?

When you log into a VPN, you have to pick a specific server from a list. The list will show the location of each server. When you click on a server, the client software on your computer establishes a secure link to that remote computer. All of the traffic leaving your computer and returning to it will show that you are communicating with the address of that chosen server. This is useful if you are in a country, such as China, that tries to prevent people from within its borders from accessing certain sites outside the country. On this stretch, no one can see that you are really connecting through the VPN server to other addresses. The VPN encrypts all traffic between your computer and the VPN, even the address of the service that you are really connecting to, so anyone trying to read your activities cannot get in and see who you are communicating with.

When you connect to a US video streaming service from abroad, you need to select a VPN server in the USA. Once the request for a video arrives at the VPN server, it will remove the encryption and send the request on to the video server from its own address. When the video site's content server checks on your location, it will see a US IP address, not the location you are actually in (Paris, for example). The US location means you are allowed to watch the video and so the server will send the code for the stream back to the VPN server.

The VPN server encrypts all of that data and sends it on to your computer. No one snooping on your traffic can see that there is a video coming to your computer and they can't tell where it came from. The VPN client software on your computer captures the incoming data, decrypts it, and sends it to your video player.

Related: Stop your ISP from snooping on you

Can I use any VPN for US video streaming?

The location detection methods used by video streaming services are very sophisticated. Free and cheap VPNs don't have enough money to invest in beating detection. So, you may see some free services out there, but they won't help you get into TV from the USA when you are abroad.

Another issue you have to take into account when selecting a VPN for international video streaming is speed. All of the encryption, decryption, and traffic diversion add a delay to the delivery of video. Free services don't have very good speeds. This is because, like ISPs, they have to pay carrying networks to get their traffic across the world.

Those intermediate networks have different levels of service with higher tariffs for faster connections. VPN services that need to cut costs opt for the slower, cheaper connection services, and that may make the delivery of video too slow to watch.

The location checks that video content servers perform also try to root out requests that have been submitted by VPNs. This is because video streaming services are obliged to restrict access to their content to people who are located in specific countries. They have to take all available measures to enforce that restriction and that includes blocking the assistance of VPNs.

You will notice that in our list of the best VPNs for streaming US video from abroad, not all of them can get you into Netflix USA. That shows how difficult it is to get around the VPN detection systems at that site. Free VPNs certainly won't get you in.

Does a VPN slow my connection speed?

A VPN encrypts the data traveling between your device and the Internet. It’s normal for this extra step to slow your connection speed somewhat. However, if you’re already suffering from slow speeds due to ISP throttling, it may be that a VPN actually improves your connection speed. The fastest VPNs (all of which we’ve tested ourselves) offer unlimited bandwidth and are more than fast enough for streaming in high definition and even 4K.

How do I watch US Netflix from abroad?

Netflix goes to great efforts to prevent the use of VPNs. As such, many VPNs fail to work with the streaming service. Fortunately, our tests have revealed the best VPNs for Netflix, all of which are quick and easy to use. To watch US Netflix from abroad, connect to a VPN server in the US to get a US IP address. The content should then be accessible in your location (though you may need to clear your browser’s cookies for changes to take effect).