Do You Need a VPN for Streaming? – All Questions Answered

published on: 02 April 2020 written by: Sebastian Petrosi

Do you need a VPN for streaming? The short answer: Yes, you do!.. Or maybe you don’t! The answer depends on a lot of variables.

Before I explain why, let me first share some interesting stats with you. Approximately, 100 million people watch video streams online every day and over 30 million internet users watch videos on Youtube every day!

It is also estimated that by 2025 half of the viewers under 32 will not pay for online TV. This would lead to a rise in piracy and subsequently stricter online laws.

According to Statista, by 2025 the video streaming market is expected to be worth over $124.57 billion. Judging by this statistic its no surprise that we are getting new entrants like Disney plus and DC Universe.

YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, Hulu and Amazon Prime are currently the best video streaming platforms. Collectively they cater to over billions of online streamers.

Geo-Restrictions is the Reason Why You Need a VPN

All those options and yet the common internet user has to resort to using a VPN. This is largely due to geo-restrictions.

But what the heck are geo-restrictions? Simply put, some content that is available in the United States may not be available in Australia. This is because video distribution rights are complicated and I can’t really explain why! I hated the fact that the TV show Friends was only available to American Netflix users for a very long time. Whenever I tried to watch Friends in UK I was slapped by this message, “This content is not available in your region” or something to that affect.

Or maybe you are traveling to US from UK and you want to watch the IT crowd while you are in your hotel room in US. You won’t be able to even though you have payed for Channel 4’s subscription because it isn’t available in the United States!

Imagine the horror! I would hate being in that situation.

Luckily, this is where a VPN comes in, with a VPN you can switch your IP to that of the United States and watch all your favorite American shows in the UK.

Simple right? But not quite!

Big companies like Netflix started a crackdown on VPN services. This meant that Netflix can tell that you are using a VPN and would not allow you to stream. After this, majority of the VPN services were left without a solution. Only a handful of VPN services still work with Netflix. The top two VPNs that work with Netflix are Surfshark and ExpressVPN.

Is it Legal To Use a VPN for Streaming?

It completely legal to use a VPN unless you live in Iran or China.

But truth be told, there are some gray areas here.

If you are looking to stream some P2P content available on Popcorntime, YiFy TV, Plex, or Kodi then VPN is the best way to go. But I am not saying that you should go on and stream copyright stuff, that’s just illegal.

A lot of users also use a VPN for torrenting.

They use VPN services because they are either downloading copyrighted content or they want to stay safe from hackers who could trace the users through their IP address.

Using a VPN is a smart thing to do because if you get caught downloading a copyright content then you could face fines up to $20,000 or more.

Even if you aren’t doing anything illegal there is also a chance of being called out by your ISP for just using a torrenting client. Or worst, you could get doxxed by hackers who can easily track you through your IP address.

Same thing goes when you are streaming, your IP address is being shared with server that is hosting the content. Once you are connected anyone can see your IP and exploit it anyway they see fit.

So, do you need a VPN for streaming? In this case, you definitely do.

I am going to answer some commonly asked questions on the internet so that we can understand better.

FAQs – Do You Need a VPN For Streaming?

Do you need a VPN for streaming movies?

Yes, you need a VPN for any and all kinds of streaming whether it may be movies or tv shows.

What does a VPN do for streaming?

It hides your IP from your ISPs and hackers, that can get you sued or hacked. Just don’t use a VPN that is based in the United States or in any other 14-eyes countries.

Is a VPN really necessary?

As far as I’m concerned, yes it is. Think of it as like you have curtains in your house for privacy. A VPN does just that and a lot more. Read my “what is a VPN and why is it important?” guide for more information.

Has anyone been prosecuted for streaming movies?

People do get fined and serve jail time for watching illegal streams.  A man was caught illegally streaming Sky Sports, he was ordered to pay £16,000.

The penalties differ from country to country. For example in the US, the penalty of getting caught watching an illegal stream is that you have to pay a fine of $250,000 and face jail time for up to 5 years. People use VPN services to hide their IP from their ISPs to avoid these penalties.

Do you need a VPN for streaming movies?

Yes, if the movie you are trying to watch isn’t available in your region then you will have to use a VPN.

What does a VPN do for streaming?

The biggest benefit of using a VPN for streaming is that it lets stream geo-restricted content. You can get American Netflix in Australia, watch Hotstar in USA, or hide you IP from your ISP.

How much does a VPN cost?

Depending the VPN, it can cost anywhere from $1 to $9 a month. Read our Best VPN guide for more detail.

Does Netflix care about VPN?

Yes it does. Netflix started a crackdown on VPN services that rendered many VPN services ineffective. There are only a handful of VPN providers that still work with Netflix. The most popular ones are ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

Can I go to jail for Torrenting?

Yes, if you are not using a VPN then there is a chance that you might get caught. Read my best VPN for torrenting guide for more details.

Can I stream Disney+ using a VPN?

Yes you can. We have a dedicated guide on how to watch Disney plus with a VPN, check it out.

Does Disney Plus Work With VPN?

Only a handful of VPN services work with Disney+. Read the guide I have mentioned above.

Is There a Way to Watch Disney Plus in Unsupported Countries?

Yes, you can stream it with the help of a VPN.

I hope this post was able to answer all of your questions. If not, then feel free to post questions in the comments below.