A VPN for the world’s biggest and most popular repository of online video? Surely that’s not necessary? Well, it might not be for some folks, but others may have good reasons for using a VPN with YouTube.
For starters, the video sharing website isn’t available in some countries where online censorship blocks access to Google’s site (and many others besides). Even those who aren’t subject to such draconian measures may find that not every video is accessible to them (sometimes thanks to copyright laws, but sometimes simply due to the uploader’s preference).
Then there’s the secondary issue of speed. While a VPN service can add overheads to your internet connection, and slow things down a little, that’s not always the case, and a well-optimized network can actually increase your speeds in some circumstances. It can also help you avoid ISP throttling when streaming video from YouTube, which is something that allegedly goes on with some Internet Service Providers.
How to choose the best VPN service for YouTube
Server coverage is one of the primary considerations here. You want a VPN provider which offers a large amount of server locations, because that bigger selection gives you a better chance of finding a stable and speedy connection.
- Check out the best VPN services of 2018
Best all-round VPN for YouTube
Number of servers: 2,000+ | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
More than 2,000 servers spread over 148 locations in 94 countries give you a great chance of getting a fast connection. ExpressVPN delivered above average speeds during our testing, with fairly usable speeds on even the most distant servers.
Custom clients provide easy setup for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and even Linux, with a few browser extensions and support for routers thrown in for good measure. It’s all about simplicity: one click and the VPN is up and running. Do note, however, that the P2P-friendly service supports just three simultaneous connections per user.
Security-wise, there’s a lot going on. Apart from the usual protocol support, you get DNS/IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and split tunneling. Being based in the British Virgin Islands allows ExpressVPN to deliver offshore privacy protection with no activity logs and no connection logs. What little the service does collect cannot be used against you.
There's no free plan or trial to test the waters, but users are able to fully try the service for up to 30 days, and get their money back if not happy, with no sneaky small print restrictions on bandwidth or sessions. The company's products start off a little more expensive than most rivals, so go for the annual subscription which offers the best value. The packages available are:
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- Exclusive deal [$6.67 a month], save 49%, 15-months - $99.95
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
In our testing of VyprVPN, we were very impressed with its performance levels, finding this provider offered consistently quick download speeds across the board. That’s the result of an optimized service that runs on its own network and hardware. It also helps that there are over 700 servers in 70+ locations, which should be more than enough to help you find the right connection.
There are apps and manual setup instructions to run the service on almost any platform and device: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, smart TVs and a number of routers. The apps are simple and intuitive – users can get started with one-click connect and server selection.
VyprVPN is a secure service that offers its own proprietary Chameleon protocol, and that’s particularly useful in this case, as it aims to defeat blocking and throttling – whether that’s from an online service, your ISP, or indeed the authorities or government.
However, there is some session logging that takes place here, so if you're looking for complete anonymity regardless of what you're doing, this may not be the VPN for you.
While the company doesn’t allow refunds in any circumstance, it offers a 3-day trial so you can easily test the service for yourself. The standard plan allows three simultaneous connections, and is billed monthly or annually. It’s the same with the Premium plan in terms of billing, although this ups the limit to five simultaneous connections, and gives you access to the aforementioned Chameleon protocol. The packages available are:
- Basic: $9.95 monthly or $3.75 per month billed annually
- Premium: $12.95 monthly or $5.00 per month billed annually
Best balance of power and performance
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
With over a thousand servers available in 60+ countries, IPVanish is one of the better choices for finding a good connection in terms of server choice. It also helps that the provider delivered high speeds in our performance tests, particularly with nearby servers.
Custom clients are available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, and IPVanish also has setup instructions for Chromebook, Amazon Fire TV (or Fire Stick), Linux, routers and lots of other devices. Most of the available apps are user-friendly, although the Windows client has a few annoyances (we found it prone to odd network issues, but your mileage may vary).
All the usual security and privacy features are present with this provider: strong encryption, multiple protocols, plus a few extras such as split tunnelling, and a firm no logs policy is in place.
There's no free plan or trial, although you do benefit from a 7-day no-strings-attached refund. There are three plans to choose from with the yearly subscription, as ever, being the most affordable option. The packages available are:
Best VPN for security
Number of servers: 1250+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
This VPN has a robust network that delivered solid and reliable speeds in our testing, with even very long-distance connections still usable for basic browsing.
CyberGhost offers a diverse range of feature-packed clients, including native software for the main desktop and mobile platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android). There are some irritations with the interface, which can be a little annoying at times, but the software makes up for it with some nifty options, such as kicking in automatically when you launch a specific app – like your browser, for example.
CyberGhost used to offer a 7-day free trial, but unfortunately that’s no longer available. However, you do get a 30-day money-back guarantee. With an expensive monthly plan, your best bets are the two or three-year plans. The packages available are:
- [$11.99 a month] 1-month
- [$4.99 a month] 1-year - $59.88
- [$3.79 a month] 2-years - $90.96
- [$2.75 a month] 3-years - $99.00
Best VPN for those with multiple connections
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 40+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Speedify is a simple VPN with a clever performance-boosting twist. Namely, the provider’s ‘channel bonding’ feature creates a faster and more reliable connection by joining together multiple connections, making it a great choice for those with access to multiple methods of getting online.
However, in our testing, we found that the service delivered even without using this speed-boosting feature, and performance levels were more than acceptable. A thousand servers in 23 countries around the globe provide sufficient choice to get the best of YouTube on your screen(s).
Speedify is available for all the major platforms, keeping the UI clutter to a minimum and giving off more of an app vibe rather than a full desktop program. The end result is a very small number of settings with Redundant Mode the only mention-worthy feature (it sends all traffic across all available connections for improved reliability).
ChaCha encryption and multiple VPN protocol support will help keep your data private, while the provider states it does not log IP addresses, websites, or any data that you send or receive while connected to the service.
The US-based service has only two commercial plans (not counting the group-based offers) that are affordable and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s also a free plan with 1GB of data per month (no account needed) that provides a sneak peek at the quality of the service. The packages available are:
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN services of 2018