The Apple TV 4K and HD devices rank among the best streaming devices, such as Roku, Fire TV Stick and Chromecast devices. It’s great having multiple streaming services on one platform, but if Apple TV users want to access streaming content from other regions, they’ll need to use the best Apple TV VPN. That said, there are some challenges in getting VPN connections on Apple TVs.
- You can’t install a VPN directly onto Apple TV devices, so you’ll need to use the VPN on your router or use a Smart DNS feature to watch geo-restricted streaming content.
- ExpressVPN is the top VPN for Apple TV because it has a dedicated router app.
- NordVPN is a more affordable choice, but you’ll need to set it up manually on your router or use its Smart DNS feature, which doesn’t provide VPN security.
Although you can’t install a virtual private network directly on your Apple TV device — don’t worry — we’ll explain the different ways you can use a VPN with Apple TV and which of the best VPNs can break the chains to give you absolute streaming freedom.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for AppleTV because it’s one of the few VPNs that has a dedicated router app. It also has a Smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer, as well as excellent security and fast speeds, making it a top choice.
Most VPNs will work with Apple TV, but ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs with a dedicated router app. Other VPNs will need to have a Smart DNS feature, which will let you spoof your location on Apple TV without having to install the VPN on the device.
There are free VPNs available, but we wouldn’t recommend them for AppleTV. You should avoid most free VPNs, but even those that are reputable are not a great fit due to small server networks, data caps and slow speeds. Plus, they might not have a Smart DNS feature.
Best VPNs for Apple TV
What Makes the Best Apple TV VPN?
First of all, the VPN provider needs to connect to your Apple TV device via a router app or router installation. If you use Smart DNS, you’ll benefit from your regular internet speeds but not the VPN security.
- ExpressVPN — Fast VPN with a dedicated router app and Smart DNS
- NordVPN — Affordable long-term VPN with a manual router installation
- Surfshark — Manual router installation and unlimited simultaneous connections
- CyberGhost — Category-specific DNS addresses, massive server network
- Private Internet Access — Budget option for DNS, 10 simultaneous connections
You should also choose a fast VPN. That way, you can load content quickly and stream in high resolution. The VPN connection should also be capable of getting around regional restrictions and have the geographical server spread to do so.
The 5 Best VPNs for Apple TV
We tested a bunch of VPN providers and then narrowed the list down to pick the five best Apple TV VPNs. The VPNs that made the list will have all or most of the features we mentioned above, so let’s get into them.
ExpressVPN is the only VPN on this list to have a dedicated router app, making it super easy to set up on a router.
More information about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Dedicated router app
- Easy to use
- Fast speeds
We’ve chosen ExpressVPN as our favorite Apple TV VPN because it offers a router-compatible app. Having a dedicated router app makes the whole setup process super easy and allows you to connect multiple devices via the router. You’re also able to configure the settings easily via its interface, which isn’t much different from the easy-to-use desktop or mobile version.
Plus, ExpressVPN’s SmartDNS feature — called MediaStreamer — allows you to easily gain access to overseas content. You won’t be protected by the VPN, but it’s not too hard to set up and allows you to have more flexibility over the devices you stream from, such as a smart TV or game console.
ExpressVPN’s Fast Speeds
ExpressvPN is one of our best VPNs for streaming, it’s no surprise that you can circumvent streaming restrictions easily on services like Netflix, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer and Hulu. It has a large server network covering 94 countries to help with that.
ExpressVPN has some of the fastest speeds of all the VPNs on our list. The VPN service decided to create an all-new VPN protocol from the ground up with some inspiration from WireGuard. Its Lightway protocol is open source and promises faster speeds while also keeping your connection secure.
ExpressVPN is the best Apple TV VPN and it’s a top choice for other devices too.
When it comes to pricing, ExpressVPN is quite expensive. However, you’re paying for the quality that ExpressVPN brings to the table. It’s also the only VPN on the list that offers a dedicated router app. Plus, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Check out our ExpressVPN review for more information.
NordVPN has a Smart DNS feature, allowing you to set it up on your Apple TV.
More information about NordVPN:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $3.29 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Manual router set-up option
- Ability to bypass geoblocks
- Has Smart DNS feature
Unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN doesn’t have a dedicated router app and this is one of the main features holding it back from being higher on our list. Not having a router app means it’s a more involved process to set it up on the router — so much so that some people opt to purchase a preconfigured router instead.
With ExpressVPN, you’ll benefit from the best encryption, and there’s also a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that none of your online activities are kept on record. Like ExpressVPN, it also offers some of the best VPN speeds available.
NordVPN provides an effective guide for its Smart DNS feature too. It’s pretty straightforward to follow, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot. Remember that there’s no encryption this way, but it’s fine for bypassing regional restrictions.
NordVPNs Ability to Bypass Geoblocks
NordVPN has the ability to bypass different streaming services blocks, such as Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and many more. It also provides over 5,400 server locations in 60 countries, so if you have an issue with one server, you can simply switch to another.
NordVPN can bypass geoblocks easily and is a great choice for any device type.
Pricing for NordVPN is good as long as you opt for the two-year plan. Plus, there is also a 30-day refund period if you change your mind. Find out more in our NordVPN review.
Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections, allowing you to connect your Apple TV, as well as many other devices.
More information about Surfshark:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Unlimited connections
- Multi-hop functionality
- Manual router installation
Next up is Surfshark, which is a decent VPN service that won’t hurt your bank balance. Like with the other VPNs, you have the option of installing it on your router, so long as it’s compatible, or using its Smart DNS feature. You can find tutorials for either of those options on the Surfshark website. You can buy a pre-configured router that’s already set up.
Additionally, Surfshark has decent speeds, so you won’t be interrupted by a buffering screen while streaming. Plus, you can get hold of different content from around the world easily with over 3,200 servers in 65 countries.
Fast Speeds for Streaming
As we discovered in our VPN speed comparison, Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs, which makes it great for streaming content on your Apple TV. Plus, you have unlimited devices connected to the VPN, so you don’t necessarily have to use a physical router to reduce the number of VPN connections.
Surfshark can be set up on Apple TV with its SmartDNS feature.
With Surfshark’s high monthly price, you’d be better off going for our top pick. However, if you opt for a two-year subscription, it’s a real deal. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can take it for a spin on mobile first with a seven-day free trial. Check out our Surfshark review for more details.
- : Unlimited GB bandwidth,
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
CyberGhost has a massive network of servers that spans 91 countries.
More information about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.15 per month (three-year plan + three months)
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Massive server network
- Categorized DNS addresses
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Struggles with some streaming services
- Slower on speeds
Before we get into CyberGhost’s feature set, we should mention that it has trouble accessing certain streaming platforms. You can get into Netflix easily, but other streaming services, such as Hulu and BBC iPlayer, might be a bit more of a challenge. Still, it has a huge server network, with almost 8,000 servers in 91 countries, so you have plenty to choose from for accessing content.
Like our last couple of picks, CyberGhost doesn’t have a dedicated router app, but you can still set the VPN up on your router by following CyberGhost’s online guides. With that setup, all of your devices will be covered by CyberGhost’s strong security and no-logs policy.
CyberGhost’s My Smart DNS Feature
CyberGhost has a SmartDNS feature called “My Smart DNS,” which is a little different from the SmartDNS offered by other VPNs; it allows you to simply choose a country you want to connect to. For instance, if you want to access Netflix U.S., you simply choose a U.S. server.
However, you’re not going to know if that VPN server works with Netflix until you try it. My Smart DNS lists DNS addresses by category, such as “Netflix U.S. Address” or “Hulu U.S. Address,” so you can choose one based on the platform you want to access.
CyberGhost’s My Smart DNS feature has categorized DNS addresses for specific services, such as Netflix U.S.
CyberGhost is even more expensive than ExpressVPN on the monthly plan. However, it’s an inexpensive choice as long as you opt for a longer subscription. There’s also a seven-day free trial on mobile (24 hours on desktop), and a long 45-day money-back guarantee. Our CyberGhost review has more information about the provider.
PIA is an inexpensive VPN that can be easily set up on Apple TV with its SmartDNS feature.
More information about PIA:
- Highly customizable
- Gets into Netflix & Amazon Prime Video
- Slow servers
- No router app
If you want a super-cheap VPN, then you should consider Private Internet Access. While it’s not quite on par with our top picks, PIA provides a service that’s good enough if you’re on a budget. If you want PIA set up on a router, you can either set it up yourself or grab a preconfigured FlashRouter.
With both of those options, you can easily ensure that all of your devices are protected by connecting them to the router. PIA has strong security, and there’s also a no-logging policy. Plus, in terms of speed, it’s fast enough for a decent streaming experience.
PIA has servers in more than 80 countries, which gives you plenty to choose from for accessing geoblocked content on Apple TV. Speaking of geoblocks, you might have trouble accessing certain services with PIA, which is the main reason it came last on our list. Accessing Netflix U.S. or Amazon Prime Video shouldn’t be a problem, but it struggles with Hulu and BBC iPlayer.
10 Simultaneous Connections & MACE
If you decide to use PIA’s SmartDNS feature on your Apple TV, you’ll be pleased to know that PIA lets you connect up to 10 devices at the same time. That means you can set up the VPN on your Apple TV via Smart DNS and install the VPN app on a bunch of other devices too.
PIA also has its own ads, tracker and malware blocker called MACE. What’s clever about MACE, though, is that it doesn’t rely on pre-existing blocklists — rather, it identifies harmful and unwanted attacks at the DNS level. That means they don’t even get a chance to load. It’s not only faster this way, but also more memory efficient.
PIA allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, meaning you can set it up for Apple TV and also protect your devices.
Just like we’ve already mentioned in our other picks, PIA’s monthly cost is expensive. It becomes super cheap, though, if you opt for the three-year plan. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on. Read our PIA review for more information.
Can You Use a Free VPN With Apple TV?
Using a free VPN provider can often be risky. Many are free to entice downloads, but once installed, they do little to actually protect you. Some don’t implement the security that’s advertised, and some sell your data to third-party companies (read our guide to the worst free VPNs). That’s why it’s important to only go with reputable free VPNs, which are usually just free versions of paid VPNs.
Even then, free VPN services often have restrictions, like slower speeds. Then there is the issue of a smaller server network, meaning you might have trouble finding the right server to connect to. There might also be a data cap and, once you hit the limit, the VPN won’t work anymore.
There are only a few free As a quick spoiler alert, though, ExpressVPN is the only VPN on this list to provide an app for routers, making it a top pick if a router setup is what you want. HowVPN services we recommend, including Windscribe and ProtonVPN. Both of these have their limitations, though.
ProtonVPN has limited its server locations to three on the free plan: Japan, the Netherlands and the U.S. ProtonVPN gives you unlimited data, but the trade-off for this is slow speeds.
Meanwhile, Windscribe is the best free VPN, but there are still limitations. For one, you can only use Smart DNS if you pay for it. Windscribe has a ton of servers in different countries, but you’re only able to access 10 of those locations on the free plan. Plus, while its 10GB of data per month is generous, you’ll easily burn through that with streaming.
How to Install a VPN on Your Apple TV
Since you can’t download a VPN directly to an Apple TV device, you need to set it up in one of the following ways.
You can set up the VPN on your router, which would allow you to connect multiple other devices to the VPN too. It can take a while to set it up initially, but it will be beneficial in many ways once it’s completed.
As a quick spoiler alert, though, ExpressVPN is the only VPN on this list to provide an app for routers, making it a top pick if a router setup is what you want. However, some VPNs also offer ways to manually configure the VPN with a home router.
There’s also a virtual router option, which can be set up on your laptop and is similar to a hotspot. You’ll need to keep the laptop on whenever you want to use it, though, so it can become a pain. You can find how-to guides for both router options via each VPN provider’s websites.
Smart DNS lets you fake your location without actually using the VPN in the customary way. It allows you to access different streaming content from around the world, but without any extra features, such as encryption.
How to Set up Smart DNS With Your Apple TV:
- Go to “settings” and then “network” on your Apple TV.
- Click on “WiFi” and set it to manual, go back and click on “DNS” and enter the DNS server address provided by the VPN.
- Restart your Apple TV and that’s it — you’re good to go.
Final Thoughts: VPN for Apple TVs
By using a VPN with your Apple TV device, you can access different content from other countries. However, since the VPN can’t be installed directly on the Apple TV, you’ll have to set it up a different way. One of the easiest ways is via Smart DNS, which will help you access other movies and TV shows, but it won’t provide VPN protection.
The better option is to set up the VPN on your router, and ExpressVPN’s dedicated router app makes the task a whole lot easier. That’s why it’s the best Apple TV VPN, and you can give it a try with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Have you used a VPN with Apple TV? Which one did you use? Was it easy to set up? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.
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