Traveling internationally for work and want to watch your favorite teams back home? Did you have to move out of the country but still want to keep up with U.S. teams? A standard ESPN+ subscription alone isn’t going to get you access. For that, you’ll need a VPN.
But not just any VPN. ESPN+ is notorious for blocking VPN traffic. It blacklists known VPN IP addresses and utilizes a robust VPN firewall to block encrypted traffic. As a region-locked service, it checks every visitor’s IP address before they can access the platform. If you’re accessing them from the U.S., you’re fine. If not, no sports for you.
“But hey, I pay for this subscription,” you say. “I should be able to watch it from anywhere!” We happen to agree, which is why we’re going to share with you how to watch your ESPN+ content while you’re abroad.
Regardless of which of the following services you go with, though, there are a few things they all have in common that you’ll need to watch ESPN+ with a VPN.
Our Recommendations for Watching ESPN+ With a VPN
ESPN+ is only available in the U.S., so you’re going to need to make the platform think you’re accessing it from the States.
Since ESPN+ does a really good job of identifying and blocking VPN traffic, you’ll need a VPN that hides the fact it’s a VPN.
You want to select a VPN provider that doesn’t affect your speeds too much; otherwise you’re going to be stuck with frustrating buffering issues.
If you find yourself overseas with a slower connection, split tunneling can be a streaming lifesaver. By splitting your internet traffic, your game stream can be routed through a U.S. server while everything else goes through the local connection.
Free Trial or Flexible Subscriptions
While we stand behind all of our recommendations here, there is a chance that, depending on your location, the VPN provider you selected, or changes to ESPN+ policies could make it so you’re no longer able to stream your games. If that’s the case, you want to be able to back out of your service and select one that works.
No free trial (but there’s a 30-day, money-back guarantee)
NordVPN is one of our favorite services, not only for streaming but for overall digital protection. It’s fast, powerful, and affordable. Overall, it’s a great VPN for any number of use cases — streaming ESPN+ just happens to be one of them.
Features Helpful for Streaming ESPN+: First things first — when we last tested NordVPN, it had no problem accessing ESPN+. So that’s great news. But like we said above, in recent years, ESPN+ has really cracked down on VPN users accessing their content. Thanks to NordVPN’s server obfuscation, though, these restrictions aren’t a problem. You see, platforms like ESPN+ deploy software that can sniff out data that looks like it’s coming from a VPN. Server obfuscation, though, makes it so your data looks like everyone else’s. When we tested it out, we were able to slip through ESPN+’s firewalls and watch their full library of content.
We also appreciate NordVPN’s split-tunneling feature. When we turned this feature on, we were able to route certain traffic through the VPN server while keeping everything else local. That meant we were able to multitask while watching the game and minimizing slowdowns and buffering issues.
Speeds: In our tests, we found that NordVPN performs slightly better on Windows computers than Macs, but speed is ultimately determined by many factors. Overall, Nord shouldn’t degrade your performance to the point where it’s noticeable — or intolerable. Also worth noting, the protocol you select will have a pretty big impact on your performance. Nord’s proprietary protocol, NordLynx, is an adaptation of the open-source WireGuard that balances speed and security really well.
If you use Windows products exclusively, Surfshark might be a good option if you’re looking to stream ESPN+. In our tests, we found Surfshark’s performance on Windows computers was outstanding — something you want to hear when you’re primarily using your VPN for streaming.
Helpful Features for Streaming ESPN+: One of the things we liked about Surfshark was that we were able to check the load and latency of a server before connecting to it.
Ideally, you should connect to the U.S. server with the lowest latency and load; otherwise your stream might get cut off in the middle of the game. That has happened to us once or twice while testing Surfshark, and we don’t need to tell you how frustrating that is. Fortunately, once we started connecting only to low-latency, low-load servers, we never got cut off.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that some of the servers we connected through in our tests were unable to get through the ESPN+ firewall. Not too big of a deal, though — it didn’t happen often, and when it did, we were able to switch to another one of Surfshark’s 600+ servers in 25 major U.S. cities to stream the game.
Speeds: Overall, Surfshark’s speeds aren’t blazing, but in our tests, we found that running this VPN didn’t degrade our performance to the point where it would be noticeable. This is important, particularly when streaming. You want to keep your speeds high so you don’t run into buffering issues. We like to use NordVPN to access ESPN+ for this very reason. It’s fast, reliable, and offers powerful protections. Last year, we had a party to watch some college football and used Nord to access the stream. No buffering issues at all! You can read more about that in our VPN Speed Test comparison page.
One takeaway there — if you’re experiencing slow speeds, sometimes it’s a matter of disconnecting and reconnecting to get your performance back up. Yup — the ole “have you tried turning it off and on again?” tech solution works for VPNs, too.
Costs: Similar to NordVPN, Surfshark has three tiers of service, and you can select between month-to-month, one-year, and two-year subscriptions. It’s a little pricey, though. The starter pack is $15.45 per month, Surfshark One is $17.95, and Surfshark One+ is $20.65. Read our Surfshark Pricing Guide for more information.
3. ExpressVPN - Best VPN for ESPN+ for Mobile Devices
Want to watch ESPN+ on your phone? A lot of people wrongly assume that VPNs are exclusively for desktops and laptops. Not so. Most of the big names out there are going to come with a mobile app to protect your phone while you’re out and about or — in this case — help you connect to ESPN+ while you’re taking a break from that all-day business meeting overseas.
Helpful Features for Streaming ESPN+: ExpressVPN calls this feature “stealth VPN,” but it’s essentially server obfuscation. This, as we mentioned above, is extremely helpful in bypassing the VPN-blocking technology the good folks over at ESPN+ have deployed in recent years. With this feature enabled, Express VPN will hide the fact that you’re using a VPN, so you should have no problem connecting to the platform through any one of their scores of servers in over a dozen major U.S. cities. Also, if you’re having an issue with speed, you can always tell ExpressVPN to connect to the fastest U.S. server available based on your location. We had some issues at first when we were streaming on our iPhone, but once we did a few server hops, it was all fixed.
Speeds: ExpressVPN isn’t the fastest VPN we’ve ever tested, but it’s certainly up there. Keep in mind, though, VPNs aren’t like cars — you’re not necessarily comparing a Honda Civic to a Ferrari. How much they’ll slow you down is a combination of many different factors, including how far away you are from the server you connect to and what settings you’re using. When we put ExpressVPN to the test, though, we found that any speed degradation was negligible — even on our phone.
Costs: There are three subscription plans with ExpressVPN again, but you’re not going to be choosing between tiered services — just the length of your plan. For one month, it’s $12.95. Six months will be $9.99 per month, and one year will be $8.32 per month.
4. CyberGhost - Best VPN for Watching ESPN+ on a Mac
If you want to stream ESPN+ on your iMac, iPad, Macbook Pro, or any other Mac product, CyberGhost is a good option. In our tests connecting the service to the streaming platform, we found that our speeds never really suffered. Our games all came in crystal clear, and we never had to deal with annoying buffering issues or disconnections. Now we can’t say that’s going to be a universal experience, but anecdotally, CyberGhost was a great service for us.
Helpful Features for Streaming ESPN+: So not only does CyberGhost perform really well on iOS platforms, it also has some pretty interesting automations. Since you’re a Mac user, we know you probably don’t want to do too much fiddling around under the hood and appreciate it when things “just work.” As is the case for CyberGhost’s “Smart Access.”
Basically, Smart Access automates the split tunneling process for you. When we tested it out, we found that we weren’t having to constantly choose which programs and websites we wanted to associate with the VPN and which ones we wanted to route through normal Wi-Fi channels. We just set up our preferences once and never had to worry about them again. If you want to stream your ESPN+ content through your VPN, all you have to do is tell CyberGhost once, and it’ll remember your preferences.
You can also add a dedicated IP address to your subscription for $2.50 per month. We found it to be super helpful in bypassing ESPN+’s ability to recognize and block known VPN IP addresses. Might be worth snagging, in our opinion.
Speeds: Running a VPN is going to slow you down, no matter what you do. Good VPNs, though, are going to minimize those slowdowns — hopefully to the point where you’re not even going to notice it. CyberGhost, we’d say, is one of those VPNs. In our tests, the difference between our MacBook latency with and without CyberGhost connected was only 14 percent.
Costs: Similar to ExpressVPN, CyberGhost’s costs depend on your subscription duration. For one month, it costs $12.99. Six months will be $6.99 per month, and two years will be $2.11 per month. Keep in mind those two longer terms come with a 45-day, money-back guarantee. Your month-to-month subscription will give you a 14-day test period. Plenty of time to make sure it works for your ESPN+ streaming purposes.
5. Proton VPN - Most Secure VPN for Streaming ESPN+
Support for streaming services including ESPN+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+
Outside surveillance alliances
What We Don’t Like
Static IP addresses
Only 568 servers
Unusual pricing structure
Weak customer support
If you’re looking for a VPN that will provide you with the most security while you’re streaming sports, Proton VPN might be the one. And we understand that since you’re here, your primary reason for purchasing a VPN is to stream ESPN+. No harm in that. But if you’re purchasing a VPN anyway, why not look for one with extremely strong security protocols, as well? Proton is trusted by journalists and activists alike in some of the most restrictive countries on earth, and yes, they can use it to stream ESPN+ in their off time. Two birds, meet one stone.
Helpful Features for Streaming ESPN+: Like many of the VPNs on our list, Proton allows users access to obfuscated servers, meaning it’s difficult for streaming platforms — or authoritarian regimes, for that matter — to detect that a VPN is being used. Great news if you’re trying to communicate with defectors safely or trying to watch the New Jersey Devils beat the Bruins from North Korea.
Proton VPN’s stealth mode also let us hide the fact we were using a VPN from their firewalls when we were testing it last month. This made our streaming experience a lot easier, and we didn’t run into connectivity issues.
Speeds: We’ve tested faster VPNS, sure, but that isn’t to say Proton slowed us down to the point of it being unusable. Or even noticeable, for that matter. We can definitely give them the stamp of approval, saying that you should be able to stream all you want without significant slowdowns. If you are running into issues, though, remember to try switching servers or changing out your protocol. With Proton, IKEv2 or WireGuard are probably your best bet.
Costs: Proton is one of the more reasonably priced VPNs out there. Month-to-month, it’ll cost you $9.99. For a year-long subscription, it’s $5.99 per month, and for two years, it’s $4.99 per month. Keep in mind those two longer subscription terms lock your rate for life, so if Proton ever ups their prices, you’re still going to be paying the same rate. They’re also one of the few providers out there that offer an honest-to-goodness free trial of their product, albeit a scaled-back version. If you’re on the fence, we recommend giving that a shot first.
6. VyprVPN - BestVPN for watching ESPN+ on a Big Screen
If you want to watch ESPN+ on a smart TV without a lot of hassle, VyprVPN can help. Who wants to watch their favorite teams on a tiny little laptop screen anyhow? Especially when you have that huge smart TV in the living room just sitting there? What you need is a VPN that can be installed directly on your TV and route your traffic in such a way that you can access the streaming platform of your choice. This is where Vypr really shines.
Helpful Features for Streaming ESPN+: The next best thing to watching a live game in person is watching a live game on the big screen. It can be hard to set up VPNs on smart TVs sometimes, but we found that setting up VyprVPN is a breeze. Its app is made specifically for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, and once it’s installed, you can start streaming right away. This is great for expats who want to keep up with their favorite teams while living abroad.
Vyper also has a pretty good distribution of their servers, which can help with performance when you’re streaming from around the globe. On our recent trip to Europe, we were able to access both Netflix, YouTube TV, Disney+, and ESPN+ with ease.
Speeds: In our tests, we didn’t find Vypr to be a true speed demon, but it definitely performed well enough for us to stream without interruptions. No worries there. We will say that it performed slightly better on a Mac than it did on a Windows machine, so that might be something to keep in mind. Again, these performance issues were pretty negligible, and we can’t say they’re going to be universal.
Costs: If you like straightforward pricing, you’re going to be a fan of VyprVPN. No confusing service tiers here. It’s $10 month-to-month and $5 per month if you sign up for a year. That’s it.
7. FastestVPN - Best VPN for Families to Watch ESPN+
Is your wife a Yankees Fan while you root for the Mets? Don’t worry, FastestVPN will let you both stream separately. If you’re taking the whole clan of sports fans on vacation, you can all keep up with your favorite teams individuall,y and then meet up for dinner to argue about them. After all, what are families for?
Helpful Features for Steaming ESPN+: FastestVPN gets the nod for the 10 simultaneous connections they offer. If you have a lot of folks in your household all wanting to watch different things, this can be a lifesaver. So if your wife loves watching tennis, for example, but you want to watch the Dolphins, you can connect independently without an issue.
Speeds: As you might expect, FastestVPN is… well… pretty fast. Especially if you’re using Mac devices. In our tests, we found a slight decrease in our download and upload speeds, while our ping — or latency — was virtually unchanged. On a Windows computer, the story was similar, although slightly exaggerated. Not enough for it to really matter though. Overall, FastestVPN lives up to its name.
Costs: FastestVPN could also accurately change its name to CheapestVPN. According to FastestVPN’s price list, one month of service costs $3, a year subscription will lower that rate to $1.66 per month, and you can also buy a lifetime plan for just $40. To our knowledge, they’re the only VPN provider that offers this type of plan. So, if you’re going to be in it for the long haul, it’s something to consider.
How Does ESPN+ Block VPNs?
While VPNs offer you a lot of protection online, it’s pretty easy to tell you’re using one. ESPN+ specifically looks for known VPN IP addresses as well as utilizing a firewall that will block encrypted traffic from accessing the platform. This is bad news if you’re using a basic service, but it can be bypassed with the right combination of features and tactics.
Is It Illegal to Use a VPN to Access ESPN+?
It’s not illegal to access ESPN+ using a VPN. It’s also not illegal to trick it into thinking you’re in the U.S. when you really aren’t. It is against the terms of service, though, and if you’re caught, there is a slight chance your account might become suspended. We’d guess that if you do something really egregious, like use a VPN to access ESPN+ and stream content in a movie theater and sell tickets to the show, you could get kicked off the platform. You might even be charged under some civil statute, but we’ve never heard of anything like that happening. Just play it cool, and you should be fine.
There are a few things to remember when you’re trying to watch ESPN+ with a VPN. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
Make sure you’re connected to a U.S. server. Traffic from outside the U.S. is immediately going to be blocked.
Make sure you’re using server obfuscation if it’s available. ESPN+ uses sophisticated technology to identify and block VPN traffic. Obfuscation gets around it.
Make sure you’re using a server optimized for streaming. If your provider offers streaming servers, try those first. They’re set up in such a way that you’ll get the best speeds while streaming.
What Can I Do If My VPN Can’t Access ESPN+?
There are a few steps you can take if your VPN isn’t allowing you to connect to ESPN+.
Reconnect Through Another Server
The first — and easiest — thing to try is to connect through a different server. While the premium VPN services on our list constantly update their IP addresses, they can’t swap all of them out at the same time. You most likely just selected a server that’s connected you through an IP address that’s been blacklisted by ESPN+.
To get around this, all you have to do is select another server and connect through it. Just make sure you’re selecting U.S. servers, otherwise you’re going to be dead in the water.
Still not working? Darn. Let’s try something else then…
Clear Your Cache
Certain websites track your browsing habits through cookies, which can contain data that reveals your general location. This means that they might be communicating to ESPN+ that you’re not where your data is saying you’re from, which will cause them to block your traffic. Go ahead and clear your web cache, where these cookies are stored. Go to your browser’s settings menu and find your cache. In Chrome and Firefox, it’s under Privacy & Security. In Edge, it’s under Clear Browsing Data. In Safari, it’s under Manage Website data.
If that doesn’t do the trick, we might need to go Matrix mode on this…
Check for DNS and IP Leaks
There are a lot of tools online that can tell you if your VPN is leaking data that could be giving away your location. Ipleak.net and dnsleaktest.com are both good resources. If you find that you’re leaking, enable your VPN’s security features, cycle through your protocols, reconnect to a different server, and try again.
And there’s one last thing you can try if all else fails.
Flush Your DNS
Your computer’s DNS cache keeps record of all of your DNS queries and IP addresses. This functionality helps make browsing the web a more seamless experience, but it could be interfering with your VPN’s ability to successfully mask your location. There are a few steps you’ll have to take to flush your DNS cache, and they differ depending on the type of computer you’re using.
Open the Run terminal by pressing the Windows button + R.
Type in “cmd.” Just the three letters, no punctuation.
Type in “ipconfig/flushdns” and press the Enter key once the command prompt is open. Again, no punctuation.
You’ll see a message that says “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver cache.”
And here’s how to do it on macOS computers:
Open Spotlight, type “terminal,” and double-click on the application. No punctuation here, either.
Enter the command “sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder.” No quotation marks or period. Just copy and paste that line.
Type in your administrative password, and press the Enter key.
If that doesn’t take care of it, you might need to select a new VPN provider, like one of the ones we suggested on our list above.
And that should be it! If you’re using one of the VPNs on this list with the above information in mind, you should be streaming ESPN+ from wherever you roam in no time.
In evaluating the VPNs that make up this list, we carefully consider multiple criteria, including security, privacy, speed, available features, and pricing. All of these factors play a role in our final decisions.
We start by researching each VPN before we test them. We want to find out everything we can about their privacy policies, their reputation, and their customer service. Once we’ve zeroed in on that information, we purchase the VPN and stress test it, looking for any flaws or vulnerabilities.
Then we use the VPN as the typical customer would for about a week. We let them run in the background while we go about our digital lives. We work with them, we surf with them, we let them do their thing and get a feel for what it would be like to use the service long term.
For this particular list, we had to make sure that the service was going to work with ESPN+, too. That meant streaming from multiple devices from multiple locations. We’re happy to report these are the VPNs that made the cut.
Still have some questions about the best VPNs for ESPN+? We’ve put together answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.