Looking to protect your internet connection or bypass geo-restrictions while living in or traveling to Canada? I reveal the best VPNs for Canada and how to set them up.
Are you living in Canada or planning a trip there? If so, you could benefit from the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet traffic so that it’s unreadable to snoopers such as your internet service provider, network administrators, and hackers. It also tunnels your traffic through an intermediary server in a country of your choice, which means your real IP address is replaced with one from that country.
With the ability to switch IP addresses, you can make it appear to websites that you’re actually in another country. This enables you to bypass geo-restriction measures on platforms like Netflix US and BBC iPlayer, and access them from anywhere in the world, including Canada. If you’re traveling outside Canada, you can use a VPN to access content that you’re missing from back home, such as that from CTV, TSN, and Crave.
I’ll take a more detailed look at the best VPNs for Canada below, but if you’re in a rush, here’s a quick list:
Best VPNs for Canada
- ExpressVPN: The best option for Canada. ExpressVPN is extremely fast and secure, and can bypass the toughest geo-blocking. It’s risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- NordVPN: A great budget alternative, NordVPN will help you browse, stream, and download securely.
- CyberGhost: This beginner-friendly VPN keeps your information safe while you enjoy a stress-free online experience.
- IPVanish: Fast speeds and strong security are just a couple of features this torrent-friendly service has to offer.
- Surfshark: Ideal for families, this secure and reliable VPN allows you an unlimited number of connections.
- PrivateVPN: A great little VPN for unblocking restricted media, PrivateVPN keeps your data secure.
While scoping out VPNs, you’ll no doubt come across a ton of attractive options. However, not all providers offer comparable services. Here are the criteria I want a top VPN to meet:
- Expansive server network
- Fast speeds for streaming and downloading
- Ability to unblock Netflix and other restricted media
- Prompt customer support
Best VPNs for Canada
Here’s my list of the best VPNs for Canada:
ExpressVPN is my top recommendation for Canada as it ticks all the boxes for a secure, high-performance VPN. Its network spans a whopping 94 countries and comprises more than 3,000 servers. All offer blazing fast speeds and a reliable connection for browsing, streaming, and downloading.
ExpressVPN allows torrenting and is impressive at unblocking streaming sites such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. It can provide access to lots of Netflix libraries, including US, UK, and Canada, and help you watch CTV, CBC, TSN, and more from outside Canada.
This provider makes your privacy a priority and will never log your IP address or any other user-identifying details. Its “TrustedServer” mechanism ensures no information is accidentally stored. Your data is secured by 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy. Protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks and a kill switch further guard your information.
ExpressVPN is easy to set up and offers native apps for all the major operating systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. It even has its own custom firmware for router setup and can be configured with other firmware as well. Live-chat is always available if you need help. ExpressVPN has recently upped its connection limit to five devices at a time per plan.
- Has servers in 94 countries, including Canada
- Speeds are extremely fast
- Unblocks the top streaming sites
- Doesn’t log user-identifying information
- Comes with a no-fuss money-back guarantee
- Lacks some advanced customization features
BEST VPN FOR CANADA: ExpressVPN is my top pick for Canada. It runs a large network of fast, reliable servers and can help you access geo-restricted content. A 30-day no-fuss money-back guarantee makes this VPN hard to pass up.
NordVPN offers low prices on long terms, so it’s a great option for users on a tighter budget. That said, you wouldn’t know you’re paying less while using this VPN. NordVPN operates one of the largest networks in the industry with more than 5,600 servers in 60 countries. Its speeds are fast enough for streaming HD video and it can easily unblock stubborn sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Security features aren’t scrimped on either. Military-grade encryption is backed by perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, a kill switch, and automatic wifi protection. NordVPN offers specialized servers for torrenting, Tor over VPN, and double VPN. It doesn’t log any traffic or connection data.
This VPN has apps for Linux, MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android and can be configured with some routers. You can contact customer support 24/7 through live chat. Six devices can be connected at a time.
- Huge global network of servers
- Easily unblocks Netflix and other sites
- Keep no logs at all
- Provides 24/7 live-chat support
- Speeds can be slow at times
BEST BUDGET CANADA VPN: NordVPN is my favorite budget option for Canada. It easily unblocks streaming sites and comes with lots of security extras. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.
CyberGhost is another strong choice for a Canada VPN. This provider seems to be on a mission to beat out competitors in terms of network size and has amassed more than 5,700 servers in 90 countries. These offer very fast speeds and many are capable of unblocking streaming sites, such as Hulu and Netflix. Apps make it easy to find the right server for a given task, including unblocking a specific site or torrenting.
CyberGhost is a true no-logs provider and protects your traffic with 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch. You can activate automatic wifi protection on networks you’ve connected to in the past to help you stay secure while on the go.
Desktop clients are available for Windows and MacOS, along with mobile apps for iOS and Android. The VPN can be configured with Linux and some routers. Live-chat agents are ready to help around the clock if you run into issues. CyberGhost allows up to seven simultaneous connections for each plan.
- Has a ton of server options
- Many servers are optimized for specific tasks
- Strong privacy and security features
- Includes a 45-day money-back guarantee
- Doesn’t have as many configuration options as rivals
EASY TO USE: CyberGhost is an ideal Canada VPN for beginners. It’s simple to navigate and makes streaming a breeze. Plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish has a loyal following of users and it’s easy to see why. This VPN is fast and reliable and comes with a suite of strong security features. It has around 1,100 servers in over 60 countries and can unblock Netflix and other streaming sites.
This provider is popular with torrenters; it keeps no logs, designates specific servers as P2P-friendly, and offers a feature that switches your IP address periodically. A full suite of security features is built in, including leak protection, a kill switch, military-grade encryption, and perfect forward secrecy.
IPVanish has apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android and can be configured with Linux and select routers. You can connect up to five devices at a given time under one account. Live chat is available 24/7.
- Unblocks Netflix and other sites
- Provides a secure, reliable connection
- Offers around-the-clock support
- Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency payments
BROWSE SECURELY: IPVanish has a strict no-logs policy and tight security. It’s fast and unblocks some streaming sites. Plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark may not sound as familiar as other VPNs on the list as it’s a relative newcomer to the industry. Regardless, this provider means business and is set on delivering a stellar service. With a decent network of over 1,000 high-speed servers in more than 60 countries, this VPN can unblock almost any site I test it with. This means you can easily stream your favorite shows while in Canada or watch Canadian content from CTV, TSN, and more while abroad.
Security and privacy are up to par and features include 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy. Surfshark doesn’t maintain any logs of traffic or connection data.
You can download apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android, and configure the VPN with certain routers. Each plan allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. Support is available around the clock should you need help.
- Grants access to geo-restricted media
- Allows unlimited connections
- Keeps no logs
- Network is on the smaller side
- Some servers can be a bit slow
TOP NEWCOMER: Surfshark is a new VPN that’s worthy of consideration. It boasts fast speeds, strong security, and the ability to unblock a ton of sites. A 30-day money-back guarantee in included.
PrivateVPN is on the small side with just over 150 servers in 60 countries. That said, it clearly goes for quality over quantity and still manages to offer a great service. Speeds are fast and PrivateVPN easily bypasses geo-restrictions such as those put in place by Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
This privacy-focused provider doesn’t keep any logs at all. Apps employ 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy and come with built-in leak protection. The Windows software comes with a kill switch that stops your internet connection if the VPN connection drops.
Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android, along with desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. PrivateVPN has a six-device connection limit. There is live-chat support but it’s not quite 24/7.
- Fast speeds for streaming
- Provides access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Offers strong security features
- Live chat isn’t always available
- Server network is small
PRIVACY-FOCUSED: PrivateVPN doesn’t keep logs and helps you unblock restricted media on a fast, reliable connection. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Can I use a free VPN for Canada?
Free VPNs are widely available but I recommend you avoid using one. These services are fraught with issues and you could find yourself worse off than with no VPN. Free services often come with weak encryption and some apps have been found to use no encryption at all. Others carry malware, with one notable case of a free VPN taking over its users’ idle bandwidth to use in a botnet.
Even if you find a relatively secure VPN, you likely won’t get the privacy you’re looking for. These services need to make money somehow, and common tactics include bombarding users with ads or tracking their online activity and selling the information to third parties.
From a practical standpoint, a free Canada VPN will most likely leave you frustrated. These applications have very few server locations to choose from and aren’t usually successful at unblocking restricted content. They also suffer from laggy, intermittent connections and impose low bandwidth limits and data caps. This means that anything more than simple browsing will be a chore.
On the other hand, a reputable paid VPN won’t break the bank and will give you a worry and hassle-free experience.
Why use a VPN in Canada?
Canadians enjoy pretty much unrestricted access to the free web, as does anyone visiting the country. There’s plenty of great content available on platforms such as Netflix Canada and Amazon Prime Video Canada, as well as sports streaming sites like TSN and Sportsnet.
That said, there’s still lots of foreign content that residents and visitors might want to access. For example, neighbors in the US get a more extensive Netflix library. Or you may want to unlock content from elsewhere in the world such as BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub from the UK. In addition to shows, movies, and sporting content, a VPN can offer you unfettered access to gambling sites, gaming platforms, and anything else that would normally be geo-blocked.
Switching your IP address with one from your home country can also help when banking online. For example, if you’re traveling outside Canada and want to access your RBC, TD, BMO, or CIBC account, you may find your bank temporarily blocks your account when you log in from an unfamiliar location. A VPN can help you avoid such issues by making it appear that you’re still at home.
A VPN is important from a security standpoint too, especially if you tend to use public wifi. Unsecured wifi networks present an ideal opportunity for hackers to steal your information. But savvy VPN users don’t need to worry as all their web traffic is encrypted and unreadable to anyone who intercepts it.
How to access Netflix US from Canada
It can be frustrating for Canadians when they pay the same amount for a Netflix subscription as their US neighbors, but get access to a smaller library of shows and movies. At least with a VPN, you can watch whatever catalog you like. Here’s how to access Netflix US (and any other geo-restricted site) from Canada:
- Choose a VPN provider and complete the signup process. I recommend ExpressVPN.
- Download and install the correct app for your device.
- Choose a server in the US and connect. (For other services, simply choose a server in the source region, for example, the UK for BBC iPlayer.)
- Log in to your Netflix account. You should now see the US library.
If you get an error, try clearing your cookies and cache and refreshing the page. If you still can’t watch, chances are you need to choose a different server. A quick chat with your VPN customer support team should help you resolve any issues.
How to get a Canadian IP address to watch Canadian TV channels
What about if you’re traveling outside Canada and want to catch up from shows and movies from back home? Or perhaps you want to unlock content from within Canada that isn’t available in your region of the country. A VPN can help.
To watch content from networks such as CTV, CBC, Crave, and TSN, you just need a Canadian IP address. Simply connect to a Canadian VPN server and your real IP address will be switched with a Canadian one. This means you’ll be able to use your regular credentials (where needed) to log in online and watch all the content you would view back home.
What about content that’s blocked in certain regions of Canada, such as games involved in NHL blackouts? Many VPNs have multiple server locations in Canada, for example, in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Select a server in the appropriate location to unblock your regionally-restricted content and you’ll be good to go.
Using a VPN to torrent in Canada
It’s illegal to torrent copyrighted material in Canada, and many Canadians have found themselves slapped with a fine or lawsuit for undertaking the practice.
Early in 2015, Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act went into full effect. Under the law, ISPs are required to send warning letters to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted material.
Many of these letters demanded that the recipients pay settlement fees, often hundreds of dollars, or face legal action, including fines up to $5,000. The government later clarified the rules to state that ISPs could not ask for such settlement fees, although this was after many Canadians had already paid up.
According to various reports published in 2019, ISPs are the least of Canadians’ worries. In thousands of cases, law firms acting on behalf of production companies are suing people suspected of sharing copyrighted works.
So can a VPN help? Using a VPN will hide your activity from your ISP and copyright trolls, but it won’t make torrenting copyrighted material legal. As such, you’re better off sticking to downloading legal torrents only.
- 1 Best VPNs for Canada
- 2 1. ExpressVPN
- 3 2. NordVPN
- 4 3. CyberGhost
- 5 4. IPVanish
- 6 5. Surfshark
- 7 6. PrivateVPN
- 8 Can I use a free VPN for Canada?
- 9 Why use a VPN in Canada?
- 10 How to access Netflix US from Canada
- 11 How to get a Canadian IP address to watch Canadian TV channels
- 12 Using a VPN to torrent in Canada