5 Best VPNs for California (Torrenting, Streaming, & Security)

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If you live in or are visiting California, you might be tempted to use your devices on public WiFi – for example, at Disneyland or Universal Studios.

But you should never do so without also using a VPN.

To make things easy, I recommend NordVPN.

NordVPN provides California locals and tourists with premium security features to keep their connection secure at all times, especially in places where public WiFi is essential.

Plus, NordVPN lets you stream overseas content in California or local content when traveling abroad (thanks to its California server options).

But NordVPN isn’t the only VPN I recommend.

Four other providers also performed spectacularly during my testsSurfshark, PrivateVPN, PIA, and CyberGhost.

Want the whole story?

Keep reading!

Top 3 VPNs for California

OBFUSCATION FEATURES
Surfshark
Surfshark on many devices

With two obfuscation features (for lightweight and heavy-duty use), a kill switch, a double VPN, and a verified no-logging policy, Surfshark is perfect for Californians who want to keep their data safe from their ISP and the US government. Surfshark also has servers in three California cities!

4.6/5
BEST CHOICE
NordVPN
NordVPN devices

Thanks to its premium suite of security features, 40+ California servers in 2 cities, dedicated P2P servers, and ability to unblock streaming services worldwide, NordVPN earns the title of the best VPN for California. It also placed second during my speed tests, so you’ll get blazing-fast speeds at all times!

4.7/5
BEST FOR STREAMING
PrivateVPN
PrivateVPN devices

PrivateVPN is the best choice for Californians who want to unblock streaming services from the comfort of their home! This includes BBC iPlayer, UK Netflix, Hulu JP, and pretty much every other major overseas streaming platform! You’ll also get one server in LA to access local content from abroad.

4.6/5

If you want to have the best (and safest) online experience in California, you not only need a VPN, but you need a VPN with critical features like obfuscation, a no-logging policy, P2P support, streaming capabilities, and a kill switch.

Moreover, if you travel frequently or are planning an overseas vacation, your VPN also needs to have servers in California, so you can access local content worldwide.

All of the VPNs on my list are great choices for using in or out of California.

They have the essential features, California servers, and strict no-logging policies.

Let’s take a closer look!

Eager to Tour Universal Studios Hollywood? Don’t Go Without a VPN!

Whether you’re a local or tourist, there’s permanent magic to Universal Studios Hollywood.

But you never know when public WiFi might be essential, so don’t go without securing a VPN first.

To save you time, here are my top five picks:

  • NordVPN – Best VPN Overall for California + Premium Security
  • Surfshark – Double VPN + Two Obfuscation Features (Light & Heavy)
  • PrivateVPN – Best VPN for Streaming Overseas Content in California
  • Private Internet Access – Torrent in California With Port Forwarding
  • CyberGhost – Best Choice for a CA IP Address (124 CA Servers)

But you should know that this guide is stuffed with important information – so when you’re winding down at the end of the day, come back and read it!

NordVPN logo
NordVPN devices

NordVPN

Best Choice

NordVPN is the best VPN for California, as it works flawlessly at keeping all your devices safe, thanks to its many security features. These include obfuscated servers, a double VPN, two kill switches, and 256-bit AES encryption. The provider is also excellent at unblocking streaming services (like BBC iPlayer), and its servers in California make it easy to access local content when traveling abroad!

Detailed List of the 5 Best VPNs for California

You’re in for a real treat – the next sections go in-depth on each VPN and why it’s an excellent choice for California.

In other words, I discuss everything, from my testing process and results to unique features and thorough comparisons.

Let’s get started!

1. NordVPN – Best Overall for CA + Premium Security

nordvpn for los angeles

As promised, NordVPN starts my list of the best VPNs for California with its premium suite of security features.

First, you can choose between double VPN-secured or obfuscated servers.

Both are good for keeping your data and online activities invisible to Time Warner, XFINITY, or whatever California ISP you use.

nordvpn double vpn

Only one other VPN on my list offers a double VPN (Surfshark), making this a unique feature.

Likewise, only two other VPNs on my list offer an obfuscation feature (Surfshark and CyberGhost), and one of them asks for extra money to use it (CyberGhost)!

Back on point, using NordVPN’s double VPN or obfuscation feature will keep you hidden from the US government.

And considering “Uncle Sam is always watching,” this is essential if you want to maintain your right to privacy.

In fact, if you opt for the obfuscation feature, it will prevent both your ISP and the US government from knowing you’re using a VPN at all!

nordvpn obfuscated server

That said, if you’re not super miffed at the idea of third parties knowing you’re using a VPN, you’ll appreciate that NordVPN is still secure and private without either feature enabled.

And if you prefer speed over next-level privacy, you’ll appreciate that fact even more, as both features can negatively impact your internet speeds – which is especially annoying if you’re stuck with a fixed wireless ISP like Wisper or unWired Broadband.

reddit discussion about wisper isp

Plus, you can’t use NordVPN’s proprietary protocol, NordLynx, with either feature – and NordLynx is essential if you want even faster speeds!

But if not, NordVPN is a fast VPN to begin with.

Here are my speed test results!

Speed Without NordVPN:

speed test result without nordvpn

Speed With NordVPN:

speed test result with nordvpn

Out of all of the VPNs I tested, NordVPN placed second – and it only fell behind Surfshark, the fastest VPN for California, by a couple of numbers.

Moreover, with NordVPN’s verified no-logging policy, two kill switches (network and app), and 256-bit AES encryption, you can enjoy blazing-fast speeds and top-tier security and privacy.

And that’s not even it.

NordVPN is also an excellent choice for streaming overseas content in California.

For example, if you want to poke around on BBC iPlayer, NordVPN can easily unblock the streaming platform.

The same goes for UK Netflix and Hulu JP.

streaming on bbc iplayer with nordvpn

Or, if you’re a California local and planning a trip overseas, you can use NordVPN’s California server options in Los Angeles and San Francisco to get a California IP so that you can access your California Bank & Trust account (or favorite gambling site, like JackpotCity) from anywhere!

One more thing.

NordVPN is an amazing choice for torrenting, thanks to its dedicated P2P servers – another unique feature only offered by two other VPNs here, PrivateVPN and CyberGhost.

This means you can torrent to your heart’s content without worrying that Time Warner, Charter, etc., will send you a DMCA copyright notice.

nordvpn p2p servers

And as a final bonus, NordVPN’s subscription plans are perfect for families on a budget.

Take a look:

Want to pile another deal on top of those affordable prices?

Grab our EXCLUSIVE discount here!

Pros

Cons

2. Surfshark – Double VPN + Two Obfuscation Features

surfshark vpn us servers

In second place on my list of the most reliable VPNs for California is Surfshark – a unique entry that almost placed first, thanks to its double VPN (MultiHop) and obfuscation features (Camouflage and NoBorders Mode).

In fact, Surfshark is the only VPN on my list to offer two obfuscation features – a lightweight one that’s automatically applied when you use either OpenVPN protocol and a heavier one for California users visiting countries with strict censorship laws.

surfshark vpn noborders mode

And, as mentioned earlier, NordVPN is the only other VPN to offer a double VPN feature!

This makes Surfshark an especially unique choice for hiding your data and online activities from your California ISP and the US government.

Plus, if you’re one of the unlucky Californians stuck with broadband internet, you’ll appreciate that Surfshark scored first during my speed tests!

This means your already slow internet speeds won’t be impacted when you use the VPN.

Take a look.

Speed Without Surfshark:

speed without surfshark

Speed With Surfshark:

speed test result with surfshark vpn

And though Surfshark’s MultiHop and NoBorders Mode might slow your speeds a bit, its lightweight obfuscation feature, Camouflage Mode, is perfect for enjoying extra security while connected to any public WiFi without sacrificing too much speed (at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, for example)!

You’ll also appreciate Surfshark’s kill switch, meaning if your VPN connection drops, your activities won’t be leaked to your nosy ISP.

surfshark kill switch

Plus, Surfshark operates a verified no-logging policy, so there won’t be any logs to give if the authorities demand them.

However, there is an area where Surfshark falls behind NordVPN: torrenting.

Sure, the provider is P2P-friendly, but it doesn’t have dedicated P2P servers, and it doesn’t allow seeding.

This is, ultimately, why Surfshark lands in second place on my list.

But if you’re looking for a VPN to help you access overseas content from California – like BBC iPlayer, UK Netflix, or Hulu JP – Surfshark is an excellent choice!

It unblocks all streaming platforms, no matter your location.

streaming on bbc iplayer with surfshark vpn

Plus, if you’re visiting another country, Surfshark’s servers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose will allow you to access local content from wherever you travel to!

So, for example, if you need to access your Wells Fargo online account while touring Italy, you can connect to a California server to do so!

Last but not least, Surfshark has affordable long-term plans (though its monthly plan is quite expensive):

Whatever plan you decide on, be sure to grab our exclusive discount!

Pros

Cons

3. PrivateVPN – Best for Streaming in California

privatevpn site

If you’re looking for a VPN to help you access geo-locked streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer and Netflix UK, then PrivateVPN is the one to choose!

It’s easily the best VPN on my list for streaming in California.

And if you travel, you can also use it to access Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and pretty much any other streaming platform from anywhere in the world.

streaming on netflix with privatevpn

Plus, while not quite as extensive as the other VPNs on my list, PrivateVPN also has a server in Los Angeles, so you can at least access your local accounts while traveling as well.

So, for example, if you subscribe to LA Times, you can use the LA server to access your sub from abroad, even if you’re in a country that censors news sites.

Another area where PrivateVPN shines is torrenting – in fact, the provider specifically recommends its servers in Sweden, though it doesn’t limit you to them.

PrivateVPN is also one of two VPNs on my list to offer port forwarding (PIA is the other), so your torrenting experience will be even more powerful.

privatevpn port forwarding

And the provider’s no-logging policy ensures your activities – P2P or otherwise – are never handed to your local authorities or the US government.

It also means you won’t get one of those pesky DMCA copyright notices from your ISP!

Now for some bad news.

Why didn’t PrivateVPN place higher?

Well, it doesn’t offer a double VPN feature, and it only scored third during my speed tests.

Here are those results.

Speed Without PrivateVPN:

speed test result without privatevpn

Speed With PrivateVPN:

speed with privatevpn

So, while PrivateVPN’s speeds are fast enough to stream in 4K, the provider is still slower than NordVPN and Surfshark.

On the other hand, PrivateVPN does offer an obfuscation feature called Stealth VPN.

The downside: Stealth VPN slows your speeds a lot – more than the other obfuscation features on my list.

So, while a great option to have if you’re visiting a country with strict censorship laws, I don’t recommend it for everyday use.

privatevpn stealth vpn

This means if you want extra security (and decent speeds) while on public WiFi at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’re stuck with PrivateVPN’s two kill switches (network and app) and 256-bit AES encryption – which, to be fair, are still good enough to keep you and your data safe.

Plus, there’s one more bit of good news!

PrivateVPN has the cheapest monthly plan on my list.

And considering all the features you get for the cost, that’s impressive!

privatevpn pricing

Oh – I forgot one bonus!

If you decide to stick with PrivateVPN, use this link for a MAJOR discount!

Pros

Cons

4. Private Internet Access – Torrenting & Port Forwarding

private internet access (pia) site

If I had to recommend just one VPN on my list for torrenting in California, it’d be Private Internet Access (or PIA).

Not only is PIA P2P-friendly, but it supports port forwarding on many of its servers.

As mentioned earlier, the only other VPN on my list that allows port forwarding is PrivateVPN.

This makes PIA an excellent choice for CA users who want the best torrenting experience without risking DMCA copyright notices from their ISP.

Plus, PIA lets you use the SOCKS5 Proxy to secure your P2P connection and increase your speeds.

This is especially important, as PIA scored fourth during my speed tests.

Speed Without PIA:

speed test result without private internet access (pia) vpn

Speed With PIA:

speed test result with private internet access (pia) vpn

It’s also worth mentioning that PIA doesn’t allow port forwarding on any of its US servers.

But it does have servers in Canada, so you can at least connect to a neighboring country!

Let’s discuss more good news.

PIA has a few dedicated streaming servers, though they’re not separated from the rest of the servers, making them a little hard to find.

But once you do find them, you’ll appreciate the ability to unblock all the major streaming platforms from the comfort of your California home (while sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks)!

This includes BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, Hulu JP, and more.

streaming on bbc iplayer with private internet access (pia) vpn

PIA also has servers in California (city unspecified) and Silicon Valley.

So, if you’re gearing up for a vacation to Europe, you can still access your local California accounts from whatever country you visit (for example, if you need to pay a Southern California Edison utility bill while abroad)!

Now back to the bad news.

While PIA offers a kill switch and no-logging policy, it doesn’t have an obfuscation feature or a double VPN.

This is why it sits in fourth place on my list.

On the bright side, the kill switch and no-logging policy are enough to keep your data safe while on public WiFi (and in general).

Plus, PIA offers affordable plans!

Check it out:

Of course, we’ve also got a BIG discount for you right here!

Pros

Cons

5. CyberGhost – Best for a California IP Address

cyberghost vpn site

Last on my list of the most trustworthy VPNs for California is CyberGhost – an excellent choice for Californians looking to access local content while traveling (or living) abroad!

In fact, CyberGhost blows all of the other VPNs on my list out of the water with its number of California servers.

You’ll get 124 servers in Los Angeles and 45 in San Francisco, making for 169 California servers in total!

cyberghost vpn california servers

This makes CyberGhost the best VPN for securing a California IP address, whether to access local banks like your California Bank & Trust account, gamble on your favorite casino sites like JackpotCity, or read the LA Times in a country where it’s blocked.

Of course, that’s not all.

CyberGhost is also great for streaming.

It actually has dedicated streaming serversmore than any other VPN on my list, including for BBC iPlayer and Netflix UK!

streaming on bbc iplayer with cyberghost vpn

Although, in my experience, the provider’s dedicated servers aren’t great.

You might give up on getting them to work and instead opt for a normal server.

Or you might find that, for example, the Netflix UK Android TV server works better on your PC than the normal Netflix UK server.

Luckily, there’s more good news.

CyberGhost also works great with P2P activities.

In fact – you guessed it – the provider offers dedicated servers for torrenting!

And these I’ve never had issues with (aside from CyberGhost’s normal speed issues, but we’ll get to that in a minute).

Now for some good and bad news.

The good news: CyberGhost offers obfuscated servers that will stop your ISP and the US government from knowing that you’re using a VPN.

The bad news: these are the provider’s NoSpy servers, and you have to pay extra for them.

CyberGhost NoSPY Pricing
CyberGhost Pricing With & Without NoSPY

For this reason, I don’t recommend grabbing them unless you’re planning a trip to a country with strict censorship laws, like China or the UAE, or if you’re privacy-conscious and you really want the extra protection.

Either way, CyberGhost’s 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch, and no-logging policy are enough to guarantee your safety while on public WiFi (during your Napa and Sonoma Combo Wine Tour in San Francisco, for example)!

Time to discuss speed.

It’s probably a good thing that CyberGhost doesn’t offer a double VPN, as its speeds are already the slowest on my list.

Take a look.

Speed Without CyberGhost:

speed test result without cyberghost vpn

Speed With CyberGhost:

speed with cyberghost vpn

So, while CyberGhost might be fast enough to secure your data during everyday browsing – or even stream in 4K and torrent (depending on your base internet speed) – it’s not great for other CPU-intensive activities (like heavy-duty gaming).

CyberGhost’s monthly plan is also the most expensive on my list, though you’ll enjoy some savings on long-term plans:

cyberghost vpn subscription plans and pricing

But you’ll enjoy EVEN MORE savings by clicking here!

Pros

Cons

How to Find the Best VPN for California?

There’s a lot to do in California, which means public WiFi is probably part of your daily routine.

And that’s exactly why you need a VPN!

But if you’re not happy with my recommendations (or you want to do your own research and testing), this next section is for you.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to look for in a VPN for California.

Let’s go!

Excited to Visit Disneyland? Don’t Go Without a VPN – My Checklist Will Help!

If you’re shopping around for a VPN for California, ensure the VPN you settle on meets the following criteria:

Security & Privacy

Not only is your Time Warner ISP nosy (or whatever ISP you use), but so is the US government!

In fact, as the US is one of the founders of the Five Eyes Alliance, your data is more vulnerable to third parties than users from other countries.

Additionally, if you live a busy lifestyle in California or you’re touring all the best vacation spots, you’ll inevitably connect to public WiFi at some point.

And if a cybercriminal is also on that public WiFi, your important data will be at risk.

This is why your VPN needs to have premium security and privacy.

For example, you need 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logging policy (preferably verified), and a kill switch.

All of these will ensure your activities, data, and physical location stay invisible to your ISP, government, and cybercriminals.

Other security features to look for include a double VPN for extra security, obfuscation to hide that you’re using a VPN at all, and secure protocols like WireGuard and OpenVPN.

Unblocks Content

One of the most popular reasons for using a VPN in California is to access overseas content.

For example, you might want to stream BBC iPlayer or Netflix UK from Los Angeles.

So, if unblocking content is a must for you, make sure your VPN can do so.

California Servers

At the same time, if you’re a Californian traveling abroad, you might need a VPN with California servers so that you can still access local content and accounts from whatever country you’re visiting.

Just remember: not all VPNs offer California servers.

Luckily, all the VPNs on my list do!

Here’s a table to help you out:

VPN Provider Number of California Servers California Server Locations
NordVPN 40+ Los Angeles, San Francisco
Surfshark N/A Los Angeles, San Francisco, San José
PrivateVPN 1 Los Angeles
PIA N/A Unspecified, Silicon Valley
CyberGhost 169 Los Angeles, San Francisco

P2P Support

Torrenting is another popular reason for using a VPN in California.

You don’t want to be on the receiving end of a DMCA copyright notice, after all!

So, make sure your chosen VPN is P2P-friendly.

And if they are, find out how many of their servers support P2P activities and if they have any drawbacks (like not allowing seeding).

Fast Speeds

Fast speeds are necessary for many reasons – if you want to stream in 4K, if you want a seamless P2P experience, or even if you want to browse the internet without pages taking forever to load.

Whatever activities you get up to with your VPN, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy them more if your speeds are up to the task.

For this reason, I recommend utilizing your chosen VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

Buy the subscription, test its speeds, write them down (to compare to other VPNs), and if you’re unsatisfied, ask for a full refund.

Or you can do it the easy way and use one of my top VPNs for California!

Here’s a table to help you compare:

VPN Provider Speed Without VPN Speed With VPN Speed Loss Difference
NordVPN 228.69 Mbps 221.56 Mbps -7.13 Mbps
Surfshark 208.26 Mbps 202.44 Mbps -5.82 Mbps
PrivateVPN 221.32 Mbps 211.45 Mbps -9.87 Mbps
PIA 199.46 Mbps 185.84 Mbps -13.62 Mbps
CyberGhost 210.97 Mbps 191.91 Mbps -19.06 Mbps

Don’t forget – you can get a major discount on the fastest VPN for California by using my exclusive sign-up link!

Affordable

Last but not least, compare all of your VPNs and their subscription fees, plans, and features before committing to a provider.

Some VPNs charge more for less, while others offer all the must-have features at an affordable cost.

Find the latter and avoid the former!

Can I Use a Free VPN in California?

Typically, I don’t endorse using a free VPN for anything.

However, in this case, you might get away with using one of my recommended freemium options, ProtonVPN or AtlasVPN.

Both offer a handful of servers each, including in the US.

In fact, AtlasVPN offers a free server in Los Angeles (though ProtonVPN doesn’t specify the location of its free US servers).

The best part about ProtonVPN and AtlasVPN is they don’t impose data limits.

That said, you’ll always have more luck with a premium VPN.

For example, if torrenting is important to you, neither free option supports P2P activities.

Streaming is also hit-or-miss (mostly miss).

But if all you want is a secure connection while connecting to public WiFi, either option will do.

Still, at the end of the day, I recommend switching to one of my top VPNs for California when you can afford to.

Remember, you can use this link to grab a HUGE discount on NordVPN right now!

How to Use a VPN for California?

Using a VPN for California is super easy!

Just follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Choose one of my recommended VPNs (or a VPN you found after thorough research) and purchase a subscription.
  1. Download and install the VPN app on your device(s).
  2. Open the VPN app and sign in to your account.
  3. Click the Connect button for the fastest server near you. Or, if you need a server from a specific country (like the UK for BBC iPlayer), select your preferred location from the server list.
nordvpn connected to uk server
  1. Open your browser and check for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
  2. Enjoy browsing public WiFi without security concerns (or unblocking content, torrenting, etc.)!

How to Get a California IP Address?

Getting a California IP Address is very similar to the previous section!

Follow these steps:

  1. Choose one of my recommended VPNs (or a VPN you found after thorough research) with servers in California and purchase a subscription.
  1. Download and install the VPN app on your device(s).
  2. Open the VPN app and sign in to your account.
  3. Browse the server list for a California server and click (or double-click) to connect.
nordvpn connected to us server
  1. Open your browser and check for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
  2. Enjoy accessing local California content from abroad!

FAQ

Is It Legal to Use a VPN in California?

Using a VPN is legal in California and the rest of the United States.

In fact, there are only a few countries where VPN use is restricted (China, for example).

This is good news, too, as using a VPN in California is essential to keep your data safe from your ISP and the US government.

Plus, if you frequent public WiFi, your VPN will protect you from cybercriminals on the same network, thus preventing your data from being tracked, hacked, etc.

What’s the Best California VPN Server?

The best California VPN server will depend on the city you’re in.

For example, if you’re in Los Angeles, connecting to a VPN server in LA is your best bet.

However, if you’re overseas and looking for the best California VPN server, I recommend CyberGhost, as it offers the most California servers on my list.

This makes it easy to find a new California server if one isn’t performing to your expectations.

Can You Use a VPN for California on Chrome?

Yes, there are two ways to use your VPN for California on Chrome.

You can connect through the app, thus securing your entire device, including the Chrome browser.

If your VPN has a split tunneling feature, you can even set your VPN only to affect Chrome (and not the rest of your device).

The second option is finding a VPN with a Chrome extension, downloading it to your browser, and connecting to it.

NordVPN, Surfshark, PIA, and CyberGhost all offer Chrome extensions. 

Can You Get an APK for a California VPN?

Most VPNs that offer Android apps also offer APKs, so, yes, if your VPN for California offers an Android app, it’s likely you can also get an APK for it.

However, it’s essential that you only ever download a VPN’s APK from its official website or you risk downloading malware instead.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, you’re more than ready to secure your device with a VPN while living in or visiting California!

Good thing, too, because Uncle Sam never stops watching.

I still recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for California.

It offers a premium suite of security features, unblocks streaming services like BBC iPlayer, is P2P-friendly, and has server options in California.

Ready to take the dive?

Don’t forget to grab my HUGE NordVPN discount!

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