NordVPN is the best VPN for San Francisco, whether you want a local IP address, need to unblock content in Frisco, want better online protection, or secure torrenting.
The VPN makes this happen with its decent haul of 5300+ servers engineered for secure streaming, gaming, torrenting and online privacy.
Top 3 VPNs for San Francisco
PureVPN is the ultimate combination of affordability with a taste of premium. Get 6500+ servers to securely download torrents, unblock content anywhere and play games without latency.
NordVPN offers top-notch online security and privacy across mobile devices, PCs, routers, smart TVs, and other connected units. Unblock content thanks to its 5300+ servers, torrent securely, and play games anywhere.
Enjoy a massive spread of 9000+ servers in more than 90 countries to avoid server overcrowding and VPN traffic jams. It’s also an easy-to-use VPN with servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
Download Torrents, Bypass Blackouts to the Giants’ Games, and Secure Your Internet in San Francisco
You don’t have to suffer MLB blackouts on the San Francisco Giants games, fear copyright trolls, or leak your internet activity to your ISP.
Here’s how my top VPNs help:
- NordVPN – Secure your internet experience over 5300+ servers, unblocking websites and streaming geo-restricted content as you go.
- PureVPN – How about quantum-resistant servers + AES 256-bit encryption to keep San Francisco authorities, your ISP, the government, work and school network admins, and everyone else out of your private online activities?
- CyberGhost – My preferred easy-to-use VPN when I need a reliable torrenting, streaming, and gaming option on secure servers.
- ExpressVPN – Get the fastest obfuscation to beat VPN traffic blocks, bypass firewalls, dismantle regional geo-blocks, securely defeat game blackouts and torrent without detection.
- Atlas VPN – Free VPNs are bad, but not this one. Test it out before you commit to a paid plan.
In-Depth Dive Into My Top VPNs for San Francisco
My top VPNs for San Francisco were tested on speed, server spread, security, privacy, and P2P support, among other notable features.
Here’s how they performed in the tests.
NordVPN – 76+ San Fran Servers & 5300+ Global Servers for Privacy and Unblocking
NordVPN’s 76+ servers in San Francisco give you access to ABC 7 News, CBS Bay Area, and other local content from anywhere. So, you can travel and stay in touch with your preferred content from the Golden City.
You can also connect to this server in San Francisco to get a local IP address. That way, your internet experience is encrypted from your ISP while you can
- Continue getting access to local content
- Unblock your online banking apps without raising red flags common with changing IP addresses
- Secure your online activities when connected to public Wi-Fi networks at Banana Republic, WETA, Urban Outfitters, or other hotspots in the region
If it doesn’t work, NordVPN has 1970+ other servers in the USA, the largest on the list.
The VPN provider also provides 5300+ servers in 59 countries to unblock the content you can’t get in the USA, like France TV (French servers), NRK TV (Norwegian servers), and Servus TV (Austrian servers).
However, NordVPN has the second-least country count here, only above AtlasVPN. So, you might not get content like Voot (over Indian servers) since the VPN doesn’t have servers there.
It’s best to choose CyberGhost and ExpressVPN if you’re concerned about getting as many countries as possible.
Looking past that, NordVPN offers a wealth of P2P servers and locations to unblock torrent sites and download files securely. I spent two weeks in the Golden City, downloading game updates and other torrent files without getting nasty copyright notices or AT&T breathing down my back.
Besides NordVPN, only PureVPN and CyberGhost have well-defined P2P servers.
NordVPN is obviously fast, given the quick torrent downloads and buffer-less streaming. So, I wasn’t surprised that it scored 33Mbps on my 100Mbps connection test. That’s enough for 4K streaming, even if it’s not the fastest VPN provider I tested.
Fortunately, speed isn’t the only consideration here.
NordVPN is set up in the privacy-friendly Panama and enforces an audited no-logs policy. In other words, the US government can’t force it to give up data on what you did online – and there’ll be no data to divulge!
I mentioned sharing NordVPN with my travel party, and that’s because it offers six simultaneous connections. So, I could connect my phone and PC and share the other four slots with interested users. That’s impressive, but it only beats ExpressVPN here.
The VPN service isn’t expensive, but it’s not the cheapest.
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PureVPN – Fast Torrenting and Secure Wi-Fi Experience Over San Francisco & Global Servers
PureVPN doesn’t state the number of servers it has in San Francisco, but it has servers there. The SF server isn’t there for show, either, providing me with:
- Local IP addresses to unblock news content in the Golden Gate City
- SF IP addresses to keep surfing the local web while enjoying the public Wi-Fi hotspot at AK’s Creations, KFC/Taco Bell, and Green Apple Books
I also like that the SF server on PureVPN is a popular streaming and unblocking option for Disney+ and HBO Max. So, streaming content over this server from home or abroad won’t be an issue.
In case you don’t get your preferred content (such as Giants’ matches, Golden State Warriors games, etc.) on the San Francisco servers, PureVPN has 1800+ US servers in other locations.
This is the second-largest US server spread here. In fact, PureVPN is the only other VPN (besides ExpressVPN) with a New Jersey server.
Connect to that server to unblock and place bets on DraftKings, Roobet, FanDuel, and other US-licensed betting operators.
When you’re ready to switch to international content, PureVPN’s haul of 6500+ servers in 78+ countries is better than what NordVPN offers.
This is the second-largest server count on this list, just behind CyberGhost. So, you can even get the elusive Voot (over Indian servers) which you can’t unblock on NordVPN.
PureVPN also mimics NordVPN with a specialty P2P server section.
It boasts more P2P servers than NordVPN, increasing your server choices to securely unblock and download torrents. On top of that, it offers port forwarding to ensure torrent seeding, something NordVPN lacks.
But there’s a dealbreaker:
You must pay extra to get port forwarding support, unlike ExpressVPN. However, PureVPN’s port forwarding is present on all devices as opposed to being enabled only on routers with ExpressVPN.
Likewise, PureVPN is still cheaper than ExpressVPN after adding the extra cost of port forwarding.
Impressive, right? Wait till you learn that PureVPN averaged 87Mbps on my 100Mbps connection! That’s the fastest, reflected in my ultra-HD content streams and fast torrent downloads.
Thankfully, PureVPN doesn’t sacrifice security for speed. It’s based in the BVI, like ExpressVPN, outside the US jurisdiction. So, it can’t be compelled to hand over data on whatever you do on its servers.
Finally, PureVPN supports the same devices (PCs, mobile, routers, streaming units, etc.) as the other VPNs, except for the limited Atlas VPN.
It also offers ten simultaneous connections, second only to AtlasVPN, to share with more devices and users.
And it’s not expensive either, scoring the lowest prices for all its premium offerings.
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CyberGhost - Specialty Torrenting, Streaming, and Gaming Servers for San Francisco
CyberGhost is my go-to VPN when I need to quickly find a server for streaming, gaming, or downloading torrents.
The provider has specialty servers for these activities, beating others like
- NordVPN since it doesn’t have gaming or streaming-optimized servers (you can use its P2P servers, though)
- PureVPN which only has streaming-optimized servers in the US, and none optimized for gaming
- AtlasVPN which doesn’t have specifically-engineered streaming-optimized servers, zero torrenting and gaming servers
- ExpressVPN which doesn’t even have a specialty server section at all
What I love the most about its streaming servers is that you see what platforms they’re optimized for. So, you know which server is best for DAZN US, Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix Japan, and other popular streaming services.
Obviously, CyberGhost can’t cover all streaming services.
That’s why it makes its streaming servers compatible with other streaming services. You can connect to a server optimized for Netflix US to unblock Peacock TV, CNN Go, Hulu, and other US streaming services in San Francisco or beyond.
Speaking of, it has 45 San Francisco servers (only behind NordVPN) to get local IP addresses, encrypt your local connection and connect to gaming peers. You’ll also get its 1300+ servers in 10 other US cities to bypass restrictions, unblock local content libraries and prevent server overcrowding in the States.
That reminds me of the gaming and torrenting servers for securely carrying out these tasks. The only downside is that the VPN doesn’t offer port forwarding, so no torrent seeding.
Since CyberGhost is engineered for these speed-intensive tasks, I wasn’t disappointed by the 38Mbps average speed on the 100Mbps test.
This is far from PureVPN, but it’s faster than the others.
US servers are just some of the things this VPN is excellent for.
Boasting 9000+ servers in 90+ countries, CyberGhost offers a healthy server spread to prevent overcrowding and VPN traffic jams.
CyberGhost is no privacy slouch, choosing the user privacy-focused Romania as home. That’s far out of the US and 14 Eyes jurisdiction, ensuring CyberGhost can’t be summoned for your data.
Even if they asked, CyberGhost’s reliable and audited no-logs policy means it won’t have anything to offer up.
The only drawback is that you get these amazing features on fewer devices than PureVPN and AtlasVPN, given its seven simultaneous device connections. But that’s better than what NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer, so it’s not all bad.
It’s also one of the cheapest providers and offers a 45-day money-back guarantee.
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ExpressVPN – Reliably Fast Obfuscation to Unblock Services and Hide VPN Traffic
ExpressVPN could have been my first VPN, but it was demoted to fourth place for reasons I’ll explain below.
It starts with the lowest server count, only ahead of AtlasVPN, considering its collection of 3000+ servers in 94 countries. However, it impresses by adding a San Francisco server, among 25 US server locations, to get local content.
It even packs a New Jersey server like PureVPN, giving you access to premium online betting platforms and casinos from anywhere in the USA or abroad.
Its huge country count, the largest on this list, also ensures you can get servers in nearly any preferred country to unblock content. That’s why it’s my preferred VPN to stream niche NRK content via Norway servers, unblock Kanal 5 in Ukraine and get France TV anywhere.
The biggest win with ExpressVPN is its fast obfuscation on all servers and protocols. In contrast, the other providers suffer a massive speed drop when obfuscation is enabled, and you have to set up their OpenVPN protocols to use this feature.
If you’re not familiar, obfuscation allows ExpressVPN to:
- Ensure better privacy by masking that you’re using a VPN from your work/school network admins, ISPs, authorities, etc.
- Bypass VPN traffic and firewall blocks that would have otherwise forced you to expose yourself to use some networks/services
- Improve your chances of unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other platforms that actively block VPN connections
Putting numbers to this claim, ExpressVPN averaged 32Mbps in my speed tests. This is close to what NordVPN offers (without obfuscation) while at CyberGhost and AtlasVPN’s speeds.
Ironically, the last two VPNs don’t even have obfuscation. If they did, they wouldn’t manage half what ExpressVPN achieves.
I set up ExpressVPN for torrenting on Vuze, BitTorrent, Deluge, and uTorrent to download the latest Rust game update and didn’t have to worry about copyright trolls. The best part is that it’s plenty fast for torrent downloads and supports torrent seeding too!
ExpressVPN is also based in the BVI and has been audited twice for its no-logs policy, like PureVPN. That’s about as good a combination of privacy-facing promises as you’ll get on any VPN.
So, why did ExpressVPN come fourth in my tests, despite these fantastic features?
It’s the most expensive VPN provider I reviewed and offers the least (only five) simultaneous connections.
You’ll need these ExpressVPN discounts to get your subscription somewhat cheaply.
Atlas VPN – Freemium VPN Provider for San Francisco
Atlas VPN appeals to me because it’s a free VPN provider without the core issues of other free VPNs I tested.
Before anything else, know that this VPN lacks a San Francisco server, even if you splash on the paid version. But it has standard and specialty servers in 7 other US cities. So, you can still get US servers to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock TV, and other US content.
If that’s not a dealbreaker, you’ll get access to three servers on the free Atlas VPN:
- US – Los Angeles
- US – New York
That limits your options if you want to watch BBC iPlayer, unblock France TV, or other services not supported by these servers. So, don’t get this VPN if you like to go on a content unblocking and streaming run.
But it’s a decent VPN option if you’re only looking to:
- Encrypt your internet activities from Verizon (or other ISPs)
- Stay secure on public Wi-Fi hotspots at Stonestown Galleria, 24 Hour Fitness, Pabu, or other locations in SF
- Unblock content generally available in the USA and Netherlands
Thankfully, Atlas VPN is fast enough for streaming, averaging 37Mbps over the WireGuard protocol. The downside is that it imposes a 5GB monthly bandwidth limit on the free version. That’s only enough for about three episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix, and you’d have to reduce the video quality to make it last that long.
Ironically, Atlas VPN allows you to connect unlimited devices to your free account. Given that a single device/user can burn through the 5GB of monthly bandwidth in less than a few days, I wonder how you’ll profit from the multiple connections.
The paid Atlas VPN app supports torrent downloads with its P2P servers.
I’m not sure about the free version, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
As if that’s not enough drawbacks for one freemium version, Atlas VPN is based in the USA. That’s the heart of the 14 Eyes alliance, so the government can force the provider to collect and give up data on what you do on its servers.
The only saving grace is that it’s also compatible with PCs and mobile devices, like the other VPNs here. On the downside, it lacks router and Smart DNS support. Note that you don’t get these features on the paid app either.
Overall, this freemium version is only good if you don’t have access to your main SF VPN and need to secure your internet sessions quickly.
How to Setup a VPN for San Francisco?
Ready to start unblocking content, downloading torrents safely, and securing your internet activities against ISPs in the 415? Here’s a stepwise guide to help you:
- Get your preferred San Francisco VPN. I recommend NordVPN (Get discount offers).
- Download the VPN app for your preferred device. I’ll use the NordVPN Windows app for this demonstration.
- Launch the VPN app and log in with your account credentials.
- Enable the VPN kill switch to prevent IP/DNS leaks. Go to Settings > Kill Switch > toggle “Internet Kill Switch.”
- Choose a preferred protocol. I recommend NordLynx (usually WireGuard on other VPNs) for San Francisco.
- Go to the VPN homepage and search for a preferred server. Here’s a guide to choosing the best VPN server. I’ll use the Brazil server for this example.
- Click on the server, wait for the connection confirmation, then test for leaks. I use www.ipleak.net to confirm zero leaks.
- Start browsing the secure web and unblock content anywhere.
How to Get a San Francisco IP Address?
You need a San Francisco IP address to stream Univision 14, CBS 5 Bay Area, and ABC 7 News abroad.
Here’s how to get one:
- Get a VPN with San Francisco servers. I recommend NordVPN (Check out amazing offers).
- Continue with steps 2-5 from above.
- Go to the VPN homepage and search for San Francisco.
- Connect to the server and wait for the connection confirmation. I recommend www.ipleak.net.
- Enjoy your secure browsing over the SF server.
Is Using a VPN in San Francisco Legal?
VPNs are legal in San Francisco. You can use them to get IP addresses anywhere, encrypt your internet connection, download torrents securely, or unblock content anywhere.
VPNs are also instrumental for privacy and security on the numerous public Wi-Fi hotspots in SF, helping you digitally navigate the city safely.
However, it’s against San Francisco’s local laws, US federal laws, and reputable VPN providers’ ToS to commit cybercrimes, even over a VPN. Thus, only use your VPN legally in SF, and you’ll be home safe every time.
Enjoy Your Time in the Sunset City!
Whether you’re in San Francisco for a break, traveling to school, moving there for work, you live there, or traveling out of the city, these VPNs have something for you.
They all sound great, making the decision challenging, but you can pick NordVPN to get the best mix of all the VPN features here.
It offers a unique balance of speed, security features, and privacy to give you fast access to anything on the web without lag or buffering.
And the best part? You can grab these HUGE discounts to test the VPN risk-free for 30 days and save more.