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5 Best VPNs for Chicago in 2023 for Safety, Streaming & Speed

Traveling out of state is fun until you suddenly come up against sports blackouts on your favorite streaming service. Luckily, a VPN can give you a Chicago IP address so you can watch all the Cubs or Bulls games you want from anywhere. You can also access content in other states and even other countries.

Even if you’re not a sports fan, using a VPN in Chicago is a good idea for your online privacy. The US is a member of an international data-sharing pact called the 5 Eyes Alliance. These countries tend to monitor citizens’ online activity. Cybercrime is another real risk in the States — especially on public WiFi hotspots.

VPNs encrypt your connection, so you’re protected against hackers and snoops too.

Alongside my team, I tested 80+ VPNs to find the most reliable options for Chicago. We looked for ultra-fast speeds and cutting-edge security. That way, you can stream buffer-free from all your US streaming accounts and local online news stations without putting your data or devices at risk.

My top VPN for Chicago is ExpressVPN. It offers blazing-fast servers in the state, so you can access local content without delays. Plus, you get best-in-class VPN security features, including military-grade encryption, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN risk-free.

Get the Best VPN for Chicago Now!

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Chicago in January 2023

  1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for unblocking content from Chicago and worldwide, with blazing fast speeds and high-level security. Plus, there’s a 30, so you can try ExpressVPN with confidence.
  2. IPVanish — Privately-owned network and a proven no-logs policy to protect your privacy.
  3. CyberGhost — Easy-to-use VPN for beginners with streaming-optimized servers, but monthly plans are expensive.
  4. Private Internet Access — Many servers in Chicago to access local content from anywhere but does not consistently unblock all streaming platforms.
  5. PrivateVPN — P2P-optimized servers for fast and secure torrenting, but the server network is small.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Today!

The Best VPNs for Chicago — Full Analysis (Updated 2023)

My team and I tested over 87 VPNs to find the best ones for Chicago. We used several platforms, including Windows, iOS, and Android.

To make the cut, the VPNs on this list all had to follow specific criteria. I looked for services that have servers in Chicago or Illinois, fast speeds, robust security, and the ability to bypass geoblocks for local and global sites and services.

All the VPNs on my list also come with money-back guarantees, so you can try them out without risking your money.

1. ExpressVPN — The Fastest Speeds for Streaming Local and International Content

  • Server speed and location: The fastest VPN I tested. 3,000 servers in 94 countries, including servers in Chicago
  • Security capability: Military-grade encryption and TrustedServer technology
  • Data privacy: Strict no-logs policy and a kill switch
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix, ESPN+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and more
ExpressVPN Offer January 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN was the fastest server I tested for Chicago. My speeds were fast enough to stream in UHD, torrent, and even game without lag.

While speed testing ExpressVPN, I used the Smart Location feature to find the fastest server. The VPN connected me to the closest Chicago server, and I didn’t notice any speed difference from my regular connection. I definitely recommend using the VPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol too, as this gave me the fastest connection.

There are 3,000 servers in 94 countries — so you can access your Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming accounts from virtually anywhere. I was able to watch local games on my ESPN account while outside of Chicago. The VPN also let me unblock my BBC iPlayer account with no issues.

Your sensitive data is protected against criminals and snoopers. My ExpressVPN app used 256-bit AES encryption as a default, making my connection completely unreadable to anyone who might try to monitor my traffic.

I didn’t detect any IP or DNS leaks during testing. The VPN has leak protection and a kill switch (Network Lock) that cuts off your traffic if you ever lose connection to the VPN. This prevents your device from defaulting to your ISP and exposing your online activity and location. Fortunately, Network Lock never had to activate for me as my connection was always stable.

The VPN never logs, stores, or shares your information either. It has a strict no-logs policy backed up by TrustedServer technology. That means ExpressVPN runs RAM-only servers instead of using a hard drive. So your data is regularly wiped every time the server is restarted.

A hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee means you can try ExpressVPN for yourself with no risks — and request a refund if you’re not 100% happy. I tested the process myself by asking for my money back on the 24/7 live chat. The representative asked why I wanted to cancel but then processed my request very quickly. I got my money back in 3 days.

Try ExpressVPN Now!

2. IPVanish — Robust Security Features to Keep You Safe Online

  • Server speed and location: Fast speeds with 2,000 servers in 75 countries, including Chicago
  • Security capability: Scramble feature and AES 256-bit encryption
  • Data privacy: Strict no-logs policy with DNS/IPv6 leak protection
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix, ESPN+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and more
IPVanish January 2023 Deal: It's hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 66% off your IPVanish subscription today! Discount automatically applied (no code required).

IPVanish owns and operates its network of over 2,000 servers in 75 countries. That means you get access to content around the world, safe from hackers and snoops. I filtered servers by location, latency, and speed, so it's easy to find the right one for your needs.

The large network meant that my speeds were fast enough to stream in UHD and torrent large files without any interruptions. There are no bandwidth caps, so you can upload and download as much as you like.

You can easily unblock all your streaming accounts back home in the US or abroad. When I tested IPVanish's US servers, I could access ESPN+, Hulu, and Disney+. I could also stream movies and shows from my Netflix US account while traveling overseas.

Even though it's located in the US (part of the 5 Eyes Alliance), IPVanish is serious about protecting your privacy. It uses high-level encryption with OpenVPN protocol, and it features a proven no-logs policy. The automatic kill switch kicks in and disconnects you from the internet to prevent accidental data exposure if the VPN fails. This didn't happen while I was testing, but I was glad it was there.

I also liked the Scramble feature, which disguises your VPN traffic as regular traffic. It helped me to get around tricky VPN blocks and firewalls.

Unlimited simultaneous connections means the VPN is also great value for money. My team and I tested the VPN on 13 of our devices at the same time and didn't experience any performance drop. It's also compatible with all major platforms, so you can use it on any of your devices.

There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all premium subscriptions, so you can try IPVanish free for a short period and request a refund if it isn’t a good fit. I tested the VPN for nearly an entire month and then canceled via its 24/7 live chat. My money was reflected back in my PayPal account that same week.

Try IPVanish Now!

3. CyberGhost — Optimized and Labeled Servers for VPN Beginners

  • Server speed and location: Excellent speeds on all 9,758 servers in 91 countries, including Chicago
  • Security capability: 256-bit AES encryption and and automatic WiFi protection
  • Data privacy: Strict no-logs policy and a kill switch
  • Money-back guarantee: 45 days
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix, ESPN+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and more
January 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost’s labeled servers are great if you’re new to VPNs. It has servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, and gaming — and each one is labeled according to the service it works with best.

When I tested CyberGhost’s streaming-optimized servers, I only had to choose the streaming service and country I wanted to access — the VPN connected me to the best server for the job. I was immediately connected to my Netflix US account and watched the latest series while away from Chicago.

The app itself was straightforward to use. The layout and settings were intuitive, and you can choose to use the VPN with its default settings or customize it to your needs.

I found the default security settings more than enough to keep me safe. My app was set to 256-bit AES encryption (the highest level), OpenVPN protocol (the most secure), and the kill switch was automatically enabled to protect me in case of VPN drops.

There’s also a solid no-logs policy and DNS/IP leak protection. I put the latter through its paces, and I didn’t detect any leaks during testing. My app even came with automatic WiFi protection, which launched the VPN every time I connected to a new hotspot. This is great for keeping you safe on Chicago’s public WiFi — just be sure to enable this feature in the app's settings.

My speeds were decent on every server I tested. If you want an additional speed boost, I'd recommend choosing WireGuard over OpenVPN. It's an innovative highspeed protocol that isn't offered by many VPNs, though it isn't as strong on security as OpenVPN.

I chose a longer-term CyberGhost plan (the monthly plan is a bit expensive and comes with a shorter money-back guarantee). You get a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you have plenty of time to try CyberGhost risk-free. I asked for my money back on the VPN's 24/7 live chat and got the full refund within 5 days.

Try CyberGhost Now!

4. Private Internet Access — Thousands of Servers in Chicago for Accessing Local Content

  • Server speed and location: Good speeds on 29,650 servers in 84 countries, including over 1,000 in Chicago
  • Security capability: Malware blocker and 256-bit AES encryption
  • Data privacy: DNS/IP leak protection and a no-logs policy
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix, ESPN+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Showtime, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and more
January 2023 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

Private Internet Access (PIA) has over 1,200 servers in Chicago. That means you can access local content like White Sox games wherever you are in the world. You’re also less likely to experience lag or buffering while streaming local content or gaming. I tested over 25 of PIA’s Chicago servers and streamed in HD, buffer-free, on each one.

On the downside, server speeds can sometimes be inconsistent, and not all servers work well for unblocking. I initially had trouble accessing my Hulu account (I tried a server in Washington). But since there are so many servers in every location (53 in the US alone), I switched to another server that eventually worked.

Top-notch encryption and OpenVPN protocol provide data protection and secure your connections against monitoring. The VPN doesn’t keep logs of your activity either and has leak protection and a kill switch to prevent your actual location and online activity ever becoming exposed.

I especially liked the ad blocking feature, MACE. It successfully blocked ads during my tests — even annoying popup ones — and it keeps you safe from malware and trackers.

All PIA servers support P2P traffic, and there are no bandwidth restrictions. So you can torrent as much as you like.

Each subscription lets you install the app on up to 10 devices and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. That way, you can try PIA for yourself and get a refund if it's not what you're looking for. That’s what I did, and I got my money back in less than 5 days.

Try Private Internet Access Now!

5. PrivateVPN — P2P Friendly Servers for Easy and Safe Torrenting

  • Server speed and location: Reliable speeds on all 200 servers in 63 countries, including Chicago
  • Security capability: AES 256-bit encryption and Stealth Mode
  • Data privacy: Strict no-logs policy and DNS/IP leak protection
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix, ESPN+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and more

PrivateVPN is a great choice for torrenting. All of its servers are P2P-friendly, and you get unlimited data and bandwidth to upload and download as much as you like.

I got great speed test results from PrivateVPN. I enjoyed rapid downloads, even on really large files. My connection was also fast enough to stream in HD and even play some online multiplayer games.

Torrenting feels safe with the VPN as well. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is virtually unhackable and even used by the US military. Depending on my needs, I also had the option to choose from multiple secure protocols (including OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2).

My IP address and online activity were never compromised during my tests. PrivateVPN has DNS/IP leak protection and a strict no-logs policy, so your sensitive data is always hidden from prying eyes.

Though the VPN has a slightly smaller server network at just over 200 servers in 63 countries, it has servers in Chicago which gave me fast access to local content. Plus, you can log into your US streaming accounts from virtually anywhere. I was able to unblock my Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix US account.

There’s a 7-day free trial that’s great for test driving the service. The VPN also features a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have plenty of options to try PrivateVPN for free for a short time before committing. The refund policy is reliable; I tried it and got my money back in 7 days.

Try PrivateVPN Now!

Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN for Chicago

  1. Download a VPN. My top pick for Chicago is ExpressVPN. It has servers both in the state and around the world, with lightning-fast speeds and watertight security. Plus, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free as it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a server in the location that has the content you want to access. For example, connect to a server in Chicago if you want to get around a local sports blackout.
  3. Start browsing! You now have fast and safe access to an unrestricted internet!

Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for Chicago

I picked my top VPNs for Chicago based on a list of strict criteria. Here’s what you need to look out for:

  • Servers in Chicago (or nearby). Connecting to a server in Chicago gives you access to local content. If you can’t find a VPN with servers in Chicago, look for one that has servers in Illinois or nearby. That way, you’ll get the best chance at accessing local sites and services, as well as fast speeds for a lag and buffer-free experience.
  • Global server coverage. The more servers available in each country, the better your chances of unblocking global content and services.
  • A no-logs policy. A rigid no-logs policy means that the VPN provider doesn’t record what you do online, so it can’t sell your information to third parties for advertising purposes.
  • High-level encryption. 256-bit AES encryption is the current VPN standard for protecting your traffic as it can’t currently be decrypted. Using 128-bit encryption gives you faster speeds, but it’s less secure.
  • Trustworthy money-back guarantee. A VPN with a money-back guarantee lets you test the service without being tied to it. If you decide it isn’t a good fit, you can get your money back easily and quickly.

Try ExpressVPN for Chicago Risk-Free Today!

FAQs on Using a VPN in Chicago

What’s the best VPN for Chicago?

ExpressVPN is the best for Chicago. Its network includes servers in Chicago, and the VPN uses the ultra-fast Lightway protocol, so you can enjoy fast local speeds for streaming and browsing.

ExpressVPN is also easy to use and compatible with all major operating systems. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN with confidence.

Can I use a free VPN in Chicago?

Yes, but I don’t recommend it. Free services are generally limited and unreliable. Most restrict your bandwidth, data, server selection, and/or speeds.

In the worst-case scenario, free VPNs collect and sell your data to third parties for things like marketing campaigns.

I’d always recommend you choose an affordable premium VPN that offers a money-back guarantee. That way, you aren’t stuck if it isn’t a good fit. Plus, you don’t need to worry about your data being auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Is a VPN legal in Chicago?

Yes, using a VPN in the US is allowed. That said, anything illegal off the internet in the US would be banned on the internet — like pirating software, for instance, or selling reproductions of copyrighted material. We don’t condone using a VPN for any illegal activity.

The US is part of the 5 Eyes Alliance — a group of countries that share information on its citizens. A VPN, like ExpressVPN, can keep your privacy protected in and outside of Chicago.

Which VPN is the fastest?

ExpressVPN was the fastest VPN I tested for Chicago. It has thousands of lightning-fast servers worldwide, including Chicago. Plus, its proprietary Lightway protocol allows you to browse without slowdowns, stream without buffering, game lag-free, and download content quickly.

How can I get a Chicago IP address?

Download and install a VPN with servers in Chicago. All the VPNs on this list have servers in the city. Once connected, you’ll have a Chicago IP Address. So, no matter where you are, it will look like you’re right in Chicago.

The Bottom Line

You need a VPN with excellent unblocking features and good security to access content safely while in Chicago — or enjoy your local websites and services when traveling abroad.

All the VPNs on my list safeguard your privacy and protect you from hackers and prying eyes. They all have servers in Chicago and worldwide, so you get fast and safe access to local and international content.

I recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for Chicago because of its blazing-fast speeds, outstanding unblocking features, and top-notch security measures. Plus, it backs its service with a 30-day money-back guarantee — you can try ExpressVPN out for yourself with no risks.

To summarize, here are the best VPNs for Chicago

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Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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About the Author

Anneke is an experienced writer and editor. With a masters degree in research psychology, Anneke explores internet technologies and its impact on your privacy, empowering readers to protect themselves against digital predators.

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