Pandora is the world’s largest internet radio service. The service is available in both a free ad-supported version, as well as a premium subscription version. Pandora is a great way to discover and listen to music of all genres.
Unfortunately, due to its contracts with record companies, Pandora is currently restricted to listeners living in the United States. (It had also been available in Australia and New Zealand, but the company ceased operating in those countries in 2017, to focus on serving the U.S.)
Now for the good news: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can open access to Pandora from anywhere around the globe thanks to its ability to make it appear as if you are connecting to the service from inside the United States.
A VPN can temporarily assign a new IP address to your device. An IP address identifies your device on the internet, and it also acts as a geographic identifier, revealing the part of the world you are connecting from.
Once a VPN has assigned your device a stateside IP address, you will have access to content that’s usually restricted to residents of the United States.
Take note, though, that streaming services – like Pandora, Spotify, Netflix and others – have become adept at detecting when a user is using a VPN to access their content libraries. When they detect a VPN-supplied IP address, they block it – then the VPN provider must set up new servers to supply fresh, unblocked IP addresses.
This game of virtual whack-a-mole requires a VPN provider with the resources and willingness to continue the ongoing battle.
In this article, I’ll provide information about 5 VPN providers that have an excellent track record for continuing to offer unfettered access to Pandora and other streaming services.
How to Listen to Pandora From Outside the U.S. By Using a VPN
Using a VPN to access Pandora from outside the U.S. takes just a few easy steps:
- Subscribe to a Pandora-compatible VPN service. (I suggest ExpressVPN.)
- Install the VPN service’s app(s) on your device(s).
- Log into the VPN and select a server located in the U.S.
- Kick back and dig the sounds. Groovy, baby!
What Is the Best VPN for Listening to Pandora?
After extensive testing, the 5 VPN providers listed below have proven to provide the most reliable access to Pandora from outside U.S. borders:
- ExpressVPN: The top choice for providing reliable access to Pandora and other streaming services. Providing fast, reliable and well-protected connections, the provider is well worth its somewhat premium price.
- NordVPN: Users who would rather spend their money on music streaming services instead of VPN services will find NordVPN to be an attractive option. Reliable access to Pandora, with reliable connection protection, adds up to a budget-minded choice.
- CyberGhost: Music lovers with little experience in using VPNs will appreciate CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps. The provider’s streaming-enhanced VPN servers should also prove to be a draw.
- PrivateVPN: While this provider’s global server coverage has a ways to go, its U.S.-based servers offer reliable access to Pandora. Its fast connection speeds go well with video streaming services.
- Surfshark: This provider offers a fast-growing global server network with plenty of servers based in the United States. Fast connections paired with unlimited simultaneous connections should make this VPN an attractive choice for large groups of music lovers.
VPN providers, like any service, all have their set of advantages and weaknesses. While some providers offer plenty of app options, they may lack a comprehensive server network. Others may provide access to the content you want, but don’t have the download speeds to handle that content.
While researching the best VPNs to use to listen to Pandora from outside the U.S., I considered the following questions:
- Does the VPN offer comprehensive global server coverage, with servers in the U.S.?
- Does it offer reliable access to Pandora?
- How fast are its download speeds?
- Does it provide top-notch privacy and security protection?
- For which devices does it offer native app support?
Here is my list of the top 5 best VPNs for listening to Pandora from outside the United States:
ExpressVPN is my choice for the best VPN to use for reliable access to Pandora, no matter your location. The provider has numerous servers inside U.S. borders, and its fast download speeds offer smooth streaming.
ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers, which are located in 94 countries around the globe, with plenty of servers stationed inside U.S. borders. The provider’s U.S. servers offer reliable access to Pandora and other streaming services, including Spotify, Hulu and Netflix.
The provider’s download speeds, the fastest we saw in our most recent round of speed tests, can easily handle Pandora streams. They’re also more than up to the requirements for all of the popular video streaming services. No data caps to worry about, either.
ExpressVPN offers comprehensive connection protection thanks to its use of bank-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS leak and IPv6 leak prevention. Your privacy is also protected by the provider’s rigid “no server logs” policy and its anonymous Bitcoin subscription option.
Pandora is available on most popular device platforms, and so is ExpressVPN. Apps are available for Android, Amazon Fire, Chromebook, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows platforms.
Up to 5 of your devices can connect to the VPN service at once. If needed, the service can be set up on many types of routers, offering protection for all of your connected devices.
If you prefer to listen to Pandora on your Apple TV, Xbox One, PS4, Smart TV or other connected device not in the above list, you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS service. However, keep in mind that this service does not encrypt your connection like the provider’s VPN offering does.
- Unblocks Pandora and other streaming services
- Global server coverage includes numerous U.S. servers
- Super fast connections
- Excellent online security and privacy
- Top-notch app support
- More expensive than some other VPN providers
BEST VPN FOR UNBLOCKING PANDORA:ExpressVPN is the best option for ex-pat music lovers who are looking for the most reliable access to Pandora’s music library. The VPN also does an excellent job of protecting and enhancing all of your other online activities. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN earned the runner-up position thanks to its low price and reliable access to Pandora and other streaming services.
A good number of the provider’s 5,300 VPN servers are stationed in the U.S., as well as 58 other countries. This provides access to blocked content around the globe.
NordVPN’s download speeds are the slowest of the bunch, but they can easily handle streaming everything from Pandora’s audio-only streams, up to Netflix’s HD video streams. No data caps are ever imposed.
The provider’s connection protections include military-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and IPv6 and DNS leak prevention. The provider also offers Double VPN protection (which routes your connection through twin VPN servers) and an obfuscated servers option. Malware and ad blocking are also available.
The provider keeps no logs on their servers, and they accept Bitcoin in return for their services, ensuring your privacy is well protected.
App support from NordVPN includes options for the Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows platforms. Browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Up to 6 devices can simultaneously connect on one username. The provider offers compatibility with numerous router makes and models.
- Plenty of Pandora-unblocking servers in the U.S.
- Excellent online protection
- Comprehensive privacy protections
- Low-priced option
- Connection speeds slowest in this roundup
BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN is the best VPN option for music lovers on a budget. The provider offers reliable access to Pandora and other U.S.-based streaming providers without breaking the bank. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
CyberGhost will be an attractive option for Pandora listeners who don’t have much experience using a VPN. The provider’s apps offer easy-to-use, yet efficient online protection.
The provider has 5,600+ servers scattered through 90 countries around the globe. A large number of those servers are inside U.S. borders and include Pandora streaming-optimized options. Streaming servers are available for other services too, including Netflix, Spotify, ESPN+ and many more.
CyberGhost’s servers provide download speeds well up to streaming any of your favorite content, even 4K content from Netflix and other video streaming services. The provider never spoils your listening fun by applying ridiculous data caps.
Bank-grade encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak and IPv6 leak protection help protect your online activities. Plus, blocking of ads and malware is available, along with the ability to force websites to serve up HTTPS version of their pages, if available.
The provider follows a strict no-server-logs-ever policy and offers a Bitcoin subscription payment option, meaning your privacy is also well protected.
The provider’s native app selection has most of the popular device platforms covered, with easy-to-use apps for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows platforms.
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions protect your in-browser listening. Up to 7 simultaneous connections are allowed. Router support is also available.
- One-click access to Pandora-optimized streaming servers
- Easy-to-use apps
- Excellent privacy: keeps no logs, accepts Bitcoin
- Ad and malware blocking
- Apps lack advanced features that other providers’ apps offer
GREAT OPTION FOR FIRST-TIME VPN USERS:CyberGhost is an excellent choice for music fans with little to no experience using VPNs. The provider offers one-click access to streaming-optimized servers in the U.S. and around the world. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN made it into this roundup despite a stretched-thin global server network. The provider’s U.S. servers offer reliable access to Pandora and other U.S.-based streaming services.
Although the provider’s server count of a mere 150+ servers is spread thinly throughout 60 countries, those servers do an excellent job of unblocking Pandora, as well as content housed in other countries.
PrivateVPN offers above-average connection speeds, which are well up to the requirements of Pandora or any other streaming service. The provider never restricts your listening pleasure with data caps.
Kill switch protection, DNS leak and IPv6 leak prevention, and a proprietary “Stealth VPN” feature that disguises your VPN activity as standard browser traffic all add up to optimal online protection.
Plus, the provider’s no-server-logs-ever policy and its willingness to accept Bitcoin in return for its services have the privacy end of things well covered.
The provider’s app support is limited to the most popular devices available today, with apps for the macOS, iOS, Windows, Amazon Fire and Android device platforms.
However, you can use the provider with numerous routers to protect all of your connected devices. PrivateVPN’s concurrent connected device limit kicks in at 6 devices.
- Pandora access from anywhere
- Speedy connections
- Up to 6 devices can connect at one time
- Global server coverage is a bit thin
- Multi-platform support is limited
GREAT CONNECTION SPEEDS:PrivateVPN provides reliable access to Pandora and other streaming services around the world. Although the provider’s server count is low, the available servers do an excellent job of unblocking content. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of PrivateVPN.
Surfshark offers a fast-growing server network that has a knack for unblocking content around the world. The provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections allowance is an added asset.
The service’s global server network consists of over 1,000 servers stationed in more than 61 countries. That’s double what it was the last time I checked, indicating the provider is investing plenty in its expansion. All of those servers do a great job of unblocking numerous streaming services. However, they do not offer streaming-optimized server options.
Surfshark’s connection speeds are also streaming-friendly, and you’ll never be shut down because of data caps.
Online protection isn’t a concern when using Surfshark thanks to the provider’s bank-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. Ad and malware blocking adds to the protection. The service lacks server obfuscation, but it does offer “MultiHop,” which routes your connection through twin VPN servers.
No server logs and a Bitcoin payment option take care of things on the privacy end.
Android, Amazon Fire, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows apps are all present and accounted for. Chrome and Firefox extensions are also available. Router compatibility protects the rest of your devices. This provider offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Provides access to numerous streaming services around the globe
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Fast connections
- Missing features that other providers offer
- 1-month subscription is a high-priced option
PERFECT FOR LARGE GROUPS OF LISTENERS:Surfshark is a fast-growing VPN provider that delivers reliable content-unblocking for all of your devices, all at once, if you so desire. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
Can I Use a Free VPN to Listen to Pandora?
I won’t say that you won’t occasionally get lucky and find a free VPN provider that offers decent access to Pandora. However, I can assure you that you will not be satisfied with that provider’s service, or its privacy and security protections.
We’ve already covered how streaming services have become adept at detecting and blocking IP addresses that belong to VPN providers. Most free VPNs are run on a shoestring, and they certainly don’t have the resources to evade a streaming service’s blockades.
Now let’s look at the performance side of things. When you log into a free VPN service, you may be forced to cool your heels in a queue before being allowed to connect to a server.
Once you’re given the green light, you’ll then find that your server selection is greatly limited, and that’s if you’re allowed to choose a server and the provider doesn’t auto-connect you to one.
Once you’re connected, you may find that the freebie VPN will throttle your connection speeds, and they will likely restrict your usage with daily or monthly data caps.
As for the security and privacy side of things, you’ll find a free VPN lacking in those departments too.
Many “free” VPNs’ product for sale is actually your personal information. They’ll log your online activities and then sell that information to the highest bidder. Or, other sans-fee providers have been found inserting unwanted ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browser sessions.
I can’t believe any of the above would be attractive to someone looking for a reliable way to access Pandora from outside the U.S.
What Else Does a VPN Do For Me?
In addition to providing access to Pandora, Spotify, Netflix and other streaming services, a VPN offers access to other blocked content, such as gaming servers, financial websites, and other services and sites.
A VPN also offers excellent protection, as its connection encryption keeps your online activities safe from observation from prying eyes. This can help prevent your ISP from throttling your connection just because you’re engaging in “unapproved” activities, like P2P file sharing or viewing video from frowned-upon sources.
That same encrypted protection also comes in handy for keeping hackers away from your personal information – like your credit card, debit card and other financial info – when using an unencrypted public Wi-Fi hotspot.
Pandora has a library of well over one million songs in its library, and you’ll be able to listen to every one of them, no matter where you’re at, by using a VPN.
A VPN – including my #1 choice, ExpressVPN – provides access to Pandora and other streaming services from anywhere in the world. Plus, a VPN also keeps your online activities undercover, providing optimal online security and privacy.
For more information, visit the ExpressVPN website.