Streaming is one of the most popular ways to watch your favorite shows and movies online, however, content is often geo-restricted meaning you can’t access all content from everywhere.
Security on these websites is often questionable where your information can be collected and used by cybercriminals if you aren’t careful.
We’ve all been there. You have the popcorn ready, some friends over, and you’re all eagerly awaiting the first episode of a sure to be an epic television show.
All of a sudden, not only are you unable to get the show going, the streaming platform is unavailable due to geo-restrictions. Not an ideal situation by any means.
Don’t Panic. A VPN is the best way to access unlimited streaming content worldwide, safely.
If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s our list of the best VPNs to unblock streaming sites:
- ExpressVPN– Consistently fast speeds and reliable connections at all times
- NordVPN – Excellent range of servers all over the world.
- Hotspot Shield – US Based VPN with unlimited bandwidth
Our pick for Best VPN For Unblocking Streaming Websites: ExpressVPN
How to Unblock Streaming Sites?
Three words, Virtual Private Connection.
A great VPN will allow you to bypass even the strictest of regional blocks put in place by streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and countless others.
Many streaming sites and companies geo-restrict their media and live cast streams due to broadcasting rights. This means they can only be accessed in certain countries.
A VPN will allow you to disguise your IP address and in turn, your current location, making it look like you are browsing the internet from a completely different place altogether. In short, a VPN lets you access content online from Switzerland but makes it look like you are in the US.
We highly recommend you to use a VPN to access blocked websites, but also to protect yourself from various threats when you browse the web. A VPN is a reliable and secure tool, offering a lot more than unlocking websites.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a country with heavy internet censorship, at school or at work, when you use a VPN you can access all online content from anywhere in the world.
Now that you know how to unblock streaming sites, it’s time to delve deeper into which VPNs can perform well.
Best VPNs For Unblocking Streaming Sites
#1 ExpressVPN – Streaming Dedicated Servers
ExpressVPN is widely recognized as the best VPN, especially if you want to unblock streaming services. With more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations around the world, ExpressVPN also has a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
- Consistent high performance
- Compatible with all popular devices
- Over 3,000 VPN servers
- Kill switch
- Customer service: email, phone, instant chat or online query submissions
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- $12.95 a month
- $9.99 a month for a six-month plan
- $6.67 a month for a 15-month plan (+ three months free!)
- Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee
For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.
#2 NordVPN – Security First
Using the Quick Connect option, NordVPN’s smart algorithm will connect you to the best possible server for you. It works with Netflix as well as an array of other streaming services. Users are able to download and install the app within minutes. If you need assistance there is an online chat option where you can contact NordVPN’s support agents 24/7.
- Zero logs
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Live chat support
- Adblocking feature
- Works with Netflix
- $11.95 a month
- $6.99 a month for a 12-month plan
- Special deal: $3.49 a month for a 36-month plan
- Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee
For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.
#3 Hotspot Shield – US Based VPN
Hotspot Shield comes with military-grade encryption, blocking 57 million malware and phishing sites per day. With connections possible to more than 3,200 servers in 70 locations around the world, you will be able to connect up to five devices with one subscription.
With great location coverage, it also comes with high SSL encryption levels. This is one factor you have to think about if you are unblocking and streaming videos in countries with highly restrictive internet laws.
- More than 3,200 servers
- Fast speeds
- Free alternative
- Great for beginners
- Has suffered data breaches in the past
- The free version will not unblock Netflix
- $12.99 a month
- $7.99 a month for a one year plan
- Current limited offer: $2.99 per month for a three-year plan
- 45-day money-back guarantee.
For more information on Hotspot Shield features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.
Other Ways to Unblock Streaming Services from Anywhere
While using a VPN is by far the best option to unblock streaming services, there are a number of other options that you can look to.
Use Short URLs or Short IP Addresses to Unblock Streaming
If you want to access a certain website from your workplace or school, you can use this method to unblock streaming. Plenty of websites will shorten their URL by using services such as TinyURL. By typing in the short URL in your browser’s address bar, you will then be redirected to the website you wish to visit. This can trick security systems that don’t recognize short URLs.
You can also use the website’s IP address instead of its official website name. Each website has a unique IP address. Although this method sometimes works, it all depends on the efficiency of the IT admins that are doing the blocking.
Use Tor to Unblock Streaming Services
For those who wish to remain anonymous online, Tor is often a popular choice. The browser uses a number of nodes to take you to your destination, which hides your digital footprint. This means you can hide your IP address and access the blocked website no matter where you are.
Although setting Tor up isn’t very difficult and can be used on all major platforms, there is a downside. Using Tor to get to your desired website takes a long path which means there is a big speed trade-off.
Using Tor for browsing the internet is fine, but it might slow down your performance entirely if you want to unblock streaming websites. This is why a VPN is a much better option.
Use Specialized Proxy Servers to Unblock Websites
Proxy servers are those that sit between your system and the internet. Using one of these servers will make it look as though you are using the internet from somewhere else, allowing you to get past blocked streaming restrictions without any issues.
When using a proxy server, the IP address is completely visible to the target website or other people using the proxy server. While this method generally comes at no cost, there is the downside of many users using proxy servers. The servers tend to overload frequently which means the connection drops often.
You should also be aware that these free proxy servers are regularly aggressive in serving ads, so if you choose to use this option, you should only opt for reputable services. Again, a cost-effective VPN will allow for unrestricted streaming of blocked sites without server overloads.
Why Can’t I Watch This Streaming Site?
That favorite show of yours that comes out every Tuesday evening in the US, you know the one. Unfortunately, it is no longer available for streaming online. Why? Because a lot of streaming sites are blocked for international viewers.
When streaming is blocked in a country for a particular show or platform such as Netflix, it’s usually because the business details have not been agreed upon between your country and the service itself. Broadcasting rights mean that many companies (like HBO, Netflix, and YouTube) have restricted their content so that it is not available away from home.
Governments in countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, amongst others, heavily restrict their people’s internet exposure to the rest of the world. News websites, social networking platforms, and chat services are restricted so that people outside their country cannot see in.
Preventing the misuse of the internet is important in workplaces and schools. Think about it. Your boss doesn’t want you streaming your favorite show during working hours. Also, it prevents workers from accidentally or intentionally sharing company data.
Some countries heavily censor the internet, meaning if you leave your home country you might experience a shock as you won’t be able to access the content you’ve been used to.
Sports Streaming Services
NBC Sports Live and ESPN are just two of the sport streaming services that are not available outside of the US. This goes hand in hand with news live-streaming services like CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox News which are also unavailable to the rest of the world.
How Do Countries Block Websites?
Now that you know how to unblock streaming sites, you might be wondering how it’s even possible to block a website. There are actually a number of ways to do this. Here are just a few ways that certain countries make it more difficult for their citizens to access online information:
Blocking IP Addresses
Preventing access to a certain IP address is one way of keeping people from using those particular sites. In reality, it is simple to go around those blocks. Countries that are serious about blocking certain sites will not rely on just blocking an IP address in order to block the use of that site.
Blocking or Redirecting DNS
Although not very effective, blocking or redirecting a domain name server makes it harder for people to reach specific websites.
Deep Packet Inspection
Now we are getting to the more advanced versions of how some countries like to restrict access to websites. By analyzing and filtering data, rather than just data headers, they are able to monitor and censor much more than the previously mentioned methods.
During times of protest or war, this is one of the options countries like to take. By simply cutting off internet networks in certain regions or cities, they ensure that their people have no internet access whatsoever. It is a quick and technically effortless way of cutting people off completely.
Scary isn’t it? However, don’t let any of this discourage you, because we have the answers below to help you unblock streaming sites using a VPN.
Choosing the Right VPN to Unblock Streaming
There are a couple of things you need to look out for when choosing the perfect VPN for you. This, of course, depends on what you need your VPN to do. Below, we have listed a few elements you need to keep in mind:
Make sure the provider can access blocked content
The first thing you have to be sure of is that your chosen provider can actually unblock the streaming platform you wish to use. While many of them claim to be able to offer the best VPN on the market for streaming, a lot of them cannot get past Netflix restrictions.
No traffic or connection logs
The whole point of having a VPN is guaranteed anonymity. Some VPNs keep a record of what you do online, while others have a strict zero-logs policy. The best ones will have no logs kept of your online activity when you connect to their service.
Strong encryption technology
Stay secure when it comes to your privacy and keep away from prying eyes. A great VPN will offer foolproof ways to keep any unwanted snoops or government officials from catching onto your streaming activities.
DNS leak protection
Not even your VPN should be able to see what content you are trying to access. That is what separates the good from the great and keeps your browsing truly private.
Choosing a VPN provider that offers many servers in numerous countries is important so that you are never locked out.
High Speed and Unlimited Bandwidth
Using a VPN will almost always slow down your internet connection, so it is vital to find a service that will allow you higher quality streaming through high speeds.
Good Customer Support
This is important when you are a new VPN user. Although many VPNs are incredibly straightforward and easy to use, a first-time user may get lost in the process. That is why you want someone on-hand to help you out when you’re in need.
Supports many devices
Human beings are multitaskers, so it is no surprise if you want to use your mobile, PC and tablet at the same time. Of course, you want them all to be covered with VPN security.
How to Setup A VPN for Streaming Online Content
Setting up a VPN to unblock video streaming is really quite simple.
- First, choose which VPN service you’d like to use, simply sign up and create your login details. We’ve recommended some below.
- Follow all instructions to download the VPN software and install it.
- Once installed, choose a location – a ‘server’ – you’d like to connect to – this could be either from a list of servers in various countries worldwide or from a world map with servers marked out.
- Choose the server you’d like to connect to.
- Now browse online to your heart’s content.
How to Set-Up a VPN on Your Smartphone
Although some slight details may vary from service to service, most VPNs have a similar set up when it comes to your mobile phone device.
- Log in to your account on the chosen website and select the kind of mobile device you will be using.
- Get your password from that site to launch the VPN on your smartphone.
- Use the selected VPN app on your smartphone and enter your email and unique password from the account page.
- Follow set-up prompts to add configurations.
- Stream away to your heart’s content.
Can I Get Caught When Streaming Videos?
Unless you use a great VPN, you can get caught (especially if you are downloading torrents). When you download movies or videos by torrenting them, you automatically add your IP address to the mix. This means that virtually anyone can see your IP address.
Can I Get Caught When Using a VPN?
There is a great little trick that you can use to check if your IP is hidden. Just follow the next few steps and you will see whether your VPN is coming through for you:
- Go to www.whatismyip.network before you hook up to your VPN and note your IP address
- Connect to your VPN server and write down your IP address again
- Go to www.whatismyip.network once more and check your IP address (it should be different from the initial one)
We use streaming sites to watch content online without having to download torrents. This is something that occurs when people go on holiday, business trips or even when they relocate to another country. Simply put, you can change a lot of aspects of your life, but it is those home comforts that make change easier.
Some of the most popular and most visited streaming websites in the US and the UK include BBC, Netflix, iPlayer, ITV, and Hulu. These platforms make it easy for their customers to stream some of their favorite shows when it suits them, offering instant and easy streaming.
What many people do not know is that a lot of the content on platforms like Netflix change as soon as you leave the US. Your library will no longer consist of many of your favorite shows, making it impossible to view them.
This is why a VPN will be able to save you and unblock any restricted streaming of your most loved movies, TV shows, and sporting events.