But you don’t even have to be very tech savvy these days to unblock streaming websites. All you need is a free proxy or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Proxy vs. VPN- Understanding the Difference
When you first start researching how to unblock streaming websites, the terminology can be overwhelming. But it’s important to understand the steps involved in achieving your goal. To access restricted content, you must trick your internet provider into believing you are not doing anything at all. The request to access the website cannot come from a server associated with your IP address. The remote server that you access the website through can sometimes even be located in your country, the key is that it is not a server that belongs to the company who has blocked the content.
Both VPN’s and proxies use remote servers to hide your location, but how information is transferred between your server, the remote server, and the server you are trying to access is slightly different. Think of a proxy like a bridge between your computer’s server and the streaming site. It carries your request, and routes it through the path requested, using the remote server along the way to mask your location. This gives you access to restricted content, but the information is decrypted, no security measures are taken to hide the specifics of your request. This means anyone can see what you’re doing, and your system is vulnerable to hackers, surveillance and tracking. Proxies can accept requests from many servers at a time because they don’t encrypt data. They hide your IP, but do not keep you anonymous. Lack of security means your location can easily leak. Tracing the location of a proxy request is not only possible, it takes little effort. This makes your computer even more vulnerable to attacks, though speed is rarely compromised.
A VPN works in a similar fashion, with one important difference. A VPN encrypts your data as it travels to complete your request. Even if outside sources can see traffic, they don’t know the specifics of the request or where it is coming from. If a proxy is a bridge, a VPN is a tunnel. It not only hides your request; it changes its appearance. They are not free, but VPNs are safer because they provide privacy and security, not simply an alternate route for your traffic. These privacy measures sometimes come at the expense of speed, but this is a small compromise in exchange for peace of mind.
Making the Right Choice Between VPN and Proxy
For optimal security, we recommend always using a VPN over a proxy. Ultimately, the choice is yours. If streaming relatively harmless content for a short period of time, a proxy can be useful. Even then, we recommend using a service like TunnelBear, which allows 500MB of data per month for free, sufficient to watch about 30 YouTube videos when used carefully. Many services, like Hide My Ass! have a free proxy for browsing, but require you to upgrade to a VPN to stream. Use a free proxy for streaming at your own risk.
For sensitive content or frequent streaming of restricted content, you absolutely need a VPN for safety. ExpressVPN has a great reputation for bypassing VPN detection software on some of the most popular streaming sites. A more reasonably priced service like Private Internet Access can access YouTube and also supports P2P.