How To Stream Blocked Content In Any RegionBy Lyn Atwood / June 2, 2017 / Tags: How-To, Unblock Content
Here’s the best, easiest way to stream region blocked TV, sports, and movies no matter where you — or the channels you want to watch — are located.
TV fans around the world can agree on one thing — region blocked content is really annoying. Whether you’re in the US looking to watch free BBC shows, or in another country trying to get access to American TV, the best and easiest way to get around those irritating geo-blocks is with a VPN.
We’ve tested just about every method out there and like NordVPN the best. It wins “best performance” for unblocking content because of its superior speed (perfect for unblocking sports sites), vast global network, 100% money-back guarantee (real deal — no hoops or fine print), and a great deal at only $3.29/month. You can try it out for a full 30 days.
So first we’ll show you exactly how to use our favorite method to bypass location restrictions and stream TV, sports, and movies everywhere, with NordVPN. Then we’ll give you some good alternatives. Finally, if you’re really interested, we explain how content unblocking works and the other benefits that come with it (like better online privacy and security).
A quick note — there are quite a few options in this space. If you venture off and try different methods on your own, such as free VPN/DNS services, just be careful. One such service, Hola Better Internet, was very popular — until it came to light they were selling users’ bandwidth to run a spam-bot network. Therefore, you might want to stick with what we’ve already vetted.
Best Way To Unblock Content Everywhere: NordVPN
As Hola Better Internet showed us when they stole users’ bandwidth to run a spam-bot net, it’s better to pay for a service than use a free one. We like NordVPN the best because it unblocks content in the most countries, has great apps for every device, is super fast, and is very easy to set up and use.
Even better — they have a great deal going on now and a 30-day, no-hassle, money-back guarantee. I recommend you take advantage of this to try it out. Even if you don’t keep it, you can watch tons of great content for a month for free.
One of the best things about using NordVPN to unblock content is how easy their unique SmartPlay feature makes it. Normally, you have to switch servers when you want to unblock content in a different region. With SmartPlay, you just turn it on and go. You can stream blocked content in the UK, then head over to Canada without changing anything on your VPN. It’s super handy.
In all, you can use NordVPN to stream blocked content in 80+ countries. Some VPNs we’ve tried have slowed down our connection, but NordVPN has always delivered super-fast streaming speeds without a glitch or interruption. This makes it a great choice to watch live sports on sites around the world.
You’ll also find you now have access to a whole slew of other geo-blocked streaming services. For example, you can get tons of new stuff on Netflix by unblocking it in different regions. NordVPN also works to unblock Hulu and Amazon Video. So do explore. It’s pretty cool.
All of NordVPN’s apps make it practically fool-proof to use. Here’s exactly what to do to start streaming blocked content in about 5 minutes.
How To Set Up NordVPN, Step-By-Step
STEP 1) Get a 30-day money-back NordVPN account. Pick the 2-year plan to get the best deal ($3.29/month).
STEP 2) Download the NordVPN app(s) for the device(s) you want to use. You can use 6 devices at once with a single NordVPN subscription.
Now, download the apps for the devices you want to use. Their apps are super easy to use, and are available for every device: smartphone, tablet, computer, media streamer, gaming console, or smart TV. Pretty much, if you have it, NordVPN will work on it.
STEP 3) Get connected and start streaming content.
Now open the app and connect to a NordVPN server. With NordVPN’s unique SmartPlay feature, you don’t have to worry about which server to use. SmartPlay will automatically use the correct location to let you stream blocked content on any website — with no need to change servers for different locations. SmartPlay is automatically enabled in NordVPN apps.
Or, if you want to take the manual approach, you can connect to a server that’s in the same location as the content you want to watch. For example, if you want to unblock the BBC, connect to the UK. If you want to watch ABC from outside the US, connect to a US server. To unblock Netflix Canada, connect to a Canada server.
Once you’re connected, NordVPN will take care of everything. Just use your favorite sites and services the way you normally do, only now you’ll be able to access all their content.
NordVPN makes unblocking content around the world a snap. If you want to compare other providers, check out our list of the five best VPNs for streaming.
Other Ways To Stream Blocked Content
Instead of using a VPN, you could use what’s called a SmartDNS service. This is very similar, but has some key differences.
First, instead of unblocking virtually every site, SmartDNS works with a set selection of sites and services. If there’s a site you want to access that’s not on the list, you won’t be able to.
Second, to set it up, you’ll need to change the DNS settings on your device. This is easy to do, but becomes a hassle if you want to turn it off and on, for example if you want to access the internet without it. This is why I prefer using an app. The plus side of this, however, is that it does make it easier to set up on a router if you want to use a streaming device like Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV.
SmartDNS also doesn’t offer the same level of privacy and security as a VPN. The trade-off here is that streaming speeds are supposed to be faster, although current VPN technology has gotten so good I never notice a difference anymore.
SmartDNS was the go-to option to unblock Netflix. But lots of SmartDNS providers have folded in recent months, after Netflix got wise and outsmarted their technology. NordVPN and some others still work to unblock US Netflix.
Of the remaining SmartDNS providers, we like Unblock-Us the best.
Another option is to use a browser-based VPN. You do have to be careful here to find a reputable one that won’t steal your bandwidth. TunnelBear is a safe, dependable choice. It has nice extensions for Chrome and Opera and works on both Mac and Windows computers.
How Content Unblocking Works
Let’s start with why you’re getting blocked. When you see one of those annoying “Content not available in your country” messages, it means the site you’re on is restricting access based on your location.
They can tell where you are based on your computer or device’s IP address. If it’s outside the area they allow, you get blocked.
VPN and SmartDNS services work by rerouting your IP address through one of their servers, changing that address to whatever country you need to be able to bypass the geo-blocks. So, instead of traveling to the UK in order to watch BBC iPlayer, you just send your connection and the geo-blocks are lifted.
You’ll also be protected from geo-targeted ads and malware. You’ll keep your identity and personal information safe from prying eyes of all sorts. Your ISP won’t be able to throttle your internet connection or spy on your activities (which they do all the time). You can make international calls on Skype and other VOIP services with domestic rates. If you watch content on open-source platforms like Kodi, or stream bootlegged TV and movies (not that you’d do such a thing), a VPN is a must.
This should give you access to just about all the region blocked TV, sports, and movies out there. We think you’ll be surprised how much great stuff there is to watch once those geo-walls come down and you can finally enjoy ‘TV Without Borders’.