Many streaming services restrict their content to specific geographic regions. This is usually due to restrictions imposed on the services due to the broadcast rights that they have for the content. These broadcast rights dictate that content can only be broadcast in specified geographic regions, and this is known as geo-blocking. Some countries also impose restrictions on a national basis because of censorship laws. These include countries such as China and the UAE. A VPN is a legitimate and effective way of bypassing these restrictions.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) works by rerouting your internet traffic through a secure third-party server that is located in a different country, giving you an IP address that corresponds to the location of the server. VPN users can then use this change of IP address to access content that they aren’t usually allowed to access. In addition to being able to overcome geo-blocks, a VPN masks your presence online.
In this article, I’ll walk you through how to effectively unblock streaming services that are restricted in your country. If you’re in a rush, here’s a quick summary of my top choices:
- NordVPN: My top VPN for bypassing geo-blocks. NordVPN has thousands of servers so that you can access streaming platforms and services without any issues. Also comes with 256-bit encryption and other privacy tools. New subscribers can also benefit from a 3o-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: The best budget VPN for geo-blocks. Surfshark has considerable discounts for long-term subscriptions and also supports unlimited simultaneous device connections.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN has some of the fastest speeds on the market, making it perfect for streaming, downloading and gaming.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost has the largest network of servers at almost 8,000. This makes it a perfect choice for beating geo-restrictions on streaming services.
- IPVanish: IPVanish has tight security and privacy measures designed to keep you safe online. There is apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and others.
- PrivateVPN: PrivateVPN lives up to its name and keeps your online activity completely private. Easily overcomes geo-blocks.
- Atlas VPN: Atlas VPN has 256-bit encryption, a network kill switch, and many other features for safe streaming and browsing.
How to bypass geo-blocks with a VPN
Here’s how to bypass geo-blocks with a VPN:
- Sign up for a top-quality VPN that can easily beat geo-restrictions. I particularly recommend NordVPN.
- After signing up for the service, download the app for the device you will be using to access the streaming service.
- Now, connect to a VPN server in a country where the service you want to access is viewable. For example, if you want to watch content from Australia, you will need to connect to a server in the country to get an Australian IP address.
- After connecting to the right server, you can try logging in to the service you are trying to access and playing a video.
- If you encounter any issues, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies.
Best VPNs for bypassing geo-blocks
I carefully researched many VPN services in my quest to find the ones that are most effective at bypassing geo-blocks. I picked VPNs that met the following criteria:
- Can provide secure access to many different streaming services including major services like Netflix and Hulu
- Fast connection speeds
- Strong security measures
- Works in a large selection of countries
Here is my list of best VPNs for bypassing geo-blocks:
NordVPN is a high performer when it comes to speed and security. It is also an effective option at unblocking streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Disney+. In addition, NordVPN has over 5,000 servers. This combination makes it a great choice for unblocking streaming services.
Security has been prioritized by this provider as well. NordVPN comes with security features which include 256-bit AES encryption, an app-specific kill switch, protection against IPv6, DNS, and Web RTC leaks, and other features such as an automatic ad-blocker, and a malware scanner. These security features ensure you are protected at all times when browsing online. NordVPN doesn’t store logs either which is great from a privacy standpoint. This ensures that your internet activity is kept as private as possible.
You can download apps for this service for Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, and Android. Even routers can be manually configured to work with it. It supports six simultaneous connections and the customer support team is available 24/7 via the provided live chat.
- Fast connection speeds that make streaming content easy
- Can provide safe access to services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu
- No logs are stored
- Apps can be downloaded for many operating systems
- The customer support team is available 24/7
- The desktop app can be slow sometimes
BEST VPN FOR BYPASSING GEO-BLOCKS:NordVPN is my number one choice for bypassing geo-blocks. It has a large server network which makes it easy to access servers in many different countries, making it easier to get the IP addresses necessary for bypassing geo-blocks in the first place. In addition to that, it’s fast and is very secure.
Surfshark is a great deal for those looking to browse the internet privately with a VPN on a budget. This service offers great value for money without compromising on quality, speed, or security. While it doesn’t have as many servers as NordVPN, with 3,200 servers in more than 60 countries, you will have lots of options when you’re trying to unblock services. This provider is also a great option for unblocking streaming services. It is able to bypass geo-blocks put in place by services such as BBC iPlayer and Hulu and can even provide secure access to Netlfix.
Strong security measures are inplace with this provider as seen by its support for AES 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS, IPv6 and Web RTC leaks, and a kill switch. This service doesn’t store logs either and allows customers to pay for their subscriptions with cryptocurrency. This means that your name isn’t stored when you pay for your subscription like it is when you pay with a credit card, making for more anonymity.
Surfshark has apps available for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. Surfshark can be manually configured to work on routers too. Customer service can be reached 24/7 via live chat with this service and it supports an unloimited number of connections.
- Can unblock major services such as Disney+ and provides secure access to Netflix
- Fast connection speeds
- Strong seucrity measures offered
- Supports an unlimited number of connections
- Customer service could be better
GREAT BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark is cost effective and fast enough to stream with. It is capable of bypassing the geo-blocks imposed by many major services and is also a secure platform. Surfshark also supports an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
ExpressVPN is a fast option when it comes to streaming. It has a network of over 3.000 servers in 94 countries that is able to bypass geo-blocks in a range of different countries. It is capable of bypassing geo-blocks put in place by many streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and HBO Now. In addition, it can provide secure access to Netflix.
In addition to being fast, ExpressVPN has strong security measures in place such as 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks, and a kill switch to keep you secure while you browse online. A .onion site is available as well which lets you access information about the service securely. You can sign up for a subscription through this site or the normal site. In addition, users can choose to make payments with cryptocurrency which is better in terms of anonymity.
ExpressVPN provides apps for many operating systems. These include Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. It can also be installed on supported routers. Five simultaneous connections are supported and there is also a live chat that is offered by ExpressVPN’s customer support team 24/7.
- Fast connection speeds
- Able to unblock many different services
- .onion site and cryptocurrency available for increased anonymity
- More expensive than other options
- Not easily customizable
SOLID STREAMING OPTIONS:ExpressVPN is both fast and secure. It is great for streaming because of these two qualities. In addition, it can effectively unblock many different services such as HBO Now.
CyberGhost has the largest number of servers on this list. It offers more than 7,000 servers globally. Many of these servers are optimized for streaming content. In addition to this, CyberGhost can successfully bypass geo-blocks from services such as Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.
CyberGhost has security features in place such as 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and kill switch. In addition to the kill switch, this provider doesn’t store any personally identifiable information.
Apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android are available for users to download. This service supports seven simultaneous connections and live chat representatives are available 24/7 to assist with any queries you might have.
- The largest selection of servers
- Strong security features
- Incredible speeds
- Doesn’t work reliably in China
- Has fewer advanced features
THOUSANDS OF SERVERS:CyberGhost has almost 8,000 server options, making it a great option for those who may need to unblock services in different countries.
IPVanish is a well known option among Kodi users. This is because it is a great option for users who stream a lot. It is fast and secure. While it doesn’t have as many servers as CyberGhost and, NordVPN, at over 2000 servers, it has enough to successfully unblock services in many different countries.
IPVanish doesn’t slack off in the security department either. Security features include 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. There is also an option for traffic scrambling and on top of all of this, this provider stores no logs.
IPVanish apps are available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, and Amazon Fire TV. This VPN can even be set up on some routers and on Linux. It supports an unlimited number of connections as well and live chat support is provided 24/7 by the customer support team.
- Can unblock many different services
- Unlimted simultaneous connections allowed
- No logs are stored
- Great option for streaming
- Some servers don’t work with Netflix
- IPVanish’s apps don’t work in China
SOLID STREAMING OPTION:IPVanish is great for streaming especially for Kodi streamers. It’s fast and secure. In addition, it supports an unlimited number of simultaneous connections and is suitable for those who want to bypass geo-blocks.
PrivateVPN is a relatively small VPN provider that has just over 200 servers. While the server count is small, they are located in over 60 countries globally, meaning that users still have plenty options for bypassing services across the world. Speeds are fast and this service unblocks services including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.
PrivateVPN has strong security measures in place such as 256-bit AES encryption, protection against IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks and it also stores no logs. Customers have the option of making payments with cryptocurrency for increased anonymity.
PrivateVPN has apps available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Users with Linux devices can manually configure them. Routers can also be manually configured. The customer service team can only be reached during regular business hours, however. This is balanced out by a comprehensive knowledgebase. In addition, the customer service team is helpful and they can even remotely access your machine to help you with the setup of the service if you give them permission to do so. A single subscription is allowed six simultaneous subscriptions.
- Unblocks Netflix and many other streaming sites
- Fast speeds
- No logs are stored
- Works in China
- Small server network
- Customer support isn’t available 24/7
SMALL BUT QUALITY VPN:While PrivateVPN doesn't have a lot of servers, they are high quality and work with many different streaming services.
Atlas VPN has over 750 servers in 40 locations. It isn’t the largest network but it is fast and can provide secure streaming access to services like Netflix without lag/buffering.
It has strong security features in place too. It comes with kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. No logs are stored with this service either. Atlas VPN also provides users with MultiHop servers that can encrypt your data twice for increased security.
Atlas VPN has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It also provides an unlimited number of connections.
- Can unblock many different streaming services
- Fast connection speeds
- MultiHop servers encrypt data twice
- No identifying logs are stored
- Doesn’t work in China
- Customer service could be improved
FAST STREAMING AND STRONG SECURITY:Atlas VPN has a smaller network, but also provides high quality streaming, allowing users to securely access streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon prime Video.
VPN for geo-blocks testing methodology
There are many different options when it comes to VPNs. Some of them aren’t worth their salt, however. That’s why I took the trouble of testing a lot of different VPNs to find the best ones for bypassing geo-blocks. I used a meticulous testing methodology to determine the best ones and to make the list on this page. Here are some of the things I considered when putting together this list:
- Servers: The more servers the better. This makes it easier for users to unblock services in as many countries as possible.
- Ability to unblock many different services: Some VPNs have a hard time unblocking major streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video since these services have more resources to put into blocking VPN access. I made sure to pick only VPNs that can unblock many major streaming services.
- Security: In addition to bypassing services, a VPN service needs to protect its users from threats such as hackers on open WiFi networks. VPNs should also protect your privacy and shouldn’t store logs. The VPNs on this list have several different security features such as strong 256-bit AES encryption and store no personally-identifiable information.
- Speed: Many of the services that users wish to access are streaming services. Fast speeds are needed to enjoy these services without encountering lags or buffering. All of the VPNs on this list are fast enough to facilitate smooth streaming.
Geo-block VPN FAQs
When am I likely to experience geoblocking?
There are two main reasons for being geo-blocked. One is when you attempt to use a service such as BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime Video abroad in a country other than the one you originally registered your account in. The broadcast rights that these services have prevented them from streaming content in every country. This results in users being prevented from accessing some of the content from the home library of their streaming service.
Another scenario where you might encounter geo-blocking is if you're trying to access content that is restricted in your country. Some countries don't allow services such as Facebook, Whatsapp, or FaceTime. These services are blocked in countries such as China and the UAE.
How are websites able to tell what country I'm in?
Websites are usually able to tell this from the IP address the user is accessing the website from. Some platforms can make use of GPS data on mobile devices if the website is granted permission to do so. In some cases, it is the government of a country that is doing the blocking and not the website itself
Is it possible to bypass China's Great Firewall with a VPN?
This is only possible with a few VPNs since the Chinese government has invested a lot of resources into preventing access to privacy-focused services such as VPNs.
If you are planning on traveling to China, it is recommended that you download your VPN software ahead of time since you won't be able to access the site to do this once there. It might also be a good idea to store instructions on how to manually configure the service in a password-locked file along with any mirror sites that your VPN provider operates. This method of storage might be necessary since it's possible that cloud storage platforms may also be blocked.
Can I access a geo-blocked website with a free VPN or proxy?
The truth is that free VPNs struggle to unblock services. They usually don't have the resources of a paid VPN and typically have fewer servers. This means that it's easier for services to figure out which IP addresses belong to free VPN servers and block them from accessing the service. The same goes for free proxies. Proxies usually aren't encrypted either. The same goes for free VPNs. Proxies also only protect you while you're using a web browser.
In addition to a free VPN or proxy not likely being able to unblock services successfully, they also are typically slower since their network is small and often inundated with users. On top of these issues, free VPNs also have a poor privacy track record and don't go out of their way to not store users' browsing activity as is done with the services on the list on this page.
Why can't I unblock a particular service with my VPN?
Some services have invested a lot of resources into detecting VPNs and in some cases, even if there are servers from your VPN provider that will unblock the service, there is a chance that the streaming service might be able to block one or more of your VPN provider's servers. All hope isn't lost, however; try a different server or try clearing your browser's cache and cookies and then reattempt to see if you are able to access the service.
What services can I unblock with a VPN while abroad?
Here are some of the services you can unblock with a VPN:
- Streaming services
- Social media platforms
- Gambling websites
- Messaging platforms
- Dating services
- News websites
- Privacy websites
Is it safe to bypass geo-blocks on gambling sites?
To use a gambling site or online casino in the US, you will need to have a registered account in the country that you are gambling in. Operators are very good at detecting VPN usage, so using one to bypass restrictions on gambling is not recommended. However, using a VPN to keep your connection safe while gambling online is a smart idea when combined with a safe online casino.
Is bypassing geo-blocks legal?
Most countries don't prevent VPN use. They also are not likely to have a law that specifically bans the unblocking of services. However, using a VPN might be against some streaming platforms' terms of service. With that being said, no action is likely to be taken if a service does detect that you are using a VPN.
Can I unblock geo-restricted content with Tor?
Yes, you can change your location with Tor. However, the Tor network is slow which isn't suitable for activities such as streaming. A VPN will give you much faster connection speeds while still allowing you to maintain your privacy online.
Do VPNs have other uses besides the unblocking of services?
Yes, VPNs keep you more secure online since your connection is encrypted and routed through a secure connection in a location that's different from your actual one. This protects you while you browse online and ensures that your online activity is kept hidden from your ISP, workplace, and the government.
- How to bypass geo-blocks with a VPN
- Best VPNs for bypassing geo-blocks
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 6. PrivateVPN
- 7. Atlas VPN
- VPN for geo-blocks testing methodology
- Geo-block VPN FAQs
- When am I likely to experience geoblocking?
- How are websites able to tell what country I'm in?
- Is it possible to bypass China's Great Firewall with a VPN?
- Can I access a geo-blocked website with a free VPN or proxy?
- Why can't I unblock a particular service with my VPN?
- What services can I unblock with a VPN while abroad?
- Is it safe to bypass geo-blocks on gambling sites?
- Is bypassing geo-blocks legal?
- Can I unblock geo-restricted content with Tor?
- Do VPNs have other uses besides the unblocking of services?