Last Updated on August 23, 2023
How to Get a VPN for Streaming and Why You (REALLY) Need One in 2023
Lots of of us now use the internet for our entertainment. Even traditional sources like TV, films and music are usually much more accessible online. What’s more we don’t even need a TV set and can watch on all sorts of devices whenever or wherever we are. In this post we discuss the reasons that a VPN can be so useful for streaming content from any source online.
What is VPN?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a method of connecting remote users to private networks over public networks like the Internet. VPNs can be used for many purposes, such as accessing network resources while traveling or having remote access to corporate intranets. For example, VPNs are also used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide secure connections between their network and customers.
Here’s some of the benefits of using a VPN –
VPNs protect your privacy
VPNs will protect your privacy and identity online. They encrypt all of your internet traffic, making it impossible for someone to intercept or read it. they can protect all your data from hackers, companies, governments and advertisers. Encryption is also especially important when using public WiFi. A VPN allows you to encrypt your data and use public WiFi networks without fear of hackers or other people seeing your data.
Encryption protects sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers and other personal data from hackers.
VPN means no one can see your real location
When you connect to the internet your location you are allocated a unique IP address which can be traced. Your real physical location when your online can be detected very easily using this address. In fact the moment you connect to a website they are likely to have determined what country/town/city you’re in at a very minimum. With some more work even more specific information can be obtained.
If you use a VPN all this is hidden, your real location cannot be determined by any website or resource you connect to online.
The Best VPNs have built-in protection against Cyberattacks.
A VPN is a virtual private network. A VPN provides secure, encrypted connections to numerous servers across the world. It allows you to browse privately and securely, and it can also provide protection against cyber attacks. The best VPNs have built-in protection against cyber attacks, which is something to keep in mind. Much of the data you transmit online is easily intercepted, especially from basic browsing and email. When using a VPN, your data is safe and cannot be viewed without breaking the encryption.
Bypassing Geo-Blocks and Filters
Many of the world’s best sites especially video and TV ones, operate restrictions based on where you are. This means that often you won’t be able to access a site because of your physical location. So for instance you can’t access any of the fantastic UK TV stations online like the BBC iPlayer from anywhere outside the United Kingdom. Most entertainment sites are like this, certainly all the main US media sites are blocked outside the US too.
A VPN allows you to hide your real location and bypass these blocks. This means you can enjoy the BBC and similar sites from anywhere in the world. More explanation and a demonstration video of using a VPN for streaming is further down the page.
Do You Need a VPN?
A VPN used to be considered something of a luxury normally used for corporations. Large companies and multinationals would install on their laptops to keep their data safe. It meant that they could leverage the awesome communication network that is the internet without risking their data. This was in the days when internet crime was relatively scarce now almost every company of any size uses a VPN as standard.
The other users were mainly technical people and geeks who used a VPN to connect through to their home network. Gradually though both the security and privacy risks plus awareness has grown and now lots of ordinary people use VPNs to stay safe. It’s become a very real issue particularly if you use the internet away from home and office.
When you’re using a company gateway or ISP home connection you have a certain amount of security. Normally these are relatively safe to use although not always! However when you’re travelling you’re going to be using sites in all sorts of places many of which will be extremely insecure. What’s more these ‘public access’ wifi points are often targets for cyber criminals who steal user credentials from the unsuspecting users. There are millions of insecure access points in libraries, hotels, coffee shops and even airports which are routinely attacked by hackers.
A VPN provides a huge layer of protection when using these to access the internet. Attackers may grab your data but with a layer of encryption the VPN provides then they won’t be able to read it. Which means that your email account, banking details and other logins/passwords will be protected.
The Truth about streaming TV
This is probably one of the main reason that millions of us now use a VPN routinely especially when travelling. As mentioned above virtually every film, TV or entertainment site which streams copyrighted material will restrict access based on your location. It means that even if you’re away on holiday or travelling with work lots of websites you take for granted will suddenly become blocked. With a VPN you can pretend you’re in any country you like simply by connecting to a VPN server in that country.
Why do you need to use a VPN for streaming TV or Movies?
The main reason is that you’ll often be blocked from the vast majority of movie and TV sites. As soon as you try and connect to them your location is checked and verified. It’s particularly annoying for expats where domestic TV and news sites are a valuable link to their homeland. Fortunately you don’t need to be blocked and investing a few bucks in a decent VPN service can open all these sites to you irrespective of where you’re located.
Just watch this video to see how you can access the wonderful BBC iPlayer site from outside the United Kingdom.
As you can see it’s very simple, indeed hundred of thousands of retired ex-pats with no computer experience do exactly the same everyday! What’s more if you pick a decent VPN service like NordVPN you’ll get access to hundreds of servers all over the world. Which means you can unlock entertainment sites all over the world too. If you’re an English speaker there’s some great shows in Canada, USA, Australia and Ireland as well as the United Kingdom.
You simply have to switch to the server to the country you need and you can usually gain access without issue. Every site you visit will only see the IP address of your VPN server not your real one. If you want to watch British TV switch to a UK IP address and so on. It’s worth checking out ITV Hub too from the UK – home of Downton Abbey. Some entertainment providers put other restrictions like ask for your cable provider but not all of them.
Why Do People use VPNs for streaming in their Own Country?
Although VPNs are essential for bypassing the blocks and filters on many major TV streaming sites – there’s another reason people use them. Streaming video obviously uses a huge amount of network bandwidth for the ISPs. However most ISPs are reluctant to officially cap download limits in today’s competitive broadband markets. What they increasingly do is throttle video traffic when a certain cap is reached, slowing it all down.
This won’t stop a video stream working but it will cause it to buffer constantly and stall while playing. If you use a VPN the traffic can’t be identified as Video and shouldn’t be blocked at all. Not all ISPs do this so you should only invest in a VPN specifically for this reason if you’re affected.
Which is the best VPN for Streaming that doesn’t cost too much
The prices of most VPNs have come down over the last few years largely due to increased demand and competition. Bandwidth and network charges in most countries have fallen too making them very affordable for most people.
Choosing a VPN largely depends on your requirements. If you just want something to protect your privacy and security then there’s a huge choice and most of the leading VPN services will work fine. The main considerations are the security of the servers and how the company operates. Most secure VPNs don’t maintain logs to keep your connections confidential but this isn’t always the case.
Our favorite VPN operates from Panama in order to ensure it is not bound by EU privacy and security laws. It’s called NordVPN and it’s also one of the largest VPN services in the world. It also works great for most geo-blocking services and even has dedicated servers for one of the hardest to access BBC iPlayer.