Whare Are the Best VPNs for Roku in 2019?

If you want privacy or maybe need to bypass geo-restrictions on your Roku device, you will need a VPN. But since not all services are made equal, we went the extra mile with an in-depth review and we found out what are the best VPNs for Roku.

Best VPNs for Roku

Media lovers have plenty of options in streaming movies and TV series. From Netflix to Amazon Prime to Hulu and more, each service offers its unique selling points that attract different subsets of users. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a large number of devices have become available over the years to meet the needs of the media-hungry masses.

Smart TV’s are everywhere, and allow users to access internet TV streaming services. The drawback is the user experience, which is usually cumbersome and unintuitive. Internet-enabled DVD players, such as the Sony BDP-S590, offer all-in-one media solutions for playing physical and digital media. However, the appeal of digital content is that it eschews physical media, making this device and those like it something of a novelty at best.

The way forward is with purpose-built streaming devices like the Apple TV and the extremely popular Roku.

What is Roku?

The name “Roku” comes from the Japanese word for six – roku(). The company is appropriately named, as it was the sixth founded by current CEO Anthony Wood.

Most people, however, know Roku as a digital media player that offers streaming video over a variety of hardware configurations. The Roku set-top box is the most popular of these devices, though the USB dongle and Smart TV are seeing a rise in use.

Since its launch back in 2002, Roku has quickly gobbled up market share from competing (and we say far inferior) streaming devices. This is in part due to its myriad forms, including set-top boxes, streaming sticks (of similar design to the Amazon Fire TV Stick) and even its very own smart TV. Furthermore, it is compatible with well over 600 internet TV channels, including some incredibly popular ones like Netflix, Hulu and other major players.

What is more, Roku’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to search out the content you want. It even includes a feature which lets you search across all the different streaming services for a particular movie or TV show you are after.

Accessing geo-restricted content

Indeed, the only drawback with Roku is that it is subject to geo-restrictions on many of the channels it offers. This is a pain, especially for users outside the USA (where the majority of Roku’s available channels are based). Thankfully, there is a simple solution to this issue.

A VPN can fool internet services into thinking you are located in a different country to your actual one, and so unblocks geo-restricted content. While there are plenty of VPN providers out there and all will claim to be able to unblock internet TV channels on Roku, some will inevitably do a much better job of it than others. This is why we’ve compiled this list of the best VPNs to use with Roku.

RELATED READING: Best VPN for IPTV to Unblock Geo-Restrictions

How we tested

Our staff are veteran users of both Roku and VPNs, and we’ve developed a keen understanding of the ecosystem. We’ve pulled together our years of experience and debated the virtues of each VPN candidate to compile the following list of features for any must-have VPN:

  • Established VPN provider with track record of unblocking geo-restricted sites
  • Ability to unblock all the main online streaming services, including Netflix
  • Fast and consistent connection speeds
  • Multi-platform availability and multi-device connection capability
  • Strong encryption and privacy provisions
  • A good selection of servers from the main streaming markets, especially the USA

Based on these criteria, the best VPNs for Roku are:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is quite simply one of the best and most popular VPN providers today, and it has the features and performance to prove it. For starters, you can use their service on virtually any device or operating system in existence and count on a well-design and user-friendly experience. We particularly like ExpressVPN’s offerings on iOS and Android. You can also connect up to three devices at any one time, which is less than some competitors but still adequate for most users.

ExpressVPN’s encryption is about as secure as it gets too; their entire network is SSL-secured with 256-bit encryption, and is as strong as any other VPN I have come across to date. As they are based in the British Virgin Islands, they can legally offer a guaranteed no-logs policy, a defining feature for privacy-minded Roku users.

Performance-wise, ExpressVPN boasts a faster connection speed and better stability than nearly all of its competitors. Users enjoy access to more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries, with a large majority of those being in popular markets like the USA and Europe. If you’re looking for a buttery-smooth viewing experience across Roku’s entire worldwide catalogue, this is the VPN for you.

ExpressVPN is not the cheapest VPN around, but it is definitely one of the best and is without question money well-spent.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Superfast servers (minimal speed loss)
  • Supports ALL devices
  • Keeps no logs of personal data
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than some other options.
BEST FOR ROKU: ExpressVPN is our top choice for media streaming. Get 3 months free on ExpressVPN’s annual plan & save 49%. A 30-day money back guarantee is included, try it risk-free.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is another longstanding and extremely well-regarded provider on the VPN market. While its services don’t quite reach the same soaring heights as ExpressVPN in some key areas, it is a fair bit cheaper and therefore an incredible value-for-money VPN.

NordVPN is available on just every device and operating system imaginable, with fantastic offerings on iOS and Android to boot. It also supports five simultaneous connections, which is a step-up on ExpressVPN.

Encryption is a little less secure, but with 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN and 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys, it is more than strong enough to keep user data secure. As NordVPN is based in Panama, their privacy policies are also robust and trustworthy.

NordVPN has received some bad press in the past regarding its connection speeds, but they seem now to have addressed any issues they once had. Furthermore, they are in the process of updating many of their servers to “ultra-fast” connections. In my experience streaming media content through NordVPN, however, speed has never been a particular issue.

They have an immense selection of servers, with more than 5,100 available across 60+ countries. Many of these are in the USA, which grants users access to what is by far the most popular market for media in the world. NordVPN also guarantees access to any streaming service, regardless of whether they are actively trying to block VPNs. This is made possible through their SmartPlay technology, which comes included in every connection and performs admirably well in my experience.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
  • Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
  • Connect up to 6 devices at once
  • No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
  • 24/7 Live Chat.
Cons

  • Some servers can have average d/l speeds
  • Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
BUDGET OPTION: Enjoy a special promotional discount of 75% on the 3-year plan – just $2.99 per month. If you’re not completely satisfied with NordVPN after your first 30 days of use, get your money back, no questions asked.

3. IPVanish

IPVanish forms something of a VPN trifecta alongside ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Like its two competitors, it has developed a strong reputation on the basis of its outstanding service.

While its price point is decidedly in the middle of the pack, make no mistake that this is anything but a premium provider in every regard. IPVanish is readily available on nearly every platform, with dedicated apps for mobile users. Like NordVPN, they also allow for 5 simultaneous connections.

As far as security is concerned, IPVanish offers both L2TP and OpenVPN protocols using 256-bit encryption as standard, which is as strong as any option on the market. While their privacy policies are solid, it is worth noting that IPVanish is based in the USA and is thus subject to mandatory logging laws. Furthermore, many are predicting that data retention laws in the USA could be changed in the near future, potentially causing significant problems.

Performance-wise, IPVanish offers connections that are speedy and reliable. They also offer access to more than 1,300 servers in more than 60 countries for users to bypass geoblocking. 300 of these servers are located in the USA, which will surely please international Roku users.

All considered, IPVanish is an exceptional VPN that makes no compromises on features or performance. If you can get over some logging, you’ll love their service.

Read our full IPVanish review.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT: Our readers enjoy a 60% discount for the yearly plan. Enjoy IPVanish for just $4.87 a month with a 7-day money back guarantee.

4. VyprVPN

The final name on this list is yet another widely acclaimed VPN service: Golden Frog’s VyprVPN. Comparable in features to the other leading options, VyprVPN is available across nearly all platforms including iOS and Android devices.

Their encryption is as sophisticated as any you’ll find on the market, while connection speeds are fast and reliable. VyprVPN operates more than 700 servers worldwide, with a large portion in the USA giving international Roku users something to be happy about.

The only problem with VyprVPN comes when we take a look at their privacy provisions.  Unlike most of their biggest competitors, VyprVPN does keep user connection logs. This data they retain includes such things as the user’s home IP address, the VyprVPN IP address you connected to, the connection start and stop time, and the amount of data transferred.

Most experts agree that such logs are a risk to not only privacy but also security as the data might easily end up in the wrong hands. However, the reality is that this will not be a high priority among most Roku users.

If privacy doesn’t concern you too much, then VyprVPN is a good bet. With good spread of features and admirable performance, their logging policy is the only thing that holds this service back from being a truly top-tier choice.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

What can I watch on Roku?

As the company has made deals with a whole host of the best streaming services out there, Roku users enjoy incredible access to a staggering amount of content. In fact, over 600 channels and radio stations are available, including:

  • Amazon Cloud Player
  • Amazon Video
  • Ameba TV
  • BBC iPlayer
  • CBS All Access
  • Google Play Movies & TV
  • Hasbro Studios
  • HBO Go
  • Hulu
  • MLB.TV
  • Netflix
  • Now TV (UK only)
  • Pandora Radio
  • SiriusXM
  • PBS
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • Time Warner Cable
  • VMedia
  • WWE Network
  • YouTube
  • ITV Hub
  • And many more!

Why can I only access some channels on my Roku device?

Streaming services such as Netflix and the BBC iPlayer have to buy the rights to stream the content which is available on their service. These rights are sold on a country-by-country or regional basis and in many cases, a service will only hold the rights to stream a show in a certain part of the world.

Roku is tied to the same rights agreements that their streaming partners have signed up to. This is why the BBC iPlayer is blocked to anyone trying to access its service outside the UK. It is also why Netflix has a different service for each country it operates in and each and every one of them has different content available and charges different subscription prices.

This practice is known as geo-restriction, and it is very common amongst online media content providers. It is unsurprisingly hugely inconvenient to users, who may be deprived of their favourite programmes when traveling abroad for work or a holiday. Expats in particular know the bitter sting of giving up on certain content viewable only in their home countries.

Fortunately, there is a way to get around this geo-restriction and unlock these streaming services to make them available to watch from a Roku anywhere in the world: through use of a VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an online security and privacy tool which can both encrypted all of your online traffic and hide your identity and location online.

When you connect to a VPN, it will establish a secure connection between your device and whichever of their servers you have chosen to connect to. This connection encrypts all your online traffic and routes it through these proxy servers before it reaches the websites and services you are trying to access.

After the data has passed through the server it then heads off to its intended destination, but crucially, it is no longer tagged with your own IP address. Instead, it has the IP address of the server in question. This secure method of transmission guards against prying eyes, nosy ISPs and snooping governments alike.

Using a VPN ensures that your traffic is obscured and hidden from everyone, even ISPs who can only see that you are connected to the VPN server. It also offers complete anonymity online, since there is no way to track your data back to your location or device. In fact, it can only be traced back as far as the VPN’s server.

How does a VPN help get around geoblocking?

The most important benefit a VPN can offer to Roku users is the ability to access geo-restricted content by spoofing your IP address. If you’re not quite sure what that means, fear not! It’s really quite simple.

First, you need to know that your IP address is what streaming services use to determine where in the world you are located. All VPNs mentioned in this article grant their users access to numerous servers in countries all over the world. When you route your traffic through these nodes, your IP address is changed to reflect that server’s country, rather than your own. This fools streaming services into delivering content appropriate for that region, rather than popping up a polite message telling you their service is unavailable in your area.

Some streaming services, most notably Netflix and the BBC iPlayer have tried to clamp down on people accessing their service in this way. The only way they can do this, however, is by identifying and then blocking individual IP addresses they have identified as coming from a VPN. This is time-consuming, costly, and ultimately ineffective as it is relatively easy for a VPN to change its IP address when necessary.

While these measures have stopped some VPNs cold, the four on our list above grant Roku users reliable access to the full extent of its catalogue, completely free of geographic restrictions!

Read Whare Are the Best VPNs for Roku in 2019? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best VPN for Germany in 2019 and Why You Should Use One

German data protection laws are amongst the best in the world and internet censorship is minimal. But that’s where the good news ends. If you are living or working in Germany, there are a number of compelling reasons why you should be signing up with a VPN at the earliest opportunity. Below you’ll find our updated list with the best VPNs for Germany.

What is the best VPN for Germany?

  1. Subscribe to one of the VPNs in this guide.

If you are living or working in Germany we highly recommend ExpressVPN (save 49% here), but you’ll also find four more world-class VPN services that will work great.

  1. Download and install the VPN’s client software.
  2. Connect to a VPN of your choice.
  3. Now you can enjoy unrestricted access to any websites with a strong encryption.

Why do I need a VPN for Germany? Firstly, there is the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), which is hugely powerful and cooperates closely with the likes of the NSA in America and GCHQ in the UK. Both of these countries hoover up user data from all around the world and share it with other national security agencies like the BND. Then there is the issue of online data retention. Whilst data protection laws in Germany are strong, in 2015 the German government passed data retention laws that pose a threat to internet users. Data is only retained by ISPs for 10 weeks, which is considerably better than the situation in other countries such as the UK, where the period is a huge 12 months. But it is nonetheless a significant privacy concern, as well as a security threat should that data fall into the wrong hands.

Additionally, online copyright laws are also strictly enforced in Germany; this is an issue for a significant proportion of internet users. It means that those who stream or download online content that might be in breach of copyright laws risk facing legal repercussions.

Another reason many people look for a VPN within Germany is the issue of geo-restrictions. English-language movies and TV shows are popular in Germany, but access to online streaming services from the USA or the UK is often blocked as a result of geo-restrictions, making access from within Germany tricky. Equally, as the German language is primarily spoken in Germany, most German-language media is produced there and much of that is also geo-restricted. This means accessing German language content from outside Germany is difficult. With many Germans living, working, or holidaying overseas, this is a big problem for them.

But a VPN helps German internet users address all of these problems, which is no doubt why their popularity within Germany is growing. The only problem is making the choice regarding which VPN to use.

There are hundreds of VPN providers on the market and many have a page on their website explaining why they are the best VPN provider around. But choosing the right VPN for Germany requires a little more precision.

RELATED READING: How to get a German IP address

Best VPN for Germany: Criteria

Which is why we have compiled this list of the Best VPNs for Germany, based on the following criteria. Our experience and feedback suggests that these are the key benefits Germans are looking for in their VPN.

  • A reputable and reliable VPN provider with a proven track record
  • Strong encryption and privacy policies
  • Consistently fast internet connections
  • A wide range of servers in Germany and beyond
  • An affordable subscription fee

Based on those criteria, we have compiled the following list of the best VPNs for German internet users:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN appears on many VPN articles of this nature because it is one of the best VPNs on the global market. They have been around for a long time and built up a deserved reputation within the industry and with users.

Their encryption policies are amongst the best available too: their entire network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption. Their privacy policies are also reliable and strong, as the company is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no requirements to retain any user data.

As the name suggests, ExpressVPN’s connection speeds are consistently fast, regardless of which server you connect to. From the experience of all our reviewers, this cannot be said for some other providers.

ExpressVPN offers more than 3,000 servers across 145 locations in 90 countries. Their German servers are located in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Darmstadt.

Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Fast serves with minimal speed loss
  • No DNS/IP leaks found
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Slightly pricier than competition.
BEST FOR GERMANY: ExpressVPN is our top choice for a VPN in Germany. Our readers get 3 months free on their annual plan & with a 49% discount. A 30-day money back guarantee is also attached to all plans, which means you can try it risk free.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is also an established VPN with a strong reputation and a loyal base of users. They offer excellent encryption levels, although not quite as secure as ExpressVPN’s. They have 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN with 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys – more than enough for most regular internet users.

NordVPN are based in Panama which means that they are not required to retain any customer data. Good news for internet users who are worried about privacy.

NordVPN has received some criticism for its connection speeds in the past, but these appear to have all been addressed now across all servers.

They have a huge server offering too, with more than 5,300 servers located in 61 countries around the world. 268 of these are located in Germany, which should be more than sufficient for most German internet users to choose from.

They also offer a range of extra features including double-VPN connections, VPN over Tor options, and specific Anti-DDOS VPNs. They also offer their SmartPlay technology as standard on all connections. This guarantees to connect to all online streaming services, even if they claim to block VPNs as the likes of Netflix does. That’s a great bonus for those who want to stream online content and makes NordVPN a very attractive option.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
  • Fast and stable connections
  • Strong security features
  • Based in Panama
  • 24/7 Live Chat.
Cons

  • Some servers can be unreliable
  • They can take 30 days to process refunds.
Great value: NordVPN is a great budget choice. Great privacy and security credentials. 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. IPVanish

Third on our list is IPVanish. Once again, a big name in the VPN market with a loyal and established audience. They offer top-of-the-range encryption, with L2TP and OpenVPN protocols, with both using 256-bit encryption as standard which is as good as ExpressVPN.

On privacy, they are ok at the moment, but being based in the USA means there is a risk they might have to comply with any data retention laws that might be introduced there. With the Trump Administration not supportive of online privacy so far, this seems likely at some point.

Connection speeds through IPVanish are again top quality with no complaints regardless of which server you connect to. And as for servers, IPVanish offer plenty, with more than 1,100 available across more than 60 countries. This includes 57 in Germany, located in either Dresden or Frankfurt.

Read our full IPVanish review.

Reader special: Get a 60% discount when you signup on the yearly plan, that’s only $4.87 per month. 7-day money back guarantee on all plans, in case you need to test drive the system first.

4. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is another reputed name in the VPN world, and on service alone, they deserve to be on this list. But their offering is not without its issues.

Their security provisions are fine, with top-notch encryption provided. However, unlike the other providers on this list, VyprVPN keeps logs of user activity. The data they retain includes such things as the user’s home IP Address, the VyprVPN IP Address you connected to, the connection start and stop time, and the amount of data transferred. This raises privacy concerns.

For some VPN users, this will be enough on its own for them not to touch VyprVPN with a barge pole. Others will be less concerned about privacy, but more focused on service delivery, and on that front VyprVPN has plenty to offer.

Their connections are fast and reliable, although in my view the speeds are not quite at the level of the other three VPNs on this list. They also offer more than 700 servers, with a number of those being located in Frankfurt.

RISK FREE: VyprVPN costs only $5 / month and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

5. StrongVPN

The last VPN we are recommending for Germany is StrongVPN. They are a slightly newer kid on the block than the other names on this list, but their service is up to the same standard.

On security, StrongVPN’s encryption levels are right up there with the very best. OpenVPN, which is their default protocol, has 256-bit encryption and SHA512 – right up there with the best. StrongVPN also own all of their own servers, which is an extra security feature that not all VPNs provide.

As far as privacy is concerned, StrongVPN is another provider which operates a no logs policy, and whilst their US location raises the same concerns that were referred to above with IPVanish, at the time of writing there is no immediate cause for concern.

In my experience, StrongVPN’s speeds are quick and consistent again. They provide fewer servers than the others mentioned here, with just 650+ servers available across 26 countries and 46 different cities. Germany is one of those countries, with servers available in Frankfurt and Munich.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: StrongVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee and a 41% discount on the annual plan, which is a good deal at just $5.83 per month.

Why should Germans use a VPN?

Ever since the Snowden revelations about bulk data collection emerged back in 2013, online privacy has been a hot topic. Snowden’s revelation that governments are bulk collecting data from everyone shocked the world and led many to turn to a VPN to protect their data.

Whilst online privacy remains topical, much of the hysteria has died down and, for many regular internet users, it’s back to business as usual. Except it isn’t, because the practice is still taking place and those of you sat reading this in Munich, Berlin, Aachen, or Bonn are no more secure than anyone else.

It is certainly true that Germany has some of the best data protection legislation in the world and the German Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) is, of course, to be welcomed. But in other regards, internet users in Germany can find their security and privacy threatened just as much as those in the US, the UK, and elsewhere.

The Snowden files themselves made reference to Germany and stressed that whilst German Intelligence (the BND) might not be watching innocent German citizens themselves, they were doing so indirectly through their close relationship with the NSA.

Indeed, a Parliamentary inquiry even found that the BND has been snooping on the emails and phone calls of the French President and several top EU officials, apparently on behalf of the US Government.

The outcome of these revelations? A budget increase of $133 million to tighten up the surveillance process. This fact obviously counters any suggestion that the process has been wound down or stopped since the Snowden revelations. Indeed, it is more likely to have intensified.

RELATED READING: Best VPN to unblock Netflix Germany

Data Retention

The German Federal Data Protection Act made it illegal for ISPs to collect user data without the permission of users themselves, which was, of course, a positive move. Then, in 2010, the German High Court passed a ruling which declared mandatory bulk data retention unconstitutional.

But needless to say, both of these have now been overruled and the internet data of German people is now routinely collected and stored by ISPs. The BND has access to it if it so wishes.

It is true that this data is only retained for 10 weeks, which is a much shorter period of time than many of Germany’s allies. The UK and France both now require data to be held for 12 months, while even ‘neutral’ Switzerland requires the data to be held for 6 months.

But just because the retention period is shorter, that doesn’t make the mandatory retention of personal data any more palatable. It should also be noted that whilst Germany retains metadata like those other countries mentioned above, they also record the content of all SMS messages for the same time period.

Censorship

Censorship is a limited problem in Germany with access to the internet mostly open and free for all citizens.

A court case from the German performing rights organization GEMA has resulted in the blocking of a number of music videos on sites like YouTube. This is because Google and GEMA cannot agree a charge for accessing these videos, with GEMA reported to want an astonishing 12 cents per stream.

Another issue is the ban on a number of things related to Germany’s Nazi past. Whilst it is perhaps understandable that content which is deemed pro-Nazi or anything that denies the existence of the Holocaust is banned, the law can sometimes be applied a little overzealously.

For example, the computer game Wolfenstein 3D was blocked in Germany because of its portrayal of Nazi soldiers in the game. And some movies and TV shows have faced a similar fate.

RELATED READING: How to Unblock US Netflix from Germany

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an online security and privacy tool which offers various protections for a small monthly subscription fee.

A VPN works by rerouting a user’s online traffic down an encrypted tunnel and through an external server.  By encrypting all of your internet traffic, without exception, a VPN helps to protect you from unwanted snooping by making your data inaccessible to either hackers or BND surveillance officers.

Passing the data through a server means it acquires the IP Address of that server rather than your own internet connection. This means that it becomes almost impossible to trace your internet activity back to you directly.

What that means is that if you are undertaking an activity in a legal grey zone, a VPN can protect you.

Likewise, changing the IP Address is a way to get around geo-restriction and online censorship. By rerouting your traffic through a server in, say, the USA, a German user is no longer bound by Germany’s censorship laws and will be able to access content which is blocked in his country. It also means he can access US-based websites and services which are usually geo-restricted and therefore unavailable.

It is therefore not only necessary for German internet users to access the internet via a VPN for privacy purposes, but there are also a great many positive benefits of being able to do so as well. It really is a no-brainer!

Read Best VPN for Germany in 2019 and Why You Should Use One by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Watch the NHL Online: Best VPNs to Unblock the NHL (2019)

Those trying to watch the NHL online know that for this to happen you need a North American IP address. Our list of tested VPNs do just that ensuring that you’re able to unblock your favorite NHL games. Here’s all you need to know about it.

The National Hockey League is the American professional ice hockey competition. It can be a much-derided sport, but this underestimates its popularity both in North America and across the globe. As a winter sport, it’s no surprise that the USA’s cousin to the north would have such a keen interest in the sport. Indeed, in Canada, the NHL is the main sport and all of its biggest cities have representation in the league.

But the league has a following which goes much further than North America. The NHL is the biggest ice hockey league in the world and as such draws attention from numerous countries. It has a big following in places such as Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia.

There is undoubtedly a demand for high-quality coverage of the NHL outside the US and Canada, both by ex-pats and locals. However, what is sadly lacking is extensive and high-quality local coverage. Whilst most of these countries do have some coverage, it is often limited to a handful of games and frequently usurped in the schedules by more popular sports. This can be hugely irksome for NHL and ice hockey fans.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a VPN, it is possible to access the very best coverage of the NHL from either the US and Canadian broadcast rights holders, or through the NHL’s own subscription services. Another option for viewing NHL games around the world is through Kodi and further down we will discuss how using Kodi with a VPN is a reliable and cost-effect option for many users.

As an NHL fan who has lived overseas for a long time, I have been streaming the NHL through a VPN for years. As a tech writer, I have given most of the big VPNs a road-test in that time too. So, I have brought together a combination of my knowledge of VPN services and personal experience to compile my pick of the best VPNs to unblock the National Hockey League.

How we picked

As with almost all major sporting leagues, the NHL sells the rights to broadcasts its games by country or region. This means that all broadcasters have to take reasonable steps to geo-restrict access to their content online.

With a VPN, this geo-restriction can be evaded, but some VPNs are more effective at doing this than others. I have therefore used a number of core criteria to identify the best VPNs to Unblock the National Hockey League coverage based on my own personal experience of what matters most.

So, for the purposes of this article, I have applied the following criteria to choose what I believe are the best VPNs:

  • A well-established VPN with a proven record of unblocking geo-restricted sites.
  • Availability of service around the world and on multiple platforms
  • Multiple servers located in the USA and Canada
  • Fast and reliable connection speeds facilitating good video streaming
  • Effective securing and privacy policies to protect users

In applying these criteria, I believe these four are your best bet to watch the NHL online from anywhere.

Best VPNs to Unblock the NHL

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the premium VPN providers and has long been a big hit with users. This is not a coincidence as ExpressVPN is probably the best all-around VPN on the market right now. Certainly, when it comes to streaming geo-restricted content, such as NHL streams, it is one of the best options on the market.

Their connections are always both fast and consistent and this seems to be pretty much universal regardless of which server you choose to connect to. There are plenty for you to pick from as well, including at multiple locations in the USA, including New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle. There are also servers at three locations in Canada, Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto.

The VPN service itself can be used in just about every country around the world too. I have managed to stream NHL games in such diverse countries as Australia, Taiwan, Russia, South Africa, and Egypt using ExpressVPN without any real variation in the quality or speed.

ExpressVPN offers their VPN service across a wide range of platforms and operating systems, and also has dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices for users who might want to stream on the go.

Security-wise, their service is second to none, with 256-bit encryption throughout and they are also guaranteed to protect your privacy as they are based in the British Virgin Islands meaning they are under no obligation to keep any user data.
ExpressVPN is giving an exclusive deal to our readers on AddictiveTips. Signup for the 1-year plan and you get three months FREE. Price is only $6.67 and you get to take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee “no questions asked” if you want.

Essentially, there are no obvious drawbacks to using ExpressVPN to unblock the NHL that I have come across and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Read our full review of ExpressVPN for more.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Super fast servers
  • Very simple and easy to use
  • Strict no-logs policy for personal information
  • 24/7 Live Chat.
Cons

  • Very little
  • Expensive month-to-month plan.
BEST FOR NHL: ExpressVPN is our top choice for unblocking watching the NHL online. Get 3 months free on ExpressVPN’s annual plan & save 49%. A 30-day money back guarantee is included with all plans.

2. NordVPN

As with the other VPN providers on this list, NordVPN is a long-established and well-regarded VPN provider which also gives ExpressVPN a real run for its money.

Connection speeds have often been cited as an issue with NordVPN, but I must admit I have rarely encountered problems with them. On the odd occasion it has seemed slow, a server quick has always swiftly eliminated the problem.

Security-wise, NordVPN is almost at the same level as ExpressVPN, offering 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN with 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys. This is more than sufficient for modern needs and for most users who want to stream the NHL. As far as privacy policies go, NordVPN is located in Panama which means they keep absolutely no user records whatsoever.

Their range of servers is enormous, with 2,200+ of their total of 5,300 servers being based in the USAand Canada. This means there is plenty of choice for users wanting to watch either US or Canadian NHL coverage.

They also guarantee access to streaming services even if they are trying to block VPNs. This can be offered using a tool called smart play which is built into their service these days and makes it almost impossible for sites to identify and block their IP Addresses. It’s a tool that seems to work and makes NordVPN a strong contender for the best VPN to unblock National Hockey League coverage. If you are operating on a budget, NordVPN is definitely worth consideration as it is the cheapest VPN to make our recommended list.

Pros

  • Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat
  • Extensive server park of over 5,100 different servers
  • Strong security features
  • Extra-secure Double VPN for data encryption
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Refund processing can take up to 30 days.
BUDGET CHOICE: Get NordVPN with our reader discount of 75% OFF for the 3-year plan. That’s a huge deal, as it will only cost you $2.99 per month (30-day money back guarantee included on all plans).

3. IPVanish

While ExpressVPN is good, there are plenty of other well-known and well-regarded VPNs out there who give them a good run for their money. One of those is IPVanish.

IPVanish is proud of its connection speeds too, and rightly so. They are also fast and efficient and there is rarely a variation in quality no matter where in the world you or your chosen server are located.

They have more than 40,000 IP Addresses across 1,200+ servers in more than 60 countries. This includes many located in both the USA and Canada.

IPVanish is actually a US-based company which is a slight drawback when it comes to security and privacy considerations. The US Government is much more intrusive than the host countries of some rival VPNs and whilst there are no specific data retention laws in place for VPNs at the moment, the current trends suggest it is only a matter of time. But if that isn’t too much of a concern to you, then you won’t go far wrong by opting for IPVanish as well.

READER EXCLUSIVE:  Get a huge 60% discount on the yearly plan. Costs only $4.87 per month and allows to safely test-drive the service because all plans come with a 7-day money back guarantee.

4. VyprVPN

VyprVPN ticks many of the boxes that users looking to unblock coverage of the national hockey league are looking for, but perhaps not all of them.

Speedwise, VyprVPN is right up there with the very best. In my personal experience, some servers can be better than others, but I have never found it a huge inconvenience to switch servers if a feed is going a smoothly as I might like.

They also now offer a good range of servers, which was not always the case in the past. In the US, there are servers available in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. There are however currently none located in Canada, which is a drawback if you are keen to watch Canadian NHL coverage.

VyprVPNs security and encryption provisions are good too, but again their privacy settings are not at the same level as ExpressVPNs, which for me is a shame. They do offer a guaranteed no logs policy for site content, but they do record connection logs, which include such data as a user’s home IP Address, the VyprVPN IP Address you connected to, the connection start and stop time, and the amount of data transferred.

I would always prefer such data not to be held at all if possible, because you never know who might get hold of it. VyprVPN also does not permit torrent traffic, which means if you want to watch NHL games through Kodi (or indeed use your VPN to download BitTorrent files securely) it is not the right choice for you. But if that is neither of these issues is a concern for you, then VyprVPN certainly has plenty to offer.

EASY TO USE: VyprVPN only costs $5 per month. It comes with a 30-day money back guarantee on all plans.

What is the NHL?

If you haven’t come across the National Hockey League or the NHL before, you have really missed out on an amazing spectacle. As I noted at the top, the NHL is the USA’s premier professional ice hockey league. It is also the biggest and most prestigious ice hockey league in the world and the one which all players aspire to compete in.

It was established in 1917 as a replacement for the National Hockey Association and so is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The league comprises of teams from the USA and Canada who are all competing for the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.

RELATED READING: How to bypass NHL Blackouts on ESPN+ and NHL.tv

The structure of the NHL is similar to other US sports league. Given the geographic size of the USA, teams are divided up into two conferences – the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference.

Within each conference, teams are then split again into two leagues. The Western Conference is made up of the Pacific Division and the Central Division, while the Eastern Conference is made up of the Atlantic Division and the Metropolitan Division. Each division consists of either seven or eight teams.

The season itself is made up the regular season and the post-season, or playoffs. In the regular season, each team will play the other teams in their division either 4 or 5 times, the teams in the other division in their conference 3 times, and the teams in the other conference twice.

This is a total of 82 games, with 41 played at home and 41 on the road.

At the end of the regular season, the top 4 teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. This is an elimination event in which teams play three rounds of ‘best of seven game’ series against teams to determine which team should represent their conference in the league’s showpiece event, the Stanley Cup Final.

The Stanley Cup Final is also a ‘best of seven game’ series with the first team to win four matches lifting the trophy.

This structure means that if your team goes all the way to the final, it is possible they could end up playing 110 games in a season. That’s a lot of sport to keep up to speed with, which is why being able to watch coverage overseas is so important.

Who broadcasts the NHL?

As I noted above, the most comprehensive coverage of the NHL can, as you might expect, be found in the USA and Canada.

Fortunately, pretty much every VPN provider will offer servers in these two countries, including the four we have recommended in this article. This means that there should be no problems for users anywhere to access streams online. But there are a couple of options too.

In Canada, the NHL broadcast rights are owned by Rogers Media, who operate various television stations across Canada. Deciding the best channel to sign up for can depend if you are a fan of the Vancouver Canucks, the Toronto Maple Leaves, the Montreal Canadiens, or another Canadian franchise.

There is also a regular highlights programme, called Hockey Night in Canada, which broadcasts on CBC as well as the City, FX Canada, and the Sportsnet channels. Sportsnet also airs twice weekly live games, while playoff coverage is split between CBC and Sportsnet.

And of course, Canada is a bilingual country and French-language NHL coverage rights are currently held by TVA Sports.

In the USA, NHL broadcast rights in both English and Spanish are held by NBC. They broadcast most of their regular season coverage, including live games, on NBCSN. NBC also hold rights to most of the playoffs, with coverage being split between NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC (for the first two rounds).

NBC and the NHL also jointly own the NHL Network. This is a cable and satellite channel which is dedicated to the NHL and features live coverage of NHL and lower league games as well as various discussion and news shows all about the league.

Meanwhile, Spanish-language coverage of the NHL in the USA can be found on Telemundo Deportes, which is also part of NBC.

All of these channels offer online streaming options, but there will be different subscription requirements to access each of them. But with a VPN in place, once you are signed up, accessing the content from anywhere will be a piece of cake.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an online security and privacy tool. But they bring with them so many more advantages than that, including the ability to watch geo-restricted content overseas.

A VPN works by redirecting all of a user’s online traffic via an encrypted tunnel and an external server before it reaches the website or service it is intended for. This process brings with it two main benefits.

Firstly, by forcing all of your online traffic down a secure tunnel, you are guaranteeing that everything you do online in encrypted. If you have not come across the term encryption before, it refers to encoding all of your data in such a way as to make it unintelligible to hackers, government surveillance operators, and anyone else who might be inclined to intercept it.

This makes everything you do online much more secure than might otherwise be the case and is why a VPN is recommended by many experts as an essential part of every internet users online security toolkit.

But sending this data via an external server is an equally important part of the process. When your data passes through an external server, it is tagged with the IP Address of that server, rather than the IP Address of your own connection.

An IP Address is the piece of data which you send with all of your data which tells the websites and services you are using about you. Crucially this includes information about where exactly in the world you are.

By changing your IP Address in this way, you are essentially making your online activity completely anonymous, because it becomes all but impossible to trace your online traffic back to your own IP Address. All the websites and services you use will know if the VPN server your data passed through and identifying individual users from there is pretty much impossible.

But it also means you Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot see where your data is going either. This is important in America, where the Trump administration has recently permitted ISPs to sell user data without their permission. For users who have a VPN connection, this data is worthless because as far as your ISP is concerned, you are only visiting the server of your VPN. They can see nothing beyond that.

So that’s how a VPN works and why it’s such an effective online security and privacy tool. But how does it help you to unblock geo-restricted content and so watch the NHL online?

How does a VPN unblock geo-restricted content?

Streaming is the means by which a growing number of people are accessing their media these days. Services such as Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch television shows and movies and a glance at the charts show that almost every young person is accessing their music online these days.

The same is true for sport, with an increasing number of people choosing to watch live sports and highlights shows online at the time and place that suits them best.

TV money is what keeps professional sport afloat these days though; a rule which is as true for the NHL as it is every other major sports league in the USA and beyond. The leagues are therefore understandably precious about the rights to their product.

Different companies buy up the rights to broadcast and stream different sports in different countries and regions. This means that they are only permitted to show that sport within the geographic area they hold the rights to. If they do so any further afield, they risk being in breach of their contract with the league.

The way they try to ensure they don’t do this online is called geo-restriction and it works thanks to individual users IP Addresses, which we referred to above.

Your IP Address tells the websites you visit where in the world you are located. It is therefore easy for a broadcaster to look at your IP Address, see where in the world you are, and then decide whether or not they are allowed to stream their content to you.

But with a VPN it is possible to fool the system. This is because, as we explained above, when your online data passes through a VPNs server it acquires the IP Address of that server.

Most VPNs will allow users to choose from a selection of hundreds of servers located in scores of countries around the world. This means that it is possible to convince a site that you are located in a different country simply by connecting to a VPN server which is in that country.

So, to watch the best NHL coverage around, which is found in the USA or Canada, all you have to do is connect your VPN to a server located in one of those countries and then head over to the broadcaster. You should then have no trouble accessing their online stream and be able to enjoy as many games as you want to, regardless of where you are actually located.

Watching the NHL via Kodi with a VPN

If you haven’t heard of Kodi before, it is a relatively recent innovation which has facilitated the access of online streaming content onto a variety of platforms in a new and unique way.

Kodi is a media player which used to be known as the Xbox Media Center or XBMC. It was created by is a not-for-profit tech consortium, the XBMC Foundation, in 2002, initially for the Xbox Games Console. But as Microsoft never formally approved its use on that device, it has instead morphed into an open-source, multi-platform media player which has grown hugely in popularity in recent years.

This is for two reasons. Firstly, it can be used as a single hub to access all of your media, across multiple devices, on a single manager. The second is because of the add-ons that can be used with it.

As a piece of open-source software, Kodi’s coding is available for any developers to play around with. Many have taken up the challenge and developed countless add-ons which can be used with the main Kodi software.

Many of these adds-on’s allow for the streaming of broadcast media such as the various NHL broadcasters we talked about above. These streams often function without the geo-restriction limitations of the official streams. But that doesn’t mean the use of a VPN is any less essential.

This is because many Kodi add-ons are considered to be ‘of questionable legality’ and if a stream is traced back to you, it is possible that you may face either legal or financial repercussions.

But with a VPN, your identity will be hidden (see above for details) and therefore it will be all but impossible for the broadcaster to trace your use of the feedback to you.

So, Kodi is another option if you want to watch the NHL from overseas and need to bypass broadcasters geo-restrictions. But whether you choose to go with Kodi or a more conventional stream, a VPN is a vital tool to use, and the fur detailed here are the best on the market for your needs right now.

Read How to Watch the NHL Online: Best VPNs to Unblock the NHL (2019) by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best VPN for Spotify (2019) – Unblock Spotify from Anywhere in the World

If you’re trying to unblock Spotify and bypass the “currently not available in your country” error, our updated list with the best VPNs for Spotify is exactly what you need to start listening to your favourite content from anywhere in the world, without any restrictions.

Spotify error, unavailable location

Spotify is what could only be described as a ‘game-changer’. Since it first launched back on 7 October 2008, it has been at the vanguard of an online streaming revolution which has fundamentally changed the way people listen to music forever.

If you are not in the know already, Spotify is an online music streaming service which is regarded by many as the best in the business. There are two basic ways you can use Spotify. Either you can pay a monthly subscription fee, after which you are able to listen to as much music as you like for as long as you like; or alternatively, you can listen for free, but must accept that after every two or three songs, Spotify will run an advert.

For users, Spotify has made listening to music affordable, simple, and mobile. The service can be used on smartphones and tablets as well as on computers meaning you can access the music you like whenever you want to.

Indeed, there is arguably just one problem with Spotify, which is that it is not a universal service. In many countries, Spotify is blocked and listeners who are travelling, either for work or pleasure or those who are resident in countries where the service is not available, are missing on the myriad of pleasures Spotify has to offer.

But there is a solution to the geo-blocking which makes Spotify unavailable in many parts of the world. And that solution is a VPN.

With a VPN, you are able to change your IP Address and so fool the Spotify servers that you are logging in from either the USA or Europe, where the service is primarily available. This means that with a VPN you can enjoy Spotify no matter where you are in the world.

It is almost as simple as that. But there is a bit more to it than that. Not every VPN is able to unblock Spotify and others are not suitable for streaming music on a regular basis. Some might have a data limit or simply not offer fast enough connection speeds.

This is how Spotify looks in Austria: voila, you just unblocked it in Vienna

For that reason, it is vital that users choose the right VPN to unblock Spotify. And that is what this article is all about. Keeping reading and we will lay out the core criteria to look for in a VPN to use with Spotify before outlining our top recommendations.

How we tested

As we noted above, there are a number of core criteria you should be looking for in a VPN to use to unblock Spotify. Some VPNs can do the job with ease, whilst others will be less efficient.

There is nothing more frustrating than being able to access a service but then not being able to get it to function properly, which is why it is important to get the choice of VPN right. With that in mind, we have drawn up a list of criteria and then assessed all the main VPN providers on the market to see which best fit what is needed.

The criteria we have applied in order to reach our decision are:

  • An established VPN provider with a proven record of unblocking regionally restricted sites
  • Ability to unblock Spotify around the world
  • Fast and consistent connection speeds which enable a smooth streaming service
  • Availability on multiple platforms, including mobile devices
  • Strong security and privacy provisions
  • A good selection of servers from markets where Spotify is available – principally the USA and Europe.

With these criteria as our starting point, we have identified four VPNs which we are confident will both unblock Spotify around the world and also provide a connection suitable for streaming audio content.

The Best VPNs for Spotify

1. ExpressVPN

Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of the VPN market will be aware of ExpressVPN. They are one of the most recognizable and well-regarded brands on the market. And this is because, quite simply, they are one of the best.

Their service is available across a wide range of platforms and operating systems, and they also offer dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices meaning it is ideal for those who like to enjoy Spotify on the go.

They are as secure and private as a VPN can get too, with their entire network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption and trustworthy and robust privacy policies which are guaranteed as they are based in the British Virgin Islands, where local laws require no user data to be retained.

Their connection speeds are top of the range as well, with fast and reliable connections available on just about every server on their service. And they have a lot of servers; more than 3,000 in total across 94 countries with a disproportionate number of these in the USA and Europe. This means there are more than enough options available for Spotify users to choose from.

ExpressVPN is available in pretty much every country around the world too meaning that no matter where you live or how much you travel, ExpressVPN will be there to attend to your Spotify needs.

Read our in-depth review on ExpressVPN for more info.

Pros

  • Unblocks American Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu
  • Fastest servers we have tested
  • Secure encryption & VPN protocols
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Great customer service via chat.
Cons

  • Max 3 simultaneous connections
  • Priced slightly higher.
BEST FOR SPOTIFY: ExpressVPN is our top choice VPN for Spotify users. Our readers get three months FREE on the annual plan (49% off) and get a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked, on all plans.

2. NordVPN

If ExpressVPN sounds like a hard act to follow, then NordVPN run them about as close as it is possible to. NordVPN is another established VPN brand which has stuck around for a long time because the service they offer is so great.

They are marginally cheaper than ExpressVPN, but that doesn’t mean there is a noticeable compromise in the service they offer. They are also available on just about any platform you can name and have dedicated apps for all the big mobile Operating Systems as well.

Security-wise, NordVPN are not quite at the same levels as ExpressVPN, but with 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN with 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys, their encryption is more than sufficiently strong for almost all users. Privacy is at the heart of NordVPN and they are based in Panama which, like ExpressVPN in the British Virgin Islands, mean they do not have to retain any customer data whatsoever, and they don’t.

You might read some other reviews that suggest NordVPNs are not quite on a par with other premium services. I have never come across this problem myself, particularly when using Spotify, but I know NordVPN are currently updating many of their servers to ‘ultra-fast’ connections which should address this issue if you do encounter it.

They offer a total of more than 5,400 servers across 61 countries with the USA and Europe again strongly represented. This means there is plenty of choice for Spotify fans to get the service up and running around the world.

And should Spotify decide to try and block VPNs from accessing the service, as Netflix and the BBC iPlayer (to name but two) have recently tried to do, NordVPN also has a built-in technology called SmartPlay which they guarantee can get around any attempt to block their service, as they successfully do with both Netflix and the BBC iPlayer.

Read our in-depth review on NordVPN for more info.

Pros

  • Unblocks American Netflix
  • Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
  • Strong security features
  • Based in Panama
  • Money back guarantee policy.
Cons

  • Some servers can have average d/l speeds
  • They can take 30 days to process refunds.
BUDGET CHOICE: NordVPN gives our readers a big 75% discount on the 3-year plan, just $2.99 / month.  You get 30-days to decide if it’s for you considering their money-back guarantee on all plans.

3. IPVanish

IPVanish is another big name on the VPN scene and this is again down to the fact that the service they offer is up there with the very best. It is also an ideal provider for Spotify users.

They are closer in price to ExpressVPN than NordVPN, but IPVanish is again available on all the usual platforms and mobile devices and offers a specialized app for mobile users. When it comes to security, IPVanish has both L2TP and OpenVPN protocols using 256-bit encryption as standard. This is a pretty solid encryption provision.

As far as privacy goes, we also have no complaints so far, but we are a bit more cautious on this recommendation. That is because whilst IPVanish does not keep any user logs, they are registered in the USA, where the current government is being less than supportive to online privacy. Whilst the US does not have any data retention laws which affect VPNs at the moment, there is some reason to think this might be introduced at some point, and so is something users should be conscious of.

On speeds, IPVanish is back at the top of its game, with fast reliable connections on all of its servers (although personally, I find speeds a little faster on servers located closer to my actual location).

They have a huge Server selection for you to choose from once again, with more than 1,200 servers in more than 60 countries. This includes no fewer than 300 in the USA and 288 in Europe. More than enough for every Spotify user to find one to call their own.

Read our in-depth review on IPVanish for more info.

STRONG CHOICE: Readers get to save a massive 60% on the annual plan, just $4.87/mo. Take advantage of the 7-day free money back guarantee and test the service. It works flawless with Spotify.

3. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is another well-known name in the VPN world, but one which only just makes it onto this list as a result of their privacy provisions which are far from satisfactory.

First, the good stuff and VyprVPNs actual service is more than good enough to use to unblock Spotify around the world. They are again available on multiple platforms including all the big mobile devices.

Security-wise they have plenty to offer as well with an encryption policy which is on a par with any of the other services already listed.

Their connections are definitely fast enough for streaming music on Spotify, but in my personal opinion, sometimes not quite at the same level as the other three VPNs on this list. They are however consistent and as they own their own network, speeds are certainly not usually an issue.

They also have more than 700 servers available and offer plenty in the USA and Europe to keep Spotify users happy.

But let’s now address the issues regarding privacy. Unlike the other VPNs on this list, VyprVPN does keep user connection logs. This includes such data such as the User’s home IP Address, the VyprVPN IP Address you connected to, the connection start and stop time, and the amount of data transferred.

Now, I accept that this might not concern some Spotify users, but many more will not want the possibility of Spotify, or even the rights holders of the music they are listening to, to be able to find out they have been listening outside the services permitted areas. And unlike the others, VyprVPN are unable to guarantee this. If this does not worry you, VyprVPN is more than capable of unblocking and streaming Spotify around the world. But if it does, one of the other three VPNs on this list are a much better bet.

Read our in-depth review on VyprVPN for more info.

DEAL: VyprVPN costs only $5 / month. It comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

What is Spotify?

Spotify is a music and podcast streaming service which originated in Sweden and was launched onto the world on 7th October 2008.

It is classed as a ‘freemium service’ which means that for those who choose not to subscribe, the service is available for free, but with adverts. Regular users also have the option to pay a small monthly subscription, which varies from country to country, to access Spotify’s content without adverts.

Spotify provides a wide-range of content which it sources from record labels and media content by buying up streaming rights. Depending on the agreements reached, each time a user streams a track on Spotify, a small fee will be paid to the label and in turn artist, or they will get a small split of the advertising revenue they generate.

Criticism

However, the service has been criticized by a number of high-profile musicians, including Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke of Radiohead, for the small amounts of compensation artists get for their work. Rights holders received an between $.006 and $.0084 per play on average, with less going to the artists themselves.

In 2009, a Swedish musician called Magnus Uggla took his music off Spotify and claimed that in six months he had earned “what a mediocre busker could earn in a day”. In March 2012, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys claimed that “Spotify isn’t fair to artists” and said royalties from streams could never replace royalties earned from record sales. And David Byrne of Talking Heads said in October 2013 that “If artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from [Spotify and other such services], they’ll be out of work within a year.”

Record labels, however, are happy with their return from services like Spotify which goes some way to explaining why the service is able to offer such a broad range of content. Spotify claims to offers listeners more than 30 million songs to choose from.

Artist criticisms have also not stopped music fans from signing up in their droves as well. As of May 2018, Spotify had more than 170 million monthly active users (some using it for free, with adverts) and 75 million paid subscribers.

Where is Spotify available?

Spotify is available in a number of different countries around the world, but it is not a universal service. Users can currently access Spotify online in most European, North, and South American countries, as well as parts of Asia and Australasia.

The full list of countries where you can access Spotify is:

  • Asia – Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, India
  • Europe – Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
  • Latin America and the Caribbean – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay.
    North America Canada, United States
  • Africa – Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia
  • Oceania – Australia, New Zealand
  • Middle East – Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates.

That is a big list of countries, but obviously, there are a number of sizable markets still missing. The reason it is not available elsewhere in the world is a simple one; it all comes down to rights.

RELATED READING: How to unblock Spotify in China

Why is Spotify not available everywhere?

Spotify’s content is available as a result of rights agreements it has reached with the owners of the copyright of the music; invariably record labels or music publishing forms. However, they do not hold the rights to all of their content across the globe, with rival services also bidding for the same rights.

This means that Spotify is not legally allowed to make its music available in every country around the world, much as it would like to.

They are therefore required to block access to their service in countries where they do not hold rights to their content. And to do this they use a technique known as geo-blocking.

What is Geo-blocking?

Geo-blocking is a simple process which allows a service like Spotify to identify where a visitor to their website is located and therefore whether or not to allow them to access their service.

It works by looking at each user’s IP Address. Your IP (or Internet Protocol) Address is a numerical code which is transmitted by your internet connection to every website and service you visit. It includes information which allows the site to identify exactly where in the world you are logging from on.

Therefore, if Spotify sees that your IP Address is from a location where they do not hold the rights to stream their music, they will simply pop up a polite message explaining that their service is not currently available.

However, it is possible to fool Spotify into thinking you are in a country where they hold the rights to their music. And that can be done using a VPN.

UNBLOCK NETFLIX: Best VPNs to bypass the Netflix VPN block

What is a VPN

A VPN is an online security and privacy tool which encrypts users internet traffic and redirects it down a secure tunnel and via an external server before it reaches its intended destination.

By encrypting your data, a VPN can ensure that everything you do online is secure and not easy for hackers and government surveillance officers to snoop at.

But the crucial bit of the process for those looking to access Spotify is the rerouting of traffic via an external server. Because when your data passes through another server, it is no longer tagged with the IP Address of your Internet connection, but rather the IP Address of the server.

This means that if the server is located in a country where Spotify holds the rights to its music, they will think you are located there and therefore allow you to access their service.

Most VPNs will offer a wide range of servers, especially in the USA and Europe, which means they should all offer plenty of scope for accessing Spotify no matter where in the world you are. However, there are other criteria which a VPN needs to meet in order to be a good option or access Spotify and that is what this article is all about.

Read Best VPN for Spotify (2019) – Unblock Spotify from Anywhere in the World by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Bypass Wi-Fi Restrictions in School (Working Solutions for 2019)

For those having a hard time accessing content while on the school network, this tutorial delves into the best VPNs to use to unblock a school Wi-Fi connection and bypass all limitations. All these while keeping things private for you at the same time.

Most educational institutions offer Wi-Fi to their students. But for a variety of different reasons, they are in habit of trying to stop them from using this Wi-Fi to access anything they deem not to be central to their studies. This can be hugely inconvenient, especially for those who live on campus.

Of course, students use the internet to study, but they use it for plenty of other things too, like accessing their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like), play online games and what not.

Speaking of online gaming, this type of activity tends to be blocked on school Wi-Fi connections. But there is a solution — by using a VPN, it is possible for students to circumvent the censorship efforts of their institutions and use the internet for whatever they choose, which is, of course, exactly how it should be.

These are the best VPNs to unblock your School WiFi without any hassle

Academic Wi-Fi connections: problems faced

Academic Wi-Fi connections are essential for students to use these days, but for the institutions, there are a number of concerns over the provision of such a service. What this tends to mean is that students do not often get the full and unfettered Wi-Fi connection they might need.

Academic professionals have concerns about a number of online issues. Copyright infringement is one. If students are downloading copyrighted content through their school, college, or university Wi-Fi network, it is the institution which will face the consequences, whether that is a legal threat or even the actions of copyright trolls seeking to make a fast buck.

Particularly in schools, there is a concern over students accessing inappropriate material such as pornography. Then there is the equally weighty issue of procrastination; the fear that rather than studying, many students might use their Wi-Fi connection for frivolous things such as social media or online gaming.

The result of these various concerns is invariably a regime of censorship. Schools, Colleges, and Universities frequently block access to a wide range of websites and services on their network. This, they believe, is the way to ensure that students are only using their Wi-Fi connections for worthwhile and educational means.

Of course, such censorship is never precise and students will often find that they are unable to access something which is of importance to their studies. Even social media can be a vital resource when studying certain subjects such as for example, politics or sociology.

This censorship is therefore not only irritating for students, many of whom are at an age where they should be trusted to use the internet in a responsible way, but also often detrimental to their studies.

Online Privacy

There is then the broader issue of online privacy, which for those using a school, college, or university Wi-Fi connection is almost non-existent.

The Wi-Fi network in an academic institution is, more often than not, similar to a public Wi-Fi network. This means that the administrators of the network are able to see and record the activity of the students on the network. This is, of course, a gross invasion of privacy.

In extreme examples, this privacy threat can be taken further too, with reports of some institutions using tools to monitor and compile data files about students, access private files stored on their device or even take over students webcams.

However, there is a simple tool which students can use to get around the privacy threats and Wi-Fi restrictions they are encountering and enable themselves to access a full range of online sites and services. That tool is a VPN or Virtual Private Network.

Academic Evolution

Education is one of many sectors which the internet has revolutionised beyond all recognition over the past 20 years. Students these days have so much information available online these days, that is where many turn for a considerable amount of their research and work.

The advent of Wi-Fi now sees students carrying multiple connected devices with them at all times. Academic work is no longer just done on paper or even computers, but now mobile phones, tablet computers, and laptops are part of the kit of every student.

They are being used for everything from producing their own work, researching projects, and storing storing work and resources in the cloud, to revising for exams, recording lectures, and communicating with teachers and fellow students.

As a result, pretty much every academic institution will offer a Wi-Fi connection for their students to be able to access the internet when working in school, college, or university. It is invariably a free service, in that students do not have to pay, but almost always not free in the sense that there can be significant restrictions on what students can access.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an online security and privacy tool which is used by many people around the world to protect themselves online.

After downloading the VPN software, users are able to connect to one of the VPN providers servers. Once connected, all of the user’s internet traffic will be directed down an encrypted tunnel and through that server before heading to the website or service that they are connecting to.

This has a dual benefit for the user. Firstly, passing of their online traffic through an encrypted tunnel means everything they do online is secure and out of the reach of hackers and government surveillance operatives who might want to snoop on what they are doing online.

Then, passing the data through an external server changes the IP Address attached to that data.

An IP Address (if you are not familiar) is a piece of data which you transmit to every website or service you visit which includes details about your location. It is this code which geo-blocked websites, ISPs, and Government censors, can use to restrict your access to certain online content.

It is also how schools, universities, and colleges know that you are connecting to their Wi-Fi network.

But with a VPN, students can get around online censorship and privacy and security threats. With their data encrypted and passing through an external site, all that the Wi-Fi administrations will be able to see is that you are connected to the VPNs server. They will not be able to ascertain which websites and services your data is going to beyond that or the content of the data you are sending.

And the change of IP Address means their efforts to block access to sites is in vain too. Because as far as they are concerned you are only connecting to the VPNs server, they have no say on which websites you choose to access.

Which VPN should I choose?

So, a VPN offers students the perfect solution to the insecure, intrusive, and restricted Wi-Fi networks many of them have to contend with.

But choosing which VPN to go for is a tough decision. There are numerous providers of VPN services on the market and almost all of them claim to be the best in the business. But which really is the best one for students to opt for.

Here at AddictiveTips, we have reviewed all the big VPNs, regularly. We’ve put them to test on academic Wi-Fi connections to make a clear assessment about which offers the best service for students.

Criteria

In compiling the list of which VPNs offer the best solution for students, we have made an assessment using the following criteria which, in our experience, are the core points by which most students will make their choice:

  • Price – we know students operate on a budget and that the subscription fee will be a significant factor in their decision.
  • Security and Privacy – Some VPNs offer better security and privacy provision than other.
  • Availability – We know students tend to use multiple devices and different operating systems, so being accessible on multiple platforms is key.
  • Usability – Not all students are computer whizzes, so many need services which are quick and easy to use.
  • Speeds – Students demand fast connections for the various tasks they have to undertake, so a speedy VPN connection is essential.
  • Servers – Different VPNs have different servers in different countries. We know students come from all over the world and need to access content from everywhere, so the wider choice of servers the better.

Based on these criteria, AddictiveTips.com recommends the following four VPNs for students to use to unblock their school, college or university Wi-Fi networks:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the biggest and most reputable names on the VPN market right now. And that is because they are, quite simply, one of the best VPNs around.

On price, they are not the cheapest around, but there is an old saying that you get what you pay for. At $6.72 per month (based on an annual subscription) there are plenty of cheaper services around, but few offer ExpressVPN’s quality of service.

Their service is available across a full range of platforms and operating systems, with dedicated apps available for iOS and Android devices. These apps are simple and easy to download and use, as is their service across every operating system. You can also connect up to 3 devices at any one time.

As far as security and privacy are concerned, it doesn’t get much better than ExpressVPN either. Their entire network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption which is as strong as any other VPN on the market today, and much stronger than most.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no laws that require them to retain any user data. As a result, they offer a robust set of privacy policies which users can trust and depend on.

Connection speeds with ExpressVPN are also second-to-none. They offer fast and reliable connections across multiple servers and, unlike some of their competitors, this is not dependent on the proximity of the server to your actual location. They have plenty of servers to choose from too with more than 1,500 available in total across 94 countries right around the world.

Overall, ExpressVPN really set the bar for VPN services and, despite the price, are a great option for students everywhere. Read our full review to learn more.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Fast serves with minimal speed loss
  • No DNS/IP leaks found
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Slightly pricier than competition.
Best overall VPN: ExpressVPN is our top choice for all things privacy online. They have blazing fast servers and a 30-day money back guarantee for all plans. Get 3 months free on ExpressVPN’s annual plan & save 49%

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is nipping at ExpressVPN’s coattails in almost every respect, apart from price, where it is streets ahead.

A NordVPN subscription is available for just $2.99 a month (again based on an annual subscription) which, for a premium VPN service, is remarkably cheap. But NordVPN is a well-established name and as a result offer perhaps the best value-for-money service around.

They are also available on just about every platform you can think of and, with great user-friendly apps for iOS and Android, are My personal view is that their apps are even better than ExpressVPN. They also allow up to 6 simultaneous connections.

Security-wise, NordVPN cannot quite reach the same heights as ExpressVPN, but with 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN with 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys, they still have a robust security set-up that users can rely on.

NordVPN is based in Panama which means they too can offer a reliable and robust privacy policy that guarantees no user logs will be kept.

On speed, many are quick to criticize NordVPN, but our experts agree that whilst there are occasions when servers can slow connections, this is not a major issue that we have encountered. With NordVPN currently updating most of their servers to ‘ultra-fast’ connections, even if this has been an issue in the past, it shouldn’t be in the future.

Speaking of severs — NordVPN offers users access to more than 5,400 servers in 61 countries with every continent represented and their SmartPlay technology, which is now used with every connection, guarantees to get around any service which trying to block access on the grounds of geo-restrictions.

For a quick overview read our NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat
  • Over 5,100 servers in 61 countries
  • DNS leak protection, kill switch
  • “Double” data protection
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Very little
  • Sometimes slow in procesing refunds (but always do).
BUDGET CHOICE: NordVPN is, without a doubt, the best value-for-money VPN for students. Special deal for the 3-year plan — huge 75% discount, just $2.99 per month.

3. IPVanish

IPVanish is another household name in the VPN world.

On security, they are right on the money, but when it comes to privacy, we have to be a little cautious. This is because IPVanish is based in the USA and therefore subject to US Law. President Trump has not been a big defender of online privacy since he came into office, to say the least, and while there is no specific law requiring VPNs to hand over user data at the moment, it is certainly possible that could happen in the future. It is certainly something users should be wary of.

On speeds, IPVanish is fast —  our reviewers haven’t heard even a whisper of complaint from anyone on this front. They also offer their service across all platforms and mobile devices, with dedicated apps also available. You can also have up to 5 simultaneous connections with IPVanish too.

They also have a huge server selection, with more than 1,200+ servers available in more than 60 countries. Put together and this makes IPVanish a solid and secure option for students everywhere.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Addictive Tips readers get a massive 60% on the IPVanish annual plan.

4. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is another VPN that will be familiar to those in the know as it has been around for a while. It is well-regarded and does everything students will want it to, but does not come without its issues.

Firstly, let’s focus on the positives. They offer fast and reliable connection across multiple platforms with dedicated mobile apps once more available. You can connect more than one device too, but only so many unless you pay more. There are 3 simultaneous connections allowed with a regular account, but 5 if you opt for their more expensive premium deal.

A regular package will cost just $5 a month, but for the premium connection, you will have to find $6.67 a month. Both of these are based on an annual subscription.

As far as security is concerned, VyprVPN competes well their competitors and are more than satisfactory and with more than 700 servers available, there is nothing to worry about on this front either.

The main problem with VyprVPN is one of privacy provisions. VyprVPN is one of the few VPN providers that does keep user connection logs. They store a range of data including a User’s home IP Address, the VyprVPN IP Address you connected to, the connection start and stop time, and how much data was transferred. For us, this seems like a big problem and it will be too for those who want a VPN to get around the privacy risks that come with using a school, college, or university Wi-Fi connection.

But if all you want to do is unblock sites which your school, college, or university are restricting access to, then VyprVPN offer a more than viable service. You can read our in-depth VyprVPN review and learn more.

Read How to Bypass Wi-Fi Restrictions in School (Working Solutions for 2019) by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter