VPNs are at the forefront of internet safety and privacy. However, they are much more! Today, a VPN can aid your entertainment endeavors. Although the service started to connect remote corporate workplaces and the workforce, the advent of consumer VPNs has given rise to extracurricular usage of VPNs. Vendors have tirelessly advertised the various uses of a VPN, one of which is the ability to bypass geo-blocks.
Now, don’t get me wrong. A VPN can certainly bypass firewalls, but that is illegal and may lead to trouble. However, geo-blocks enforced by websites or content platforms intend to keep different demographics outside. Using a VPN to circumvent them is legal, so long you follow the copyright laws. Therefore, if you connect with a VPN, you are not violating any laws. Thus, today we will share our thoughts on how to stream with a VPN, as it is one of the most popular usages of this technology.
Disclaimer – Although using a VPN to stream is lawful, we advocate user discretion and sound judgment. Under no circumstance should users take this article as legal advice. It is a write-up that articulates the subjective views of the author. We do not condone illegal activities.
What is streaming?
Technically, streaming is transmitting or receiving data (especially video and audio material) over a computer network as a steady, continuous flow, allowing playback to start. Meanwhile, the rest of the data is still underway. Here, streaming relates to the OTT (over-the-top) platforms that offer content for users to watch.
Recently, this media service exploded in popularity as it allows quality content at users’ fingertips. Moreover, the service is accessible via the internet. This makes it versatile, since you can enjoy it on the go on your smart devices.
Typically, a user needs a subscription to a platform before accessing the content. Afterward, the user can connect to it with the help of a client and the internet and stream the desired content.
Why are streaming services blocked?
The problems begin with blocking. The most popular content providers are global enterprises. Thus, they have a giant digital library that varies from region to region. Now, a user located in country A can’t view the content from country B. But why? There are, of course, reasons behind this practice. While the providers do their best to segregate users and content based on geographical boundaries, a VPN can easily circumvent them while aiding streaming. The activity itself is not illegal. However, a few individuals use VPNs to violate copyright laws.
Before we debate the legality of VPNs while streaming, let’s look at two key reasons behind this block:
- Licensing/Copyright restrictions – Any content developer/studio aims to generate profit by tapping into different avenues of income. One such medium of profit is the popular online streaming platforms. Now, a show needs restrictions due to this partnership. The owners of the content may want to enter another market. Thus, most licenses are geographically limited.
- Government censorship – Another type of block is the government-imposed one. We want to remind our readers that bypassing a regional block is legal, but you should follow the laws and guidelines the authorities enforce. Any ban imposed via governmental institutes should be adhered to.
How does this blocking work?
The blocking works on two different levels. The authorities can ask your internet provider to block certain websites. Otherwise, the websites can mark and block suspicious IP addresses. You can learn more about such VPN blocking. Here’s a summary, however:
- Network blocking via ISP – When your ISP blocks access to a website by diverting your traffic away from the destination. There are various methods to do so. The thing to remember is such blocking is under advice by governing bodies and should be respected.
- IP address blocking via the platform – These blocks are employed to restrict access to certain regional users. It is safe to bypass them with a VPN. Although there is no harm in prudence, we advise users to remain safe on the internet.
How to stream with a VPN?
You can legally stream with a VPN as long as you respect the copyright laws. Stay away from piracy and do not violate your country’s laws. As long as you practice a healthy internet habit, streaming with a VPN will be enjoyable and safe. We brought you various ways to do so, depending on the device:
On a computer
- An active VPN subscription
- Your VPN credentials
- A PC (Windows, macOS) with an internet connection
- Access to a streaming platform
First, you need to run the VPN. Now:
- If you do not have a VPN, check the aforementioned lists. There are reputable free ones, too. Otherwise, start the VPN, enter your credentials and connect to a remote server.
- After your VPN is up and running, connect to the streaming website via the internet. You can either use your web browser or a PC client for this.
- Log in to your streaming account and enjoy. If you can’t see the desired content or the streaming website shows any error, change your VPN server and try again.
Using a smartphone
You can also enjoy streaming on the go with a smartphone. All you need to do is:
- First, connect your smartphone to a VPN network by downloading and installing a VPN client. Or, if you have a subscription already, enter your credentials to log in.
- After you ensure a stable VPN connection, run the streaming app.
- Log into the app and stream your favorite content.
- In case of an error, open your VPN app and change servers.
On a Smart TV
Streaming on a Smart TV is rewarding. There are two ways to stream on a Smart TV. Before we get into that, we would like to recommend top Smart TV VPNs. Also, if you have doubts regarding streaming with a VPN on this platform, give our article on should you stream on a Smart TV a good look.
Stream using a VPN via a Smart TV client
First, you need to find out which VPN services work with your Smart TV. Then:
- Install the VPN client on your device.
- After that, run the VPN and initiate the connection.
- Once the VPN connection is stable, launch the streaming service.
- In case of errors, change VPN servers.
Stream via a VPN on a router
Now, some providers don’t have an exclusive client for a Smart TV. For such cases, you can use a VPN router. If you want to select a proper one, give our article on the leading VPN routers for streaming a glance.
- Install a VPN on a router. Alternatively, use a pre-flashed VPN router.
Tip. You can learn more about installing VPN from specific providers on a router in our other articles.
- Now the whole network would be under a VPN connection.
- Start your Smart TV and connect to a streaming platform.
- If there is an error, you need to connect to a different VPN server.
Is it legal to stream with a VPN?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to stream via a VPN. However, there are a few points one should heed:
- Do not engage in piracy.
- Do not illegally distribute copyrighted content.
- Bypassing government-imposed bans is against the law. Do not partake in it.
So long you don’t do what we just mentioned, streaming using a VPN is acceptable and legal.