This way you can view all streaming services with a VPN router


International streaming services such as American Netflix and BBC iPlayer are extremely popular among VPN users. However, streaming devices such as Apple TV and Chromecast do not offer VPN support. This article will show you how to unblock any streaming service with the right VPN router. Even on your Apple TV, Chromecast or other streaming device.

Streaming services purchase rights to offer certain titles in a specific region. Outside that region, streaming services may not offer the video stream. Therefore, many services choose to limit the entire catalog to a specific country. For example, BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK and Hulu is only open to Americans. To prevent the entire world from watching, you can only view these streaming services if your IP address is registered in the relevant region. If your IP address is outside that area, you will receive an error message and you will not be able to look. This blockade is very easy to circumvent with a VPN. A VPN changes your Dutch IP address (temporarily) to an IP address from almost any country. By changing your IP address to the correct country, you suddenly have access to all those blocked streaming services.

01 What can you unblock?

With the right VPN you can unblock practically all streaming services in the world. That is usually not the problem. It is more difficult to use paid streaming services, and therefore also to pay. For example, you can often only pay streaming services with a payment method that matches the designated region. Often all kinds of gift cards and vouchers are used to pay for the streaming service via a detour. The persistent wins, but it takes a few hours of your life.

Other streaming services are a lot easier to unblock. The region of your Netflix account has been converted in this way and the British BBC iPlayer can also be accessed with the correct VPN. Conversely, you cannot normally watch Dutch streaming services abroad. With a VPN you also bypass that blockage, so you can enjoy all your favorite Dutch streaming services on holiday.

01 Scouring the Internet for Hulu coupons.

02 Why VPN on a router?

The most common devices such as your laptop, desktop and smartphone can simply use a VPN app. Even without a vpn app, these devices have built-in vpn support for at least one vpn protocol. Without a vpn app or support for manual vpn configuration, the device simply cannot establish a vpn connection. The solution is simple: install the vpn on a compatible router. The router establishes the connection between the router and the VPN server, and then the VPN connection is accessible as a new WiFi network. Any device that lets you connect to that network will automatically use the VPN connection.

Unsupported devices can therefore still use a VPN, as long as these devices can connect to the router’s WiFi network. An additional advantage is that in theory you can connect an unlimited number of devices to one router at the same time. Most VPN plans have a limit on the number of devices that can use one subscription at a time. You can remove that limitation with a VPN router.

03 Requirements for VPN provider and router

Before we start, we list all the essentials. You need: a VPN subscription and a suitable router. The choice of both the VPN and the router is very close. With a few exceptions, most routers require custom firmware to run a VPN client. And if you choose the wrong VPN provider, it may be that the IP addresses have already been blocked by certain streaming services. A common confusion is that users think their router is suitable for using a VPN. In most cases, the router can indeed set up its own VPN, but cannot use an existing VPN connection as you get with a VPN subscription. We explain exactly what you should pay attention to and which products give you the greatest chance of success.

03 Netflix blocks IP addresses from VPN providers

04 Which VPN for unblocking?

Streaming services can block any IP address if it is suspected that the user is trying to bypass geo-blocking. Many IP addresses and even entire IP ranges have been blocked by various streaming services. The best known example of this is Netflix, which handed out blockades several years ago. After a series of IP bans, the number of blockages stabilized. Some major VPN providers replace blocked IP addresses relatively quickly with working IP addresses. VPN providers are generally very alert with popular content such as the American Netflix.

To ensure that a certain streaming service works well with a particular VPN, it is recommended to simply test this. The best way is by simply using the money back guarantee that most VPN providers offer. Within that warranty period you can cancel the VPN and you will be refunded the amount paid. Although most providers will refund your money without questions, the conditions may differ. At the time of testing, we were able to unblock most streaming services with the VPN providers we appoint under the box.

Tip: choose a monthly subscription. If the VPN does get blocked, you will only lose one month’s subscription fee. Converted monthly subscriptions are more expensive than annual subscriptions.

04 ExpressVPN connected to the East London server in the United Kingdom.

ExpressVPN

30-day money-back guarantee

€ 11.72 (1 month)
€ 9.04 (6 months)
€ 6.03 (15 months)

www.expressvpn.com

NordVPN

30-day money-back guarantee

€ 10.87 (1 month)
€ 6.36 (12 months)
€ 4.54 (24 months)
€ 3.17 (36 months)

www.nordvpn.com

Cyberghost

45-day money-back guarantee

€ 11.95 per month (1 month)
€ 5.29 per month (12 months)
€ 3.29 per month (24 months)

www.cyberghostvpn.com

05 Which router?

Which router is most suitable depends on your own preferences. You can choose a ready-made VPN router with a VPN provider of your choice pre-installed or you can get started yourself. If you get started yourself, the next choice is whether you put your own firmware on a router or if you buy a router with which you can already run VPN out of the box. Tip: the costs for a VPN subscription always come on top of the costs for a router, even with routers where the VPN is already pre-installed.

06 Ready-made or not?

Flashing yourself with custom firmware is the cheapest option. You can choose any router suitable for DDWRT or Tomato firmware. Flashing yourself does entail some risk. If it goes wrong, the router may become unusable. In flash terms, the router is then “bricked”, referring to the usefulness of the remaining mass of parts (as useful as a brick). After flashing you still have to install the vpn on the router. In this scenario, you use the flashed router next to your regular router. Recommended DD-WRT compatible routers: Netgear R6250, Linksys WRT3200ACM, Netgear R7000 / R9000. Recommended Tomato Compatible Routers: ASUS RT-AC3200, Netgear R7000 (Tomato).

Pre-flashed routers are the easiest way. These have been flashed in advance with other firmware and the VPN is already included at an additional cost. Also in this case you use the flashed router next to your regular router. Recommended pre-flashed DD-WRT routers: Netgear R6250, Linksys WRT3200ACM, Netgear R7000 / R9000. Recommended pre-flashed Tomato routers: ASUS RT-AC3200, Netgear R7000. For sale via Flashrouters.com and Privaterouter.com.

Routers with built-in VPN support are the best choice. Router manufacturers are responding smartly to the growing VPN market, resulting in an increasing number of routers that can function as VPN customers out of the box. With this option you do not need a custom firmware, the vpn functionality is included in the standard firmware. In this master class, we explore this relatively new possibility with the ASUS Rapture GT-AX11000.

07 Configure router VPN

Before continuing, you need a VPN subscription and a VPN-compatible router. If you do not already have one, you can read in the previous step what you should pay attention to when purchasing these items. In this master class we choose a router that can function as a VPN client without modified firmware. Although router interfaces are very different from each other, the basic principle is the same. First we configure the vpn on a router. Then we use the router’s wifi to use the vpn on the streaming device like an Apple TV.

08 Test the VPN in advance

You can simply use the app from the VPN provider on your computer, tablet and smartphone. This makes it much easier to switch servers than via the router. Therefore, we recommend that you always perform the test on a computer or tablet beforehand. Because streaming services block many VPNs, you usually need a specific server. Therefore test the VPN in combination with the desired streaming service in your browser first.

Do you get an error in the browser? Then try it with another server from the same provider. If it does not work with a particular server in your browser, it will not work via your router. The easiest way is to go through all servers piece by piece until you find a working location. To get you started, at the end of this article you will find a selection of VPN servers combined with the streaming service they unblock.

09 Configuration files

If you have found a VPN server that works well with the streaming service you want to watch, you can start setting up the VPN on the router. Most VPN providers offer ready-made configuration files for OpenVPN clients. You can import these configuration files into any OpenVPN client, including that of your router. If your vpn provider does not offer configuration files, you can manually adopt the settings. At best, the required security certificate is already bundled in the OpenVPN configuration files. If not, you have to download it separately from your vpn provider and import it into the OpenVPN client on the router.

The process differs slightly per router, but the principle is roughly the same. Most importantly, the .OVPN configuration files are imported into the vpn client. After importing, the connection usually has to be established. To test if the VPN is installed correctly, go to a browser on the device where the VPN is installed https://ipleak.net. If all goes well, the country of the VPN you have chosen is at the top. If not, the VPN is not set correctly. VPN providers are generally very helpful and usually offer live chat support. So if it does not work immediately, feel free to ask your VPN provider for help.

09 Test if the vpn works at https://ipleak.net.

10 Set up streaming device

On our ASUS Rapture we first add a new VPN. In this case we choose ExpressVPN’s United Kingdom – East London server. Then we choose via an exception which devices on the network use the respective VPN server. For example, the Chromecasts and Apple TV can use the VPN, while all workstations continue to use the regular internet connection. If you use a separate VPN router, it is recommended to clearly indicate in the network name that it is the VPN WiFi. In most cases, these routers can only perform one function at a time. After creating the vpn-wifi, don’t forget to use the new (vpn-) wifi on the streaming device.

Finally, we install the streaming service on the desired device. We would like to be able to watch BBC iPlayer on an Apple TV. For that we need a BBC account in addition to the VPN configuration, we need to adjust the region of our App Store account and change the region of our Apple TV.

10 Import the OpenVPN configuration files.

11 Create a BBC account

To watch BBC iPlayer you need a BBC account. A BBC account is free, but can only be created from a UK IP address. Therefore, you can only create the BBC account if you are connected to a UK VPN server. The email address you use for the BBC account can be any email address. You must confirm the account by e-mail, so it is important that you have access to the e-mail account you specify. When registering the BBC account you must enter a UK zip code. We used W1A 1AA, the postcode of the BBC headquarters in London. You can register here.

11 You can use any email address for your BBC account.

12 Customize App Store Region

Since the BBC iPlayer app can only be downloaded from the UK App Store, we need to adjust the region of our App Store account. You can change the region of an existing App Store account or create a new account for a specific region. The most practical choice is a new account, because you cannot use apps that are only available in the Netherlands until you switch back to a Dutch App Store account. You can create new App Store accounts here create. Please make sure that you use an email address that does not yet have an App Store account or Apple ID registered, and use a VPN in the relevant region during registration.

After registering your UK App Store account, adjust the region of the streaming device. In our case, that’s an Apple TV. If you are still logged in on your Apple TV with your Dutch App Store account, you must first log out. Make sure your Apple TV is connected to the VPN before signing in with the new UK App Store account! After signing in to your Apple TV with the UK account, change the region of the Apple TV. You do that below Settings / General / Region. Set the region to United Kingdom.

13 No control

Finally, you can download the BBC iPlayer app on your Apple TV and enjoy all the beauty that BBC has to offer! The first time you try to start a video, you will have to log in with the BBC account we created earlier. The app will also ask if you have a UK television license. This is comparable to viewing and listening money as we know it. Furthermore, the app does not check whether you actually have that permit.

13 Creating a new App Store account is very practical.

14 Tackling problems

Unblocking streaming is a fun hobby, but the configuration is very close. A wrong choice in servers or one wrong setting can throw a spanner in the works. The most common problem is that a VPN server has already been blocked by a streaming service. The solution – just finding the right server – sounds simple, but in practice it turns out to be the biggest challenge. The table shows the servers with which we had the most success. During testing, we always tried it first with ExpressVPN. If that failed, we used NordVPN and Cyberghost as alternatives.

Because streaming services can block an IP address at any time, servers in the overview may not work after all. The easiest way to find a working server is to try one by one all servers in that region. As if IP detection isn’t enough, streaming services use other methods besides your IP address to find out your real location. Because of GPS data, we therefore advise against using mobile internet when unblocking. Location services should therefore be disabled in the device settings. Some streaming services also require you to adjust the region of your App Store or Google Play account. For example, the BBC iPlayer app can only be downloaded from the UK App Store.

Depending on the app you want to unblock, you may need to register multiple App Store accounts. As an unblocker, you will soon have a Dutch, British and American App Store account. Keep a close eye on which accounts you have created with which VPN. If you log in to different accounts with IP addresses from multiple countries, alarms will quickly ring with the streaming services.

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