How many of you have had a family movie night ruined by a TV show or movie that you weren’t able to watch in your country?
We’ve all been there – we load up Netflix or Amazon Prime, get the popcorn ready, sit snuggly on the couch, only to immediately find out the title we were looking forward to watching all day is not available in our country.
That’s a big disappointment. But don’t worry – you don’t have to let it ruin your family movie night anymore! We’ll show you how to solve this problem in just a few minutes quickly.
Here’s the Easiest Way to Unblock Streaming Sites and Content
By far, the best way to bypass geo-blocks is to use a VPN. It hides your IP address, so streaming sites won’t be able to use it to find out what country you’re from. Without that information, streaming sites can’t control what content you watch.
Basically, VPNs make it seem like you’re from a different country – one where the shows and movies you want to watch are available. For example, let’s say you want to unblock Supernatural on Netflix. To do that, you connect to a US VPN server to trick Netflix into thinking you live there. That way, the site will let you watch this show.
Bottom line – You and your family can unblock more content using a VPN. And here are other things a VPN can do:
- It encrypts your traffic, so your ISP can’t spy on your traffic. That way, it can’t throttle your bandwidth.
- VPNs have ad blockers. They stop ads from showing up on some sites, so they load faster (useful when you watch ad-heavy streaming platforms like Sony Crackle).
- VPNs hide your geo-location, so they help you get better deals on streaming platforms (you might save some money when creating a Netflix account).
How to Unblock Sites with a VPN
Many people think that VPNs are complicated tools, so they’re not family-friendly. But that’s not true at all. It’s effortless to use a VPN – you subscribe to a service, download and install an app, and connect to a server.
Yes, that’s all there is to it. Just make sure you connect to a VPN server in a country with the shows/movies/sites you want to unblock.
And don’t worry – VPNs have a very user-friendly design. Here’s how ExpressVPN’s app looks like. To connect to a server, you only need to click a button.
How to Use a VPN on Devices That Don’t Support VPNs
Can you use a VPN on gaming consoles or smart TVs that don’t run Android or Apple’s OS?
Yes, you can – but not directly. Those devices don’t natively support VPN apps, so you can’t just download and install one.
Instead, you’ll have to set up the VPN on your router. That way, when your devices go online, they’ll automatically use the VPN. Alternatively, you can share your VPN connection from your laptop or PC to your gaming console or smart TV.
The same goes for sharing the VPN connection on different devices. We can’t really show you how to do this because each type of router has different setup steps. So we recommend checking the VPN provider’s support pages – they should have set up tutorials that will help you out (some providers even have video guides!).
Streaming Speeds Too Slow With a VPN? Here’s How to Fix That!
VPNs are great unblocking tools, but they can slow down your speeds. In our tests, we usually experienced 30-40% slowdowns when using a VPN. It’s because the VPN encrypts your traffic, making the data packets heavier. So it takes longer for them to travel between your device and the site you’re unblocking (which results in slower speeds).
It would help if you normally didn’t experience an annoying slowdown. But if that does happen, here’s what you can do to improve the speeds:
Connect to Nearby Servers
Distant servers will always have slower speeds than nearby servers. If the distance is too big, your data takes longer to reach its destination.
If possible, try using a VPN server in your country or neighboring countries.
Use Fast Protocols
Whatever you do, don’t use OpenVPN for streaming. Most VPN providers recommend that protocol because it’s very secure (and it definitely is). But it doesn’t handle speeds well – it often causes big slowdowns.
Instead, we recommend using WireGuard. It’s the newest protocol on the market, and it’s extremely fast (and also secure). If WireGuard is not available, use L2TP/IPSec or IKEv2/IPSec instead.
Oh, and don’t use PPTP. While it offers lightning-fast speeds, it’s not safe to use this protocol (its encryption is very weak).
Avoid Overcrowded Servers
If you’re using an overcrowded server, your speeds will be prolonged. Most VPNs let you see how overcrowded a server is – they display the server load inside the app.
Only connect to servers with a low load percentage – somewhere under 20-30%.
Use Wired Connections
Wired connections are much faster than WiFi connections because they don’t depend on a WiFi signal (if it’s weak, the speeds will be slow).
You’ll have to connect your device directly to the router. But that doesn’t have to be a hassle. Just get a long ethernet cable, and you’ll be able to hook up your device to the router from any room.
And if that isn’t an option, get a range extender at least. It will rebroadcast the WiFi signal, making it stronger. Make sure you place the range extender next to the device you use the VPN on.
How Do You Unblock Streaming Sites for Family Movie Night?
Would you please tell us what tools you use in the comments? If you use a VPN, please tell us which one. And don’t forget to mention if it’s good (does it unblock sites consistently? Are it easy to use? Is it fast? those kinds of things).