Want Netflix? There's a VPN for that - TechCentral

Want Netflix? There’s a VPN for that

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The Internet is a worldwide network, but not everything on it is available to everyone. That’s particularly true for services that are locked to regions — music streaming services such as Spotify and Google Play Music All Access as well as video-on-demand platforms such as Netflix and Hulu.

Although choice is growing for South African consumers with streaming music services such as Simfy Africa and Deezer available to them, they’re still locked out of some of the market-leading products. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to unblock access through VPN, or virtual private networking, services. These VPNs make it appear to the services you want to access that your Internet connection is coming from a territory where the services are available. VPN services effectively “tunnel” your connection through another country.

TechCentral has rounded up the five VPN products we like the best. Some are easy to use, while others are a little more advanced. Either way, you won’t go wrong with any of them.

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5Unlocator
Unlocator makes use of domain name server (DNS) settings to route your Internet connection to various parts of the world. By signing up for Unlocator, you get access to the company’s DNS settings, which remove the geographic restrictions, allowing you to view region-locked content.

You can configure your smartphone or tablet (all platforms are supported and even most consoles and streaming devices), or you can configure your ADSL modem to route your traffic accordingly. We found the latter to work best. The website has detailed tutorials on how to set up its service and you’ll be able to make use of its seven-day trial to test it before you spend your hard-earned cash.

Unlocator is straightforward to use, though you may need some technology know-how to set it up. The website features detailed tutorials and does not require any user interaction to work. It costs US$5/month. Get the software…

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4TunnelBear
TunnelBear is an application you can run on your desktop, smartphone or tablet and will, when switched on, route your Internet connection to the destination of your choice. Before connecting, you are able to select a country from a dropdown list. Supported countries include the US, Canada, UK, Japan, Sweden and Spain.

TunnelBear offers 500MB/month of free VPN data for new users and unlimited data streaming for $5/month. It’s also dead simple to use.

Those who want even more privacy can enable a feature called Vigilant that will keep their location and data private in the brief seconds while TunnelBear is connecting and reconnecting. The mobile application works just as well, providing access to apps like Netflix on tablets and smartphones. Get the software…

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3UnoTelly
UnoTelly is one of the most popular VPN services. It supports all mobile and desktop platforms, including gaming consoles  and media streaming devices such as Google’s Chromecast, the Apple TV and even some smart TVs.

The service is similar to Unlocator in that once you’ve signed up, you’re given DNS addresses to route your connection. It requires a little technology know-how, but detailed setup instructions are provided for each platform.

UnoTelly has a great feature that will allow a household to stream content from up to three different regions at the same time. Naturally, you’ll need a really good DSL connection for this to work well.

The service costs $5/month and there is an $8 plan that offers more advanced features, including better privacy. Get the software…

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2MediaHint
MediaHint has long been a favourite among TechCentral staffers. Unlike the other VPN services featured here, this one is a browser plugin and runs only on desktop computers. A version for smartphones, tablets and streaming devices is in the works, according to the developers.

Once the plugin is installed in your browser, a small on/off switch appears in the browser app tray, allowing you to activate your VPN tunnel when needed. MediaHint supports Chrome and Mozilla Firefox for now.

One of the best features of MediaHint is that you do not need to configure a country manually — you simply browse to the website you want, be it in the UK or the US, and Media Hint sorts out the rest.

The service is also one of the cheapest around. At $4/month, you can’t go wrong with MediaHint if you mainly use a PC-based browser to access international content. Get the software…

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14StrongVPN
For advanced users who want more than just the run of the mill VPN service, StrongVPN offers a large number of packages, ranging from DNS-only services to more advanced and more secure and encrypted services that allow tech-savvy users to implement their VPN either via an app on the desktop or by configuring their router hardware.

StrongVPN can be set up on smartphones and tablets. Although it’s is not the cheapest, it offers the most versatile packages of any of the services we have seen to date. The DNS-only service costs $5/month, while the more versatile packages start at $7/month.

StrongVPN also allows you to add a second account for another device for $2, a nice addition for multiple family members wanting to connect to different regions. Get the software…

20 Comments

  1. DNS based services (such as Unotelly) are the better (simpler) choice if you wish to get your Apple TV to access Netflix.

  2. Unotelly really should be number 1 on the list.

    They support all the popular platforms, which includes most media players, streaming sticks, tablets, smartphones, smart TV’s and gaming consoles. And you get access not only to Netflix, but most online streaming services including Hulu+, Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer, Youtube (removes regional blocks on content) and so so much more, as well as music/radio streaming services.

    They also have not 1, but 2 servers in South Africa, which beats every VPN provider out there. They also have amongst the highest number of servers worldwide compared to their competitors. And for the price of a burger meal, you won’t be able to find anything else that offers more value for money than an Unotelly subscription.

  3. Greg Mahlknecht on

    Agreed – UnoTelly is the gold standard for this stuff, and VPNs are unnecessary. In fact, heavy VPN usage is prohibited in some ADSP FUPs as it is a common way to get around shaping – I know of more than one person who was kicked off Mweb Uncapped for this.

  4. CaptainObvious on

    You are of course aware that you are encouraging you’re reader’s to break the law through DRM evasion, which is tantamount to piracy???

    As for the consumer’s discussing the matter….Disqus is a public commentary service.
    Not too clever guys…………….

    Just a thought,….use it or dont use it.

  5. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    As a content creator and producer I “obviously concur captain” but unfortunately there’s no real way of enforcing any legislation around all of this; and so one needs to look at adapting to what will inevitably be in the future.

    The whole argument is so exhausting, its often much better for one to put one’s energy into creating a business model for content distribution that will not have territorial restrictions for online consumers.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141114081814-54427875-impact-of-youtube-on-the-future-of-broadcasting?trk=prof-post

  6. Christiaan Rohmann-Jurgens on

    Hehe UnoTelly even makes supersport.com live streaming work abroad (as long as you login with a username linked to a DSTV smartcard.

  7. Christiaan Rohmann-Jurgens on

    Dear CaptainObviouslyYoureAnIdiot.. It isn’t piracy. Netflix (and the studios providing the content) still get paid for the use of the service. Piracy is when you make illegal copies (without paying for it) or download illegal copies of music/movies. By using Netflix in South Africa, you are still subscribing and paying for the service. No piracy involved.

  8. Micheal Justin on

    Not all VPN providers will get you Netflix access from the region of your choice. There are plenty of VPN services that would fail the moment you launch up a streaming service. I found a great list of VPN for Netflix hope it will help you http://goo.gl/6f0RC0

  9. > You are of course aware that you are encouraging you’re reader’s to break the law through DRM evasion, which is tantamount to piracy???

    Rubbish, as pointed out by others. The only thing being “broken” is a contractual agreement between the content providers and the distributor. The primary function of the agreement is to maximize revenue (translation: rip off the public) for the content providers.

    > “you’re reader’s” ???
    What about “your readers”? A little literacy goes a long way in making you sound more informed and intelligent 😉

  10. I am very disappointed with Netflix because it restricted its online services only in the USA. I search on google ‘how to watch Netflix in the UAE’ and I see PureVPN’s promotion for their highly optimized Netflix. Now i can watch Netflix online in the UAE with PureVPN highly optimized streaming services. You can also try the same if resides outside the USA.

  11. I think something’s missing here. I’ve used UnoTelly but they are not more of the buck. It kept on logging that’s why shifted to something new. It’s called IronSocket. Check them out and maybe you could add them on your list. Just a thought. Thanks a lot. They offer the same as the other provider such as unblock us, VPN, DNS proxy, SOCKS5, HTTP, etc. Cool thing about them is they like to keep it simple which is great cuz it’s easier to understand.

  12. sorry guys but I think you are all wrong. The new Roku 3 (which is rated as the best Netflix device around) absolutely requires a proper VPN on a router…i.e. not just a DNS masking service like Unotelly. Unotelly has a new VPN product but I don’t trust it enough to invest money to see if it actually works or not. I have spent about 50hrs trying to get my Roku to work with DNS masking services and I have now ordered a R500 VPN router which will make life easier in the long run for sports streaming etc anyway. Any suggestions on the best VPN service to use for my router. The 5 services listed in the article are mostly not true VPN services but just DNS masking. Thanks! Greg

  13. That’s a good article. I personally prefer UnoTelly. It’s similar to Unlocator but they offer a DNS server close to physical location and I can achieve better performance.

  14. Smart DNS doesn’t work for all websites and it has serious security problems because the traffic is not encrypted. More devices like Chomecast start using Google DNS which bypasses Smart DNS servers. You’ll need to manually block Google DNS servers (https://dontblock.me/how-to-block-google-public-dns/ ) in order to use Smart DNS. VPN is much better: it’s secure, reliable and it works for nearly all websites.

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