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How to Bypass IPTV Limitations Using VPNs and Which Services to Choose

Last updated: July 14, 2020 By Dean Chester

Does your ISP limit the speed of video streaming or block sites? Are you confused by your privacy? I have compiled the best recipes for you on how to use Virtual Private Network to get around almost any IPTV restrictions (and not only).

A few words about why there may be difficulties with IPTV.

Internet Protocol television is a technology for transmitting television content over an IP network. There are several subspecies of IPTV, but all of them can be divided into 2 types:

  1. IPTV service of your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
  2. IPTV content of third-party organizations or services.

Naturally, if you have an agreement with the ISP to provide you with video content, it will be delivered with the best features from the nearest server, etc. With this type of IPTV, there are no problems for which it makes sense to resort to a VPN.

The second type of IPTV implies a qualitatively different type of content delivery. In this case, the ISP is not used for its intended purpose and only transports large amounts of data from external sources to the viewer. This is where the problems arise that are solved by using a VPN.

 
This is a list of VPN services that are best suited for IPTV:
  1. ExpressVPN: Very fast VPN provider with a powerful modern network of servers. It supports setup on any device. It has a detailed installation guide for IPTV systems.
  2. NordVPN: Convenient VPN service if you need to bypass serious restrictions or censorship. It is convenient to use with TV platforms, computers, and mobile devices.
  3. Surfshark: The best features for the price. Advanced functionality in the field of privacy protection and circumvention of restrictions at a price of only $1.99 per month.
  4. CyberGhost VPN: A large VPN focused on supporting streaming services. Supports any platform, but not always effective against censorship.
  5. PIA: The most technologically advanced of the Top 5 service. It has many rare features for the most experienced users.
 
Free VPN services for IPTV *: 
  1. ProtonVPN: The best choice, if there is no need to normalize the speed of the Internet. Bypasses some restrictions and has no traffic limit.
  2. Hide.me: Available only at around 10GB per month. No registration required. Low speed and stability.
  3. Windscribe: Some video services are available with this provider. A limit of 10GB per month. Popular video repositories are only available on a paid version.
  4. TunnelBear: It supports Netflix, has good speed, but doesn’t support TV platforms and routers. It is interesting only if it is possible to distribute VPN from a computer with Windows or Mac.
  5. VPN Gate: Completely free, but laborious to use. The average speed is 1-2Mbps.

*The restrictions of all free VPNs are practically incompatible with streaming TV content and cannot solve the problem by increasing the data transfer speed.


What problems does VPN solve?

So, let's figure out how a good VPN can really help, and what can be attributed to myths.

1. Increase data rate

Using a VPN can really increase the speed of the Internet and, as a result, increase the stability of viewing TV content and improve its maximum resolution.

But this really only works in two cases:  

1. If your ISP reduces video streaming speed.

2. If the signal passes through a large number of intermediate nodes around the world.

VPN won’t be effective if the problems with the picture quality occur due to technical problems on the user side, with unstable reception of cellular Internet or with a limited ISP tariff plan.

If you are not sure if the broadcast interruptions or poor video quality are the results of the actions of the Internet provider or the unsuccessful removal of the sending server, then I advise you to try the VPN service with a money-back guarantee. In this case, you don’t risk anything.  

I should also emphasize that free VPNs aren’t suitable for a stable increase in Internet speed. This is absolutely accurate and confirmed by my many years of practice.

 Here I also want to dispel the myth that a VPN can increase the speed higher than specified in the agreement with ISP.

This is clearly impossible. Virtual Private Network technology works inside the bandwidth allocated by your ISP. This means that a virtual connection is a connection on the same communication channel that the ISP provided and cannot bypass the established limits.

This myth was most likely due to the fact that the VPN allows you to circumvent additional restrictions on certain types of traffic due to the fact that the provider cannot determine the type of encrypted data and automatically provides the maximum speed. But it remains within the agreement.

2. Unlock sites or services

Private individual VPN is most often used to bypass locks. This isn’t the main purpose of this technology, but it has become the most popular.

You can get around the restrictions by changing your IP address to the IP of another country or by encrypting the addresses of visited sites while changing DNS servers.

For IPTV, this works just as well. The resource to which the set-top box, smartphone, or computer is connected can be unlocked using a virtual network.

3. Protection of privacy

Even if the required resources for the operation of your IPTV are available, there may be reasons why you need to hide your activity. For example, when watching some channels or some forbidden films.

In this case, the VPN traffic encryption function will be useful. Modern services most often use the AES-256 encryption standard. This ensures that it is not possible to “disclose” the protection.

I should note that not all services protect the transmitted data and addresses of visited resources equally well. Use only the services recommended by specialists for complete privacy.


How to use a VPN with IPTV?

In this chapter, I will list the necessary steps to install a VPN for IPTV using the best ExpressVPN service to date.

  1. Go to the service website to sign up.
  2. Select the required duration of the subscription, sign up, and subscribe. An email will come to your mailbox with further instructions and links to the necessary apps or manual settings.Select the software for your device.
  3. When using a set-top box, you will need to manually configure your Wi-Fi router or the set-top box itself (if it supports VPN installation) using detailed instructions.
  4. Set up the app (configure the device), select the country of connection, and start the VPN.

From this moment, all traffic will go in the encrypted form through the VPN server. ExpressVPN uses diskless servers, which ensures that your activity isn’t logged.


Best VPNs for IPTV according to 2020 survey

Next, I will give 5 providers that showed the best results during testing with Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV and AT&T. Other IPTV platforms will also work with these VPNs since they use the same basic technologies.

Comparison of the main characteristics of VPN services
that provide confidentiality with IPTV

Service Ranking
(out of 10)
Streaming support
(out of 10)
Obfuscation* Routers
Support
Country selection Price (monthly)
ExpressVPN 10 10 - + 94 $6.67-12.95
NordVPN 10 10 + + 59 $3.49-11.95
Surfshark 10 10 + + 63 $1.99-11.95
CyberGhost 9 8 - + 90 $2.75-12.99
PIA 8 5 - + 45 $2.85-9.95

*Obfuscation is used to mask some digital footprints of VPN traffic from ISP.

Also, read my latest review of the best VPNs for Smart TV.


ExpressVPNExpressVPN logo

Pros:

  • Premium quality
  • High speed and reliability
  • Extensive database of configuration guides
  • One of the best safety features sets
  • All platforms support
  • 94 countries
  • AES-256

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support obfuscation (for China, Iran, and some other countries)

ExpressVPN has a reason for being a leader in reviews of VPNs in many sources on the Internet and on vpn-review.com. Its premium quality is regularly confirmed by in-depth testing.

The service is especially convenient because it has the best VPN industry database of various guides for setting up almost any device that supports connecting to a virtual network.

 
ExpressVPN Preview
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Also read:

ExpressVPN supports IPTV


NordVPNNordVPN logo

Pros:

  • Users’ choice
  • 5000+ servers in 59 countries
  • Easy setup
  • Double VPN
  • Diskless servers
  • Two kinds of Kill Switch
  • Obfuscation
  • Static IP (simplify authentication on exchanges)

Cons:

  • No Split Tunneling

Easy to use, top-level VPN. It differs in that it has the functionality to combat censorship and at the same time is suitable for almost all purposes, including stable streaming support.

 
NordVPN Preview
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Also read:

NordVPN supports IPTV


Surfshark

Pros:

  • Best price of professional VPNs
  • Kill Switch
  • Obfuscation
  • Double VPN (MultiHop)
  • Unlimited number of simultaneously used devices
  • Static IP

Cons:

  • Not all locations are supported with the high speed

Surfshark is by far the # 1 cheapest VPN service. It is incredibly functional and practically not inferior to the leaders in terms of performance. At the same time, it has advanced privacy protection features and allows you to use an unlimited number of devices per subscription.

 
Surfshark Preview
Save with extra class VPN service (up to -83% discount)
 

Also read:

Surfshark supports IPTV


CyberGhostCyberGhost VPN logo

Pros:

  • 6,200+ servers in 90 countries
  • Support for all devices
  • Traffic flow indicator
  • Kill Switch
  • Split Tunneling

Cons:

  • Slowly connects to Windows
  • Doesn’t support obfuscation
  • May overload the system

CyberGhost is also suitable for IPTV. It can be used both in the form of an app and in the form of set-top box or router settings.

It has the longest money-back guarantee of 45 days.

Also read:

CyberGhost for IPTV


Private Internet AccessPIA logo

Pros:

  • Suitable for both ordinary users and professionals
  • High speed
  • Impeccable reputation
  • Support for all platforms
  • Two kinds of Kill Switch

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support Netflix, Hulu, and some other streaming services

Private Internet Access (PIA) is also a multi-functional VPN service but has the most advanced features for setting up a VPN connection. The service provides access to change such rare parameters as the encryption standard such as DNS, Shadowsocks, and others, up to its disconnection.

For IPTV PIA offers both ready-made apps, configuration files, and instructions for manual settings.

Also read:

Private Internet Access for IPTV


5 Free VPNs for IPTV

Before moving on to considering free VPN services that have IPTV support, I want to warn you that I couldn’t fully launch viewing IP video content with them. This is primarily due to a significant limitation of the speed of such services, as well as the fact that their servers are often heavily overloaded.

It is also worth remembering that such VPNs don’t provide sufficient security when bypassing blocks.

ProtonVPNProtonVPN logo

Free ProtonVPN can be used to temporarily unblock IPTV services. Temporary, since, firstly, only for the first 7 days high speed and a sufficient selection of locations are available. Secondly, many streaming providers are not available with this VPN.

The main feature of ProtonVPN is the lack of traffic limits.

Hide.meHide.me logo

But with the free VPN service hide.me you will only have access to 10GB per month. At the same time, it also has limited speed, a small selection of locations, and significantly worse connection stability compared to ProtonVPN.

No signup needed.

WindscribeWindscribe logo

The following VPN at first glance is similar to hide.me, but without registration, only 2GB per month is available. Testing the service showed connection problems on a free subscription. So, protocols designed to make user activity invisible did not allow you to open sites or start broadcasting IPTV. Only regular OpenVPN and IKEv2 worked.

TunnelBearTunnelBear logo

The free version of TunnelBear practically doesn’t differ from the paid one in all respects, except for the traffic limit.

I don’t know how free TunnelBear can be fully used, but 1500 MB per month ran out on the first day for me.

VPN GateVPN Gate logo

The most interesting service in terms of devices and features is without a doubt the VPN Gate. This is a non-profit project at a Japanese university. But I placed it in the 5th place because, firstly, it uses computers of other users as servers, and secondly, 99% of its locations are located in Asia, which makes it extremely difficult to use IPTV channels for the western regions.

VPN-Review - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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