One of the most popular uses of VPNs outside of privacy and security is streaming content from international sources. International streaming services such as HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, and the various regional Netflix libraries tend to be ‘geoblocked’ based on the locational data associated with your device’s IP address.
For example, if you’re in Australia and want to stream Hulu content from the US, you won’t be able to as Hulu will detect your Australian IP address. Connect to an eligible US server with a VPN from that same device in Australia, though, and you’ll be able to bypass the geoblock, sign up for an account, and stream content. The same logic applies to accessing geoblocked streaming services or content libraries (like Netflix) in other regions: just connect to a streaming-friendly VPN server in that region, then start streaming. Certain VPN providers like NordVPN and ExpressVPN even offer smart TV apps to make this process even easier.
There are some disclaimers, though. For starters, these streaming services are geoblocked because of regional licences, which means you run the risk of having your account banned. Bypassing geoblocking measures with a VPN tends to violate the user terms and conditions that you agree to when you sign up. If that doesn’t bother you, the other proviso is that connecting to any VPN server will slow your internet connection. The farther away the server, the more speeds will be impacted. With a VPN on, slower internet connections may struggle to buffer and stream video content in a smooth and acceptable quality.