Channel 4 is a free-to-air TV channel available in the UK. Channel 4 makes all of its content available on demand via its website 4oD. Unfortunately, this website is only available to viewers in the UK. If you’re overseas, you won’t be stream Channel 4 programs online (without a VPN). Here we show you how to watch 4oD abroad.
See also: How to watch the 6 Nations abroad.
How to watch 4oD abroad?
The workaround to watch 4oD from overseas is pretty simple. All you need to do is sign up with a good VPN and install the app on your computer or mobile device. Then connect to a server in the UK and that’s it. You can stream 4oD from anywhere in the world.
- Get ExpressVPN £5.13/month or Ivacy (£1.49/month)
- Download and install NordVPN app
- Connect to a server in the UK
- Watch 4oD from anywhere in the world
What is a VPN? In Layman’s terms, a VPN – Virtual Private Network – is an encrypted network of internet connections. The best VPNs, like the ones featured below, offer its customers access to tens of thousands of encrypted intern connections (servers) in hundreds of different countries.
By using a VPN, you can connect to a server in the UK (from anywhere in the world) and spoof your virtual location make it appear as if you’re accessing the internet from inside the UK.
However, you need to make sure you use the right VPN. This is because 4oD, as well as iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime (et al), have started detecting and blacklisting known VPN servers from streaming its content.
We recommend using either ExpressVPN £5.13/month or Ivacy (£1.49/month). Both VPNs have hundreds of fast servers based in the UK. More importantly, both VPNs have a dedicated technical team that monitors its servers’ connections with 4oD (and iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon). If/when a server is blacklisted, work begins on opening a new server or fixing the issue, immediately. Nord and Express also have 24/7 Live Chat support available on their websites too.
I’ve been using ExpressVPN £5.13/month since March 2018 to watch BBC iPlayer, 4oD, US Netflix without any problems.
Why does 4oD blacklist connections from some VPNs?
The reason for this is pretty logical. Channel 4 only has UK broadcast licenses for its shows. Let’s use The Handmaid’s Tale as an example…
Channel 4 doesn’t own the rights to The Handmaid’s Tale. MGM Television does. In order for Channel 4 to broadcast this in the UK, it needs to pay MGM a fee and this fee would be worked out based on Channel 4 (and 4oD) potential audience size. MGM negotiates these contracts with broadcasters in every country. The Paid-for TV service, Hulu, owns the rights in the US for example.
This creates the potential for a user in the US to buy a cheap VPN and watch The Handmaid’s Tale for free on 4oD.
This causes a major problem. If on-demand services like 4oD and BBC iPlayer can’t police their borders, they could be forced to pay for global licenses in the future. Blocking VPNs is, therefore, the cost-effective option for 4oD etc.
How does 4oD detect VPNs?
The methodology behind this is pretty simple. VPNs can have thousands/millions of customers, but only hundreds/thousands of servers in any country. This creates an abnormal level of traffic from each server.
Each server has its own IP address – just like the internet connection in your home. This causes a problem when too many customers connect to the same website/app from the same server.
4oD (or Netflix, iPlayer, ITV Hub) will blacklist any IP address that has an abnormal number of simultaneous connections.
The best VPNs – NordVPN and ExpressVPN – recognise this. They combat it too. By offering more servers/IPs in popular VPN countries. They also have software to spread connections evenly around their IPs. The final tactic is a game of Cat and Mouse with 4oD (et al). When one of its servers gets blacklisted, they open a fresh server.
Which VPNs work with 4oD?
As we mention above, not all VPNs work with 4oD. Below we’ve listed several of the best VPNs that are guaranteed to work with 4oD. No matter where in the world you are.
1. ExpressVPN (£5.13/month)
If you’re willing to pay the extra couple of quid, ExpressVPN is a good choice. It’s a fast VPN that always has servers open with the biggest online TV servers. Like NordVPN and PureVPN it works with 4oD and is one of the best VPNs at playing Cat and Mouse with TV sites that blacklist its IP addresses.
Personally, this is my go-to VPN. It’s quick, fast and easy to use. And most important of all, it always provides me with a working connection for 4oD, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and US Netflix.
If you want the cheapest VPN, Ivacy is an excellent option. It’s recently one a ton of awards for Fastest VPN of the year. My recent tests can verify these awards. I connected to a UK server this week and reached download speeds of over 18mbps from my home internet connection in New Zealand. To put this into context, my non-VPN internet speed is usually around the 22mbps mark.
Ivacy works in a very similar way to PureVPN (below). You can select the best servers based on “Purpose”. Meaning you would select Channel 4 to watch 4oD abroad.
3. NordVPN (£2.30/month)
This is one of the best and easiest to use VPNs on the market. It’s also one of the cheapest. NordVPN has hundreds of servers in the UK, and more importantly, a dedicated technical team that monitors its servers connections to major UK streaming sites. This is vital, as the likes of 4oD are becoming more aggressive at blocking IP addresses suspected to belong to VPNs.
More importantly, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs at playing Cat and Mouse with 4oD etc. If/when one of its servers ever gets blacklisted it reacts by creating new IP addresses and releasing them to customers asap.
4. PureVPN (£2.03/month)
It may be a lesser-known name, but PureVPN is fast becoming one of the best VPNs for unlocking global TV. PureVPN recently invested $4.5m in improving its infrastructure, connectivity and speeds with the specific aim of improving its TV streaming services. And it was already very good before.
This services also offers something none of its rivals does. The option to buy an affordable dedicated IP address. Buying this means you share your VPN connection with any other customers. Which removes the possibility of other customers slowing down your connection, and more importantly, getting your IP address blacklisted for abnormal usage.