Are you having trouble watching 4oD abroad with your VPN? Don’t worry. The problem isn’t unique to you. In this article, I’ll show you an easy workaround for when All 4 is not working with VPN.
All 4 not working with VPN: Quick guide
- Sign up to ExpressVPN (£5.23) or Private Internet Access ($2.85/month)
- Download and install the app on your device
- Connect to a server in the UK
- Watch All 4 (with a VPN) again
Below, I go into a bit more detail about why All 4 would have stopped working with your VPN and why this is happening. However, if you’re not interested in the whys and just want a quick fix, you only need to read this section.
The workaround is simple. All you need to do is use the right VPN. This is because not all VPNs continue to work with All 4 (see below for more info).
Why does All 4 block VPNs?
Licensing. That’s the one-word answer. Channel 4 doesn’t own global licenses for all of the content it broadcasts via its online All 4 platform. It only holds UK licenses. So it needs to protect its borders to avoid paying for global content licenses.
What about content Channel 4 makes? This is a problem too. Amazingly, broadcasters from other countries buy the rights to air Channel 4’s homegrown in their region. Which complicates things further.
Charging broadcasters a premium for the rights to air The Inbetweens (for example) in their territory would be undermind if All 4 allowed any internet user with a cheap VPN access to its content.
Fighting back against VPNs is therefor a necessary business exercise for All 4. And every other medium-sized broadcaster.
Which is why it’s so important your using the right VPN.
How does All 4 block VPNs?
All 4 isn’t doing anything particularly clever. It’s following the lead taken by Netflix and BBC iPlayer with regards to its VPN-blocking methodology.
Detecting a VPN just by looking at its IP address is near-impossible. However, when broadcasters start to monitor the average usage from the IP addresses that accessing its servers, the IPs that belong VPNs become a lot easier to detect.
Normal IP address: This would be an average domestic internet connection in the UK. Which means there would be anywhere between 1-8 internet users online at any given time. And it’s unlikely all internet users would be connected to All 4 at the same time. 1-2 simultaneous connections to All 4 is much more likely.
VPN IP address: VPNs share a relatively small number of IPs with a much larger number of users. Having 10+ users connected to the same server isn’t unusual with cheaper VPN services. The problem here is that lots of users connect to VPNs solely to stream geoblocked content. So the risk of more than 1-2 simultaneous connections to All 4 is a lot higher.
When the number of connections from the same IP address becomes abnormal, All 4 responds by blacklisted the offending IP address.
This is why you can’t watch All 4 with your VPN anymore.
All 4 not working with VPN: The EASY workaround
The good news is that the workaround is really easy. All you need to do is use a good VPN and they will do all the hard work for you.
Good VPNs – ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, Ivacy, NordVPN, etc. – all play a Game of Cat and mouse with All 4 (and other mainstream broadcasters). This means if/when one of their server’s IP addresses is blocked by All 4, they react by closing that VPN down and creating a fresh (unblacklisted) IP.
This simple technique, along with keeping the number of users below a broadcaster’s “abnormal threshold”, is all that’s needed to keep VPNs working with All 4.
The bad news is that not all VPNs do this. And if you’ve already paid for access to a cheaper VPN that doesn’t use these methods, there’s nothing you can do.
Which VPNs still work with All 4 (4oD)?
The BEST VPN of 2020!
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can buy. If you can afford the extra few pounds/dollars a month, you won’t regret it.
The first thing you need to know about this VPN is that it’s fast. Really fast! It consistently tops our independent VPN speed tests, with blazingly fast download/upload speeds.
And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites. Meaning, whenever one of its servers is blacklisted it creates a new one – giving its users a constant stream of servers that aren’t blocked. Needless to say, this is a valuable attribute if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites.
Its app is easy-to-use and free to download on pretty much any device you can think of. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, even Apple TV (with a workaround). It’s got it all covered.
The app is another main reason this VPN is so good at unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim they block VPNs) is that its software takes a pragmatic approach to user management. While other VPNs tempt customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers in multiple countries, ExpressVPN does things differently.
With ExpressVPN you only have a handful of server locations to choose from. Once you select your location the app takes care of the rest. Assigning you to the fastest available server that’s not oversubscribed. This simple technique is so important, as it keeps ExpressVPN’s servers operating at lightning-fast speeds and prevent its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.
ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than the other VPNs. But if you want the most reliable VPN on the market, there’s only one choice. ExpressVPN is the best.
The BEST mid-range VPN for streaming!
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speeds: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 48 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1 million paying customers.
This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ Amazon Prime Video, etc. It also allows 10 simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time, so you can share the account with your close friends.
If, for whatever reason, you’re not happy with Private Internet Access, there’s a 24/7 live chat support available to assist you with your problem. PIA also offers the industry-standard 30-days money-back guarantee.
From my tests (from New Zealand) I was able to get download speeds of 70 Mbps while connected to a UK server using the Private Internet Access VPN (my non-VPN speed is 100 Mbps).
The BEST low-cost VPN
Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.16/month) is a great option.
This VPN has all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world. I’ve been testing the app recently on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick and the results have been impressive – unlocking BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. with ease.
The Ivacy app is a little different in regards to its UX (user experience). Instead of just selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad thing – by connecting to a dedicated BBC iPlayer server, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer.
For an extra $1.99/month (£1.74) you can add-on a dedicated IP. This will buy you sole access to an IP address in a country of your choice, meaning you won’t have to share your IP (and speeds) with any other use. I don’t recommend this though, using the regular Ivacy servers is enough 95 per cent of the time.
7-DAY TRIAL – $0.99
(30-day money-back guarantee)
A solid all-round VPN option!
Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And its easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers.
It’s pretty reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. – but its record isn’t perfect. NordVPN claims that’s all changed now as a result of hiring full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and aggressive investment in its network of IP addresses in key locations.
Another interesting thing to note is that NordVPN is an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. Nordlynx is built using the WireGuard, a new VPN tunnelling protocol designed to outperform current standards (OpenVPN and IPSec). The benefits, according to NordVPN, are dramatically faster transfer speeds while connected to a VPN. My tests – New Zealand to London – confirm that Nordlynx is currently the fastest VPN on the market. However, the difference isn’t dramatic, a few Mbps is all.
Number of servers: 6,000+ | Speeds: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 200 in 90 countries | Devices supported: 7 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well.
From my tests over the past several months, CyberGhost has no trouble at unblocking major streaming services – US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max etc. This VPN performed well at maintaining download speeds, well above 65 per cent of my regular (non VPN) ISP speed.
That said, there’s nothing really unique about the service. Which forces you to look at its price-point. And there’s nothing special here. Its short-term $12.99/month price tag puts is well above the industry average of $10.10/month. Similarly, its long-term $2.75/month for 3 years deal isn’t much of a “deal” either.
Oddly, CyberGhost’s most unique feature is its a 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This is an appealing offer to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer customers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.