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 Private Internet Access ($2.85/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 Private Internet Access ($2.85/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.
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.
The BEST VPN of 2021Number 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 the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because NordVPN hired full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and has been aggressively investing 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.
SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE 70%!
(30-day money-back guarantee
The BEST low-cost VPNNumber 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 very reliable and fast VPNNumber 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 still one of the best VPNs you can buy. However, we’ve got it ranked in the number three spot for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s the most expensive VPN on the market. This was understandable when it was also the fastest and most reliable VPN too. But now it’s not. NordVPN is. ExpressVPN has recently been struggling to unblock some big streaming sites – BBC iPlayer and BeIN Sports – too. And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc. ExpressVPN is usually very good at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites (apart from BBC iPlayer). 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.
SPECIAL OFFER – 3-MONTHS FREE!
(30-day money-back guarantee)
SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE 82%!
(30-day money-back guarantee)
5. CyberGhostNumber 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.
SPECIAL OFFER – 1-DAY FREE TRIAL
(30-day money-back guarantee)