To watch PBS from outside the US, you need a reliable VPN. But if your current VPN is struggling to connect, its American servers may have been blacklisted by PBS. Our expert guide explains what to do if PBS isn’t working with your current VPN – we’ll help you swap from a below-average service to a superior alternative that always has working servers.
By partnering with one of our recommended VPNs, you can access PBS abroad and catch favourites including American Masters, Frontline and PBS NewsHour at any time.
Keep scrolling to discover our full list of reliable VPNs. Each one of our top picks will quickly replace servers that get blacklisted by PBS, meaning you’ll never miss out on your favourite PBS series.
How does PBS detect a VPN?
The flawed VPN you’re currently using may be exposing your true IP address, which would explain why you can’t connect to US-based servers to watch PBS abroad.
Every time you visit the PBS website, checks are run on your connection that identifies where you’re browsing from. If your VPN is set up incorrectly, your true location outside the US will be visible to the PBS website. That means you won’t be able to access the network’s geo-restricted content.
PBS not working with VPN?
If your current VPN isn’t working with PBS, the network may have identified and blocked your VPN’s US-based servers. The best VPNs react quickly to getting blocked and host new servers that give you access once again. Shoddy VPNs take far too long to make those changes.
The worst VPNs we’ve seen are fiddly to set up, slow to connect and don’t offer crucial technical support. By choosing the wrong VPN, you could also be handing over your personal data to sinister third parties – reputable VPNs wouldn’t do that.
if PBS access is broken through your current VPN, run through these steps:
- Get ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or Private Internet Access ($2.03/month)
- Download and install the VPN app on your device
- Connect to a US VPN server to gain access to the PBS website
- Watch PBS from anywhere in the world
That’s all you need to do. With a VPN installed and configured, you can watch PBS from outside the US.
Can I watch PBS abroad?
If you want to relax with your favourite PBS shows while you’re travelling outside the US, a VPN can help you get access to the channel. By default, PBS online will block viewers from outside the US, which is why you need a VPN to spoof your location.
Without a VPN, visiting the PBS website on your PC or smartphone will see you greeted by a frustrating error message. It says: “We’re sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to rights restrictions.” Our expert guide will help you avoid that.
The easiest way to watch your favourite PBS shows involves taking a trip to the official website. From PBS.org, you can browse shows and filter by popularity or date of broadcast. Flicking through the Shows tab will give you streaming access to Poldark, The Durrells, POV, Antiques Roadshow and more.
But to take full advantage of the PBS website from abroad, you’ll need a VPN to hide your actual location. By tricking the PBS website into thinking you’re browsing from the US, you’ll have access to all the content on the website.
To get started today, take a look at our list of recommended PBS VPNs below.
Best VPNs for PBS 2019
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs around, so it’s the perfect fit if you want to watch PBS from outside the US. This reliable VPN is well-known for its easy-to-understand interface and speedy servers. By signing up today, you can use ExpressVPN to spoof your location and unlock geo-restricted content.
You’ll be browsing the web completely anonymously with ExpressVPN installed on your PC or mobile – your ISP won’t know what you’re up to and neither with PBS.
ExpressVPN has trusted servers in over 90 countries around the world, so whatever you’re planning on watching, you’ll have a server to help you get the job done. To watch PBS, all you need to do is connect to an ExpressVPN server based in the US.
Network data passing through ExpressVPN is fully encrypted, so privacy is guaranteed. As if this VPN weren’t tempting enough already, it’s also available on lots of different devices. ExpressVPN runs on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, internet routers, smart TVs and streaming sticks. It’s a brilliantly flexible service that lets you watch PBS on any of your products.
If ExpressVPN becomes your first VPN, you may have some questions when it comes to setting everything up. Luckily, you can call on ExpressVPN’s team of dedicated live chat experts. The handy service is available around the clock, so even if you experience a technical issue late at night you’ll have a way to get the problem solved.
The cheapest VPN on our list is fantastic value for money. Ivacy is another example of a popular, trusted VPN that can give you quick access to PBS wherever you are. It costs less than £2/month and, for the small price you pay, you get a service that can spoof your location and unlock streaming services usually reserved for US viewers.
If you don’t want to cough up too much cash per month, Ivacy is the VPN for you. Ivacy hosts over 1,000 servers in more than 100 locations around the world – sign up today and you’ll be spoiled for choice. Even if you’re watching PBS from a country that doesn’t offer official access to PBS online, Ivacy can help you break down that wall and stream as much as you like.
Like all good VPNs, Ivacy enforces a strict ‘no-logs’ policy. That means that the company will never keep a record of how you’re using its VPN.
Even if your connection to Ivacy drops without warning, your identity and location will still remain hidden from your ISP and PBS. That’s thanks to a built-in network kill switch feature, which leaves the VPN in a paused state when it detects a connectivity issue.
Ivacy is versatile and runs on lots of different gadgets. It’ll obviously work on your home computer, but this VPN is also compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, games consoles, routers, streaming sticks and even smart TVs.
NordVPN will help you gain access to websites that would usually be locked in your country. It’s a great solution if you fancy watching PBS while you’re travelling from A to B. Thanks to super-secure servers, your ISP won’t have a clue if you’re spoofing your location to watch American TV shows.
Every server that NordVPN members have access to is protected by military-grade encryption. That means that your personal information remains hidden from prying eyes while you’re connecting to servers dotted across the globe.
To watch PBS abroad through NordVPN, you load up the VPN, select an American server from the list of options and then head to the PBS website. If done correctly, you’ll skip the dreaded ‘not available in your country’ disclaimer. If you connect to a server that’s not quite quick enough, you can switch to another one in seconds. NordVPN doesn’t have any rules controlling how often you can switch from one server to another.
Without a VPN, your ISP could limit your download and streaming allowance. But with NordVPN disguising your IP address, that won’t be an issue. If you’re a self-confessed telly addict, we can’t recommend NordVPN enough. Sign up today and see what all the fuss is about.
PureVPN is the key to unlocking PBS content online. It’ll brush aside location-based warnings and restrictions to give you complete privacy online.
This VPN has over 2,000 servers in more than 140 different countries – you’ll get access to all of them regardless of the PureVPN package plan you choose.
You don’t need to spend big to get premium VPN features such as a network kill switch. PureVPN has this built-in, so your IP address will remain hidden from your ISP and PBS if your connection cuts out. On top of that, PureVPN’s Split Tunnelling feature lets you decide what network data you want to pass through the VPN, and which to send through your ISP as normal.
If you own a smart TV, you can configure PureVPN to run in your living room to let you watch from the comfort of your sofa. As PureVPN lets you alter your IP address to access content from around the world, you can unlock streaming libraries that would normally be out of reach.
PureVPN is also available on your smartphone or tablet. Once you’ve downloaded the PureVPN app, you can browse servers based on location or TV channel. If you join forces with PureVPN today, you’ll have complete protection across five different devices.
Read next: How to watch BritBox abroad