The best VPNs for All 4

If you’re trying to watch Channel 4 outside the UK, you’ll notice the streaming service doesn’t work. You’ll be able to access the platform; however, the content you select won’t play.

The reason this is happening is because Channel 4 doesn’t have the rights to broadcast its content outside the UK. This can be frustrating, especially as you won’t be able to watch all your favourite shows when on holiday or overseas.

The good news is there is software out there that will allow you to watch Channel 4 anywhere in the world. This software is called a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and they make it easy to watch Channel 4 outside the UK.

If you’ve never used a VPN before, don’t panic, we’re here to help. VPNs are becoming increasingly popular, with experts suggesting one in three internet users now use them. The difficulty is finding a VPN that works well with Channel 4.

Because VPNs are now so popular, there’s a massive range of options for you to choose from, but a lot of VPNs won’t work with Channel 4 because they don’t have measures in place to make sure they work reliably with the streaming service. This means you might waste money on software that won’t even do what you want it to do. That’s where we come in.

We’ve tried and tested a massive range of VPNs and have come up with a list of what we think are the best VPNs for Channel 4 so you can watch all your favourite Channel 4 content anywhere in the world without issue.

How do we determine a good VPN for Channel 4?

The key metric we look for when testing a VPN with Channel 4 is if it has the ability to work reliably with the streaming service without any issues.

Because VPNs allow you to watch Channel 4 in locations where it doesn’t have the rights to broadcast its content, using a VPN to watch Channel 4 outside the UK could result in the streaming service facing severe punishments for breaching copyright and licensing legislation.

To stop this from happening, Channel 4 try to prevent VPNs from connecting to its service. It does this using a range of blocking methods.

For a lot of VPNs, these blocks can be very difficult to get around, and if they don’t have measures in place to ensure they can consistently beat Channel 4’s blocks, they won’t work reliably with the streaming service. For that reason, the best VPNs for Channel 4 must have reliable measures in place to get around these blocks.

A good VPN for Channel 4 must also have fast servers based in the UK. If the servers aren’t fast enough, you’ll come across stuttering and latency issues when watching Channel 4 outside the UK.

They must also be able to provide a secure connection so Channel 4 can’t figure out you’re outside the UK when accessing the platform.

How do we test the best VPNs for Channel 4?

  1. We test how secure the VPN is: We do this by running it through DNS leak tests. If the VPN has a DNS leak issue, it has an issue with its security, as internet service providers (ISPs) can still potentially see your online data. The best VPNs don’t come across these sorts of issues.
  2. The number of servers: The best VPNs have thousands of servers around the world. The more servers, the better. Lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs, don’t have many servers meaning there’s less opportunity for you to surf the web anonymously.
  3. Speed: We measure the speed of a VPN by doing speed tests for multiple servers worldwide. We then compare this to our base internet speed with a VPN turned off.
  4. Compatibility with streaming services: A critical use case for VPNs is the ability to access geo-blocked streaming services. Unfortunately, these services try and prevent VPNs from accessing their platforms. The best VPNs have measures in place to get around these blocks. When testing a VPN, we try it with several geo-blocked streaming services. The best VPNs will allow you to watch all the leading streaming services worldwide.
  5. Price: Based on our research, the average cost of the top 20 VPNs is $4.33/month. We use this as a comparison when looking for the best-value VPNs.
  6. Devices: VPNs are usually compatible with more than one device simultaneously. Obviously, the more, the better.

The best VPNs for Channel 4

1. NordVPN 🥇

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN review

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: NordVPN’s server network spans 60 countries. While this is below the average of 71 countries for the top 20 VPNs, its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

2. ExpressVPN 🥈

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN review

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. It consistently performed well in tests with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Servers: ExpressVPN has a robust network with servers in 104 countries, significantly above the 71-country average. Less than 3% of these servers are virtual, ensuring a reliable and fast physical network.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. PureVPN 🥉

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN review

Streaming: PureVPN has shown improvement in its ability to unblock streaming services. While it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer, its performance improved during less busy times. PureVPN can unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers a wide range of servers around the world. Although specific numbers are not provided, PureVPN’s server offerings are robust, allowing users to access various international content.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
Private Internet Access review

Streaming: Private Internet Access works well with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, although it initially faced some difficulties with BBC iPlayer, which were resolved after some fixes.

Servers: PIA has over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, which is above the average of 71 countries. However, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark review

Streaming: Surfshark performs well with most streaming services but faces challenges with some, like Hulu. This could be a drawback for users who heavily rely on VPNs for streaming content from various regions.

Servers: Surfshark boasts a server network in 100 countries, which is well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

6. CyberGhost

Affordable and secure VPN with extensive server coverage

  • Features NoSpy servers, a Killswitch, and split tunnelling
  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Over 9,000 servers in 91 countries
  • Independent audit confirms no-logs policy
  • 7-device coverage
  • Not optimal for streaming due to speed issues
  • Majority of servers are virtual
  • Lacks a proprietary protocol
CyberGhost review

Streaming: CyberGhost allows access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. However, users may face slow speeds, leading to buffering and resolution issues, which can be a significant downside for streaming.

Servers: CyberGhost boasts over 9,000 servers in 91 countries, offering a robust server network. However, it’s notable that 54% of these servers are virtual, a factor that can affect performance and reliability.

Privacy: CyberGhost has a no-logs policy that has been independently audited by Deloitte, ensuring user privacy and security. This audit confirms that CyberGhost does not keep records of users’ online activities while using the VPN.

Price: CyberGhost offers three payment options: a 1-month subscription at $12.99/month, a 6-month subscription at $6.99/month, and a 2-year subscription at $2.19/month, which includes an extra two months for free.

Speeds: Speed tests conducted in New Zealand showed significant drops in both download and upload speeds across various servers when using CyberGhost, indicating a performance issue in terms of speed.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)930516
CyberGhost US server192.292.63
CyberGhost UK server139.191.90
CyberGhost Vietnam server232.244.32

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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(45-day money-back guarantee)

How do VPNs work?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) does two things. First, it gives you an anonymous internet connection which ensures your online activity is private and second. It allows you to make it look like you’re connecting to the internet from a different country.

When you use a VPN, your online data is encrypted into an unreadable code. This provides you with an anonymous internet connection, so your location and online activity cannot be seen. 

Once that data is encrypted, the VPN will reroute all of it through one of its servers (which you can choose). When it reaches this server, the data is decrypted and sent to a local internet service provider in a country of your choosing. This process gives you an IP address based in your chosen country. 

This is important because an IP address is a piece of code that your device uses to communicate with online services. The problem is every IP address contains information regarding your location. For example, if you’re in Australia, your IP address will show you’re in Australia. If you’re in the US, your IP address will show you’re in the US and so on.

To watch Channel 4 outside the UK, you need to make sure Channel 4 can’t determine where you’re located, and you then need to make Channel 4 think you’re based in the UK. A VPN does both of these things. 

Does Channel 4 block VPNs? 

Yes, Channel 4 is constantly trying to detect and block VPNs.

It does this using three main techniques:

  1. The most common technique is to do with the IP addresses that your VPN can provide. VPN providers have more customers than the number of IP addresses they can provide; this means that customers can use the same IP addresses. Usually, only a household with a few devices uses the same IP address. When Channel 4 sees hundreds or even thousands of connections coming through on the same IP address, it knows that it is a VPN, and it blocks it. 
  2. Channel 4 monitors for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks that can tip the service off you are using a VPN.
  3. Channel 4 teams up with GeoIP databases like Maxmind to identify IP addresses. If the IP address your VPN provides is on one of these databases, Channel 4 will be able to find out where in the world you are connecting to the internet from, and it will block you.

These techniques can be very difficult for lesser VPNs to get around. Fortunately, the best VPNs for Channel 4 have measures to get around these blocking techniques. These measures will ensure you can watch Channel 4 reliably anywhere in the world. 

What VPNs work with Channel 4?

The VPNs that work with Channel 4 are the ones that are fast enough, secure enough, have servers all over the world and have measures in place to ensure they can get around Channel 4’s VPN blocking techniques.

From our tests, free VPNs often struggle with Channel 4. Free VPNs, more often than not, have the most customers around the world. This means there’s a much higher chance you’ll be sharing an IP address with hundreds of others, meaning it’s far easier for Channel 4 to identify and block your connection (as explained above.)

The best VPNs for Channel 4 and the ones we’ve been personally using to watch Channel 4 in New Zealand for years are ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month).

Both of these VPNs are incredibly fast and secure, and they have measures to ensure you can watch Channel 4 reliably anywhere in the world.

Can I watch Channel 4 outside the UK?

Yes, you can, but you need a reliable VPN that works with the streaming service. If you don’t use a VPN, Channel 4 can figure out you aren’t in the UK and will block your connection.

As explained above, a VPN can prevent this from happening by giving you an anonymous internet connection and by allowing you to make it look like you’re connecting to the internet from within the UK, even if you’re overseas. ‘

It’s important to know that not all VPNs work well with Channel 4. To watch the streaming service outside the UK reliably, you need a VPN that is compatible with the streaming service. We recommend ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month).

Channel 4 not working with VPN?

If you’re trying to watch Channel 4 with a VPN and it’s not or has stopped working, Channel 4 has managed to block the IP address your VPN has given you.

From here, you can wait to see if your VPN fixes the issue, or you can try and fix it yourself.

There are a few problems with waiting for the VPN to fix the issue. It might not be able to fix the problem, the fixes might take a long time, or the VPN might not even bother fixing it.

For these reasons, we recommend following our expert guide, which will show you how you can fix Channel 4 not working with VPN.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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