Summary: Governments around the world are implementing harsh surveillance and censorship programs that block their citizens’ access to some of their favorite websites.
Some content providers have begun adopting these policies to help protect their copyright holders and adhere to the licensing agreements they have in place.
If you are in certain countries, like China or Saudi Arabia, you could find that access to your favorite sites has been restricted and you could even be punished for accessing them.
To ensure that you’re safe in these countries, and that you can visit your favorite websites, you will need to route your connection through a Virtual Private Network service.
Virtual Private Network services, or VPNs, allow you to route your connection through a server that’s based in a country where these censorship and surveillance programs are not in place.
VPN services also encrypt the information that’s being sent and received to your computer so your local government and hackers cannot intercept your private information or tell what you’re doing.
To keep yourself safe and secure and bypass restriction and surveillance programs with ExpressVPN, click here now.
Table of Contents
- Best VPN for Geo-Blocking
- Why You Should Trust Us
- Testing Methodology
- How We Tested Each VPN Service
- VPN Services You Should Avoid
- VPNs Disqualified Due to Missing Features
- VPNs Eliminated Due to Poor Reviews
- Top Three VPNs for Geo-Blocking
- Wrapping It Up
Why You Should Trust Us
At SecureThoughts, we take pride in maintaining our place at the head of the internet security and technology industries, and devote significant amounts of time and energy to staying up-to-date.
The researchers and writers on our team have made it their goal to help our readers overcome problems and keep themselves secure while they’re connected to the internet.
In 2017, there are hundreds of different VPN services available, and each and every service uses their marketing, advertising and sales messages to convince you they’re the best in the industry.
Unfortunately for most of them, there can be only one best VPN service for geo-blocking, and we are going to put them all through extended testing to find the service that truly claims the title.
How We Tested Each VPN Service
To help you overcome common geo-blocking issues, we’re going to put each of the 173 different VPN services to the test using a three-part elimination process.
To skip the methodology and go straight to our recommendations, click here now.
To begin the eliminations, we started by removing any service from our list that is primarily based in a country where they can be forced to track your activity on their network.
We then looked through the features offered by each service remaining, and eliminated any service that does not provide the tools we deem necessary for overcoming geo-blocking.
We also utilized third-party websites that consolidate reviews from past and current customers of the VPN services still on our list to help eliminate any service that has a poor reputation.
Finally, we put the remaining services through extended testing and compared them against each other while looking at five different criteria to find a winner.
Those criteria are:
Price – Price is helpful when comparing VPN services, because the most expensive aren’t always the best, and the cheapest priced services aren’t always low-quality.
Setup Process – We believe that you shouldn’t need a Computer Sciences degree to connect to a VPN service, and we test each service to determine how easy they are to connect to.
Ease of Use – We also verify that each service we recommend makes it easy to maintain a connection, and doesn’t require extensive help from the service’s customer support team.
Speed – Every service on our list, and those that receive our recommendation, has been put through extensive speed testing to ensure they provide fast and reliable connection speeds.
Customer Service – If you have problems with their service, the customer support team is going to become your best friend, which is why we’ve tested each by sending multiple different requests.
Below are the results we’ve found during our elimination and review process.
VPN Services You Should Avoid
When you’re trying to bypass geo-blocking restrictions, the last thing you want to deal with is a service that is tracking what you’re doing on their network.
Many countries participate in an agreement that forces internet services providers to track what you’re doing on their network, commonly known as “14 Eyes”.
The 14 Eyes agreement can force your internet service provider and VPN service to turn over logs of your activity to the local government, who can then use the logs to prosecute you.
VPN services that participate in this invasive program have been eliminated from our review. During initial research, we found that 123 different services are active participant in 14 Eyes.
VPNs Disqualified Due to Missing Features
As our elimination process moves forward, we’re going to be removing services from our list that do not offer features we deem necessary for bypassing geo-blocking and other restrictions.
We’ll break down each of the features that we’re looking for and give you examples of services that have been eliminated because the features are not included with your subscription.
Criteria #1: OpenVPN Support
Any time you connect to a VPN or other internet service, they are going to be using one of many different protocols to handle your connection to their servers.
It’s widely accepted in the industry that OpenVPN is one of the most secure and easiest to use protocols, which is why we’ve eliminated any VPN service that doesn’t utilize OpenVPN.
AnonVPN and Betternet are two examples of services that have been removed because they do not support OpenVPN.
Criteria #2: Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer
Depending on the types of content you’re attempting to access, you could find yourself consuming large amounts of bandwidth and having your account access limited by some VPN services.
Any VPN service that has policies in place where they can limit your connection speeds or access to your account due to bandwidth consumption have been eliminated from our list.
Celo and Cloak are two services that will limit your account access for excessive data consumption, and have been eliminated.
Criteria #3: No Data Logging Policies
Many internet service providers will track what you’re doing on their network when you have problems so it’s easier for them to diagnose and fix the issue.
However, governments can force these services to turn over your activity logs so the logs can be used to prosecute you. Services that track your activity have been eliminated due to this risk.
Hola!VPN and Seed4Me are two services that have been known to track your network activity and have been eliminated from our list.
Criteria #4: Support for Multiple Operating Systems
When you’re facing geo-location restrictions, every device you use to connect to the internet will need to be connected to the VPN service to bypass the restrictions.
Any VPN service that provides software that isn’t compatible with mainstream operating systems, or becomes buggy and unreliable with different operating systems, has been eliminated from our list.
IntelliVPN and SunVPN are two services that have buggy and unreliable software included with your subscription that we’ve removed from our list.
Criteria #5: Support Multiple Concurrent Connections
When you attempt to connect to your VPN service’s network with multiple devices at the same time, you could find yourself facing slower connection speeds, or having your connections dropped.
To keep you from dealing with this frustrating experience, we’ve eliminated any service that does not allow you to maintain multiple active connections to their network.
IBVPN and HotVPN are two services that will become slow and unreliable if you attempt to connect with multiple devices at the same time, and have been eliminated from our list.
Criteria #6: Free Trials, Refunds and Money-Back Guarantee
We want to ensure that our readers can find a VPN service that works for them, and that they have the same experience that we’ve had with each service we recommend.
To ensure you can move on to a new service if you have a different experience than we had, we have eliminated services that do not offer free-trial periods or a money-back guarantee.
VPN Shield and VPNBaron are two services that lack refund policies or free trials that we’ve eliminated from our list.
Criteria #7: No Peer2Peer Blocking
Many content-streaming services will use Peer2Peer filesharing technology to stream your TV shows and movies in high-definition while reducing the load on their servers.
Any VPN service on our list that blocks your access to Peer2Peer filesharing technology or networks has been eliminated from being eligible for receiving our recommendation.
LibertyVPN and VPNJack are two services that block access to Peer2Peer filesharing technology that we’ve eliminated.
Criteria #8: No Mandatory SMTP Blocking
Many VPN services have also begun blocking access to SMTP ports because spammers have been using the services to send out unsolicited emails.
To ensure you do not have to disconnect from the VPN service, send your emails and then reconnect, we’ve eliminated any services that block access to SMTP ports.
Tunnelbear and TorVPN are two services that we’ve eliminated because they block access to sending emails while you’re connected to their servers.
VPNs Eliminated Due to Poor Reviews
To continue our elimination process, we’ve browsed third-party websites to verify reviews from past and current customers for each service remaining on our list.
Any VPN that received consistently negative reviews, or has developed a poor reputation on these websites, has been eliminated from being eligible for our recommendation.
Top Three VPNs for Geo-Blocking
After a lengthy elimination process, we’ve managed to dwindle our original list of 173 services down to a total of three services. Each service is vying to receive our top recommendation.
Each of the remaining three services will be reviewed based on five criteria:
- Setup Process
- Ease of Use
- Customer Service
The remaining three services have been compared against each other using extended testing processes to find the best VPN service for geo-blocking and content restrictions.
#1 ExpressVPN – (9.5 / 10) – The Best VPN Service for Geo-Blocking
When you’re looking for the absolute best VPN service to help overcome geo-blocking and location-based content restrictions, ExpressVPN is the clear winner.
The packages that ExpressVPN offers keep them competitive, relative to other VPN services. You can get a single-month subscription for $12.95 and a 12-month subscription for $8.32.
The software they supply with your subscription is simple to install and configure, allowing you to establish a connection without requiring help from customer support.
You can tell that ExpressVPN spends a substantial amount of resources ensuring they have one of the strongest networks in the industry.
While performing speed tests, we’ve found that ExpressVPN offers the fastest speeds we’ve experienced, ranking at the top of the charts in tests performed through the US and the UK.
If there are problems with your account or your connection to their servers, ExpressVPN customer support are helpful and answered most of the requests we submitted within 60 minutes.
While ExpressVPN did outperform other services in nearly every area of our review, we do believe they have room for improvement in a couple of different areas.
First, ExpressVPN responded to our customer support requests quickly, but there was one instance where it took them three hours to answer a message we submitted.
We also noticed that they ranked #2 when we performed speed tests through servers that are based in Australia. This may be attributed to the load on the servers when we ran the test, though.
Summary: At the end of our review process, we’ve found that ExpressVPN is the best VPN service currently available for bypassing geo-blocking and content restrictions.
They offer one of the strongest networks we’ve tested, the fastest connection speeds, a helpful customer support team that responds quickly and competitive pricing, making them our #1 choice.
To bypass geo-blocking and location-based content restrictions with ExpressVPN, click here now.
#2 IPVanish – (7.5 / 10) – Suitable if ExpressVPN isn’t Available for You
Even though we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure we have found and recommended the best VPN service currently available, your experience may not necessarily match ours.
If you find yourself having issues with the ExpressVPN service and need an alternative solution, IPVanish may be the alternative you’re looking for.
IPVanish offers multiple different subscription packages, and they are one of the cheapest services we’ve tested, charging $7.50 per month, or $4.87 per month for 12-month plans.
They provide software that is compatible with their network and most mainstream operating systems, making it simple to install, configure and connect to their network within a few minutes.
If you happen to have issues with their service or your account, their customer service team is helpful and responded to most of our requests within three hours.
The network that IPVanish has built is stronger than most of the other services we’ve tested, and they deliver reliable connection speeds that are fast enough for most internet uses.
Even though IPVanish performed relatively well, there were areas that we believe they could improve in order to compete with the service that ExpressVPN delivers.
For instance, in one case, we waited more than 24 hours to receive a response to a request that we submitted to their customer support team.
We also noticed that the speeds they offer were slower than ExpressVPN. They claimed the #2 spot in tests based out of the UK and US, and #3 spot in tests performed in Australia.
Summary: In nearly every area that we’ve tested these services in, ExpressVPN easily outperformed IPVanish. However, IPVanish is still a suitable alternative if ExpressVPN isn’t available for you.
They do offer a strong network and reliable connection speeds, a good customer support team that is helpful when they respond and are one of the lowest priced services we’ve tested.
If you would like to know more about IPVanish, you can visit their site by clicking here.
#3 HideMyAss – (5.5 / 10) – Not Recommended
While we are ranking HideMyAss in our third spot, their ranking does not necessarily mean we are recommending them to our readers as a viable service for bypassing geo-blocking.
During extended testing, we’ve found that HideMyAss performed poorly in nearly every single category, and the problems we experienced persisted until the end.
The only area where we didn’t have problems with the HideMyAss service was downloading, installing and configuring the software that’s provided with your subscription.
Downloading and configuring the software was relatively simple, and we used it to establish a connection to their network within a few minutes of paying for our subscription.
Once connected to the HideMyAss network, though, our problems began. We found it difficult to maintain a reliable connection to their servers.
The different subscription levels that HideMyAss offers are also some of the most expensive in the industry, costing $16.99 per month, or $9.29 for 12 months when paid in advance.
While performing speed tests, we were unable to obtain accurate results because of the connection problems that we experienced.
We attempted to email the customer support team at HideMyAss for assistance with the problems we were having, and waited more than 24 hours to receive a response in nearly every instance.
Summary: If you’re stuck dealing with geo-blocking and location-based content restrictions, there are better services available than HideMyAss.
During our review, we’ve found that ExpressVPN is currently the best choice for geo-blocking and other restrictions. If they’re not available, IPVanish is still better than HideMyAss.
If you want to learn more about HideMyAss, you can do your own research by clicking here.
Wrapping It Up
When you live in certain countries that have implemented harsh geo-blocking and content restrictions, you will need to use a VPN service to bypass the restrictions and access your favorite websites.
Virtual Private Network services allow you to route your connection through a server that’s located in a country that doesn’t face the same restrictions.
After extensive testing, we have found that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services currently available for helping you bypass geo-blocking and location-based content restrictions.
To learn more about ExpressVPN and bypass geo-blocking restrictions, click here now.