Although we as consumers know that virtual private networks and content streaming go like peanut butter and jelly, the content providers and VPNs were never on the best of terms. This is why picking out the best VPN for streaming becomes slightly difficult sometimes.
If the left corner you have VPN providers, especially premium VPN providers, who make their living by offering customers safe and anonymous networks that will encrypt their data and mask their IP address, even changing it to another continent if needed.
And in the right corner, you have both the large streaming platforms, like Netflix and Hulu, as well as some of the “legacy media”, that REALLY want to collect data on their viewers. They want to know who watches, which shows, when, and where.
The current situation and the probable future doesn’t predict a victory for either side, but rather a stalemate due to market demands and developing technology.
Streaming services came to an understanding that outright disabling access from VPN servers might cost them customers who have concerns about their cybersecurity, which is not a small number.
VPN providers, on the other hand, realized that it is best to adapt to streaming services and offer their customers better access to legitimate and legal options, rather than torrents and pirated content. Premium providers like Le VPN have adapted to provide the best experience for streaming users, without necessarily infringing on their rights and business.
What is a Streaming Platform?
While most managers and owners of streaming platforms today would mention how they had the idea of streaming content from their never-ending focus on the consumer, this is very far from the truth.
Streaming, and especially streaming of videos, first started with pirated videos and torrent software such as LimeWire or Azeures, where those who had high-speed internet at the time could start playing their content before it was fully downloaded.
Streaming music was already popular in this way for several years, as services like Napster offered the same “play as you download” function.
And, while legacy media and movie studios were busy fighting against pirated streams, current streaming platforms were thinking about how they would be able to streamline and commercialize this technology.
Once a now discontinued Google Videos launched in 2005, other streaming services followed. Dailymotion and YouTube started the same year, with the next two years seeing a stellar rise in streaming platforms which hasn’t really stopped to this day.
History of VPN and Streaming
Virtual private networks have already been around for a while once streaming became even possible. And, while the history of VPN has been tied mostly to network security, it’s benefits for surpassing censorship have been evident from the very beginning.
As VPN providers and servers found natural allies in Peer to Peer (P2P) networking software, including Napster, Azureus (Vuze), and uTorrent, they weren’t so happily accepted by the large streaming companies, as well as several members of the legacy media that wanted to squash any type of software that may influence their profits.
Only once the streamers won over their DVD-based competition and started pressuring the US and other governments to ban or sanction various torrent sharing and P2P websites, such as Megaupload in 2012, there was a reason for VPN providers to focus on working with the streamers and find a solution to make good quality VPN for streaming.
Currently, while streaming services such as Netflix are blocking some VPN IP addresses from using VPN for Netflix, premium VPN providers such as Le VPN that have safe and reliable connections are still unblocking the majority of streaming platforms and live streaming of the most popular media channels.
The Bust of Blockbuster
While not for the same reasons as Enron or similar companies, Blockbuster became one of the cautionary tales of companies in the 21st century.
From over 9000 stores that the company operated at its peak, there is currently only one DVD store called “Blockbuster” in Bend, Oregon. The corporation is legally defunct, making this a private store.
The CEO of Blockbuster didn’t believe in the rise of streaming services and decided not to buy Netflix in 2000 for $50 million. Netflix now has total assets of about $350 billion.
Are VPNs Legal?
The answer to this question depends on where you are around the world, but in most countries, it is legal to have and use a VPN for all services. You have probably already found out are VPNs legal in your country, as even some of their websites would be blocked.
Some countries, for either religious or political reasons, don’t allow access to certain websites, or browsing of certain content, but even in these cases, it is not illegal to use a VPN, just to access that specific content on your device.
There are some efforts in certain parts of the world to block domestic internet service providers (ISP) from accessing VPN servers, but as this rule would be almost impossible to enforce, no larger efforts on this front were made.
Issues Streaming Services have With VPNs
There are two main issues that all streaming services have with VPN connections in general.
From the business perspective, the issue of copyright and licensing is a big one, as it creates a rift between regional licensing companies and streaming services. That is the exact reason why Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon are unable to stream to certain regions, as they don’t hold the license to that content in those regions. VPNs bypass those geographic limitations allowing all users around the world access global internet and its content free of any boundaries, or just the way the Internet was initially designed to be.
The second issue is mostly focused on free VPN providers as well as enthusiast servers that don’t have the newest security protocols. Fortunately, most premium VPN providers that don’t pose any security concerns (quite the contrary) are allowed by almost all digital streaming services.
Finally, legacy media corporations remain in the picture, down but not out. While there is little chance that these companies will survive the changes in technology without transforming, they still have a major influence on both the market and the governments of the world.
Legacy Media Influence
Legacy media is a derogatory term for newspapers and television that haven’t passed to digital streaming and alternative content. While they are at a major technological disadvantage, the financial value and government connection of these companies alone have made them survive so far.
Most large media corporations were comfortable in their role as regional juggernauts, not competing with their foreign counterparts and slowly buying smaller companies over time. As the internet has made their whole business model obsolete, they constantly lobby for bans and restrictions on both streaming services and VPN providers.
Currently, some legacy media giants, like the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), are actively blocking all VPN providers.
While there are some cloak & dagger solutions to this blockade, such as tricking the BBC iPlayer software, most foreign viewers just stopped watching the channel over a VPN in favor of other means of information and entertainment. Those viewers who understood the advantages of using a premium VPN like Le VPN are still enjoying their British shows live and in replay from any location in the world, as if they were back in the UK.
Copyright and Licensing
As most streaming service subscriptions cost the same in all parts of the world, companies like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or Amazon, are not really affected by users using best VPNs to access foreign catalogs.
Additionally, they still get the metrics on viewership regardless of the IP address accessing, making it all the same for the service itself.
What has an impact on streaming services is the ability to purchase a license for any movie, series, or other content, without breaking the law of other countries.
Due to the pressure of media corporations and production houses, streaming services have different databases depending on the country you are connecting from.
Piracy and Torrents
While most VPN users don’t regularly torrent or share copyrighted data and use a VPN mostly for security reasons, the possibility of easy and anonymous P2P and torrent sharing is enough for most services to be wary from VPN providers.
This will probably remain a contested issue between VPN providers and all digital media companies.
No VPN provider will survive the exclusion of P2P services on their servers, and while these are active, there is a constant possibility for someone to ”download a car”.
VPN vs. Streaming War: Modern Warfare
While on the outside, it might seem that not much is going on, there is a perpetual arms race between VPN providers and most other actors on the digital scene, save anti-virus and security software developers.
With the rise of government censorship and content blockages, we see more frequent use of VPN for torrenting, as well as stronger encryption options. Currently, most premium VPN providers have military-grade encryption, as well as a server in several countries.
Le VPN alone has servers in 100+ locations worldwide, with some countries housing multiple servers.
Streaming services tried to combat VPNs by implementing a logging policy, but with an opposite effect. While some streams prevent you from accessing their service outside of the country you installed their app in, citing that it is not secure, they have just forced people who change their location IRL to use a VPN to reconnect to their home country.
Travelers usually need a VPN software now just for their devices to operate normally.
Third Party Instigation
Apart from the distrust that exists between VPNs and Streaming services, there is a lot of third party instigation for both streaming companies to block VPN servers and the VPNs to block streaming sites.
Depending on the region, this push can either come from parties that have business interests even for safest and best VPN for streaming not working, such as distributors of DVDs and local televisions, or the government itself.
Political and religious reasons are often to blame when it comes to banning entertainment. Countries like China ban movies like Marvel’s Deadpool for graphic content, while theocratic Iran banned Harry Potter due to the portrayal of witchcraft. No mention of wizardry.
Governments on the Side of Control
Even in the case of countries that have little interest in media censorship, most global governments are keeping an eye on VPN providers as there are more uses where their services would diminish the possible control from the government and its agencies with ease.
As a good virtual private network can ensure the privacy of their users regardless of their locations and devices, including the use of a public Wi-Fi, it is possible to purchase goods and services without any institutional oversight.
Additionally, as an increasing number of companies and people accepts BitCoin and other crypto-currencies, this diminishes the capacity of the government and internal revenue services to control and calculate these transactions if the user is connecting through a good VPN.
How to Pick out the Best VPN for Streaming?
While most CEOs of streaming companies probably dream of VPN providers disappearing overnight, that is not likely to happen.
If we are mindful about our cybersecurity and wish to connect to servers worldwide with ease, we will still need to select the best VPN for streaming that is currently available.
While individual users might need some special features, there are a few that need to be included in every streaming VPN you buy, with the word “buy” being operative in all cases. The best VPN service will always be the premium service, both for mobile VPN users, and those looking for secure options in their home.
Regrettably, free VPNs have proven to lack the capacity to keep VPN users and their video streaming secure.
Premium providers live from offering their services and always have the most advanced security protocols and network systems available. Additionally, you should have simultaneous access on multiple devices without any significant impact of bandwidth. This includes having apps for Windows, Android, iOS, as well as Mac.
Regardless of your subscription plan, the best VPN for streaming must place privacy and security as their number one priority. The encryption must work seamlessly between your device and the server, protecting you even if you are using busy Wi-Fi hotspots or a Wi-Fi network at work.
Any snoopers, hackers, or harmful software must be blocked instantly, and with as little of a loss to traffic speed as possible.
Finally, the safety of the virtual private network that you are using shouldn’t depend on the operating system of your device.
Only once everything is safe, you might connect to streaming sites of your choosing.
When searching the best VPN for streaming, the obvious second thing you should look for is unblocking geo-restrictions.
For this to happen with safety and ease, the virtual private network needs to have server locations in as many places as possible. This is not solely because having options is a good thing, but also because you will want to access streaming sites from different countries and access their respective catalogs.
Premium providers will allow you access to all content, regardless if you have an Apple TV box, making a Kodi VPN connection, or watching some exclusive private streaming video from your mobile VPN device.
Once you can access Netflix for their US database, you may be able to use some other Netflix hack to browse other genres or shows in different languages.
Finally, you can even use these servers to access YouTube from different countries, which is not only entertaining but can be quite educational.
Speed and Connectivity
Last but not least, the bandwidth your VPN provides is important if you want to have a good experience with your streaming subscription.
Different VPN providers have tackled the question of internet speed differently, as a VPN server on general doesn’t need to be slower than the speed offered by your ISP, but will always have a larger ping. Although going at the speed of light, the speed of electrons is not infinite.
Some VPN providers use a DNS server, namely a SmartDNS to access certain content. The best VPN for streaming will always have a DNS leak protection, but this type of connection is not safe on the far end, as the content you are accessing will still see your IP address unchanged.
Companies like Le VPN have opted to allow SmartDNS connections for very specific content using their HybridVPN. But, this will work on a very limited number of channels that are deemed to be secure. Read on here to understand the difference of Smart DNS vs VPN vs HybridVPN and which option to choose for streaming.
What Can We Expect in the Future?
While divination is becoming an increasingly difficult science even for the biggest experts, it is most probable that technology will continue to develop, making this conflict between VPN providers and streaming services ridiculous, if not obsolete.
Your best streaming sites will become faster and with more content, while the best VPN for streaming will have even greater privacy and security, regardless of the name of the network.
Rise of Cybersecurity Concerns
By everything we see today, cybersecurity techniques and solutions will continue to develop with increasing speed. While the individual will never be so secure that they can relax, we will all have more options than we do today.
Additionally, more people will connect to the internet with a higher bandwidth, which will allow faster traffic and even more complex security protocols.
Finally, while the VPN services for streaming will have an app for every platform, including the same Android, iOS, Linux, as well as an app for Windows Mobile, those apps will spread to other devices, including IoT appliances.
While the cold, digital, war between VPN providers and streaming services will probably “rage” for another few years, having the best VPN for streaming will become easier and more accessible to an increasing number of people.
With a military-grade encryption and locations around the world, premium providers like Le VPN will continue to support their customers in their quest for content.
In the end, whatever the outcome, it is important for us as individuals and users to stay safe and to keep demanding better services for lower costs. If we all work in our best interest, we will all have more, in the end, to share with others, both via live chat and by P2P torrent. Ahoy!
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