Using a Free VPN to Watch Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer in Japan

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Ah, the tyranny of distance that denies we English speakers in Japan our fix of top quality Tv!  Wait, is this 1985? Of course not, and the Television production firms do not need to load their film reels on a coal fired steamship to get them right here either. However, you would be forgiven for pondering this offered the massive delays and the archaic delivery approaches. Want to catch up on series three of Breaking Undesirable?  Well if you’re convinced by eiga dorobo man you’d greater head down to Tsutaya and hope the DVD is in stock – and good luck receiving something made in the last year. The well-liked option is of course to download a torrent. What ever your moral stance, there are two issues that suck with torrents. Firstly, they’re really illegal. Secondly, the discovery and the encounter is rubbish – poor quality video, slow downloads, corrupted files, restricted availability and you have to know what you want to get just before you go there. Enter the various web Tv services offered in the US, Canada and the UK.  Netflix, Hulu* and BBC iPlayer are all great solutions obtainable for a reasonable price. The undesirable news is of course that they’re all geo-restricted so you cannot use any of them – unless you use a VPN or some other service that masks your location. (* Considering that early 2014, Hulu in the US has been blocking identified VPN providers so it’s considerably more challenging to get now. Luckily, Japan is the only country outside the US with Hulu, so you can

sign up for Hulu Japan here – scroll down to switch to English.)

What’s a VPN and how do I use one particular?

You can consider of a Virtual Private Network as a tunnel by way of the internet that tends to make it appear that you are connecting to the net from a distinct geographical location. As well as masking your place, VPNs safeguard you from prying eyes (governments, crims and so on.) as your connection to the server is totally encrypted. Connecting to a VPN is unlikely to involve anything complex.  Most providers have their own apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.  If you’re on Linux or the provider does not have their personal computer software, then a bit of added config may well be necessary, but nothing also challenging.  Even if you do not know what an IP address is (it is a unique number that identifies all computer systems on the web) you can still use a VPN. So this post says Free of charge right? Yep – all the VPNs under provide free of charge service. Some are ad supported whilst other people offer you more limited totally free plans in addition to their paid solutions.  Also, becoming totally free, the service can differ hugely. Your experiences with the solutions beneath may possibly differ hugely from ours.

The Speed Benchmark

With all these solutions, there is a compromise in speed. Whilst connected, you won’t encounter the same speeds you are used to. In common, there are three measurements of value – ping time, download speed and upload speed.  Ping time measures the lag in your connection – the time till you commence getting information from a website. This is measured in milliseconds – thousandths of a second. The which means of download speed and upload speed need to be pretty obvious – even though for watching video, upload speed isn’t extremely essential.  For all these tests, I did 3 tests on speedtest.net.  If I got one truly low outcome, I discarded that and attempted once again. Here are my standard network speeds before connecting to a VPN.

Ping Download Upload
12ms 40Mbs 28Mbps

Hola! Unblocker

Web site: https://hola.org Strictly speaking, Hola! is not a VPN – it is a browser plug-in that requires more than your proxy settings. Offered for Chrome, Firefox and Android, it takes just 1 click to activate.  It’s completely free of charge and the speed is outstanding – considerably greater than any of the other cost-free VPNs previewed beneath. You can also connect to different areas in different browser tabs. It’s not perfect though – often it just does not operate. It also (as I described) requires more than your proxy settings – so even when it is switched off it gets in the way when utilizing other VPNs. It’s also rather opaque in terms of how your information is routed so we wouldn’t advise employing for anything except accessing blocked websites.

Ping Download Upload
192ms 27.1Mbps 7.8Mbps

ProXPN

Website: https://proxpn.com/

proxpn

Sign-up for ProXPN is swift and painless. As soon as you have an ID and password you can use these with the client software that you can download from their internet site. After started on the mac, the VPN controller that makes it possible for you to switch it on and off resides in the notifications bar at the prime appropriate of your screen. On the free of charge strategy, you can only connect via the ProXPN server in Florida although whatismyipaddress.com had my place as Ripley, Tennessee. The download is noticeably slow, though better than the speedtest.net results would indicate. For some reason speedtest.net kept incorrectly identifying my place as the UK but event switching to a New York primarily based server, the indicated speeds have been very slow. Surprisingly, even going by way of a VPN and making use of an incognito browser window in Chrome, the player on fox.com told me that I couldn’t access content material as I was outdoors of the US. I didn’t experience this with any other VPNs, so presumably Fox has cottoned on that folks use ProXPN servers to bypass geographical restrictions and has blacklisted them.  On Netflix nonetheless, I didn’t have a difficulty. For both it took the system I wanted to watch a minute or 2 to buffer. Soon after a handful of pauses at the start, the system played smoothly and in high good quality. For watching Netflix, ProXPN was my default until I discovered Hola! (which I’ll mention later).

Watching TV on Netflix

Watching Television on Netflix

Apart from the speed, the only true downside is the continual nagging. Each time you load a new site, you will get the ProXPN splash page and an artificial delay just before the web page starts loading.

Ping Download Upload
240ms .57Mbps .46Mbps

VPN Book

Site: vpnbook.com VPN book doesn’t even have paid accounts – all their plans have a $ value tag with their revenue from donations and the advertisements on their web site.  Set-up is not as easy as the other individuals as it doesn’t come with a client – you have to download an OpenVPN config bundle and then run your personal OpenVPN client.  The user name and password for employing it are the same for everyone.  Although this may possibly sound a tiny daunting, there is an easy to recognize guide on their website. Right after connecting to a US server, my IP address displayed as Virginia. Regardless of the slow download speeds, the ping time is reasonable, so following a small buffering in the first couple of minutes, streaming Hulu wasn’t a dilemma.  I was also capable to watch shows on fox.com – with lots of buffering in the very first handful of minutes. For UK VPNs, your mileage could vary. The very first UK server I tried to connect to failed. The second was so slow I couldn’t even load whatismyip.com  I connected to the third server effectively. I was able to play items on BBC iPlayer, even though there was very a bit of buffering at the commence.  When I played an episode of Best Gear, it streamed fine for a quick time, but then I got “insufficient bandwidth to stream this program” errors.  Luckily reloading the browser began the video off from exactly where it left off.

Location Ping Download Upload
US 288ms .44Mbps 1.09Mbps
UK 297ms 1.13Mbps .63Mbps

SecurityKISS

Web site: securitykiss.com/ To use the totally free service, you want to enter your e-mail to receive the PNPP login info (PNPP is a flavour of VPN).  As advised on their homepage, you will need to have to check your spam folder – that’s exactly where my e-mail ended up.  Your initial information will contain your User ID and password along with some servers that you can connect to.  Note that these IP Addresses at times adjust, so keep this handy. To find up to date IP addresses you will want to login to the client location on the SecurityKiss web site. As with vpnbook, there are detailed guidelines for every single device you can consider of. At least when I tested it, speed was by far the best of the free of charge VPSes.  Fox.com loaded rapidly and there was no buffering at all. There have been two UK servers – 1 failed, although I was able to connect to the other.   The UK server was certainly more rapidly than the VPNbook server, but not really as rapid as the US one. Also, there was a couple of erroneous final results with extremely, extremely low download speed – so there may well be connection dropouts. The big catch is that it’s restricted to 300MB/day. So even even though the streaming speed was great, the limit means it is most likely not sensible for streaming.  An episode of Physician Who on BBC iPlayer buffered for a couple of seconds at the start and then ran smoothly without interruption.

BBC's iPlayer

BBC’s iPlayer

The regular bandwidth of iPlayer is really a bit decrease than Netflix – normal top quality streaming is 320 to 340MB for an hour of video while High High quality streaming is 600-640MB, so you might get in a standard Tv episode prior to you hit your cap.  If you have a number of VPNs installed you can usually just switch.

Location Ping Download Upload
US 184ms 5.95bps five.36Mbps
UK 262ms 3.12Mbps 2.35Mbps

JustFreeVPN

Web site: justfreevpn.com Like VPNbook, JustFreeVPN is as the name suggests, an only cost-free VPN provider. No sign-up at all is essential with PPTP login details on the residence page of the website. At very first the speed on the US server seemed quite great. Nevertheless, it was the only VPN on which I got a “download error” on speedtest.net.  When it eventually ran, the benefits showed good latency (only 206ms) but low download speeds. As opposed to the other individuals, this VPN was checked in the evening rather than throughout the morning. Even though fox.com was available, buffering took a handful of minutes prior to the video could start. Then it buffered every single 30 seconds. JustFreeVPN could be a excellent VPN if you ever uncover your self behind the bamboo curtain and you need to have to try a couple of various VPNs so you can check your facebook. Despite the fact that they also have a UK server, I was unable to connect to it.

Ping Download Upload
206ms .35Mbps .36Mbps

Netflix Sign-up

Regardless of what you may possibly have heard, signing up for Netflix does not need a US/Canada address or credit card. I signed up using my Japan issued Visa card and I didn’t want to enter an address. To run Netflix, you’ll require to install Microsoft Silverlight. Do the Silverlight download prior to you start up your VPN to save on bandwidth and time.  The silverlight install is straightforward, but it requires up an extraordinary 101MB of space! Maintain in thoughts that 1 hour of Netflix video is about 1GB.  If you consider that a lot of totally free (and paid) VPN providers provide packages of 1GB or less, you can see that they’re subsequent to useless for streaming video by means of Netflix.  ProXPN, VPNbook and JustFreeVPN all enable limitless totally free download.

Watching on your Big Screen Tv

If you do not want to watch the telly on your tiny laptop screen, your options are to connect your laptop to your Television or use a streaming box/device – like Apple Television, Chromecast, Xbox or Roku Box. If you use a streaming box, you will not be able to set-up the VPN directly on the unit – you will want to choose up and configure a VPN router. Wireless routers with VPN capabilities are available from around 3,000yen. Unless you want to fiddle with settings all the time, you’d be greatest to purchase one particular wireless router that is dedicated to your VPN. If your laptop/computer/tablet is from Apple, you can use the AirPlay function of your Apple Tv to mirror your laptop screen onto the Television. Chrome Cast offers related functionality for Android devices and from their Chrome browser.

Other Free Solutions

  • CyberGhostVPN – Windows, Mac and Android App, restricted to 5 hours continuous use per day.
  • TorVPN – 1GB is cost-free but sign-up numbers are restricted.
  • Hot Spot Shield – supported by ads so didn’t test
  • Okay Freedom – Windows only – 500MB a month cost-free, you spend right after that. You can also get up to 1GB if you refer people.

Summary

Hola! Unblocker performed much much better than any of the others. Nonetheless, if you are concerned about privacy you’d be far better off employing ProXPN or Cyberghost VPN..

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