Twitch was first created by the team behind Justin.tv, which helped revolutionize online streaming, video podcasting, and live broadcasts. Twitch was created for gamers to livestream themselves playing games to communities of gamers watching from all over the world. YouTube for some reason decided to pay little attention to the video game streaming industry for a long time, leaving Twitch to grow a community of millions of streamers and viewers. It was no surprise that gamers jumped on the video platform, enabling them to show off their gaming skills, build a subscriber list and earn an income from streaming their gameplay.
It’s now arguable that there are more people watching others play games, than actually playing at one time. With special events, competitive gaming tournaments and unique content created all over the world, Twitch has championed a completely new, subset community industry in gaming.
Streamers send their source video and audio to Twitch’s platform, which in turn handles the distribution of the feed to the world through their servers. This does cause some lag issues for certain parts of the world. For example, if you’re watching a stream from South Korea, but are located in Brazil, you may find it difficult to get a good stream when using the highest quality source option. With today’s advanced graphics, and with the advancements in ultra-HD, streaming at 480p kind of sucks.
Gamers themselves can benefit in many ways from VPN, as well as protecting their data and IP from being sniffed. Unfortunately, many gamers are running into malicious DDoS attacks. The worst cases have to be those of kids in the U.S. “Swatting” another gamer using his IP.
When choosing a VPN service for Twitch, you want to consider what you actually need it for. If you’re a gamer and streamer yourself, a fast VPN service with good upload bandwidth reliability and fast ping times are important. If you’re just looking to unlock content, or get faster speeds from overseas streams, you can get away with a less expensive service.
Best VPN Services to Unblock Twitch
Private Internet Access – Full Review
If you don’t want to spend much, but still want a good service with minimal speed loss, and reliable security, Private Internet Access can deliver with thousands of servers to handled bandwidth. They do not provide as many locations as some, covering only 18+ countries, but with lots of coast to coast servers in the U.S., they can most likely answer your needs. PIA also has one of the lowest costing services, and allow up to 5 simultaneous connections per account, making them a perfect budget VPN for Twitch, without sacrificing too much on quality.
ExpressVPN – Full Review
If you’re an all in gamer that has more than just a PC, ExpressVPN is a very interesting choice. Covering almost 80 countries, they have one of the largest fast VPN networks with some of the software clients I’ve used. Furthermore, if you own an Xbox, Playstation, or Apple TV, the service includes a SmartDNS configuration at no extra cost. The service costs more than most competitors, but you get what you pay for.
IPVanish – Full Review
Surfshark – Full Review
Surfshark’s amazing speeds make it another great choice for Twitch as it enables you to access your favorite streams without delays. You can bypass restrictions easily by connecting to a server in a location where Twitch is available. In addition, you can keep your real IP address hidden, which gives you anonymity. Surfshark offers easy to use apps that include features that will enhance the security of your connection. Since Surfshark doesn’t keep logs of your activities, it is also a good solution for privacy conscious users. You can access servers in over 50 countries at the moment, but the network is set to grow even more.
Stream on Twitch Prime
Given that Amazon acquired Twitch, it doesn’t come as a surprise to find out that Twitch Prime is now included with Amazon Prime membership. This means that if you have Amazon Prime, it possible to access all the features supported by Twitch Prime without paying an additional charge. All you have to do is to link both accounts to get all the benefits that are supported. These include free shipping, unlimited one-day delivery, access to over two million songs without ads, as well as an extraordinary catalog of movies and TV shows.
Twitch Prime allows you to access free game downloads, free in-game items and bonus loot available on a monthly basis. You can also expect amazing surprises and enjoy an ad-free streaming experience. You can subscribe to a new Twitch channel every 30 days without having to pay extra. Keep in mind that it is only possible to get Twitch Prime in countries where Amazon Prime is supported. At the moment, the list includes Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, France, United States and United Kingdom. If you are in a location where Amazon Prime is not available, you can get Twitch Turbo instead. Another simple option to enjoy all the advantages of Amazon Prime, even if you don’t live in a country where it is available, is to get a VPN service. This will help you to mask your location and get an IP address from one of the countries where Amazon Prime is currently available.
Why is Twitch blocked?
Twitch is a highly popular gaming and streaming platform, but due to some restrictions, not everyone can enjoy the tournaments and exclusive releases that are available through it.
Twitch made its appearance back in 2011 as part of Justin.tv, a popular streaming solution. Soon, Twitch, which specialized on video games, gained millions of followers and Justin.tv was renamed after it. In 2014, Twitch was sold to Amazon. Nowadays, it is estimated that there are over 100 million viewers. The increasing popularity is even more remarkable considering that the content is produced by users who share their love for gaming.
The social networking element has been key to Twitch’s success since users can not only stream content, but also interact with others and create communities. The platform offers a space for all kinds of gamers and it hosts different kinds of tournaments. There are talk shows, performance, live arts, users who share their gaming skills and more. The IRL channel, launched in 2015, give users the chance to comment, subscribe and post emojis. Users can also create their own channels. Twitch is available on Android, iOS, PS 3 and 4, as well as Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
There are different reasons why you may be prevented from accessing Twitch and we are going to go through each of them to help you understand better why you are facing issues.
- Online censorship and geo-blocks – One of the main causes of issues to get access to Twitch and other popular services is online censorship. There are countries where local internet censorship laws prevent people to enjoy freedom when it comes to accessing the content that they want. Social media platforms like Twitch are generally affected by these type of restrictions since they are not able to control the content that is posted, streamed or shared on their platforms. Furthermore, countries that apply online censorship usually have strict laws that hinder freedom of expression. Their definition of what is acceptable or not usually relies on religious and political factors. If you are in a location where the internet is censored, you are likely to be able to access Twitch.
- There are also cases in which certain content is not available in some countries. This can happen even in countries that generally don’t impose online censorship. Due to copyright issues, some content may be blocked in your location and the only way to get access to it is by masking your IP address, so that you can appear as if you were connecting from a different place. We’ll talk more about how you can do this, later on.
- Network blocks – In some places (usually companies and schools) the network administrators implement restrictions to stop people from getting access to certain websites including those that stream media content like Twitch. Work and school networks usually have these restrictions in place to ensure that you focus on your tasks or studies. These type of restrictions are also implemented in some places like restaurants and public transport.
- IP bans – Another reason why you may not be able to get access to Twitch is IP bans. If Twitch believes that someone has acted against their terms of service, the IP address related to that activity may be banned. The problem is that this could end up affecting people that are not even aware of the supposed infringement. For instance, if you have roommates who also use Twitch and who share your IP address (which is likely the case since you are probably using the same WiFi connection). If they do something that Twitch considers as a violation of their terms of service, the IP address will be banned, which will also prevent you from accessing the platform. The same can happen if your IP address is hacked, so as you can see, anyone can face bans, even without doing anything to deserve it.
Other issues that can affect your experience with Twitch
Even if you are not completely blocked, you may still face issues with Twitch. For instance, you may notice that the platform is slower than usual. This may be because your ISP is throttling your connection. Some providers may block Twitch DNS servers, hoping that you upgrade to a more expensive plan or they may try to charge you extra for giving you a seamless streaming experience. You can find out if your ISP is messing with your Twitch streaming with the help of a simple test. You can check your overall bandwidth and compare it with the specific speed of Twitch. If you notice a significant difference between them, it is likely that your ISP is throttling your streaming.
Regardless of the cause, facing blocks or issues when using Twitch can be very frustrating for avid gamers. The good news is that there is something that you can do to avoid these blocks and enjoy throttle-free access to Twitch. The answer is using a VPN service and here we will tell you more about it. \
How does a VPN work and how can it help?
As we previously mentioned, the solution to overcome geographical restrictions is masking your IP address, to appear as if you were in a different location. Well, a VPN can do this and more. This is a practical technology that offers many advantages for Twitch users. When you use a VPN, your traffic is rerouted through a secure server that is usually located in a different country. When you connect to that server, your real IP address is hidden and replaced with the VPN assigned by that server. When you access Twitch, it will appear as if you were somewhere else. The fact that your IP address is masked also means that you can get around IP bans.
Although there are free VPNs, we highly recommend that you use a paid service because you will get better speeds, reliable performance and higher security. Free services have many downsides, including the fact that they could be selling your data to third parties, since they still need to make money. Even if they don’t sell your information, you will probably face slow performance, bandwidth limits and other issues. This is why you are better off going for a premium service like ExpressVPN, which has thousands of servers available, amazing speeds and a high level of security. We also recommend NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, VyperVPN and Private Internet Access. None of them keep logs of your online activities.
I hope this list has helped you find a VPN provider that can better your internet performance on Twitch, or at least encrypt and protect your personal data, while unblocking geographically restricted content. Just remember that using servers from very distant locations can actually add lag and longer response times. That is why picking a good VPN for Twitch can be hard when looking for free services, as they rarely provide the needed bandwidth and quality for video streams. Paying a few dollars a month should land you a much better experience.