The best VPN services have become something of a hot topic in recent times, and although they’re super useful tools for staying private on the Internet and working from home, they can do a heck of a lot more besides that.
Over the next few weeks, we expect VPN use to rise sharply as people worldwide try to watch free Olympics live streams from abroad, or on work or school networks that forbid streaming – and it’s a super simple bypass once you know how to do it.
All you need to do is identify which country’s stream you want to watch (the UK’s BBC iPlayer and Australia’s 7Play are great free options), and then select a server in that country. Voila! You’ll have access to that stream from anywhere in the world.
The most difficult part is choosing which provider to go for, though, but we’ll explain exactly what to look for below. If you’re the impatient sort, we’ve got a quick rundown of the best services available, and to learn more about the best Olympic VPN deals, just click this link to be transported down the page.
What should you look for in a VPN?
If streaming the Games is your top priority, then you should make no sacrifices when it comes to a VPN’s ability to unblock content. Some lesser providers struggle with this – especially iPlayer, on which the Olympics is being fully broadcast – so make sure your chosen provider doesn’t fall at the first hurdle.
Privacy is also very important, though, and while you might just want to change your location to watch your favorite sporting events for free, once you’ve got access to a VPN you may find yourself using it more than you expected. You can protect your bank details when using public Wi-Fi, evade ad trackers, and even bypass government-censored sites.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your provider has a reliable money-back guarantee so you can trial the service before you commit – all of our recommended providers do. That way, if you discover it can’t unblock the right streaming service, you can get your money back with no issue.
What channels is the Olympics being shown on?
In the UK, the BBC has full rights to all Olympics coverage, with every broadcast also available on the iPlayer website for absolutely free. If you’re currently outside the UK, we recommend a dedicated iPlayer VPN to get access to every event.
In the US, NBC has broadcast rights, and different sports are being shown across a number of channels and on the NBC website. However, if you don’t have NBC with your cable package or you’ve cut the cord, we recommend signing up to Sling TV Blue – while it’s usually $35 a month, first-time users can get their first month for just $10.
In Canada, coverage is split between CBC, TSN, Sportsnet, and TLN, but only CBC will be showing live streams for free. However, some events won’t be available for free, so using a VPN may be a smart move.
Australians have it just about as good as Brits, with Channel 7 broadcasting the Games on TV, and its online counterpart 7Play also has all the action. To get access from outside Aus, a VPN will come in very handy.
For more comprehensive worldwide info, take a look at this useful page on Wikipedia.
The best Olympics VPN deals available
If you’re after a VPN to catch free coverage from abroad, there’s a whole host of great deals available right now. Here, we’ve run down the very best available:
Surfshark | 2 years | $2.49/mo | 81% off
Don’t be fooled by the bargain price – Surfshark is a swift swimmer and won’t be left behind the pack. Simple apps and unlimited device connections means you can keep up to date on your phone, PC, tablet, Apple TV and more, and at less than $2.50 a month, it’s a steal.
Private Internet Access | 3 years | $2.08/mo | 83% off
A stalwart of the industry, PIA is still an excellent choice. It can unblock BBC iPlayer, has advanced features like port forwarding to assist P2P users, and while it’s not quite as polished as the very best, at a meagre $2.08 a month, it’s excellent value.View Deal
Which VPNs are best for watching the Olympics?
Whether you want your VPN to excel at top-speed sprints or defend your privacy like a heavyweight, in our testing ExpressVPN has taken the gold every time.
However, big-name rival Nord is a close competitor with great streaming performance alongside wide server choice and a decent price to boot.
Another top choice is Surfshark, and while it often ranks as the underdog, it’s well-rounded enough to give the big guns a run for their money – and at just $2.49 a month, its super affordable.