Why is Channel 4 unavailable outside of the UK?

Why is Channel 4 unavailable outside of the UK?

You can’t watch Channel 4 abroad because of the TV licensing deals. Since copyright laws differ depending on a location, streaming services are forced to strike individual TV rights deals with each country. Most streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu, abide by these rules as well. That’s why Netflix in the US is different from Netflix in South Korea.

Channel 4 doesn’t have any licensing agreements with countries outside of the UK, so if you want to access the channel, you either need to move to the UK or get a VPN.

I can’t really advise you on moving to the UK, but I can talk in more detail about a VPN.

What steps do you need to take to watch Channel 4?

In some cases, downloading a VPN will result in full access to the streaming service, but it might be trickier for other users. Let’s see which VPN works with Channel 4 and what additional steps you might need to take to watch it.

Get a VPN that offers servers in the UK

1. Download Surfshark and create an account.

2. In the app, search for “United Kingdom” and connect to one of the server locations (I chose London).

United Kingdom servers location

3. Go to the Channel 4 website and create an account. If you already have an account, skip the next step.

4. For the new Channel 4 users: sign up for the service just like any other. You will only need to provide your email address and a name. Unless you want to upgrade to an ad-free version (called All 4+), they won’t ask you to fill in any credit card information.

And that’s it. Tune into The Great British Bake Off or whatever else floats your boat!

I’ve tested these steps myself, and the only problem I ran into was Channel 4 asking me to turn off an ad blocker. However, some people might not be as lucky and will need to take extra steps for the same result.

Let’s dive in.

Clear browser cache so websites don’t store your geo-location

If you visit a website while you’re not connected to a VPN and then come back when your VPN is on, the contents of the said site might still be unavailable to you.

You may ask why. Simply put, sites use cookies to remember your activity and the location of your device, as well as for targeted advertising purposes.

Cookies can be a hurdle when you’re trying to access geo-blocked websites. That’s why you should clear them from your browser before connecting to a VPN.

To stop sites from collecting cookies, use private browsing mode (e.g., Incognito mode on Chrome browser) when you visit them.

Change location and timezone on your device

Many streaming services only use IP-blocking technology to deny access to those connecting from a different country. But Channel 4 also uses geo-blocking software to detect the location of your device.

In case they detect that your device is not in the UK, you’ll need to tinker with your location and timezone settings.

  1. Go to your device’s settings and change the location to the United Kingdom.
  2. Set the time zone of your device to London’s. It’s GMT +0 during winter months and GMT +1 (or BST) during Daylight Saving Time.
  3. To make sure everything works, restart your device.

Sign up with a UK address and postal code

When I was creating an account, I didn’t need to provide a valid postal code, but in case you do, choose any legit UK postal code. You can easily find one by doing a quick Google search.

Disable ad-blockers (don’t forget CleanWeb!)

Since Channel 4 allows you to watch their shows for free, you have to sit through ads. If you have any ad blockers on your device or browser, Channel 4 will let you know as soon as you click Play on a show you want to watch.

If you have our ad blocker CleanWeb enabled on your Surfshark app, untick it as well! You can find it in the Features section of the app.

Features section on Surfshark VPN

Why you should choose Surfshark

Here’s why you should go for Surfshark as your Channel 4 VPN:

  1. Servers in the UK. When you sign up for Surfshark, you get access to all of our UK servers.
  2. Fast and lag-free connection speed. Surfshark’s been ranked as a top 3 VPN for download speed.
  3. Unlimited devices. Create one account and use it simultaneously across multiple devices!
  4. Up-to-date VPN protocols, including WireGuard®. Surfshark uses OpenVPN, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, and WireGuard*, currently regarded as the best security protocols.
  5. Strict no-logs policy. Surfshark doesn’t track your IP address, browsing history, used bandwidth, session information, network traffic, and connection timestamps.

*WireGuard is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld.

Final thoughts

Channel 4 offers a wide variety of entertainment. It’s no surprise that even people outside of the UK want to get their hands on it!

To do so, you should get a VPN provider that has servers in the UK. If the streaming service still determines that you’re outside of the country, you need to change your device’s location and time zone, as well as clear browser cache and use a UK postal code.

Happy watching!

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