Technology made it easy for us to access things like streaming services, but it also equally made it easy for operators to block us out. This is why, if you are outside South Africa, you should not be surprised if you cannot access some South African content.
This is called geo-blocking. Geo-blocking is made possible by the identification of your current IP address. The operator of the streaming service that you want to access limits which countries could access the site. The same thing goes with other sites like online casinos.
VPN: the geo-blocking solution
Your internet service provided in your current location transmits an IP address. As such, the South African website computers “know” that you are not in the country.
To fix this, you have to “mask” your IP Address. But how?
By using a software program called VPN.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a software program that you have to install on either your computer or mobile device. What it does is that it allows you to “mask” your current IP address and replace it with a new one.
Let us say that you are currently in Singapore, a blocked country by a South African streaming service. If you use a VPN, you simply choose the country of South Africa on the program, and it will replace your IP identity.
In a nutshell, this is how it works:
- Your device is using the IP address of Singapore
- You activate the VPN and choose South Africa as your location
- The VPN sends a signal to the South African streaming website that YOU ARE IN AFRICA
- South African streaming service allows you to access their website
Simple, right? It is called masking because your IP address is like “wearing” a new face.
A quick guide to installing VPN
In this section, we will provide you with some steps on how to make this work. Here is how it goes:
- Step 1: Choose a VPN provider
- Step 2: Register for an account
- Step 3: Download and install the program
- Step 4: Launch the program
- Step 5: Choose the country where you want to be “from”
On some occasions, steps 2 and 3 are interchangeable. It is alright to download the program first before registering for an account. VPNs are not exclusive to computers. You can download these apps on your mobile devices.
Recommended VPN to access South African services
Now, let us take a look at the world’s top two VPN service providers. We will provide you with what they do, what their features are, and then you can decide which one to get.
Nord VPN is one of the biggest players in the cybersecurity space. It is an encryption powerhouse that allows you to connect from more than 5,600 servers.
Here are the features:
- Security and encryption
- Fast and reliable
- A strong advocate of data privacy
- Uninterrupted streaming
Nord VPN operates its servers in more than 60 countries, and this is how they provide a fast and reliable connection. One thing you will love about Nord VPN is that you only need to sign up for one account and then you can use it on multiple devices.
Nord VPN also provides you with an IP address that is dedicated to you. And because it is so powerful, you can even access the “dark web” safely through TOR networks.
Nord VPN also guarantees that there will be no data leaks. On top of that, the program itself can block malware and even annoying ads!
Our second recommendation if you want to unblock South Africa is Express VPN. It is widely used globally because of its speed.
Here are the features:
- Has 160 server locations globally (94 countries)
- Access sites from any country
- Anonymous browsing
- Spit tunnelling; route some traffic via VPN and others through a normal internet connection
- High level of encryption and data security
- Does not record your online traffic activity
Express VPN has several apps no matter what device you use, even for game consoles and smart TVs. As a subscriber, you are also entitled to 24-hour chat and email support, not with a robot, but with a real human being. This saves you from the agony of talking to a robot that will only give you knowledgebase articles instead of real solutions.
And oh, one final thing: this VPN has a kill switch. If your VPN connection drops, your internet activity also ceases to ensure that you are not transmitting sensitive data. Because of this, there will be no accidental leaks of your data transactions and private information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use VPN for South Africa?
It depends, but we strongly suggest it. Each country has its geo-blocking policy. While some countries make geo-blocking a legal policy, each business has its prerogative. This is why Disney+ or HBO Max is not accessible in other countries.
The same thing goes with South Africa. Some businesses here do not serve nations from other continents. If you are outside SA, then you will not be able to access some services unless you use a VPN.
Is there any benefit to VPN?
Yes, VPN not only masks your IP identity but also provides encryption and security. What does this mean? Every time you connect via the internet, you are transmitting and receiving data such as your username and password. If this transmission is not secure, you will get hacked.
Is VPN service free?
It depends. Some offer a free service, while some only offer a free trial. Free VPN programs often do not give you full access to the service, so you are better off getting a paid subscription.
Do you need a VPN for streaming?
You need it for two reasons. The first one is if you are geo-blocked, and the second one is if you are connecting to a public WiFi like in an airport. You need a VPN to unblock the service, and also to protect yourself from getting hacked from a public network access point.