What is Twitch and Why You Need a VPN to Run it
Founded back in 2011, Twitch is one of the most popular online services for streaming and watching video broadcasts. Even though this streaming platform is primarily focused on video games, it later expanded to what it is today, a huge network trying to appeal to a broader audience by including music, talk shows, artwork and occasionally TV series.
As the world’s leading social video service and community for gamers, it has an astonishing number of 15 million daily active users, with nearly half of them spending more than 20 hours per week watching videos. This fact alone is impressive, but when you take into consideration that it’s also one of the highest sources of Internet traffic in North America surpassing even Hulu, needless to say, Twitch surely is an important gaming and social media platform. It’s also the main source of income for 17 thousand of its users.
How to access Twitch?
Watching broadcasts and videos on Twitch is completely free and you don’t need to login anywhere. However, to have an account, which allows you many advanced options, you will need to pay a certain amount of money. No matter which option you choose, Twitch streams can be found on their official website or on the official Twitch apps available for Android and iOS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Sony's PlayStation 3 and 4, Amazon's Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and the NVIDIA SHIELD.
But not everyone can access it and there are a few reasons behind this issue.
Twitch itself isn’t Geo-restricted but some countries, such as Russia, have set strict censorship rules due to an inability to control content on the Internet, therefore have banned it. Another reason why you might not be able to access it is because of the IP bans on behalf of Twitch. This banning happens when the platform believes that a user has disobeyed their terms of service, and many times the real reason behind that can be hackers or someone using your network. Nevertheless, you will be the one left without access, regardless of who is really responsible. The last one is the network block, which is something that regularly happens in schools or at work. It means that certain websites can be blocked, usually in order to improve your work and concentration, or simply because they are “not appropriate”.
The bad thing is that it might happen to anyone at any time, the good thing – you can easily get Twitch unblocked.
Unblocking Twitch with a Proxy or VPN
If for some reason you are blocked from using Twitch, there is a way to overcome this problem. Actually, there are two – Proxy and Virtual Private Network (VPN).
You can watch Twitch through a Proxy server which, simply put, acts as a mediator. This is great if you are facing less serious problems, such as the network block. It’s great for schools and workplaces where this streaming service is not allowed. A Proxy is a cheaper and faster option which reroutes your traffic, making it ideal for streaming. The only problem is that a Proxy can’t guarantee your safety and privacy.
So, if you are looking for a more advanced and safer way, a VPN is the right choice for you. A Virtual Private Network masks your IP address, allowing you to privately access anything that is blocked in your country, and it’s perfect for accessing Twitch. However, VPNs are infamous for their speed because many providers slow down speed rather than improve it. Fortunately, there are some decent VPNs in the industry that are an exception to this rule.
How can you run Twitch with a VPN?
If a website is blocked by an Internet service provider or an organization, this is usually done by a content filtering software or blacklists consisting of website hostnames, URLs, and IP addresses. However, by using a VPN you create a strongly encrypted tunnel between you and your server. As mentioned before, the VPN masks your IP address, making it look as though you are accessing the website from a completely different location, not your home. So when you make a request for accessing Twitch, it primarily goes to your VPN server, through this encrypted tunnel and then is forwarded to the website. For your Internet provider or the organization that is blocking this website, it will look as though your request stops at this VPN, and not the actual blocked website. So, you will have access, and with VPNs that offer good security protocols, strong encryption, and excellent privacy, you won’t have to worry about being caught or endangering your online identity and anonymity.
However, while a VPN provider can be helpful with many things, for Twitch you need the speed more than anything else. So make sure you get the best Twitch VPN provider that will offer you this.
There are a few on the market that can help you. Among the best are ExpressVPN, NordVPN or CyberGhost. They are also on every top VPN list and are rated as the best providers in the industry as well, not just in terms of speed.
So, by choosing one of these VPNs, you won’t be making a mistake. On the contrary, you will finally be able to access your favorite streams and videos. Besides, these providers offer top-notch security and privacy options, guaranteeing the best possible experience and all this for a very affordable price.