We take a look at the best VPNs for accessing BT Sport abroad for those outside of the UK.
BT Sport is a popular streaming service in the UK with its TV channel and website providing 24/7 coverage of sports such as football, rugby, cricket, tennis, and Formula One. Unfortunately, the full range of sports is only available for people who log on via an IP address in the UK. This means British residents traveling abroad can’t just open up a browser or the companion app and log on like they normally would. BT Sport will restrict access in this case.
You might be greeted with a message like this:
“This content is only available to viewers in the UK”.
The most efficient way to overcome geo-restricted access imposed by BT Sport is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you don’t know what that is, don’t panic. A VPN is simply a sturdy piece of software that’s engineered to encrypt all the internet traffic flowing to and from your device, and tunnel it via a server outside your current location.
Because of this feature, you are assigned an IP address associated with the country that the VPN server is located in. Using a VPN guarantees anonymity and privacy whilst also unlocking a bunch of geo-restricted content such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and BeIN sports.
What’s the best VPN for BT Sport?
In this section, we’ll discuss a few VPN services that are designed to work with BT sport seamlessly. They’re judged on the following factors:
- Speed and reliability of service
- Servers in the UK
- Robust encryption standards to prevent data leakage
- Value for money
- Apps for Android and iOS
ExpressVPN is a top-tier VPN solution because of its impeccable standards, commitment to privacy and security, and blazing fast speeds. There’s a neat and user-friendly interface that’ll guide you through the process of connecting to a server, making it a worthy choice for beginners.
ExpressVPN boasts an impressive 1500+ servers spread across 94 countries including several in the UK, so finding an adequate connection shouldn’t be a problem. Encryption standards are tough – all servers use the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 4,096-bit RSA keys with perfect forward secrecy, and SHA512 authentication. It’s able to unlock a bunch of geo-restricted content including Netflix, Hulu, BBC IPlayer, HBO, SkyGo, Foxtel, and more.
If you subscribe for ExpressVPN, you’ll notice that DNS servers are included and DNS leak protection is built-in. There’s also an internet kill switch which will temporarily halt all traffic if the connection drops unexpectedly, thereby adding an additional layer of security.
It has apps for both Android and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux (command line). The service is registered in the British Virgin Islands which means it doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of British authorities and can’t be subjected to mandatory data requests.
Privacy advocates will be pleased with the fact that it has a stated policy of retaining no traffic logs except for some metadata about the date (not time) when connected to the service, choice of location, and total bandwidth used. Your individual IP address is never logged.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN here.
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NordVPN can step up its user interface design a notch but that doesn’t mean it skimps on the core product – delivering fast speeds coupled with stringent encryption.
The company has been around for over a decade, which has helped it deliver a winning solution. It’s a great choice for users looking for a fast VPN that checks all the boxes when it comes to security standards as well.
NordVPN continues in the vein of a zero-logs policy. It does not store any information about user sessions, traffic, or timestamps.
This policy has served it well in the past. The company admits it’s been approached by government agencies to hand over customer data but there simply wasn’t anything on its servers. It’s also incorporated in Panama – which means it isn’t subject to any mandatory data retention laws and remains out of the jurisdiction of western authorities.
The company operates 1074 servers in 61 countries making it a robust choice for the entire gamut of web activity. There are 116 server locations in the UK alone. Power users will be pleased with the fact that it helps you pick a server specifically for your requirements – this could be anti-DDoS, video streaming, double VPN, Tor over VPN, or dedicated IP.
NordVPN works with many online streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
The company encrypts all traffic via the 256-bit AES protocol by default and uses 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled. The specifications propel it into the top-tier of VPN services.
There’s support for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Here’s our in-depth review of NordVPN.
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IPVanish is one of our highly-recommended VPNs because it is mindful of maintaining user privacy and anonymity while offering great speeds.
It’s also another VPN provider that doesn’t store any user information. The only cursory details it stores is when an account is registered for the first time. After that all data is out of reach of system administrators – this includes things like session history, choice of servers, and bandwidth.
Encryption standards are robust, which means it’ll be very difficult for BT Sport to figure out that you’re accessing the service via a VPN. IPVanish leverages 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048 key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. The latter feature means that even if your account is compromised, it’ll be impossible for the intruding party to decrypt past sessions and uncover your web history.
An internet kill switch is included with the service. This means that the company will temporarily halt all traffic if the connection drops.
With over 850 servers spread across 60 countries, a suitable connection is never out of reach. There are 62 servers located in the UK alone so British expatriates traveling abroad should be able to access BT Sports easily.
Another neat feature is that IPVanish works with BBC iPlayer seamlessly. That’s another plus point for UK residents.
There are apps for both iOS and Android as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
Many users find it an excellent option for Kodi because it allows them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is also remote control friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse.
Read our review of IPVanish.
Cyberghost Pro will appeal to beginner users who want a plug-and-play VPN that doesn’t break the bank. There’s a decent number of server locations, speed tests are pretty good, the interface is user-friendly, and privacy standards are tough. You’re getting a decent VPN overall.
The company is incorporated in Romania and says it doesn’t store logs or data of any nature. But it’s pertinent to mention that it was recently acquired by a UK-headquartered firm so that might change the policy. We’ll update this article if we notice anything further on this front.
Let’s come back to service standards. With over 916 servers spread across 27 countries, there’s enough choice for an adequate connection. Cyberghost Pro has 117 servers in the UK – the country seems to be a priority area as it recently added 27 new ones.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
Cyberghost Pro uses 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. There’s an internet kill switch included too which means web traffic will be halted if the connection drops.
Here’s our full review of Cyberghost Pro.
VyprVPN is a mature and reliable VPN service that’s been around for almost a decade. It’s a favorite with users who like secure encryption protocols – the company is one of the best in the business when judged on this standard.
It does have a logging policy – specifically “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and total number of bytes used.” Some people might be worried about that. But the company insists that data is retained for only 30 days and adds that it will not log traffic details at all.
Having said that, it’s a pretty unrealistic scenario for your data to ever be exposed. VyprVPN’s encryption standards are out of this world – it’s one of the few services that are able to unblock the Great Firewall.
VyprVPN uses the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy, and SHA256 authentication to secure traffic. There’s an internet kill switch included. It’s also able to unlock content on Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
There are over 700 servers, including a few in London so British residents traveling abroad can connect to those to unlock BT Sport.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
How do I access BT Sport with a VPN?
The implicit assumption here is that you’re an existing subscriber to BT Sport and you’re trying to access the service from a location outside of the UK. If you haven’t signed up for the service yet, then you’ll need to do so before following the tips in this section.
Follow these steps to unlock BT Sport outside the UK:
Sign up for one of the VPN providers mentioned in this list Once you’ve registered and made the payment, download the apps for your phone or PC / Macbook Clear your cookies and cache to remove old location identifiers and restart your device Login to the VPN app and select a server in the UK Once that’s done open your browser – Chrome or Firefox should do the job – and access BT Sport like you normally would
What about the BT Sport app?
The official BT Sport app is available for both Android and iOS so it can work on an array of smartphones and tablets. If you’re looking to stream media on either of these devices then you’ll have to download the companion VPN app first and follow the same steps outlined in the previous section, and don’t forget to disable your GPS. Of course, now there’s no need to open a web browser – the BT Sport app will do the trick.
Unfortunately, that’s the only two platforms it supports. There isn’t an option for Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, or Playstation. You can’t cast content from the app onto a TV screen.
Should I use a free VPN to watch BT Sport?
You might be tempted by the option of using a free VPN but the reality is that you’ll be receiving a fraction of the same standards that paid options offer.
Free VPNs monetize by inundating you with invasive advertisements, inserting tracking cookies, and selling your data. That’s because they’re spending hard cash in building and maintaining the service and need to see some returns on this investment. It’s a stark reminder of the fact that when the product is free, you end up being the product.
The VPNs mentioned in this list have hundreds of servers spread across the world and engineers are constantly fine tuning the product. Free VPN services offer a mere microcosm of the same experience. You’ll have restricted options, bandwidth throttling, and data caps.
If you’re really strapped for cash, we recommend you read through our list of the VPNs with a free trial. But we maintain that you avoid the random ones that exist on the internet.
Some VPNs to avoid
If you’re opting to access BT Sport with a VPN, you want to be reassured that your privacy and data won’t be compromised. We get that. It’s a major reason why VPNs exist today – people value their anonymity. The problem starts when VPN companies don’t safeguard these ethics and willingly hand over user data when they’re under a bit of heat. We recommend you avoid such services.
Here are three examples of VPN providers that we believe you should run away from:
Details are slowly emerging in this case but recent media reports suggest that VPN provider PureVPN collaborated with the FBI to identify Massachusetts resident Ryan Lin.
Ryan, a PureVPN user, was believed to be stalking an unnamed 24-year-old woman. He acquired the software in order to cover his tracks.
The suspect was able to gain access to the unnamed woman’s personal iCloud and Google drive accounts and used it in an attempt to extort money.
PureVPN has insisted that the content of communications was not recorded but the company could definitely have been more transparent.
Israel-based Hola, which operated a popular VPN extension for Chrome, boasted an impressive user base of 50 million at one point. But it leveraged that completely unethically to its advantage by turning the users into a massive botnet.
What this meant was that a part of every Hola users’ bandwidth was turned into a pawn. The critical mass was leveraged for attacks on other sites, promoting copyrighted content, and pornography.
We recommend you avoid them at all costs.
3. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield was a popular free VPN service with users attracted to the fact that you didn’t need to make an upfront payment in order to sign up. But there was more than what met the eye.
Last month, a privacy advocacy group filed a complaint saying that it forcefully inserted tracking cookies to track user data and sell it for advertising. It also hijacked legitimate HTTP requests and deliberately redirected them to partner sites in order to earn commissions. For example, if you typed in macys.com, you were navigated to a partner site instead. That’s a massive violation of user rights.
An outcome on the matter is still pending but it does follow a similar tale to other free VPN services. We think it’s best if you avoid Hotspot Shield for now until its acquitted of all charges.
We don’t condone breaking a country’s laws by using a VPN and hoping that your privacy will remain intact. But at the same time, VPN companies need to be open and transparent about their data logging policies and stick to what they claim. When that principle isn’t upheld, we feel it’s a massive red flag.