Want to watch Channel 4 live or on-demand online? This post will cover how you can access Channel 4’s online platform, All 4 (previously known as 4od) from anywhere in the world, and which are the best Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to use. This means you’ll be able to stream Channel 4 for free whether you’re in the UK or abroad.
Like many popular streaming services, All 4 geo-restricts its content. This geo-blocking means that only users in the UK can watch All 4 content. Overseas users attempting to access All 4 will see the following message: “The service is not currently available in your area.”
However, by using a VPN, you can connect to a server in a different location and trick sites into believing you’re actually located somewhere else. This bypasses All 4’s regional restrictions and enables you to watch live and on-demand content no matter where you’re physically located.
The first step is choosing a suitable VPN. Every service is slightly different, so it pays to consider your online habits before committing to a particular VPN. For example, some services prioritize speed above all else, while others make it easier to create highly sophisticated security setups. To find the best VPNs for accessing All 4 from abroad, we looked for services which met the criteria below:
- Capable of unblocking All 4 and similar services
- Has several British servers to choose from
- Offers stable connections and has minimal impact on your connection speed
- Includes strong encryption and additional security features
- Logs no personally identifiable information or ideally, logs nothing at all
How to stream Channel 4 with a VPN
New to streaming with a VPN? It’s actually fairly simple to unblock geo-restricted platforms, just follow the steps below:
- Sign up to one of the VPN services listed below (we recommend ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the client software. There will be a few different versions, so be sure to get the right one for your operating system.
- Connect to a server in the appropriate country. For All 4, you’d use a British server.
- Try watching content on the site. It should load quickly with minimal, if any, buffering. Note that you may have to reload the page to see any changes.
HOW TO GET A PREMIUM VPN FREE: VPNs usually only offer their lowest prices to customers willing to subscribe for several years at a time. However, if you only need a VPN for a short time, for instance, if you’re on vacation, you can use ExpressVPN’s free 30-day trial instead. While you will have to pay upfront, you can cancel at any point within 30 days and receive a full refund.
Below, you’ll find our list of the best VPNs for Channel 4:
This service is excellent for streaming: it currently boasts more than 2,000 servers spread throughout 94 different countries, including six in the UK. Further, it can beat all but the toughest geo-restriction measures; you’ll be able to stream content from All 4, as well as other major services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
ExpressVPN offers excellent security features, including 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS/IPv6 leak protection. It doesn’t log any data that could identify you and even allows you to pay using bitcoin to anonymize yourself as much as possible. You can reach customer support 24/7 via live chat, and they’ll usually respond in a matter of seconds.
ExpressVPN has user-friendly apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. It also works on select wireless routers, although these must be configured manually.
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There aren’t many services that can compete with NordVPN when it comes to network size. This VPN provider has almost 5,000 servers across 62 countries, and 556 to choose from in the UK alone. It’s fast enough to stream live HD video from sites like All 4 without any problems, and can even unblock more popular services including Netflix and Hulu.
NordVPN puts huge emphasis on security. 256-bit encryption is enabled by default, but users can also take advantage of DNS/IPv6 leak protection, an application-specific kill switch, Tor over VPN functionality, and the ability to use multiple VPNs at once. This service stores no personally identifiable information and accepts cryptocurrency payments, so you can browse completely anonymously.
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This VPN works a little differently than most: it allows you to choose either a specific server to use (there are 330+ in the UK and more than 2,500 worldwide) or have one assigned based on its suitability for a given task like torrenting or browsing safely. CyberGhost allows you to unblock All 4 and many other websites with a single click, making it ideal for novice users.
Despite its simple, user-friendly design, CyberGhost actually has some powerful security features built-in. For instance, you can have it automatically block ads and scan for malware. There’s also 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS, IPv6, and port forwarding leaks. It doesn’t log any session or traffic details, so cannot divulge details of your activities to anyone.
CyberGhost has dedicated Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS apps. With manual configuration, you can install it on Linux-based platforms and some home routers too.
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With 85 British servers to choose from, and speeds high enough to stream HD video flawlessly, IPVanish is an excellent VPN to use with All 4. It’s capable of unblocking platforms such as ITV Hub, Sling TV, and Acorn TV effortlessly, so All 4 doesn’t pose any threat. Further, this service permits up to ten simultaneous connections where many of its rivals allow six at most.
Although its apps are lightweight, they include plenty of advanced functionality. 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch are enabled by default, but users can also choose to obfuscate their OpenVPN traffic, switch IP addresses at timed intervals, and block all LAN traffic. IPVanish does not log any personally identifiable information, so your activities remain private at all times.
IPVanish is one of the few major VPNs with an app in the Amazon Fire TV store. Additionally, it has dedicated versions for Android, Windows, iOS, and MacOS. This service can be manually configured to work with Linux and select routers.
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PrivateVPN has fewer servers (just four in the UK, and 78 worldwide) than similar services, but offers higher speeds. In fact, it’s fast enough to stream live HD video with no noticeable buffering. Better still, in addition to All 4, this VPN can unblock streaming platforms many others can’t, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and PlayStation Vue.
This service enables IPv6 and DNS leak protection by default. It uses 256-bit encryption coupled with a kill switch to ensure your traffic is hidden at all times, and with no personally identifiable information stored, your activities can’t be traced back to you. PrivateVPN really shines when it comes to customer support: its team are available 24/7 via live chat, and they’re even capable of installing and configuring the software for you remotely, with your permission.
PrivateVPN comes with specific apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS systems. Manual installation is required for Linux-based platforms and wireless routers.
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Can I watch Channel 4 online with a free VPN?
Although you might be tempted to use a free VPN, there are several reasons we recommend avoiding them. Despite having more users than premium services, free VPNs usually don’t have the network infrastructure required to support them. In practical terms, this means you’re more likely to encounter long buffering times, stuttering video, and possibly even random disconnection from the VPN. These factors all point to a poor streaming experience, but when you consider that free VPNs are the first to be blocked by major platforms, their viability is reduced even further.
While free VPNs don’t charge you directly, they aren’t truly free: you just pay with your personal information instead of money. These services can profit from you in many ways, from placing ads on the pages you visit, to tracking you over a longer period of time using cookies. This allows them to build a highly detailed profile of your browsing habits which can then be sold to the highest bidder without your knowledge. VPNs are supposed to keep your activities anonymous, not share them with third parties, so this is simply unacceptable.
Lastly, consider the security risk that free VPNs pose. In 2016, researchers surveyed more than 200 free Android VPN apps and found that almost 40% contained malware of some sort. Additionally, many of these purported VPNs didn’t actually encrypt anything. Even using a high-profile service doesn’t guarantee your safety; we’ve seen a major free VPN facilitate a botnet with its users’ bandwidth before.
You can’t be too careful when it comes to online security. To protect yourself, your devices, and your personal information, we recommend using a reputable VPN with a tried and tested no-logging policy.
How do you sign up for All 4?
While All 4 is free-to-use, you will have to create an account beforehand. This is a relatively straightforward process: just go to the registration page and enter your email address, password, and date of birth. You’ll also be asked for a UK postcode; the service uses this to find your address, but there are no further verification measures in place. In fact, there isn’t even common-sense postcode filtering; it’s even possible to create an account using Buckingham Palace’s postcode.
Once registered, you can immediately log in and start streaming. However, you should note that UK law requires you to have a TV License in order to watch content as it’s airing on TV. All 4 doesn’t make users aware of this before loading the live stream, so it’s easy to overlook. A TV License isn’t necessary for watching on-demand content, unlike with the BBC iPlayer, to which different rules apply.
What can I watch on Channel 4/ All 4?
Channel 4 has a wide variety of content available. Below, we’ve listed some of the channel’s most popular titles:
- Father Ted
- Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA
- The IT Crowd
- Peep Show
- The Great British Bake Off
- Come Dine with Me
- 8 Out of 10 Cats
- First Dates