Sportsnet has five regional channels available through cable and dish TV packages. Sportsnet Now is the internet version of Sportsnet. This service can be accessed for free by those who already have Sportsnet as part of their home TV package. Those who don’t already have Sportsnet at home can watch the channel live on the internet by subscribing to Sportsnet Now.
The channel has two web addresses: now.sportsnet.ca and snnow.ca. You can access the site on a smartphone or computer anywhere with an internet connection. However, the website is only available in Canada.
In this article, we go into details about each of the VPNs we reviewed for accessing Sportsnet Now, but here’s a summary if you are short of time:
- ExpressVPN Best choice overall. Blazing fast servers ideal for high-quality streaming. Unblocks Sportsnet Now and a host of other popular streaming shows. Easy to get going. 30-day money back guarantee has you covered.
- NordVPN Great choice if you are on a budget. Good all-rounder that can provide the speeds you need for Sportsnet Now.
- CyberGhost This budget provider has some of the fastest servers we tested for streaming. Apps are user-friendly and great for beginners.
- IPVanish Perfect if you are a Kodi user and want to use Sportsnet Now with a remote. Reliable servers with good uptime.
- PrivateVPN Can unblock pretty much anything and gets good streaming speeds despite smaller network. Remote friendly app.
The Best VPNs for Sportsnet Now
You can get into Sportsnet Now from the USA, the UK, France, Australia, or anywhere else abroad if you use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network makes it look as though you are someplace else. However, not all VPNs excel at masking your location. A Sportsnet VPN should meet the following criteria:
- Fast speeds for live streaming
- Servers in Canada
- Constant uptime
- Easy to use
Hundreds of VPN services litter the market at the moment, and you can read more about the technology later on in this guide.
When you choose a VPN service you should be particularly careful that it works on the hardware that you have. These details are included in the descriptions of the providers we recommend.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a great service for those who aren’t that knowledgeable about technology. The app practically installs itself and it is very easy to use. The company produces apps for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. This is just about the only VPN service that actually produces a Linux app. However, it doesn’t have a graphical interface — you use it at the command line. The apps for all of the other operating systems in that list are proper graphical interfaces and they all feature a big On/Off button, so no one will struggle to turn the VPN on.
You can also install this system on your router. If you do that, all of your devices that get internet access through your router will appear online as though they are in the country that you connect to in the VPN settings. If you want to access Sportsnet Now, you need to connect to a VPN server in Canada.
If you access Sportsnet Now from a web browser, ExpressVPN can operate as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
The ExpressVPN app can be installed on Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Firestick, and Amazon Fire tablets. VPNs don’t just get you into Sportsnet Now from outside Canada. You can use it to get around regional restrictions from lots of other online TV channels and video streaming services, such as CBC, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. If you want to watch shows from channels restricted to other countries, just change the selected VPN server to one in the country where the video website operates.
ExpressVPN runs servers in 94 countries around the world. The large server network means that ExpressVPN is always available and has very high speeds.
The app includes a “network lock.” This prevents any app on your device from connecting to the internet without the VPN connection being active. If the VPN app on your laptop is turned on before you leave the house, you get automatic wifi protection as soon as you come within range of a wifi hotspot. This is important because fake wifi hotspots are widely used by hackers to get malware onto your devices or steal your personal information.
Plans get cheaper per month if you subscribe for longer periods. The price per month is much lower if you sign up for a year than if you just sign up for one month. In all cases, you get an allowance of three simultaneous connections. That means that you can have three devices connected to the VPN all at the same time.
- Operates superfast servers in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, great for HD streaming from abroad
- Best-in-class encryption makes for solid security and privacy
- User-friendly apps for a variety of operating systems
- Operates over 3,000 servers in 94 countries and can unblock all popular streaming sites
- 24/7 chat support are well trained to handle complex situations
- No internet usage logs are retained
- Slightly more pricey than other services
BEST VPN FOR Sportsnet Now:ExpressVPN is our #1 choice. A blazing fast and reliable choice which unblocks all major streaming services including Sportsnet Now, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more. Easy to install. Great security and privacy features and keeps no logs. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN’s app is very easy to use. A map of the world lets you click on a marker in a country to get connected. The company has a total of 5,114 servers in 60 countries. If you switch to the server list, you can select a specific server rather than just any server in a given country. The entry for each server in the list shows the ping round-trip time and the load on the server to help you choose the best option.
Other interesting options in the NordVPN server list are a connection through the VPN to the Tor network and a double-hop path that routes through two VPN servers in different countries and applies double encryption. The only problem with those two services though is that they slow down your connection, so you are probably better off avoiding them for connections to stream live video. Without special extra-strength security, the regular NordVPN service offers good speeds for live video streaming. You can add extra DDoS protection for an extra-stable connection.
The app for NordVPN includes a CyberSec feature that blocks ads and trackers. NordVPN’s CyberSec division maintains a blacklist of infected web pages that the app blocks access to while CyberSec is turned on.
A kill switch in the NordVPN Windows and Mac OS app doubles up as a wifi protector. The app is available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. You can also install the VPN manually on routers and Linux machines. The apps install themselves, but getting the VPN set up manually can be a little tricky. Luckily, the NordVPN website includes very detailed instructions in its knowledge base, notably a library of specific instructions for 29 different types of router.
You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with NordVPN and a router connection counts as just one of those. NordVPN gives each customer a 30-day refund guarantee.
- Veteran budget provider with over 350 servers in Canada
- Good for streaming, even at HD speeds
- Also unblocks most other geo-restricted content and streaming sites
- Major emphasis on security and privacy
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux and Android
- Desktop app can be awkward to use
BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN is a good value all-rounder. A great value option that works great with Sportsnet Now while abroad. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. Also works well with most popular streaming services and achieves consistently good speeds. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has a pre-screen on its app that allows you to set preferences for the session. The standard activity formats that the app offers include video streaming. When you select this option, the app takes you to a list of streaming services that it can unblock. Unfortunately, Sportsnet Now is not in this list. So, instead, you should choose Surf Anonymously at the activity screen. If you want to stream Sportsnet Now, select Canada from the list of server locations.
The app doesn’t have a kill switch but you can set up a per-app protection, which will block the named app from accessing the internet without the VPN being turned on. The app also has special settings for automatic wifi protection. Other security services in the app include an ad blocker, a tracker blocker, an HTTPS enforcer, and a website malware scanner. You can set the VPN to compress video transfers, which can make them stream more smoothly.
CyberGhost can start up with the operating system so that it is always on. In this instance, you need to set a default location, so if you are going to be watching Sportsnet Now a lot, you should set that to Canada. CyberGhost has servers in 60 countries in total.
The CyberGhost app is available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can install the VPN manually on Linux computers and also on routers. A VPN on a router covers all of the devices in your home and counts as only one connection of your seven simultaneous connection allowance.
CyberGhost is based in Romania where the internet infrastructure is fantastic. The company strives for excellence and achieves very high speeds, which makes it perfect for live video streaming. All subscribers get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Operates over 150 servers in Canada
- Some of the fastest streaming servers we’ve tested
- No issues unblocking Sportsnet Now from all our test locations
- User-friendly apps; select the site you want to unblock, the app then automatically connects to the best server
- Doesn’t reliably work in China or UAE
BUDGET CHOICE:CyberGhost is great for beginners. Another good value choice that works well with Sportsnet Now. Stores no internet activity logs and streams HD video reliably. Can struggle with unblocking some other popular streaming sites. 45-day money back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is well known for its high-speed connections. The company created IPVanish from the ground up specifically as a VPN service and not as an add-on to other cloud data services. All of the infrastructure that delivers the service is owned and managed in-house. The company runs more than 1,000 servers in 60 countries.
The IPVanish app is available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Firestick. IPVanish can be installed on routers. A connection from a router counts as only one of each subscriber’s allowance of ten concurrent connections.
The Windows and Mac apps for IPVanish include a kill switch that provides automatic wifi protection, which is important for laptops. You need that precaution because it is easy for hackers to create fake wifi hotspots.
You only get a 7-day refund period with IPVanish, so make sure that you test the system thoroughly within a week of signing up.
- Owns and operates over 30 speed optimised servers in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver
- Strong encryption makes apps secure
- Best performer for Android-based Kodi devices in our testing
- Keeps no traffic logs or connection logs
- Doesn’t reliably unblock Netflix, Hulu
- Customer support can sometimes be a little slow
FAST AND RELIABLE:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Uncongested network achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features. Could do with having live customer support. 7-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is our fifth recommendation for use with Sportsnet Now because it offers excellent speeds and it has servers in Canada. In total, this VPN has servers in 56 countries.
This VPN service provides apps for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS operating systems. The app includes a kill switch, which will block any program on your computer from connecting to the internet if the VPN is not active. This will act as automatic wifi protection to prevent any connection to fake wifi hotspots without your knowledge. You can also install the VPN manually on Linux computers and on routers. Six simultaneous connections are allowed. If you configure the VPN on your router, only one of those connections will be used up, no matter how many devices connect through your router.
PrivateVPN offers good speeds for live video streaming and is a good choice for downloading torrents. The company is based in Sweden, but all of the staff speak perfect English. You have a number of options available to contact support staff, including an online chat window, which is manned during Swedish business hours.
All subscribers to PrivateVPN are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Operates fast servers in Toronto and Vancouver, great for streaming while abroad
- Also unblocks Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat
- Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
- Needs manual tweaking to work in China
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice for connecting up to 6 devices. Unblocks Sportsnet Now while abroad. Also good for secure and private browsing and torrenting. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Sportsnet Now Access
You can stream Sportsnet Now for free over the internet if you already get Sportsnet channels at home. If you travel outside of Canada, however; the website will prevent you from accessing it. Similarly, if you subscribe to the standalone streaming service in Canada, you won’t be able to watch from abroad. If you already live abroad, you can’t get into the website to subscribe.
If you try to access the site from outside of Canada, you will see a message that tells you “Sportsnet Now is not available in your region.” The page shows a map of your current location just to drive the point home.
If you are inside Canada, you can view the website without problems.
Location restrictions are common among video streaming sites. However, the Sportsnet Now implementation is a little extreme. Usually, video streaming services let you look at the standard site and see information, such as programming schedules, or even browse the video library. Usually, access blocks for overseas visitors only kick in when you try to play a video.
The location-based access blocks are called regional restrictions.
How do regional restrictions work?
Sportsnet Now uses standard procedures on its web server implemented by just about every legitimate video streaming service on the planet. These checks are called “regional restrictions” and are usually applied according to national borders.
All internet communications have addresses on them, similar to the postal system. With real mail, you cannot have two homes with exactly the same address. Otherwise, how would Postie know which house to deliver letters to?
Some people choose to put a return address on the back of letters. On the internet, this practice is compulsory. So, all the Sportsnet Now server has to do is read the return address on a request for a web page. If that address is outside of Canada, the server sends back the blocking page. If the address is inside Canada, the requested page is sent back. The process is very, very simple and takes a split-second to complete.
How do VPNs defeat regional restrictions?
On the internet, the address format is called the “IP address.” Your ISP assigns your computer an IP address. If you have a wifi router at home, that public IP address is allocated to the router and all the computers, tablets, and smartphones that can connect through it have a private address behind the router. However, all of the devices in your home will be represented by the same public IP address out on the internet.
A VPN works in exactly the same way as your router. It puts its own IP address on all outgoing messages (called “packets“) as the return address. So, if you connect to a VPN server in Canada, all of your internet traffic will go through that server as if it were your home router. The public IP address that Sportsnet Now sees is that of the VPN server in Canada instead of yours.
When the Sportsnet Now performs its access check, it sees the VPN’s Canadian IP address and sends the requested page and not the block page.
See also: How to change or hide your IP address
Why does Sportsnet Now block me when I am abroad?
Sportsnet says you can stream the channel online for free because you already pay for it at home. Unfortunately, that promise is broken as soon as you travel abroad. Why can’t you get the service you pay for no matter where in the world you are? The answer is that Sportsnet Now is legally bound by the contracts that it signs with copyright holders.
The company signs contracts to show events in its home market. It could buy the rights to show games in China, Peru, and Timbuktu, but without a concerted marketing effort in those places, it would never attract enough viewers in those locations to cover the cost of buying the broadcast rights. It is just simpler for the company to stick to its core business of showing live events and videos in Canada.
Blocking access is based on the viewer’s current location according to their device’s IP address, not their physical address or source of payment. So, Sportsnet Now’s licenses prevent the channel from showing content to Canadian passport holders in other countries. The company can only legally show videos to people who are physically located within the borders of Canada, but a VPN helps skirt this restriction.
Can I use a free VPN for Sportsnet Now?
No. Although there are plenty of free VPNs out there, most of them are scams and actually damage your privacy instead of protecting it.
Setting up a VPN that can defeat regional restrictions costs a lot of money. Why would anyone put in all of that effort if they aren’t ever going to earn income from it? The answer is that these VPNs trim their costs to the level where they don’t really work effectively and use other methods to make money. One of the most frequent methods that free VPNs use to generate income is to track your activities on the internet and sell that information to others.
So free VPNs are honey traps that mine your connections for saleable data. They also inject adverts and tracking cookies into the websites you visit and give third parties access to your computer.
Other free VPNs provided by reputable VPN companies restrict speed or data throughput to make them useless for watching live video streams.
Get a VPN for Sportsnet Now
The VPNs in our list all have special deals going on right now, which make them particularly tempting. We have identified the best VPN services for use with Sportsnet Now that give you the best value for money.
Better still, all of these services offer money-back guarantees, so you don’t have to be nervous about trying them only to find that they don’t work. They do, and all of these companies are ready to prove it. So, give any of them a try and get into Sportsnet Now even when you are outside of Canada.
Do you have a Sportsnet Now subscription? Have you tried a VPN to access Sportsnet Now from outside Canada? Tell us about your experiences by leaving a message in the Comments section below.
- 1 The Best VPNs for Sportsnet Now
- 2 1. ExpressVPN
- 3 2. NordVPN
- 4 3. CyberGhost
- 5 4. IPVanish
- 6 5. PrivateVPN
- 7 Sportsnet Now Access
- 8 How do regional restrictions work?
- 9 How do VPNs defeat regional restrictions?
- 10 Why does Sportsnet Now block me when I am abroad?
- 11 Can I use a free VPN for Sportsnet Now?
- 12 Get a VPN for Sportsnet Now