Looking to watch Empire online? In this post, we’ll cover how to stream Empire season 5 live and for free. We’ll also explain what a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is, how one can help you watch Empire abroad, and which VPNs are the best to use when streaming.
The first of eighteen episodes in Empire’s fifth season was broadcast on September 26. New episodes air every Wednesday evening at 5PM PST (1AM BST / 8PM EST), although in some cases, as with episode 5, there’s a two-week gap instead. Below, we’ll let you know where you can stream the entire series live and on-demand.
You should note that we’ll only be recommending official Empire broadcasters. Although unlicensed streams are available for many popular shows (including this one), they aren’t worth your time. These are usually low-resolution, and are often taken offline part-way through for violating copyright. With Empire available for streaming legitimately on multiple platforms, there’s no need to resort to unofficial streams.
VPNs help you stay anonymous online by encrypting your network traffic, which prevents your Internet Service Provider or network administrators from monitoring your activities. We recommend using ExpressVPN: this service provides speeds high enough to stream live HD video without interruptions or noticeable buffering. Additionally, ExpressVPN has more than 2,000 servers across 94 countries, and is able to unblock numerous geo-blocked streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
Getting started with ExpressVPN is easy: just choose a subscription length (one month, six months, or a year) and pay. As there’s a free 30-day trial, you’ll have plenty of time to test the service out and see if it meets your needs. If not, just cancel and you’ll get your money back, no questions asked. If you only need short-term VPN coverage, for example, if you’re going on vacation, you can use ExpressVPN’s trial to temporarily protect yourself for free.
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Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
How to watch Empire abroad with a VPN
Never used a VPN before? Don’t worry, unblocking geo-restricted platforms is actually relatively straightforward. Here’s how to watch Empire with a VPN:
- Start by choosing a suitable VPN. We’ve already mentioned ExpressVPN above, but if you’d like a low-cost alternative, NordVPN and CyberGhost are excellent choices.
- Download the VPN software, taking care to get the right version for your device’s operating system.
- Next, decide which of the sources below you’d like to use.
- Connect to a VPN server in the appropriate country. For example, you’d need a US server to watch on FOX, or a UK server to unblock 5Star.
- Try loading video from your chosen site. It should load almost instantly, but if not, try reloading the page or restarting your browser.
If you have time, we recommend performing the steps above before Empire actually airs. This way, you’ll know in advance if your VPN works correctly. Plus, this way, if you run into trouble, you’ll still have enough time to get help from your VPN’s customer support team.
Where to watch Empire online
Although Empire debuted on an American network, it has fans all over the world. Luckily, its success saw the show picked up by broadcasters outside of the US. Below, we’ll let you know where you can watch Empire season 5 live and on-demand, wherever you are.
American viewers can watch season 5 and select episodes from season 4 on FOX. You can stream up to an hour of live or on-demand content for free, but afterward, you’ll have to register for FOX Now to keep watching. This service is free, but you need to log in with either your cable provider details or a supported over-the-top service.
Hulu is the least expensive option, however, at $11.99 per month, with the first month free. By carefully timing each service’s free trial period, however, you’ll be able to watch the majority of season 5 completely free. Best of all, Hulu allows you to stream every previous season of Empire on-demand.
Empire season 5 is airing a little later in the UK, and won’t premiere until October 18 at 10PM. The show will be broadcast on 5Star, which means you can watch episodes the following day on My5. No registration or payment is required, although you will have to be in the UK or connected to a British VPN server in order to watch.
Although My5 doesn’t have a live stream, there is a workaround for those who’d like to watch Empire as it airs. TVPlayer allows you to stream various free-to-watch channels, including 5Star, online. You’re required to create an account beforehand but 5Star is included in the free package so you won’t have to pay anything. Again, this platform is geo-blocked so you’ll need a VPN in order to watch from abroad.
Looking to catch up on previous episodes before season 5 arrives? Every episode from seasons 1–4 is available on Amazon Prime Video. This service costs £7.99 per month, with a one month free trial. If you’re a student at a UK university or college, this trial lasts a full six months.
Canadian audiences can watch new episodes of Empire absolutely free every Wednesday at 8PM on CHCH. No registration is required, and the stream is accessible from anywhere. Despite this, we’d still recommend using a VPN as they help reduce the likelihood of ISP throttling.
While earlier seasons used to be available on-demand on Shomi, this service shut down at the end of 2016. CHCH only offers live content and no other platform has picked up the show, so currently, the only way to stream Empire seasons 1–4 is to buy them on Amazon, Google Play, or iTunes.
Although Empire has a large number of die-hard fans, it’s had a troubled history with international broadcasters. In some countries (like Australia), the show has changed hands or been dropped altogether due to low viewing numbers. The Empire Wikipedia page has a decent list of international sources, but unfortunately, there aren’t many left.
In countries without an official broadcaster, your only option is to purchase seasons or episodes individually from platforms like Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon. It’s also worth remembering that if you’re currently abroad, you can still tune into streams from your home country by using a VPN.
Can I watch Empire with a free VPN?
Free VPNs can seem appealing at first glance, but we advise against using one. Their servers are constantly bombarded with users, which means you can expect slow browsing speeds and long, frequent pauses when streaming video. Some networks are so stretched that the services have even instituted monthly data limits, removing themselves as a long-term streaming solution. Further, free VPNs are usually the first to be blocked by streaming platforms, so you may not be able to watch even if you do get a reasonably fast connection.
How can free VPNs afford to build and maintain their servers? Simply, as they don’t bill the user directly, they find other ways to make money. This could be from injecting ads into the pages you visit, but they can also harvest valuable information about your browsing habits using tracking cookies. This can then be sold to the highest bidder without your knowledge or explicit consent.
Finally, there’s no easy way to tell if your free VPN is actually improving your privacy or not. Some actually have the opposite effect; in 2015 researchers found that dozens of “free VPNs” on the Google Play Store actually included malware. Even if they didn’t, more than 80% leaked personal information via IPv6. As we saw during the Hola botnet scandal, even using a well-known free VPN has its risks.
The best way to stay safe online is to use a reputable VPN with a proven history of protecting its customers’ privacy.
Empire season 5: what to expect
Empire has never been a show that does things by halves. Season 5 is no different, and amps up the tension almost immediately. Warning: minor spoilers follow.
Early in season 5’s premiere, the show skips forward six months and shows Lucious standing over a coffin. Brett Mahoney, the showrunner, has mentioned publicly that the mystery of who’s inside will be solved by the end of the series, and that clues will be provided in the same flash-forward format as the season progresses.
Older plotlines have not been forgotten, however. Season 4 ended on not one, but several cliffhangers, including a shooting, an unrelated murder, and a potential takeover of Empire Entertainment. We’ll likely see these issues resolved, but in the face of renewed interest from viewers, it’s possible Empire will end in a similarly explosive way this season. If so, fans will just have to hope that a sixth season is greenlit, although it’s still too early to have any concrete information on this as yet.