Whether you’re one of the majority of human beings who doesn’t live in a country with a rich selection of streaming video and music services or you’re just an American who wants to watch Netflix on your phone while travelling, region-blocks will get in your way. Just as you can use a few tricks to access region-blocked video and music services on your computer, you can do the same on your Android phone or tablet.
We recently covered the easiest ways to get access to region-blocked media on your computer, although VPNs are still a good option. Many of the same tricks work on Android devices, although you’ll have to go about setting them up in different ways.
Hola is a free service that functions as a web accelerator that compresses data, but it also has an “Unblocker” feature that automatically unblocks region-blocked services. Using Hola Unblocker is easy and free – install the app, open it up, and enable the Unblocker feature. It functions similarly to a VPN, but only works with certain services. However, it’s free and easy to set up – unlike the VPNs below. there’s no sign-in or account required.
Hola works without root on Android 4.0 and newer versions. Hola works on Android 2.3 and older versions of Android, too – but only if your device is rooted.
Many of the same VPNs that allow you to access region-blocked content on your PC work on Android. We’ve previously looked at a variety of free VPN services, including proXPN. If you already subscribe to a VPN, you can likely access it from your Android phone. Some VPNs can be accessed using Android’s built-in VPN support, while some VPNs (like the popular and easy-to-use ) have their own dedicated apps.
VPNs on Android work just like VPNs on your computer. Connect to the VPN and it will send all your network traffic over the VPN, using the VPN as a middleman. If the VPN is located in the US, US-based media services will work properly.
Bear in mind that Tunlr, as a free service, now tries to discourage people from using it as their only DNS service – Tunlr adds delays to DNS requests and will slow down your browsing. They want you to enable Tunlr only when accessing region-blocked content. The paid services can be used constantly, as you’re paying for their traffic and they aren’t being overloaded by free users.
There are several ways to enable a DNS tunneling service on your Android:
- Change the DNS Settings on Your Home Router: Your Android phone or tablet gets its DNS server information from your router by default, so it will use the region-unblocking DNS service whenever you’re accessing the Internet through your home Internet connection. This is the easiest option when using a DNS service.
- Change the DNS Setting on Your Android: If you can’t change your router’s DNS setting, you can change your Android’s connection settings to use a custom DNS server. This is rather annoying, as you must change the DNS settings individually for each Wi-Fi network you connect to.
- Use a Root App to Change Your DNS Server: If you have a rooted Android device, you can use the Set DNS app to force Android to use your custom DNS servers. They’ll be automatically enabled each time you connect to a new Wi-Fi network, and you can even force Android to use them on mobile networks.
Which Should You Use?
Hola Unblocker and VPNs are probably the most convenient options for accessing region-restricted services. Just enable the service whenever you need it and you’ll be set. A VPN may also allow you to download the appropriate apps (such as the Hulu and Pandora apps) directly from Google Play, too. However, this may not work – Google doesn’t want you getting around region restrictions on Google Play.
DNS services like UnoDNS restrict you to only accessing their region-unblocking services from a single IP address at a time, so you’ll have to update your IP address in the service’s administration page each time you connect your device to a new wireless network. For this reason, a DNS-based service is not be ideal if you want to access region-blocked services on-the-go. However, a DNS service is very convenient if you only want to watch region-restricted videos and listen to geo-blocked music with your tablet at home.
How do you access region-blocked media services from your Android device? Leave a comment and share your favorite method!
Image Credit: Planet Earth at night via Shutterstock