How to Use a VPN, Just Because, Absolutely Nothing to do With World Champs

Oct 1, 2020 at 5:48
by James Smurthwaite  

Some people, who are definitely not us, may be struggling to watch sporting events in these COVID times. From Wife carrying, to cheese rolling, to chess boxing, there are all sorts of sports that terrestrial broadcasters will snap up the exclusive broadcast rights for and put behind a paywall. Unfortunately, this means that the energy-drink-backed online streaming service that you might normally watch the sport on has to geoblock its content so it doesn't break any licensing agreements, leaving viewers in certain countries potentially unable to watch the event live and probably with an inferior standard of commentary and analysis.

Thankfully, there's a legal way around this licensing chicanery - a VPN. VPNs are legal in countries such as, off the top of my head, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or Italy, and they can be used for free, although paid options are also available and generally recommended for long term use.

We are absolutely not suggesting that people use this to watch World Champs in a market where it has been blocked.

But it would be totally possible...

What is a VPN?

Before we get into VPNs, we need to understand what an Internet Protocol (IP) address is. Your IP address is a unique number that is linked to all your internet activity and, much like the Post Office needs a mailing address to deliver a package, a router needs an IP address to deliver to the web address requested. Because it's connected to where you access the internet, your IP address can also be used to determine your location and it's this that a streaming service will use when geoblocking a broadcast.

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a privacy tool that masks your IP address. Most of the time it is recommended to use VPNs to protect yourself when using insecure public networks such as in a cafe but they can also be a workaround to access geoblocked content. After you install a VPN, you are able to pick which country you would like to appear to be accessing the internet from and then continue browsing as normal.

Myriam Nicole drops back into downhill action here in MSA.

Which VPN should I use?

There are both free and paid-for VPNs and which you choose is up to you. Nothing comes totally for free though and you should be aware that not paying for a VPN will have some drawbacks that may include being shown adverts or having your data and security compromised. Other VPNs may only offer a limited service that throttles the amount of data you can use and the speed you can use it at, rendering them useless for streaming live sports unless you pay for an upgrade. We'd be wary of any free VPN that claims to provide unlimited services for free as they tend to be the most risky. A list of free to use VPNs is available from TechRadar here.

Another free way to change your location is by using the Opera browser. After downloading the browser, enabling its inbuilt VPN is easy. Go to “Settings” (or “Preferences” on Mac), choose “Privacy & Security” and then toggle the free VPN. An icon labeled “VPN” will appear in the browser, from which you can toggle VPN on and off, and choose a location.

There are also paid for VPNs that should offer a better service and, if you've listened to any podcast in the last six months, you probably already know some of them already. Paid-for VPNs can cost as little as $2/month and will give you a greater peace of mind about privacy than a free VPN. A list of paid-for VPNs is available again from TechRadar, here. Most paid for VPNs also offer a free trial which would be a great way to watch a sporting event this weekend.

What would we do?

A VPN is a sensible thing to have on your computer or phone all the time but if you're only going to be using it for accessing one large sporting event in the next few days, then the best thing to do is probably just get a free trial of a paid-for VPN and then cancel it before you get billed. NordVPN, Express VPN and SurfShark all offer free trials and we're sure others do too.

So there you have it, a Pinkbike article on how to keep your data safe while browsing online, just because we absolutely care about your internet security and definitely not because it would be an easy way watch the World Champs this weekend.


128 Comments

  • 463 2
 I love this. Thank you, Pinkbike, for instructing us on how to keep ourselves safe online during these turbulent times, and definitely not for telling us how we can still watch our favorite sport despite the politics of broadcasting!
  • 201 2
 One of the top ten pinkbike headlines of all time
  • 22 0
 @NorCalNomad: curious what the other 9 on your list are
  • 12 18
flag simooo (Oct 9, 2020 at 12:37) (Below Threshold)
 Nothing as safe as routing ALL your internet traffic through a single company
  • 14 1
 @simooo: You do that no matter what, if you don't use a VPN your ISP has access to see all of your traffic. The ISP will always know who you are and can use that data. Depending on the VPN if you don't sign in they are seeing all the traffic but might not know who you are.
  • 2 0
 Nice one PB.
  • 3 8
flag simooo (Oct 9, 2020 at 14:22) (Below Threshold)
 @mfoga just moving the problem to another company
  • 4 1
 Welcome to 1994 technology.
  • 10 31
flag powderturns (Oct 10, 2020 at 8:33) (Below Threshold)
 Can you help me get out of paying for trailforks next? This is a weird article. Companies have paid for the streaming rights. I don’t love it, but it’s lame Pinkbike is encouraging this.
  • 3 0
 @powderturns: yeah but the company is not using their rights. Could you imagine having to watch any other sport on tape delay in today’s age?
  • 4 1
 @powderturns: corporate shill
  • 3 0
 @powderturns: the problem with companies buying the rights to sports like DH is that the entire broadcast may be snipped down to a 30 second highlight reel at the end of the sports news.

Generally the broadcasted coverage is very poor when done by anyone except Redbull?
  • 2 0
 @excavator666: fair point. I hadn’t considered that.
  • 2 0
 @excavator666: others have also noted that the commentating is shite as well.
  • 1 0
 For the US they are could be showing it live in Olympic channel vs paying extra (they are showing is 12 hours later) instead they are showing European rowing championships.
  • 101 1
 Standing ovation for Pinkbike. Thank you for caring for my safety this much.
  • 9 0
 This is the most important thing they've posted all year
  • 62 0
 This article was sponsored by Nord VPN
  • 3 0
 Viva la Nord! Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Varg approves.
  • 4 0
 ltt store dat kom
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: What happens when you use a VPN? Let's find out...Smile
  • 2 0
 @Feideaux: Haha I kinda miss those Thulean rants. I know he's on Bitchute but I haven't really checked it out.
  • 5 0
 Nords was robbed!
  • 35 0
 This is the type of top notch sports journalism I come here for.
  • 32 0
 Shout out Pinkbike. Always there for the boys
  • 19 0
 Off topic - what time does the Elite Men race start?
  • 3 0
 I, too, would like to know, so as to follow along the live updates of course *cough*
  • 10 2
 You can search for this, without VPN !
  • 33 0
 Unfortunately looks like it’s geo blocked for you guys but if you’re curious to know when everyone else will be watching you can find the stream links and times at the bottom of here: m.pinkbike.com/news/how-to-watch-the-2020-mountain-bike-world-championships-from-leogang.html?pbref=p
  • 1 0
 1st rider is at 2:10 pm, Gwin's run (qualified 23rd) is at 3:22pm Austrian time... 8hrs ahead of Mountain time.
Sunday morning Coffee and DH...not too shabby
  • 10 0
 I didn't realise how bad my Internet security was before reading this article. I have taken immediate measures to pass on a link to my friends allowing them to be Internet secure, especially this weekend. Thanks you Pinkbike for your entirely altruistic act" Beer
  • 11 0
 Windscribe.com 10gb/month for free. A, um, friend uses to watch all those geoblocked chess-boxing, wife-carrying and cheese-rolling events.
  • 1 1
 Its more like 2 GB actually....
  • 3 0
 @mtb1101: Just register with some throw-away email and you get the 10GB Wink
No credit card info or anything like that required.
  • 10 0
 Very timely and very useful!
  • 6 0
 Just a quick word of caution in regards to NordVPN, if you value your privacy.
They have very recently moved their business to the US. So they are now subject to US data laws and legislation.
You can be sure, they will be asked to hand over the data, they have mined about their users, over to the US govnernment.

If you just want to watchwatch the World Champs, by all means, go ahead, don't let me stop you (I'm in a geoblocked region too)
  • 6 0
 Opera browser was easy enough for me. Took 2 min to install and setup. Still sucks I won't be able to watch it on tv.
  • 6 1
 You can always cast it on your TV, if you have smart TV or device.
  • 1 0
 Grab a cheap google tv stick, 40$ and streams it easy from anything.
  • 5 0
 Be careful with Opera. I believe it was sold to a china based company a few years ago and has been involved with some sketchy manoeuvres since then. Using them to get around a country block for a few hours of cheese rolling is likely fine but I'd be wary of long term usage.
  • 1 0
 @kingtut87: It still says Opera Norway AS, and a adress to Olso, Norway.
But maybe to company still resides in Norway despite owned by foreigners.
  • 1 0
 @Startgas: Olso Norway... where dat? Is it like when a town in Japan changed their name to USA so they could pretend products were made in U.S.A?
  • 1 0
 @Startgas: it was sold back in 2016, techcrunch.com/2016/07/18/opera-renegotiates-its-1-2b-sale-down-to-600m-for-browser-privacy-apps-chinese-jv

They're still officially operating in Norway but I'd still be wary of interference from up top.
  • 1 0
 @kingtut87: Aha, that's to bad..
  • 1 0
 @kingtut87: you can use vivaldi, developed by the same people that made the opera browser (before it was sold off)
  • 2 0
 You, poor nations, let's destroy the virtual walls between us, your more than welcome to watch the show on our servers, with no immigration paper required (as long as you do not eat our bandwidth, of course hospitality has its limits)
  • 2 0
 @James Smurthwaite has Opera actually allowed access for you to view the race? I have been using Opera Android for years but it won't allow access either the VPN on or off. VPN settings will not let me pick a specific country, only America, Europe or Asia.
  • 1 0
 I had to use incognito window in chrome even with vpn to get it to work.
  • 3 1
 @JamesSmurthwaite: using Opera has Redbull actually allowed access for you to view the race? I have been using Opera Android for years but it won't allow access to the race either the VPN on or off. VPN settings will not let me pick a specific country, only America, Europe or Asia.
  • 1 0
 Yeah. Opera doesn't work for me either. All the virtual countries are also geo blocked Frown
  • 1 0
 @Dustfarter: vpn and incognito window in chrome works.
  • 2 1
 Opera has always worked for this on my laptop but never on my cell
  • 5 0
 11/10 for public service guys
  • 1 0
 Serious question here. On my Samsung phone I have a "secret mode" in my browser. Will that allow me to watch this weekends "wife throwing" word championship ?
I just tried searched "Redbull tv Europe" and it gave me a countdown to the event. Can it be that easy?
  • 1 0
 No, private or secret browsing doesn't store cookies on history on your phone. The website or service you're connecting to knows exactly where you are.
  • 2 1
 @James Smurthwaite: has Opera actually allowed access for you to view the race? I have been using Opera Android for years but it won't allow access either the VPN on or off. VPN settings will not let me pick a specific country, only America, Europe or Asia.
  • 1 0
 I've used the Firefox Vpn and managed to access redbull tv at least the last bit of it. Commentator on BBC kept talking about a saddle pin when discussing dropper posts so not convinced about the BBC coverage. Got to be Rob Warner for the downhill coverage
  • 1 0
 Opera browser has a free built in VPN. However, it does slow down your internet speed and you have to change your settings to get your own language, location, currency, etc. Moreso, if you clean your browser often. Not an issue if you just want to watch the latest MTB race, though.
  • 1 2
 @tacklingdummy:
Have you actually been able to watch any of the UCI race with Opera? It will not let you pick a country, only a continent. Redbull gives a geo blocked message regardless of the settings.
  • 2 1
 @salami: Opera doesnt work any more. There is a vpn but it will likely use the same as you are in.
  • 1 0
 I'm in the UK and getting the Geo Restricted error. Thought I'd test ahead of the race but getting shut down.

*Yes I do know what a VPN is and how to use one but I wanted to stream straight to my TV and not via my BMP plugged into my TV
  • 1 0
 Incognito window in chrome and the vpn.
  • 1 0
 I have made good experiences with Urban VPN, which is a free service that also has mobile apps and lets you pick a lot of countries right on the smartphone. For the mobile Red Bull TV app, for instance.
  • 1 0
 You'll never have enough peering with Tor sadly …
  • 2 0
 Online safety and anonymity are important and should be protected. Thanks for the heads up on these important tools Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 Opera browser has vpn built in and its Free! I tested and it works fine for watching WC on Redbull. Just enable vpn and set region to Europe before navigating to redbull tv in the browser.
[Reply]
  • 1 0
 I definitely don't use Windscribe and it definitely doesn't have any european countries on it. The 50Gb monthly limit is also just way too small for any kind of streaming. Totally useless.
  • 1 0
 I'll be honest, I'm usually tech savvy, but VPN's confuse me. I downloaded (and purchased) expressVPN, have my location set to a confirmed location (sweden), yet Redbull still says it's geo blocked in my location.
  • 1 0
 Figured it out, my bad! Redbull finally asked "looks like you're from Sweden, do you want to go to your local website".
  • 1 0
 @Ryan2949: same problem here! But i am still not able ro watch world champs... do you know How you got the ‘looks like your from Zweden’??
  • 1 0
 @finnversteege: There's a separate 'English Only' feed here for Albania, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Malaysia, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and UK: www.redbull.com/int-en/live/uci-mtb-championships-2020-leogang-xco-women-english-only . You could have been on the wrong feed
  • 1 0
 I could not get this to work, so frustrated. Connected to UK over VPN, still geo location blocked. Tried opera browser (no location selection) and another where I could choose the location. Both failed.
  • 2 0
 Thanks! VPN challenged over here. This helps me and my internet security.....wink wink.
  • 2 0
 Are there any good peer-to-peer file sharing websites where one could download Nord VPN Wink ?
  • 6 3
 I can buy drugs and watch the WC at the same time
  • 2 0
 Say you wanted to watch a replay of a live wife tossing event, would that be available through VPN?
  • 2 0
 each winter I spend in Jamaica we rely on Netflix and the Jamaica Netflix is grim. Thank u
  • 2 0
 im in new zealand sky has the wrights and they rant even playing world champs but it is on redbull tv in nz somehow
  • 6 4
 Why use a VPN when you simply use Tor Browser?
  • 2 0
 Well, because you prefer to give your information to a big business instead of a few unknow people running an alternate network! In both cases, the only thing you hide is your location...unless you connect to social media through it then you just hide nothing at all.
  • 2 0
 You'll never get enough bandwidth through tor to stream anything high quality.
  • 1 0
 @kingtut87: viewing at 540p
  • 2 0
 Brave Browser is another good option.
  • 1 0
 The Opera web browser for Android really works well. I've learn something usefull today! Thanks James.
  • 2 0
 If you have an anti-virus software it probably has a VPN included.
  • 1 0
 In the future, how would one lobby to have the events broadcasted in their blocked region?
  • 1 0
 Good luck lobbying against giant corporations.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for this. Sky NZ pretty much only play rugby. I wont be subscribing for this one race a year.
  • 1 0
 Hola free VPN, free Chrome web store extension that works on your PC beautifully. Watching men's XC start now.
  • 1 0
 What country do you use?
  • 1 0
 @Drea: I used Brazil
  • 2 0
 How long before Redbull TV in Canadia can rebroadcast the race?
  • 1 0
 So I installed my nord. Set it to UK server and RB still says I’m geo locked! Help.
  • 1 0
 I used his link to get to xc, Also better to use private/incognito tab
www.redbull.com/int-en/live/uci-mtb-championships-2020-leogang-xco-women-english-only
  • 1 0
 Incognito window even with vpn.
  • 1 0
 So just noticed the Olympic channel on Hulu live is airing the world champs. Watching XC now.
  • 1 0
 SPONSORED BY ALL THE PEOPLE OPPRESSED AND SPIED ON BY THEIR GOVERNMENTS!!! WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY!!! VPN ALL THE WAY.
  • 2 0
 Lmao you love to see it
  • 2 0
 Smurthwaite the goat
  • 1 0
 Cloudflare warp and all ur problems are solved
  • 2 0
 This is awesome Smile
  • 1 0
 Thank you so much for this info! Using the Opera browser works perfectly!
  • 1 0
 Arrrrghh!!! Shiver me timbers I approve!
  • 1 0
 THANK YOU PINKBIKE. Saves many people some frustration.
  • 1 0
 Youre FOCKING GOLD PINKBIKE!
  • 1 0
 I have good experience with TunnelBear, can recommend it
  • 1 0
 James just going for the VPN podcast sponsorship, I see you
  • 2 0
 So, who sponsored this?
  • 1 0
 I love PIA, if anyone wants some other options.
  • 1 0
 and.......... snow.... ohh well no need for internet safety now..
  • 1 0
 James, man...well played!! Article of the year, hands down.
  • 1 0
 Literally laughed out loud at the title
  • 1 0
 If a VPN is free then your personal info is the product.
  • 1 0
 Kings.
  • 1 0
 Thank You!! Awesome
  • 1 0
 James is the man.
  • 1 0
 Ah jeayeah
  • 1 0
 Friggin legends
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