What is Twitch?
Twitch is a wildly popular internet streaming service, used mostly by those who stream their video game usage. Twitch is a platform for those looking to peek into the world of competitive worldwide online gaming.
Twitch is a subsidiary of Amazon, acquired in August 2014 for almost $1 billion. As of February 2018, Twitch is the leading live video streaming service for video games in the US, with over two million monthly broadcasters and over 15 million active users daily. Many large-scale Amazon investments have kept Twitch ahead of rival YouTube as far as traffic and revenues. As of 2018, Twitch has become the go-to place for:
- Chat shows for online gaming related topics
- Reports and streaming from gaming expos and conventions
- Demos of new games from gaming companies
The incredible ability for users to watch live gameplay instead of simple demos provides potential consumers with the ability to see the games in action, inspiring buyer confidence compared to the amped-up demos of yesteryear.
Additionally, Twitch is slowly overtaking the market share for music event streaming. The site has featured countless music festivals and club appearances as of late, edging its way into other niches focused around their target demographic of younger millennials.
Utilization of Twitch and VPNs
With this focus, and with increased scrutiny of streaming platforms overall, Twitch has been met with several blockades and impediments for access. Due to content and bandwidth concerns, several large ISP’s have begun to attempt to completely block Twitch from usage. Due to concerns over both the lack of educational benefit and bandwidth utilization, many schools have also blocked Twitch from being accessed on their properties, leaving students on the lookout for how to unblock Twitch at school.
Luckily, both streamers and viewers alike can circumvent these blocks by using a virtual private network, or VPN. VPNs mask your IP, allowing those with ISPs to stream at their leisure, and getting around access filters at schools and workplaces. We have selected three of the best VPNs for Twitch below:
VPN’s are typically geared towards maximizing download speeds. Twitch streamers, however, are looking for strong upload speeds as well. ExpressVPN is the first choice on our list, as they focus on both download and upload, providing a lightning fast VPN experience. ExpressVPN also offers stealth servers and a very simple to use setup process, as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is an incredible VPN for Twitch as it masks both source and destination addresses of each packet going through an ISP, keeping users from experiencing throttling of bandwidth from high amounts of data being moved in and out.
See our full review of ExpressVPN here.
VyprVPN is the second choice on our list, and differs from most virtual private networks in that it provides five connections at the same time. There is also enhanced privacy, and a completely separate privacy platform developed specifically for gamers. Additionally, in place of a money back guarantee like most VPN providers, VyprVPN offers a three-day free trial of their services, no strings attached.
VyprVPN also protects against DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks by competitors looking to lock access to gameplay while streaming. A VPN such as VyprVPN keeps these competitors from having access to your IP. This service also uses advanced cloaking technology that is only available through them, making it a great Twitch VPN.
NordVPN is the third choice on our list. NordVPN is similar to VyprVPN above, as it provides six simultaneous connections for users. It is also one of the least expensive, and has an incredible quality to price ratio. They have always had a stellar two-year and three -ear subscription offer available to users. Simultaneous connections make sharing the VPN with classmates if you are looking to unblock Twitch at school in a snap.
Additionally, using the OpenVPN client from your home router will enable you to configure NordVPN at that point to handle all devices connected to your home WiFi network, leaving no stone unturned. This would only count as one connection. NordVPN is a stellar VPN for Twitch.
Steps to Unblock Twitch with a VPN
Have you selected a VPN that fits your needs from the list above? Looking for the process to get the VPN set up to properly unblock Twitch? Follow the steps below to get things configured and enjoy streaming!
- Register an account with the VPN provider of choice.
- Select a price plan that meets your financial needs.
- Download the provided VPN client made available after payment.
- Install the VPN client to your machine/platform by following step by step instructions.
- Use the new VPN client to sign into your account made in Step 1.
- Select your server, location where applicable, and any other configuration options.
- Connect to the VPN, and once it loads up and your Internet is working properly, you are ready to stream!
Is Twitch usable with a free VPN?
There have been rumors flying around about a global Twitch VPN ban. While mostly false, free VPN services are generally far lower quality than the premium alternatives above. This being the case, actions performed on the shared IP addresses and services used by multiple people at the same time can cause rampant issue with pages not loading.
What this white page issue typically means is that the IP being used by the free VPN has been banned. For free VPN’s, a solution for this is to disconnect from the VPN and use your home connection. This disassociates your Twitch connection with the offending free VPN IP. However, this leaves your home network vulnerable to the throttling, slow speed, bandwidth caps and other issues prevalent in ISPs.
A better, more practical alternative is using one of the stellar VPNs above: ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, and NordVPN.
VPNs, ISP Throttling and DDoS on Twitch
Strong traffic usage present when streaming or viewing streams on Twitch is the bane of ISP’s. Those seriously into gaming can be streaming and viewing these streams for hours upon hours. This type of usage of Twitch puts very high loads onto the service providers’ servers. Looking to combat this, many ISPs have started throttling bandwidth, slowing connections to higher-usage sites such as Twitch, Netflix, Hulu and the like.
When this throttling occurs, streamers will find that their Twitch connection gets extremely laggy, while connections to other websites remain normal. This throttling is based on the connection to websites in general, and not a complete wash of all Internet usage. ISPs do this to ensure it maintains its bandwidth promises to consumers, while neglecting to mention that these speeds are not being delivered at all access points.
Using the best VPN for Twitch can ensure that the throttling does not occur, as your ISP will be unable to trace the bandwidth usage back to your account.
Protecting Against DDoS Attacks with a VPN
Convenient connection drops when streaming is a common occurrence in the world of Twitch gaming. Odds are, if this has happened, the gamer has fallen victim to a DDoS attack. In an attack such as this, massive amounts of traffic are spammed to a target IP address, overwhelming it with data to either take the network offline or slow it to the point of uselessness. Using a VPN means your true IP is masked, making it extremely difficult for malicious DDoS attacks to occur.
Why use a Twitch VPN?
Twitch is a wonderful asset to gamers everywhere. They provide incredible streams of gaming content, conferences, conventions, and full streaming demos for potential consumers. However, using Twitch can lead to unwanted dangers such as:
- ISP bandwidth throttling
- Issues with schools banning stream viewing
- DDoS attacks by gaming competitors, and more
Using a free VPN is one workaround, but often leads to IP related issues and white screens. Using Twitch through a VPN service such as the three listed above means your IP will not be traceable, allowing you to enjoy Twitch streams (whether watching or streaming), without worry.