It has always been said that privacy comes first; let alone while running a service like IPTV! In this article and upcoming series of articles following the subject of running IPTV through VPN, we will clarify the necessity and benefits of using VPN to ensure a pleasant, safe and uninterrupted IPTV experience.
So let's get one thing straight first!
As an old habit, here at WeDoStreaming, we tend to make everything easy to the extend that as long as someone can read english, no matter what age, gender or IQ level they have, they should be able to understand the point and understand what ever the tutorial is about.
There are few things that we would like to ask you to keep in mind while reading these highly important tutorials and the ones which will follow after:
-From this point on, VPN is going to play a huge role in IPTV market for end-users. So take this very seriously.
-Stuff like "I am not savvy", "I am 70 yrs old"... you don't need it anymore. Simply read the whole article and follow the steps. Look at it like Sunday paper, a love story ... just read it :)
-In case of questions, ask away in the comment section under any tutorial.
Why has VPN suddenly become a necessity in 2020 for IPTV users? (This is mostly UK related but can and probably will apply to all other countries soon)
Since the start of 2nd week of English Premier league in the United Kingdom, UK ISPs(Internet Service Providers) have started to implement a new technique to hunt IPTV Providers server IPs and block them during the live broadcast of the events. In simple words, the security function which is utilized in these ISPs look for IP addresses(servers) which are frequently seen and become popular just at the start of a premier league coverage and if many IPs(Clients) from the UK start to connect to, and that connection request amount was not there before the event, then that is definitely detected as an IPTV server and temporarily blocked until 1 hour after the last match of the day. The amount of network traffic a server delivers into UK network environment would also attract the attention of this security function meaning if right at the start of an EPL event a server starts to send massive amount of data towards UK ISPs, it is again detected as IPTV server and gets blocked. This new method implemented and utilized for 2020-2021 Premier League season and not before.
The other method would be DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) by which specific organizations suspect activities of specific IP address of IPTV servers, gather the traffic these servers send to end-users in the UK, analyze it to see whether it is an IPTV server and then block the IP address.
Another method which is the old method and still being used is Agents lurk in an IPTV service! In this method, an Agent from companies like FAPL (Football Association Premier League), Sky or any other company who fight against IPTV streaming would play a role of a client, ask for a free trial or even purchase a one month service from the provider and then run account on their security scripts, extract all server IPs and blocked them all. Accounts with easy username and passwords would also get leaked and posted on online forums and it would bring the same sort of trouble for the provider.
All cases above, especially the first and 2nd methods, are the reason why people did lose coverage and missed parts or the whole EPL week this year or years before. But this year, it is a lot more serious than what it was before. There are several methods for bypassing these blocks which are offered by certain people to IPTV Providers but except for one or two methods which have been stable during the blocks until week4, there are no guarantees for any method (even those two) to hold throughout the whole Premier League season.
Another case which was used 3 years ago and still being used from time to time is to throttle broadband bandwidth of UK clients when many try to connect to one server. In simple words, if UK ISPs see that at the start of an EPL match many UK broadband clients trying to reach a specific IP address(server), it is detected as a possible IPTV server and the network bandwidth (basically the speed to be able to download IPTV stream from) towards that IP is throttled. This function was also used during the week 4 of EPL 2020-2021.
So to answer the question above:
1-To ensure that even if the IPTV provider uses best methods to bypass the block, user guarantees the access and keep the IPTV service running uninterrupted no matter what.
2-To keep your real broadband IP address masked and safeguarded from ISPs seeing you connecting to the IPTV server.
3-To keep your real broadband IP address masked and safeguarded from the IPTV provider themselves.
4-To bypass any network throttling against the IPTV server.
All of the above are possible through VPN because of one simple fact: VPN encrypts your connection!
Let's give a simple example and move on as this has already been explained on the whole internet already.
Below you can see how you reach and communicate with your IPTV provider's server with and without VPN:
Bare Broadband: You --> Your ISP --> Lads Who Eavesdrop --> IPTV server
As you can see above, from left to right, there are two steps which can look into your online activity before you reach the IPTV provider. One of them is necessary (Your ISP) as you are getting the internet access from them, and the other are totally unwanted (Lads Who Eavesdrop) but they are there .... yeah :)
VPN Connected: You --> Your ISP --> Lads Who Eavesdrop --> VPN Server --> IPTV server
Here is exactly as above with one huge difference! VPN is connected. Now when you connect to a VPN server, the connection between your device on which you have setup the VPN to the VPN server is encrypted with strong algorithms. This means "Your ISP" and "Lads Who Eavesdrop" who are in the middle of this ciphered and encrypted connection, can not make heads or tails of what you are sending and receiving. Therefore, they have no choice but to let it pass normally. On the other hand, your IPTV provider also sees your VPN server IP Address and not your real broadband IP. Total anonymity and safety.
Which VPN provider is best? What are the most important factors when making this choice?
There are many out there and the competition between them is so hot which is a good thing actually, makes your choice being between better or the best!
There are some important factors though which needs to be taken into account:
1-What devices does their app support? For instance if you have a Firestick, many VPN providers' apps can be installed on it through the App Market and that makes the job a lot easier.
2-How many devices are allowed at the same time? there are providers whose VPN support, for instance, 5 devices at the same time. This gives you options: You can run it on multiple devices and have different devices secured. Or you can share the cost between you and four other friends ...
3-Ask them point blank whether they allow IPTV or Torrent.
4-See how many countries and total servers they have. The more countries, the better. If you feel the server you are connected to is overloaded and not giving you enough speed, you can easily change to another location and get a better bandwidth.
How to implement VPN?
Once you received your VPN credentials, it is time to set it up and run your IPTV service through. Depending on the network environment you have, your IPTV device or the extend you want to implement VPN security, the installation of VPN may vary although it is very easy and pretty much straight forward:
NOTE: We suggest using OpenVPN protocol (also known as Ovpn) and almost all VPN providers also provide their service and suggest clients to use it as preferred protocol. It is a lot safer and the encryption algorithm is stronger. OpenVPN also offers various Encryption Strengths which can be chosen from the setting of the app or through certificate files which will be covered in later tutorials (No panic! it's just a file and you will upload it if necessary with 2 clicks)
L2TP can also be used but it can not offer any high grade encryption or with some providers no encryption at all and can simply be used for changing the location and IP.
-Implementing VPN on the IPTV device: (VPN Compatible Devices)
Following IPTV devices can have VPN App from the VPN Provider installed on just easy:
-Personal Computer - either PC/Case or Laptop with Operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux ...
-Any handheld device like SmartPhone, Tablet, Note, Surface ...
-Enigma2 Satellite Boxes (Most cases using providers app or 3rd party VPN platforms - XtreamTV E2 plugin does have VPN compatibility as a built-in feature)
-Implementing VPN on the whole broadband network: (Total Security - VPN Incompatible Devices)
Now this one is a breeze. You simply setup the VPN on your broadband router and by doing that, any devices which connects to the router via Wi-Fi or cable is automatically secured by VPN since it is sitting in front of all devices right on the network gateway on the router. The whole home network will be secured!
This is specially useful for cases like Smart TVs when for instance you have a Smart TV with Smart IPTV or Smart STB apps installed. Smart TVs do not allow VPN installation on them, therefore if you apply VPN on the network router, Smart TV will automatically get secured.
-If current network router supports VPN installation:
You need to log into your router panel to check whether it has the compatibility of VPN installation. If you don't know how: 1-Say your network router is TP-Link brand. Find the model by looking at the bottom and when you got the model number, for instance AC1750, then go on google and search "How to install VPN on TP-Link AC1750" and you will see a ton of video tutorials coming up. Then use your VPN credentials and set it up. 2-Ask someone to check and setup for you.
-If current network router does not support VPN Installation:
In this case you need to order a newer router or, even better, you can get yourself a VPN Router!
VPN Routers are network routers which are specifically designed to run with VPN. These routers not only bring the best networking performance, they also have the best VPN compatibility.
Various VPN providers suggest various VPN routers, some even have their own special models. You can ask your VPN provider of choice about this.
NOTE: Important point here though. Some ISPs do not support specific make and model of VPN routers. So before ordering the router research about it and make sure that for instance if you want to order ASUS VPN Router, the model of your choice is fully compatible with your broadband provider. You can ask your VPN provider and/or the router vendor about this. Installation of the device, as explained above, is easy! a simple google search would do the job.
Which servers/locations should I use?
Technically, when you connect to a vpn server, it adds a little bit of network latency meaning it adds an extra stop (known as HOP) until you reach the IPTV server. For instance, if you run a ping on the IPTV server (ping is a function which measures the time distance between you and the desired server) and the latency is on average 30ms(Meaning 30 milliseconds) when you connect through VPN it will add a little bit of latency to it. Reason is, without VPN you connect directly to the IPTV server but with VPN connected, you first reach VPN server and then the VPN server leads you to the IPTV server. That extra stop adds a little bit more latency.
In IPTV, latency is very important and high values like 250ms and above can cause buffering.
To avoid that, you should choose a VPN server which is closest to you. Say you reside in Manchester, UK. You should use a VPN server which is outside your country (Security reasons) but closest to you. Netherlands, France, Spain ... are good choices. But if you fall into the old myth of "USA servers are the best", the author of this article can guarantee you that USA network is probably the worst on the planet. Apart from that, why would someone from Manchester, UK connect to a VPN server in USA while their IPTV provider's servers are hosted in europe?! If you look at the world map, you will see what an unnecessary network travel that would be.
So to answer the question above:
1-First you need to know where your IPTV provider host their servers - Simply ask them although finding that out only takes 10 seconds.
2-Then choose a vpn server which is closest to you and your IPTV provider servers and preferably outside your country.
Other articles will come soon and will get tagged mostly and specifically about installing VPN on IPTV devices in full details.
Any questions? post it on WDS Community Forum and let us help you.