Did you ever experience the frustration when you wanted to use Plex to watch some videos, but the fun-train was abruptly stopped by regional restrictions? “This video is unavailable in your country” says YouTube . Luckily for you, there is a way to battle such petty content blocks. If you pair up your media player with a strong VPN or smart DNS service, you not only win access to all kinds of cool videos, but also protect your identity from occasional privacy leaks. So take the smart choice, and back up your Sunday video marathons with VPN.
What is Plex?
In case you have a prestigious smart TV in your living room, you surely wish to maximize your convenience with the help of a multifunctional media player. Plex is the ideal candidate to take care of the job. It’s cross-platform software with a main focus on 10-foot user interfaces. Plex is currently available on multiple systems – smartphones included – but you can make the most out of it with a smart TV. The program isn’t free, but in exchange you can enjoy a dynamic interface, coupled with social media elements showcasing popular trends.
Plex not only plays your DVDs, but also imports videos from popular content sharing websites like YouTube, Vimeo, or CNN. Think about Plex as a Swiss army knife of different services. The main component is the Plex Media Center, a remarkable catalog of movies, series or other media content. In this main hub, you can read descriptions, accompanied by some nice visuals. Alternatively, you can use the Plex Media Server to access your own files stored on another device that runs Plex. The last core feature is the Plex Media Player that functions similarly to any other media player. It plays your audio logs, creates a clip show from your photos, and screens a movie or vacation video. So far so good, but you can customize Plex even further by looking up the community plugins. These are the little add-ons that help you stream videos from YouTube, or any other site.
Using Plex with a VPN
If you want to make the most out of Plex, you better match it up with some sort of unblocker program. Surfing the web on your smart TV is often balked by the efforts of YouTube, CNN and Netflix, who restrict you access to their content. Not because it’s illegal, just for geographical reasons. VPNs are well known means for bypassing these blocks. By connecting to one of their VPN servers in a desired location, you get a “borrowed” IP, while your true identity becomes hidden. This is an easily manageable task, and most providers offer their own client software that automates most steps. This is very important, as common open-source programs are known to cause occasional privacy leaks.
The same could be said for the plugins you download for Plex. Untested or beta components pose a serious security risk. But VPNs are effective countermeasures against these problems, as they add an extra layer of defense by encrypting your connection. But don’t forget that the higher the encryption level, the slower the streaming will be, so make sure you balance it out. VPNs come in many forms, but make sure you pick one that is compatible with smart TVs and consoles. Another important factor is the number of device slots, aka how many devices can use the VPN with the same account. Always choose the larger number, because not just your TV needs protection, but also your computer and smartphone. And our last advice: both VPN and Plex are subscription based services, so make the most out of the trial periods and discount offers so you don’t have to break the bank.
Plex with Smart DNS
The biggest flaw of VPN is none other than reduced streaming speeds. Even if you iron out all the content blocks, having your movie stop from time to time because of the slow connection speed is almost as unbearable. The solution for this problem could be smart DNS. It uses the same data tunneling technology, but only enroutes half of the data. The result still unlocks all the desired content, only your IP won’t be disguised. The choice is up to you: are you willing to sacrifice your own privacy for the sake of undisturbed streaming? If the answer is a yes, then try out smart DNS. In case you hesitate, then we have a third alternative for you: pick a VPN service that has integrated some form of smart DNS feature. Golden Frog and OverPlay are two famous examples, but there are other providers that bundle the two technologies in one package.
In case you made up your mind about choosing a VPN service, we prepared an extra help section for you. Here, we present you three different providers worth using with Plex. If you still feel unsure, you can find more in-depth reviews from our VPN experts at Best Reviews.
VPN.ht hails from Canada. It’s a minor service that bears much resemblance with a smart DNS product. It focuses on unlocking content for you, thanks to the integrated DNS protection features. The maximum encryption level is 128-bit, which is the best for streaming. Sadly it hasn’t got its own client, and you need to rely on an open-source substitute to make it work. Still, it’s a good match for Plex.
VyprVPN is the VPN world’s viper: fast, agile and deadly to its enemies. The service was created by Golden Frog, and you can expect a balanced set of extras from it. Every single component of it is owned or developed by the company itself, nothing is outsourced. There are servers in America, Europe, Asia and Indonesia, not to mention the extra features. It has an integrated smart DNS option, and a unique protocol that scrambles your metadata to further hide your identity.
A highly anticipated VPN provider, ExpressVPN displays its main strength right in the title. It supports all possible encryption protocols, not to mention you can enjoy unlimited bandwidth as their user. It uses encryption between 128-bit and 256-bit, which is a fair protection that leaves enough room for downloading and streaming. ExpressVPN also has servers in 78 locations, and you are entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee.