Music streaming has come a long way since the days of peer-to-peer piracy platforms like Kazaa and Morpheus.
Today, you’re far more likely to download songs and albums from a legitimate platform – very possibly Spotify.
In just a decade, this Swedish streaming service has acquired 36 per cent of the world’s streaming music subscriptions.
That’s particularly impressive considering Spotify has yet to conquer much of the globe.
And while its share valuation remains controversial, having never made a profit, people around the UK rely on Spotify’s curated playlists and high-quality audio output.
But what if you find yourself unable to listen to certain podcasts or broadcasts, because they’re not permitted in your region?
After all, Spotify isn’t available in many Asian countries, and it currently has no presence in Africa.
Regional restrictions are employed to protect copyright in countries where Spotify doesn’t have a licence to play music.
Attempting to access the service will result in a message saying “Spotify is currently not available in your country”.
That’s quite disappointing if you pay a monthly subscription and then find yourself in a restricted territory.
Fortunately, a VPN could represent a solution.
What’s a VPN?
For the uninitiated, a virtual private network establishes an encrypted connection between your device and a remote server.
A secure link is confirmed by exchanging encryption keys, ensuring third parties can’t view or intercept the contents.
A VPN can also be used to cloak your location, by spoofing the IP address that indicates where you are.
You could be in Mumbai (where Spotify isn’t allowed to operate), listening to it through a VPN that’s informing Spotify’s servers you’re actually in Manchester.
How do I install a VPN?
A VPN is a standalone piece of software used to establish a secure internet connection, like the minimalist windows you use to log into online banking.
Usually found on mobile devices, they can be installed as apps or downloaded as a program file that can then be installed onto your device.
VPNs come in a variety of free and paid-for versions, but the additional security features offered by paid platforms tend to make them a safer choice.
You should also avoid VPNs with small data limits, which will quickly be consumed by a continual stream of high-quality music files.
Below, we’ve listed five of our favourite VPNs for Spotify, though it’s worth noting VPN providers (especially free ones) come and go fairly frequently.
Top five VPNs for Spotify
- 1. ExpressVPN. With over 1,500 servers in almost a hundred countries, you’re never going to be far from an ExpressVPN server. This market-leading VPN can be installed on everything from Kindle e-readers and Linux computers to Windows and Mac OS X desktops, plus Apple and Android mobile devices. It’s relatively expensive, but you do get round-the-clock technical support and a strong focus on user privacy
- 2. Buffered. Gibraltar-based Buffered has a presence in barely a third of the nations already colonised by ExpressVPN. Even so, it supports high-speed connections on up to five devices simultaneously, with its own 24/7 technical support. Buffered may store connection logs, which the best VPN providers don’t tend to keep on file
- 3. PrivateVPN. If the absence of connection/user logs is important, Sweden’s PrivateVPN might be worth considering. It has a larger global footprint than Buffered, using military-grade encryption and high-speed connections to ensure music is delivered without interruption (apart from the ads on Spotify’s free service)
- 4. NordVPN. Despite the Scandinavian connotations of its name, NordVPN is actually based in Panama. As such, they are under no obligation to store customer logs or data. With a thousand servers in 60 countries, NordVPN’s ultra-fast server connections ensure a seamless distribution of content. Their 256-bit encryption is impressive, and proprietary technology guarantees to resolve any attempts Spotify makes to block streams
- 5. VyprVPN. Our final entry on this list, and another VPN keeping user connection logs. In theory, these could permit Spotify to identify which users have been dodging geolocation restrictions. Even so, VyprVPN has excellent encryption, 700 international servers, impressive connection speeds and compatibility with all the popular hardware platforms.