5 Best VPNs for 4oD

With over 215 million views recorded during the first half of 2011, 4oD can comfortably claim to be the UK’s most popular video on demand service (4oD stands for 4 on Demand). This is no doubt due, in addition to the 30 day catch-up service, to the huge back-catalogue of program titles that cover some of the best British television series made since Chanel 4 first started broadcasting back in 1982. Although Channel 4 is the main terrestrial television station whose programming is covered on 4oD, the E4, More4 and 4Music channels are also included.

4oDAs with other British TV based video streaming services, licencing restrictions mean that 4oD content is only available  in the UK (and to a much more limited extent in Ireland). The good news for overseas fans of Channel 4 programming is that it is quite easy to ‘spoof’ your IP address so that, as far as 4oD is concerned, you are accessing its website from a UK address.

There are a number of methods of doing this, but the most popular is VPN thanks to its low cost, ease of setup, and the fact that it is useful for many other things besides watching web TV, such as protecting against hacking attempted through unsecured WiFi connections, complete anonymity when surfing the web, and untraceable BitTorrent downloads.

4oD denied
Oops! If you don’t want to encounter problems like this, then using a VPN to watch 4oD when outside the UK is the best answer

While any VPN provider who can offer decent speeds and has servers located in the UK can be used to accesses and stream 4oD content, all VPN providers are not created equal. While maybe not important for users who simply want to watch UK television when abroad, one of the primary uses of VPN is to protect its users’ identity and anonymise their activities while online. As there are many companies who do this very well, in addition to providing great speeds and UK based IP addresses, these will always get preference in out books compared to companies that have a shoddy attitude to maintaining their users’ privacy.

4oD Android 3
There are lots of classic shows available on 4oD, and the apps for Android and iOS are a great way to watch them. The main problem with these apps is they only support streaming over WiFi, so catching up with your favourite episodes of Skins while sat on the bus is unfortunately not an option (for now)

Glancing through our list, one thing that might strike you given that 4oD is a UK service, is the absence of UK based VPN providers. This is because not only is the UK government a fully paid-up advocate of the EU wide Data Retention Directive, but British VPN providers seem eager to hand over sensitive user data to the authorities, media industry lawyers, independent copyright trolls, and just about anyone else who asks, and should therefore be avoided by anyone who values their privacy.


*All prices shown in US dollars

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Editor’s Choice

Winner – ExpressVPN


Positives: Easy-to-use software, excellent speeds, good customer service

Negatives: Bit pricey, but worth it for the features

With apps across all platforms and software that blows the competition away, ExpressVPN secures our vote as the Best VPN for 4oD. The download speeds are impressive and the software is straightforward to use. We really love some of the features like automatic protocol selection and server location recommendations.

ExpressVPN boasts round-the-clock customer support and an ultra reliable VPN network spanning 78 countries and hundreds of servers. They are also adding new locations all the time. These guys have done a pretty awesome job in building what we believe to be the best VPN service out there.

The pricing is not the cheapest, but you do get what you pay for. ExpressVPN also offers unlimited bandwidth and supports your mobile device (Android/iOS) for no extra charge.

Click the button below to sign up to ExpressVPN now! With their 30-day money back guarantee you really can’t go wrong.

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2. AirVPN

Positives: no logs, 256-bit AES encryption, accepts Bitcoin, transparent service with detailed server and usage statistics, support for Tor over VPN, VPN through SSH and SSL tunnels, 3 day free trial, 3 UK servers

Negatives: none

Founded by Italian hackers and activists who believe passionately in the concepts of internet freedom and personal anonymity on the web, AirVPN provides a great general purpose VPN service with fast speeds and 3 UK servers. In addition to this, it offers a number of services that speak volumes for its integrity as a VPN provider who values its users’ anonymity, such as supporting Tor over VPN, and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels. AirVPN believes in offering a ’transparent’ service, and to this end provides a wealth of real-time, beautifully presented server statistics so that any user can easily understand what is happening on the network. All-in-all AirVPN offer a great service that competes strongly with Private internet Access for the number one slot.

» Visit AirVPN

3. CyberGhost

Positives: no logs, fast, great VPN client with internet kill switch, good free service (although not fast enough for 4oD), 30 day free trial, 11 UK servers

Negatives: Does not accept Bitcoin, VPN client is Windows only (although guides are provides for setting OpenVPN up on other devices)

CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN provider that we also like a lot. It provides a no-nonsense, no logs service, and with 11 UK based VPN servers it is well placed to provide excellent 4oD access. We really like the easy-to-use Windows VPN client which also features an ‘internet kill switch’, and while it loses a few points in our book by not accepting anonymous payment through Bitcoin, it redeems them with a very generous 30 free trial, making it very difficult not to recommends at least giving a try. While too slow for streaming 4oD, it also seems criminal not to mention the excellent free service offered by CyberGhost, which allows unlimited web surfing at 2Mb/s (in our tests) with very discreet advertising.

» Visit CyberGhost

4. TorGuard

Positives: no logs, 256-bit AES encryption, accepts Bitcoins, very fast, UK servers

Negatives: asks for too much information during registration, keeps that info for marketing reasons, some connection problems, no free trial

This Panama based VPN provider leaves us a little confused. On the one hand, when working properly it offers one of the fastest and most secure no logs VPN services we’ve come across, but on the other hand our experience was slightly marred by a some technical difficulties and annoyance at how much personal information was required during sign-up (and that this information may be used for marketing, although only by TorGuard itself). Given that we did resolve the important technical issues fairly quickly, and that TorGuard accepts anonymous payment through Bitcoin, we think these minor annoyances can be overlooked, and say that TorGuard provides a great service.

» Visit TorGuard

5. Kepard


Positives: great VPN client (especially for Android), logs only kept for 3 days, 15 day free trial, UK servers

Negatives: logs kept for 3 days, not amazingly fast

Kepard is a small Moldovan company that makes this list due to having UK servers suitable for streaming 4oD, and the fact that it has a  beautifully easy to use multi-protocol Windows VPN client, and an even better custom Android app that brings effortless OpenVPN encryption to all Android devices. Unlike the other VPN’s we have recommended here, Kepard does keep logs, which we strongly frown on, but as it is only for 3 days we are willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, especially in light of the 15 day free trial.

» Visit Kepard


As we noted above, any VPN with UK servers worth its salt should be fine for streaming 4oD, so our picks are based on other factors that we think contribute to making a great VPN service, with the main limitation on this list being that fast UK servers are available. As such, all the providers in our top 5 pass with flying colours. We are not so keen on Kepard’s policy of retaining logs for 3 days, but it is just 3 days, and with a 15 day free trial and the best Android app we have yet seen, we think it is work a look.

And here’s the summary once more:


*All prices shown in US dollars

Advertiser disclosure

Pete runs Best VPN and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter or Google+

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2 responses to “5 Best VPNs for 4oD

  1. Thanks for the article Pete. For those who live outside UK and want to access 4OD, you can use UnoTelly as I do to get around the geo block.

  2. Actually, Private Internet Access has two UK servers now (London and Southampton). Food for thought.

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