Review

Unblockus Review


Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Unblockus makes some bold statements about its service, which is allegedly “faster than any VPN” and works with “any device”. Essentially, though, this isn’t a traditional VPN service. Unblockus routes your DNS queries through its own servers, which, in turn, only mask your true location to those sites that require it. It’s therefore perfect for those who wish to watch foreign streaming media or access country-specific content, but likely unsuitable for those with more specific technical requirements.

Visit UnblockUs »

Note: We’ve recently launched an entire website about SmartDNS. For more information on Smart DNS services, check it out!

Unblockus is a service that clearly sets out to be approachable and user friendly. The company’s website is clear and well laid out, and the simple service offering makes this an option that may outwardly appeal to the less technical.

Unblockus offers one of the largest collections of setup guides we’ve seen, covering computers, games consoles, routers, TVs and mobile devices. The guides are produced professionally, and the company seems to have done its best to make every guide as detailed and user-friendly as possible. It is, however, essential to remember that the unique way this solution works means it won’t necessarily meet your requirements, so be sure to check the list of supported region-specific sites (see later in the review for details).

Video Review

We’ve created a video review, where you can see exactly how Unblockus works:

Packages & Pricing

The Unblockus service is clear and simple – there’s just one service available at $4.99 per month, which covers all of your devices. There are no discounts for longer commitment packages, making the annual cost of the service $59.88. This is an average cost, but could work out to be economical if you plan to use it with a large number of devices.

Unblockus service

Unblockus offers a seven-day unrestricted free trial. Pleasingly, the company requests no more than your email address to begin the trial, and takes no up-front payment details.

For the purposes of this review, we began a seven-day free trial.

Channels and Devices

Channels Amazon Instant Video, HBO Nordic, HBO GO , Vudu , Crackle , Now TV , M-Go , Epix HD , MaxGo , Starz , CinemaNow , Warner Instant Archive , Blockbuster Now , Fandor , Blinkbox , Funimation , Dramafever , Soompi TV (KDrama) , BBC iPlayer , ITV Player , TV Player , Channel 4 – 4oD , Channel 5 , Sky Go , MSN UK , Zattoo , ABC , ABC Family , ABC News , CBS All Access , CBS , Big Brother USA , Utopia , PBS , FOX , FOX Now , NBC , CNBC , Food Network , Univision.com , Ulive , USA Network , HGTV , TBS , TruTV , Adultswim , TNT Drama , TCM , DishWorld , Showtime Anytime , SHO.com , AMC.com , FX , A&E , Syfy , Sundance TV , Bravo , Smithsonian , Discovery US , VEVO , Startrek.com , National Geographic , The CW , Logo TV , SouthPark Studios , Comedy Central , BYUtv , Spike TV , CTV , BigBrother Canada , Slice.ca , RTE.ie , TV3ie , Aertv.ie , TVNZ , SBS Australia , ABC iView , Ten.com.au , Eleven.com.au , Arte , ZDF.de , ARD.de , DR.dk , TV2 DK , SVT Play , TF1 France , 6 Play , France 1 , France 2 , France 3 , France 4 , France 5 , Pluzz France , Canal Play , Disney Movies Anywhere , The Disney Channel , Disney Junior , Disney XD , Marvel.com , Sesame Go , NHL GameCenter Live , NFL GamePass , NFL Now , MLB , NBA , WWE Network , MLS – Major League Soccer , Watch AFL , NRL , Premier League Pass , Star Sports , BBC Sport , BT Sports , beIN Sports , ESPN , Fox Sports Go , Fox Soccer 2 Go , NBC Sports , NBC Sports Live Extra , Sportsnet World Now , Univision Deportes , Universal Sports , CBS Sports Radio , Sky Sports , Eurosport Player UK , Eurosport UK , USopen.org , Tennis Channel , Sportschau.de , Pandora , Spotify , Rdio , BBC iPlayer Radio , Songza , iHeart Radio , Slacker , Rhapsody , Absoluteradio.co.uk , MTV , VEVO , Radio.com
Devices Mac OSX, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Wii U, Sony TV, Panasonic Viera, Samsung TV, LG SmartTV, AppleTV, Roku, Google TV, Boxee, WD TV, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, Amazon Kindle

Visit UnblockUs »

Customer Service

Unblockus offers forum-based support and the ability to email support via its website. We couldn’t find any reference to telephone support or a number to call.

Unblockus support

According to the company’s homepage, its support department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We sent an email querying some details and received a reply within 30 minutes, linking to some detailed support information. A follow-up question received a response almost immediately. This was impressive service, and reassuringly indicative of a company that takes customer support seriously.

Serious about support

As seen in the screenshot above, Unblockus also publishes its customer support ratings online. This is further proof of its commitment to customer service that, having put it to the test, we believe in.

Security and Privacy

It’s important to understand that Unblockus isn’t a VPN service in the traditional sense. It works in a different way by routing all DNS queries via the Unblockus servers, changing your location when you access certain sites.

As such, Unblockus doesn’t actually change your IP address and only provides access to certain region-specific sites, a list of which is available at this link:

http://support.unblock-us.com/customer/portal/articles/291570

In its FAQs, Unblockus claims that its DNS-based solution is inherently more secure than the traditional VPN alternative, where all data passes through the providers’ servers and you “don’t know what they do with this data”.

What you make of this depends on your personal point of view, but it’s fair to say it’s probably of little concern to the product’s target market. Enthusiasts or techies needing a traditional VPN service with no maintained logs are unlikely to choose this particular service anyway.

Visit UnblockUs »

The process

Registering

For the purposes of the review, we signed up for a seven-day trial. As mentioned above, it was pleasing that this required us to provide nothing but an email address. In addition, the company seems to encourage customers to undertake the trial before trying to persuade them to subscribe. We liked this low-pressure sales approach.

Email signup

After signing up, using the form above, we immediately received a simple welcome email with links to the solution’s setup guides.

For those who choose to subscribe, the signup is standard stuff:

Unblockus signup

All you need are basic name, address and payment details. Payment options are limited to Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, which is a slightly disappointing selection compared to many other services’ more flexible options.

Installation and Configuration

We used a MacBook Pro running OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 for the bulk of our testing.

Once we began our trial, the website displayed a progress summary guiding us through the process. This correctly detected that we were using a Mac:

Signed up

We clicked the “Set it up” button, expecting a fully automated setup procedure, but were instead routed to a video tutorial and step-by-step instructions.

Mac setup

This introduced us to the way that Unblockus essentially works: you repoint your device’s DNS settings to point to the Unblockus DNS servers, then visit the Unblockus website. This verifies your settings are correct, and you then have the option to select alternative countries.

In the case of our test Mac, we had to visit the “Network” section of “System Preferences” to change our DNS settings. This is a simple task for a techie, but perhaps slightly daunting for someone less computer-savvy. However, it’s fair to say that the instructions are of a decent standard and should allow all but the technically inept to complete them.

DNS Settings

There is some room for improvement, however. The instructions for Mac advise users to click on the “Airport” option in “System Preferences,” where this is now referred to as “WiFi” on Macs running the latest operating systems. This could cause some confusion. In addition, there appeared to be an outdated link within the instructions, as the link to “check service” resulted in the following:

error

Essentially, these inaccuracies and glitches are small ones, which, more than anything, highlight the ongoing challenge of keeping documentation up to date and suitable for those of all skill levels. The key point to make is that we’ve seen far worse. However, beginners could still find themselves tripped up once or twice before they get the solution working.

Anyway, all we needed to do was refresh the main Unblockus page, and we were ready to connect.

Setup complete

We connected to the USA and were able, for testing purposes, to access an American streaming TV service. We then switched to the UK and were able to access a similar service there. It’s worthy of specific mention that switching between countries only takes seconds, which is impressive, but you must visit the Unblockus site to do so.

Streaming media quality was good, with minimal buffering when we tested streaming some content over an extended period.

One thing that did occur to us as a potential “flaw” is that the only real way to turn the service “off” is to switch back your DNS settings. This may not bother everybody, but the “always on” nature of the service may be of concern to some.

Connection Speeds and reliability

We looked forward to carrying out speed tests on this service due to the bold claims made of Unblockus being “faster than any VPN” .The way the service works means we expected to see minimal, if any, change to our benchmark speeds when using the service.

First, we deactivated Unblockus (by switching our DNS servers to their original settings) and ran a benchmark speed test using the Speedtest.net website:

Speedtest off

This produced the result above, with a download speed just below 7Mbps, which is standard for this testing location. We then switched the DNS back to Unblockus and activated the service to point to the UK:

Speedtest UK

As promised (and expected) we saw no significant detrimental effect as a result of Unblockus being active. The download speed remained the same, and the change in upload speed was small enough to ignore.

For the sake of attention to detail, we changed our location randomly to Sweden and performed a final test:

speedtest Sweden

Once again, there was no meaningful change to our connection speeds.

Based on our results, the unusual way that Unblockus works does mean that there’s truth in the company’s claim that it’s “faster than VPN”.

Compatibility

The Unblockus service is compatible with a vast selection of computers, games consoles, routers, set-top boxes and mobile devices. These include Mac and Windows computers, iOS and Android devices, PlayStations, Xboxes and Nintendo consoles, and even Smart TVs from the likes of Sony and Samsung. Curiously, however, nothing is available for any flavor of Linux.

We browsed a good many of the setup guides and essentially, in all cases, the system works by having you configure these devices to direct their DNS lookups via the Unblockus servers.

Unblockus has clearly dedicated a lot of time to properly testing its solution across all of these devices, and this is shown in the detail available in the setup guides.

While on the subject of compatibility, however, it’s important to re-emphasize that this isn’t a VPN service in the conventional sense, and therefore won’t work with every region-specific service in every situation. While, for example, the UK’s BBC iPlayer service will work on computers and tablets, Unblockus won’t work with the Nintendo Wii version.

The good news is that the Unblockus compatibility list is detailed and thorough, so you can ensure it meets your requirements before purchase. The fact remains, however, that it won’t meet everybody’s specific needs.

We decided to spend a short time testing Unblockus on an iPhone to see how well it worked on a secondary device:

Unblockus on iOS

Setting up Unblockus for iOS followed the same basic principle as we had on our test Mac.

First, we consulted the setup guide, which began by explaining how to change our iPhone’s DNS settings. We were required to restart the phone afterwards:

iPhone DNS change

Next, we had to visit the Unblockus website on the iPhone and log in with the email address associated with our trial account.

Having done this, the remainder of the setup was the same as on our test Mac, and we were able to select our desired geographical region.

Unblockus on iPhone

We ran a quick speed test on the same Wi-Fi network as we used to test the Mac. Our speeds were very slightly lower than on the Mac, but this is likely to be as much down to the quality of the iPhone Wi-Fi connection as any other factor. The speed was still very close to our benchmark speed when not using the service:

iPhone Speedtest

We also accessed a UK-based streaming media app whilst configured to a UK location, which worked with no problems.

Customer Area

Unblockus offers a client area online for subscribers. We weren’t given a password for access to this as part of our trial, so were unable to view this area:

Client area

We glanced through the Knowledgebase to ascertain the functionality in the members’ area, and it appears that, within, you’ll find the usual selection of options to cancel your subscription, change credit card details and so on.

Conclusion

We liked

  • Professional, user-friendly service
  • Excellent customer support and documentation
  • Innovative alternative to traditional VPN services
  • Wide device compatibility and decent setup guides
  • Generous free-trial

We weren’t so sure about

  • Inability to disable the service without changing system settings
  • Configuration details that could confuse novices
  • Non-traditional service approach that will exclude some potential customers

We hated

  • iOS service only works on WiFi, not 3G
  • No Linux setup guides

Unblockus has a very specific target market: those who wish to access location-specific services (generally those offering streaming media) from the “wrong” locations. The key point is that Unblockus does this very well, and certain users will be able to use it to access a wealth of international content from devices all over their home.

At the same time, it’s essential to realise that this isn’t a standard VPN solution, so those with other requirements, or those who wish to access services not supported by Unblockus, will have to look elsewhere, limiting the product’s potential market.


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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35 responses to “Unblockus Review

    They used to be great, really cool, everything working perfectly. Contrary to the review here, it worked fine on most 3G providers (i used a few).

    BUT:
    It no longer works with Netflix. They provide instructions on how to get it working which do not work. Also, their billing is completely screwed. Despite cancelling the service, they keep billing me. Their customer service is friendly, but doesn’t do anything. I had to have them blocked out from my credit card. It wasn’t the first case, my credit card company told me. They’re on a watch list. DO NOT SIGN UP. IT IS JUST A SCAM!

    They used to provide a great service but they completely failed after netflix blocking them.

    I gave them 3 months and waited patiently. I paid for annual subscription and when I ask for refund they said they do not refund after 30 days.

    I urge anyone to not to fall for their scam. I been keeping extensive email records which I will put on a website so they can’t screw other people like this as much as they get to.

    1. I will have to update my post since they contact me again.
      I have been given partial refund as I asked.

      i will use their services once it works again.
      Thanks

    Unblock-US used to be great. So much in fact that after 2 years with them, I decided to pay for the entire year.

    Now that Netflix has changed their ways, it no longer works. I have sent a request for help to see if they have a solution – no response. I got the same response asking about a refund to my account.

    Needless to say, I’m shopping elsewhere.

    From my experience recently I don’t believe there are live agents that respond to customer support queries. I received 3 responses from apparently different agents all of which were scripted and made no sense compared to the concerns I raised. I’m inclined to believe that a computer is sending responses which is completely unacceptable. I will never send a query to support again and if I have anymore issues with the service which has been great until now I won’t be renewing my subscription.

    Great for watching blacked out games on NHL Gamecenter!! Could finally cancel my cable!

    When I try to bring up Netflix I often have to pull a plug out of the back of my apple box and plug it in again. Then it comes up fine. I am just wondering why I have to do that.
    shouldn’t it just come up when I change my input to HDMI3?

    I have only had it a week and love it works great does not effect my speed at all, and it was very easy to set up.

    I WAS using this product and it worked well, however one word of warning; when seeking support via email, each reply includes three emoticons at the end requesting feedback; DO NOT SEND NEGATIVE FEEDBACK!! if you do you will NEVER receive a reply to any future correspondence, your emails will be completely ignored, it is easy to claim exceptional customer service if you dont count the complaints.
    On previous contacts with support I had always left a favourable reply, this time I left a polite response indicating where I thought the system could be improved; after all is that not the purpose of feedback?
    I now use another product and quite happy, though disappointed in Unblockus petty attitude.

    Great article! The DNS option is better than using a VPN regarding content streaming because you can achieve direct connection with the media station ex. Netflix and avoid the “middle-man”. Personally, I am using UnoTelly which is similar to Unblock-us. Perhaps you should check UnoTelly as well if you haven’t done so.

    I have been using UnBlockus for more than 9 months now and it is perfect for getting Netflix US. I live outside the Sydney area and get crap broadband and my Netflix streaming is almost perfect – much better than Foxtel Play. When all my shows are in their season hiatus it has been a godsend – even reduced my downloads as i watch more and more Netflix. After 3 months or so I bought the UnBlockus annual subscription, because it is slightly cheaper but also because the Aussie dollar is falling. I pay Netflix their 8.99 a month for the HD content so that will keep going up as the dollar slide.

    We had HULU for a while but stopped it – after the initial flurry we hardly went there . And we also use the BBC iPlayer for UK stuff. Oh, and i joined the free CBS streaming (myCBS) so I don’t miss Survivor or Amazing race because OZ TV stations muck up the schedule all the time – plus the CBS feed seems to be a better resolution that OZ free to air.
    I know it’s different stroke for different folks, but for me Unblockus works just fine. Don’t notice it’s there and so far no probs.

    I Have been using unblock for close to 3 years. No issues whatsoever. I live in México and have accessed the BBC, ABC,CTV and many other foreign sites. The ability to change my Netflix region to wherever it is available is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Fantastic Service !! Been using for a couple of years now and couldn’t be happier. Can change country location in seconds. And set up takes less than a couple of minutes. I suggest going the router method as all the devices in your network will be covered in one easy set-up

    THE. WORST. EVER. buggy as hell, hangs constantly. no sound. how do they get away with charging for this shit??????

    This works great… I got the WWE Network in Canada
    Netflix is cool to tap into other regions for …. Great price great idea

    Nuff said this is a great service
    …. We’ll done guys
    I’m in.

    Why would I need this when I can change the dns settings myself and unblock U.S. netflix? This looks like a legit service but it seems like something you don’t need to pay for.

    Hi all, I agree with most positive responses. I have been using Unblock US for more than a year now and it has been very reliable and compatible with all services I am using at the moment.

    As explained above, it is not a VPN service! Due to the usage of the Unblock US DNS Servers, they see, when you try to access a streaming service and only the necessary requests are routed through Unblock US servers, if these are necessary to confirm a custom location. The upside is speed, unfortunately there is a downside: the service will only work for sites, that are specifically setup in their service! At the moment, all my used services are available.

    One word of caution, Unblock US does not provide full IPv6 support at the moment. If your provider forces you to use IPv6 or you have applications in your network that require IPv6, you may not be able to use Unblock US, as the IPv6 DNS Server from your provider will take precedent over your manual IPv4 DNS Servers. Unblock US does not provide IPv6 DNS Servers that work similarly to the IPv4 setup. Therefore streaming services will only see your local IPv6 and not work. I had to deactivate IPv6 for now and waiting for a solution from Unblock US. No word on timing from support, yet!

    Had unblock-us for a while and even got my friends to use it. then i realized you can change your dns numbers yourself to get american netflix without paying. So i stopped unblock us and removed it and then removed it again, and again, and again. and it just keeps coming back now saying i need to renew my subscription even though I cancelled it months ago. Every time i talk to them they send me that same message with instructions of how to uninstall it and change the numbers. Well thanks i did that a million times and the numbers I’m using aren’t their dns numbers. They have taken over my browser and I cant even click on netflix without it telling me to buy unblock us again. DONT GET IT ITS CRAP!!!!!! SCAM!!!!! YOU CAN GET IT FREEEEE

    I have been using Unblock-US for two months now and it is virtually costing me nothing. With access to US Netflix and HULU Plus I was able to cancel my TV service and now am spending less per month than before.

    Setup was easy and their guides are fantastic for all of the different OS and devices.

    Can’t comment on Customer Service as I have had no reason to contact them.

    Web pages seem to load faster now that I use “unblock-us”.
    Netflix is region free, and streams wirelessly to my PS4. YouTube is now region free. The internet is a global experience now.
    Very reasonable price. Setting up cant get easier. IF you don’t know where to look for your DNS settings then you need to go read the manual.

    This service is amazing, and clearly geared towards unblocking steaming media. If you want an endless array of VPN services your clearly not going to get it for $4.99 a month, and need to look for more integrated, technically advanced VPN services.

    Very fast. Changed dns to theirs, rebooted all devices (because i’m paranoid), worked immediately upon reboot. Netflix is now the entire American collection (not my crappy Canadian version). Youtube/tv works on ps4 and computer to play any videos. Nothing is geo-locked anymore.

    Cant comment on customer service because nothing goes wrong.

    5/5 stars

    10+ rating for only being $4.99. Simple and straightforward set up.

    It’s perfect for unlocking, geo-locked content truly making the internet a global experience.

    I’ve been using unblockus for 3 months now. There were a few minor headaches getting it running because I’m not very tech savvy, but since then it’s done exactly what they say. At $5/month it’s a good value and I would definitely recommend them.

    Vince

    I tried the 7 day free trial just to watch season 6 of breaking bad on Netflix (its on Netflix uk) and it worked. Didn’t download anything as I set it up with an ipad and watched Netflix uk on an LG smart blu ray dvd player that has Netflix streaming online.

    Just had to get on the LG and add the DNS servers, click the UK region on the ipad, and then restart both the router and the LG player so changes could take effect.

    I actually had to change it between US and Uk a few times since I was watching breaking bad season 6 on the UK Netflix, and my wife would want to watch vampire diaries on the USA Netflix (uk only has 3 seasons and season 4 is only on the USA).

    I will be signing up for it since it adds new movies on whatever region you choose.

    I used Unblock US for about 3 months with no issues from Korea. I liked it a lot, and was very happy. Suddenly, however, it seems that my ISP has decided to block it somehow (that’s my guess). I am unable to even get to their site, use their service, or get Netflix anymore. Actually, what I do get with Netflix is the screen minus any photos or video. Or videos that will run just 5 seconds or so and quit, then try to rebuffer and stop. It’s not a Netflix problem, as I also have the competing StrongVPN (bought a year subscription, and was switching to UnblockUS because it’s cheaper and was faster than Strong) which I use for my phone when out and about. I tried it instead, and everything works fine though the StrongVPN account.

    I have attempted to get service from Unblock-US, but they forward my messages to some philipino “techs” (I can tell from the names that they are philipino), and their answer is to send them screenshots of several pages. Keep in mind that these pages will not even load at all — but they still want screenshots of blank pages? My other VPN service had live techs, so to be honest, I have to give UnblockUS a very poor rating for service.

    Hi Pete, I totally agree with your review. For me, Unblock-US is pretty easy to use and does the job with a fairly cheap price per month. However, like you mentioned, it doesn’t suit all the needs out there. For example, the main use I give to Unblock-US is to listen to Pandora Radio in Costa Rica. I love Pandora and so far the service has enabled me to listen it on my tv by connecting to the PS3. So what is the problem? I recently purchased a Grace Digital Internet Radio and thought that because this connects wirelessly to my router setup with Unblock-US settings, it should work! But guess what? It won’t! Grace Digital links your Pandora account via Reciva and somehow this connection doesn’t allow streaming to happen seamlessly. It keeps dropping the connection and the station would appear unavailable or it would buffer forever. It would play one song just fine, then when it finishes, it will last a long time (maybe 3 mins) until a new song (or the same song) to play again, with interruptions for buffering. Do you have any idea why this could happen? Would a VPN solve this problem? I don’t think so, since the radio connects to the router which has the unblock-us settings. VPN has to be done on a computer, right? Not on the router? Please help!!! 🙁

    This is my first after I got myself atv3 . Now I can watch netflix from US and I live in Australia without problem. But I still got reject from Skynews live

    The service just works great. Those 1 star raters should watch the intstruction movies or try it out.

    Please delete the above comment as it is clearly from an idiot. Cannot download the product but it still ruins your computer?

    WORST REGION UNBLOCKER EVER
    I STILL CANNOT DOWNLOAD THE THING
    IT WILL RUIN YOUR COMPUTER
    DO NOT DO IT!

    I havent tried them, however I will say that the comment above me smells like it’s from Unblock.us themselves. At least be forthcoming in your attempts to drive more customers. Pretending to be a satisfied customer is dirty, and essentially lying about your identity.

    1. I haven’t tried them, however I will say thar the comment above me smells like it’s from an Unblock-Us competitor. At least be forthcoming in your attempts to drive more cuatomers away. Pretending to be a concerned, reviewer is dirty and essentially lying about your identity. (This comment at least will even the score.)

    Unblockus is the best service I have used!

    I live in Australia and use Unblockus to stream Channels like Netflix,Huluplus and Amazonprime to my Roku TV box and other computer hardware in my house.
    Unblockus is fast and very simple to setup.

    1) you sign with Unblockus.com
    2) within minutes you get the Proxy in you email.
    3) Put the Primary DNS Secondary DNS into DNS server fields in the hardware.
    Best to put in your modem/router as will take care you all hardware in you network.

    A month ago I had problem with Streaming content to Roku box.
    It turned out it was problem with Roku software in their Internet servers and
    NOT with Unblockus.com.

    Roku dragged their heels when they found out my Roku box was out service area.
    They more then happy take my money for their Roku box ever though they knew I am out their service area. they wasted my time on the phone.

    Unblockus.com. provides great support for their service and when it came to my Roku
    box they did not stop with the support even when it was not their area.

    I believe you 7 day trial.

    They get all 5 stars in every area.

    They do all this for $4.99/month!
    http://www.unblock-us.com

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