Twitch is one of the most popular online streaming platforms for gamers. With around 9.5 million active streamers, Twitch is the place to be if you love video game streams.
Using Twitch is simple enough, but there’s something many people have started asking recently – should you use a VPN for Twitch – both as a streamer and as a simple user?
Well, there are plenty of benefits of using a VPN for Twitch, and we’ll tell you all about them in this quick guide. We’ll also answer a few relevant questions about using a Twitch VPN.
So, here’s why many people use VPNs with Twitch:
To Bypass Geo-Blocks
Twitch sometimes uses geo-blocks to restrict access to its content. The best example we can give is Twitch Prime – a service that isn’t available worldwide.
Basically, Twitch uses your IP address to see what country you are from. If it sees that you’re from a location that doesn’t have access to the content you want to access, it will restrict what you can watch.
VPNs solve that problem by hiding your IP address. They route your connection through a VPN server that acts as a middleman between your device and Twitch. Due to that, Twitch will only see the VPN’s IP address.
So, as long as you connect to a VPN server in a country where the Twitch content you want to watch is available, you’ll be able to bypass the site’s harsh geo-blocks.
To Unblock Twitch
Twitch isn’t available everywhere in the world. Some countries (like China) actually block this platform. And that’s not the only issue – Twitch can be blocked on private networks in your own country too! For example, your school, university, or workplace might block Twitch with a firewall.
It’s really unfair, we know, but a VPN can help you. It lets you communicate with the Internet through a new IP address (the VPN server’s IP) which doesn’t have any firewall restrictions linked to it.
As long as the network admin doesn’t block the VPN’s IP, you can freely use it to unblock Twitch. And if they do block it, no problem – you just connect to another VPN server! Most providers have thousands of servers and tens of thousands of IPs, so it’s really easy to get around an IP block.
To Protect Their Privacy
Twitch doesn’t do a lot to protect your privacy. That’s because it can’t stop other users from seeing your IP address. And that little bit of information tells the world a lot about you – what country and city you live in, who your ISP is, and even what your ZIP code is.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize what kind of damage they can do by abusing that vulnerability. They think it’s funny to call emergency services to Twitch streamers’ homes. But they don’t realize that’s the kind of thing that could actually kill someone! What’s more, Twitch streamers might doxx their own donors if they misinterpret their messages.
All in all, it’s a messy affair. To stay safe, you should use a VPN to hide your IP address. Also, you shouldn’t reveal a lot of information about you. And maybe use an anonymous email service to sign up for Twitch (like ProtonMail).
To Avoid DDoS Attacks
Reddit is full of threads like this one where Twitch streamers complain about being DDoS-ed by random users. If you don’t know what a DDoS is, it stands for Distributed Denial of Service. It’s a cyber attack that floods networks with so much traffic that they’re forced offline. Translated, that means if someone DDoS-es you, you won’t be able to use the Internet for a while (usually a few hours). It’s pretty easy to see how someone can ruin your whole streaming schedule that way.
And here’s the kicker – you don’t have to be a tech genius to run a DDoS attack. You can actually rent them for as little as $10 per hour on the dark web.
The best way to avoid DDoS attacks is to use a VPN. It hides your IP address, so hackers can’t use it to DDoS your network. They can’t locate the network without your IP, after all. They can only DDoS the VPN you’re using, but that’s pointless. Top VPNs use anti-DDoS protection.
To Stop Bandwidth Throttling
Bandwidth throttling is when an ISP says “hey man, you’re using too much data” and decides to do something about it. That “something” involves selectively slowing down your speeds for that specific data-hungry service. In this case, that’d be Twitch.
But if you use a VPN, they can’t do that. VPNs encrypt your Internet traffic, so ISPs can’t spy on your connections anymore. They won’t know you’re using Twitch or that you’re connecting to Twitch’s site. So, they won’t be able to slow down your Twitch speeds. They’d have to slow down your entire Internet connection instead (which they’re unlikely to do without having a very good reason).
Does Twitch Allow VPN Usage?
It’s very hard to say. Twitch’s TOS don’t outright say you can’t use a VPN. But the TOS page has this sentence:
“attempt to circumvent any content filtering techniques we employ, or attempt to access any service or area of the Twitch Services that you are not authorized to access;”
The phrasing makes it sounds like using a VPN to bypass geo-blocks (“content filtering techniques”) is against the TOS.
Plus, according to multiple reports, Twitch is shadowbanning VPN users. It seems like Twitch isn’t alerting users of the ban, but they can’t leave chat messages while connected to a VPN.
To be 100% safe, you need to use a VPN that refreshes its IPs very often. That way, it avoids getting blacklisted by Twitch’s IP bans. In our experience, ExpressVPN has always worked well with Twitch.
Do You Use a Twitch VPN?
If you do, could you tell us why? Also, could you let us know which VPN you’re using? We’d be interested in making a list of the best Twitch VPNs according to people’s feedback.