The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, and despite tensions between many of the countries and its host, the tournament is going ahead. Now, not everyone can afford tickets to the matches, let alone accommodation and travel as well, and not everyone can take the time out to travel to Russia. Several countries, such as the UK, will be airing matches on live television free of charge. But fans from certain places in the world won’t have such easy access to the games. Some might have access to a limited number of matches, others might not be able to access it without cable television, and others still might not be able to access them at all.
In spite of these restrictions, it is possible to support your team, or just keep up with the action. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to securely and anonymously connect to a private network while simultaneously connecting to a public network. This means that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can’t track what you’re doing, and your activity is made safer from malicious activity. ‘But what does this have to do with watching soccer?’ Well, putting these benefits aside – connecting to the VPN’s private servers based across the world essentially allows you to spoof your browser into thinking that you’re based in the target country. This gives you access to their live broadcasts, as well as the online streaming services available specifically in those countries. Being in the US, for example, means you need a cable subscription to catch the matches, so below you’ll find some of the best sites based in the UK to watch for free.
Ways to Watch the World Cup
ITV Hub: ITV Hub is an online platform that broadcasts programs live from all of its channels, and also houses an on-demand database of its reality shows, sport highlights and dramas. The world cup matches will be available to watch live, and thousands of people will be using the site to do so. Although it’s a free service, users are required to create an account before gaining access.
BBC iPlayer: Just like ITV, BBC will also be providing wide coverage of the tournament, and it’ll also be streaming the matches on its online platform – BBC iPlayer. Users will also be able to watch extensive highlights and pre-match coverage through its Match of the Day show. It’s a free service like ITV Hub that requires viewers to sign up with an email address.
TVCatchup: TVCatchup is a free online television service that broadcasts free-to-air channels exclusive to the UK. These include popular channels like Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as the ones to catch the sport – BBC and ITV. It’s a great website for expats missing classic TV from home, but even more users will be tuning in to the site to catch the soccer.
The Best VPNs for Streaming the World Cup
As one of the most favored services, ExpressVPN is a good choice for rapid and reliable speeds. It has a massive 2,000+ servers, so it can offer unlimited bandwidth without any restrictions. It’s available across all devices and is simple to use, so if you’re watching on the move, or you don’t have access to a computer, you can go mobile too. It also comes with the same level of security as PureVPN, with added offshore privacy protection.
Cost: 1 Month Plan - $12.95 (billed monthly) / 6 Month Plan - $59.95 (billed biannually) / 12 Month Plan - $99.95 (billed annually)
PureVPN offers a solid, independent service with a real focus on performance. It has servers in more than 140 countries, making it a firm choice for users worldwide. With their own network and hardware, their servers are optimized to deliver some of the fastest speeds available. When you’re watching matches simultaneously with thousands of other people, lagging becomes likely. But with lightning VPN speeds it won’t be an issue. Plus, its 256-bit encryption means you’ll remain safeguarded while doing so.
Cost: 3 Month Plan - $18.00 (billed trimonthly) / 12 Month Plan - $59.00 (billed annually) / 24 Month Plan - $69.00 (billed biannually)
NordVPN is an easy plug-and-play service with great performance. The website tells us to ‘forget buffering [and] bandwidth throttling’, which is the last thing you want during a game, but their more than 3,500 servers can ensure it. It also comes equipped with Smart Play technology, which easily makes NordVPN one of the best providers for streaming. And as for security, the military-grade encryption, double VPN and CyberSec ensure that you’ll be protected.
Cost: 1 Month Plan - $11.95 (billed monthly) / 12 Month Plan - $69.00 (billed annually) / 24 Month Plan - $79.00 (billed biannually)