Spotify is one of the best ways to stream music to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, but it’s not always available everywhere. We’ll go through a few ways you can unblock Spotify, whether it’s your school, employer, government, or even Spotify itself that is preventing access.
Why Spotify might get blocked for you
There are several reasons why Spotify can be blocked, which can be broadly divided into two categories: First, you could have your school or office set up bans, which we call institutional bans. On the other hand, you have regional blocks that prevent you from accessing specific songs – or even Spotify overall – depending on where you live.
Institutional blocks are the easiest to explain: many schools, universities and employers just don’t like people listening to music when they should be working or studying. It’s downright silly in an age when it’s become normal to listen to podcasts at work or stream some chilled beats while studying, but there you go.
Regional blocks are a little more diverse: some countries don’t have access to Spotify, usually because of some sort of censorship – China is a good example – while some countries simply have different songs to listen to, something usually dictated by the deals being made the rights holders have signed with Spotify.
These limitations don’t seem to be going away, but there’s good news: regardless of the type of block, they’re all easily bypassed with a simple tool called a VPN.
How VPNs Unblock Spotify
Virtual private networks are tools that allow you to reroute your connection, making it appear as if you are somewhere else. At the same time, they also secure your connection, so you can also browse without worrying about being tracked, which is a nice bonus.
In the case of Spotify, you can sort of just redirect around the block, and the increased security ensures that this redirect cannot be detected. For example, if you are in China but want to listen to the US version of Spotify, you would use a VPN to redirect your connection to the United States and that should fix the problem.
This also works for institutional blocks, it’s just a little less drastic: instead of a server on the other side of the world, just use one in the same city or country as you. Same logic applies, you make a new connection that goes around the block and that’s it.
The way this works is that most blocks, whether set up by a government or a company, block access to a specific IP address – the numbers that represent the address of a website on the Internet – associated with the website to which it belongs do not want you to access. It doesn’t block the VPN server’s IP address, however, so instead you connect there and then jump to the page you want.
It’s a very simple trick, but it works really well as long as you have good security. Because of this, proxies, the less secure counterpart of VPNs, won’t work as Spotify will respond to them and block you. Read all about the differences between VPNs and proxies if you want to know more.
Getting started with VPNs
If all of this seems a little daunting, don’t worry: VPNs are usually extremely easy to use. If you read our beginner’s guide to ExpressVPN (one of our favorites here at How-to Geek), you’ll see that it’s just a matter of downloading a package, waiting for the program to install, and then clicking a button or two.
However, VPNs have a downside: They aren’t usually free, so you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. However, a little smart shopping could help you get the costs down to as much as $50 a year, depending on the service you choose – read our Surfshark review for an example, but mind the fine print.
Unblocking Spotify is a great way to access more music from more places, and the best VPNs out there can get the job done. So if you’re stuck without Spotify, just pick what you think suits you best and listen.