This is a different sort of post that I have for you guys today, because instead of talking about a drama or a movie, I’ll be talking about a VPN service – that helps me get my drama game on, heh.
Today, I’ll be talking about NordVPN, the service that I personally use to get my grabby hands on as many of the drama offerings out there, as possible.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I paid for my NordVPN subscription with my own money.
HOWEVER! If you use my affiliate link to purchase your own subscription, you’ll get to enjoy up to 60% off * your subscription, AND, this will also give me a modest commission, at no extra cost to you, which helps to allow me to keep on doing what I love, here on the blog. Win-win! 😃
* This used to say 73%, but because NordVPN’s changed the way it calculates the discount, it now says 60%. BUT, it’s the same great price, starting from US$3.29 a month!
WHY THE NEED FOR A VPN SERVICE?
To be honest, I used to think that I didn’t need a VPN service.
I figured that only people who use the internet for very business-y or very technical things would need a VPN service, and I just didn’t see myself as one of those very business-y or very technical people.
Maybe that was true in the past, but enough has changed now, that I’ve become convinced that even a regular internet user like myself – who just happens to love dramas – needs a good VPN service.
In the next few sections, I’ll talk more about why I decided that I needed a good VPN service.
1. INTERNET SAFETY
First, some general basics.
With cyber crime on the rise, our very presence on the internet means that we are undertaking some measure of risk, simply by revealing our IP address.
It’s a scary thought, but it’s really quite possible for a cyber criminal to target us, to hack into our lives and steal our information, simply because our IP address isn’t protected.
You can take a look at this quick video, for more information.
What does a VPN service do?
A VPN service protects your privacy, and encrypts your connection to servers when you browse the internet.
This means that while you’re sitting in your home in, say, Singapore, you could be showing up as logging in from somewhere in the US. It’s almost like.. teleporting? 😉
Your privacy is protected, and cyber criminals won’t be able to pin you down, because your connection would be encrypted. It’s almost like a cyber superpower? 😁
In a climate where cyber crime, scams and identity theft are at an all-time high, a good VPN is a sound investment, for our peace of mind.
Edited to add:
I’m finding it really handy, to use NordVPN’s auto-connect feature, to just be on VPN all the time, even when I’m not actively looking to stream a show in another location.
It’s not something that I used to do with the free VPNs, coz of the limited bandwidth and speed, but with this, I have the added benefit of encrypting my IP address all the time, which is great for peace of mind.
The other day, I switched locations from Singapore to the US, to check something on Viki, and then forgot that I was even VPNing through a US server, for the entire day – until I couldn’t access Viu, because I was in the “wrong location.” That’s how impressive the connection speed is, I really like it! 🤩
3. MY DRAMA NEEDS
The evolving drama landscape
With more and more players entering the drama scene, and more and more geo-restrictions coming into play, it can be quite frustrating thinking about that drama that you reallyreally want to watch, but which you can’t access, because you’re just not in the right geographical location.
I’ve found that geo-restrictions apply to practically all the streaming platforms.
For example, some shows might be available to Viki / Netflix / Disney+ viewers in the US, but not here in Singapore and the rest of the Asia Pacific. Some shows are available to viewers in the Asia Pacific, but not to viewers in the US.
Even dramas on YouTube have geo-restrictions from time to time, which can be frustrating.
And then there are some platforms, like Viu and iQIYI, which have great content, but which target the Asian market, and therefore aren’t available to viewers in other regions – unless you have a good VPN service.
It’s gotten to the point where I’ve realized that if I really want to watch all the shows that I’m interested in watching, a good VPN really is the way to go.
What about free VPN options?
I used to think that I could get by using free VPN options for my drama needs.
If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’d know that in the past, I’ve suggested both Opera’s free built-in VPN, as well as ProtonMail’s free VPN options for users.
(An article on why it’s not illegal to use a VPN to access legal streaming content can be found here.)
The thing is, over time, I’ve found that these free options just aren’t doing it for me anymore.
Basically, Opera’s slowed down for me massively, compared to when I first tried it out, to the point where I’ve simply stopped using it.
ProtonMail’s VPN speed is pretty decent, but the 3 free location options have proven to be quite limiting, over time.
For a quick overview of why free VPNs pale in comparison to paid VPN services, you can check out this short video:
4. WHY NORDVPN?
For the record, I did do some research, before deciding on NordVPN.
I wanted something that had a reputation for being stable, fast and reliable. After all, if I’m going to get a paid VPN service, I want something that can really perform, yes?
At the same time, I wanted it to have a reasonable price point. I didn’t want to be shelling out a whole lotta money for a VPN service, if I could help it.
But, neither did I want to opt for the cheapest service available, but that couldn’t live up to my need for stability, speed and reliability.
Basically, NordVPN came out on top, in my personal research. To me, it felt like the best of both worlds: a good reputation for speed and reliability, at a reasonable price point.
This quick overview that I found on NordVPN’s website sums it all up really nicely:
With a great reputation for speed and reliability, and prices as low as US$3.29 per month, NordVPN was a shoo-in as my VPN of choice.
Actual user experience
Now that I’ve tested it out for myself, I have to say that I am very pleased with my decision.
I found NordVPN easy and fast to set up. Within minutes of making my payment, I was all set up and streaming a drama through a US server, woot!
Most importantly, the speed has proven to be truly excellent. In terms of browsing and streaming, it honestly feels no different than if I weren’t connected to a VPN – except that I am. Wow. That’s impressive.
The app is handy and easy to install, and I like that I can sign in on both my laptop and my mobile (and my iPad too, if I want to), using a single account. This means that even though I only signed up for one plan, I can be protected while browsing the internet on my mobile devices as well.
And, importantly, this means that I can stream otherwise geo-restricted dramas, not only on my laptop, but on my phone and iPad as well. Priorities, eh? 😁
Edited to add:
Turns out that you can also set up NordVPN to work with your Roku! Here’s a quick tutorial on how that works.
I also find it easy to switch connections, based on my needs of the moment.
Which is great, because, like I mentioned earlier, different shows are often available to different regions, and I’m personally interested in mannyyy of them. 😉
For more insight into why NordVPN would be a good and reliable choice, you can check out this quick video:
5. TWIN WITH ME!
If you’d like to twin with me, you can use my affiliate link (here!) to enjoy up to 63% off * your subscription. Rates start from as low as US$3.29 per month!
* This used to say 73%, but because NordVPN’s changed the way it calculates the discount, it now says 60%. BUT, it’s the same great price, starting from US$3.29 a month!
(For the curious, I personally chose the 2-year plan myself, because it’s the best value for money.)
Importantly, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee as well, so you can take your time to try NordVPN completely risk-free.
If you use my affiliate link (again, here!) to sign up for your subscription, you enjoy a great discount, and at the same time, I receive a modest commission at no extra cost to you, which helps to allow me to keep on doing what I love, here on the blog. Yay for win-win! 🤩
Like I mentioned earlier, I paid for my subscription with my own money, and I wouldn’t have signed up as a NordVPN affiliate, if I didn’t sincerely believe that it’s a great service that’s worth your investment.
If you’re not on the market right now for a VPN subscription, that’s perfectly ok. Feel free to come back later! The discount will continue to be available, for as long as NordVPN continues its subscription promotion.
One more thing!
If you’re interested in other NordVPN services, I also have discount links for NordPass and NordLocker.
NordPass is a password management service, where you can easily and securely manage all your passwords. You can now enjoy up to 50% off, using my affiliate link.
My NordPass link here.
NordLocker is a cloud storage service for all your file storage needs, and you can now enjoy up to 50% off, using my affiliate link.
My NordLocker link here.
PS: You can either purchase these individually, OR, you can add one or both of these products to your cart, when signing up for NordVPN.
And last but not least, again, my NordVPN link is here.
..And that’s it, really. I hope you guys found this helpful!
Much love to ya!
.@kfangurl @Timescout @manukajoe @Trent and everyone else who uses VPN, have you tried using it with watching shows on Viki lately? I cannot access Viki anymore via VPN. It looks okay at first but once you click the play episode button there’s a message that pop-ups saying I need to turn off my VPN to watch. I hope it’s only because I’m using a free VPN with (I’m guessing) very limited and known limited IP addresses? Does NordVPN and the other paid VPNs still work with Viki?
Hi Jiyuu, I have heard some people say that they can no longer access Viki content with a VPN, so it’s possible that Viki’s coming down harder on VPN access than they used to.
I just did a test, and was able to watch several minutes each of an episode of You Are My Hero and Would You Like A Cup Of Coffee, through a US server. Although, I can’t conclusively say that it’s because I’m on a paid VPN, or that this would work across all Viki content. I can only say that anecdotally, my attempts today to access Viki content via NordVPN went ok. 😅
Thank you so much for checking for me. I’ve been bugging friends and family to watch Someday or One Day and my mom loves re-watching Lee Min Ho’s shows that are accessible only via VPN. I hope it’s truly only my free VPN that’s an issue. Thank you again!
Thanks for this! I’m still using the free version of ProtonVPN but I’m definitely interested because of the Roku compatibility. Some questions:
(1) Did I read it right (from the link) that one account allows for six users/gadgets at the same time?
(2) Can you mention the shows you’re eyeing (outside of the US and Southeast Asia) and the countries they’re available at?
Hi there Jiyuu! Yes, you are correct, you can sign in to 6 different devices using your one account, for all-around VPN ease and protection!
As for show availability, I think one of the best discoveries I’ve made, while using NordVPN, is that Life On Mars is available to stream on YouTube (here!), in HD and with English subs, if you select your location as Turkey or Greece.
A Poem A Day is also available on YouTube (here!), and I can get it if I select Turkey as my VPN location.
ETA: I just found Dear My Friends, subbed and in HD, on YouTube (here!), if you select your location as Turkey. This is a great find too, coz this show is otherwise only available on Netflix. 😊
PS: I forgot to mention that I find it really handy, to use NordVPN’s autoconnect feature, to just be on VPN all the time, even when I’m not actively looking to stream a show in another location.
It’s not something that I used to do with the free VPNs, coz of the limited bandwidth and speed, but with this, I have the added benefit of encrypting my IP address all the time, which is great for peace of mind. The other day, I switched locations from Singapore to the US, to check something on Viki, and then forgot that I was even VPNing through a US server, for the entire day – until I couldn’t access Viu, because I was in the “wrong location.” That’s how impressive the connection speed is, I really like it! 🤩
Oooh. I’ve been looking for Life on Mars for ages! I’m not familiar with A Poem A Day but I checked now and it might be something I’ll like. I have a feeling shows like City Hunter are available in some country out there too but just couldn’t figure out which (my mom likes Lee Min Ho hah). Maybe I’ll be motivated to hunt for it once I have a wider range of countries available to me. Thanks again!
Oh yay! Now you can enjoy Life On Mars really easily! You’re not alone in looking for it, lots of other folks have been looking for it too, which is why I was so excited to find it on YouTube! The magic of VPN! 😁
I found A Poem A Day nicely enjoyable in a laidback, thoughtful sort of way. Very pleasant, actually. I do think it’s worth a look.
I’m not sure where you can get City Hunter, though.. But like you said, it could be available somewhere out there! 😉
KFG to save the day! I spent a couple of hours yesterday (pre- VPN post), trying to sort my (free) VPN situation, in preparation for the Queen In Hyun’s Man group watch. It was frustrating and unsuccessful, and I’d determined I’d need to get a paid VPN. I started to research, but ran out of steam to finish it up. Then… gabjagi, your post! Perfect timing. Decision made. Thank you!
Aw, BIG YAY that the timing worked out so perfectly!! SO glad that this came in handy for you, Leslie!! I guess we must be in sync!! ❤️😘
I am really considering this! Does NORD VPN work with your TV too, like a Roku for example? Or can i only use it on the laptop that i made the purchase with?
I looked it up, and yes, you can set up NordVPN to work with your Roku!
You can take a look at this video, to see how it’s set up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhaX_yMnFn4
I hope that helps! ❤️
PS: Thanks for the question – I’ve now updated the post to include this information, which I’m sure others would be curious about too! 😘
Oh yay! Thank you! That’s my biggest question, (I think!) would it transfer over, kinda like when you stream a video from YouTube to the TV.
Aw yay, I’m glad that works out!! ❤️
I’ve been using another serivce for a while now. It’s been quite sufficient for my needs but I’ll keep this one in mind.
No problem, Timescout! If you ever want to try NordVPN, this post will be available for ya! ❤️
I recently subscribed to the paid version of Avast Antivirus. Turns out that comes with a VPN. Haven’t tried it yet though.
That’s pretty neat, @manukajoe! Hopefully the speed and bandwidth suit your needs nicely! ❤️
A very timely and worthwhile post! As you observe, the combination of geo-restrictions and multiplying streaming platforms is starting to mean that if you want the full range of drama offerings, a VPN is getting more and more important.
Of course, there’s still a whole ton of content available just via Netflix + Viki (speaking of the U.S., here), but when you start to want to look for other shows, particularly some older ones, you start running into geo-restrictions. And now even the newer content is being affected.
For example, Disney+ (which I have been complaining about for the last couple months, especially over on the Exchange) is apparently committed to moving into the kdrama exclusive space, like Netflix has been for the last 2-3 years. But they’re not making them available to their U.S. subscribers, until maaaaybe after the initial run has completed. (i.e. Snowdrop they eventually opened up on the U.S. platform after the show was done; no word yet if Rookie Cops will do the same, although it’s done now too (I watched the first two eps via VPN; don’t think it’s for me, but nice to have the option to check it out, right?))
(This actually matters when a show you want to watch comes along. Example: Soundtrack #1 just started last week, and is a Disney+ exclusive, and is limited to their Asia-Pacific territory. And I really really really loved the first episode, a lot. And I wouldn’t have been able to see it without connecting by VPN through a Melbourne, Australia server. So.).
Anyway. I wish I hadn’t just renewed my annual subscription to ExpressVPN a couple months ago, because NordVPN looks like worth checking out, for potentially faster speed, and lower price? Ah well, next time.
(It’s actually kind of fun to just play around on VPN to see what’s available in other territories on like Netflix. There’s a lot of stuff that’s picked up on Viki in the U.S. that shows up on Netflix in other places. And Netflix Korea has most of the first run shows! (Twenty Five Twenty One is currently #1 on Netflix Korea (rightfully so!). Much to my amusement, season 2 of Bridgerton is #2. I guess it is a “global phenomenon?”))
Last thought, also topical. Do we know where Queen Inhyun’s Man is to be found? Particularly which territories/countries? In the U.S., inexplicably, Amazon Prime doesn’t have the first ten episodes, only the last six (and they’re all 45-50 minutes duration, for some reason?). I’ve done a little VPN searching, and so far haven’t found it elsewhere? Maybe searching with the wrong name (I’ve used both “Queen Inhyun’s Man” and “The Queen and I,” which is how it shows up on Amazon).
Yes, the drama landscape is definitely different from before, and I finally got to the point where I had to admit to myself that a good VPN service is the way to go, if I really want to watch all the various dramas that interest me. Coz I don’t think that the streaming platforms are going to offer a “global” tier anytime soon, even though I know JJ’s been willing it into existence for a long time! 😅
YAY that you loved the first ep of Soundtrack #1 – I have my eye on that one! I’m just waiting for more eps to drop, before jumping in. 🤩
Ooh, that’s too bad, that you’ve recently renewed your ExpressVPN subscription! I did consider it at first, coz it’s a well-known name, but my research soon persuaded me to consider NordVPN instead. 😁 Maybe you can consider NordVPN the next time you’re due to renew your subscription! I’ll be linking this post in the sidebar soon, so it’ll be easy to find, when you need it!
About Queen In-hyun’s Man, you can find it on iQIYI here! You’d be able to get it via a Singapore server, using your VPN. 😃
It’s listed as “Queen and I” and all episodes are available for free, ie, you don’t need to sign up for VIP access. Episodes are 45 minutes each, which is the correct length. This show’s episodes were short and sharp, probably because this was relatively early in the drama game for cable channels.
PS: That is very weird, about the show’s availability on Amazon Prime. I think Beez has reached out to inform them of how weird this is, so hopefully they will take on that feedback and make all episodes available!
Thank you for that link to Queen Inhyun’s Man, looks like it works. It’s very strange, before when I VPN’d to Singapore and searched for it on iQIYI, it didn’t show up. It still doesn’t when I’m logged in, so it looks like iQIYI maybe takes my membership info including location, before considering server status, in searches? I tried logging out and going incognito, and then the VPN search works to find it. All these rules and tricks for defeating these dang geo-restrictions. I’m with JJ–just give us our dang global tier!!
(After talking about it…I just went and watched the first ep. of Soundtrack #1 again. Yup, still love it a lot. Love the leads, love the dialogue, love the chemistry, love the surprise Kim Joo-hun cameo…. I’m a little worried that it’s just idiosyncratic to me, and everyone else will be all “meh,” or this is boring, or too tropey, or something. Not that it matters too much, I’m still gonna love it, but…)
Ooh, that’s so interesting, that iQIYI actually filters you based on your membership info! So now we know that a direct link or an incognito search works better! Always something new to learn! 😅
I really really want to love Soundtrack #1, so I’m hopeful that I’ll join you in the “loving it” boat! 🤩
Here’s a little expansion on Trent’s experience. I went on VPN and tried to see the show on the iQIYI app, and it wasn’t there, just like Trent said would be the case (I’m using an iPad). I then went to the website, and it was there, but in very low (320 p) resolution and it was verrrry chop-p-p-P-y. Not good.
So I deleted the app (and presumably all of its knowledge of my whereabouts and tastes), went back to the site, and then re-downloaded the app while on VPN. This then gave me the option to DOWNLOAD episodes of “Queen and I” (either one at a time or the entire series with a single click), and to choose up to 720 p resolution (1080 p if you pay). I did this for 8 episodes (I need my iPad for other things and didn’t want to use too much memory, although it appears from looking that I needn’t have worried).
So the nice part is that, after turning off my iPad and restarting WITHOUT VPN, I could still watch the downloaded videos without taking any particular precautions (such as turning off WiFi). A spot check shows that the episodes look fine, run smoothly, and are easily controlled by the app interface, which looks just like Netflix’s (a total coincidence, I am certain). I just turned on the VPN again, this time without restarting my iPad, and appear to be downloading the rest to enjoy at the pace dictated by the group watch. (The download does take a while – about an hour for the eight episodes – but I think it’s worth the convenience later on.)
I’ll admit to being a little confused at first, because I wasn’t sure if I was watching “Queen In-hyun’s Man” or the video for “Take On Me”, but I’m pretty sure it was the drama.
Thanks, Trent, for leading the way here.
@j3ffc — whew, learning the ins-n-outs of VPN magic is a journey, eh? That’s a good idea to download, although I tend to switch platforms between desktop and mobile, depending. I might have to be more fixed to one or the other platform to watch Queen In-hyun’s Man…
Also interesting that once downloaded, it didn’t require you to be hooked up to VPN. My initial foray into watching Netflix via VPN was that it was very touch and go for streaming (it sometimes started, then threw up an error eventually; sometimes just an error right from the start), so I downloaded while connected to VPN. That allowed me to watch, but then when I went back later while not connected to VPN, it showed the downloaded show as blocked.
I had the same experience with Netflix as well, which is why I did the experiment here. No guarantee that it won’t happen again, which is one reason I’ll probably watch with the wifi turned off.
And, yeah, I watch most of my dramas on the same machine, only using the TV on weekends.l
I tried VPN Singapore and couldn’t see it on IQiyi. I tried VPN USA and could play it on AsiaCrush, but it won’t let me Chromecast to my TV (Chromecast blocks VPN). Aw man. Can I stand to watch on my laptop?
Glad that you are using a VPN that works for you….I have a feeling that I’ll need mine (I use a different one) for the next phase of the group watches.
There are sometimes subtle differences in shows seen on one place vs. another (especially music, which has country-specific permissions).
Plus! Always a pleasure to see a screen cap of Hacker Ahjumma!
Ooh, that’s so interesting, @j3ffc, that the music varies from show to show, and region to region! That’s.. kind of mind-blowing, actually. 🤯 I hadn’t thought of that before, because, well, I typically only watch from one source and therefore don’t end up comparing. 😅
Tee hee! I’m glad you enjoyed Ahjumma’s appearance! I thought about which character would be most acquainted with what a VPN service does, and there was simply no one else but our darling hacker Ahjumma! 🤩🤩
There aren’t that many instances of music changing, but when it goes I assume it’s because of some sort of copyright issue,. I can think of two right now: the US Netflix version of “Dr. Romantic” used a lot of Billy Joel’s “The Stranger”, including in one cool in-show scene in one of the later episodes. When I accidentally watched it on Viki/Singapore, the tune was swapped out for some generic action music. The second example I can think of is in “Be Melodramatic”, which includes a little parody of “Something in the Rain” replete with a very famous (and presumably expensive) country song – but not in the USA, where it was again replaced by, in this case, an extremely boring ditty. Fortunately, the music made for each show, to the best of my knowledge, remains intact.
Ditto @trent on the question of where to get “Queen Inhyun’s Man” in the US. Hopefully folks who get it in other countries can clue us in on which platforms they get it on so we know which direction to turn the antenna. (I usually use Singapore in honor of our host.)
Ooh, that make sense, about copyright issues due to country-specific permissions. But I imagine that makes for a rather diluted viewing experience, like with the SITR parody. Bummer about that!
I’ve just answered Trent’s question on where to get Queen In-hyun’s Man, you can check it out above. I’ve also linked the show, for your easy reference! ❤️
Pleasure, @j3ffc! ❤️