Spotify app on a Galaxy phone next to Galaxy Buds.
Chubo – my masterpiece/

Spotify is one of the best ways to stream music on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, but it’s not always accessible everywhere. We’ll go over a few ways in which you can unblock Spotify, no matter if it’s your school, employer, government, or even Spotify itself preventing access.

Why Spotify May Be Blocked for You

There are several reasons why Spotify may be blocked, which fall apart in roughly two categories: first, you could have blocks put up by your school or office, which we’ll call institutional blocks. On the other hand you have regional blocks, which prevent you from accessing certain songs—or even Spotify in its entirety—depending on where you live.

Institutional blocks are the simplest to explain: many schools, universities, and employers simply do not like it when people are listening to music when they should be busy working or studying. It’s downright silly in an age where it has become normal to listen to podcasts at work or stream some chill beats while studying, but there you go.

Regional locks are a bit more diverse: some countries don’t have access to Spotify, usually because of some kind of censorship—China is a good example—while some countries simply have different songs they can listen to, something which is usually determined by the deals the rights holders have made with Spotify.

These restrictions seem like they can’t be overcome, but there’s good news: no matter the type of block, all of them can be easily circumvented using a simple tool called a VPN.

How VPNs Unblock Spotify

Virtual private networks are tools that let you reroute your connection and thus make it appear like you’re somewhere else. At the same time, they also secure your connection, so you can also browse without having to worry about being tracked, which is a nice bonus.

In the case of Spotify, you can simply reroute around the block, so to speak, and the enhanced security makes it so this rerouting can’t be discovered. For example, if you’re in China, but you want to listen to the U.S. version of Spotify, you’d use a VPN to reroute your connection to the United States, and that should fix it.

This also works for institutional blocks, it’s just a little less drastic: instead of a server on the other side of the world, you just use one in the same city or country as you. The same logic applies, you make a new connection that goes around the block, and that’s it.

Block Busting

How this works is that most blocks, whether set up by a government or a place of business, will block access to a certain IP address—the numbers that for the address for a site on the web—belonging to the site they don’t want you to access. However, the IP address of the VPN server is not blocked, so you connect there instead and then hop to the site you want.

It’s a very simple trick, but it works really well as long as you have good security. That’s why proxies, VPNs’ less secure counterpart, won’t work as Spotify will pick up on it and block you. Read all about the differences between VPNs and proxies if you’d like to know more.

Getting Started with VPNs

If all the above seems a little daunting, there’s no need to worry: VPNs are usually extremely easy to use. If you’ll 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.

That said, there’s one downside to VPNs: they’re usually not free, so you’ll need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. However, some smart shopping could help you get the cost down to as little as $50 per year, depending on the service you choose—read our Surfshark review for one example, though mind the small print.

Unblocking Spotify is a great way to access more music from more places, and all the best VPNs out there can do the job, so if you’re stuck without Spotify, just pick whichever you think will suit you best and listen away.

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Profile Photo for Fergus O'Sullivan Fergus O'Sullivan
Fergus is a freelance writer for How-To Geek. He has seven years of tech reporting and reviewing under his belt for a number of publications, including GameCrate and Cloudwards. He's written more articles and reviews about cybersecurity and cloud-based software than he can keep track of---and knows his way around Linux and hardware, too.
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