If you are into anime, manga, or other East Asian content, there is a good chance that you are already a big fan of Crunchyroll.
Crunchyroll is, quite simply, the best online anime site for anyone who is into Japanese or Asian animation or looking out for music, drama, comedy, and other TV shows from Asia.
It is available in multiple countries, but unfortunately, like Netflix, it uses geo-restrictions to prevent users in one country from streaming Crunchyroll shows from another library.
As a result, if you want to access your Crunchyroll account and watch Crunchyroll from anywhere or be able to stream the USA service in your country, which has the most extensive library, you will need to use a VPN service.
This guide will address which of the many VPNs on the market you should choose and offer an easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to get the right VPN app and use it to help you enjoy Crunchyroll outside the US.
What VPN works with Crunchyroll?
The question of whether a VPN works with Crunchyroll is a far more complex question to answer than it would have been a few years ago before the Crunchyroll VPN ban came into effect.
But like many other streaming services, such as Netflix, in recent years, Crunchyroll has gone out of its way to try and stop people from bypassing its geographic restrictions and watching Crunchyroll in other countries.
This is being done at the behest of the copyright holders who license their content to Crunchyroll but only in certain countries and don’t want Crunchyroll users breaking their licensing restrictions watching it in other countries where they may not have the rights to show it.
As a result, Crunchyroll has gone out of its way to try and block VPNs and stop VPN apps from being able to help users stream content on their platform. They have done this by blocking IP addresses with multiple users that can be traced back to VPN providers.
A lot of the usual best VPNs are now unable to bypass Crunchyroll’s regional restrictions and access its geo-restricted content. Some cannot even access it in your home country.
But the good news is that there are still some VPNs that can. When choosing a VPN, you should look for one that offers the following features:
- Wide range of VPN servers – The more servers a VPN has, the better speeds tend to be as demands on individual servers are less. If you want to watch American Crunchyroll, you need to make sure there is a good US VPN server selection available.
- Fast connection speeds – Streaming is demanding on a VPN, so find a VPN provider which offers fast enough internet speeds.
- The right apps – Whatever device you plan to use to watch Crunchyroll outside the US, be sure that your VPN provider has an app for it.
- Service consistency – Some VPNs can be hit and miss. If you want to watch Crunchyroll or any other major streaming services, you will need a reliable VPN.
How to use a VPN to unblock Crunchyroll anywhere
The steps to unblock Crunchyroll are simple. Sign up, download the VPN app, and get everything up and running.
If you are new to VPNs, this might sound like a daunting task but don’t worry. It is surprisingly easy.
To help, we have compiled this simple step-by-step guide to help you start unblocking Crunchyroll with a VPN and begin to watch anime and stream content on the Crunchyroll app from the library of your choice.
We have used our recommended VPN service, ExpressVPN, but the process is much the same for all the main VPNs which we’ll cover soon.
Sign up for ExpressVPN. You can do this by clicking one of the links on this page, choosing the right package for you, and then following the onscreen instructions to subscribe.
Download the ExpressVPN app. You should always do this either from their official website or your own app store. Using other sites runs the risk of downloading a fake app with all the security issues that can come with that.
Install the app onto your chosen device.
Open the app and log in using the account details given to you in step 1.
Choose a VPN server in the country whose Crunchyroll shows you want to access, for example, to watch the largest and most popular Crunchyroll library, in the USA, choose a US server (United States).
Press Connect and wait for ExpressVPN to connect to that US server.
Now log into your Crunchyroll account and start to watch anime shows or whatever you want on Crunchyroll. If you don’t have an account, sign up.
If you have any problems connecting to your chosen ExpressVPN server or getting the service to work on it, the best advice is to simply try another server from the same country.
In our experience, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of tries to find one that is working.
If you are still having problems, contact the excellent ExpressVPN customer support team using their live chat feature and they will be able to help you.
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Best VPN to watch Crunchyroll
If a VPN still sounds daunting, don’t worry. We have done the hard work for you and can confirm that our recommendation for the best Crunchyroll VPN is ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN ticks all the boxes and can give you everything you need to watch Crunchyroll outside the US and enjoy your favorite anime.
Its superb features mean you can enjoy the Crunchyroll app and all it has to offer including Crunchyroll anime shows, drama, music or anything from the Crunchyroll library from anywhere.
ExpressVPN has a vast network of servers across more than 94 different countries.
This VPN server network is super-fast and secure and will let you unblock Crunchyroll anywhere in the world and access almost every library they have on offer.
Express VPN encrypts all of your user data and hides your IP address, while its range of servers means that you have thousands of new IP Addresses to choose from.
The ExpressVPN connection speeds are second-to-none. This is quite simply the most consistently fast VPN on the market, which makes it ideal for a streaming service like Crunchyroll and other streaming sites like Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Apple TV, Netflix too.
It also boasts the security features you need, such as a kill switch and split tunnelling too available across all of their excellent, user-friendly apps.
The prices are reasonable for a premium VPN service with significant discounts available for a longer subscription and a 30-day money-back guarantee available too.
There are other VPNs you could consider if you aren’t sure that ExpressVPN is the right one for you. We would suggest NordVPN and Surfshark VPN, both of which offer a solid all round service at a cost-effective price.
But if you want the best VPN to watch Crunchyroll outside the US or anywhere in the world, ExpressVPN is the virtual private network we tested and would recommend.
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Why is Crunchyroll region locked?
As we have explained, Crunchyroll is a streaming platform that buys the rights to the content it shows on a country-by-country basis.
It, therefore, has the rights to show such content in different countries and no two Crunchyroll libraries are the same.
In order to keep the copyright holders its buys rights from happy, Crunchyroll has to be one of those geo-restricted sites and block IP addresses from other countries.
If it offered unlimited access to all its users, it wouldn’t be too long before all its content providers stopped selling rights to it. For a commercial streaming service, full access is just not possible these days.
Is using VPN for Crunchyroll legal?
It is indeed legal to use a VPN to watch Crunchyroll. You will not be breaking any laws by doing so apart from in the handful of authoritarian countries like Communist China, Russia, and Iran where all VPN use is illegal.
The question of whether using a VPN to unblock your Crunchyroll account is against their terms and conditions is a more complex one.
Crunchyroll terms are pretty opaque and technically, the answer is no.
If you are using a VPN to enjoy Crunchyroll’s content that is not available in your region, that is another matter. There have been a number of cases where Crunchyroll has identified a VPN user and subsequently banned the VPN service from accessing Crunchyroll.
It is important to note that this is usually possible if Crunchyroll detects a change in your IP Address from your VPN’s one to your own one while using their service. This is something a kill switch can easily prevent, so shouldn’t be a problem.
Crunchyroll can sometimes detect that one IP Address has multiple users on it, assume this is a VPN server, and block it. A dedicated IP address can solve this but not all VPNs offer dedicated IP Addresses.
ExpressVPN is one of those that don’t they also work hard to keep their regular servers able to unblock the Crunchyroll service so you shouldn’t miss this.
Crunchyroll clarified that they will often ban IP ranges associated with VPN providers due to dangerous spam traffic or fraudsters utilising the same IP range.
But this doesn’t make using a VPN illegal and the same is true for other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and the like.
What countries is Crunchyroll available in?
You can access Crunchyroll from anywhere as both the streaming service and the Crunchyroll store are available in most countries around the world.
But this began as a US site and the US library is still by some distance the busiest one and offers the best value for money as well as the best range of HD streaming.
If you want to get the most from Crunchyroll, it is the US library that you will want to be accessing. But if you don’t live in the US, the best way to access this is to use a VPN.
Can I use a free VPN to access Crunchyroll?
Free VPN services are advertised widely online and you might be wondering why you need to spend money on a premium service when you can just use a free version to gain access to Crunchyroll.
The simple truth is that free VPN apps are not up to streaming content on streaming services like Crunchyroll.
Most free VPNs offer slow speeds and limited server networks. Even if you can find a US-based server to use with Crunchyroll, the chances are it will be massively over-subscribed and therefore not fast enough to stream content.
Who enjoys watching with buffering? Not me!
Many free VPN apps have data caps or use throttling to try and prevent people from streaming on their networks because they know they aren’t up to the job.
Then there are the other risks that come with using free VPNs.
Many bundle their software together with spyware, malware, or other malicious programmes.
A lot harvest data and sell your browsing habits and other information to cover their costs and generate a profit. Then there is the alarming number that appear to be owned by companies operating out of Communist China.
Some don’t even bother to encrypt your user data at all and are therefore barely even meet the description of a VPN.
You can, of course, try to use free VPNs to access Crunchyroll if you wish. But we doubt you will succeed and for the sake of a few dollars a month, we would strongly recommend that you opt for one of our earlier recommended providers.
Can I watch Crunchyroll for free?
Yes. Crunchyroll has a free service that lets you watch lots of content for free on most platforms. However, there are a few catches as you would expect.
- You can only stream Crunchyroll content in standard definition or 480p.
- You’ll see ads when watching Crunchyroll content.
- New episodes aren’t available immediately.
- There is limited access to manga so you may well not be able to watch your favorite anime shows.
If you want to enjoy a full and ad-free Crunchyroll experience, you will need to sign up for a premium Crunchyroll subscription.
Premium subscriptions start from $7.99 a month, with the most popular ‘Mega Fan‘ package costing $9.99 a month and their ‘Ultimate Fan‘ package costing $14.99 p/m.
All allow a 14-day free trial.
If you want to enjoy offline viewing, you will need this package. You should also note that this service is only available on mobile devices running the Android and iOS operating systems.
Will a VPN slow down Crunchyroll viewing?
If you choose a free or substandard VPN, then the answer is almost certainly going to be yes.
But if you choose our recommended VPN, ExpressVPN or any of the other premium VPNs we have suggested you could use in this guide, the answer is ‘not by very much’.
All VPNs slow your connections a little since they route your data through a third-party server.
But the best VPNs, like ExpressVPN, and the others best VPNs mentioned in this guide too, have a minimal impact and are certainly not going to have a noticeable impact on your viewing pleasure when streaming Crunchyroll shows or shows on other Anime streaming sites.
Are there any alternatives to a VPN for unblocking Crunchyroll?
You could try using the Tor network to unblock your Crunchyroll subscription but in our experience, it doesn’t do a great job.
The Tor network redirects your data through multiple nodes which will hide your IP address but also massively slow down your connection and this can have a hugely detrimental impact on streaming quality.
The best alternative is a Smart DNS service. Smart DNS works a bit like a VPN in that it will redirect your internet traffic through an external server.
But, unlike a VPN, a Smart DNS does not encrypt your data and you can set your DNS settings to best suit your device and your needs.
This makes Smart DNS less secure but on the flip side it is also faster while still masking your own real IP address. This means you can still watch Crunchyroll from abroad, but you will not get the secure private internet access that a VPN can provide.
How to unblock Crunchyroll for your whole household
How can you unblock Crunchyroll for your whole household to enjoy? Doubtless, you have your favourite shows and so will the rest of your family or housemates.
Well, the good news is that there are two options available to you.
The first is to check your VPNs simultaneous connections. ExpressVPN lets all users connect up to five devices at the same time. With NordVPN, you can enjoy six concurrent connections, while CyberGhost VPN lets you connect seven.
There are even some other VPNs out there that allow unlimited connections, but that feature does come at the loss of some other features.
Alternatively, why not get a VPN router and hook your ExpressVN connection up to that. VPN routers protect your entire Wi-Fi network and all devices that connect to it. I’ve used the Invizbox 2 and it’s an excellent solution.
So, if your family are all connecting to a VPN router, you can all enjoy your own favourite Crunchyroll anime shows at the same time.
If you want to watch Crunchyroll in a different country or access libraries from different countries, the best way to do it is with a VPN.
After extensive testing of various VPN services with Crunchyroll, we recommend ExpressVPN as the #1 best VPN to use with Crunchyroll.
It has a great choice of US servers, apps for all the devices you might want to watch on, including Smart TVs, a huge range of servers and IP address options for you and can offer full access to the US library and any other Crunchyroll libraries you might want to access.
There is even a 30-day money-back guarantee that gives you plenty of time to try before you buy.
NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN are alternative options. Both offer top notch VPN features, great value, a superb 30 day or 45-day money-back guarantee (that 45-day money back guarantee is the biggest around) offers and a range of other features.
Just download your chosen VPN app, log into your account, choose a US server, connect to it, and then you can access the US Crunchyroll library. If you want to watch the British Crunchyroll service, just choose a UK server, and so on.
All of our best VPNs can also unblock Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Apple TV, Smart TVs and more. They will hide your real IP address while still giving you private internet access and fast connection speeds.
With our top recommended VPN, ExpressVPN, you can watch Crunchyroll anywhere in the world and still enjoy it as if you were sitting on the sofa at home.
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