Blockless is a Canadian company that offers SmartDNS services designed for unblocking streaming services and giving great speeds while doing so. Their website promises privacy, safety, and freedom by giving you anonymous private connections through the Blockless app.
They claim to do this by employing “bank-level protection,” a strict no-logging policy, simplistic region switching, and a wide range of device support. While we can say that Blockless definitely succeeds in a number of areas, there are a lot of ways in which it leaves something to be desired, as well.
To start off, Blockless doesn’t include any actual information on their encryption or protocols. This is typically a huge red flag right off the bat. Companies with good encryption standards typically have these stats front-and-center in order to draw in new users. The fact that they claim “bank-level encryption” is a little suspect in this context.
When trying to use their app, we encountered a number of problems with the website, being unable to download any desktop client from multiple devices. We were able to get their Chrome extension running, but it wouldn’t stay connected long enough to allow us to perform tests. We had trouble trying to download the app for Android, as well.
You may get different results, and there’s a free trial available that would allow you to test their performance for yourself if you’re able to download the client. We’ll speak a little bit more on this topic down below, but it’s worth noting that other user reviews online actually have good things to say about Blockless’s performance.
The service is aimed mainly toward unblocking geo-locked streaming services, and it is effective for that purpose, even for Netflix. It’s always nice when a VPN is effective for what it was designed for, but there are a few drawbacks. The company doesn’t approve of torrenting over its services and will filter or block usage that it deeps in violation of ToS.
Interestingly enough, user reports claim that Blockless is even effective for accessing Netflix from China. This is an interesting development, and it probably has something to do with their headquarters being in Hong Kong. Being able to unblock Netflix content in China makes Blockless a relatively powerful VPN for its designated purpose.
Unfortunately, there are large sections of the service and website that don’t appear to be working properly. We weren’t able to properly access any of the FAQ, download, or support pages. Drawing conclusions about how Blockless performs in these areas is a little bit tiresome given the circumstances, but we’ll go over that more in a second.
For now, let’s answer a few of the questions you’re probably all asking.
Is Blockless safe to use?
Short answer: Maybe.
Long answer: It’s complicated. If you’re using Blockless for accessing Netflix in other countries, it’s unlikely that you will face any legal repercussions for using the service, unless VPN usage is banned entirely.
That being said, security and anonymity are still very important to most VPN users. Unfortunately, Blockless doesn’t seem to be concerned with actually sharing their encryption standards with us. They simply claim to have “bank-level encryption,” not even telling us which protocols they use.
This is fairly damning in and of itself, and we weren’t able to obtain a working client in order to perform a leak test, but the online buzz about this company seems to confirm that their service doesn’t leak any DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 information.
This is fairly reassuring, but you’ll probably want to try getting your hands on the free trial and test this for yourself if you’re concerned with security and privacy when using Blockless.
Another important thing to note about the legal jurisdiction of Blockless: they are a Canadian company. This means that they are part of the 5 Eyes alliance for sharing intelligence data between the US, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Although the intended usage of unblocking Netflix is more or less legal, using this VPN for more risque activities is probably not a good idea.
Some important things to note about Blockless, before we move on:
- Blockless prohibits torrenting and pornography on its services
- Blockless will censor or block usage it deems to be in violation of ToS
- Blockless collects and stores: name, contact information, IP address, credit card information, any info provided by the user at any time.
- Blockless does not provide a kill switch for their client or Chrome extension
As you can see, there are some concerns here that might make Blockless less than optimal for more intense privacy and security needs. That being said, it is effective and safe for its intended purpose.
Speed and Performance
When we attempted to access the free trial in order to test Blockless’s performance, we found that the download links on their website appear to be broken.
The website itself seems fairly standard at first glance:
Unfortunately, this quaint facade came apart after we poked around a little bit. The download links were all broken, even when tested from different devices and connections. The service’s Twitter account and user reviews don’t seem to reflect this at all, so this can be a little bit frustrating.
Fortunately, we were able to obtain the Chrome extension and start to get it connected.
But this connection didn’t last long before repeatedly disconnecting, making a speed test impossible.
This was all very disheartening. However, most of the user reviews online have quite positive things to say about this service, claiming that it allowed them to stream unblocked Netflix with almost no slow-down.
It’s also quite encouraging to note the stellar reviews from Chinese users who were able to connect and stream through Blockless, but more on that later.
Although these setbacks were quite frustrating, it’s possible that Blockless will be quite effective for you. As always, do your own tests to make sure you know what you’re dealing with.
Apps & extensions
Blockless offers services on Windows, OSX, Android, iOS, and Chrome. This is fairly standard device support, although it’s nice to have a browser extension, especially one designed for effective Netflix unblocking. When working properly, the extension should allow for one-click region-customizable VPN service effective for unblocking Netflix.
The lack of support for things like routers or Linux systems is notable, but not too damning. They have the important platforms covered, and the actual download and install process seems fairly straightforward when it actually works. Their VPN services also include ad blockers, as well.
Blockless and Netflix
This is Blockless’s bread and butter. Blockless was designed to bust through Netflix’s region protection. All of the user reviews online say that they had no problem, and there were even Chinese users claiming that the service allowed them to access the service from China, which is a fairly impressive feat.
Their SmartDNS servers and apparently leak-proof encryption hosted by servers in 14 countries allow them to effectively offer you the greatest in Netflix library freedom, even from behind the Great Firewall.
Blockless and China
Like we’ve been saying, Chinese users report being able to connect to Netflix’s website with no problem through Blockless’s VPN services. Apparently registering an account and getting started streaming is a breeze, even in a place like China where data is very heavily monitored and controlled.
While this is an encouraging factor when it comes to Blockless, it’s possible that the more security-conscious users might want to go with a more sure-fire alternative, since we still don’t really know what Blockless’ actual encryption and protocols are.
Blockless and torrenting
Unfortunately, this is an easy question to ask. Blockless strictly prohibits torrenting over its services, and explicitly warns about the possibility of your service being blocked, or your information handed over to the authorities, in accordance with Hong Kong law.
On a bit of a lighter note, Blockless’s customer support has some glowing buzz about it online, with users saying that their team is responsive and competent. The support page on the website was broken for us, so we weren’t able to get a hands-on look at what their support system had to offer, but there are a few observations we can make.
The company does have an FAQ and a set of guides available on its website, which presumably help with setup and simple troubleshooting for more common problems users may encounter. The support team can also be contacted by email.
Although the avenues of support access are limited, the good reviews are a good sign, and the straightforward layout is promising in terms of ease-of-use.
Blockless offers a free-for-life plan with unlimited bandwidth and anonymous browsing. Their $7.50 per month plan gives you access to all regions, faster speeds, up to five devices, and streaming SmartDNS.
This plan structure is fool-proof. The free-for-life plan gives you a taste of their services, with an option for a 7-day trial of their premium services. Upgrading gives you a lot more power for a very competitive price. $7.50 per month is quite cheap compared to some other VPN services which can’t even block Netflix.
The 5 device limit on the pay plan is a nice touch, especially with multiple devices streaming Netflix services.
Conclusion of Blockless VPN review
Blockless is an unfortunate casualty in this review, as half of their functionality was broken or untestable at time of writing. That being said, their actual performance and customer reviews seem solid, and their ability to offer comprehensive Netflix unblocking through SmartDNS while still giving you the streaming speeds you need to enjoy yourself is quite impressive – if it works.
All in all, it’s probably a good idea to check Blockless out for yourself and make sure you can get what you need out of their services, but they’re definitely a promising option if you’re after good unblocking and streaming protection.