The IPL is back for yet another season and if you don't have a premium TV subscription then finding a reliable source to watch the action can be a difficult task.
If you've got Sky in the UK then you can watch the cricket matches on Sky Sports on your TV or online via their Sky Go site.
If you don't have Sky then you're pretty much out of luck because all of the claimed free streams online are illegal and often filled with viruses and other nasty trojans, to visit them just isn't worth the risk.
The good news is there are other official streams from around the world that you can watch online and in this guide I'm going to show you how you can watch the IPL in the UK on those official streams.
How to watch IPL in the UK
In India all of the IPL matches are streamed live online on the website Hotstar.
Unfortunately, Hotstar is restricted to viewing from within India and a handful of neighbouring countries. If you try and visit in the UK you're blocked from watching. Instead of the IPL you'll see a block screen similar to the one below.
You will be glad to know there is a service available that will let you appear as if you are in India and if you haven't already realised then this means you'll be able to watch the IPL in the UK on Hotstar.
The service is called a VPN and it basically re-routes your internet connection via another country, in this case in India. When you visit the Hotstar website rather than it seeing you're in the UK and blocking you, it'll see you're in India and allow you to watch all the IPL matches.
I've tested the best VPN services that will let you appear in India and allow you to watch the IPL in the UK and elsewhere in the world and found the following three providers are the best for the job.
You can get a VPN service by clicking the name of one of the providers above and visiting their site.
A VPN service will set you back around £4 – £7 per month which is about $5 – $10. The longer you sign-up for the cheaper the price is. As the IPL usually runs from about April 9th to May 29th you're going to need at least 2 months of service.
You can, of course, use the same VPN service to watch other sports on Hotstar like the English Premier League, Bundesliga, Kabaddi, Badminton, Hockey and more.
How do I use the VPN service to watch the IPL?
Once you've signed up to one of the providers above all you need to do is download their software for your PC or Mac computer.
Install it and then run it. You can now connect to their Indian server. Once it's connected you simply visit the Hotstar website and rather than see the block message from earlier you'll be able to watch the IPL in the UK or elsewhere.
In the example image above I'm using the IPVanish Windows software.
There is nothing more to it when you've finished simply disconnect and next time you want to watch the IPL in the UK you can reconnect at any time.
Surely there is a free, free, free alternative?
If you're like me and your favourite price is free then the above solution is the most cost effective solution that won't compromise the security of your computer. Hotstar is an official stream of the IPL and VPN services are completely legal tools, at just £4 per month you really can't go wrong.
For the sake of the price of a VPN, it's not worth the trouble searching out “free streams” because they generally don't work. They're often of low quality, buffer and stutter a lot and more worrying the websites that they're hosted on often contain viruses or trojans.
When people ask me for free streams I tell them the old adage of you don't get anything for free in this world.
The sites that run these dodgy illegal streams want to make money in some way and if you're not paying for the service then you generally are the service, ie; they're making money off you somehow and it's usually by serving up less than savoury adverts that can contain malware.
If you want my advice, for peace of mind it's best to pay a few pounds or dollars and get to watch the IPL in the UK or elsewhere stress free.