Updated: January 1st, 2018
Oh Pandora... why you so exclusive? It's almost the end of 2017 and you are still blocked in Canada, really?
Fear not, dear reader. The solution below is 100% effective. So, to get Pandora Radio Canada unblocked, go through the following steps right now:
- Start by getting a VPN account setup
- Install VPN software onto the device(s) you want to get Pandora in Canada on
- Connect to US-based server on VPN
- Go to Pandora and sign in to your existing account or sign up for a new one
- Enjoy Pandora in Canada
Time required to complete the above steps: 3 Minutes max.
I recommend using ExpressVPN for this solution. Check it out here.
How to get Pandora Radio Canada Unblocked
in more detail:
Pandora is one of the most popular music streaming services around today. It offers an incredible library of music to users, providing more than enough value for money. I personally use Pandora every other day, especially when I'm "in the zone" with work and don't want to be distracted by noises around me.
One big negative of Pandora, however, is that the service blocks access to users that try to use it outside of either the US, Australia or New Zealand.
I found this out the hard way when I traveled outside of the US to Canada, only to find that my beloved Pandora account was inaccessible!
However, I quickly found out how to get Pandora Radio Canada unblocked by going through a super quick process. So I figured I would write this out to help anyone else facing this same problem -- and here is that guide!
Why is Pandora Radio Blocked in Canada?
Pandora is blocked in Canada due to copyright and distribution rights agreed on between Pandora and the owners of each piece of music offered on the service.
Each artist and band owner on Pandora has agreed to only have their music offered to users listening from the US, Australia or New Zealand.
So no, you cannot get Pandora in the UK or Europe at all. Lame.
What this means is when you try to do what I did and access Pandora from Canada, you will be presented with an apologetic message informing you that you cannot access the service because you're in Canada, like so:
Not so surprisingly, Pandora is not the only big online streaming provider that has such geo-restrictions placed on its service. Some other major services that cannot be accessed within Canada include ESPN, SlingTV and Hulu Plus.
How does Pandora Radio Block Access to Canada?
The way in which Pandora blocks access to users in Canada (and all other countries outside the three aforementioned nations) is by utilising a process called "geo-blocking".
This process, geo-blocking, is essentially an invisible front door on Pandora that determines the physical location of each and every user that attempts to access the service.
Pandora figures out your location through checking your IP address. Your IP address tells Pandora the location you are in, in that exact moment you attempt to listen to it.
Thus, once I figured out that if I could change my IP address to make my location "appear" in the US, Australia or NZ, then I would be able to have Pandora Canada accessible on my devices -- I researched then quickly found out that I could do this best by using a Virtual Private Network, or "VPN" for short.
What is a VPN and why does it work for this solution?
Although a "Virtual Private Network" might sound like some super technical thing -- it really is not.
A VPN is a simple piece of software that install onto your device (whatever it might be, be it your laptop, smartphone, desktop, or otherwise) that you connect to your internet through.
People and companies alike have used VPNs on their devices for a long time now. Primarily as a way to encrypt their online data and activity, to give themselves a high level of privacy protection while browsing the world wide web.
However, in the last few years more and more people are realising how effective VPNs are for allowing you to unblock (basically) any website or online media streaming service you want, from anywhere in the world.
How? By giving the user the ability to choose their device's IP address.
That's right - when you connect to a VPN, you actually choose which "location" you want to connect via, and once you are connected, your device's IP address physically changes to represent location.
This clever little trick means that if you have, oh I don't know, say Pandora Music Canada blocked, and you want to access it -- by simply using a VPN you can trick Pandora into seeing your "location" as within the USA (or any other country wherein Pandora is available).
How to Use a VPN to get Pandora Music Canada Unblocked
Step 1: Signup for VPN
As mentioned at the intro of this mini-guide, I researched a bunch of different VPN service providers and settled on ExpressVPN as the best VPN for my circumstance and budget. So I'll be using ExpressVPN to demonstrate the setup process here.
So first head to ExpressVPN's website and sign up.
UPDATE: As of right now (November 6, 2017) for all new users ExpressVPN are offering 3 months free. This is a ridiculously good deal:
As shown below, you can see that you have multiple payment method options, including anonymous-friendly options like BitCoin, which is great for those of you that are really looking to keep your online data privacy-protected:
Keep in mind that regardless of which plan you sign up to - you will get the first 30 days free on the VPN service, meaning you can get a full refund should you not want to use the service thereafter.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
Once you're signed up and have your account setup, the next step is to download the VPN software for whichever device you are planning to listen to Pandora on. ExpressVPN is compatible with essentially every device you could want to use Pandora on:
For example, since I use both a Macbook and an Android smartphone, I went ahead and downloaded the respective apps onto each device.
On my Macbook it was simply a case of downloading the software then going through the standard auto-install process for the software.
To get the VPN on my smartphone all I had to do was go the Google Play Store, search for "ExpressVPN" then download and install it. Easy.
When you open the software on your device for the first time, you will be prompted to enter your account login details. These will have been sent to you in the account confirmation email you will have received.
Once you have the app open, your next step is the "magical" part of this process, so let's jump to it now!
Step 3: Connect to VPN
The next step once you have the ExpressVPN software downloaded and installed is to simply open it up and choose a location to connect to that is any of the three aforementioned countries that Pandora is offered in.
For me, I just simply chose New York; connected; then my IP address was instantly changed to "appear" within the US.
Below is a little snapshot showing you how the software actually looks on my Macbook:
As I mentioned, I wanted to also have Pandora Canada accessible on my Android device. So here is how the VPN software looks when connecting on my smartphone to give you an idea of how simple it is:
Step 4: Listen to Pandora Radio in Canada
With your device now connected to either a US, Australian or New Zealand based VPN, you just head over to Pandora and you'll no longer be presented with the apologetic "denied access" message.
Pandora will now check your IP address, "think" you are located in the VPN connection location you chose, and allow you full access to the service from the comfort of your Canadian location. Awesome!
Thus concludes this super quick and simple solution to get Pandora in Canada legally, securely and instantly.
The whole process laid out above will take you no longer than 5 minutes and requires very minimal technical knowledge, which is great.
As mentioned, although I chose ExpressVPN to do this, there are literally hundreds of VPN service providers around today that deliver great services at varying price plans. I personally reviewed most of these and can recommend my absolute top five VPNs for getting Pandora in Canada, which you can check out below:
Do I need to use a VPN or is there another method?
If you have some understand about IP addresses and how to manipulate them (why would you? Lol) then you may be familiar with alternative ways to change your device's IP address without using a Virtual Private Network service provider.
You can technically use either a SmartDNS or Proxy service to bypass some web restrictions you are facing, however, I would strongly recommend not using a Proxy service, since these are predominantly browser-based and free -- which means two things: they are highly insecure and most likely completely ineffective. If you do find a working one that gets you Pandora Radio unblocked in Canada, then it will be a matter of days before that proxy is easily discovered by Pandora and blocked.
So, with that said, I will touch briefly on what SmartDNS service is, since this is a secondary - but viable - backup option to get Pandora Radio unblocked in Canada if you do not want to use a VPN for whatever reason.
Use a SmartDNS to get Pandora Canada Radio accessible on your device
A SmartDNS works in the same way a VPN does with regards to "hijacking" your internet connection before you communicate with your ISP (or "Internet Service Provider").
When you use a good, trusted SmartDNS provider, then you use the service much like a TV or radio station. You are presented with a huge list of "channels" (like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and of course - Pandora) that are known to be blocked from accessing in various countries around the world.
So once you have signed up (yes, a good SmartDNS service will also cost you a couple of dollars to use) you will login to your SmartDNS and then go through a very similar process as we walked through in the above steps to this guide.
The major difference between a SmartDNS service and a VPN provider is also the reason why I recommend using a VPN if you have the choice:
A SmartDNS gives you no encryption, so your online data is not privacy protected at all.
Now I know, you did not find this guide because you were looking to protect your online privacy. You just want to get Pandora Radio fully unblocked in Canada.
However, you have to agree that when the price difference between a good VPN provider and a good SmartDNS provider is a cup of coffee -- it just makes sense to pay a little extra to get complete protection of your online data and activity, which is what you get from the moment you are connected to a VPN to the moment you disconnect.
This is of course just my personal opinion, but I figured it is worth while to explain my reasoning. Regardless -- if you go with a SmartDNS provider you will have to search for a while to find one that successfully unblocked Pandora Radio in Canada, since I have found such services to not be as consistently reliable compared to my reviewing of the top VPN service providers.
If you have any feedback or questions on this process, don't hesitate to let me know by commenting below. I'll do my best to reply to you and help you out.
Thanks, and enjoy listening to Pandora in Canada!