Want to watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Miami Dolphins? Here's everything you need to stream Sunday's game on Fox.
Is this week’s Dolphins and 49ers matchup a possible Super Bowl preview? Miami heads to the Bay Area at 8-3 atop the competitive AFC East and on a five-game winning streak, while the revamped 49ers are 7-4, leading the NFC West and riding a four-game winning streak. Kick off in Santa Clara, California, is set for 1:05 p.m. PT (4:05 p.m. PT) on Fox.
The game will be shown on TV in the Miami and San Francisco areas (according to 506 Sports) on live TV streaming services, but there may be cases where you’re blocked because of an internet location glitch or just want an added layer of privacy for streaming. There is an option that doesn’t require subscribing to something like NFL Sunday Ticket or NFL Plus, or searching the internet for a sketchy website: You can use a virtual private network, or VPN.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers in a Week 13 matchup. Megan Briggs/Getty Images
Here’s how you can watch the game from anywhere in the US with a VPN.
Dolphins vs. 49ers: When and where?
For Week 13 of the NFL season, the 49ers host the Dolphins at 1:05 p.m. PT (4:05 p.m. PT) on Sunday. The game is set to take place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, home of the 49ers.
How to watch the Dolphins vs. 49ers game online from anywhere using a VPN
If you find yourself unable to view the game locally due to incorrectly applied blackout restrictions, you may need a different way to watch the game and that’s where using a VPN can come in handy. A VPN is also the best way to stop your ISP from throttling your speeds on game day by encrypting your traffic, plus it’s a great idea for when you’re traveling and find yourself connected to a Wi-Fi network, and you want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and logins.
With a VPN, you’re able to virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to get access to the game. So if your internet provider or mobile carrier has stuck you with an IP address that incorrectly shows your location in a blackout zone, a VPN can correct that problem by giving you an IP address in your correct, nonblackout area. Most VPNs, like our Editors’ Choice, ExpressVPN, make it really easy to do this.
Using a VPN to watch or stream sports is legal in any country where VPNs are legal, including the US and Canada, as long as you’ve got a legitimate subscription to the service you’re streaming. You should be sure your VPN is set up correctly to prevent leaks: Even where VPNs are legal, the streaming service may terminate the account of anyone it deems to be circumventing correctly applied blackout restrictions.
Looking for other options? Be sure to check out some of the other great VPN deals taking place right now.
Best VPN for streaming
ExpressVPN is our current best VPN pick for people who want a reliable and safe VPN, and it works on a variety of devices. It’s normally $13 per month, and you can sign up for ExpressVPN and save 49% plus get three months of access for free — the equivalent of $6.67 per month — if you get an annual subscription.
Note that ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Livestream the Dolphins vs. 49ers game in the US
This week’s Dolphins-49ers game is on Fox, so in addition to a VPN set to an area carrying the game (see tips below) you’ll need a live TV streaming service that carries a local Fox affiliate that’s broadcasting the game. The least expensive such service is Sling TV Blue.
Sling TV Blue
Carries Fox local channels
Among the live TV streaming services that carry local Fox stations, the cheapest is Sling TV Blue at $40 per month. Note that Sling is currently running a promotion where the first month of service is half-price ($20) for new subscribers.
One important caveat: In our experience, Fox local affiliates will only be available if your billing address is in one of the 18 metropolitan areas covered in Sling’s agreement. If you’re outside of one of these areas, you’re probably better off going with one of the alternate services listed below.
Numerous other live TV streaming services carry local Fox stations as well, namely YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, DirecTV Stream and FuboTV. They all cost more than Sling TV, but they also carry more channels, including football-specific channels like Fox, ESPN, NFL Network and/or RedZone. Check out our live TV streaming channel guide for details.
Quick tips for streaming Dolphins vs. 49ers using a VPN
Screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET
- With four variables at play — your ISP, browser, video streaming provider and VPN — experience and success may vary.
- Sling Blue is only an option if and when the ability to get Fox local affiliates is active on your account. You may want to verify that your billing address is eligible for that option before committing your credit card.
- We tested the game successfully using an ExpressVPN server in San Francisco, so that location should work for watching the game.
- If you don’t see your desired location as a default option for ExpressVPN, try using the “search for city or country” option.
- If you’re having trouble getting the game after you’ve turned on your VPN and set it to the correct viewing area, there are two things you can try for a quick fix. First, log into your streaming service subscription account and make sure the address registered for the account is an address in the correct viewing area. If not, you may need to change the physical address on file with your account. Second, some smart TVs — like Roku — don’t have VPN apps you can install directly on the device itself. Instead, you’ll have to install the VPN on your router or the mobile hotspot you’re using (like your phone) so that any device on its Wi-Fi network now appears in the correct viewing location.
- All of the VPN providers we recommend have helpful instructions on their main site for quickly installing the VPN on your router. In some cases with smart TV services, after you install a cable network’s sports app, you’ll be asked to verify a numeric code or click a link sent to your email address on file for your smart TV. This is where having a VPN on your router will also help, since both devices will appear to be in the correct location.
- And remember, browsers can often give away a location despite using a VPN, so be sure you’re using a privacy-first browser to log into your services. We normally recommend Brave.
How we test VPN streaming for Sunday NFL games
For every game we use a combination of ExpressVPN and either Paramount Plus (for CBS games) or Sling TV Blue (for Fox games). Using the maps on 506 Sports, we determine which servers are nearby and connect to one, then launch the streaming service and tune to the local CBS or Fox affiliate. If the channel comes through, it’s successful and we report the results above. We also screenshot the relevant program guide listing (see above) on either the local CBS affiliate’s website or Sling TV.