Here’s a question that many people want the answer to – How can I obtain a US IP address? Well hopefully this post will help. If you don’t want an explanation and simply want an American IP address at a very low cost – then try this service – here, for a few bucks a month you can have a host of secure, fast US IP addresses plus Canadian, UK, Australian and lots of other countries at your fingertips.
Many web sites determine what you see based on your location, so for example if you want to watch Hulu – you need to be in the USA. Access is controlled by location so it doesn’t matter if you’re a US citizen, if you’re trying to access Hulu from a hotel in Rome then you’re Italian and you’ll get blocked. This is why changing your real IP address is becoming a much more common requirement, simply because that loads of the best websites restrict access depending on the location of your computer.
So for example anyone outside America may get blocked from a US banking site, and you’d certainly be blocked from accessing US-only sites like Hulu or Pandora.
More and more sites are restricting access based on location, it’s often due to licensing issues. Another reason is economic, many websites operate price discrimination (basically charging different prices to different people to maximise their profits), they obviously don’t like consumers finding the cheaper options!
So if you wanted to access a US only site and you’re outside the US, then you need to acquire a US IP Address. Then you could buy from a US only site or watch something like Hulu or Pandora irrespective of your location. Now your IP address is assigned to you by your ISP when you initially connect, there’s no way to change this without losing internet access.
However although you can’t change your IP address - you can hide your true address and present another one. You do this by connecting via either a VPN or a proxy server, both of these will obscure your real IP address. They both operate in similar ways, the proxy server routes all your web traffic via itself and simply forwards all data in both directions. The VPN is actually a secure, encrypted tunnel which routes all traffic from your computer through the VPN server. Both have strengths and weaknesses. In reality a VPN is more difficult to detect by remote web sites, although this can involve a slight overhead on speed in some situations.
Which one you choose is really dependent on what your requirements are – a VPN gives you security and more access to remote sites. But if you just wanted to access something like BBC Iplayer from outside the UK for example a proxy server is enough.
So perhaps we want to watch some shows on Hulu but we are based in Europe, for this particular channel a proxy won’t work as Hulu is able to detect them – so we need a VPN service. Unfortunately there are no free VPN services available unless you can access one through your employer or college. Many multinational companies have VPN/Remote access services to allow employees to access their home location. It’s worth checking this out although you should ask your IT department for clearance . Or you could make your own by installing a VPN service on a rented server or a friends US based computer.
But an easier option is to just select a VPN service which allows access to a wide variety of servers especially if you want to use it with an iPad or mobile device, check this post - Watching BBC Iplayer on Ipad in US. These services are all pretty low cost now and the best ones include servers all across the world. Here’s some things to check out when looking for a decent service :-
- Firstly check that the company have some method to allow easy connection. The decent companies have custom connection software to allow you to connect/disconnect easily.
- Make sure your subscription allows access to multiple servers in different countries included.
- Speed is essential if you’re going to use the service for watching video or any streaming media – try to choose a trial account first to test this.
- Be careful you don’t get locked into renewing accounts – use a payment system like Paypal if you can which you can cancel easily.
Unfortunately although there is now lots of choice, many of these services don’t have the knowledge and infrastructure to support high speed access. Avoid anything that seems too cheap or sponsored by advertisements, always test first with a short subscription or trial.
I basically use two different services which offer both proxy and VPN functionality at a decent price. Basically these will give you a full US IP address plus loads of different nationalities at a click of a button
Identity Cloaker is primarily a security product but offers both proxy and VPN modes for accessing BBC Iplayer, Hulu and all media sites. They have loads of US and even more UK based servers so if you want to watch the BBC Iplayer service then it’s probably your best option. They do have lots of servers in the France, Germany, Australia, Canada and throughout Europe as well though. They also don’t automatically renew your subscription either which I like.
Overplay is another great little company, I like their connection software which is easy to use. Lots of US servers included in the standard subscription. They also have the widest selection of servers although perhaps many won’t use most of them. If you need a server in somewhere unusual they are most likely to have them. The support staff know their stuff and are very helpful.
Both these companies allow Paypal and are easy to cancel when you need. They also had the fastest servers out of the ones I looked at. Don’t worry that they don’t openly advertise the bypassing functionality for sites like Hulu, BBC, ABC etc – it’s deliberate, the services which openly promote this functionality get closed down eventually.