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High Quality US Proxy Server or a VPN

Many people use proxies to bypass internet filters and regional restrictions.   For example YouTube videos are often restricted to specific countries and it’s quite common to get the message – ‘not available in your country’.   However these are enforced by looking up your IP address and if you use a proxy you can effectively bypass these blocks.  They work because if you connect through a proxy, it’s the address of the server which is identified not your real address.   So if you use a US proxy you can access US only sites, use a UK server for British web sites and so on.

Unfortunately most of the websites that operate these region blocks can detect the use of proxies and they are mostly blocked.  Even if you use a high quality US proxy server, you won’t be able to access sites like Netflix or Hulu without receiving these sort of messages –

The usefulness of a proxy server is fairly limited now with more and more sites automatically blocking access from them.   There are some issues with this, particularly people who surf through corporate networks for example.  Most firms use proxies in order to control access to the internet and limit security problems, so when Hulu blocks access through proxies it’s actually effecting this group as well.

If you want to bypass all the region locks and completely unrestrict your internet connection then it’s a VPN service you should be using.  A VPN is a Virtual private network and operates in a similar way to a proxy server however the connection is encrypted and almost impossible to identify.     Even the highest quality proxy server can be detected however there is currently no method for actively identifying an incoming connection from a VPN server.

However, you have to be careful even when selecting a VPN service to use – some of the media companies have started to manually block these services too.  What they do is identify IP address ranges and companies who advertise the ability to bypass these blocks and ensure they can’t access the services.  Hulu and Netflix have been particularly aggressive in doing this and even some of the UK TV channels like the BBC blocking abroad as well.

If you want to use a particular service then it’s best to test the functionality first before subscribing for a longer period.  There are still VPN services which work with most of the media sites, however some are more difficult than others.  Accessing the US version of Netflix is probably the hardest as they only allow a specific category of IP addresses through their firewalls.