You don’t expect to get interrogated or analysed when you visit a web site but that’s exactly what happens on most of them. Especially bad are media websites which look at your IP before determining what you can see online. More precisely they look at WHERE your IP is authorized to. Can you imagine this? Before you gain access to the site to stream that video or listen to that music – they decide whether your location is acceptable!
Some internet sites like search engines use this technology to tailor your search results, to ensure that you do not end up getting a plumber who lives on the reverse side of the planet when you sort “local plumber” into Google. This is quite acceptable, after all it’s the only way sites can localise your experience with things like location and language.
So that is great, but it’s regrettably just about the only real advantage of the technology known as geo targeting. Much more often it is used to completely prevent access. So if you want to watch US TV stations online from Europe or perhaps British TV stations whilst in the US then you’ll be out of luck.
Here’s an example of the kind of display that you’ll get if you do try….
This particular message is received when trying to access Hulu from outside the USA. However it could just as easily be any one of the world’s major media sites depending on your location. Indeed there’s no major media site that doesn’t restrict access based on your location anymore.
You’ll have the same sort of difficulty if you attempt to access NBC, ABC, Netflix or even Pandora from anyplace outside the USA – because you don’t have a US IP. It gets really annoying, particularly if you travel a lot and discover your self blocked from your favorite web sites simply because you happen to be in another location briefly. It almost seems perverse to remove the advantages of a global technology and make the world wide web a much smaller place.
As a British television fan who works in the US for a large part of the year, this affects me more than most. Although I like US TV shows, all my favourites are unsurprisingly from my native country – mainly on the BBC iPlayer.
How to Use a UK VPN to Watch UK TV Abroad
Fortunately it’s possible to sidestep these blocks and actually a complete huge industry has developed based on allowing people to bypass these filters and keep their location private. There are a quite a few of the best VPNs which allow access to hundreds of different servers in lots of countries across the world. Obviously you should check they have the specific country you need, but the best VPN providers will give you access to a global network. There are thousands of streaming services available for free all over the planet which you can access with the right VPN service.
OK just for illustration, although the same applies to almost every single media site in the world – let’s try and watch the wonderful BBC iPlayer from anywhere outside the United Kingdom. We’ll just use a security program called NordVPN to access the BBC to demonstrate. The trick is to fool the website into thinking you’re in the UK. This is done by connecting via a different IP address, one based in the UK and hidden by a proxy server.
Here’s the Nord VPN interface, which you can see is pretty straight forward.
It consists of a global map which offers you the list of all the proxy servers included in the standard subscription. You will just pick the country which matches the website you want to visit, for example click Ireland for RTE. We want a UK one as that will give you a British IP address which is essential for UK TV in the USA. In this screen you can search and look for a UK host which has the fastest speed to your relative location. You can also access sites in the United States, Italy, Germany, Canada, Holland as well as outside the UK and many more places simply by choosing the matching server.
From this point your real location is hidden and you will take on the cloaked identity of the server you’ve selected. So for me that’s normally the UK but it may be completely different for you.
After selecting this server you will have no problems watching UK TV abroad for example – simply go to the BBC website and start watching whatever you like. You will have to create an account but that’s no problem, just fib if they ask you for your location. You can even disconnect after the programme you wish to watch has started playing (although if you need to change you’ll need to connect to a UK server again). It works for all the other British TV and UK streaming sites too such as ITV Hub and even the subscription channels like Sky Go although you need to be a subscriber too.
So here’s how to use a VPN – watch Nord VPN in action –
As you can see the VPN app is very easy to use thanks to the point and click interface. If you have trouble though you can get help from customer support by email or through live chat. It will allow you to see UK TV in almost any country at all, your location simply doesn’t matter. There are loads of providers out there now, but I truly can recommend Nord VPN as one of the best VPNs for watching UK TV channels in particular. They have now been around many years, really fast servers (essential for live TV streaming) and do not charge per proxy like most of the companies.