This Programme Cannot Be Streamed Due to Rights Restrictions

So this message – “Programme Cannot Be Streamed Due to Rights Restrictions”  and some very similar sounding ones are becoming more and more common in the online world. It’s normally preceded by an attempt to stream a video, or watch a TV show or listen to some sort of internet radio channel. It’s a message with no real upside and basically informs you that based on your physical location this particular piece of content is not available to you.

If you want to solve it quickly then simply subscribe to NordVPN then connect to a server in the matching country !

Solution - This Programme Cannot Be Streamed Due to Rights Restrictions

The last time I saw this was this afternoon when I was trying to catch a cool new show on RTE player the Irish version of the BBC. Most of the site appears to work fine but as soon as I try to watch a programme on rté player then I’m given this chastisement that it cannot be streamed due to rights restrictions. What it means exactly is difficult to know for sure, however these rights restrictions will only affect you if you’re outside Ireland.

However if you are in Ireland don’t worry it will affect you too ! Just about every single decent media station in the world restricts access based on location. You can visit their sites but as you are doing so your IP address is being checked and if you’re in the wrong place you’ll get a message that this programme cannot be streamed –

message this programme cannot

Here’s another one from the BBC that you’ll get if you’re based outside the United Kingdom. Which yes also includes inhabitants of Ireland, even if they’re a hundred yards from the border. There isn’t really a media site that doesn’t practice this to some extent and increasingly this filtering, controlling and blocking is becoming pervasive to our online experience.

It’s an increasing scourge on the online world, and it seems to be spreading. Most video and online broadcasts are restricted whether they’re on an online player like BBC iPlayer, RTE Player or even YouTube. The justification is normally claimed to be due to rights restrictions, presumably that the broadcasting rights to each programme are assigned on a per country basis.

If this is true then it’s pretty crazy that copyright for a global medium is being still assigned on such a restrictive basis. What’s more worrying that this is increasingly meaning that access to information on the internet is becoming segregated based on your physical location. In reality it’s probably more to do with maximising profits and being able to keep different markets separate in order to charge different prices.

Where You’ll Get – This Programme Cannot Be Streamed Due to Rights Restrictions

To be honest it’s likely to occur on any large media companies streaming sites, They all use a system called geo restrictions which will allow access based on your physical location when you visit the site. All the major UK TV channels operate these restrictions you can’t normally watch the BBC Player abroad for example. You can’t watch RTE Player without an Irish IP address either.

  • BBC iPlayer – UK only
  • RTE Player – Ireland Only
  • ITV Hub – UK Only
  • NBC – USA Only
  • M6 Player – France Only
  • Hulu – USA Only

Basically pick any country and you’ll find the same. If you’re outside the domestic market then you’ll normally be blocked by default as soon as you visit the site.

Simple Solution – Stop Getting Blocked/Controlled Use a VPN

For many of us using a VPN service has been something of a second nature for years. The realisation about how little privacy we all have online is becoming a major issue. You may think that everything you do online is ‘private’ and ‘anonymous’ but it really isn’t . Virtually every website we visit, tracks and monitors our behaviour. Plus your ISP has access to logs which contain a full and comprehensive of absolutely everything you do online. That includes every website, every video you watch, every file you download, every email or message you send. Imagine how much information that contains on each and every one of us, how much of this would you enjoy being in the public domain.

rte player channel list

Using a VPN provider to both hide your location and encrypt all your data stops all this. As long as you pick a reputable VPN service who delete all your logs instantly then you’ll regain a large proportion of your privacy online. Your ISP will not have a full list of all your activity as it will be hidden by the VPN server – both the actual web pages and all your data too like emails, messages etc.

Yet for many these benefits aren’t even the main reason that they use VPN services ! It’s simply to try and bypass the geo restrictions we mentioned above. Using a VPN means that no-one knows your real IP address which is the primary tool that websites use to block people’s access.

  • Watch rté player outside Ireland
  • Watch the BBC from anywhere in the world
  • Access US entertainment sites like Hulu, NBC or Pandora from outside the US

Plus many, many more! A VPN is the ultimate tool to bypassing these geo restricted filters, you simply ensure that you connect to a VPN server in the right country before accessing the site. So for RTE player you’d need to choose one with servers in Ireland, for NBC servers in the USA and so on.

Fortunately most of the top VPN providers have facilitated this function and you’ll find they provide servers all across the planet under their basic subscriptions. You should always check though if you want to be able to watch a programme from a specific country as only the biggest VPN providers will cover every major country. Especially if they can be expensive to locate in like New Zealand and Australia. Ensure they have either a trial or a proper money back guarantee just in case you find your chosen programme cannot be viewed.

Most of the VPN services will cover North America and the majority of European countries though, so you should be ok with the majority if the channels you want to watch are in one of these locations. If you want a recommendation for a quality VPN provider then NordVPN is worth checking out. It has one of the biggest global networks with VPN servers in more countries than most which means you’re able to stream most content you’ll find blocked.

Identity Cloaker for Mac | Set Up a UK VPN on Your iPad to Watch BBC iPlayer in USA

Update October 2020 – So the Question remains can you get Identity Cloaker for Mac computers and Apple Devices?  Well yes, sort of !  The MAC version of Identity Cloaker was released in 2011 in beta.  You can download the demo version for OS X here – IdentityCloaker com free download.  This is fully functional but only allows you access specific sites, so it’s great for testing functionality.  In truth I’m not sure how well it works, there has been little news on updates and developments on this version over the least few years.  I have always used the manual VPN connection method on my devices which is detailed below.

Identity Cloaker for Mac

There is no doubt that Identity Cloaker is a great piece of software – I’ve been using it on my laptop for nearly thirteen years now. This small company from the Czech Republic was actually one of the very first companies to sell an affordable internet privacy protection service.  It has an extensive server infrastructure and operates much lower contention levels (less connections per server) than most of it’s competitors.  This means you get almost minimal speed loss and there are very few problems with the proxy servers and IP addresses being blocked by large media sites like BBC iPlayer.

However in truth there’s been very little development on the OS X versions since it’s initial release and very few updates.  I would suggest that if you want to use the Identity Cloaker servers on a Mac or any other Apple device then you should use the manual connection method illustrated below (it’s virtually identical on the Mac/iPhone as the iPad).   If you do it’s best to set up multiple connections, for example a UK VPN, US VPN connection and so on.  You can just enable these individually.

However although this method works perfectly well, you do lose all the other functionality of the software itself in this case.  Your internet privacy is still protected by the VPN but if you want to use SSH tunnelling or modify the ports for the data transmission path then you’re out of luck.  If you just want to bypass geo targeting to watch something like BBC iPlayer on your iPad it works just fine and in fact better than the vast majority of overcrowded VPN services. However without the software it’s not really a fully featured anonymity protection service.

If you want an alternative, I can definitely recommend NordVPN who are one of the biggest VPN providers in the world. It’s all on a much larger scale than Identity Cloaker but with that you get a larger infrastructure with more servers and 24/7 support teams. Their client application is easy to use and just involves clicking on the map to select a country, easy enough for even the biggest computer newbie. The VPN servers are fast and secured with the same military grade encryption as Identity Cloaker.
Importantly they have fully supported versions for virtually every device you can think of including iPads and Macs.

Here’s the link to their latest discount pages –

identity cloaker mac

Watching BBC iPlayer on my iPad

I’ve started to leave my laptop at home nowadays in preference to the wonderful iPad I bought last year.   After I got used to the fear of dropping it, it’s become an essential companion – much easier to carry than a laptop, starts up immediately and is basically just a joy for a traveller.

Of course there are limitations, including the well documented Flash problem. However one of my main issues was the fact when I travelled to the USA, lots of my UK sites like BBC Iplayer and ITV just wouldn’t work.   Now this isn’t a problem with the iPad specifically but it’s due to the fact that most of the UK media sites block access to anyone outside Great Britain.    So I had to figure out how to change my IP address to a UK one by using proxies or VPNs to bypass these blocks.

Watching BBC iPlayer using an IPad VPN

Now I work in IT Security and one of my favorite tools is Identity Cloaker which I also use to bypass all these location blocks.  It works great on my laptop and PC but the software wasn’t currently available for the Mac OS or iPpad. However fortunately all of their servers including the US ones are VPN enabled – so all I needed to do was connect to one of those.

Anyway here’s the steps I followed to watch BBC Iplayer from the US

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Select Networks
  4. Select VPN

All being well – you’ll be at this screen

identity cloaker for mac

So in this screen you can already see one VPN already set up – this one is for the US.  But I need to add a UK one so –

Click  – Add VPN Configuration

You should then find yourself in this screen –

Looks a little confusing but it’s not actually that difficult.   Now two pieces of information are not published by Identity Cloaker for security reasons – but these are in the members area when you log in or email and ask for help if needed.

Here’s how you fill the fields in –

  1. Description – Give it a descriptive name – usually country name is best.
  2. Server – This is in the member area for Identity Cloaker users- UK VPN server names
  3. Account Name – Your Identity Cloaker Username
  4. RSA SecurID – Ignore this
  5. Password – Your IDC password.
  6. Secret – This is in members area for Identity Cloaker users under – VPN Secret Name

That’s all there is to it – just remember to Save the VPN configuration before you exit.   It is there ready for you to use, whenever you need a UK address then you just enable the VPN as follows.

So to enable the VPN just turn it on from this screen, switch the slider to on.  In this situation we would turn the British one on so we can watch BBC Iplayer outside the UK.   Remember when you enable the VPN all data is routed through  that server down an encrypted tunnel.   You may want to disconnect to do your normal browsing after – although you should use it for secure browsing – online banking etc.  It’s great for switching between versions of Netflix to personally I always change to the US version of Netflix.

When the VPN is enabled properly then you should see this in the top left corner of your Ipad.

 

This method will probably work with other proxy/VPN subscription services as long as their servers are set up for VPN access – just ask them for the information you need.  To get access on a laptop or PC then check out this other post  – BBC Iplayer outside UK.

Or there’s a good video on Youtube –


It’s called – VPN on an iPad.

If you haven’t got an Identity Cloaker subscription – it’s best to try this  cheap ten day trial first to make sure you can get it working.

Updated – included extra information on establishing a US or UK VPN

How to Go to Websites That Are Blocked – Use a UK VPN ?

There are many nations who are rather keen on filtering the internet.  Of course the examples they usually use are of sites run by paedophiles and criminals, which of course nobody objects to.  However it rarely stops there, and once some sort of filtering system is adopted in a country you’ll find that list of sites that are blocked gets longer and more varied.   Pretty soon there will be all sorts of extensive censorship being practiced – your Government will decide what you can and can’t do online.

But there’s another issue – the technical side is far from clear cut.  There is no definitive best method for filtering on this scale.  Some are so hopeless that you can get around them using Google translate to bypass the restrictions.  Here’s a couple of the methods some countries have implemented.   Both of the techniques depend on the development of a blacklist (sites that needs to be blocked).  So consider – somewhere there’s a little group of people who hold meetings deciding on what should be included in this list.  Imagine if these people had strong religious or political beliefs – their decisions could be quite different from your own.

How to Go to Websites That Are Blocked

Unrelated to Post But Funny !

But to utilise this black list you have to find a way of stopping people visiting the sites on the list.

One of the most basic methods is  DNS poisoning,  an extremely simple method of  modifying the domain name tables belonging to the ISP’s.

Using this method you can redirect requests for specific blocked pages to someplace else.  So when a user asks for one of these pages his browser is actually misdirected to another server – either with a warning page or simply completely blank.

Surprisingly many of the Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden have used this method in the past, although it is also been utilised in Holland and Germany too.  It’s an awful way of filtering as it messes around with the core functionality of the internet – DNS.  But it’s biggest problem is it’s extremely easy to bypass, point your machine at any non-poisoned DNS server and you will get the right address and be able to access the website.  The other obvious issue is that you have to block an entire website as the address is not related to a single page.  Not easy with many social sites and collaborative platforms like Blogger and WordPress.  For example is you want to block a single offensive YouTube video you’d end up blocking most of the site if you use this method.

There are more sophisticated methods of filtering the internet though, companies like BT and Optenet specialize in providing such services such as Netclean.  All the solutions work in slightly different ways but fundamentally they all have some sort of method of comparing the requested URL with a list of ‘naughty urls’.

Geo Targeting and Blocking by Country

This is probably now the most common method operating currently on the internet for blocked sites.  Simply by analysing your physical location you can restrict access very easily indeed.  In fact it’s easy to achieve for anyone, whether you’ve got a two page blog or a million page multimedia site blocking websites is a trivial task if you wish to do so.

The most common example you’ll see online is to protect copyright and broadcasting rights.  For example all the online TV sites like BBC iPlayer block access to anyone from outside the UK.  US media sites do the same, you can’t even listen to Pandora online while you’re physically located outside the USA.  All they have to do is look up where your IP address is registered, if it’s the wrong location you’ll be denied access.  To be honest this will probably account for the vast majority of blocked sites in 2020.  It’s a simple method and you can easily filter out entire countries from accessing your website or redirecting them somewhere else.

Even if you visit somewhere like YouTube, depending on where you live you’ll find many videos inaccessible. This is because you can actually restrict on a video level who is able to access them and lots of people do just that. Just like the access blocked websites,   it’s an increasing sign of the various borders and barriers which are appearing online.

The list is obviously one problem as mentioned above – especially in the eyes of those of us who argue against censorship of the internet.  But the technologies can also cause issues as well – a current report from Watchdog International highlighted a few technical difficulties that can happen with one of these technologies.

Here are a few of the instances.

ACMA Test of Blocking YouTube
When the Australian Government  trialled the BGP filtering system Netclean White Box, they included a few URLs from Youtube to be blocked. The problem was that because a URL from this site was added, all requests for this domain name (Youtube) then got handled directly through the filter. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue with some low traffic criminal website but because YouTube is so popular the box had to deal with millions of requests – which in the end made the Whitebox fall over.

Wikipedia image was contained byIWF List

The Web Watch Foundation manages a very extensive black list of sites over the web. The list can be used by anybody as a master list of which web sites to block.  In this event the IWF added the URL of a Picture saved on Wikipedia.  Unfortunately this caused a problem with the BT Cleanfeed system being used, when the system filters the web request it acts like a proxy server replacing it’s own IP address with the request.  In one of the tests this meant that Wikipedia got hundreds of thousands of request from a single IP address range (the BT Cleanfeed system) which ended up with it being banned and Wikipedia becoming inaccessible for everyone.

The Web Watch Foundation removed the URL pretty rapidly and realised their error but at least the potential problems were highlighted by it when you start any main-stream censorship and Internet Filtering. There is also the very real issue that such censorship can normally be bypassed very easily by simply using a web proxy if needed.

How to Go to Websites that are Blocked – Use a VPN

So how do you ignore all this nonsense and bypass all these restrictions? Is it even possible to access these restricted sites? Well fortunately, with only a few minor exceptions it’s not that difficult to access whatever you want irrespective of these blocks. The method will vary slightly depending on the situation, however generally it involves using something called a virtual private network (VPN) to keep you location private and your browsing hidden.

It’s sounds complicated but in reality using a VPN to access blocked websites takes little more than a click or two. There’s loads of software around from various VPN providers which will allow you to connect safely to a vast global network of VPN servers across the world.

Now if you’re not afraid of a little technical tweaking there are a couple of free ways around this.  They involve things like relaying through a friends/colleagues home connections to bypass the restriction.  Or using the Tor browser which can be used to hide your location as well as delve into the Dark Web. However using Tor has a major drawback for things like video and music – due to it’s onion router configuration it can be extremely slow.  Which means although you’ll be able to access sites like the BBC from abroad,  it will be very painful to endure!

Fortunately there are quite a few internet security programs which are simple to use and don’t cost much. You don’t need to tweak or fiddle with settings and will work ‘out of the box’ with any browser like Internet Explorer or Google chrome.  You just point it at the right VPN server and then visit the web address as normal.  It will hide your current home country and any sites will just see the VPN ip addresses when you visit.

Let’s see one in action !


As you can see it’s really easy to use and requires no technological skills whatsoever. In fact half the time you don’t know you’re using a VPN as your web browser functions as normal. Well not quite as normal as all that blocked content will be visible again. Your only real decision to make is to choose the right country in order to match the blocked site. So accessing the BBC iPlayer would require a connection a UK VPN and server. To watch something from the US you’d need to click onto an American one.

If you’re trying to bypass restrictions placed by your local government or leaders then it should also work to.   So if you want to access social networks when they’re being monitored or blocked, then connecting to a more open country combined with the local encryption should be enough.

You don’t need to mess around with the command prompt when you want to access a specific site. The software/VPN service demonstrated in the video is from one of the world’s biggest suppliers – NordVPN.

how to access restricted websites

What is a Bad IP Address and How Can You Change It !

What is a Bad IP Address and How Can You Change It !

Of course, if I said someone lived in a ‘bad neighbourhood’ or was rejected for a loan due to a bad credit score then you’d all know what I mean.  But in this ever increasing online world there’s another aspect to your existence that can have an affect on your life – and that is your IP address.

Your IP address is of course your unique identifier assigned to your computer when it’s online.  It’s full name is internet protocol address and you can read the technical background on the wonder of IP and it’s role in TCP/IP here.  But suffice it to say, that without this address it is impossible to communicate online, it allows you to visit websites, download films and DVDs and send emails and just about every thing else available on the web.

So What is a Bad IP Address ?

Well there’s really two main definitions or causes of a bad address and we’ll try and cover both here.

Definition One of a Bad IP – An Address That Doesn’t Work

For most people the sole function of an IP address is to get you onto the internet. Which is of course very important to many of us.  However it’s really a way of connecting with other computers via a protocol called TCP/IP the universal language of the net.   If your computer/phone/tablet or whatever doesn’t have a valid address that can communicate with your Internet access point then you won’t be able to enjoy access to the internet at all.

the most common scenario by far for total lockout from the internet is when your device is automatically assigned a default address for some reason.  It’s not actually a bad IP address merely one that can’t communicate properly in most scenarios.

A Bad IP is normally assigned from the range 169.x.x.x and is actually a default automatic address assigned to your device when there were no proper one’s available.  It’s a perfectly functional IP in theory but one that will be unable to communicate with all the devices on your local network including crucially the modem/router or access point which allows access to the internet.

The most common reason is that your wireless access point or router has failed to assign your device a local IP address using a technology called DHCP.

Here’s the main fixes –

  • Restart your computer or device. This will allow a fresh request to be made for a new IP address, hopefully this time you’ll get a proper one.  It will often be something like 192.x.x.x but don’t worry too much as long as it doesn’t start with 169 !
  • Restart the modem/wireless router.  Often best combined with the previous suggestions, IPs are normally assigned from a pool of addresses on the access point.  It might be this service has stalled or simply run out of addresses – restarting will also restart the service and could get everything working again.
  • Assign a static IP address.  It’s not ideal but if you’re not getting an IP address assigned automatically you can assign a static IP address to your network card.  Make sure it’s in the same range as your modem router. So for example if your access point is 192.168.1.1 then you could assign something like 192.168.1.28 and it would be able to connect.

Definition 2 Bad IP – A Valid IP Address That’s Being Blocked for Some Reason

In fact your IP address will already partly affect some areas of your online experience.  Have you ever been blocked from a site or video? Perhaps tried to watch something on YouTube  and been told it’s not available in your country?  Well that’s all down to the location of your IP address – mainly what country it originates from.

Your IP Address

 So if you do a quick search online, many sites will tell you that to find your IP address – just select command prompt type in the command ipconfig /all as I’ve done in the screen shot above.  From this screen you might suppose that my IP address is 192.168.1.15 as circled.  This is actually a private IP address and is only valid in my internal network – it’s not my real internet facing address.   Within my house like millions of other people I have multiple devices like laptops, phones and PCs all connected through my internet connection, these internal addresses allow them to communicate through my single real IP address.

To find your real IP address, you need to look at the configuration screen of your modem or router, the device that actually connects through to your internet provider.

Here’s mine –

Real IP Address

Well a bit of mine, obscured for privacy reasons !  This address is allocated by my ISP to my connection and all my devices will appear to the internet to be from this single IP address. So my son, downloading games to his Xbox will appear at the same address as my wife and I surfing from the same location – we all originate from the same single address.

The Problems Caused By These IP Addresses

So although at any point in time, your connection will be the only one online using this particular IP address – it doesn’t mean you always have.  If you can see from the screen shot – the address has been assigned dynamically from my ISP – who basically have a big pool of addresses which they allocate individually to their customers.  All the addresses will be assigned from this database which are registered to specific providers and countries.  This is how geo-targeting works – everyone knows which country an IP address is assigned to.  Which is why you’ll need a US IP address for Hulu and a UK address for BBC Iplayer, anyone can look up which country and IP address is located in very easily.

ip-address-bad

Sometimes an IP address can be used to send out millions of spam messages, attack websites or download and share pirated software and films.   Most hackers and spammers will normally try and use someone else’s address to hide their location – obtained via viruses and malware without the owners knowledge.

This is the sort of behaviour that can find any IP address blacklisted – on some of the thousands of lists of ‘bad IP addresses’.  Many of these lists have been developed to combat Spam and so mail servers across the world can block any mail received from them.  Unfortunately IP addresses are routinely shared and reallocated to you can easily end up with one these being issued to your connection.

Common scenarios of being allocated a ‘bad address’:

Problems Buying Things Online 

Ever tried to buy something online and found your payment couldn’t be processed?  You might get some generic error message from the retailer saying it couldn’t accept payment or something similar.  This may be that your IP address has found itself onto a blacklist somewhere.  Frequently IP addresses are blocked if they’ve been used by online criminals perhaps with stolen credit card details or similar.  Some of the spam lists are also used by big payment processors – some companies block addresses from whole countries, certainly a problem if you’re accessing the internet from somewhere like Nigeria.

Difficulty with Sending Email

If your address (or worst your mail server address) has been put on an internet blacklist you may find problems with emails.  Maybe emails bouncing back undelivered often with obscure sounding error messages.  Many of the big webmail providers like Hotmail and Yahoo will routinely block emails from bad server addresses on the blacklists.

Accessing Websites and Forums

Internet blacklists are often used by many sites to try and prevent spammers and hackers accessing the sites. Many websites will automatically block access from IP addresses which try and login to secure servers for example. Here’s the message I get whenever someone tries to hack into one of my websites.

IP:       202.102.253.6 (CN/China/-)
Failures: 5 (sshd)
Interval: 300 seconds
Blocked:  Permanent Block

Log entries:

Sep 13 04:51:36 xenon sshd[23175]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=202.102.253.6  user=root
Sep 13 04:51:38 xenon sshd[23175]: Failed password for root from 202.102.253.6 port 6291 ssh2
Sep 13 04:51:41 xenon sshd[23179]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=202.102.253.6  user=root
Sep 13 04:51:43 xenon sshd[23179]: Failed password for root from 202.102.253.6 port 4974 ssh2
Sep 13 04:51:46 xenon sshd[23185]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=202.102.253.6  user=root

You can see that after three failed logins, the system will now block any attempted access from that specific IP address. It wouldn’t matter if that IP address was assigned to a different person or location, until that restriction is removed you wouldn’t be able to view my website using that address.

There are further questions 0f course – how do I find out if my address is blacklisted? How can I change my IP address?  Which you will also find answered on the pages of this site.

So How Can I Change My IP Address if There’s a Problem

This is perfectly possible but it depends on what are your requirements.   For all client side problems, that is the IP addresses assigned to your connection – it’s important to remember you have no direct control. The address is assigned automatically to your router or modem when you connect to the internet by your internet service provider. You can certainly ask them to change it.  Although this is not always a straightforward request with some of the more rigid Internet service providers. Sometimes it’s possible to force a change by rebooting all your equipment and then reconnecting. This may provide a different address depending on the configuration assigned by your ISP, unfortunately this doesn’t work as often nowadays.

In reality there is an easier way, to not exactly change your address but hide it.  People have been using VPN services (virtual Private Networks) for years to provide some privacy when they’re online.  However the added bonus is that while  you’re connected to a VPN then your actual IP is hidden, instead everyone will only see the address of the VPN server your are connected to.  If you pick the right VPN this means that you potentially have thousands of different address in lots of countries at your disposal.

Here’s a example of how you can use a VPN to change your IP addresses whenever you need –


As you can see the security software allows you to change your static IP by simply clicking a button. Also as long as you select the right country, then you can unlock content in any site restricted by geo targeting. Of course, it’s important that the VPN servers addresses aren’t listed on any blacklist check either. A VPN enables you to choose whatever the web servers see, there’s no input from your hosting provider or ISP. You should generally stick to servers in your actual location unless you need to bypass a geo block as you’ll get better performance from servers nearer you.

There are lots of these VPN services around but only a handful with the infrastructure required to completely unlock the internet.

Here’s our choice – Nord VPN, with several million subscribers it’s the best value VPN company with fast, secure servers.

The Best Way to Watch UK TV Abroad | Use a UK VPN

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….

Best Way to Watch UK TV Abroad

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.