There’s quite a few articles on this site about how you can hide your real IP address and use one from a different country. However most of these are based from the perspective of a computer or laptop, on these devices it’s much easier to buy IP spoofing software specifically designed to accomplish this task. However many of us now, browse the web, watch movies on other devices too – ranging from tablets, smartphones and smart TVs on wi fi or from home. So here’s a quick introduction on how you can spoof a UK IP address or any other location. This shows you how to hide your IP address on an iPad the same software can be used on virtually any device though to hide your IP address.
Why Do People Want to Spoof Their IP Address Anyway
First of all it’s important to realise a few things about IP addresses and the function they perform.
Everything online must have one – that’s every computer, phone, laptop, smart TV even an internet enabled toaster. Without one you won’t be able to connect to anything, send emails, watch videos or do anything at all online.
Every Address is Unique and Traceable – each IP address is completely unique, you’re not sharing it with millions of people across the world. That address can be tracked back to your exact location, either your home if it’s through an ISP or to whichever device is enabling your connection. So the only bit of privacy you can hope for is using a shared Wifi connection when it can only be traced back directly to the source IP.
Addresses are used to monitor, control, block and filter – yes, unfortunately there are extensive attempts to control access to the internet and the vast majority of them are based on this network address. So for example only British registered addresses can watch the BBC online, American addresses can watch ABC and NBC and so on. The vast majority of online media and entertainment sites for instance restrict access to their domestic markets based on the location of these IP addresses.
So the majority of reasons why people want to spoof their IP address is firstly either privacy – so that everything they do online can’t be linked and traced back directly to them. The second is that they don’t want to be blocked and filtered from their favourite websites. Of course, there’s many of us who want both the privacy and to be able to watch our preferred online TV stations without being blocked!!
So What Exactly Does Spoof Mean – Change ?
Unfortunately you can’t easily change your IP address directly as it’s assigned by your Internet Service Provider normally. However you can hide your real IP address and use an undercover one. You do this by connecting first to something called a proxy or VPN server and then letting it access the internet for you. It’s like your own undercover agent, who protects your secret identity while allowing you to use the internet normally.
You effectively use the ‘spoofed IP address’ of this intermediary server while yours is hidden. This means that you have complete privacy and the other benefit is that you can bypass all these blocks based on your location. If you use a proxy or VPN service which has multiple servers across the world then you can choose where your IP address is located – so pick a US based server for all US only resources, a UK server for anything British like the BBC and so on.
Here’s the VPN service I’ve been using for about twelve years now, mainly for security as I travel a bit but also to watch BBC iPlayer from outside the UK.
It’s like having a hundred different passports at your fingertip allowing you to choose your nationality by clicking a button. The only difference this works only in the digital world and it’s completely legal to hide your source IP !!!
They’re are lots more though – here’s another VPN service I use quite often as it’s easier to use on certain devices –
The tools for IP spoofing and securing your anonymity online are available from lots of different companies. They’re especially important if you find yourself using lots of different wi fi access points to conduct confidential transactions or you travel a lot. Most of the decent ones will only charge a flat subscription to get access to a large network supporting most large countries, meaning you can pick whcihever IP address nationality you need. If you want to bypass restrictions in a smaller country then it’s worth checking beforehand that they have a VPN server based in that country. to hide your source IP.
So the basic concept is quite simple – you spoof or hide your IP address by bouncing it off an intermediate server. Your location and identity is hidden and the website only sees the IP address of the server. This can be switched whenever you need it by connecting to a different server based in another country.
Below we’ll show how you set up the VPN connection on an iPad/iPhone using Identity Cloaker. If you use my other suggestion above, NordVPN then it’s even easier as you just need to install the application directly from the App store. Nord definitely has better support for other devices but they do get criticised for the number of people on the servers which can result in occasionally blocks from popular services like BBC iPlayer. Identity Cloaker doesn’t tend to have those issues although it’s slightly more expensive – my preference for BBC access certainly.
Setting up VPN Manually on an iPad/iPhone
So in this scenario, I’m travelling away from home and I just have my iPad with me – am I locked out of all my favourite shows because I can’t connect through a proxy server. Well no you’re not, in fact it’s just as easy to hide your IP address on a tablet as it is on a PC in fact you can usually use the same software or service. But for start let’s just put up a video showing you the process in case you don’t want to read the rest of this post.
This uses my favorite security software Identity Cloaker but instead of using the software you just create the VPN connections manually – you can see how simple the IP spoofing tutorial is in the video.
However here’s the steps if you don’t like videos
Spoof My IP Address – Step by Step
On your iPad –
You can see in the image, I’ve already created on VPN which I use for accessing US based sites with a US IP address. However you can have any number set up so just select add VPN configuration and you can add another one. You should get to a screen like this (might change slightly if you’re on a different version of iOS).
Now I know it looks kind of complicated and technical but unlike most IP spoofing tools it isn’t really – here’s a break down of what you put in the fields. Just leave the configuration on L2TP and fill in the boxes. If you’ve subscribed to Identity Cloaker there’s a list of them in the members area or support will email them to you. If you’re setting up a VPN with another company you’ll need to check with them to make sure that the servers are VPN enabled and what the configuration settings are.
Description – Give it a name based on which location UK Connection, US Connection etc, then you can select quickly which country you need
Server – Put in the server name you got from the members area.
Account Name – Your Identity Cloaker Username (or other VPN)
RSA SecurID – Ignore this
Password – Your Identity Cloaker password.
Secret – The VPN Secret Name is in the members area.
That’s it, if you have the information at hand it literally takes a couple of minutes – press SAVE (top right corner currently) to complete. Then you should have an extra VPN connection listed on the screen like this –
To use the VPN you simply have to select the one you need and then turn VPN to on from the top of the screen. Whichever VPN you have enabled will then connect and your IP address will be linked to that country. I have the British VPN selected in this demonstration screen. It’s worth putting in all the different connections you need all at once, then you can just enable them whenever you need. You’ll see the VPN connection being made and then this logo at the top of your screen. Remember it doesn’t change directly how you access the internet so you’ll be using your Data plan id you enable the VPN without a wi fi connection.
So when this is enabled all your traffic will be encrypted and routed through the selected VPN server. You can set up a selection of VPNs all to different countries, I use about six to spoof my IP address to a variety of locations.
Therefore you will also appear to have the IP address located with each server so if you want to watch the BBC iPlayer enable your UK VPN and so on – your real IP address will not be visible.
If you haven’t got Identity Cloaker yet – I can definitely recommend it, it’s probably best to try their ten day trial to see how you get on with it. They have a very professional set up and the servers can cope with streaming video without any issues. It’s interface is not as slick looking as something like Nord VPN and others but their servers are fast and not overloaded. You’ll rarely get your IP address blocked accessing sites like BBC iPlayer. However both of these are decent companies and the process to change your IP address will be very similar to use them.
Many of the VPN companies are having a torrid time at the moment because they’re being blocked and filtered. So I’m rechecking some old posts from my proxy list and checking if they’re still working. Unfortunately the original program highlighted here has become unusable so I am updating. The company I used here mentioned below specialize in high anonymity service and have a Poland proxy server which is not banned by TVN so if perfect for Polish TV. The service is known as Identity Cloaker and you can find out how it works further down the page.
You may wonder why I’m writing about Poland and worrying about where to find a proxy server in Poland. Well although I have no real need to access Polish websites, I happen to know a few people who spend their time searching for a Polish proxy list for access.
In years gone by the internet was pretty open, I rarely remember ever getting blocked access to a website. Many of us did use servers from proxy lists but mainly for privacy rather than actually bypassing blocks. But things have changed now and there are lots of filters, blocks applied all over the place. In the last few days I was blocked from accessing Hulu in the USA, my banking site and a funny video clip on YouTube because ‘it was not accessible in my region’. All these were blocks based on my location, specifically my IP address.
Fortunately for those of us who get cross about these sorts of things – there are now loads of tools and services which can bypass these blocks which use VPNs and proxy servers. Basically they allow you to hide your real IP address and use one from proxy servers in different countries instead. It’s easy to find a proxy server service if you want standard countries and an IP address from places like US and the UK. However it can be difficult to find a proxy list for smaller countries.
Using Polish Proxies to Hide Your Location
For example my friend comes from Krakow but now has settled in the UK. But much of his family are still in Poland and he often finds himself connecting back to Polish websites. Unfortunately increasingly he gets blocked because his location (or IP address) is outside Poland. Last week it was a one his favorite TV sites which had launched online and a bank based in Krakow that had an online service. It’s exactly the same reason you can’t access Hulu from the UK or some of the cracking shows on Canadian TV that are online.
The technology is called Geotargeting and the easiest way you can see this demonstrated is simply by using Google. So here’s what I get if I go to Google –
Google checks my IP address when I connect, cross references with a database of IP Address/Country and sees I’m in the UK so delivers the British version of Google. It’s obviously very useful as obviously the local version of the search giant is the one I need, after all the US version of Google would return American based results.
But unfortunately this technology is also used to lock me out of many web sites and applications that are not UK based. SO I can’t watch Simpsons on Hulu, listen to music on Pandora or anything that is restricted to other countries.
Anyway I’ll show how I can change my IP address to a Polish one as a quick example. All I need to do is connect to a Polish server and tunnel my connection through that. This will then fool the web site into thinking that’s my location. There are lots of services and a few on the proxy list which can do this but one I use is called Identity Cloaker.
Here’s the software working, I just select the country I need from the various proxy servers listed and then press connect. In this case I want to get an IP address from Poland so I select a Polish proxy server from the list. I then just put in the username and password and I’m connected – that’s all there is to it – takes about 10 seconds. You will see that there’s a large number of proxy servers on the Polish proxy list so you’ll have plenty of choice too.
Here’s the connection screen from an iPhone, just connect and carry on as normal. However while this is connected all my requests are being routed through the server in Krakow therefore I’ll have a Polish IP address, and that’s where I’ll appear to be from.
Now you can see that if I visit Google, this time I’ll be given the Polish version because my IP address is listed from Krakow. If I change connections I’ll be given a different version depending on the location of the proxy servers I use. Of course this isn’t particularly useful when in the UK, after all I want to use the local version of Google for the best results. But if I wanted to access a Polish media site or online banking then it would be very useful.
Here’s another option demonstrated in this video about accessing TVN player.
As you can see it’s quite simple, connect to a Polish VPN online and you will get Polish IP address registered when you connect to any server. It’s exceptionally useful for accessing sites like TVN which restrict access outside Poland. Unfortunately there are no free alternatives any more as all the main sites block access to the simple free Polish proxy sites that used to work. Also there are no free Polish VPN servers available unless you have access to a company or educational based service through work or college.
Don’t Use a Free Proxy List !
Of course, no-one like to have to pay but using free servers on some random proxy list to change your IP address is not really safe in today’s world. A huge amount of them will contain a proxy server used by cyber criminals to spread viruses and malware and steal personal credentials like passwords.
There also an important advantage besides safety of using these paid services and it’s an important one. The very best VPN services don’t just offer you a couple of servers but also access to large networks of VPN servers all across the world. This means that not only can you maintain your privacy using the built in encryption but you can completely unlock your internet connection. Switch countries at will and access websites all across the internet which are normally region locked due to your IP address.
A few years ago, only a select few could watch Netflix. Indeed for quite a while the list of countries which had access to Netflix was very small, including only the largest developed countries primarily across United States, North America and Europe. This has changed greatly and now you can access the media giant in most countries in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Japan, Turkey or the USA then you should be able to subscribe and watch Netflix without problems.
However it’s important to realise that which Netflix region you’re in, completely changes what’s available to you. The US version for example has thousands more shows and movies than all the other locales. Fortunately it is possible to switch your version of Netflix to this US one simply by changing your DNS settings.
Below we’ll explain how you can switch your version of Netflix to the US one. However if you just want to test it out, click on the image below to go to the 14 day trial for free and unblock US Netflix in minutes (no credit card required).
Click for 14 day Free Trial and Unblock US Version of Netflix
The Netflix Library is Linked to Your Location – Some are Much Better than Others
This is not the complete story, as although you can access your Netflix account pretty much anywhere nowadays. What you’ll see is heavily dependent on where you happen to be located. This is because Netflix has to license all the shows on a per country basis, i.e. if it pays for rights in the USA it would then have to pay separately for all the other countries. Obviously this means that Netflix will invest much more heavily in the bigger markets than it will in the smaller countries. So the service ( shows and movies) you get in somewhere like Austria will be much different from what you’ll receive if you access Netflix from New York.
The problem many people have with this, especially those who travel a lot is that these differences are hugely significant. The actual figures vary quite a bit, but some estimates suggest that there are tens of thousands more films and TV shows in the biggest version of Netflix (the USA) than in the other countries. Even though the subscription costs are similar it means that an American Netflix subscriber gets way more content than a subscriber from any other country. You don’t get such big differences with other streaming services like Apple TV for example. What’s more if you travel you’ll switch between versions which can be extremely annoying when suddenly the box-set you’re half way through suddenly disappears. Don’t imagine you’ll get your money back on your credit card either just because you’ve moved across a national boundary!
Is it fair? Well obviously this largely depends on where you happen to be. You’re unlikely to hear many complaints from US residents about their Netflix content especially if they don’t travel much. The US version of Netflix is so much better than everyone else’s, not only in quantity but quality too. For example at the time of writing there’s only one version of Netflix streaming the latest blockbusters – The Last Jedi and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, yes of course it’s the US version. It’s hardly surprising that so many people want to unblock the US version when you’ve seen the difference.
Using a Free Trial to Unblock the US Netflix
Of course, it’s difficult to illustrate how much better the US version of Netflix is at any given point. The movies and shows change with time, however there’s a way to see for yourself and change your Netflix region. It involves hiding your location by disguising your real IP address so it works with Netflix region you prefer.
However don’t waste money on using a VPN from a basic company, these rarely works with Netflix anymore. Even many of the best VPNs now don’t support Netflix access and you’ll get a proxy error message if you try and access whilst connected. Maintaining access has become costly and time consuming, so most of the VPN provider companies don’t support this platform anymore.
However there are a couple of service provider who do, which you can see below.
Over the years there have been many methods and indeed thousands of different services which allowed you to access different versions of Netflix from the one you’re locked into. However this has changed greatly over the last year or so. Netflix doesn’t like it’s users doing this even though it at one point there were millions ‘unofficially’ accessing Netflix from countries where it wasn’t even available. For instance, there were estimated at nearly 1/2 million Australian subscribers of Netflix in the year before it became available there! It worked with pretty much all of the major VPN providers you used to access the streaming service.
Most of these were simply using straight forward proxies and VPNs routing through US servers to hide their current location. The concept was simple, if you relay your internet connection through a VPN server or proxy in the USA for example, Netflix would see the US IP address of the server not your true location. Which meant that a Netflix user in Mexico would get access to the US version instead of the Mexican version. So the bottom line was that you subscribed to your local version as normal then you could unblock Netflix from a different country when required.
The alternative to this method was the already mentioned technology called Smart DNS which simply involved changing your DNS servers. It was developed because many devices now being used to access Netflix like Smart TV units, Games consoles etc couldn’t install the client software to enable VPN use. To install Smart DNS you just need access to the network settings on the device. It works in a similar way but only routed traffic for specific websites which were geo-restricted. It’s also faster but provides no online privacy, DNS leak protection or traffic encryption like VPN traffic does.
Netflix Stops Tools that Stream Netflix from Different Regions
Netflix started blocking and filtering these connections in a variety of ways in their bid to stop people trying to unblock Netflix regions. They had some success stopping all the free VPN services and some of the Smart DNS solutions However the real game-changer was when they started blocking access to commercial IPs.
This suddenly stopped 99% of VPNs and Smart DNS solution to unblock US login methods virtually overnight. Just about every one would receive proxy error messages when connecting. The reason that you received a streaming error was that all of these services used ‘commercially’ registered IP addresses simply because they are very easy to obtain. Getting hold of ‘residential addresses’ is much, much harder simply because they’re normally reserved for ISPs who release them to home customers.
The effect was almost instantaneous, social media and forums were filled with cries as suddenly even the best VPN services stopped working and you had to be in the United States to watch Netflix US ! There was little point contacting support, as in most cases there was nothing they could do. The problems was the IP addresses not the services themselves which affected VPNs and even the DNS options were not working too.
So is Unblock US Support for Netflix Still Possible?
Yes it is, but on a much less widespread scale. The method illustrated in the video above is working perfectly in the Summer of 2020 using a company called Smart DNS Proxy, well after Netflix’s initial purge. The current state of play is that you must have access to a residential IP address based in the country you require in order to access that version of Netflix. Most of the VPN service providers and many of the Smart DNS ones too have pretty much given up on Unblock US solutions for this reason.
Unfortunately residential IP addresses are difficult to obtain and extremely expensive even if you can access them. The companies who do have access to them, for the most part have focused on addresses based in the USA. There is a much greater demand for a US Netflix unblock solution than for any other country which is why they are still supported by some companies. It’s important to check for yourself though, forget about reputation and fancy websites – pick a trial account and try it for yourself. Netflix have indeed reduced the options and put lots of the disable unblock US companies out of business, but there are still some that remain.
IS it Really Worth the Effort to Unblock US Netflix?
It’s true that many national versions of Netflix are pretty similar, indeed some are virtually identical apart from language variants. Depending on where you travel and to what extent you use Netflix it might not be worth the trouble or additional expense. However for those of us who live in smaller countries, travel a lot or simply use our Netflix account very often getting access to the US version of Netflix is definitely worth it.
It’s not just the thousands of extra programmes and movies, but the quality as well. Netflix makes a great effort to get blockbusters onto the American Netflix in order to boost sales and support expensive advertising campaigns. They simply won’t spend the same on a smaller market with less rewards.
A classic example is the film – The Last Jedi, which currently is only licensed on US Netflix. You won’t find it on any other version currently and there are loads of the latest blockbusters which are only found on the American version which makes it well worth unblock US download to your computer. The same situation happens with TV series, you might be happy to find the first series of a popular show on the French or UK version of Netflix. However this is often because the older releases are cheaper, you’ll normally find that there most of the later series will be on the US version too.
Over the years I’ve tried loads of methods for unlocking US Netflix primarily so I can keep up with the latest releases. Proxies no longer work at all, so you can forget them. There are about two VPN services which still work in 2020 including Identity Cloaker. However you have to use the software and it won’t work on tablets and smartphones at the moment.
There is no doubt the best solution at the moment to unblock US Netflix and that’s to use a Smart DNS service which has the requisite residential IP addresses. There’s only one which I have used which is both reliable and quick enough to stream video and that’s the service from Smart DNS Proxy. They also include a VPN service but I suggest you leave that unless you need the security as the Smart DNS version works better.
It’s not just for Netflix though, you can use it to get access to any content under geo restrictions in any country from the BBC iPlayer, Sky Go in the United Kingdom to HBO Go, Hulu and NBC in the US. In fact there’s server locations all over the world to enable the world’s best media sites.
The best thing is that this company actually provides a free trial if you access from the correct link. Which means you can test it out and see if it’s worth the money before committing. Honestly I’ll think you’ll be impressed, with both the speed an reliability and also the amazing amount of content on the US version of Netflix compared you your own locale. What’s more you can try before you buy with this US Netflix Free Trial.
It’s often a shock, after all why offer an online version of the BBC iPlayer and then proceed to block anyone who isn’t in the UK. But for many trying to access BBC iPlayer when they’re abroad becomes a bit of a challenge. You know it’s possible because lots of people seem to be doing it. However without the details it can seem fairly difficult . The search usually leads to things like VPNs and proxies, which for anyone living abroad are now essential. Not only do you get important privacy they also give you access to all the best media sites online. By using a VPN service you can relay your connection through servers in different countries across the world. You can surf and access sites irrespective of your location and IP address just by picking the appropriate country. So when the BBC, Hulu, ABC or M6 Replay checks where you are then it just sees the location of the VPN/proxy you’re connected to.
Try this program if you want quick access to the BBC using a super fast proxy – the longer deals are better value, but you can get a month for a few bucks too if you want to ensure it works well in your location. You can see a demonstration in the video below.
Tip – If you get a proxy error message then use these NordVPN UK servers which are all optimized for BBC access – UK: #764, #977, #1025, #1388, #1512, #1515 K #836, #1043, #1057, #1320, #1483, #1513 #1448 #1325 #1347.
For instance, I was recently in Spain with my work and got kind of bored staying in a hotel. So decided I want to watch some UK television online using my laptop. Unfortunately because I then had a Spanish IP address (from the hotels Wifi), I was now blocked from all the best UK websites like the BBC iPlayer and ITV etc. It’s not a problem though, I always make sure I have a valid subscription for at least one VPN to use in such situations.
Quick Clarification – the terms proxies and VPNs are often used interchangeably online. The reality is that they’re very similar, both relay your internet connection through a separate server. You will usually need some client software for the VPN whereas a proxy can be enabled through your browser settings. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) though also encrypts your internet connection making it completely secure too. Most commercial services for bypassing these geo restrictions are actually VPNs rather than proxies.
By the way if you don’t know why people are so keen to get access to BBC Iplayer – you should really check it out. It’s without doubt one of the best media resources available online, in fact I don’t think anything comes close although there are some excellent US sites like Hulu and Pandora for music. Anyway for those of us who either live or travel abroad a lot, having access to these sites is a godsend. You don’t have to sit watching TV shows in a language you don’t understand or some awful cable channel.
These media sites are all locked in some old fashioned licensing model where rights are assigned by location. It’s ridiculous that we develop a global communication medium where everything is open access, then lock it down again based on geographical restrictions.
This information is relevant for any media channel that is blocked. The only difference is that you have to choose the appropriate country to bypass these blocks. The subject of this article is using a proxy to watch the BBC iPlayer so here we need to pretend we’re in the UK. If you want to watch US only resources like NBC, then simply choose a US server instead, it’s really that easy. All the best VPN companies will include servers in most larger countries as part of their standard subscription. If you want something slightly more obscure then you may have to search around a bit.
So How’s it Done – Can You Use a Proxy for BBC iPlayer in USA
Basically the problem is your IP address, everyone is linked to a specific country and it’s very easy to look up. Many websites look your location up as soon as you access their site, they then tailor what you can see based on that information. It’s called Geotargeting and frankly it’s extremely annoying – you’ll normally get an error message like the image below.
Or perhaps this one if you try and access Pandora outside the US.
In both these scenarios, the website has looked up your location by checking where your IP address is registered to. They then make the appropriate filters and blocks, so for the BBC you’re blocked if you are anywhere outside the United Kingdom. Pandora will route you to an apology screen if you don’t have a US address.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA
The way around it is quite simple, you just have to make the website think your in a different country by using an address from the required country. Unfortunately you can’t modify your own address easily as this is assigned by your ISP. However you can connect via a proxy server based in the correct country and use it’s address instead. So you just need a BBC iPlayer proxy to gain access.
So for example to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK you’d connect through a UK proxy. If you wanted to watch Hulu from outside the US then you’d need a USA proxy, Pandora needs an American one too and so on.
It’s really that simple – the website sees the IP address of the proxy server and not your real one. This short video shows the steps of changing your IP address online –
As you can see it’s actually very simple to connect through a UK proxy and access whatever UK television you like. You just have to make sure you click on the right icon and connect through to a UK proxy and all UK stations that broadcast online will work perfectly. After you’ve finished you should either disconnect the VPN or connect to one in your current country. If you don’t other sites will continue to think you’re in the UK. For example you’ll get British search results when searching in Google, instead of where you actually are. None of the websites can determine your real location when you use a VPN, they’ll only be able to see the address of the server.
Where do I get a BBC iPlayer Proxy Server to Watch BBC in the USA and Elsewhere?
There’s a few options depending on time and budget. You can find some free ones online if you search – however it takes a long time to find one in the right country and fast enough to relay video through. In reality you’ll be best to settle on one of the many services that are available. A commercial service should be plenty fast enough and you know it will always be working when you want to watch something. The biggest problem at the moment is Netflix which has been actively blocking both proxies and VPNs based on the categorization of the IP address – you can read about it here – Netflix blocking proxies.
The BBC has however started implement it’s own restrictions which started around 2017. At first they gently started to block ordinary proxies which can actually be detected online in some cases. This generally didn’t affect many people who were by now using VPNs because of the increased security and the many VPN services which were available at a low cost.
In fact there were literally millions of people connecting to the BBC and other UK TV sites from all over the world. I’m not entirely sure why the BBC started blocking access to iPlayer so aggressively at this time. There was a lot of discussion though of how the BBC was funded in the UK which may have had an effect with the corporation trying to protect it’s overseas rights.
It was however a huge shock to people all over the world who used BBC iPlayer every single day. From ex-pats to anglophiles many people used the BBC as part of their daily lives and were very shocked when it suddenly stopped working. It even led to rumours which you can still see online that the BBC had discovered a way to block access from all VPNs and proxies – which it definitely hadn’t.
BBC Blocks Proxies, VPNs and other IP Hiding Tools
What the BBC had done was to make a concerted effort to try and block all these millions of inbound connections from outside the United Kingdom. They did this through a variety of means, including extensive legal cases and threats against a lot of VPN providers who were advertising openly a BBC circumvention service. This was especially effective as many of these companies had even used BBC logos on their site for advertising which left them on a very shaky legal ground. Many VPNs simply closed up under pressure from the BBC legal department, the simple proxy option was effectively closed.
The other main method was slightly more technical, they attempted to directly restrict access to the BBC iPlayer streaming service. Although the BBC couldn’t directly identify a VPN connection they could make a pretty good guess in many instances. By analysing individual connections from individual IP addresses they were able to isolate suspicious addresses. For example if there were 4000 streaming connections based from a single IP then there was a very good chance that this originated from either a proxy or VPN. There was a very high chance that this represented people who would watch iPlayer through a VPN server from abroad. It would be highly unlikely all these people were in the same location sharing the same address so it was almost certainly be a VPN server. The BBC would then block or blacklist that IP address either temporarily or permanently and it wouldn’t be able to use the streaming service from that point.
Hundreds of VPN providers quit trying to support BBC iPlayer access at this point. This was because it became much more expensive to use many more UK IP addresses on their servers to spread the load so to speak. If you want a UK proxy to maintain access to the BBC iPlayer servers then it was important not too overload them to users. Profit margins fell and only the professional services who tended to limit the number of users for performance reasons were left.
It’s important to remember though that there are still loads of companies who offer BBC iPlayer access through their UK proxy servers. However you will have to ask as they definitely won’t advertise directly this functionality. The BBC still try and block but not as aggressively, they do ask if you have a TV license though there’s no check – so just say yes.
The one I use is NordVPN which has been around for many years – it’s way better than any of the TV watching services and does much more. Try it out and use the money back guarantee if you have a problem, it gives you access to all the top media sites in UK, USA, France, Canada and Germany to name only a few. It can also allow you access to subscription sites like HBO GO and Amazon Prime but you’ll still need a subscription with these services.
You can see it in action in the video above. There are versions for all sorts of platforms including mobile device like smartphones and tablets. It’s also very fast which is essential for streaming high definition video without slowing down your internet traffic.
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Porn Proxy Post Updated September 2019: As the UK attempts a Similar Porn Block
I thought I’d update this post, as it’s a subject that is at the forefront of various state sponsored internet censorship plans across the world. The good news is that it seems incompetence and the lack of technical understanding are thwarting these efforts. Iceland have still not implemented their nationwide porn block some 5 years after this article was originally published. The reason why the block hasn’t been installed yet and why a huge proportion of the population need a porn proxy to enjoy adult entertainment online in Iceland is unclear.
Well if you like to idle away those long winter nights (and days) in Reykjavik by surfing a little porn online, then you might want to consider moving away or at least invest in a porn proxy! The Iceland Government have decided they want to do something good for their citizens (as opposed to bankrupting the country with a hopeless banking system) and are going to ban pornography from the web in Iceland.
Funny but largely irrelevant photo.
Every time I see these sort of stories my heart sinks, why can’t people just leave the internet alone and let people make up their own minds. You might think that it’s all for a good cause, banning all that nasty porn stuff and everyone will behave and be nice to each other. Who knows they might be right, but what I do know is that censoring and filtering the internet doesn’t work – it never does.
An adviser to Iceland’s interior minister- Ogmundur Jonasson who is drafting the legislation was quoted as follows –
“At the moment, we are looking at the best technical ways to achieve this…..but surely if we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the internet.”
A comment that first got me thinking, can Iceland actually send a man to the moon and secondly they haven’t got a clue about how to achieve this and what sort of issues they will face.
It’s just another of these populist ideas that politicians have, the fact that when you start censoring and filtering the internet, you also start to erode people’s civil liberties. I have no idea if there is any scientific basis to the argument that no porn on internet = less rape and sex crimes, I suspect very little. However I do know that any content filtering will only work against a minority of citizens and almost exclusively on the law abiding ones.
There are so many ways to bypass these filters, that your average sexual predator will easily be able to access whatever pornography they like. The Chinese Government have invested billions in their Great Firewall of China and yet your average 12 year old Beijing schoolboy can easily bypass them using a simple VPN or high anonymity proxy. Do we have any evidence that Iceland will come up with a technical solution more advanced than the People’s republic of China – obviously it it’s not going to happen.
What will happen is that another Government will have a little more control over it’s citizens, but only the ones who follow rules anywhere. The Iceland government will also have this infrastructure installed so maybe next year they’ll think of some thing else we shouldn’t do online and will add that to the banned list. It always happens you start by banning one thing then it just get’s easier and easier to control more aspects of what people can do online.
Britain Follows Suit – Watch the Sale of Porn Proxy Services Soar
The United Kingdom government has been for some time trying to implement a similar plan. Not quite as draconian as Iceland, but certainly it’s upsetting lots of people who resent the amount of control that the state is imposing on law abiding citizens.
Basically they’re trying to regulate access to pornography rather than ban it completely. The main justification is the entirely understandable aim to restrict the access to porn to young people and children. Again though the attempt is completely misguided and almost impossible to implement effectively. Fortunately the UK Government hasn’t managed to launch this attempt yet – here’s a brief report on the last delay – source:
The UK’s age-verification system for online pornography will be delayed for around six months because the government failed to inform the EU of its proposals, the culture secretary has said.
The already delayed policy, which will require all adult internet users wanting to watch legal pornography to prove they are over 18 by providing some form of identification, was due to come into force on 15 July.
However, the culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, told the House of Commons, that would not happen, because of a failure to comply with European law in how statutory instruments are passed.
“In autumn last year, we laid three instruments before the house,” Wright told the Commons. “One of them sets out standards that companies need to comply with. This should have been notified to the European commission, and it was not. This will result in a delay in the region of six months.”
The delay, first reported by Sky News, is likely see the issue of age verification fall under the responsibility of the next prime minister.
Wright emphasised that the delay did not mean the government was backing down from its policy. “There are also those who do not want these measures to be brought in,” he said, “but let me be clear, although this is an apology for the delay, it is not a change in policy. Age verification needs to happen, and in the interest of the needs of children, it must.”
Labour’s Cat Smith, responding, said the announcement was “proof that an important policy issue has descended into utter shambles”.
It’s negative, oppressive and most of all it doesn’t work and as we can see from the examples of both Iceland and Great Britain it’s a much more complicated subject both morally and technically. Imagine the administration and management that this scheme involves and then contemplate that one of the most important steps required initially was that it needed to inform the European Commission because of the conflict with European Law. Now forget the Brexit arguments about this, but it’s a simple but important administrative and legal step which the Government just forgot to do. Doesn’t inspire you with confidence that the system will be managed efficiently and professionally does it. Let’s hope they don’t forget to look after the list of porn users that this system will potentially create.
If you want another slight worry about how this will be managed, well actually a huge one! Consider that the company being tasked with implementing the age verification procedure (and responsible for managing the allowed users database) will be a company called MindGeek. Fine until you also find out that this company is also owner of the biggest porn site in the world – PornHub – conflict of interest possibly!!
Company Entrusted with Managing the Age Verification is one of the World’s Biggest Pornographers !
Most governments cite the ‘protecting young children’ from pornography angle when justifying these counter measures. However they have rarely reference the technical facts that current methods are simply ineffective. Also even in the United Kingdom where the measures suggested are much less draconian that Iceland there are huge information and privacy implications.
Ask yourself if you would like to be included on a state list of pornography users?
Already any government can easily analyse, log and harvest everything you do online. If you don’t use any sort of security products like VPNs then there’s nothing really hidden by default. The irony is the younger you are the more likely you are to know about proxies and VPNs which are used for downloading movies and music safely. Which would also completely bypass any of the Icelandic and UK Governments censorship attempts easily.
If you’re in Iceland, Kuwait, Iran, China or anywhere else where the Governments decides whether you can watch porn, politics , sports or whatever – then try this – Identity Cloaker, it’s not just a simple porn proxy either over, but a sophisticated security product that can bypass all sorts of blocks and filters and keep you COMPLETELY hidden whilst you do so!
Just checked this post as it was over six years old, wanted to make sure RTE is still accessible in 2020. Well the RTE site has changed a lot from 2013 and it actually has a lot more options. Anyway I was just checking how can I watch Irish TV in UK or USA and can confirm it still works fine. There are reports that many VPNs are now blocked with RTE but NordVPN appears unaffected.
Anyway I’ve just streamed the news, a sports programme and a soap called Fair City without interruption using NordVPN. However I still suggest testing it out first and seeing if it works ok for you, please feel free to leave a comment with your own experiences. Fortunately they have a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try it out first.
Another post for those missing their favorite TV channels just because they are outside their home country. This ones about accessing RTE from the US, or in fact anywhere that’s outside the Irish Republic. RTE player is a great little site linked to the Irish National broadcaster – RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann).
As usual though if you’re not actually in Ireland when connecting to the website then it won’t work for you, although you can access some of the radio content and sometimes the Irish news. I always think this is a bit strange as the people who will want to watch things like RTE and the GAA over the internet will mostly be Irish people living in places like the UK and USA! Fortunately there is a solution, read on to see how to watch RTE player abroad.
So How Do I Watch RTE in USA /UK?
It’s not actually that hard to do, when you connect to RTE player the site determines your location. It does this by checking the location of your IP address – if it’s an Irish IP then fine but anywhere else and you get redirected to the international version of RTE player which blocks most of the decent shows and all the sport like GAA. The RTE player international version is ok, but the majority of shows and sports are not available on this site, you can watch most of the local news broadcasts though.
So all you need to do is change your IP address to an Irish one. It’s actually not that easy to change your real IP address as it’s controlled by your ISP and is linked to the country you connect from. Fortunately there is another way, and that is connecting via a VPN or proxy server, when you do this the web site see’s the servers address and not your real one. So if the VPN server is in Ireland, you will also appear to be in Ireland and all Irish only resources like RTE Player will work just fine.
There are quite a few companies who offer these services, but only a handful worth considering especially if you need an Irish IP address. Here’s the one I use it’s a security program called NordVPN – I like it because it’s well priced and has lots of fast servers in different countries which is useful for accessing sites like BBC iPlayer, Hulu etc which also block access from outside countries.
So here’s the little program called NordVPN which sits in the taskbar on a PC and you simply select the country you need to connect to –
So for RTE we’d obviously select one of the Irish servers and then press connect. You then open your browser as normal, and when you visit the RTE player site, you’ll get the Irish version of the site rather than the International one simply based on your IP address. In fact you can enjoy any Irish TV stations plus lots of other sites restricted by location.
Using the Irish server you can watch anything on the site as RTE considers your location to be Ireland, have a go all the channels should be available from rté one and you can also watch RTE player live sport.
It’s extremely easy to use and the servers are very fast which is essential if you’re going to watch RTE live stream feeds across them. You can also access some fantastic sites in other countries simply by selecting the matching country – try Hulu by using a USA proxy, BBC iPlayer in the UK or there’s some great online TV stations in Canada and France for example.
They’re all included in the subscription which only costs a few dollars – here’s the program in action.
Here we see the PC version working on my laptop but there are applications for most devices. You can install the Nord App on your smart phones and tablets too just using the same subscription which supports up to six devices.
If you want to access RTE in the US or learn to watch Irish TV from anywhere in the world including the US then give them a go. NordVPN has thousands of servers all over the world including plenty of them in Ireland too. Indeed you don’t have to be limited to RTE in fact you can watch online media and TV stations from virtually anywhere on the planet. There’s plenty of great free stations in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia for example which broadcast all their content in English.