One of the biggest things that many of us have to get used to in the USA is the number of adverts on television. If you’ve come from the UK for instance and are used to British TV, they can come as something of a shock although many European countries actually have more adverts. Later in this article we’ll show you how to watch British TV in USA without problems.
However, first of all, you should remember that the advertising is what actually pays for US TV shows, so if the level drops it’s likely the quality of programming would to.
However for anyone who has seen the quantity of adverts rise over the last few decades it can be quite surprising. Even BBC America, which is one of the US based cable channels which carries some of the BBC’s content has adverts which seems strange to anyone used to watching BBC One. Of course, there is advertising on the UK’s commercial TV stations like the ITV Hub and Channel 4, it’s still arguably less intrusive.
Of course, most US citizens have grown up with adverts on all their TV network so it’s likely they don’t find them as intrusive. Also bear in mind if you offered the UK model of TV – paying $200+ for a license which removed the need for them – most would probably be completely horrified. This is based on an extensive straw poll of five people I asked about British TV streaming in my office today! I found that extremely surprising as it’s a cost I’d be happy to pay. I don’t know about you, but that cut to adverts just at a crucial time in the plotline in a TV series drives me crazy ! I do get frustrated watching shows which suddenly stop for breaks several times an hour – although obviously today’s technology which allows you to record and playback helps a lot.
The number of adverts is also increasing, the approximate proportion of advertising in US TV in 1952 was about 13%, that’s about 8 minutes an hour. However research has shown that in 2020 that has now risen to something like 32% which is nearly a third of the airtime (20 minutes an hour). These figures are an average though and some popular or expensive shows will be much higher than this figure as well.
This figure also doesn’t include the increasing use of product placement advertising where you’ll see some character waving around a soft drink or other product. This can also be very distracting when you start looking for it, although I’m assured by a Spanish friend and one in New Zealand that this practice is increasing in TV channels across the world.
If you can’t get use to the adverts of course you do have some options. The obvious one and a tactic used by many Americans is simply to not watch any of the shows live or streamed through another platform like Pluto TV. There’s also plenty of media players which have hard disks – Tivo Style and even games consoles which can record shows and streaming content. Then you can replay and skip through each advertising break without having to actually watch them. However it’s still a break and it’s still rather annoying to have to skim through the adverts even at super fast speed. You can also select your favorite shows on UK TV and buy the box sets directly although this can get expensive.
Expand Your Choice of Television Shows by Looking Online
However there’s another option to watch British TV which is particularly attractive and that’s to start looking online. Virtually every major media channel in existence broadcast lots of their shows online. You don’t have to just use a cable company, satellite or the outdated TV aerial in order to receive TV channels. If you’ve got an internet enabled TV, a laptop, or tablet or even games consoles and a decent internet connection then you’ve got the potential to watch unlimited TV programmes online and streamed to your TV screen.
You don’t even need to pay for many of them, look passed the standard subscription channels like Amazon Prime and Netflix and you’ll find many other options. There’s all you need from current affairs, documentaries, soap operas, crime drama, radio shows and even free movies available if you know where to look. Indeed many of the best dramas are co productions between different broadcasters, that Prime Original may be available somewhere else for free at the same time.
One of the best sites by far is of course the BBC iPlayer which along with the other British TV stations ITV Hub and All 4 bring you the ability to watch UK TV free of charge.
Here’s one of the BBC’s latest nature shows, critically acclaimed through the world and available on BBC iPlayer for free !
In fact it’s an option that millions already use including lots of expats and anglophiles. A great place to start for free online TV of world class quality is to check out the UK television you can find streaming online. The first channel to look at is the BBC who have probably the best streaming platform on the internet – BBC iPlayer. It’s packed full of great British television which doesn’t have any advertisements or breaks at all. That’s not quite true, it does do a very small number of promotional clips for other BBC programmes you might like but they’re never in the middle of anything and they’re easily skipped if you like.
What’s more the BBC is only the start and you can actually find lots of other television shows online too. Even from the United Kingdom every single one of the major broadcasters streams all their content online. The BBC is the only channel which doesn’t include advertisements but even then it’s a small price to pay for world class entertainment streamed in high definition to your TV set across the internet.
Don’t worry about any potential problems you might have heard about like needing a TV license, geo restrictions or other things to stop people outside the UK accessing these live stream goldmines – they’re no real problem for anyone. Just read on and you’ll find out not only how to watch all the British TV you want free of charge but unlimited shows from all over the world – even for the English speaking world there’s stations from Australia, Canada, US and the UK. If you’re lucky enough to speak another language there’s even more options available too.
How to Get British TV Channels like BBC One Online in the USA
Now as mentioned virtually every large media site in the world broadcasts their streaming services over the internet. Indeed, most of the UK ones broadcast all their programmes live then archive them so you can watch them later too. Sites like the BBC iPlayer archive have literally thousands of top quality shows which you can watch online or even download to watch later. You can watch any of the shows live while they’re broadcast on any of the channels plus from the archive where most are available for twelve months too.
Here’s a quick list of the channels available from the BBC –
BBC One – the original and primary BBC channel
BBC Two – more for current affairs and sport coverage
BBC Three – Digital channel with light entertainment such as comedies, videos and documentaries
BBC Four – Serious shows and documentaries
CBBC – children over the age of 6
CBeebies – children under age of 6
BBC Scotland – Scottish focused channel
BBC Alba – Gaelic Language channel
BBC News – 24/7 international news channel
BBC Parliament – coverage of UK politics
S4C – Welsh language channel
However there is a catch, all these shows, all this free TV is only available to the domestic market and it’s not actually directly accessible in the USA or anywhere outside the UK. Although it should be pointed out that the same happens in reverse as US online TV stations like Hulu and HBO are not available outside the US also.
Using a VPN or Proxy Services to Access Streaming Platforms like the BBC
Yet there is a work around, and it’s one that millions of people all over the world use every day on their laptops and smart TV units. To watch British TV online or indeed any domestic streaming service from the USA you simply need to hide your IP address and present a UK one instead. It’s not difficult and anyone can do it from whatever device they prefer, indeed millions enjoy the excellent streaming technology of the BBC worldwide using this exact same method.
Here’s how anyone can watch TV abroad including UK TV in USA –
What happens is by using a VPN or proxy server then you can effectively hide your true location and bypass this geo blocking. So when you visit the BBC website for example, it will see the IP address of the server not your real address. So as long as you ensure you click on a UK server then everything in the UK will work perfectly irrespective of where you actually are. Your location is completely hidden by your VPN providers and so you can watch whatever you like from all the British TV channels. This includes all the major channels like BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5 all of whom have TV streaming services which includes most of their shows online.
Basically you get virtually all UK TV shows completely free of charge by just pretending to be in the UK. The amount of content like film and music is incredible, even if you just watch BBC iPlayer itself. You’ll certainly have access to many, many more shows than a BBC America channel for example. All of the popular UK TV channels are available to stream live so you can pick what you want to watch. However it’s all archived too, so that latest Dr Who series for example is available for twelve months after it’s initial broadcast too, just access BBC iPlayer when you want to watch it.
A VPN service (virtual private network) is without doubt a must have tool for anyone (not just TV fans) who spends a lot of time online especially if they travel a lot. Not only does it secure your internet connection allowing you to safely access things like email, banking and payment sites when you’re using insecure Wifi at hotels, cafes and airports. It also allows you to change your location and watch iPlayer or perhaps even sites you can usually use but you’re locked out of because you’re travelling. It’s way better value than subscribing to expensive satellite channels like Sky Go for example.
I used to get locked out of several payment portals when I worked abroad. I’d try and pay my taxes or water rates over the internet and get blocked because I was in a different country – very annoying! Of course, now I know I just need to use a VPN to change my country using their UK servers, unfortunately I didn’t know that then.
So remember, you’re not restricted to a specific country. Choose a server in a different country then you can unlock the channels there too using that VPN ip address. So for example if you pick an Irish one you can enjoy the Irish National broadcaster RTE or perhaps choose some Canadian or French channels too. Remember though while you are connected to another country then US sites will start blocking you, so remember to disconnect or choose a US server for those. A couple of years ago I watched the entire Premiership (UK football) season by using a VPN based in India to watch on a channel called Star TV absolutely free. I think you now have to pay for their subscription service but it’s still a fraction of what it costs in other countries. Just connect to an Indian VPN before you sign up so that you get charged Indian prices !
The possibilities are as endless as your IP addresses, but even if you only use your VPN services to watch the BBC worldwide then it will bring you some of the best TV programs available. Just fire up your connection, connect to a UK VPN server and click ‘yes’ when they ask you if you have a TV license and you’ll be enjoying the BBC with over 60 million other people. Our recommendation for a low cost, reliable VPN provider is NordVPN.
Why do people look for USA Proxy and VPN servers? Well there’s a variety of reasons and now many people use technology like this just to hide their identity and their IP online. Sometimes specifically for privacy reasons or quite often they simply need US IP addresses to bypass internet blocks which are based on geographic location.
For example if you are having a holiday in South Africa, don’t presume you can access all the same web sites that you do from the United States. This simply isn’t the case, in fact the internet is increasingly becoming divided up and filtered usually based on your physical location.
Many sites particularly some of the major media sites restrict access to US visitors only, blocking any IP server addresses from outside the country. In addition you’ll also find that countries like Turkey heavily filter the internet too, often restricting sites like Twitter and Facebook to anyone inside the country. Where you are physically located when using the internet is way more important that which passport you hold. Even if you’re a United States citizen, if you’re outside the borders then you’re likely to be blocked from many of it’s best websites.
So on the whole privacy and freedom issue – this is why many of us use either a US proxy or VPN everyday. However in reality the reason millions of us looks for an anonymous proxy is not to protect our anonymity but more to unlock websites which are restricted to us. As this filtering continues the demand is rising for methods to bypass these blocks.
Don’t Use a Free American Proxy Server
It used to be possible to use free servers from a proxy list to hide your real address but it’s not advisable to use these anymore. The problem with these free web proxy setups is that the vast majority are merely badly configured servers accidentally left open. They are very rarely even datacenter proxies just privately owned ones that have been effectively hijacked. Unfortunately cyber criminals and hackers also use them, primarily to distribute malware and to steal valuable personal information – e.g. passwords, emails etc. Indeed there are thousands located in the United States designed to lure in visitors from all over the world to harvest their details.
So what’s the difference between these two technologies and which one should I use. Both perform basically the same function and can give you a US IP address but in very different ways, which ultimately will define which is best for you.
A proxy is a computer that acts as an intermediary between you an the websites you visit. When you use a proxy, the traffic will appear to come from it’s IP address not yours. This is why people will use a US proxy to access US only resources, a UK proxy to access the BBC and so on.
The two main types of proxies are as follows:
HTTP proxies – designed to work for web pages i.e. HTTP
Socks Proxies – no specific protocol, handles all traffic.
A few years ago, proxies were pretty much all you needed to access most sites and you could find free ones all over the internet. Nowadays though most media sites can detect and block the use of proxies and there are many security issues with them too. They can still work for a few sites, a proxy based in the UK will still allow you to access the majority of the BBC iPlayer application for example (need a VPN to download from the site though).
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and in some ways they perform a similar function to proxies. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted tunnel between your client and a host VPN server. This allows a new level of privacy as even your ISP cannot see what you do online other than your connected to a secure VPN server. The main advantages are that the VPN provides a much higher level of privacy masking pretty much everything you do online from everyone. They are more resource intensive though and quite costly to run and support, which is why you won’t find any free ones online.
The encryption layer does involve a slight overhead which can slow your connection down slightly. However the better ones like Identity Cloaker compress the data as it’s being transported so can actually slightly speed up your browsing through some VPN servers.
VPNs are much safer to use and if you have access to a VPN in the right country you should be able to access any restricted site. So to be clear you’ll need to use a US VPN or proxy for sites like ABC, HBO and Hulu, but a UK one for BBC, ITV and UK TV sites. Most of the major providers will provide a network of servers across the globe but you should check if you have a specific requirement.
For most people it makes sense to go for a supplier who has a large proxy server network not just located in the United States. Indeed most of the leading VPN companies have a proxy list which will allow you access to servers all over the world. It gives you the flexibility to access sites in all these countries. For example I watched an interesting News report on one of my interested from a TV station in Wellington, it was only accessible using a New Zealand based proxy server.
Here’s my two recommendations – both offer full VPNs, fast servers and access to many different countries in the basic subscription. Although both supply software to connect, you can set up the VPNs manually on most other devices like tablets, smart phones and even routers.
Identity Cloaker is definitely, primarily a security product but offers both proxy and VPN modes for accessing BBC Iplayer, Hulu and all media sites. They have loads of US proxy servers and even more UK based ones so if you want to watch the BBC iPplayer service then it’s probably your best option. They do have lots of servers in the France, Germany, Australia, Canada and throughout Europe as well though. They also don’t automatically renew your subscription either which I like.
NordVPN is probably the market leader in VPN services, they’re certainly one of the biggest in the world and have literally hundreds of servers in the United States. I do like their connection software which is easy to use and they have applications for most devices including Android and iOS phones/tablets. Lots of United States based servers included in the standard subscription. They also have the widest selection of servers across the world although perhaps many won’t use most of them. If you need a server in somewhere unusual they are most likely to have them. The support staff know their stuff and are very helpful. If there is any criticism it’s normally related to their scale, sometimes too many are loaded onto UK servers so access gets blocked from some servers to the BBC. I’ve not experienced it with any United States sites but it’s definitely possible that this will happen. They do have plenty to move to but it can be inconvenient if you’re watching something live for example. They’re very cheap but only if you subscribe to their longer subscription deals.
UPDATE July 2020
Netflix have implemented a new system for blocking VPNs and unfortunately it’s worked very well. Just using any United States based proxy or VPN is no longer enough to access Netflix with. If you want to connect back to watch the United States version of Netflix then you need to check current status with your chosen provider. The vast majority of VPNs no longer work because they detect certain IP classifications. Both Identity Cloaker and NordVPN do have some servers which currently work.
What Netflix started doing was to block all IP addresses from commercially registered ranges which included 99% of all VPN addresses which are generally installed in commercial datacenters. This was extremely effective initially and stopped just about all access to the United States version of Netflix (which is awesome by the way!). They seemed to have pulled back from this slightly, as commercial address ranges have started to work again. However if switching your version of Netflix to the United States one is important to you then you should double check with any provider you select.
Updated in October 2020 to remove a company who’s VPN service was just getting far too slow and worse was always blocked by many sites! Added the wonderful Smart DNS system which you can even test out risk free on this special offer –
It can work without software on all operating systems, just change your DNS settings to function instead of having to install IP address changer software. If you want a traditional VPN to protect your internet activity too then try one of the biggest and best with servers around the world- then you should also try out Nord VPN both are great choices to get an American IP.
Here’s a question that many people want the answer to – How can I get a US IP address? Well hopefully this post will help. If you don’t want an explanation about USA proxy sites and simply want to buy an American IP address at a very low cost for streaming services and such like. Then scoot down to the bottom of the page for some recommendations, they all have a money back guarantee by the way and great customer support. For a few bucks a month you can have a host of secure, fast US IP addresses plus Canadian, UK, Australian and lots of other countries at your fingertips.
Many web sites determine what you see based on your location, so for example if you want to watch Hulu – you need to be in the USA. Access is controlled by location so it doesn’t matter if you’re a US citizen, if you’re trying to access Hulu from a hotel in Rome then you’re Italian and you’ll get blocked. This is why changing your real IP address is becoming a much more common requirement, simply because that loads of the best websites and TV shows restrict access depending on the location of your computer.
So for example anyone outside America may get blocked from a US banking site, and you’d certainly be blocked from accessing US-only sites like Hulu or Pandora unless you get a US IP somehow.
More and more sites are restricting access based on location, it’s often due to licensing issues. Another reason is economic, many websites operate price discrimination (basically charging different prices to different people to maximise their profits), they obviously don’t like consumers finding the cheaper options!
So Where Can I Buy USA IP Address ?
So if you wanted to access a US only site and you’re outside the US, then you need to acquire a US IP Address. Then you could buy from a US only site or watch something like Hulu or Pandora irrespective of your location. Better still you could get much better value, for example the Americans Netflix is way better value than any other version. Many Americans are shocked if they travel abroad and logon to find that the US Netflix has disappeared and half their favourite shows are gone too.
Now your IP address is assigned to you by your ISP when you initially connect, there’s no way to change this without losing internet access. So although you can change/modify and alter most aspects of your computer – including the language, locale and even switch to a US time server. Unfortunately there’s no one with a magical American IP address generator that you can use to change your address automatically, more’s the pity! It’s generally supplied by your Internet Service Provider automatically, so there’s really no way to change it all.
However although you can’t change your IP address – you can hide your true address and present another one. You do this by connecting via either a VPN or a proxy site, both of these will obscure your real address. They both operate in similar ways, the proxy server routes all your web traffic via itself and simply forwards all data in both directions. The VPN is actually a secure, encrypted tunnel which routes all traffic from your computer through the VPN server. Both have strengths and weaknesses. In reality a VPN is more difficult to detect by remote web sites, although this can involve a slight overhead on speed in some situations.
Which one you choose is really dependent on what your requirements are – a VPN gives you security and more access to remote sites. If you want any sort of security to access something like banking services then it has to be a VPN. But if you just wanted to access something like the BBC or maybe to watch Canadian TV in the US then a proxy server is enough. To be honest nowadays, there’s no reason to look beyond a decent VPN providers. VPN servers provide the same functionality, plus give you features like AES encryption, DNS leak protection and a kill switch (block all access instantly). Plus they’re no more expensive and the one drawback that used to exist – slower connection speeds doesn’t really apply anymore. In fact Nord VPN which you can see demonstrated below is actually much quicker as it uses a compression algorithm when transferring data from the VPN servers.
So perhaps we want to watch some shows on Hulu but we are based in Europe, for this particular channel a proxy won’t work as Hulu is able to detect them – so we need a VPN service. Unfortunately there are no free VPN services available unless you can access one through your employer or college. Please don’t even consider using a free proxy as not only will it not work with most streaming services. You’ll also find a free proxy is likely to install something nasty on your computer as well!
Many multinational companies have VPN/Remote access services to allow employees to access their home location. It’s worth checking this out although you should ask your IT department for clearance before using on a work operating system and flooding their network with internet traffic form video streaming. Or you could make your own by installing a VPN service on a rented server or a friends US based computer. Obviously server location is important here, but as long as you’re in the right country that will be ok. Any US sites will be accessible from a server in New York for example.
But an easier option is to just select a VPN provider with a suitable service which allows access to a wide variety of servers especially if you want to use it with an iPad or mobile device, check this post – Watching BBC Iplayer on Ipad in US.
These services are all pretty low cost now and the best VPNs usually include proxy servers all across the world.
Here’s some things to check out when looking for a decent service :-
Firstly check that the company have some method to allow easy connection. The decent companies have custom connection software to allow you to connect/disconnect easily to their server network.
If you have a specific requirement – NBC, Hulu, HBO GO, ABC etc then check that internet content works with them.
Make sure your subscription allows access to multiple servers in different countries included – there’s some great free stuff outside the United States too.
Speed is essential if you’re going to use the service for watching video or any streaming media – try to choose a trial account first to test this. A good VPN can actually speed up your connection by bypassing any bandwidth throttling by your internet provider.
Be careful you don’t get locked into renewing accounts – use payment methods like PayPal if you can which you can cancel easily.
If security is paramount – ask customer support and check for a no logs policy, leak protection and a secure proxy network.
Also vital for security is at least 256 bit encryption, all the best VPN services will support this.
Unfortunately although there is now lots of choice, many of these services don’t have the knowledge and infrastructure to support high speed access. Avoid anything that seems too cheap or sponsored by advertisements, never use free VPNs for anything important they’re slow and invariably have huge security implications. Many install adware or even malware on your computer, and others share your internet connection with their premium users – yes really ! Whichever you choose always test first with a short subscription or trial and get them to answer any questions use their support email address.
In this example you’ll see my favourite VPN software allowing me to bypass the geo restrictions and gain access to USA only resources by simply clicking on a United States based server.
I basically use two different services which offer both proxy and VPN functionality at a decent price. Basically these will give you access to a network of US IP Addresses plus loads of different nationalities at a click of a button. What’s more they they have proxy servers in all the major locations and a great success rate at accessing the most popular streaming sites.
Nord VPN is primarily a security product but offers both proxy and VPN modes for accessing BBC iPlayer, Hulu and all media sites. They have loads of US and even more UK based servers so if you want to watch the BBC iPlayer service then it’s probably your best option. A host of security and privacy features including the ability to use military grade encryption to protect your connection. They do have lots of servers in the France, Germany, Australia, Canada and throughout Europe as well though. With over 8 million subscribers and support for virtually every device including android iOS, it’s a great proxy service.
Smart DNS Proxy is another great little company if you want a USA IP address. I like their connection options as there’s one which is particularly easy to use. It’s called Smart DNS and is designed specifically for watching Geo-restricted content without directly using a proxy or VPN. This allows you to access US only sites simply by changing your DNS servers. It also gives you full access to all US only services including giving you a American IP address for Netflix whereas the vast majority of VPNs are blocked. Lots of servers included giving you access to lots in the US IP address range. It’s generally quicker than any proxy because you don’t route all your traffic through the server. It’s perfect for watching any sort of video and the support staff know their stuff and are very helpful.
Remember Smart DNS provides no security or encryption at all, however it’s easier to install on different devices like Smart TVs and Amazon Fire Stick as there’s no software component. It works beautifully on all different platforms iOS Android even Linux.
Both these companies allow Paypal and are easy to cancel when you need. They also had the fastest servers out of the ones I looked at and neither affected my internet connection speed. Don’t worry that they don’t openly advertise the bypassing functionality for sites like Hulu, BBC, ABC, Amazon Prime Video etc – it’s deliberate, the services which openly promote this get closed down eventually. Remember as well if you want to learn how to get a USA address for Netflix – Smart DNS is one of the very few that works in 2020.
For travellers, expats and geeks there’s an essential tool which can transform your internet experience. It’s a simple tool which allows you to perform one important function – the ability to control your IP address.
A little background, the IP (Internet Protocol) address is the ‘unique’ network number which is assigned to your device when you connect to the internet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a computer, laptop, tablet, smart TV or even an internet enabled fridge! Every device which access the internet does so through this network identification number.
This is fine, it’s how the internet works after all. This IP address is assigned through whatever service you connect to the internet through – be it an home based ISP, office network, hotel Wifi or maybe your local coffee shop. The address is assigned automatically and enables data to be delivered to your device when you’re connected.
The problem is that this address is completely out of your control, even if you are connecting from home you have no way of directly controlling it. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem in the internet of a decade ago, however nowadays it’s a real issue. Not only are numerous entities logging, monitoring and analysing your web activity – many web sites are actually controlling what you can do online too.
Relaxing with the Zombie Apocalypse
So as I sat down in a rather boring hotel, based on the outskirts of a Dutch Industrial estate last week to enjoy the latest episodes of Z Nation I had something of a surprise! When I fired up my Netflix account on my trusty Samsung laptop I noticed something strange – lots of foreign language shows (in languages I couldn’t understand). Worst still they only had the first series of Z Nation which I’d finished watching about two years ago!!
You see I was being connected to the Dutch version of Netflix. Now when you visit a foreign country, you of course don’t expect them to switch all the TV and radio stations over to suit a US visitor. But this is my Netflix account, on my computer, paid for on a US credit card. Why should I suddenly want to watch the Netherland’s version of the entertainment channel !! I can’t understand half of it anyway.
Surely it’s better to link the user with his home version of Netflix, unless they specify otherwise. Unfortunately that’s not the case, the version of Netflix you receive is linked to the IP address that you connect to. So a American Netflix user who travels a lot is going to get flung around the versions of the world when all he wants to watch is some home grown US Zombie action !
IP Address American Netflix
Which brings me back to my original point, you’re completely at the mercy of these websites unless you are able to control your IP address. Now as stated earlier, it’s impossible to actually change this IP address but you can hide it and display a different one. So although I am always going to connect through a Dutch ISP when in Holland, I can connect through a server in the US and appear to have a US IP address for American Netflix. The methods for doing this have changed over the last few years, unfortunately you can’t use things like US DNS servers or find some UK Netflix DNS code anymore – all these methods are now blocked. So how can you access American Netflix -well here’s how it’s done –
You use a tool to connect through to a network of VPN servers based around the world. So when you visit Netflix for example, then it will only see the IP address of the server you are connecting from. If you select a US server then you will be presented with American Netflix, switch to a Japanese one and you’ll get their version. You can effectively control what you can access.
It also works well for accessing websites which are simply blocked, for example AMC, NBC, ABC and Hulu are not accessible without a US IP address. If you don’t use a VPN you’re going to be restricted to the websites in your current location certainly with regards to media sites.
The VPN also gives you a higher level of security and privacy, when you are connected all your browsing is private and the connection is encrypted so no personal details can be intercepted.
Truthfully there are tons of these services out there, and it can be difficult to decide which one to use. Our personal recommendation is a service called Identity Cloaker – it offers fast access to servers all over the world and is not expensive. It also doesn’t try to lock you into long subscriptions which are difficult to cancel just use and let it expire when you’ve finished.
Only a couple of years ago there were many options for bypassing the extending region locks that most media sites and TV shows online were using. The internet has been getting more frustrating to use with blocks, bans and ‘not available in your country’ messages appearing every time you try and visit a new site or watch a movie online. It’s pretty bad for a US based surfer but can imagine it’s even more frustrating for people surfing from a smaller country. Netflix has been one of the most aggressive in this area, using very advanced techniques to restrict access from it’s paying subscribers ! If you’ve got a Netflix account – you’re locked to the Netflix region you’re located in and no you can’t watch US Netflix instead!
Netflix wants to keep French Netflix users using the French Netflix, Canadians using the Canadian version and so on. The problem for many users they wanted to watch American Netflix as it’s way better than many other versions despite costing the same. One of the simplest methods of bypassing these blocks available was a American Netflix DNS solution which previously worked very well. This simply involved pointing whichever device you used to watch Netflix at specially configured DNS servers. This would quietly reroute your initial connection to make it appear you where in a different country to allow you to unblock US Netflix, it worked perfectly and was easy to configure on things like media boxes, phones and tablets.
American DNS Netflix Codes are a Very Bad Idea
It’s part of the reason that Netflix DNS codes became so popular and people used them to watch Netflix especially the free codes. Although proxies and VPN service were arguably safer and more effective, they were often harder to utilize than DNS codes. If your main streaming device is an internet enabled Smart TV it’s difficult to install a VPN client on your flat screen. The same with tablets, phones and people who streamed through gaming devices, the VPN solution simply wasn’t effective for these sorts of devices. No one really knew how to install a VPN service on them never mind use them to bypass Netflix geo-targeting methods.
However if you had a few DNS codes which were able to fool the Netflix servers then you were in business. Instead of messing around with software all you needed was access to configure network settings – e.g. the primary DNS and secondary DNS servers settings and you could set everything up. Normally this is available on most devices under the network configuration settings. Suddenly there was the possibility of watching US Netflix on something like your Apple TV, Xbox One or or even an Xbox 360 if you’re really retro.
There’s no real reason that a Smart DNS solution couldn’t work just as well as a decent VPN service for bypassing a Netflix block. However there are still problems, because ultimately it still comes down to the origin and classification of the connecting IP address. Whether you connected completely via a VPN or partially using DNS settings – that connecting IP address was still crucial. If it was on the huge Netflix ‘not allowed list’ for whatever reason – nothing would work.
However just as using a free proxy or VPN is a very bad idea then arguably using some of these DNS codes that are floating around on enormous free DNS codes are too. The problem is that people think that there’s no real risk to changing their DNS settings on their devices because it’s not really affecting the connection. The reality is that this is completely untrue and some of the biggest and most damaging cyber crimes have actually been facilitated by fake DNS servers.
When you put a DNS servers address in your network settings, you are trusting this server to resolve and send you to the correct internet addresses. It’s actually a trivial change to send you to any website they want to. For example if you request Googles home page to search for something, a DNS server could instead send your browser to a webpage which automatically installed malware on your computer. What’s worse it could actually send you to an exact copy of the real site, or quickly route you to the malware then redirect to the correct site. So basically your DNS server could completely control your computer or whichever device you used these DNS codes on.
Please Don’t Use Free DNS Codes – They’re Not Safe
Netflix Waged War on DNS Codes Too
Unfortunately when Netflix targeted the VPN services, it also obliterated the Netflix DNS options too. In some ways the Netflix DNS codes were actually hit harder because they were so overloaded with users. Netflix blocked all connections which originated from commercial servers, which included all the Smart DNS solution servers too. In fact it wasn’t really the method which was the problem more the origin of the VPN and US DNS servers. Both the Netflix DNS codes and commercial VPNs suffered the same issues – their IP addresses didn’t work anymore to watch Netflix. It looked like the only way to Watch American Netflix was to move to the United States – not an easy option!
Instead of trying to detect concurrent users or the presence of the VPN/Proxies, Smart DNS Netflix instead just looked at the classification of the IP address which was connecting. If that IP wasn’t classified as a residential one it would get blocked instantly. So there was no US or UK DNS code that would make a difference unless the server involved was registered as a ‘home user’. Of course none of them where, all these solutions originate from vast commercial data centers – where all the servers are classified as ‘commercial’.
The only option that survived initially were the ‘free solutions’ like Hola which shared your internet bandwidth. You’d get a residential connection through these, but you’d also get umpteen unknown people surfing hard core porn through your registered address too. Using these on your own connection or computer was madness so it looked like Netflix has won.
The problem is that whatever method you use to try and access American Netflix the important factor is the connecting IP address. First it must obviously be a US IP address, but equally important it must be trusted and registered to a residential IP address range. Anything else would be considered ‘commercial’ and blocked automatically – the DNS server or DNS codes in this instance would be irrelevant.
The big problem for any circumvention method was the US residential IP addresses that were needed to access American Netflix were very hard to obtain unless you were genuinely connecting through a US home based internet connection. In fact if you wanted to watch Netflix anywhere from another country it became increasingly difficult. No-one had access to large numbers of these residential IP addresses because they were only allocated to Internet Service providers to distribute to their customers. There were some ways to obtain them but these were either expensive or basically illegal!
So No American Netflix DNS Solution Left ?
Fortunately both the VPN services and the Smart DNS providers have started to come up with solutions. Residential IP addresses to allow access to the Netflix network are not easy to get for commercial providers. Some companies have managed to get them and establish a residential server network to facilitate access to Netflix. IDC was the first company to provide a working Netflix VPN and now there’s a Smart DNS Provider too.
The company is called Smart DNS Proxy and they specialise n Smart DNS solutions. They have actually integrated some residential addresses across their networks so you can access all sorts of versions of Netflix. The few VPN providers who now support Netflix access will normally only work with UK and US versions of the site.
Smart DNS is definitely not as secure as using a VPN and may be vulnerable to other detection techniques but at the time of writing the Unblock US solution is working well. So if you’re looking for a working American Netflix DNS solution at the moment it’s your only real option.
I’m not sure how long the free trial is available for but it’s been up for some time now. It’ completely free and they require no card details or verification so literally anyone can use it. Doesn’t matter where you are, sign up, add the DNS codes and you can be watching American Netflix in a few minutes.
Surely it cannot be true! Is Netflix blocking VPNs and proxies? Are we doomed to be locked into our own crap region of Netflix or even worse are people outside the Netflix coverage locked out completely. Well the simple answer is yes, at the moment Netflix is investing a huge amount of time and resources in blocking not just proxies – they’re also blocking VPN services too! Fear not though, this article shows you how to fix Netflix VPN problems.
It’s come as a bit of a shock for many, most people go through the following stages with most region locked content.
Annoyance – tried to watch a show, video or broadcast online somewhere like YouTube, BBC or Netflix and got blocked.
Research – learn about region locking and finding out that it’s simply based on the location of your IP address
Solution – realising that if you hide your IP address by using a VPN or proxy will bypass all these blocks and let you watch whatever the hell you want!
Once you reach the last stage all those annoying blocks and filters simply disappear. You can watch anything from anywhere, irrespective of your location – for example I have sat in a Spanish bar watching the News on the BBC (UK IP address), then switched to an American IP to watch the US version of Netflix then watch some football on RTE (the Irish Broadcaster). Without a suitable VPN service none of these would be possible, for me it makes a massive difference to my viewing options.
Now over the years, many of these online broadcasters have made various attempts to thwart these efforts. In fact it would probably be safe to say the use of very simple proxy servers are now pretty much gone as far as bypassing region locking goes. There has been no such thing as a Netflix proxy free or paid that worked for many years, in fact the only major broadcaster who didn’t block proxies were the BBC but even they started doing this last year. The problem is that the use of a proxy can be detected very easily by all these sites which now makes them fairly useless.
No worries, for we still had VPN services, the virtual private network connections are encrypted and almost impossible to detect. Unfortunately these too started to suffer casualties and many broadcasters have waged a sort of half-hearted war on VPN servers too. Initially it was nothing more than individually blocking the addresses of popular ones which became too mainstream if you found your netflix vpn not working prior to 2016 it was easily remedied. It was never that bad though and usually you could just switch to another IP address and it would work fine. Unfortunately that’s looking like it’s changing too – the Netflix VPN ban was implemented towards the end of 2016.
Netflix have changed all this, they’ve really gone to war with VPN services and have actually managed to block 99% of them from working. You’ll hear many tales of woe from people who have VPN accounts set up simply to watch the US version of Netflix which no longer work. Netflix blocked VPN services every where, well very nearly all – for Netflix VPN 2017 needs something very specific.
So how to fix Netflix VPN ?
They have succeeded where many have failed by adopting a different tactic. Instead of trying to detect the VPN connections or individually identifying specific IP addresses, Netflix have focused on the origin of the VPN addresses. You see most IP addresses are grouped into two distinct groups –
Commercial IP Addresses – assigned from data centers for websites and commercial servers.
Residential IP addresses – assigned by ISPs to their customers from their internet accounts.
All the VPN and proxies came from the first category, so the VPNs all had commercial IP addresses. Netflix simply detected which group the connection was from and blocked all the commercial IP addresses whilst allowing the second category through. If you connected with a commercial IP address from a proxy or VPN to Netflix this is what you’d get this –
Suddenly almost overnight Netflix blocked VPNs, proxies and Smart DNS solutions from everywhere – they still couldn’t detect the presence of the technology – but they knew if the IP address was commercial. However there’s a solution in this video entitled Netflix Block VPN services.
Fortunately there is some hope, a couple of the most advanced VPN systems had already identified this cause and have made plans to rectify. Identity Cloaker is one of these and have introduced code to detect when the VPN is used to connect to Netflix, when it does it is relayed through a residential IP address which is allowed through. It works perfectly and should do for the foreseeable future, although the downside is that residential IP addresses like this are much more expensive so there may be some pressure on subscriptions. So if you want a VPN service specifically for Netflix you’ll need one that supports these residential addresses, that means only the sophisticated products will work and there is no best free VPN for Netflix anymore.
Identity Cloaker is now one of the only VPN/Proxy services which is not blocked by Netflix. Try the . trial here