Category: TV

BBC iPlayer Proxy – Using One Abroad in 2019

For many years now, there’s been a worrying trend developing on the internet.  What was once all free and open is now hidden behind paywalls or being blocked and censored.  Sometimes it’s whole governments but more often it’s down to commercial companies.  Take for example the BBC, their wonderful iPlayer application is hugely popular but if you step outside the United Kingdom then you’ll be instantly blocked.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve a large standing order paying for your TV license, if you’re not in the UK you can’t watch it.

There was some hope, that the European Union would solve this problem as they were trying to implement a ‘single digital market” which would make it illegal to block access like this.  Yet with the onset of Brexit, it’s unlikely the BBC will bother doing anything about this now. There’s also the new subscription channel called Britbox – https://www.britbox.com/home which is available in the US and Canada, obviously it’s not as good as the full channels but it’s got lots of decent shows.

The businesses involved have decided they prefer a sort of restrictive model that also makes them lots of cash. So now people get filtered based on their location – for example forget watching BBC Iplayer proxy in the US or Japan for free, it’s not going to happen (well not without some sneakiness of course). Yep and the lovable BBC have decided against the public spirited World Service model of sending out their content for free, instead they restrict it just to people in the UK.

This is especially annoying for the people like me who already pay the license fee but can’t watch the BBC when they’re out of the country. But don’t worry here’s a way which will allow you to access anything you like including the Beebs iplayer, Hulu irrespective of your location.  It doesn’t matter where you’re based, you can choose.  The solution works in most scenarios so for an example – here’s how to use a proxy to access BBC Iplayer outside the UK.

BBC Iplayer Proxy Workaround.

Firing up BBC Iplayer outside the UK you’ll pretty soon try and watch something and be greeted with the following message.

BBC proxy

Ha Ha No IPlayer for You

It looks like some technical wizardry of the highest order, but fortunately for us it’s not.  When we connect to BBC Iplayer, the site records your IP address and looks up which country it’s registered in – if it’s a UK IP address the show will start playing otherwise you get the above platitude. Now for these illustrations I’m going to use my subscription to Identity Cloaker, you used to be able to use free proxies but they no longer work unfortunately.

There are a couple of free uk proxy server services but they finance themselves by inserting adware on your computer and some even share your out your internet connection, stay clear !!  In the good old days you could also use things like foxy proxy and the extremely dodgy hola firefox too.

BBC iplayer proxy chrome

Choose a UK Proxy for IPlayer

I just open Identity Cloaker and scroll down to select one of the UK proxies and that’s it.  From this point even though I’m connecting through the Wifi at an overpriced Spanish hotel in Barcelona – it doesn’t matter.  The BBC will think I’m in the UK as it looks at the IP address of the proxy server and not mine. So using a BBC proxy works incredibly well, here’s what I see now.

Firefox VPN

Latest Dr Who from BBC Iplayer

Here’s a video of the process …that I hope explains it.

Instead of the warning when watching the BBC through a UK iPlayer proxy I get the play button and can watch whatever I want.  You’ll also be able to access the live TV streams when connected too. In fact the IP check is at start of the show so if I need to I can just disconnect from the proxy using Identity Cloaker software and stream it directly through my Spanish connection. Is it enough to cheer me up after just having my wallet stolen in a Barcelona bar?

Well probably not but being a fanatical Dr Who fan it might just save me from an evening spent drowning my sorrows drinking overpriced San Miguel from the minibar.

(Note to all visiting Barcelona  – if some nice couple seem overly concerned about marks you have on the back of your jacket and offer to help you.  Then run away/call police – you are having your wallet stolen – yes I did fall for it!) 

Finding a BBC iPlayer Proxy Free – Alas No Longer

Just for the record – you can unfortunately no longer use the free proxy services for this, the BBC have blocked them all and many of the commercial VPN services too.  Any of the companies who openly advertise the BBC on their website will often find themselves targeted by the BBC legal and technical teams – it’s best to be low key which is why the best services don’t mention the iPlayer specifically.

Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – I can recommend the 10 day . if you’re just away on a trip or holiday, or just to see if it works.  There are loads of other services who offer something similar though, but this is simply the one I found to be fastest and best value.  I’ve been using it for over 8 years now as a BBC proxy without a problem and it also works for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky GO.

If you want to watch using an Ipad, Smartphone or tablet you can use Identity Cloaker too just by setting up a VPN manually on pretty much any other device.  Yes for BBC iPlayer proxy ipad too. – try this post about watching BBC Iplayer on the Ipad Abroad.

How Can I Get a Fake UK IP Address

So why would anyone want to change their address to a fake IP address perhaps a UK one? There are a variety of reasons actually but the usual answer is either accessing TV or they’ve been blocked/banned from some forum somewhere and want to get back on with a fake IP online.  Anyway there is an answer for  people who want to watch the UK TV channels on the internet from anywhere in the world.  It also works if you’ve been banned from your favorite forum because some moderator just decided to ban you.
So whether it’s a pining for Match of the Day, the BBC News, documentaries or any of the wonderful UK TV channels that are only accessible to those who have a UK IP address, or disguising yourself so you can rejoin a forum – the answer is here.

Why So Many People Use a Fake UK IP Address

The problem is that the BBC, ITV and Channel Four like most media companies online use something called geotargeting. It all sounds a bit geeky and technical but in fact is rather simple. It’s a shortened term for geographical targeting and is a simple way for a website to deliver different content to readers in different locations.

Here’s a very simple example – here’s a search conducted with a US IP address for an electrician –

fake uk ip address

You can see that the search engine has looked at the location based on my IP address and given me US based results.  However on the very same computer if I use a fake UK IP address – the same search yields quite different web addresses.

fake ip england

I now get results based on electricians in the UK rather than the USA.  Which is of course exactly what I need if I was in the United Kingdom at the time.   Google looks at your IP address when you connect and uses that information to tailor it’s results and adverts.

So in this situation geotargeting is actually quite useful and you’ll find nearly all big web sites will use this technique to some extent.   Unfortunately often it’s a case of blocking access rather than customising  your content.  For instance every large media site does this – Hulu, NBC, BBC, ITV, M6 Replay etc.

How The Web Site Determines Your Location from Your IP Address

It’s actually a very simple procedure, the moment you connect to a web site, your IP address is recorded.  It is then looked up in a Country directory or database.  All these sites have access to a complete UK IP address list so it.s a simple check, it’s quite easy to do for your own websites too.

You can access one of these country databases from companies like Maxmind, download it and load it into a database or a spreadsheet. You can pay for a service or just run your own scripts to determine which country a particular IP address is registered to.

So this is what happens every time you get blocked from accessing a resource online because you have the ‘wrong’ IP address.  So for instance here’s what you need to use the following sites –

There are obviously many more.  One of the problems is many of the people who are blocked are just travelling, working abroad or Ex-Pats who just miss their home TV stations.

But of course it wasn’t long before people figured a way to bypass these restrictions.  Initially discovering that you could use proxy servers to sit between you and the website you were trying to access.   The proxy server IP address was the one that was visible so you could use a UK proxy for the BBC and a US proxy for sites like NBC and Hulu.  In the early days (up until about 2005) you could even find and use a UK proxy online, for no charge at all although there was still a significant risk of malware and viruses using them.  Nice to get the option of using a UK proxy free of charge though, as some would be happy to risk it.

So now a mini industry has built up supplying proxies and VPNs to allow people to access the sites they wish.  The very best of them supply you with a huge list of servers in different countries so that you never need to get blocked again.   Many openly advertise themselves as TV proxy services but I’d be careful with those as they tend to get shut down. There’s some useful advice in this video about fake ip addresses and proxies.

In reality though, nowadays you do need something fairly sophisticated like Identity Cloaker,   which I consider the best UK proxy solution.  Unfortunately using a simple UK web proxy isn’t going to work anymore.  Although it’s not that hard to find a proxy with a UK ip address range, every major media site now blocks them automatically.

Of course I use  Identity Cloaker whose software is easy to use and offers access to servers in about a dozen different countries (including USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and quite a few more).It works with just a click of a button and you can change your address to a US or a fake UK IP address or whatever you require.

Their trial offer is here – . .  

You can see it in action on this page – Watching BBC Iplayer – there’s a video towards the bottom of the page you can watch too.

There are loads of other services available though, but be careful as it’s easy to set up a proxy server and sling up a fancy TV web site.  The hard part is providing fast, secure servers especially important if you’re going to be streaming video from the like of Hulu and the BBC.

Where to Buy Residential Proxies

It seems a very long time since I first starting playing around with proxy servers, indeed it was about 1996 when I had the opportunity to start playing around with them. I worked in a technical college and we were donated a hugely expensive Sun Sparc which nobody had a clue what to do with (including me) with a connection to JANET. Fortunately as it was a college, in the summer everyone disappeared bar a few full time staff and I had days and weeks to play around with my new toy and I read a document written from CERN about proxies by Ari Luotonen. I started to learn about proxies and even bought Ari’s book when he released it a few years later – Web Proxy Servers.

Where to Buy Residential Proxies

The technology was pretty exciting and new, in fact the first proxies were developed in the CERN labs alongside the birth of HTTP and the world wide web. Proxies even became a source of employment, as the internet age developed and we moved to a world where everyone wanted and expected the internet at their workplace. These web proxies were essential in controlling and managing internet access to corporate networks. Of course, as web presences developed there was even more ‘proxy based’ support work with the requirements reverse proxies being installed on coporate networks and datacentres to protect the back end servers too.

However fast forward to 2019 and I probably spend more time using proxies than setting them up and fixing them. Frankly it’s easier to let other people deal with the headaches of securing, configuring and optimizing servers which are almost always hammered most of the time. So I have become a bit of an expert in the proxy service market place too, which can be extremely bewildering when you first venture into it. Anyway the point of this post is in response to a couple of questions I got mailed to me on this site – basically where to buy residential proxies ?

When you’re looking online for proxies for whatever task, most of their descriptions now refer not to the specific technology but rather the IP addresses that they are allocated. So for instance you’ll hear about US proxies or datacentre proxies which basically refer to their location and the classification of the IP addresses they are assigned. As many of these servers are used to hide the client’s location, where and what the IP address is has become extremely important. If I want to use one to watch UK television for example then it needs a British IP address assigned to it other wise it won’t work. You can read all about what it takes to be a BBC proxy in another post on this site. Similarly as well as location, there is another component – whether the proxy uses IP addresses which are classified as residential IPs or commercial ones. A residential IP address is normally assigned by an ISP to home internet connections, so is among the most trustworthy of IP addresses available online. Which is why marketers, researchers, and spammers all prize these addresses highly – they make you look like an innocent home user.

Where to Buy Residential Proxies

So if you’re looking to place multiple adverts on Craigslist, buy limited edition sneakers or simply trying to run a number of Instagram accounts to fund your lifestyle then residential addresses are the ones you probably need. Herein lies a little problem as the reason they are so trusted is because they’re normally only assigned by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to ordinary users who sign up for broadband accounts with them. Therefore they’re very tricky to get hold of to exploit for commercial purposes but they’re definitely needed.

Just for illustration, for my security and privacy needs (as well as watching the BBC) I have used for many years the excellent Identity Cloaker. It’s fine for bypassing some blocks and great for online anonymity and security yet the vast majority of it’s IP addresses are from commercial ranges so for some purposes they won’t work. Lots of websites have determined that if you’re coming from a commercial IP range then there’s a high change you’re using a proxy server (particularly if there are multiple connections). So if you’re trying to run numerous online marketing tasks then you’re likely to get block or filtered very quickly.

Many businesses and marketers for example run multiple Instagram accounts in order to promote their businesses or products. It’s well known for being a great platform for doing promotional posts on. However if you run lots of accounts from commercial addresses you’re much likely to get flagged by Instagram as a commercial user and your accounts banned, restricted or even deleted. Yet if you run these from a proxy with a range of residential IP addresses then you’re much, much safer. The same can be said for hundreds of other platforms and E-commerce sites, residential IP addresses are great camouflage.

But as we mentioned earlier they are much, much harder to obtain. Fortunately though some of the more advanced companies have managed to establish decent networks of residential IP ranges to assign to their servers. These used to be very expensive but new technology like backconnect and rotating servers have brought the unit price down significantly.

Here’s are the companies I currently use to supply me with residential proxies. I like to use different companies as it helps rotate the addresses used with my various accounts.

Storm Proxies – these guys seriously know what they’re doing and have been around for many years. they have a fast 1GB network with thousands of proxies with all sorts of IP ranges including a large selection of residential addresses. You can also buy proxies optimised (usually means not used and blacklisted) for lots of different platforms for marketing on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and lots of others. Crucially they own the hardware that their proxies run on, whereas many firms simply rent or lease their servers. This improves support and gives them much more control on configuration of the services.

Rotating Proxies  – a new find for me and I’m quite pleased about them.  Recommended by a friend who runs a huge number of very profitable social media accounts, they have lots of different types of proxies include some great residential ones.  The ones I was recommended are the premium dedicated residential proxies. They’re all super fast and have unmetered bandwidth, so you don’t have to worry about building up bills.  They’re not as cheap as rotating and shared proxies but generally much safer because only you are using them,  Unfortunately they only have US IP addresses at the moment but hoping that might change.

Now I’ve used a few others, but currently for residential addresses these seem to work best at least for my activities.  There is one other company which you should be aware of, if only because they have by far the largest network of residential IP addresses.  They’re called Luminati and have an enormous residential IP address network which dwarfs anybody else.   I have used them in the past and it’s a very decent network with some of the best speeds for residential addresses.   However these are not cheap residential proxies.  They’re actually quite expensive but you can lower the costs by using their filtering options at the proxy dashboard which an adviser will help you with.

The reason that their network is so huge is that they’ve built it by creating an enormous P2P network.  Residential users sign up for their free VPN service called Hola and in exchange allow the part use of their connection and computer.   These millions of users are providing the residential addresses used by Luminati’s commercial network.  I’m not entirely comfortable witht hsi method and would certainly never use Hola  myself, but to be fair they have improved the visibility of their terms and conditions.  Mind you I’d bet that a large percentage of users probably have no idea that they’re sharing their computer and connection in exchange for the free VPN.  It does work though and means that you can grab residential IP addresses from virtually anywhere in the world from their 186 million users !!! I have to say if I was using other peoples money and marketing for a big client, I’d probably use them as they are the most business legitimate proxy company.

Finding an Australian Proxy to Watch Videos and Media Sites

If you’ve ever had a need to find an Australian proxy to watch videos then you’ve probably discovered that it’s not easy. Actually finding a decent free one is pretty much impossible – believe me I’ve tried. The reason I’ve tried is that I have a few friends from Sydney who are working in the UK for a little while and they really miss their TV shows and news from ABC (the Australian one). Now normally I wouldn’t be arsed about this – from what I’ve heard Aussie TV is pretty awful. However this bunch are great and I guess you get homesick so I wanted to try and help them out.

To access the shows and stuff on ABC they have a system a bit like BBC Iplayer but their version is called IView. It only allows you to stream shows not download them and unfortunately like the majority of these sites – most of the content is Geo-Blocked. Basically it means that if you connect from outside Australia then you’ll get blocked from viewing.

Australian Proxy to Watch Videos

Blocked to copyright reasons, digital rights – blah, blah, blah, which is what you’ll get for any non-Australian IP address. So you need to view using an Australian VPN or proxy to watch most of the content on the ABC site. If you want to try and find a free proxy to use then this site is probably the best chance – Proxies filtered by country. I looked for a few days and never found one fast enough to stream video unfortunately but you might be luckier.

The other free option I looked at was to use TOR and Foxy Proxy. Basically this has the same problem with finding an Australian exit node which works well _ I’d give this a miss unless you have about 10 hours a day spare (every day!).

After making some calls I discovered that one of the main reasons that Australian proxies are so hard to find is that bandwidth costs are extremely expensive in Australia and so running an open proxy will get extremely expensive very quickly. These costs unfortunately are reflected in the private companies who offer these services as well – they’re either very expensive or completely overloaded. The vast majority don’t even bother with Australian servers due to the high cost.   In fact they’re nearly as expensive as some of the residential ip providers which you only currently need for Netflix.

So I’ve highlighted two companies which offer the best deals – both offer very reasonable subscriptions and short term/trial options which don’t lock you into automatic subscriptions (which many do!). They both also include Australian servers as well as servers in loads of other countries – e.g US for American sites like Hulu, NBC and Pandora and UK for the BBC Iplayer. Lots of other countries included for free as well.

Here’s one in action from Youtube…..

It’s entitled Using an Australian Proxy if you want to watch it here on YouTube site.

Don’t sign up for a long subscription with anyone initially. There can be routing and speed problems to Australian proxies from some ISPs – you should check with a trial or short account first. Although check out the Aussie sites you need first, ABC for instance seems to change – some of the content is accessible to anyone a lot of the time. You might not even need to change VPN to Australia, check first that you are actually being blocked – you might save yourself some cash 🙂

Aussie Proxy/VPN Recommendations.

Anyway I checked a load of these services and here’s my favorite, better than everything else I looked at.

Identity Cloaker – Have now added some Australian proxies to their subscription, they have more servers but perhaps less countries (focus on UK and USA servers) than the other top services.  However personally I prefer fast servers in specific countries rather than servers all over the place.

The Australian proxy servers were very quick with the latest version of Identity Cloaker software which uses a compression algorithm to speed it up. Use the . to test, very good support.

Update -2019 – Found another one and it’s fantastic for Australian channels (and lots of other stuff).  It’s actually a Smart DNS solution and you don’t really need and Australian proxy to watch videos anymore. the advantage of this is that the entire connection isn’t streamed through another server which makes it much quicker. What’s more you don’t need to take my word for it as they have a free trial here.

 

 

How to Watch BBC Iplayer Abroad on Ipad From Outside the UK

This page is for all of those who get really fed up that the minute we step outside the UK all the online UK TV sites stop working. Especially of course the BBC iPlayer, which many of us use everyday! If you want to watch BBC Iplayer on a PC/Laptop – Try this post first – How to Use a Proxy to access Iplayer – below follows step by step instructions on using BBC iPlayer abroad on your iPad.

I’ve been using the VPN function of Identity Cloaker for several years to access the BBC abroad on my computer. However I often get emails about whether you can use it on different devices to watch BBC, ITV and other online TV players. Well you can use it on most devices, including Smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Anyway here’s simply how to set up Identity Cloaker on the iPad, the steps for an iPhone, Mac or Android Device are pretty similar too- details if you’re using Identity Cloaker are in the members area.

Accessing the BBC Iplayer (and ITV player) is actually pretty simple to do.  The reason is that the vast majority of their security servers are VPN enabled. That means  all you have to do is set a simple VPN connection on your IPad to a specific server and then you can enable it when required.   The functionality is built into the iPad so nothing too difficult is required – let’s show an example for accessing the BBC Iplayer channels abroad.

So How Can You Watch BBC Iplayer Abroad? Even From the US on Your IPad?

Right, so most of us have discovered that if you happen to be outside the UK, then the BBC Iplayer won’t work properly.  When you connect to the IPlayer site it checks your IP address to see where you are located.  If it discovers that you are connecting from outside the United Kingdom then you won’t be able to watch anything ! To be fair, BBC Iplayer is not the only media site to do this.   Hulu blocks all non-US access – the same goes for ABC, NBC and Pandora too. The great little media player from the French broadcaster M6Replay is also limited to access within France (if you know someone learning French get them to check it out – it’s great practice watching the Simpsons in French!)

The solution on the PC is very simple, you just use something like Identity Cloaker to conceal your true IP address and present one from the correct country.  The solution is actually similar on the IPad (you can use the same technique on the Mac/Iphone/Ipod as well) – you just need to connect to a server based in the UK (or which ever country you need).

For this all you need to do is to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to the country in question, for the BBC it’s obviously the UK. This video shows the steps needed, it’s called Setting up a VPN on an iPad

How to Enable a VPN on your Ipad from Neil Greenhoff.
If you prefer pictures, then here’s how you set up the VPN on the iPad it takes about a minute if  you have the information to hand.   Just set it up, enable the VPN and you’ll be watching the BBC Player outside UK borders in no time at all.

On your iPad –

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

This should bring you to this screen –

how to watch bbc iplayer abroad on ipad

You can see in this screen I’ve already set up a US VPN which I use for Hulu and Pandora.  Here you just need to select Add VPN Configuration and you should reach this screen.

Identity Cloaker ipad

It looks complicated but honestly it’s not.

You just need to leave it set to L2TP at the top and then put the following details in.  You’ll need to get the details from Identity Cloaker for section 2 and 6 which you can find in their members area.  If you’re using a different VPN provider it’s likely you’ll have to do the same (although a couple publish the information I think)

  1. Description – Give it a name like UK VPN, US VPN then you can select quickly which country you need
  2. Server – Get the enabled VPN server names from the members area.
  3. Account Name – Your IDC Username
  4. RSA SecurID – Ignore this
  5. Password – Your IDC password.
  6. Secret – Get the VPN Secret Name from the members area.
That’s the tricky bit over with, next click Save from the top right hand corner.  The next step is to enable your VPN connection.
Connecting to the UK VPN
To do this you simply select whichever VPN configuration that you need, so if you’re in the US and want to watch the BBC then create and enable a UK VPN.  In this screen just select enable and it will turn on your VPN – this will route your connection through the UK VPN servers.
The status will change to connected and in the top left hand side of your Ipad it will show that the VPN is connected like this.
UK VPN Connected
When this VPN is connected, all your traffic is encrypted and routed through whichever server you are connected to.  It’s best to disconnect after watching unless you want all your browsing routed through the UK.
Be careful when you’re choosing a service to use on your iPad, if you search online you’ll see many posts about a BBC iPlayer VPN not working.   This is because most of these services have been blocked by the BBC and other channels so you won’t be able to watch any UK TV abroad on iPad if you use these.  Pick a proper security service like Identity Cloaker not one the TV streaming vpns, they’re easy to detect and don’t work anymore.
If you haven’t got Identity Cloaker yet – I can definitely recommend it, it’s probably best to try the . 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 .  They have many UK and US servers plus ones in France, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Australia to name but a few – all included in the subscription.  It’s also one of the few services which allows you to watch Sky Go abroad too, but you’ll need a valid subscription first.
Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – I can recommend the 10 day trial subscription here to try it out first.
This method may work with other VPN providers who have set their servers up properly though – just ask them.   I have just discovered another interesting alternative for those of us looking on how to watch bbc iplayer abroad on ipad. It’s called Smart DNS, it’s arguably easier that using a VPN especially on devices like iPads.  It’s called Smart DNS and only takes two minutes to set up, if you follow the instructions – what’s more they have a free trial which you can test here – ..