Category: TV

Is a Residential VPN Service Essential in 2019?

If you’d asked about a residential VPN service 12 months ago not many people would know what you were talking about. Although there were a few companies like Storm Proxies a residential IP provider mainly supplying addresses for use in the UK and USA. They were mainly used for people seeking that little extra privacy and in the SEO and internet marketing arenas for promoting sites and using marketing tools. However having access to a residential IP address is becoming important in another areas – bypassing region blocks.

What Exactly is a Residential VPN ?

There’s two parts to this question, most of us have probably used a VPN but that vast majority have standard IP addresses from commercial ranges.  However residential proxies and VPNs have IP addresses from residential range.  The likelihood is that your standard internet connection almost certainly already have one. If you go to any of the check my IP address type sites and look at your public IP address, it’s normally been assigned by your internet provider. Your modem or router will be assigned this by your ISP to establish your internet connection. Here’s mine, heavily censored obviously –

Residential vpn service

Residential IP Address

– it is assigned by British Telecom, whom I have the misfortune to be a customer, they allocate that address and it’s pretty much out of my control.    The address can be classified as a UK Residential IP Address and that in itself has many implications for example;

  • Can Watch BBC iPlayer and all UK TV channels
  • Blocked Access if I try and watch Hulu or NBC
  • Search Engines Set to UK Results
  • Netflix will Route to the UK version only

That’s only the start but it gives you an idea about how your IP address controls what you can do online.  Of course, many people weren’t happy about all this filtering, blocking and redirection.  They wanted to watch the BBC News when on holiday, watch the rugby from Ireland and knew that the US version of Netflix was way better than any other one.

Here’s one in action –

The solution was simple enough – to hide your real IP address and instead relay your connection through a proxy or VPN service.  This was a perfect way to access any web site you liked, especially as most of the best services offered a range of servers in different countries.   At the click of a button you could switch from a UK address to watch the BBC, then switch to a US server to enjoy your Hulu subscription.

The important thing was having access to a server physically located in the country you needed, nothing else mattered – until now.  

Unfortunately it looks like it’s going to get much more complicated in the future and we can probably thank the media giant Netflix for this.  In a few short weeks they have effectively blocked 99% of the VPN servers used to access their site.   Not only have Netflix blocked access based on the location of the IP address, they have also restricted any connections from commercial IP addresses.   The problem is virtually every VPN service uses a commercial IP address as they are housed in data centers across the world.   You can get residential VPNs from specialist providers but they are extremely expensive, suppliers like proxyrack you usually have to go on a waiting list to get a residential VPN.

There are Very Few Residential VPN USA Available Anywhere

It doesn’t matter how advanced your VPN or proxy solution is, if it doesn’t have a residential IP address there’s some tasks which are going to get blocked automatically.     These residential IP addresses however are mostly reserved for domestic customers – you can get one easily for your home connection but it’s very difficult to get a range to support VPN services in different countries.  You definitely can’t just buy residential IPs to use like you can with standard commercial address ranges.   The other worry is that when other media companies see the huge success that Netflix has had in blocking VPN access they are likely to follow suit.

dns-trick

Many platforms now distinguish between connections originating from these different IP ranges.  Nearly all the large social media platforms for instance automatically detect these.  This doesn’t mean that you’ll get blocked from a commercial range after all lots of people use these platforms from work or from commercial networks.  What it does mean is that your account or connection will be flagged as originating from this sort of range.  Many people who promote or manage numerous Instagram accounts have reported issues until they’ve started routing their accounts through private residential proxies.

Finding a VPN Network with Lots of residential IPs

There is some hope,  Identity Cloaker  have come up with a solution by integrating residential US IP addresses into their infrastructure.  They are not used all the time, but merely when a connection is made to the Netflix site – it is automatically routed through a US residential VPN.  You can see this working in this video rather confusingly called Using a Proxy for Netflix which shows how a UK viewer can access the US version of Netflix through a VPN without issues.  They have limited numbers though, so this solution is not suitable for managing multiple accounts or high volume activites.

For access to US Netflix from anywhere try out the . and see how well it works for all the world’s major media sites including US Netflix.

If  you want any volume of residential IP addresses for running SEO tools, Bots for buying from various sites and similar then you’ll need to go direct to the residential vpn providers.   The problem is a single IP address is ok for watching a movie but pretty much useless for any sort of automated tool, in fact you’re going to need access to a significant amount to stop them being banned.  The best providers have a variety of systems to make this accessible including rotating and backconnect proxies which effectively rotate the IP address automatically.

Here’s the best one by far, which you can test out for 48 hours without commitment

Storm

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. If you don’t want security and just want the easiest method to watch British TV without using a VPN there’s another option suggested at the end of this article.

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) on these devices 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 whenever needed to view abroad.   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 Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad on iPad – Step by Step

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 trial first 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 are also undetectable so you you won’t have the common issues that many services have with BBC iPlayer detecting VPN connections and blocking them.  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 – free trial of Smart DNS.

British IP Proxy for a UK IP Address

Many people end up on this site, because they’re looking for a method to change their IP address to a UK one, for instance using a British IP proxy.

There’s a variety of different reasons for this, quite often it’s British Expats who have moved abroad and still want to watch the BBC or ITV, some people who just like UK Television or simply those who realize that a British IP address is much less likely to get blocked or filtered than their own.  Even things like academic subscriptions have restrictions – read here about how Oxford University Press restrict access based on your IP address.

British IP proxy

funny but completely irrelevant

It’s kind of sad really, the internet used to be a very level playing field, and one that was open and accessible to everyone – irrespective of location.

Those times have changed though, and wherever you are based you’ve probably come across one of those “video not available in your country” or “sorry that’s not available” type messages.  The reality is web filtering and blocking is becoming increasingly common,  even if you’re based in somewhere like Europe or the USA.   Having said that the likelihood of it happening increases greatly if you’re in a country like Turkey, China or Iran whose governments heavily filter the internet.

In any case, although these blocks are common place, there’s no doubt that having something like a US or UK IP address means that you’ll get denied a lot less often.  In fact if you use the advice  in this post, you can actually ensure you’ll never get blocked at all, ever.

 But let’s start with getting something from a UK IP address list.  Your IP address is the number (internet protocol number) assigned to you when you connect to the internet.  It is actually completely unique to you and can also used to link you to a specific location.  Most of the major web sites do this when you connect, they look up your IP address and then check your location.  If you’re in the UK, your ISP will only assign addresses from a UK IP address range.

Why You Need a British IP Proxy if You Travel

So why is this a problem?  Well just have a look at this screenshot, which I took last week when I was waiting for a plane in a Turkish airport.

uk ip address example

As you can see it didn’t work, a polite but firm message informing me that I could only watch the BBC iPlayer when I’m in the UK.  It’s been like that for many years and it doesn’t matter where you are – France,  Spain, Canada, Japan or the US – anywhere outside the UK and you’ll be blocked.   The reason is that you won’t have a British IP address which is the mechanism the site uses to control access.

You’ll see exactly the same thing happen on thousands of other sites.   Try and access Hulu from outside the USA or the music site Pandora, then exactly the same happens.  It wouldn’t perhaps matter so much if these were small unimportant sites, but the reality is that most of the biggest, best and most important media sites on the internet do this.  What’s more the number of sites doing this is growing all the time.

But fortunately there is a way to bypass these blocks by hiding your real IP address as and when you require. You can also show the site you’re visiting a completely different one if you need as well.  It’s all done through using an intermediary server which sits between you and the web site your visiting.  These servers are called proxies and you can use them to bypass virtually any country based filter.  You just use a proxy in the correct country before you visit the site – so a UK IP proxy will allow you access to the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 for example.

In fact there’s now a mini industry built up giving people access to a variety of these proxies in different places, precisely to bypass these blocks.  There are even a few that sell a software tool so you can simply click at the country you need and they do the rest.  Which means you can switch from using a UK proxy online to a US one, simply by clicking on the right server.

It’s Simple to Use a UK Web Proxy to Change to a UK IP Address

 Here’s one of the best UK proxy programs being demonstrated in this video –


This is a program called Identity Cloaker, a security program that as well as protecting your internet connection by encrypting everything you do, also allows you to hide your real location when you need to.  So you just click on the country you need and that will be the IP address assigned to your connection.  Switch from UK for the BBC, choose an Irish IP for RTE, grab a US address for American only sites like Hulu and so on. It takes literally a minute to switch from country to country.

If you’ve ever been blocked or filtered from a site this is your solution.  It also works if you live in a country which blocks websites itself. It’s very popular in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Thailand for example both to hide your location, bypass blocks and keep your browsing private.

Additional Information

Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – I can recommend the 10 day trial subscription here to try it out first.

Finding your IP Address on Windows – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/find-computers-ip-address#1TC=windows-vista

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 trial 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.