Tag: entertainment

BBC iPlayer Proxy – Using One Abroad in 2018

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.  ye with the onset of Brexit, it’s unlikely the BBC will bother doing anything about this now.

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!) 

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 to use an American Proxy for Netflix – Access in UK or Outside USA?

I’ve just cancelled my Sky cable service, I realised that my wife and I rarely watched any of the channels. In effect we were paying the £65 monthly subscription (that’s $98!)  for my youngest to watch reruns of Scooby Doo on one of the kids channels. This we decided was not great value for money so I went in search for more options in the world of online media and streaming services.  After some investigation and recommendations from a couple of US friends – I decided Netflix was worth a go and signed up for a month.

So here we go – my shiny new subscription to Netflix already streaming mindless rubbish to my 14 year old son.

American Proxy

Screen from the Netflix UK site

Now don’t get me wrong, I was quite impressed – there’s loads of shows and lots of choice.  The interface builds up your preferences from what you watch – which is clever except when  you have a teenager watching South Park all the time which messes up your selection.  The missus and I settled down to watch episode one of a series that we’d somehow missed but everyone else in the universe had been enthralled by – Lost.   So all was good except I kept searching for new stuff recommended by some Americans, and couldn’t find them.

It turns out that the UK and the US versions of Netflix are very, very different.  In fact from my initial research it seems that the American version of Netflix is much better than all the other country variants, even just over the border – Canadian Netflix isn’t anywhere near as good, unfortunately it’s not easy to get the U.S. Netflix.

How to use an American Proxy for Netflix in the UK?

Just as every online service in existence, where you live determines what you can access and as often is the case the best value if to be found in America.

Fortunately  there is a way around this, by changing your IP address and tricking the Netflix application about your location you can access the American version of Netflix fairly easily.  I’d read online and everything pointed to using a proxy server and more specifically a US proxy site.  This was partly true, although the information was slightly out of date and unfortunately even the best proxy server would no longer work as Netflix blocked them.   There are in fact only a couple of services which still work and they use a more sophisticated VPN proxy which is harder to detect.

Now I use two separate services for switching my location and keeping my connection secure, both are fast, easy to use and well supported – Identity Cloaker and Overplay.

In this instance I’ll use Overplay to switch my location to a US one –

Accessing US Version Netflix

At the top you can see the Overplay application, which is pointing at a US server – you just select the country you need from a list.  Now when I start Netflix I am treated as a US surfer and use an American proxy for Netflix which has loads more content and is much more up to date than the UK version.  Netflix operates as a global company so it’s important to highlight that my account is still a UK one, but will change as I move location.  So if I was physically in the USA – my UK account would show the US version of Netflix.

You can use any VPN or DNS based service to change versions like this, Overplay and Identity Cloaker are definitely worth trying though as they are by far the best value out of any I’ve tried. Here’s a good video on YouTube which illustrates –

Incidentally this method is based on the PC, you can use similar methods on lots of other devices, like Wii, Routers etc.  For iPad – try this post and select a US server instead of a UK one, before you connect to the Netflix site.

Update: 01/03/2018
You may have heard that Netflix is waging war on VPNs and Smart DNS programs and you can forget an American proxy, effectively blocking all of them. Only a couple of VPNs now work with the US version of Netflix – the fastest is the program I use Identity Cloaker – who have developed a system which bypasses the Netflix blocks – works great.

What is Internet Filtering (and How Can you Beat it)?

This is becoming a more and more important question as we spend an increasing amount of time online. What exactly is internet filtering and should we learn to live with it or try and bypass it at every turn?

It’s probably best to start with some background, and define some of the types of filtering you’ll find online and who enforces them. All sorts of people could potentially be filtering your internet access, largely dependent upon your location and situation. Governments often filter extensively – places like China, Thailand and Iran heavily restrict what you can see or do online. More worryingly many places monitor rather than block which has led to many bloggers for instance being imprisoned for merely expressing an opinion online.

Web Filtering
More democratic nations are also starting to increase the amount of filtering they engage in. Australia seems very keen to introduce an extensive filtering system whilst Iceland are proposing to block internet porn completely from their country.

There are also more understandable filtering which takes place in your workplace, schools or colleges generally to prevent individuals accessing inappropriate sites or spending their working days on Facebook!

Surprisingly though all this filtering is usually obtained through very similar methods. Your local college is liable to be filtering your internet feed using the same methods as the Sudanese Government. If you decide you do want to beat internet filtering – then here’s two of the main methods used;

Filtering TCP/IP Headers

Every TCP/IP packet consists of two main sections, the header and the data. Inside the header you’ll find the destination IP address effectively where the request is being sent to. A simple but popular method of internet filtering is to maintain a list of ‘blocked IP addresses’ any request sent to these addresses is either dropped or blocked. It’s nto a very effective method though and means spending a long time keeping an up to date list of IP addresses and servers. It also often ends up blocking legitimate sites by mistake.

Filtering Based on Content

A more sophisticated method which involves looking at the data in the packet and not simply the address from the header. It usually involves an investment in new hardware to enable content filtering. This method is much more configurable and will allow blocks on inappropriate content such as porn, gambling etc without the reliance on maintaining a static list of sites.

It’s not perfect and there are still ways to beat this method of internet filtering too, it can also heavily impact the speed of the connection as well.

There are many variants of these methods and of course you’ll find lots of different security configurations employed as well in many organisations. For example many companies will only allow outgoing web requests out through a single server address normally a controlled proxy server. This is to stop people using the free basic web proxy servers that you find over the internet.

So Can You Beat Internet Filtering?

The simple answer is that you normally can. Evading the simple TCP/IP header filters is relatively straight forward – just finding a proxy server which does not have it’s IP address listed will normally do the trick.

Obviously it’s more difficult if you’re faced by a sophisticated content filter like BT Clean Feed, Websense or Optinet. These are actually looking in the data for both web addresses and specific keywords or patterns in the content itself. The simplest way to stop these content filters blocking you is to make your browsing unreadable by encrypting it. Encrypting your data means that the filters can’t actually see what is in the data in order to make a decision, when combined with a proxy server you can normally beat most internet filters.

Take a look at this video, which demonstrates how Hide IP Software actually works.

If you need a product that does this and more – then take a look at . , it has the technology to encrypt and cloak your protection plus access to an extensive network of proxies all over the globe – servers in the United States, Britain, France, Canada and many more across the world. You can use it for complete seclusion, to circumvent web filtering,censorship or even just to watch Hulu, BBC Iplayer or any media site you enjoy. The proxy will shield your IP address and the encryption will protect your data from logging and content filters.