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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Here’s one of the best of these being demonstrated in this video –
This is a program called ., 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.
Finding your IP Address on Windows – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/find-computers-ip-address#1TC=windows-vista