Using a VPN you Can Surf with a UK IP Address
When you’re online you might think that your digital identity doesn’t change very much and that it doesn’t really matter. After all we’re all equal online and the internet is completely open to everyone whoever or wherever you are – right ? Unfortunately this isn’t the case any more and huge parts of the internet are now controlled, blocked and filtered. This happens for a variety of reasons but the important point to be aware of is that control of both our personal data and web experience is slowly being taken over.
The Internet Looks Different Depending on Your Location
So let’s take something as simple as browsing the internet, your experience will vary greatly depending on one specific factor – your location. Now the internet itself isn’t really concerned where you’re from but many of the web sites you visit do care – very much indeed. Why do they care ? Well again there’s actually quite a few reasons but most of them are to do with commercial gain or government authorities.
You would think that when you visit a website it didn’t really matter where you actually are. However it does matter, a lot, in fact your experience of a site will change drastically depending on your exact location. Generally speaking the inequalities of the physical world are being shifted online – so you’ll often get a better experience from a developed rich country than you do from a poorer one.
Almost every major website will look up your physical location as soon as you visit their site. Many just use this information for marketing and research purposes but others do much more. In fact in many cases, your experience will vary greatly depending on where it determines your location to be. Most web sites do this by using your IP address.
Geo-Location from Streaming Sites
The technology is known as geo-location and as has spawned related technologies such as geo-blocking, geo-targeting and geo-filtering too. It refers to control, manipulating what you see or do online based on where you happen to be. It’s not really about nationality more to do with your current position.
The most common method of identifying your location is done by tracing your IP address, this is the unique number which is allocated to any device when it connects to the internet. This includes everything, every laptop, computer, switch , mobile phone and even your smart TV are all are allocated this network address. As well as being unique, these addresses are also allocated on a per country basis meaning that when a web site knows the address it can look up your physical location too.
They will use this information in a variety of ways, to customize what you see, switch languages or more often to filter and block what you can see. It’s the exact method that Netflix uses to determine which version of the site you use, or the way that BBC iPlayer blocks every non-UK connection. So you can see where you are determines greatly what you can access and your overall web experience.
However there is a method to take control of this, and actually bypass these filters and blocks.
How to Surf with a UK IP Address
So how do you take control? Do we have to just sit back idly by while our web browsing is censored and manipulated by the big websites? Of course, the key is being able to control this network address, if we can manipulate this then we can decide what we can see online.
If we take an example mentioned above, the BBC blocks access to anyone who tries to access from outside the UK. More specifically they block access to anyone without a UK IP address. So if we can present a UK IP address irrespective of our real location then we can watch the BBC or any other UK only website wherever we happen to be.
Using a VPN/Proxy Server to Access BBC Streaming Services
It’s actually very easy to do, to supply a fake IP then just watch this video:
VPN Used in this demonstration is called NordVPN
It’s one of the larger VPN companies but they do try and ensure access is maintained to the UK’s main media sites like the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.
Use a VPN to Change Your Location
So although you can’t actually change your IP address as it’s allocated automatically when you connect to the internet. You can though hide your IP address, by using an intermediate server to connect to the web. This is what literally millions of people do across the world, they use a VPN service with servers based in the country they need most. So many people who need to surf with UK IP address will find a service which provides access to a UK IP address range.
In fact, most of the decent VPN services will offer a wide range of servers in different countries. The one in the example – NordVPN for instance has many servers in Britain including some which have a London IP address or ones from Manchester, but they also have servers all over the world. You can merely click on a country and you’ll effectively change your IP address to that country. So although you don’t actually change IP address to UK or another country, the websites will only see the address of the VPN server. The perfect virtual private network especially for popular streaming content platforms.
Pick Your Countries and Server Locations
Most of the decent VPN companies have pretty large networks nowadays and servers in many different countries. If you want to access resources outside the UK then you should check which countries are available in each network. You shouldn’t be charged more for extra countries, most now include all their servers in the basic subscription.
You may have to pay extra if you want something very specific like residential IP addresses or dedicated IPs which you don’t share with anyone else. These sorts of options can be very useful in some circumstances but most users won’t really need them.
Best UK VPN Services
There are now a lot of these services available but you have to be careful depending on your requirements. Don’t get misled by websites who offer a super fast UK proxy service and then you find it doesn’t work with many important web sites. Lots of VPN services are blocked automatically by most of the big media sites including all the main UK TV sites.
It was at the beginning of 2017 that the BBC started to block access to all proxies, and even some VPNs – even if they came from a UK IP address list. They’ve now managed to block access to probably 80-90% of the large VPN services from accessing their sites. You’ll have a fast UK IP address sure, but it won’t work to bypass the geo-blocks on sites like the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.
If you’re not interested in these sites then the choice is much easier. There’s plenty of fast, secure and reliable VPN services available which can supply you with UK based servers. The important features to look at are as follows –
This is vital for streaming and downloading content and even general web browsing. If a VPN’s speed drops below 4Mbps it will be difficult for the majority of people to stream HD content or download large files. A VPN will normally slow down your internet connection a little purely because it adds an extra ‘hop’ on all your traffic. However this should be minimal, remember distance is important too – if you’re in the UK and route through an Australian server it’s going to be slower than a French one.
Choice of VPN Server Locations/Server Network
This is more important than the connection speed to some people. If you want to access a particular resource and it’s restricted to a specific country then you’ll need a VPN server in that location. If you want to be able to bypass global blocks then you’ll need access to as many countries as possible. Think carefully about what you need, some VPN networks aim for a global spread while others provide more servers in specific countries like the US and Europe.
This is a factor depending on what you want to use the VPN for. If your main priority is privacy then you’ll need more advanced features like obfuscation, stealth and encryption. If you’re just looking for a basic VPN to unblock geo-restricted content then you can expect to pay less. It might also be worth checking out a smart DNS solution which provides unblocking facilities
When choosing a VPN, it’s important to decide the level of encryption and which protocol you want to use. Some VPNs offer just one type of protocol, for example PPTP or L2TP/IPSec, while others offer 2-3 different options. The most common protocols are OpenVPN and IPSec which provide full encryption and protection from surveillance by governments or ISPs
VPN Security Features
VPN with a British IP That Works for BBC iPlayer
If you mainly just want to change your IP to a British one in order to access media site like the BBC then you need to choose wisely. You don’t necessarily need anything expensive just a VPN service who’s servers are not blocked. More specifically you need plenty of UK based servers, without a UK IP address you won’t get access.
If you want to use a freely available VPN service which works with the BBC then NordVPN as we’ve mentioned above is one option. They also have a reliable money back guarantee if you do have any problems. If you do choose NordVPN make sure that you use one of the following UK based servers.
UK# 1840-1847, 1850-1863, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1875-1878, 1880-1881, 1900-1901, 1903-1904, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1919-1920.
These servers are monitored and optimized for accessing BBC iPlayer.
A simple, fast and well configured VPN service is all the majority of people require to surf with UK IP address or unlock access to lot’s of other different sites across the world. The benefit also extends to countries where state level internet censorship takes place like China or Turkey, a VPN will bypass these too.
Here’s the link for the latest NordVPN discounts –
NordVPN Discount Pages
FAQ – About Surfing with a UK IP Address
This post is about ten year old and has been updated a few times. Over the years we’ve had a few questions received via email and posted in the comments. Here’s a few of these reposted and answered in case it helps anyone.
Will it really slow down my internet connection?
Using a VPN will have some impact on your connection speed simply because you’re adding an extra step in the route all your traffic takes. However much of it depends on the distance between you and the VPN server. Most of the main VPN services are very fast and have plenty of bandwidth available, so it’s really just relaying across an extra step on the internet that takes time. If you find very cheap or free VPNs then they can be extremely slow though as they’re normally overloaded too. Generally I get about 95-98% of my normal internet speed for a VPN server close by.
Does a UK VPN Connection affect everything on my computer ?
Normally yes, your browser will route through a UK connection and so will apps, email and anything else. So you’ll get UK based search results from Google and all sites will think you’re in the UK. You could actually get blocked from sites in your actual location too while it’s enabled. Some of the better VPNs like NordVPN have features like ‘split tunnelling’ which allow you to choose which goes through the VPN and what doesn’t. When you disconnect the VPN everything returns to normal.
The BBC Wants a UK TV Licence – I Don’t Have one ?
Since the BBC iPlayer has been in existence since 2007 and it has always asked if you have a UK TV licence. However at no point has it added any additional checks, so basically if you say ‘Yes, I have a TV licence’ then everything will work. So if you can handle telling a little fib then you can watch without a TV licence. Remember you can’t actually buy one outside the UK anyway. Of course, many people do have a UK TV licence and are simply travelling or on holiday.
How to Get a UK IP Address ?
Simply subscribe to a VPN service and select a UK based server when you connect. Any site will then see the UK IP address of the VPN and your real one will be completely hidden.
How Do I Get a UK IP address on my TV ? (I Can’t install the VPN Software)
Normally a VPN requires the client software installed to make it work, however there are other options. If you have other devices which require a VPN connection then you have two options – set up the VPN on your router or use something called Smart DNS which can be enabled without any client software. Both these options are available for the biggest VPN providers like NordVPN but you should check first that it’s included.