There are some Internet services and websites that is been restricted or viewable by visitors from continent of United States of America (USA), and most likely Canada only. Most of the restrictions are placed on video streaming contents which may subject to copyright, or sites that target specific audiences only.
Some of the free contents services that restrict block viewers and visitors from outside of United States (some does permit Canada) including the following, together with the error messages that accompanied on the inaccessible pages, embedded video clips or contents.
Sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed from within the United States. (Hulu, a popular video hosting service offering high-quality streaming video of TV shows and movies, primarily from NBC and FOX and their cable networks.)
We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. (Pandora)
Veoh is no longer available in COUNTRY_NAME. or This video is not available in your region. (Veoh Internet Television which also opens to some other wealthy countries)
Only viewers within the United States can watch these full-length episodes. (ABC Full Episode Player)
Thank you for your interest in The CW. This service is currently available to viewers living in the United States. (The CWTV Video)
Some other websites and Internet services that are blocked and restricted to non-US or many international countries include online game Mabinogi and OpenPandora which exposes Pandora music discovery service.
If you’re American, then you must be thinking that you supposed to be able to watch and browse these “US-only” websites and video streaming contents, especially to catch the latest and newest series of TV series and dramas, music videos or listening to shared music. Luckily it’s possible to bypass and unlock the country-based ban or blockage.
All US-only websites or country-based restriction relies on the IP address. Blocks of IP addresses are issued and assigned to specific country in bulk. When an IP address is translated to be located in an unsupported countries, access will be blocked. So in order to bypass the IP address based blocking ban, just mask the real location with an IP address to one within the supported country, primarily United States.
There are plenty of ways to virtually change the IP address or mask the real IP address to an IP address in US, so that the website or service such as Hulu, Veoh, Pandora, ABC.com Full Episode Player, the CW and etc is fooled and tricked into verifying that the visitor is actually from America even though he or she is thousands of miles away in another continent. Three main methods are using a proxy, a VPN or Tor network.
Web Based Proxy
Proxy server or web proxy has long been used to bypass government or company filtering or to ensure privacy and anonymity online. It’s also been used to access blocked websites by firewall, router or filtering service. For examples, hundreds of proxies for accessing blocked MySpace or Facebook, which the US hosted web based proxies can also be used to try to access the US-only website from outside of United States. There are compilation of web proxies available at sites such as http://privax.us/, glype proxies and http://proxy.org/.
HTTP Proxy Server
If you’re not keen on web proxy, but a real proxy server, Charon is a program that can search through search engines for posted proxies and check if the proxies is good or bad. And of course there many sites that compile HTTP proxies available. Again, only US hosted proxy server is meaningful. To use a HTTP or HTTPS proxy server, user have to configure the information of proxy server settings in the web browser. For Firefox, go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Connection Settings -> Manual Proxy Configuration and add the proxy IP address and port. For IE, go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN settings -> Use a proxy server for your LAN to enter the IP address and port number of the selected proxy.
VPN is costly, and there is hardly any free option. But one good choice is Hotspot Shield, which originally is intended to provide secure VPN tunnel for users accessing Internet in unencrypted wireless network using public WiFi access point. The VPN server of Hotspot Shield (AnchorFree) is located in United States, and once connected to the Hotspot Shield VPN, user will be browsing the Internet with the VPN IP address, and will trick all websites into thinking that the PC or Mac system is in United States of America.
Another viable alternative to Hotspot Shield is the newly launched AlwaysVPN, which is still in beta.
Unfortunately Hotspot Shield is currently limited to 3 GB of bandwidth usage over 30 days rolling period. Although it’s possible to spoof MAC address to increase the Hotspot Shield bandwidth limit, the connection speed may be slow too. If you willing to pay, there is much better choice such as WiTopia and HotSpotVPN.
Tor Anonymity Network
Tor (The Onion Router) is a free software implementation of second-generation onion routing – a system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet by bouncing network communication around a distributed network of servers called onion routers. It means that if the onion server is located in US, then it can be used as a trick to access US-only web contents.
To use Tor, user need to force the last server to be in US and use Tor only for network transmission by the web browser or application such as OpenPandora. Follow these steps to use Tor to bypass out-of-US ban.
- Download and install Tor.
- Open torrc file from Start -> All Programs -> Tor, and then append the following two lines to the the bottom of the file:
Note that the exitnodes may change, dead, offline or no longer relay traffic. If the above exit nodes doesn’t work, try to change the exit nodes (after the exitnodes declaration) to any mix of the following: BostonUCompsci, lefkada, croeso, bettyboop, moobzilla, sasquatch, jalopy,nixnix, ThreadAbort, CH1rrskur7, A1D7DB57EFA57ACA20, agrippator, AoF, ArikaYumemiya, AscendedDaniel, asclepias, augrime, bettyboop, blueice, BostonUCompSci, Butterfly, cjb, codemonkeysorg, croeso, cronic, desync, err, foundry, httpdnet, ieditconfiggg333, illuminata, inap1, Insytez, invisitor, iris, jalopy, lefkada, MasterMindZ, mmarketinfo, moilen, moria1, moria2, moria5, MrRelay, mushin, nbx, nixnix, peertechdata, pickaproxy, random, redpineapple, rodos, sasquatch, schadenfreude, serifos, sipbtor, slowturtle2, soltor, stugsDOTcom, styx, theprocess, torftw, TorLuwakOrg, torxmission, vwglobaltoadcom, whistlersmother, ygrenys, yo2, BostonUCompsci, lefkada, croeso, bettyboop, moobzilla, sasquatch, jalopy,nixnix, ThreadAbort, CH1rrskur7, desync, whistlersmother, lefkada, bettyboop, croeso, torxmission, nixnix, jalopy, soltor, MrRelay.
The updated torrc file will force the last server to be located in US.
Note that you can also manually edit the torrc file in Windows. It’s located under either \Application Data\tor\torrc or \username\Application Data\tor\torrc in Windows. On Mac OS X, open a text editor and load /Library/Tor/torrc. On Unix, if you installed a pre-built package, look for /etc/torrc or /etc/tor/torrc or consult your package’s documentation. If you installed from source, you may not have a torrc installed yet: look in /usr/local/etc/ and note that you may need to manually copy torrc.sample to torrc.
- This step uses Pandora.com as an example. For other site or service, define accordingly. Open Notepad and paste the the following text:
function FindProxyForURL(url, host)
if (shExpMatch(host, "www.pandora.com")) return "SOCKS 127.0.0.1:9050";
Save the file with file name as tor.pac. Remember the full path (folder location) to the saved tor.pac. This configuration allows HTTP traffic to route through Tor SOCKS interface to its virtual circuit.
- Set tor.pac to be used for automatic configuration in Internet Explorer. To do so, in Internet Explorer, Go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN settings. Check or select Use automatic configuration script, and the in the text box, write in the full path to tor.pac preceded with file://. For example, file://C:\tor\tor.pac.
Note: In Firefox, go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings (Connection) and check the radio button of Automatic proxy config URL. Type file:// follow by the full path to tor.pac.
- Start Tor.
- Load browser or other application that needed to be spoofed as visited from US location. It may take some time to load the contents though.