It can be frustrating that whilst on holiday or travelling abroad, that you can’t access the same websites that you can normally from home. As a solution you may have been pointed towards the use of proxies as a way of avoiding these blocks. For example many websites suggest that for watching British television then using a UK proxy online can help.
This involves using an intermediary server called a proxy to bounce all your web requests off, and if the proxy is in the the UK then you’ll also appear to be in the UK too. So instead of getting blocked when you try and access British television using your computer abroad, everything works just the same as the UK. Indeed this used to be the case, however unfortunately times have changed.
First of all, I should point out that it is still possible to access UK television when you’re travelling it’s just previous methods don’t quite work any more. For example it used to be possible to just find a free British proxy online and use it to watch the BBC. You didn’t even need to stay connected as the check was only at the beginning of the programme, after that you could stream the entire show directly. This has worked for years however in the last 12 months the BBC has tightened up on these restrictions.
Nowadays a simple proxy based in the UK won’t work at all, proxies are easy to detect and will now get blocked. Proxies have been useless on most large media sites for years, however previously the BBC for example had a much more relaxed attitude to them. It seems now that with all the pressures on the way the BBC has funded means that they will no longer work.
The only reliable method is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which works in as similar way to a proxy but is much more secure and difficult to detect. Unfortunately VPNs need a lot of configuration and you need a specific account, so the days of using piggybacking free services are pretty much gone. There are however lots of inexpensive VPN services about which can not only unlock UK based channels but also media sites in a host of other countries.
Here’s demonstration of how you can watch using an encrypted UK Proxy:
As you can see it’s quite simple to use on a computer or laptop, although it’s possible to use on tablets and smartphones as well if you set up the connection manually, just check out this post. What happens is that the website you visit only sees the location of the VPN server, so if that is based in the UK then it will think you are too. You can also switch countries when you need to access channels which are based in other countries like Hulu or Netflix.
There are rumours that this method too has a limited life span, in fact the big media firms have been trying to block access from VPNs for years. Unfortunately for them, they are extremely difficult to detect and the only current reliable method is to manually identify the IP address of the servers and just block them via a list. However this method is not that effective as the addresses of the VPNs/proxies can be changed very quickly.