Whoever you may be in the geek world, there’s always a time when you want to get access to content that strictly speaking you shouldn’t be allowed to get to.
By this I mean of course if you live in the UK, all the lovely TV that appears on ABC or Hulu, and if your stateside, all the goodness of good old Aunty Beeb. The way the internet is structured though, means that your geographical location is checked, and if your not living in the right country, you’re not allowed in!
Many people who don’t happen to live in the source country, may have a genuine right of access. They may be merely on holiday, or working abroad for a period of time.
Is there a solution?
In fact there are a couple. the first one I tried was something called an anonymous proxy served up by a programme called Hotspot Shield. This can work (sometimes), but is hampered by very poor bandwidth, and is plagued by pop up ads. One of the major flaws is that many content providers are wise to this method, and block its IP address.
The second method uses something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This is used in the main by corporate users who want to allow their employees access to their servers, but only by making them adhere to their policies and rules, and of course free from any external nasties.
This technology is now available for the good of the common geek to access their favourite TV shows! There are many commercial offerings, and a couple of free ones albeit with a very limited service. I think though after extensive research and a couple of weeks of use, I can recommend ibVPN.
There is NO setup fee. For $4.95 a month you get a choice of either US or UK access plus a free dutch one. For $7.95 you can have the lot! Setup is easy, although the Mac guide was out of date. I have published an updated setup guide below. The bonus for me was, that because there is no software to install, it works a treat on an iPhone and iPad. A guide for this is also below.
In terms of bandwidth, there seemed to be no issues. I watched several shows on Hulu though my Mac Mini, and from the iPad app for ABC with no stuttering or pauses whatsoever. If you are worried about the internet police catching up with you they guarantee anominity. The only caveat to this service is that you do not use P2P or torrent sites. I haven’t tried it, but I assume those ports are closed.
To get you all up and running I have put together 2 guides.
First the Mac.
Click system preferences. Then Network.
Click the PLUS sign just above the padlock. Select VPN from the dropdown, and make sure you select PPTP from the Type of VPN.
Next, you will need to enter the server name from the list that ibVPN provide. In this case us3.ibvpn.com.
Then your AccountName – usually email address.
Click authentication settings
Click apply – then connect – and you’re done!
As for the iPhone (or iPad)
It’s even easier!
Go into Settings > Network > VPN
Then, select Add VPN Configuration
Enter the account settings:
And in the settings page just select the VPN as required!
If so please retweet, or drop me a line and let me know!