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New Era of IP Addresses – Residential VPN

The war waged on VPN service by the media companies has been going on for many years but it’s lately developed a new twist.  Virtual Private Networks are used by millions of people to bypass internet filters, censorship and region locking.   The latter term refers to the practice of restricting access based on your location, usually to due with some sort of licensing restrictions.  It’s very common and for anyone who travels a lot or lives abroad can be a real problem.

For example a US citizen spending some time in Europe will get barred from accessing all their home media services – their Hulu and HBO accounts for example will not be accessible.   This is because they won’t have a US IP address and will ultimately only have access to media resources in the country  they are located in.   Even more global service like Netflix will redirect you to a localized version which can be a problem if you don’t speak that language well.   So VPN services have been extremely popular as they stop this sort of filtering, you simply connect to a VPN in the country you wish to access and everything should work fine, so you can choose which is the best VPN for Netflix for instance.

residential vpn

Blocking these services is actually very difficult, simply because the actual VPN connection is very difficult to identify.   The method usually applied is to try and monitor simultaneous connections from the same IP address or manually locate the addresses of these service providers and add them to a black list.  Both work but are extremely time intensive to operate and the reality is that the IP addresses can be rotated very quickly anyway.

However Netflix has moved the battle significantly with it’s latest blocking move, by restricting access to specific categories of IP address.  The media giant has blocked access to it’s servers from any commercial based IP address, and given that 99% of VPN servers sit in data centers with commercial addresses this move has wiped out the majority of VPN access to Netflix.

The fight has moved on however and other companies are now expanding to offer different VPN services which are assigned residential classified IP addresses rather than commercial ones.   These can be more expensive but are currently the only way you can access Netflix servers by using a VPN to hide your real IP address.    It’s too soon to be certain whether this will become more widespread, although it does seem to be the simplest way to enforce region locks.

Whether all companies are going to be able to provide the sort of residential VPN  that is needed to bypass these blocks remains to be seen.  At the moment these domestic classified addresses are hard to get hold of for anyone who isn’t an ISP – some companies like Identity Cloaker have incorporated them but they are the exception at the moment.

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Turkish Internet Censorship Laws

This informative article attempts to provide an account of online censorship in Turkey. The government is deciding what’s suitable for everybody to see online. In spite of this, there continue to be guarantors of Internet freedom. The web hasn’t been more threatened. For many in Turkey, needing to select a filtering option is only another type of censorship. These regulations usually do not impose any censorship in any respect on the Internet.

The online providers in Turkey are in a hard position. Internet providers within the country now are actually blocking the addresses used by the website, which makes it significantly harder to get round the restrictions, analysts have said. Very often in the usa, if a person violates censorship laws, they may be fined or thrown in prison. In lots of ways, the censorship laws of both of these countries are rather similar. The feasible consequences of the law are extremely disturbing. The present law needs to be abolished and also the government should begin from scratch in regards to controlling the net,’ he says.

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In the online world there is just one way which people can figure your identity and that’s through your IP Address. Scattered reports indicate that internet access is, in addition, limited. Additionally, there isn’t any technical tool which guarantees hundred percent control online. As Egypt probably learned in 2011, tampering with the world wide web really isn’t the best method to create an economy within a Internet-dependent world. Unfortunately, we’re again faced with censorship within our nation.” The web has got the potential to be the maximum enabler of human expression, in addition, it has got the potential to be the maximum tool of the latest social control.”

Laws governing acceptable online use are rather new and not well refined. Regulation of internet content is essential in this sense. After a trial procedure, courts can choose to take out the content or block websites. This is not only about blocking access to specific varieties of content. Internet providers will then be required to utilize URL-based blocking of sites and also the users will never be able to access these by changing their DNS settings as has previously become the case. I’ve found users searching for on ways to get pass through such web censorship in Turkey.

In the modern world, censorship is among the most frequently used concepts in political and social science. Internet censorship is mainly practiced to defend the social order. The range of censorship is tough to appreciate for a number of reasons. It’s part of an even more general dilemma of creeping censorship. Well since I have discussed inside my prior articles about internet censorship. We’ll also acquire info about the ways some folks are working to fight censorship.

We are not able to deny the significance of the net for a tool for freedom of speech. This modus operandi is among the characteristics of net neutrality, among the key tenets of the Net. This sort of censorship isn’t as simple as blocking individual websites wth tiny audiences. Third, whilst the web is viewed as an international phenomenon, acts of censorship may appear parochial or nationalin a word, isolated. There’s also another implication for the social system that has personal overtones within the context of censorship. This then leads to a greater degree of struggle against the present trend and so, an elevated degree of internet censorship.

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A British proxy is No Longer Enough

Over the last few years there has been somewhat of a battle developing online.  It’s about how the very fundamentals of the internet work and for many it’s fundamentally changed the whole concept of the distribution of information.   When the internet was first developing, there were very few barriers – any web site, resource or page was accessible to anyone – anywhere on the planet.   If you were blocked or couldn’t access a site then it was more likely a technical or configuration issue rather then a restriction or filter – this is no longer the case.

Over the last decade, slowly but surely this position is beginning to change.  Now blocks and filters and restrictions exist all over the internet installed by all sorts of people.  No longer do web sites publish for the world, they control access specifically for certain markets or locations.  It’s like some huge segmented wide area network, where access policies are being applied based on your physical location.

Why Would I Use a British Proxy?

The reasons vary greatly, from governments who wish to restrict what is accessed online like the Turkish and Chinese governments but more commonly it’s commercial organisations who want more control over their content.   The primary driver is usually profit of course, years ago you could stream movies from Hulu free of charge wherever you happened to be – now it involves a subscription which is only available in specific countries.  The same has happened with the UK TV channels, BBC ITV and Channel 4 are now only accessible from within the UK – otherwise you’ll get blocked.

The majority of the ‘commercial’ filters are enforced based on IP addresses, which can be used to identify your location.   The websites look up where your address is assigned to which then determines whether you can access or not.  The BBC iPlayer for example will only work if it detects that you are connected from a UK registered IP address.   Which is why the exponential growth of the use of proxies which people used to hide their real IP address and use one in a different country instead.   So using a UK proxy online would allow you to watch the BBC wherever you happen to be in the world – here’s how it works – How to Hide IP Address online.

This technical subterfuge made proxies an almost essential tool, certainly if you were based in a location where the government filtered your internet connection in addition to the commercial companies. Turkey for instance is adding to it’s blocked sites list at an alarming rate and combined with normal internet filters it means that many parts of the internet are simply inaccessible without using such technology.

Unfortunately proxies which were commonly available often for no cost are becoming increasingly ineffective. The problem is that they are very easily to detect even when configured by experts, which means that most commercial sites now detect and block access from British proxy servers. The BBC blocked them for the first time earlier in the year, a move which upset millions of global BBC viewers.

Fortunately a very similar technology still works and is virtually undetectable and that’s virtual private networks (VPNs). These operate in a similar way to British proxies but they are much more sophisticated and allow the communication channel to be encrypted. Many of the commercial companies try and detect the use of VPNs without fail but now rely on spotting their use by the number of physical connections tied to a single IP.

You can find a discount here for one of the most advanced – Identity Cloaker Coupon

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Searching for a German Proxy

For years now, people have been using free proxies that you can find online – it’s not always the smartest move as many of these are simply hacked or mis-configured and using them without permission leaves anyone open to legal action.   Even then, some of them are used to actively sniff your traffic with the intention of stealing usernames, account names and passwords for identity theft or plundering your accounts.

However despite these huge security risks, people still use them in their millions every day for accessing content that is restricted to specific countries.   Just for example say you a German national who happens to be living or working say just over the border in France, you might get annoyed to find that many of the web sites you normally visited are blocked because of your location.   Yes, at the moment the European dream of unrestricted movement doesn’t really extend to the digital realm.  Your location determines a huge amount of what you can access online, including often important stuff like online banking.

The solution is relatively well know, simply route your connection through a proxy server located in the correct country.  So our friend would need to bounce his connection through a German proxy in order  access German only web sites and services.   A crazy situation which is compounded when you have to find the proxy in a specific country, for example look what I (a UK TV license fee payer) need to do in order to watch BBC News live online when I’m travelling or on holiday.

Isn’t it crazy?  Yet it happens to people all over the world in thousands of different situations being discriminated and filtered simply based on their physical location when they connect.

Unfortunately now, free proxies will be pretty much pointless as there’s a growing trend to block access whilst connected to a proxy server.  Proxies, even the well configured secure ones can usually be detected by the website you visit.  Many sites usually turned a blind eye, for example you could get access to BBC iPlayer with any old crappy proxy for many years.  This is beginning to change and now they rarely work as sites actively block the use of proxies to connect to their sites, yep including the BBC.

What you now need is a VPN and a well configured one too, at the moment for example this is the only way to access something like Netflix when you’re outside one of the countries they broadcast too.  Even this can be difficult with some companies who are trying to block even VPN access.  This is quite difficult and takes quite a lot of resources, but Netflix seems to be doing this.  Although they can’t determine the actual presence of a VPN connection they can make an educated guess based on the number of connections being established on specific IP address ranges.  These can then be put into a static blocked list which can be banned from accessing the websites – it’s probably very expensive to do especially as the VPN service providers will usually then change their addresses in response.

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Netflix VPN Wars

Most of the big media have problems with VPNs, partly because they have no reliable way of detecting their use. A Virtual private network is an encrypted tunnel commonly used to provide a level of security that’s simply not available normally on the internet. It is often used as a method of accessing secure corporate networks using the internet as a transport, meaning that people don’t need the expense of dedicated lines like ISDN lines every where they go.

Best Netflix VPN

So what’s the problem with these VPN connections, why do the big online media firms like Netflix, Hulu and the BBC dislike them so much?

Well it’s basically related to profit maximization and copyright protection. For some unknown reason, most of the world’s big film and TV companies have been using the same sort of license agreements for decades. Except they don’t work anymore, country barriers don’t work so well online, and they’re very difficult to enforce. Simply put, trying to license a film for viewing only in the USA isn’t going to work, yet this is exactly what is happening. Firms like Netflix are forced to negotiate licenses individually on a per country basis which is why every version of Netflix is completely different depending on which country you are in.

Of course what has happened is that some of these versions of Netflix are much, much better than others despite a fairly uniform cost. When you connect to Netflix it looks up your IP address and determines which country you are in and then displays you that version. It’s annoying especially for the traveller, who may settle down in some foreign hotel and find that TV series he’s been watching for 6 weeks is suddenly not available. However this is where the Netflix VPN comes in, as well as being undetectable they also can be used to modify your location through your IP address. The location of the VPN server will determine which version of Netflix or whether you can watch the BBC iPlayer for example, so if you have access to a few VPN services spread across the world then you can basically choose between any version of Netflix you like.

But How Do the Netflix VPN Blocks Work?

As yet there’s no perfect way of detecting when a VPN connection is using a particular web site, although with enough resources you can ‘work out’ most of the VPNs.  What happens is that the companies search online and identify the companies offering services to bypass their blocks and try to identify IP ranges used by them.  It’s not hard – simply look at the adverts for various VPN services and you’ll soon find some of the bigger ones.  The other simple option is to look at specific IP addresses which have multiple connections on them – if you have five hundred people streaming to a single IP address then it’s likely that it represents a proxy or VPN server.  These IP addresses are then individually blocked in a sort of internet black list preventing them access the sites.

This is of course very resource intensive and associated with a host of other problems.    Sometimes the IP addresses change, the VPN services will routinely swap them out – sometimes they are from people connecting through company proxies or educational networks.    It means that some services will work especially the slightly smaller, low key security based ones.  Which means that you can still bypass these blocks if you choose carefully the best VPN for Netflix.

Who knows how this will go on?  The solution of course is to arrange global licensing deals and stop offering different levels of services depending on location.  It’s not surprising people find ways to work around the systems.  After all you can pay your expensive UK license fee and get blocked from watching the BBC online simply because you happen to be abroad for a while.  Also anyone who’s seen how much better the US version of Netflix is compared to some other countries will be amazed at the difference.

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Using a VPN to Watch the BBC Abroad

If you spend any amount of time online, then investing in a VPN program is a very worthwhile investment for a variety of reasons. Firstly security, the internet is inherently insecure partly because it’s built up on a huge interconnected network of other peoples hardware. When you visit a web site your connection travels through routers, switches and hubs owned and controlled by all sorts of people and organisations of which you’ll have little knowledge and no control.

Just to illustrate, simply start a command prompt in windows (run – command.com) and type in tracert www.facebook.com, this will show you the route your internet request will make when you use Facebook.

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All those steps are other people’s hardware and everything you do online follows a similar pattern hopping from one piece of hardware to another until it reaches it destination.   Of course, this would be perfectly fine and is the way the internet has always worked, except the majority of this communication is not protected at all all, in fact it’s often in clear text.    Which means anyone can read, divert or copy information from your internet transactions.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network)  protects against this by encrypting all the data in your connection, every username, every password and email protected against anybody who is listening in on your data.

But there’s another cool use which you can see in this video – How to access BBC iPlayer Outside UK on YouTube.

Not only is your connection encrypted but your identity/location is protected too. This means that you pretend to be in a different location, which is useful when you are trying to access media sites which restrict access to a specific country. In the above example the VPN server is located in the UK so it allows people all over the world to access the BBC iPlayer application at will. Normally they would get blocked when they tried to access the site because their IP address wasn’t registered to a UK address.

Of course it’s not just simple web based geo-blocks that a VPN helps sidestep, many countries block access to parts of the web too. China is probably the most famous example where the State heavily censors the internet using the infamous ‘Great Firewall of China’ and many popular social media sites are blocked by default. The Chinese people however have discovered that you can bypass these blocks simply by subscribing to a VPN service based in another country.