There used to be a time when configuring and using a US IP proxy server was only for the technologically advanced. However times have changed and now millions of people with limited technical knowledge use IP proxies every day for many mundane situations.
One of the most common uses for an IP proxy is to access content that is restricted by region locking. For instance if you try and access any of the mainstream US media sites like ABC, NBC or Hulu from outside the USA then you’ll find that the majority of the site is inaccessible. The sames goes for lots of other media sites across the world – all inaccessible outside their domestic market.
It kind of makes a mockery of the global communication medium that we call the internet. It certainly wasn’t designed to restrict and block access based on your physical location however that is how it has turned out. Which is why for a US citizen travelling or living abroad a US IP proxy server is so useful.
Using a US IP Proxy Server
The fact is that most of these websites determine your location by looking at your IP address and where it’s registered to. This will of course determine your physical location, however if you connect through a proxy server then the IP address of the server will be revealed and not your own. Therefore someone on holiday in Europe who connected to the internet through a US IP proxy server would appear to be in the US. Here’s a quick video which demonstrates this in action:
As you can see in the demonstration, the software is used to connect to a network of different proxies. In this particular example a US proxy is selected in order to access the film and movie site Hulu. Without using the proxy then the site won’t be accessible as the content is only licensed for US based users. However you can see that there are many different countries available in the software which can be used to watch or access web sites in other countries.
Connecting through a Canadian proxy would give you access to all the Canadian websites, using a French proxy would give you a French IP address and the ability to watch sites like M6 Replay.
As you can see from the video there is no real technical knowledge required as it’s all taken care of by the software. There are a whole host of these programs available now which you can install easily and then change your IP address to whichever you need. It is worth remembering though that when your connection is routed through a specific country then your browsing will be tailored to that country.
Someone connected through a US IP proxy will for example get the US version of Google complete with US related search results. It is obviously not a major issue but it can be confusing if you forget!
On a computer network, much like in real life, there are different levels of access dependent on a variety of reasons. It may be due rights assigned to username or account, perhaps an access token or often simply your physical location. These rights are assigned in different ways but the most popular method across the internet is based on your IP address.
The IP address is that unique number which is assigned to every single device which is connected to the internet, from computers and laptops to phones and tablets and even your internet enabled fridge. Every single device that is accessible online has a unique IP address and can be tracked by this number. Although you IP address can ultimately be traced back to a specific location and owner, this information is not available to any website that it visits. However even without access to an ISP record the IP address can be used to determine two pieces of information very easily – classification and location.
The first classification refers to the type of connection the IP address is registered to specifically residential or commercial. This piece of information is not always used as there can be some overlaps with this classification. The physical location however is used extensively by the vast majority of major web sites. Some may use it to help serve relevant content, perhaps supplying specific language versions depending on your location or serving up adverts which are more applicable to you. This is usually helpful although it can be very annoying if you are genuinely trying to access different content.
The most common use though is to block access based on this location, a practice used by virtually every large media site on the web. If you are in the USA for example, you will not be able to watch any of the UK media sites such as the BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub. Similarly every single one of the big American media sites will block non-US addresses. These blocks and controls are growing exponentially every year for instance there are now thousands of YouTube videos only accessible to specific locations.
Fortunately for the enlightened it isn’t such a big problem, because using VPNs and proxies you can actually control your own IP address. A simple method of using a British VPN server can give you access to the BBC iPlayer in the USA like this. It merely hides your physical location and instead the web site sees only the address of the VPN and it works with the vast majority of web sites.
Although using a secure proxy or VPN certainly does make your internet connection more secure, there is one slight flaw with regards privacy. Although anyone checking your logs, or monitoring your connection through a router or access point couldn’t read the actual data – there would be one factor that is plain, that you’re using a proxy or VPN.
If we examined the logs of an ordinary user, there would be lots of individual browsing requests from different servers. Normally the entire web history is very plain to see, however anyone using a secure proxy has all their requests going to a single IP address. This makes it very obvious that the user is using a proxy or VPN as there is no variety in the request to different addresses. So for example if you were using a proxy on 192.168.1.232 then all your traffic would be routed through that single address, whereas a standard user’s connections would be consist of individual multiple rotating IP address.
Here’s one of the best IP changer programs available :
It would be much more secure, as well as being a lot more discrete if you could change your address periodically. The program identified in the video has a facility which allows you to rotate your IP address in this way.