Avoiding "not available in your country" messages
April 19, 2009 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm sick of "not available in your country" messages. What's the best workaround? I've tried looking for proxies but I can never seem to find a decent one and when I do find one that works (briefly) changing back and forth is a real pain.

I'm using Firefox so I'm sure that one of the proxy-switching plugins is what I'm looking for - which ones work best? Where's the best place to find usable proxies that'll work for what I want them to do?
posted by alby to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
FoxyProxy works really well in my experience.
posted by grouse at 3:21 PM on April 19, 2009

Instead of hunting for unsecured computers to hijack, why not do it legit?

For $10 or $20 you could sign up for an account at a webhost and run your own proxy. It will be far more reliable, faster, and less illegal. I'm assuming you want an American IP address? Check out slicehost. (Proxy instructions).
posted by meta_eli at 4:03 PM on April 19, 2009

The best way is to have a connection to some institution, or a friend, in the country that you want. That way you know the credentials of the computer you're connecting to etc., and probably have slightly more control than a random proxy.

If you have a friend in the country you want a proxy in, they'd need a fixed IP address, so they'd have to talk to their ISP.

Other than that, I've heard good things about FoxyProxy.
posted by djgh at 4:05 PM on April 19, 2009

Here's a list of public proxy servers - most of them, you can plug an url into a box - no need to change proxy settings in your browser.
posted by porpoise at 4:20 PM on April 19, 2009

If you have a friend in the country you want a proxy in, they'd need a fixed IP address, so they'd have to talk to their ISP.

Nope, don't need a static IP -- you can use one of the many free dyndns sites instead to get a hostname that always points to the current IP
posted by meta_eli at 4:28 PM on April 19, 2009

HotSpot Shield.
posted by pised at 4:46 PM on April 19, 2009

I assume you're talking about viewing videos and stuff. However, if you're talking about buying stuff... well, I just sign up as if I'm in another country. For instance, I've had emusic and audible.com memberships for years, bought entering USA'n street addresses that I made up. As a result, I can buy music and audio books that are normally unavailable in my country (Canada).

I also used these instructions to get an American iTunes account so I could download free tracks and apps that were only available to USA'ns (like Skype for iPhone).
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:42 PM on April 19, 2009

I came here to recommend HotSpot Shield, but pised beat me too it. It works pretty well, until you hit your download quota.
posted by cgg at 8:09 PM on April 19, 2009

Depends what you need the workaround for, and how often. If we're talking country-limited tv/video content, then usually proxies alone won't work, you'll need a VPN.

I also tried Hotspot Shield but found it slow, the ads showing up in every single browser window/tab were annoying, and most of all I couldn't get it to work with sites like Hulu.com, which for me was the main reason I'd need it.

(It worked insofar as avoiding the "not available in your country" message, but I just got "video loading" and that's it... it never loaded.)

After a lot of time spent looking for free alternatives, I signed up for a paid subscription service that offers VPN access precisely for this purpose, and so far so good. There's a few of those around, offering access with IP's for US or UK or other countries, just google 'VPN watch tv' and compare.

Or, you could always get your own VPN set up yourself, with the help of someone tech-savvy enough, located in the country where the content you're trying to view is accessible, and willing to share their bandwidth. Search 'set up VPN' for instructions. I haven't tried this so I have no idea exactly how easy/practical it is.

[Incidentally -- thanks to You Should See the Other Guy, that's a nice tip!!]
posted by bitteschoen at 2:15 PM on April 20, 2009

Hulu has blocked Hotspot shield now I think. It's one of the few sites that seems to block the use of proxies, as you say it get's you passed the "not available in this country screen" but then won't stream the media.

I also had to use a VPN to watch this and for ITV in the UK (using the silverlight player). But most other systems can be bypassed by just using a proxy in the right country.

I think the use of VPNs by internet users will increase as long as this geotargeting based on IP address gets more widespread. I even have to use it to edit my wordpress blog when I'm in Turkey (as they have blocked wordpress due to some religious case !)

Here's what I used anyway.

Hulu Outside US
posted by welshie at 11:59 AM on June 6, 2009

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