Changing Your IP Address Online

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If you spend any amount of time online then there's almost certainly been a point where you've discovered that the internet isn't quite as unrestricted as you imagined.  Indeed it's been some years since the internet was pretty much open and slowly more and more blocks, filters and restrictions have appeared.

The sources are from many places, of course many of the blocks that affect millions of people are instigated by our governments - 'for our own good'.  The definition of what's bad for us will vary widely depending on your location.  For example in most Western democracies if it's not illegal generally you'll be able to access although this is isn't 100 the case.  If you're in a country run by some sort of authoritative regime then things will be much more restricted.  Places like China, Thailand and Saudi Arabia filter and block huge sections of the internet based on religious, cultural and political opinions too.

There are less sinister filters happening too, commercial consideration and copyright laws will also be responsible for blocking out huge parts of the internet.  Again these are usually dependent on where you log onto the web from.  The practice is commonly referred to as geo-blocking, restricting access based on your physical location - e.g try and watch the BBC from anywhere outside the UK and you'll see what happens.

It can get very frustrating and it's only likely to increase on all fronts.  The internet gets a little more segmented and locked down every passing year.  Fortunately there are several solutions which can unlock the internet almost completely irrespective of your location.   Indeed you can get very basic services designed to watch a single station ranging to sophisticated services which can offer both residential and rotating proxies to use.

For the geo-blocking there's a simple fix and that's just to switch your IP address as required.  All these blocks are based by looking up the origin of your address.  If you're able to change it then those blocks will no longer apply to you.

Here's a video demonstrating one method to changing your IP address online, it's a few years old but is perfectly relevant today.

This illustrates the concept perfectly, if you change the 'perceived' location of your IP address then you should be able to remove any country specific blocks.  This does rely on certain factors, if a site is restricted to US only then you'll need to connect via a US server and so on.  It should be noted that when you're connected to a VPN to that country all your other browsing will be affected too.  So for example if someone in the UK was connected to a US VPN to watch Netflix then they'd get different search results too.  A google search for plumbers would get US based ones instead of UK - not much more than an inconvenience but   certainly worth remembering.

Remember your IP address doesn't actually change at all, this is almost impossible to achieve without owning your own ISP.  All these services do is hide your true location by replacing your real IP address with the VPN server's address.  You can't actually buy a UK IP address or a US one to use directly on your PC as it simply won't work.

The world of VPNs and proxies is becoming increasingly important as the wholesale censorship of the internet increases.  There is little to suspect that this trend will do anything other than accelerate in the years to come.   As our lives move more and more online,both the increase in censorship and the risks to our privacy will increases.   Simply put a secure VPN service can actually solve both issues relatively easily.







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