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How To Use A VPN To Unlock Netflix, Hulu, BBC I-Player, or Bittorrent

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How To Use A VPN To Unlock Netflix, Hulu, BBC I-Player, or Bittorrent

Post by Mojo on Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:33 pm

I've talked about how virtual private networks (VPNS) protect you from snoopers getting access to your private information but they also help to increase your choices when using streaming sites or Bittorrent.
 
As you know, Netflix is a great service that offers all you can eat streaming for 8 bucks a month.  The only problem with Netflix is their lack of content available in the U.S.  The reason behind this is Netflix has to license content from the major studios and it is very expensive to do so.  Most studios would prefer selling rights to companies like ITunes or Vudu that don't offer all you can eat plans in order to maximize their profits.  Plus the fact that many of the studios have over the air and cable interests also and you can see why Netflix has a hard time securing these rights. 
 
But in other countries, it's a completely different story.  Different licensing deals means Netflix can stream more and newer titles in countries like Great Britain, Sweden, France, Germany, and so on.  The trick is to make the Netflix site think you're logging on from a different country and that's where a VPN comes in handy.
 
In order for this to work, the VPN must have an exit server in a country outside of the U.S. and must be in a country where Netflix is available (sorry Australia).  
 
The are a couple of ways to accomplish this.  You can either purchase a VPN service which will set you back anywhere from $30.00 to upwards of $100.00 per year or you can try free VPN services that limit your speed and choices of countries but hey they're free.
 
On the paid side, I've been using a program called HotSpot Shield (http://www.hotspotshield.com/).  They have a free service that limits you to a U.S. server and a paid service that gives you servers from Great Britain and Australia also.  They also have built in scanning to prevent viruses and thus far, except for the lack of foreign servers, I'm pretty happy with it.  I use it mainly to hide my IP and watch Netflix and the BBC.
 
Now if you want free alternatives, the only ones I've really used are Privitize (http://privitize.com/) and VPN Book (http://www.vpnbook.com/).  There are others, but most either limit your bandwidth or they're trial versions of paid programs.  These two are free and unlimited and are both streaming and bittorrent friendly.
 
Privitize has only 1 server based in Sweden and is the easiest to set up.  You basically run the program and it opens in your menu tray.  Once it turns green, your true IP is masked and it'll look like you're in Sweden.  When you load up Netflix's homepage you'll have access to the content in Sweden.  One warning about Privitize though.  They don't seem to have a business model or a paid upgrade option and although I haven't got a virus using Privitize, I believe they did bundle some adware with the software which I was able to cripple with Malware Bytes.  If you search on the web, you'll see references to it having viruses but I have scanned with almost every antivirus program I know of and have yet to find viruses.  With that said, USE EXTREME CAUTION with Privitize.
 
VPN Book uses the OPEN/VPN protocol and requires you to download a program called Open/VPN.  Once you download it you have to configure Open/VPN with their free servers in Great Britain and Romania by entering the server address and password provided on their homepage.  It's a little harder to set up but VPN Book has tutorials to help you step by step and thus far I am very happy with this service.  I'm also happier that they have paid services also to offset the free servers.  It just makes me feel a little easier about them.  One more thing about VPN Book is that they change the passwords frequently so you have to return to the site often to get the new passwords but for free that's a small sacrifice.
 
Like I said before, there are other alternatives and if you do some research you're likely to come across some more.  If you do use a free option, use it only for streaming, bittorent, or casual surfing only.  I would never use these for sites like banking or bill paying or any site with your private information.  Be smart and safe.
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Post Your VPN Suggestions

Post by Mojo on Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:36 pm

If you have a VPN that you really like, be sure and post it here.  Try to give details about what you like and don't like as well as costs and so forth.  I'd like this to become a ever evolving source for VPN information and that depends on you.
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