If you travel around a lot and use the internet, you’ll probably notice that your physical location affects how and what you can see online. For the most part this is fairly useful, for example if you’re on holiday in Spain and looking for a restaurant then it’s Spanish locale results that you need. Just about every major web site customizes your experience slightly based on your location.
So how do they do this? Well your physical location is linked in with your IP address and this is what the website detects. If you go to google.com from France, Google will look at your French IP address and redirect you to the French version. Unfortunately many web sites also enforce restrictions based on this, which is not quite as desirable.
So imagine you’re a UK citizen on holiday in France for a week, you fire up your laptop or tablet and try and watch the evening news on the BBC. What you’ll get is a message saying it’s inaccessible in your location – it’s irrelevant that you pay your license fee, the decision is merely based on your location.
Of course, there are ways around this – one of the most popular is to use a proxy server to hide your IP address a bit like this.
This works brilliantly if you’re using a PC or laptop for example however for other devices it’s not quite as straight forward. After all nowadays people use the internet on other devices like games consoles, smart TVs and other such technology. So obviously you can’t install PC software or enable a VPN on those – so what can you do?
Well there’s another method of hiding your real location and it’s called Smart DNS – it’s explained here. However basically all you need to do is change the DNS settings on the device you’re using. That is of course and awful lot simpler than installing anything, you’ll normally be able to access these under the network configuration settings.
What happens is that the ‘smart’ dns server will intercept requests for special sites which are likely to block you – such as Hulu, BBC, ABC etc and then reroute part of the traffic through a proxy server in the correct location. This means that you don’t need to filter all your traffic through a proxy just enough to fool the receiving server that you’re in the right country.