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Blocked from a Website or Video? Protect Your Privacy with Proxies!

Surfing the Internet these days can be risky business. You give up a great deal of information when you visit a web site such as your IP address, the city you are in, your browser info, your operating system; sites may also leave tracking “cookies” on your PC…or worse.

Do not fear, all is not lost. There are ways to protect your privacy and to avoid giving up information that you do not have to provide, such as what country you live in, the name of those porn sites you last visited, or the fact that you’re using Windows ME (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone!).

(trying out a new HD set up.. sorry if the video is out of sync a bit .. make sure to go FULLSCREEN if you want to follow the tutorial!)

One way to do this is to use a proxy server. This is a system that routes and filters between two networks. They can act as firewalls, routers, spam filters, etc. In this video I show you how to use an open HTTP proxy server to surf the web anonymously, and to access sites or videos that may be restricted by location or other filters (that work on information which you don’t have to provide).

Article 12 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

So why would you want to go through the trouble? You can use a proxy to protect the information we have talked about, to block unwanted sites from communicating with your machine, or to circumvent regional restrictions. A lot of popular websites like Youtube, Pandora, and other content sharing sites will make certain videos or text unavailable for people from varying countries. Have you ever seen this?

This video is not available in your country.

In the video I show you a simple way to do this; the “poor man’s proxy” if you will. You can use Google Translator or Google Cache to act as a proxy and take a look at sites. This is not an ideal solution, but it is quick and easy, and may be useful if you are restricted (such as being unable to edit the browser connection settings).

The more complicated way that I show you is to find an open web proxy and manually set it up as your HTTP proxy within your browser. This is more reliable, but you’ll need more access to the applications on your PC and a bit more technical knowledge.

Unfortunately these are not foolproof. For instance, some organizations such as schools may block sites or services based on keywords or other criteria, and proxies may not be able to solve the problem for you. But in many cases you can be surfing along in no time without The Man breathing down your neck.

UPDATE:  The Tor Project

[Yet another option to hide your identity, thanks Keb for this input.. nobody could explain it better than you did!]

Tor (not TOR) is an anonymizing proxy network that will be useful if you really need to be anonymous and don’t just want circumvention, though it can be used for the latter as well. http://www.torpoject.org It is used by activists and whistleblowers as well as oppressed folks around the world, and investigators who want to hide their identity.

Note that if you use the Adobe flashplayer plugin in your browser, the plugin may bypass the proxy and send info such as ip address directly to the website. Sites such as Hulu take advantage of that and also block many proxy services. There are ways around that too but check the TorProject website for details.  [taken from comments page]

Some good links for more information:

http://proxy.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_server/

Tor (not TOR) is an anonymizing proxy network that will be useful if you really need to be anonymous and dont just want circumvention, though it can be used for the latter as well.   http://www.torpoject.org   It is used by activists and whistleblowers as well as oppressed folks around the world, and investigators who want to hide their identity.

Note that if you use the Adobe flashplayer plugin in your browser, the plugin may bypass the proxy and send info such as ip address directly to the website.  Sites such as Hulu take advantage of that and also block many proxy services.  There are ways around that too but check the TorProject website for details.
  • Shypoke

    Nikie, Nixie, Nixie, a proxy video with no mention of TOR? You gave your cronies proxy blue balls. lol

    • keb

      Tor (not TOR) is an anonymizing proxy network that will be useful if you really need to be anonymous and dont just want circumvention, though it can be used for the latter as well. http://www.torpoject.org It is used by activists and whistleblowers as well as oppressed folks around the world, and investigators who want to hide their identity.

      Note that if you use the Adobe flashplayer plugin in your browser, the plugin may bypass the proxy and send info such as ip address directly to the website. Sites such as Hulu take advantage of that and also block many proxy services. There are ways around that too but check the TorProject website for details.

      • I had my reasons for not including Tor in this post.. but since a lot have requested it, I hope you don’t mind if I quote you above! (Please let me know if you’d like me to link to a site/social network of yours with my annotation. ) <3

  • Great Idee ! I have this Problem with some Videos of your.

    Best Regards from Germany

  • LSS-Admin

    Nix,

    I love what you do here, but these “tools” while useful to some people are a nightmare for those of us who administer internet filters. I use probably the best one on the market for my school, but none of them are perfect, and more of this stuff pops up everyday. Please try not to mention “this is how you would get around at work or school”. Again, I love the site and your postings, even find myself missing them when there is nothing new for a while.

  • willy

    with firefox you might want to check out foxyproxy [ http://foxyproxy.mozdev.org/ ] a proxy management tools for Firefox

  • stonefisk

    Oh after that sample there is a demand for a Nixie cover of “Still Alive”.

  • Security

    So you are the voice of GlaDOS. 😉

    Nice little guide tho, something I can pass to almost anyone as I tend to make things too technical for most people when they ask me something.

    @LSS-Admin
    It doesn’t matter if she mentions work/school or not as this will be the first place people try it anyway and in most cases those filters do more harm then good in the eyes of the user.
    One of the more effective solutions is to simply block the IP’s of the most common proxy servers but in the end you will lose the fight.

  • Ken

    If you have a few *nix boxes in different locations, using SSH to tunnel HTTP is pretty nifty, too. Lets say you’re in Germany and have a router running OpenWRT in the US, all you have to do is run ‘ssh -D localhost:8080 you@your-us-box.com‘ (which creates a Socks proxy on your machine through the SSH connection), and set your browsers proxy settings to localhost and port 8080 (which is easy to do with Firefox).

    Voila! You’re browsing through the internet connection of the box you just SSH’d to, and are able to use services such as Hulu and some YT videos, that are not available in Germany

    A problem you might run into is that your bandwidth is limited to the uplink of the box you’re connecting to, because everything you’re doing is being forwarded to you through that box.

  • I agree …. unwanted cookies are worse than carbon footprints !

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  • You can try these 2 proxies – http://www.hidemyipaddress.org or http://www.anonymousbrowse.net – both of them support YouTube.

  • Jesper Brunholm

    Tor project – the links are missing an R, it’s http://www.torpRoject.org 🙂

  • vince

    hello nixie,really need your help,hope you can help me.its about an online game,ill explain it in a short way,im from philippines but im working now in korea.im playing silkroad online and have ip block here for sro(silkroadonline)because they have joymax korea here,ksro(korea sro).now im using a free vpn known as hotspotshield.problem is you will get dc after 3 hours^_^,i really need an stable ip.when i watch your video in youtube..i tried it but the games still blocked,is there any other trick you can teach me so i can play my online games working for 24/7 without loosing the ip hide…thank you very much advance….sorry for disturbing,just looking for hope in my bigbigbig problem.=( ^_^

  • Excellent read, Thank you. I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on proxy servers. And he actually bought me lunch as I found this for him. So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

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  • Hey Nixie! Soooo, I ran across your yoo-toob channel, watched a couple of ur vids and… YEP!… I’m hooked! You seem really cool and totally smart. Already lurned sum new stuff from ya…Well just wanted to say, I’m stickin around fur a while if ya don’t mind …Oh! B4 I furgit…Yur SMOKIN HOT! CYa…
    the Gemini Marketer

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  • Ana

    i just uses free web proxy to unblock youtube, there are many for that purpose like https://unblock-youtube.pk , its help me in unblocking.

  • O meria bat

    There are many proxies you can use to unblock YouTube, i recommend using https://unblock-youtube.pk which is great proxy for unblock blocked sites.