National television broadcasters, gaming sites, and other video and social network sites sometimes place country restrictions on their programming. These service providers use geolocation
methods, based on the IP address
client devices use to reach their site, to either allow or block access. For example, people residing in the UK can access BBC UK TV channels online, while those located outside the country normally can not.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology provides a simple way to bypass these IP address location restrictions. Various VPN services on the Internet offer "country IP address" support, where registered users can set up their client to route through a public IP address associated with their country of choice.
.The below list describes representative examples of these VPN country IP services. When evaluating which of these services is best for you, look for the following features:
- client operating system support - does it work with all the different types of clients you care about, such as Windows PCs, Apple iOS phones and tablets or Android devices?
- reliability and performance - does the service have a reputation for high quality? Some international VPN connections can perform sluggishly and/or suffer from frequent drop-outs.
- security protection - if needed, do the VPN connections have sufficient security safeguards, such as encryption?
- trial versions - are free trials or other short-term contracts available? To ensure the service works reliably, it's strongly recommended to first sign up for a minimal plan before making a bigger commitment. Unfortunately, most vendors in this category only offer money-back guarantees instead of free trials.
Subscribers are responsible for using these VPN country IP services in accordance with national and international laws.
At USD $4.95/mo. or $29.95/yr., Easy Hide IP is one of the most affordable reputable VPN IP services. Users generally report good reliability and selection of countries and cities to associate with. The company FAQ indicates that target data rates are 1.5-2.5 Mbps. However, accessing the service requires a Windows PC; it does not support non-Windows clients.
HMA stands for HideMyAss (the mascot being a donkey), one of the more popular anonymous IP services on the Net. The Pro! VPN service includes national IP address support in more than 50 countries. Unlike some other competing services, the HMA VPN client supports all popular operating systems including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, making it a good choice when needing support across a wide range of Internet devices. Packages are priced at $11.52 monthly, $49.99 for 6 months, and $78.66 for one year.
ExpressVPN also supports a full range of Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux clients. Subscriptions run $12.95 monthly, $59.95 for 6 months and $99.95 for one year. ExpressVPN offers IP addresses in 21 or more countries. It seems to be especially popular in Asia with people looking to access social networking sites via U.S. IP addresses.
Established more than 15 years ago, StrongVPN has built a reputation of solid customer service. StrongVPN supports a full range of client devices (including game consoles and set-top boxes in some cases); the company even offers a 24x7 online chat system for customer support. Some service packages are limited to inside the country, but others support international IP addresses in up to 20 countries. Subscription costs likewise vary but range up to $30/month with a minimum three-month obligation, making it one of the highest priced-services in this category. For connection performance, StrongVPN claims their "servers and networks are the fastest available."