There are various websites on the Internet that provide free and legal access to your favorite TV shows, music, movies, news, and other content. Unfortunately, most of these websites have restrictions that only allow people from a particular region or country to access the content. It can be quite frustrating. If anyone from outside the ‘permitted’ region or state tries to obtain such a website, they are greeted with an error message. In such a case, if you still want to access the site, you need to disguise your location somehow and pretend to be in the ‘it allowed’ region.
Using Virtual Private Network
This is where something known as a VPN or a Virtual Private Network comes in handy. Using a VPN, you can pretend to be located in some other part of the world (like the USA, for example). Once you can do that, you will also be able to access all the content on the region-restricted website without paying any money.
A VPN is typically used by companies and organizations to allow their employees to connect to their central office network from anywhere in the world remotely. For example, let us assume that you work for a company that is headquartered in Singapore. If you are traveling to Japan, the United States, or Brazil for work and want to access your files, folders, database, printers, and other network resources back in your Singapore headquarters, you can use a VPN.
However, there are several free VPNs available on the Internet that can be used to disguise your location (in technical parlance, they allow you to change the IP address of your computer) and pretend to be in some other part of the world. In other words, if you directly connect to a website, then you will not be allowed to access the content on it since the site will know from your IP address that you are outside the allowed region. However, if you first connect to a VPN service based in an “allowed’ area, the website will get fooled and will give you access to all its content for free. As simple as that!
For this example, let us assume that you want to access content on a website that is usually only available to users in the USA.
Access Website Through Hotspot Shield
One of my favorite public free VPN services is Hotspot Shield (http://hotspotshield.com). It is a free VPN service, supported by some basic light ads, that establishes a secure encrypted VPN connection between your computer and their Internet gateway, hence giving you full unrestricted access to everything on the Internet. Most of their servers are located in the USA, so by connecting to the Hotspot Shield VPN service, you can change your identity and seem to be found in the USA.
Hotspot Shield can be downloaded from http://hotspotshield.com, and installation takes only a few minutes. Once Hotspot Shield has been installed on your computer, you need to start it to tunnel all Internet traffic from all apps on your computer through their server. It is very user friendly, and you don’t need to be a techie to be able to use it. There is no configuration of settings that is required.
Once Hotspot Shield is running in the background on your computer, whenever you launch any app on your computer, it will automatically route your Internet Access through the VPN server of Hotspot Shield in the USA.
How To Check Your IP Address
If you want to make sure that your identity and location have been changed to a USA-based system, start your browser and connect to the website http://www.whatismyipaddress.com. When I open this website on my computer, it reveals that my IP address is 6414582169. My location is California, USA, even though I am actually in India!
Now that you have successfully changed your location, you can easily bypass the region restriction placed by various websites and access all your favorite TV shows, movies, music, games, news, and other content for free. It is also possible to connect your laptop to your LCD or plasma TV to watch the HD-quality episodes on the big screen with surround sound audio.
Once you are done accessing the content, you can disconnect from the HotSpot Shield VPN network by clicking on its icon in the taskbar notification area.