Although the internet is often portrayed as a single global system, in practice it's not really anything of the sort. Because it's relatively easy to identify someone's approximate location by means of their IP address, and because it's very easy for a web site operator to find the IP address of a visitor, many sites deliberately block users from specific countries.
This is generally done for marketing or legal reasons. For example, look at the BBC News pages from a computer in the UK and you'll see news that's mostly aimed at a British audience. Look at the same page from the USA and you'll see a different selection of stories.
In many cases you can choose which version of a site you want to see. But in some cases you're prohibited from doing so. For example, a video clip that's only licenced for display in Europe won't be viewable by someone in the USA.
Needless to say, it's possible to work around these inconveniences. You simply need to subscribe to a proxy service. You then log into the proxy server, type in the details of the site you want to visit, and the proxy server requests the information on your behalf. Because the proxy is based in the country whose information you want to view, there's no problem.
One major proxy service company, HMA, lets you choose from proxy servers in some 75 countries. If you don't want to pay the monthly fee, however, you can still access proxies in the UK, USA and the Netherlands, which gives you a pretty good chance of accessing the information you need. Just enter the country you want to appear to be coming from, and the URL of the site you want to visit, and the system does the rest.
So next time you get an error message saying that the content you want to see isn't available in your region, try surfing to https://www.hidemyass.com/proxy and take it from there. Just make sure you select UK, USA or Netherlands from the list, in order to access the free service.
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