I was flicking through the BBC site one day and happened to come across an article that sounded interesting. The article in question was A Maldives you can actually afford.
Now I can’t even afford a Maldives I can afford but that’s another topic entirely. I love reading about other countries but imagine my surprise when I couldn’t actually access the article. Let’s not forget it’s an article on the BBC website and I’m in the UK.
However rather than being able to read the article I was greeted with a message informing me I was blocked from accessing it and the reason given was :-
We’re sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It is run commercially by BBC Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC, the profits made from it go back to BBC programme-makers to help fund great new BBC programmes.
I found this really bizarre. In other sections of the website it goes on to explain that advertising pays for the site but if advertising pays for international access to the site then why can’t it pay for my access in the UK?
The thing about the BBC Worldwide site is it has some really interesting articles on a variety of topics that you just don’t find on the standard UK accessible one.
What is also strange is users outside the UK can access the UK BBC news website albeit with adverts that UK users don’t get but why this can’t apply in reverse for me accessing the BBC Worldwide site is beyond me.
How to access BBC Worldwide from the UK
Thankfully I use a service called a VPN or to give it the full name a Virtual Private Network.
A VPN is a system originally used by business but now used by millions of everyday users around the world to protect their privacy online.
A VPN not only encrypts your internet connection so what you do online remains private from your ISP, government or anyone else snooping on your internet connection but it also allows you to virtually reside in any other country in the world.
When you access the BBC Worldwide website from within the UK the site knows your location based on your internet connection. Something called your IP Address gives away your location and so it is relatively easy for the site to block you.
A VPN allows you to browse the web under an IP Address from another country and so to BBC Worldwide you’ll appear as if you’re located outside the UK which results in the site letting you read and watch anything that is ordinarily blocked from within the UK.
Where to get a VPN to access BBC Worldwide
There are now thousands of VPN providers vying for your business and some are better than others. As with anything in the world searching around for a quality VPN provider can be time consuming and also costly. Testing VPN providers is part of my daily routine so thankfully I find out which providers are best suited to certain needs.
For accessing BBC worldwide outside the UK I recommend the following three providers.
What to do once you’ve got a VPN service
BBC Worldwide only blocks you when you’re inside the UK and as explained earlier it does this by checking your IP Address.
Now you’ve got a VPN service you’re able to assume the identity of another country and use an IP Address from outside the UK.
As an example I’ll show you how to achieve this using IPVanish on Windows but the process is pretty standard regardless of which VPN provider you signed up to or which device you’re using.
1) First, download and install the IPVanish Windows software.
2) Once installed run the software which can be found via its icon on your desktop.
3) Next click Server Selection on the left hand side and then Map.
4) Select any location that is outside the UK. The closer the country the faster the speed so choosing somewhere such as the Netherlands, Ireland or France would be ideal although you are free to select any country of your choosing.
5) Once connected simply visit the BBC Worldwide site and enjoy browsing the articles as if you weren’t a UK citizen.
When you’ve finished just disconnect and continue as you would normally. That’s all there is to it.
Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net