I think 2017 has seen the end of the usefulness of proxy servers at least as far as bypassing region locks goes. Of course, proxies are still incredibly useful and most organisations use them to help protect their internal networks and to speed up internet access through their caching. The problem has always been that it’s too easy to detect proxies, and that has limited their usefulness in bypassing blocks. Most of the big media sites have been blocking them for many years, in fact the BBC was the last major broadcaster that didn’t. That changed last year when the BBC started to block not only proxies but also many VPN services too.
It’s not certain why the BBC suddenly started blocking these servers all of a sudden, previously they had been very laid back about their use. Perhaps the fact that literally millions access the BBC site from outside the UK or maybe the need to start maximising the revenue of their shows was to blame, we really don’t know. The reality is that you now need a high quality VPN to access BBC News streaming or the joys of BBC iPlayer and live TV from outside the UK.
People still attempt to find proxies to work with these media sites, but they’re genuinely wasting their time. It is unlikely that they will become useful for these methods anytime soon. It’s surprising that even VPNs are becoming marginalised too – the connections are still difficult to detect but media sites are targeting the IP addresses and blacklisting them. It’s likely that many will start to follow the example of Netflix and block thousands of services by restricting access to residential IP addresses only, this video about the Best VPN for Netflix highlights this issue.
If this happens it will involve a huge shake up in the VPN providers sector. This is because it is relatively simple to set up a decent commercial based VPN service but much more difficult to include residential IP addresses in your infrastructure. This is because the address which are classified as residential are normally only released to home users through their ISPs. Obtaining these addresses for commercial uses are difficult and extremely expensive compared to the commercial addresses.
The hope is that this technological war, leaves a smaller number of VPN services which are better run. There’s no doubt that the majority of these services are both slow, insecure and offer very poor support. This is because most of them are set up simply as a quick method of watching online TV and bypassing region blocks, which means that people
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