Get a US IP address
There are lots of reasons to get a US IP address. You can get access to cool sites like Hulu and Netflix, as well as a few others listed below. The fact that you can’t access these streaming sites outide the country is not limited to the USA. In fact, most countries do this. I have not seen any ‘official’ reasons for this, but I think it’s for two reasons: advertsing money and bandwidth limitations. Regardless, you can get around the block with a VPN (I’ll explain below). Meanwhile, here are some sites you can’t fully access (streaming content) without a US IP.
Everything that connects to the Internet has an IP address, and that means you can get a US IP address on a variety of devices including
- Apple TV
- Xbox 360
- Playstation 3 (PS3)
- Nokia Phones (and other Symbian Devices)
So how exactly to you change your IP? With a Virtual Private Network.
If this is your first time hearing about VPNs, think of them like driving a car. There’s a lot of tech that goes into making it, but to use it properly, you don’t have to know EVERYTHING about it. There are a few key things you should know, however, to make your VPN experience the best possible.
1) Server location counts
If we want a US IP, we need a VPN server in the USA. Most VPN services have this locations because it’s one of the most popular. Also, your distance from the server will affect speed. The longer the distance, the longer data has to travel between you and the VPN server, and the VPN server to the website you’re communicating with. Many times you won’t be able to tell a difference, but sometimes you can. Getting a server near your location could speed up your connection.
Server load counts. The more people signed into a VPN server, the more data that’s being transferred. That means slower speeds. Not all services display this information, but some do. Either way, switching servers can be helpful for speeding up your connection. This is another reason why free server switching is important. Not all services do this.
2) Popularity Should Be Considered
I get tons of emails from smaller VPN services asking me to write reviews for them and give them the #1 spot. They think their VPN service is so awesome. But the fact is I’ve had much better luck with the big boys. Between the big players in the VPN market, I honestly don’t see any HUGE differences for the average VPN user. If you are a power user and do a lot of data transfers every day, or have legitimate concerns about your privacy on the internet, then some of the more technical things are worth looking into.
That being said, be sure to know how long your money back guarantee lasts for. Some are 1 day, some are 30 days. That’s a huge difference. Try out a VPN for a while, and if you don’t like it, get your money back. I’ve done it before, and most places are very accommodating at returning your money (though it usually takes a few days or a week to complete the transfer).
3) Price is Not Always Equal To Quality
I don’t mean to imply the opposite either – that expensive VPN services are overpriced. But from all the services I’ve reviewed over the years, I have not seen a correlation between the price of a VPN service and the quality of its service. Some cheap ones are great. Some expensive ones are just as good.
On the lower end you’ll pay about $3 – $5 per month, and on the higher end you’ll pay between $12 and $20 per month. The one advantage that higher priced VPN services have is usually a native English speaking staff, fast and courteous customer service reps, and solutions to the problems that occur. With a cheaper VPN service you usually have long waits between support emails, snarky or nonchalant reps, and you might be forced to troubleshoot your own tech problems.
About US IPs and accessing US websites
So it’s pretty straightforward for getting your US IP. Sign up for a VPN service, sign into a US VPN server, and you’re good to go. But before you access the US content you are looking for, here are some things to consider.
1) Cookies may be left over from your last visit. Not all websites care or track this stuff, but some do. For example, I can sign into Netflix from a foreign IP, get blocked and leave the site up. After signing into a VPN with a US IP and refreshing the page, Netflix works. With Hulu I have to delete cookies, browser cash, and sometimes even restart my computer or change browsers.
2) Sometimes a US credit card is needed. Again, some times will accept many types of payment, including Paypal and foreign credit cards. Others require that you have a US card. There are ways around this outlined here. Be sure to test your access to a site before you VPN trial is finished to make sure everything works.
3) Some websites block shared IP addresses. This includes VPNs. Generally, VPNs are able to get past IP restricted firewalls much better than proxies, but not all the time. Again, test your stuff before the trial is over to make sure everything works.
Where to Now?
Now you’re ready to read some reviews on VPN services that have servers in the US. Here is my Top 5 VPNs World Wide chart. Here is my comparison table of all VPN services featured on Mr. VPN. You can also browse VPN setup intstructions by operating system (below), but I would suggest you check out the VPN services first. Many times, instructions will vary slightly, and some even have cool apps to make VPN use even easier.
If you have any questions or comments, do so below, I’m happy to help.