How to Unblock Websites and Social Media

February 3, 2014
By

hola

One of the greatest things about the digital revolution for expats is that, in theory, we get access to music, movies and ebooks at the same time as our peers back home. We also no longer have to pay postal fees to have books, CDs and DVDs sent to us from places like Amazon. Unfortunately, this is not 100% true as some websites block us from buying and downloading digital products if we come from the wrong country. Even if we are willing to pay.

To get round this you could sign up for a VPN service like StrongVPN which I use. Sometimes my local ISP incorrectly blocks banned websites and I find it difficult to open some of my own websites including my server control panel. The VPN changes my IP address to one outside of Thailand which allows me to instantly connect to blocked websites as soon as I turn it on. An added benefit is that if I connect with a UK IP address, I can then access BBC iPlayer.

The downside to using a VPN, sometimes known as an anonymizer, is that it will slow your experience down. This means that even though your Internet in Thailand might be fast enough to stream the shows on BBC iPlayer, once you turn on your VPN, you will experience a lot of buffering. This is where Hola comes in. This neat free plug-in for your browser actually speeds up the Internet while bypassing censorship. I have already tested it on BBC iPlayer and didn’t have any buffering at all (*).

To get more information and to download the plug-in, please vist the Hola website. If you use this link we will both get a free month of the premium service. Up to now I have only used the free service and I am quite happy with it. But, if someone could click on that link and sign in, I will update the blog with a review of the premium service. Thanks.

* From what I understand, streaming of content doesn’t break any copyright laws. But if you use Hola to download or redistribute content then that could be against copyright laws. Unless, of course, it is free content.

27 Responses to How to Unblock Websites and Social Media

  1. Jim
    February 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Since when does Amazon ship free to Thailand?

  2. chad
    February 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I think Richard meant free digital content downloads from Amazon.

  3. Spike
    February 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Looks good! Clicked the link and will give it a go.

  4. Christian Sutton
    February 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Richard,

    I’ve used that link and set up a log in so you should be able to give the premium service a go now.

    Cheers,

    Christian

  5. Paul Vleeshouwers
    February 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I use “unblock us” a DNS routing service that doesn’t slow down your internet like VPN sometimes does.

  6. Susanne Walter
    February 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! I wonder if it also works with Spotify…

  7. James
    February 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Do you know if this system allows you to Airplay from your iPhone/iPad to an Apple TV? I tried ExpressVPN recently and while BBC iPlayer/ITV Player/4OD worked fine on the iPhone/iPad it wasn’t possible to stream it on the big screen via the Apple TV.

  8. Jay
    February 3, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I have found that the service “unlocator (dot) com” works really well if you are using Apple TV as you can bake it right into the box and then everything works. They also give you instructions for adding it directly to your router so that any traffic will appear based in the US. The only downside is you have to log in to their site regularly and update your ip address. Otherwise it has worked pretty well for me.

  9. robin
    February 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I use http://tunlr.net/ a free dns changer works perfect

    • john dworecki
      February 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      hey robin I m in pattaya and need some help to download the link you are using please excuse my computer ignorance as I m self taught so I don t know a lot kind regards john

  10. Iyer
    February 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    For streaming via Apple TV use Hotspot VPN and Richard, after 2 years I scuppered StrongVPN as it does not work in all locations. And HS is cheap and comes with an App for iDevices!

  11. Keith
    February 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

    James…

    Most of the sites have figured out a way to block you streaming to your Apple TV from Ipad & I phone, but it does work when you stream it from a laptop. Either a PC or a macbook, Netflix is the only one that i can stream from my ipad.

  12. Matt
    February 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I use Media Hint. It’s free and works just fine.

  13. Paddy MacLachlan
    February 6, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I tried Hola and it didn’t seem to work at all.

    • Richard Barrow
      February 6, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Strange, works for me. I have the chrome plug-in installed and watching BBC iPlayer as I write this. No buffering at all. Did you see that there are alternatives for each country? Some may not work for particular websites so just switch to another.

  14. Paddy Maclachlan
    February 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Richard, I just bought a new Google Nexus tablet with Chrom pre-installed so I’ll try to do it on that. Thanks.

  15. Lol
    March 17, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    To those who say it is not working, you must click the plugin when on the iplayer website and select uk as the country. Does everything really need to be spoonfed or can you actually figure something out for yourself… my goodness

  16. May 21, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hi Richard. I can’t try this out right now as my laptop is being fixed, but I want to check the details whilst it’s still legal to talk about such things! Am I right in thinking that you use your VPN and Hola together? Is this it: Turn on your VPN, log into iPlayer, then switch on Hola – and this with enable you to stream successfully? Thanks for your help.

    • Richard Barrow
      May 21, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Hola is like a VPN. If you have a Chrome browser just download the free plugin.

      • Dan
        May 28, 2014 at 9:05 pm

        So you only need one or the other? You don’t need both StrongVPN and Hola?

  17. Peter
    May 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Using a VPN or hiding using Proxy is illegal in Thailand according to the cyber laws imposed by the last army regime.

    • Roger
      June 28, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      @Peter,

      Everything I’ve read states that VPN is legal so long as the activity while using the VPN service is legal.

      What’s your source?

  18. chesca
    October 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks for the article Richard .Why using a VPN when you can use a DNS service like UnoTelly? The DNS option is much faster and easier to use.

  19. Lauren
    October 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I have a Netflix account and a VPN service that I use successfully in Indonesia. Now that I am in Thailand I can’t get it to work. It will log me in but says it can’t load data (this is using the app on my tablet). I tried going to the Netflix website (using tablet) with the VPN turned on and connect and it still won’t work. It says that Netflix isn’t available in Thailand. Is it because I’m using a serviced apartment Common Wi-Fi? Why isn’t the VPN working?

    • Richard Barrow
      October 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

      I would think if you are using shared WiFi then you wouldn’t get streaming to work. I hardly have enough bandwidth at hotels. The other problem is that some ISPs in Thailand block some VPNs and/or limite activities such as streaming.

  20. Paul Gee
    February 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Hola is very patchy. I had the Chrome extension AND then the full Hola Engine and NEITHER ever worked (from Thailand) with Amazon Instant Video which was not fooled as to my whereabouts.

    With BBC iPlayer Hola did sometime work but at other times the buffering (streaming a prog) was ridiculous and I would give up. Downloading a program to the BBC offline viewer never worked, maybe cos BBC website opens a popup which is not behind the Hola wall – and no means to change that.

    All in all I was so frustrated I uninstalled – and am now searching for a paid-for DNS Proxy or VPN that actually works all the time.

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