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InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
reply to jfmezei

Re: Anyone using Unblock-us?

said by jfmezei:

Later, they wised up. The web comtent is still available via proxy, but videos are now geoblocked at the flash server level, so the video you see tells you your're not allowed to watch it.

Some streaming sites simply ban popular proxy/VPN servers' IPs to prevent people from using them to bypass geoblocks. Hulu did it for a bunch of those, Netflix will likely end up doing the same if they get enough pressure from their content providers.


atl2oz

@dodo.com.au
reply to SpongeGuard

I'm using this with great results in Australia. I've not had any service issues, but I've only been using for 2 weeks. We have Apple TV and stream Netflix and MLB.tv - also watch episodes of US shows online. Loving it so far.


docbill

join:2006-10-24
Stoney Creek, ON
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
·Velcom
·Bell Sympatico
·Bell Fibe
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1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to SpongeGuard

said by SpongeGuard:

For access to USA services such as netflix, hulu, pandora, etc?
I've been contemplating it for a while, but I want to know that these guys are reliable and trustworthy before I go and pay for the service.

Incase anyone is not familiar with them, they were previously known as USVideo.org or .ca.

I'm just about done with their free trial. I have to say it works very reliably. The only step they forgot to include, is to clear any IPV6 name servers from your router... It took me a day to realize that was the problem why at first they did not work.

As others have commented they are not a VPN service. What they do is a DNS server that directs select websites to their proxy. This has the advantage that you get full transfer speed to anywhere on the web except those few sites in the US they support. The disadvantage is there is no user customization. So for example, you cannot view syfy website videos from Canada using it.

The actually do some clever tricks to minimize the amount of traffic that needs to go through there site. So for example, if you watch videos on hulu, if you look at the IP addresses being routed to in your router, you'll see the videos do not transfer through their website. It took me several days of playing with privoxy to figure out how they do that, and how to replicate it without their service.

Since websites regularly change their methods of GEO checking, it seems to me it is well worth the $5/month to have someone else that will sweat it if for example hulu.com changes their GEO filters.

While a VPN service is more versatile, it is also more work. e.g. If netflix suddenly blocks your vpn service, you are probably still stuck for your full service term on your vpn contract. If you want to limit what goes through your VPN tunnel, so you get faster speeds on the things that don't need VPN, then you are either going to have to do lots of firewall rules, or you are going need to regularly connect and disconnect from VPN.

Unblock-us.com is very minimal work. You set your dns servers and forget about it. The one pain is if you have a dynamic IP address that regularly changes, you have to visit their website frequently to refresh your network login. They really need an application that makes that happen automatically...

Regards,

Bill


quickbeam
Premium
join:2003-06-01
reply to SpongeGuard

Signed up last night, works great.


kuddles

join:2011-05-02
Ottawa, ON
reply to SpongeGuard

I tried out for this service this weekend and it works as advertised.

In a fit of irony over hearing about how much better the selection in the US is, I hit a bit of a negative with Netflix. It appears almost all the TV shows I was watching on the Canadian version and some movies I was planning on watching are all the ones not available on the US versions. (I was in the middle of Mad Men, Justified and Mythbusters on the Canadian Netflix. The US version doesn't carry the first two at all and only has a "best of" selection of Mythbusters episodes.)

That said, I really like how it works, and I'm happy to be listening to Pandora again. Once PSN is back online, I hope to try out Vudu.


wayner92

join:2006-01-17
Toronto, ON

But with this service it should be easy to switch back and forth between being in Canada or the US if you wanted to pay for both Netflix services. If you want to access Netflix Canada then you could just change your DNS back to your regular ISP settings such as what you get from Rogers/Bell. Or you could even have a "Canadian" PC and a "US" PC. You should also be able to write a batch file to change your DNS settings with the double click of a mouse.

In an email from unblock-us they also said that they have a way of allowing you to access Netflix Canada while using their DNS settings but that was a bit more work but I decided to stick with the US service.


Roofer

join:2010-11-24
reply to kuddles

said by kuddles:

Once PSN is back online, I hope to try out Vudu.

Vudu works without PSN (I am not sure about signing up for it initially). It asks you to log into PSN, but you can just ignore it.

kuddles

join:2011-05-02
Ottawa, ON
reply to wayner92

said by wayner92:

But with this service it should be easy to switch back and forth between being in Canada or the US if you wanted to pay for both Netflix services.

Yeah, the issue with that is I like to use my television to watch the programming, and since that is using an application instead of just a website, you basically have to re-install the Netflix app every time you switched between the Canadian or US one in addition to resetting the DNS Server settings in your router. I'm too lazy to do all that. I'll just find other ways of getting Mythbusters episodes.

said by Roofer:

Vudu works without PSN (I am not sure about signing up for it initially). It asks you to log into PSN, but you can just ignore it.

Yeah, the problem is that you need to go on PSN to initially install the Vudu service, though, which I never did.


hacktek00

@ice.co.cr
reply to SpongeGuard

@docbill: were you able to replicate it without their service?

I already have a VPS in which i have privoxy, pptp and openvpn and it works fine but i have the obvious performance hit. I'd love to install a dns server and replicate their service, doing the administrative work is fine since these things are sort of a hobby for me :P


xcimo
Ebox 60Mbps

join:2007-11-21
Gatineau, QC
reply to SpongeGuard

Anyone know how unblock.us works? Is it purely DNS based or by using DNS they redirect some (ie. netflix) to a tunnel to the US? (in which case they also need a US IP).

Anyone have more details on how it works?

Does your traceroute to netflix change when using unblock.us compared to a standard dns?

Thanks



Nilism

join:2011-02-07
Edmonton, AB
reply to SpongeGuard

Been using them for a couple of months successfully.



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
reply to SpongeGuard

I don't get it. How does using the DNS servers operated by Unblock-US differ from using other US-based DNS servers (like 4.2.2.2) as far as making US content servers think that you're located inside the USA?

I thought that the US-based content or media servers performed geo-location based on your IP address - which has nothing to do with what DNS server you use.



mlerner
Premium
join:2000-11-25
Nepean, ON
kudos:5

It either does some reverse DNS trick or it hardcodes the IPs. I suspect the ones like Netflix don't do any hard checks so if it gets to the right server it probably won't check. For Hulu I have no idea because I know their site does a couple of different checks that normally can't be spoofed.



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

> It either does some reverse DNS trick or it hardcodes the IPs.

When you say "It" - what are you referring to? What is the "it"?

> I suspect the ones like Netflix don't do any hard checks so if it gets
> to the right server it probably won't check.

Are you saying that someone in the US would get a different DNS result if they did a query for netflix.com compared with someone in Canada performing the same DNS query for netflix.com? Even if the person in Canada was using 4.2.2.2 as their DNS server?

Explain.



mlerner
Premium
join:2000-11-25
Nepean, ON
kudos:5

It referring to the DNS servers and yes, the Canadian and US Netflix use different server farms.



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

> It referring to the DNS servers and yes, the Canadian and
> US Netflix use different server farms.

That doesn't answer the question I posed to you, which I will re-state:

Are you saying that someone in the US would get a different DNS result if they did a query for netflix.com compared with someone in Canada performing the same DNS query for netflix.com? Even if the person in Canada was using 4.2.2.2 as their DNS server?

Why would (or how could) a Canadian DNS server return a different result for a DNS query for netflix.COM vs a USA-based DNS server?

And here's another question: Does the UnBlock-US dns server return a different result for a netflix.com query compared to using an ordinary (and free/open) US-based DNS server (like 4.2.2.2) ?



mlerner
Premium
join:2000-11-25
Nepean, ON
kudos:5

The dns lookup doesn't happen like that. It first determines location (I'm not sure how Netflix does this part) then it redirects to the distribution network via DNS based on location. So if it thinks you're in the US you get redirected to xxx.netflix.com, if it thinks you're in Canada it gets redirected to xxx.ca.netflix.com.

Whoever created unblock US knew how to fool the site and also since they control the DNS they can set the records to whatever they want.

I would speculate though that there are all sorts of DNS vulnerabilities, I seem to remember in one case you could fool a site into thinking your reverse DNS for your assigned IP is different and if Netflix uses that it could fool it into thinking you have another ISP.



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

> It first determines location

What is "it"? When I point my browser to netflix.com, what is the "it"? Is it my browser, or the DNS server my computer happens to be using, or is it netflix.com?

> DNS based on location

What is a "DNS-based" location? How does the DNS name query mechanism include or perform any location-based functionality? When was this added to the DNS specification?

Or are you saying that the DNS servers that are authoritative for netflix.com are performing IP-based geo-locating, and are giving different computers different results based on the IP address of the computers performing the query? That would make sense, except for the DNS caching that goes on internet-wide. How do they get around that?

Wouldn't custom entries in my hosts file allow me to simulate what Unblock-US is doing?

Finally, how long before Netflix servers themselves perform IP-based geolocating and geo-blocking?



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
reply to SpongeGuard

Just to add this tid-bit: Hotspot shield apparently (still) works well for watching Hulu in Canada. A few of us were sitting around a Mac laptop in the office today watching the double-episode of the Office that aired last night. This was on Hulu - complete with commercials.

And hotspot shield is free (to my knowledge).



corster
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Gatineau, QC
reply to sm5w2

said by sm5w2:

Wouldn't custom entries in my hosts file allow me to simulate what Unblock-US is doing?

Finally, how long before Netflix servers themselves perform IP-based geolocating and geo-blocking?

No, and they already do.

Netflix checks IP when you load the homepage and when you load a video. Same with services like Hulu.
--
Rob Ford, Check. Stephen Harper, Check. Tim Hudak, October.
Ontario can lead again - Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party in 2011

xcimo
Ebox 60Mbps

join:2007-11-21
Gatineau, QC

said by corster:

said by sm5w2:

Wouldn't custom entries in my hosts file allow me to simulate what Unblock-US is doing?

Finally, how long before Netflix servers themselves perform IP-based geolocating and geo-blocking?

No, and they already do.

Netflix checks IP when you load the homepage and when you load a video. Same with services like Hulu.

Sure but if unblock.us does it with a purly dns based solution, there must be a way around it.


sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

1 edit

> Sure but if unblock.us does it with a purly dns based solution

Can someone explain exactly how a "dns-based location solution" is performed?

Edit: Ok, so it's basically a DNS server that is hooked into a database of IP subnet records organized according to the operational desire of the DNS owner/operator. Those desires may simply be network efficiency (give a DNS result that is the shortest path between the target machine and the machine doing the query) or it may be content redirection or blocking, etc (give a requestor in country "A" a response that is also located in country "A").

I can see all sorts of holes in this, such as how do you deal with DNS caching that might be happening in various places on the network, but beyond that it just seems that if you set your DNS server setting in your OS to point to a server in the target country (ie - the USA, like 4.2.2.2) then you've fooled this DNS-based location method into thinking that you're in the US.

Beyond that, if you know the FQDN's of the US machines that you want to pull content from, simply hard-code their real US IP address into your hosts file.



corster
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Gatineau, QC

As far as I can tell, the way the service works is that the DNS redirects traffic to selected domains through their own proxy, as opposed to directly to the domain. Anything that isn't one of the selected sites doesn't go through the proxy.

Pretty sure using this service, if you looked up Netflix by IP as opposed to Netflix.com, it would send you to the Canadian one.
--
Rob Ford, Check. Stephen Harper, Check. Tim Hudak, October.
Ontario can lead again - Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party in 2011


LastDon

join:2002-08-13

I used this service for a bit of time.

I changed my dns settings in windows .

left my router alone.

and i was watching hulu and netflix usa just fine.

not sure how it works but it does


xcimo
Ebox 60Mbps

join:2007-11-21
Gatineau, QC
reply to SpongeGuard

Can someone post traceroute with and without?



corster
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Gatineau, QC

On my Bell connection with Unblock-us:
traceroute to www.netflix.com (50.22.86.51), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 rosewill (192.168.1.1) 1.620 ms 0.968 ms 1.143 ms
2 bas1-ottawa09_lo0_symp.net.bell.ca (64.230.200.132) 10.841 ms 10.082 ms 9.897 ms
3 dis32-ottawa23_4-2-0_100.net.bell.ca (64.230.57.60) 9.654 ms 52.560 ms 9.332 ms
4 bx6-newyork83_xe3-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.187.158) 21.826 ms
bx6-newyork83_xe1-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.187.170) 24.402 ms
bx6-newyork83_xe3-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.187.158) 21.056 ms
5 te1-7.bbr01.tl01.nyc01.networklayer.com (198.32.160.27) 24.506 ms 27.842 ms 23.076 ms
6 po1.bbr02.tl01.nyc01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.177) 23.663 ms 22.922 ms 21.541 ms
7 po4.bbr01.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.156) 29.396 ms 32.987 ms 39.435 ms
8 po3.bbr02.tl01.atl01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.153) 41.398 ms 39.662 ms 37.215 ms
9 po7.bbr02.eq01.dal01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.134) 51.214 ms 52.585 ms 51.166 ms
10 ae5.dar02.sr01.dal07.networklayer.com (173.192.18.181) 51.356 ms 62.515 ms 54.380 ms
11 po2.fcr01.sr01.dal07.networklayer.com (50.22.118.133) 57.228 ms 54.654 ms 52.781 ms
12 * * *

On my Bell connection with Google DNS:
traceroute to www.netflix.com (208.75.76.17), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 1.792 ms 1.068 ms 0.944 ms
2 bas1-ottawa09_lo0_symp.net.bell.ca (64.230.200.132) 9.649 ms 9.569 ms 9.758 ms
3 dis32-ottawa23_4-2-0_100.net.bell.ca (64.230.57.60) 9.800 ms 9.632 ms 9.835 ms
4 bx4-montreal02_pos5-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.169.186) 99.132 ms
bx4-montreal02_pos3-1-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.169.190) 11.647 ms
bx4-montreal02_pos5-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.169.186) 12.077 ms
5 limelight_bx4-montreal02.net.bell.ca (64.230.169.182) 11.883 ms 13.121 ms 11.527 ms
6 tge11-2.fr4.lga.llnw.net (68.142.80.241) 25.414 ms 23.275 ms 23.284 ms
7 tge1-2.fr3.lga.llnw.net (69.28.171.201) 23.298 ms 39.342 ms 31.344 ms
8 tge13-1.fr3.iad.llnw.net (69.28.189.30) 35.747 ms
tge2-4.fr3.iad.llnw.net (69.28.171.157) 33.100 ms 29.164 ms
9 netflix.tge4-2.fr3.iad.llnw.net (69.28.157.14) 29.527 ms 34.410 ms 28.752 ms
10 xe-0-0-0-100.jnrt-edge01.sv1.netflix.com (69.53.230.213) 92.688 ms 92.368 ms 92.279 ms
11 xe-2-2-0-954.jnrt-edge01.prod1.netflix.com (69.53.225.26) 90.734 ms 90.693 ms 90.390 ms
12 te1-8.csrt-agg01.prod1.netflix.com (69.53.225.6) 90.626 ms 90.611 ms 90.609 ms
13 www.dc1.netflix.com (208.75.76.17) 90.700 ms 90.450 ms 90.625
--
Rob Ford, Check. Stephen Harper, Check. Tim Hudak, October.
Ontario can lead again - Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party in 2011


xcimo
Ebox 60Mbps

join:2007-11-21
Gatineau, QC
reply to SpongeGuard

Looks like you end-up on a server that has nothing to do with netflix.. So they are probably proxying the data from that point..



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
reply to SpongeGuard

There seems to be a hack or work-around to be able to get hu-loo in this country (I'm using phraseology here so that hu-lou won't find this easily if they're looking for stuff like this).

This hack involves getting this firefox add-on: Modify Headers 0.7.0.2 (»addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox···headers/) and adding "X-Forwarded-For" header to what your browser normally sends out to web servers when it's accessing content. The argument or value to supply along with that header is an IP address. In this case, we want to use a US IP address - any address we know to be in the USA (no traffic will actually be routed through this address).

That header line is used to tell a web server what your real IP address is if you're going through a proxy. So in this case we're trying to fool hu-lou into thinking that we're in the USA because it's probably looking for that header. I don't think you actually have to use a US-based proxy for this to work.

Now, there seems to several other things you have to do, such as

1) Add "hulu.cust.footprint.net" to your hosts file, or add it to your firewall out-bound rules (I would think that adding it to your hosts file is faster and easier and does the same thing).

2) add various IP addresses to your out-bound firewall settings. These include 206.33.62.126, 198.78.201.126, 207.109.221.177, 207.109.221.184. All on port 80.

3) add to more rules to your out-bound firewall setting. One for UDP, one for TCP. The port you're blocking is 1935.

It seems that some combination of 1, 2 and 3 will allow you to get hoo-lou on Chrome without the modify-headers add-on, and if so then presumably that would also be the case with any browser.

Hoo-lou seems to be able to catch on about the X Forwarded header and might (or will) eventually block the IP address being used, but when that happens all you need to do is change the address slightly and you're back in business. This hack seems to also work for TheDailyShow.com, and ColbertNation.com.

External references:

»www.reddit.com/r/canada/comments···_method/
»ohryan.ca/blog/2010/11/06/how-to···-method/
»www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/···/c0c267a

.


bbbc

join:2001-10-02
NorthAmerica
kudos:2
Reviews:
·FreedomPop

3 edits
reply to sm5w2

Anyone ever have a problem getting Netflix USA to stream on multiple device(s) / computer(s) in same household (out of area message), but still have Pandora and Hulu Plus working with UnblockUs? Mind you, the American Netflix account in question works at other Canadian locations.

For some reason, Netflix USA is the only American service not functioning under UnblockUs at a friend's place.



corster
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Gatineau, QC

said by bbbc:

Anyone ever have a problem getting Netflix USA to stream on multiple device(s) / computer(s) in same household (out of area message), but still have Pandora and Hulu Plus working with UnblockUs?

Never tried Pandora, but haven't had an issue using Hulu Plus while using Netflix on my Wii and Computer.
--
Rob Ford, Check. Stephen Harper, Check. Tim Hudak, October.
Ontario can lead again - Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party in 2011