Not everyone is aware of Sky Go even those people who have an active Sky subscription. This is surprising because it’s a fantastic app and completely free of charge if you do subscribe. Basically it’s a way of accessing your Sky TV subscription from any sort of electronic device including computers, tablets and even smart phones. That’s right, wherever you go you can get access to all the programmes and channels including in your subscription – in some way justifying the rather high cost of the current Sky subscriptions.
However before you dash off on your holidays with your laptop ready to keep up to date with all the latest shows, there’s a bit of an issue with foreign travel. You see despite the name – Sky Go doesn’t really go everywhere – in fact it stops outside the borders of the UK. Just like all the other mainstream TV channels such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, there are licensing restrictions put in place which means that Sky Go doesn’t work at all when you’re abroad.
So how does Sky Go know you’re on your holidays! Well it uses a very popular filtering process called geo-location, which basically looks at your IP address. You see every device which has access to the internet has a unique network address called an IP address which is assigned by the internet gateway you use to connect. The gateway is the the ISP or internet provider which maintains the connection to the internet whether it’s through a home network, coffee shop or Wifi access point. The crucial factor is that any website can look up each IP address and determine where it is registered. So if for example you’re using a modem in a Parisian Cafe then you’ll be assigned a French IP address. You have no control over this address and it’s 99% accurate in determining your location.
Therefore this is a very simple way to block access from outside the UK. All Sky GO does is look up where your specific IP address is registered, if it’s not from the UK then the application won’t work. So in order to access Sky GO from outside the UK you need to hide the real location of your IP address.
Getting a UK IP Address for Sky GO
Unfortunately there’s no simple way of changing your IP address while you’re connected to the internet. You can change your internal address but that actually has no relevance to your connection and won’t really help. However what you can do is hide your real address and pretend to be in the United Kingdom.
Here’s how it’s done – in this video we’re accessing the BBC News from outside the UK. However it works in exactly the same way for Sky Go too.
So what’s happening here, how are we bypassing the BBC’s country restrictions? Well all we are doing is instead of connecting directly to the BBC we are connecting to an intermediate server which relays our connection. Any website we then visit will only see the IP address of this server, commonly called a proxy server. As long as the proxy server is based in the UK then all UK only websites will work perfectly.
There are literally millions of people across the world who use services like this to watch the BBC. It also works for all lUK TV channels which broadcast online as well as all the subscription channels too. You still need an active subscription, it doesn’t negate the need for this but does mean you can access UK only accounts from anywhere in the world.
The video demonstrates using the software on a computer or laptop but it works on other devices too. You can enable the VPN connection on Smartphones, tablets or chrome books and iPads too. It takes a couple of minutes to set up on these but it’s only a one time job and then you can enable the VPN connection whenever you wish.
What’s more if you want to access sites in other countries then just choose a server based in that country. Popular choices are too use US servers for things like NBC and Hulu which are normally US only. Other people use the French, Australian, Canadian or German servers to access media sites in those places too.
When you’ve finished with your connection then simply disconnect and you’ll very back to current location. Now there are quite a few of these services available but you have to be careful which ones you choose. Firstly most of the media sites including Sky and the BBC don’t like this circumvention of their systems so try and block these connections. A couple of years ago the BBC got quite serious about blocking these and managed to stop about 70% of them working.
Basically they looked at too many connections from a small range of IP addresses. Plus they identified websites and advertising where firms where foolishly posting adverts on how to bypass these geoblocks. Lots of companies simply stopped working particularly with the BBC although the other sites did something similar. It’s the same story with with Sky Go blocking VPN services too.
In today’s market it’s best to choose a VPN service which simply operates and markets itself as a security company. These have been working for a decade now in part by simply keeping a low profile. What’s more they have fast, uncrowded servers which means you can stream through Sky abroad or the BBC iPlayer without suffering latency or buffering.
There’s a few services out there, but the one we recommend for Sky GO and the BBC iPlayer and any UK TV online is called Identity Cloaker. Give the 10 day trial a go first to ensure it works well for you.