I have lived in Japan now for about 6 years. There are some things that I miss in the US, but most of those I can either get here or at least have shipped here. While getting items shipped to Japan has gotten easier and cheaper, accessing US sites has become more difficult. The problem is that many sites are starting to monitor IP addresses and will block you if you aren’t accessing the site from within the US. This can be even more frustrating if you are trying to access a site you “have” to use like online banking. Luckily there is a way around this using VPN services.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and is a way to connect your computer through a server that is located somehwere else. So even though I am located in Japan, the VPN makes it look as though I am connecting from in the US. As an added feature, my true location is hidden which means more security.
It is as easy as downloading the program, choosing the location you want to connect to, and going to the page you want to see. It’s also cheap. With a year subscription for the company I chose, it is a little under $7 a month. Not bad at all.
I went with a company called HMA (Hide My Ass) after comparing various companies and the value that each offered. I also like the name. HMA also seemed to be highly recommended on the web and had a 30 day money back guarantee. I had tried a free service a while back and it didn’t work to well. So far I have been really happy with HMA’s VPN.
You can check out the service yourself here: Hide My Ass VPN Service. If you choose to purchase using this link, you will also be helping out Simplistic Thoughts as I get a part of the sale.
Connecting your PS3, XBOX, and other devices through VPN
Watching movies on my computer is okay, and I can even hook my computer up to watch them on the TV, but I really wanted to be able to use Netflix, Hulu, and other programs through the PS3. Running Netflix through the PS3 runs smoother than it does running it through the browser. It wasn’t bad through the browser, but I would occassionally have to wait for loading, while the PS3 has been perfect.
There are two ways to connect your PS3 or XBOX through a VPN service. The best method is to purchase a router that allows you to connect directly to a VPN service. There is a list on HMA’s router page. You can find it here. They also have instructions on how to hook it up. Once you connect your router to the VPN service, any device you connect to the router will be under that IP.
The second method is to connect directly through your computer and then share that connection with your PS3 or XBOX. This is much more complicated and not the best method, but will save you from having to purchase another router. I went this method, and it works now, but after several wasted hours I wish I would have just bought the router. If this sounds like the way you want to go, check out this page. It has the instructions on how to set it up.
It has been great being able to access Netflix and hulu and watch US TV again. If you are feeling the same way, sign up for 30 days. You can always cancel it later if you aren’t happy with it.
Also, when you connect your PS3 through a VPN service you may need to change the DNS number on the PS3. Doing a quick search should bring up how to do this and what numbers to use. Now download the Netflix app on your PS3 and you should be all set.