Use an ssh server as a secure proxy [to access U.S.-only websites, and trick Megavideo for unlimited viewing!]

While trying to watch some World Cup matches online while in Mexico, I stumbled upon many U.S.-only sites. I started reading about proxies again, and while there’s some decent proxy lists out there, you still have to hunt for a good, fast one and when I tried many of them some videos would still have trouble opening.

Instead, I found this article on using an ssh connection as a proxy to route all internet requests through it. As they say, most webhosts provide ssh access and I’ve confirmed the method works with my DreamHost ssh connection, for example. I use the -C argument to compress data, and the connection is virtually as fast as with no proxy at all.

You can change Firefox’s settings directly, as they explain, but if you want a more practical way to switch back and forth between the default settings and the proxy, you can use FoxyProxy, a Firefox extension to handle different proxies and even specify which websites use which proxy. Just make sure to check the SOCKS option to get the ssh-proxy method working:

FoxyProxy settings for ssh server

FoxyProxy settings for ssh server

So this is cool if you’re abroad and want to get to Hulu, Pandora, or any U.S.-only site, or just want to encrypt your connection. It saved me the proxy testing, and everything has worked for me so far as it would with no proxy.

Unlimited Megavideo, other restricting sites?

Even if you’re in the U.S. and can access all these sites, I have found one more bonus benefit of the proxy setup for Megavideo fans, such as myself: when you exhaust your viewing time using your default computer connection, switch to the ssh proxy. Megavideo thinks the request comes from the computer you’re ssh’d into! Exhaust the proxy’s viewing limit, then come back to your computer to keep watching :) .

All methods to trick Megavideo I’ve seen involve resetting your router, if not digging deep into the browser’s cache settings, plus I never really got them to work consistently, so this has been a great, practical solution for me.

I also feel like this would work as a workaround for other sites that make you wait (Rapidshare, etc?) so give it a try.

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