ProxMate is an extension for Firefox and Google Chrome that is able to bypass geographic restrictions on a number of popular video and music streaming websites. Need access to MTV but live outside the US? Tired of country restrictions like GEMA’s blocking of Grooveshark music in Germany?
ProxMate is an open source extension that acts as a proxy server in the US to unblock music and videos from the following sites: YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, NBC, Grooveshark, Spotify and several more – the full list is here.
Updated Feb 2015 – Note that Hulu is not supported at the moment.
It uses a US proxy server to act as an intermediary for your requests (from outside the US) to view music/videos on these sites. It routes your request as if you were browsing from the US and therefore you are able to view content like Grooveshark or content which is currently blocked in your own country e.g. music videos blocked within Germany etc.
[Techie Note: TOR is a popular free proxy service but it can be difficult to set up to use a specific country as an exit node and the bundled browser does not include plugins and addons like Flash Player, required to view videos. There are ways around this but TOR traffic is generally too slow to stream video anyway.]
If you are outside the US, when you browse to a US restricted video etc on a site like NBC and try to play it, you will see a message stating something like the video can only be streamed within the US (or the video just doesn’t play).
To unblock this restriction using the addon:
- Make sure ProxMate is enabled
- First you need to add a package for the service you want to unblock – it walks you through this process or just click the ProxMate icon in the menubar and select ‘Install new Packages to go to the list of available packages
- Once you have installed the relevant package, browse to the video of your choice (not just the thumbnail, the actual video) and wait a few seconds
- The video should be unblocked and should start playing (most display video adverts first)
Click the ProxMate icon in the menubar then choose Options to display your list of installed packages. Here you can see which packages you have installed and either delete a package or follow the link to add a new one:
Common Queries About ProxMate
To save time asking, it does not work the other way round e.g. people in the US can’t use it to view YouTube content which is restricted to the UK – because the proxy is in the US, same as you!
Likewise, if an uploader has blocked their YouTube video in the US but made it available in the UK, ProxMate can’t unblock it.
On any proxy server your web traffic, including any passwords submitted, could in theory be captured and analyzed by the proxy operator(s). For this reason, passwords to online services (such as webmail) should always be exchanged over a secured connection, such as SSL, when using a proxy.
For best security, don’t log onto websites requiring a password when using an unknown proxy – you can easily disable ProxMate from its menu (click its icon in the menubar) to revert back to normal safe browsing when you have finished using the supported websites.
ProxMate does an excellent job of removing geographic restrictions from several popular video and music sites – for those people browsing from outside the US.
Unlike many proxy services it requires no technical knowledge to use and it appears to give very good performance i.e. no buffering of video on a decent broadband connection.