Sunday, May 02, 2010

Using tor/Vidalia to access BBC iPlayer (etc) outside the UK

There's a decent article explaining how to set up tor/Vidalia to access sites like BBC's iPlayer which only allow connections from certain countries (like England). Not mentioned in the article (although someone added a comment about it) is that now you do not need to manually select exit nodes in the UK - you can specify exitnode countries in your torrc files by putting a two character country code in braces. This makes the process much easier!

I'm running on a Mac with Vidalia, so the setting file (you can find the location of it in the Vidalia settings dialog's advanced tab - but it's probably ~/Library/Vidalia/torrc) ends with:
ExitNodes {GB}
StrictExitNodes 1

Note that the country code is GB and not UK, which a couple of posts/articles online misleadingly state.

There's another problem with the recent Mac builds - the geoip file is in the wrong place, leading to log messages like the following:
[Warning] Failed to open GEOIP file /Applications/Vidalia.app/share/tor/geoip. We've been configured to use (or avoid) nodes in certain countries, and we need GEOIP information to figure out which ones they are.

That was solved like this (from the terminal):
cd /Applications/Vidalia.app/
mkdir -p share/tor/
cp Contents/Resources/geoip share/tor/

Then stop and restart tor.

Update: StrictNodes should now be StrictExitNodes.

6 comments:

  1. Hi man, i'm running tor on my mac and this isn't working. I have Vista on my partitioned drive and the exitnode line works perfectly on that platform. Its really annoying me. On the tor advanced message viewer it just fails to connect.

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  2. Hi Flash,

    Did you check the log for GEOIP warning messages? It was a bit messy to set up. Which version of Vidalia are you using?

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  3. There's an error in your post. The torrc file must be:

    ExitNodes {GB}
    StrictExitNodes 1

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  4. @D.F.
    No, it's not an error.

    StrictExitNodes was deprecated in favour of StrictNodes about nine months ago.

    However it may work if you use an old version of tor.

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  5. I also used Mac with Vidalia and I have problem using BBC iplayer abroad on it. I can't wait to try this.

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  6. Actually I'm wrong, it seems like StrictExitNodes is required now in the latest unstable Tor. Weird.

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