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/ 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/
mkdir -p share/tor/
cp Contents/Resources/geoip share/tor/

Then stop and restart tor.

Update: StrictNodes should now be StrictExitNodes.


  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.

  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?

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

    ExitNodes {GB}
    StrictExitNodes 1

  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.

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

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