French ISP's and VPN's

Good Morning: I am wondering if some French ISP's --- ours, which is SFR, for instance - blocks access to setting up a VPN?
We have purchased subscriptions to online movies and would love to watch some of the overseas TV shows on the computer. I have tried several VPNs, but each time and on every piece of equipment I am using, when I try and log into a VPN, it just kind of shuts down and I cannot change from the SFR to whichever one I select.
If they ARE blocking access, is there any way of overcoming it? I am getting tired of finding the little message telling me "Sorry - this is not available in the country in which you are situated."
Thanks !

Thanks Nick. The truth is that our machines are working OK at the mo. & we are both windy of installing something which will balls them up. I will read & hopefully understand the links you have posted, muster up all the courage I can & maybe do it!! It would be nice to be able to catch up on English tv we have missed.

Susan, As it happens, over the last 20 years or so, I've also installed a couple of hundred satellite TV dishes for Anglophones in the Geneva area, so this is an area in which I hope I know what I'm talking about. The German channels you mention come from a different satellite (Astra 1 series at 19.2E) from those that carry the UK programming (Astra 2 series at 28.2E.), which is why you can't get both from a single LNB (tĂȘte - the electronically active part of your dish.)

A system with a second LNB, or a second dish, could give you what you're looking for, as far as UK TV is concerned. Watching TV through a PC isn't especially good, though I've done it myself on both PCs and tablets. In particular, ITV player doesn't let you download programmes, so any Internet hiccoughs are a right PITA as far as any of the ITVx channels are concerned. (The BBC allows downloading, so you don't have to watch as it's being sent to you.) Watching and/or recording UK Free-to-Air channels is an excellent way to go, and, IMHO, much superior to any Internet mechanism. With the right receiver, such as the Humax Foxsat HD, you also get the choice of the High Definition channels, all for just buying the right receiver in the first place, with no on-going costs.

Should you want the US channels as well, these will need a VPN to the US, but should give you more TV than you've probably got time to watch.

Thanks to you too, Nick. I don't want to do anything that's going to trigger reactions from someone like Ed Snowden :-) I only want to watch some UK TV programs, perhaps via BBC iPlayer for instance, and some US ones too. Also movies I have subscribed to. I have a German Speaking husband, who has re-tuned our satellite receiver channels (free to view) and for some reason, we now only get stuff like Sat 1, RTL and so on. The British channels have vanished. So in desperation and self-defence, I'm trying to be able to watch something in English (can you classify programs from the US as being "watched in English"??)

OK Peter -- I have been running around the past couple of days so didn't respond immediately. Will send you a Friend Invite toute de suite. Thanks again

No problems with Orange and StrongVPN.

I didn't like the adverts with Foxy - no adverts with StrongVPN.

Foxy also does not always work with all applications. You can also, if you by the OpenSSL option , configure the VPN on your router box. So you just connect to it and do not need to run VPN software on your device.

Vic, it is a browser plugin for the proxy which works with the Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. The VPN works with a range of operating systems - including IOS, which is what the iPad uses.

So if you wish to use IOS devices like the iPad and iPhone, get the VPN. If you wish to use just the proxy, then you need a Linux, Apple Mac or Windows PC with one of the browsers mentioned above.

Here are a few pages to explain proxy compatibility and setting up the VPN on different machines and operating systems, like IOS and Android.

Proxies and VPN's work differently, but a few paragraphs won't really cut an explanation. However, the good news with this service you get the VPN service for free, so if the one doesn't work for you, just use the other.

I hope that puts you on the path to UK surfing from France ;-)


Nick, could you explain for us technically challenged just how this works? My wife tried "Foxy proxy" on her Ipad & was told it was an add on to Firefox, whatever that is, plus loads of jargon she did not understand. Is it for pc,s only? It would be great if we could access BBC I Player etc from France.

Susan you might want to look at this solution, which is specifically aimed at what you want to do. They have VPN end points in both the UK and the USA. They also support proxy services, which can work with some internet content providers like BBC iplayer and ITV player.

Foxy proxy

I have used this product in it's free form for years, and it works extremely well for the things I have wished to do, but I have not yet used their VPN product, as I have built my own.

Hope this helps


Strong can give you an address in the US, where it's better from France to choose an East Coast location, or in the UK, where I've found the Maidenhead site to give good response times. It's perhaps worth mentioning that on one of my computers, which runs Windows Vista, I was never able to get it to connect, but couldn't be bothered to dig in & find out why not. On XP, Windows 7 and on IPads, it's been a piece of cake, although computer networking used to be my profession (from about 1980 onwards), so I'm not exactly inexperienced in this area.

If you'd like to ask specific questions, please send me a Friend Invitation & we can then take this offline.

Thanks Peter : I will look for that one as I have tried numerous others with NO success, such as Hotspot Shield, HideMyAss, CyberGhost, Droid etc. They function once or twice, then when next I try to get them up and running, they won't even come up on the screen. It is a blinking nuisance as I have subscribed to some film sites and I cannot get them to run either. I keep being told that I cannot access it from the country in which I am currently situated.

I have a "StrongVPN" link to a UK site and SFR is my ISP. It is problem-free apart from occasionally dropping out, as do most VPNs, and gives me a valid UK IP address whenever I make use of it. Strong costs me $50 per year, I think, and they have 24/7 tech. support. I'd recommend them wholeheartedly.

As far as I know, they are not blocking VPN access. Many people use VPN connection from home to office.
What exactly are the error messages that you get?