Today I am showing how you can listen to pandora.com from anywhere by using the Tor network.
Why? Because due to licensing constraints, Pandora can no longer allow access for listeners located outside of the U.S. To bypass this restriction you just need an IP from inside the U.S.. There are many ways to get an U.S. IP – I will use Tor for this.
What you need?
- the Vidalia Bundle (not the Tor-Browser Bundle): https://www.torproject.org/download/download
- any browser with proxy support (my choice is Mozilla Firefox)
This Tutorial uses the following Versions:
- Vidalia 0.2.15
- Tor 0.2.2.34
- Firefox 8.0
My favourite is Mozilla Firefox because it uses its own network settings and don’t touches your system settings. Other Browsers like Chrome, Safari or MS IE will use and change your system settings. Then you will be forced to use Tor system-wide and you will very likely have the “mid-90s slow modem internet” back.
I guess you already downloaded the Vidalia Bundle. Right?
Now let’s install it.
On Mac OS it’s as simple as with every other software. Mount the vidalia-bundle.dmg and drag the onion shaped app Vidalia in you applications folder.
Unfortunately I don’t have any Windows computer under my control but I assume that Windows users are familiar with those awkward setup tools and will be able to go through the setup process themselves.
Right after installation you can start Vidalia. Vidalia is starting some things for you: The Tor Software and a local proxy server. Eventually you must allow them to access the internet and connect with each other in your firewall settings.
Open up the Vidalia Control Panel. Right-Click the Onion-icon on your menu- or taskbar and click on “Control Panel”. You should see the following screen (all screens taken on Mac OS, so they will look different on Windows/Linux):
If the screen shows up as “Connected to the Tor network!” you’re fine. Else click on “Start Tor” and wait. Tor tries to connect to the network now. You can see the progress in the top section of the window. If everything is up you will see “Connected to the Tor network!”:
Note: All steps below this point assume that you are conected to the network!
Next, click on “View the Network” on the control panel. This will open a new window where you can see the nodes of the tor network in an “endless” list. If nothing is shown in the list try to refresh. It takes a while to discover nodes, so be patient. If there are enough nodes in the list you can go on (enough means at least 1000 nodes, of which a min. of 10 to 30 must be inside the U.S.).
Sort the list by country now:
Take a look at the first column. You can see a bar of three fields which indicate the connection speed. Only full filled bars are good to use for us. The less the bar is filled the connection speed get’s more and more modem like!
Now select 10-30 nodes from the list that are located in the U.S. (you can take more if you will). Right-click and select Copy > Nickname to copy the node-nicknames to your clipboard:
Note: The nodes you select will not guarantee, that you have a super-fast tor connection. We will only take them as exit nodes!
Now close the network view and go to the settings. The settings can be opened in the “Control Panel”. Go to the advanced tab an click on “Edit current torrc” (a new window will be openend):
Now you have to add some parameters:
- StrictNodes 1
- ExitNodes <your list of node names separated by commas>
Right after “ExitNodes” you can paste the list of node names from your clipboard. The nodes are already separated by comma.
The param “StrictNodes” forces tor to use only those nodes defined in ExitNodes as exit nodes.
The param ExitNodes just holds the list of nodes to use for exit.
Make sure you have a single whitespace between the parameter name and its value. Otherwise the tor configuration file eventually can not be parsed correctly by tor!
Finally you should have a configuration similar to mine (node names may vary):
Click on OK to save your configuration and close the settings window.
Best practise now is to restart tor to make sure you new configuration is loaded. Click on exit in the “Vidalia Control Panel” and restart Vidalia.
Now you are ready to connect to pandora.com with your browser. Start Firefox and go to the preferences:
Go to the advanced tab and select the network settings:
Click on “Settings…”. A new panel will appear. You have to make some changes here.
Select the radio button “Manual proxy configuration”. For HTTP, SSL and FTP Proxy enter 127.0.0.1 as IP and 8118 as Port. For SOCKS Host enter 127.0.0.1 as IP and 9050 as Port.
These are the essential settings to tell Firefox to use Tor as Proxy.
Finally your configuration must look like mine:
To verify that everthing works as we wish you can run a little test. Just go to geoiptool.com with Firefox and you will be located anywhere inside the U.S.. Do the same test with any other browser (not configured to use tor) and you will likely see that you are located in your country.
My tests showed the following (left side Firefox with tor, right side Chrome without tor):
Note: All sites you are visiting with Firefox from now are “thinking” you are comming from inside the U.S.. To revert the behaviour just change back from “Manual proxy configuration” to “No proxy” and you’re fine.
Pandora needs to load a lot of stuff! Sometimes you will get a message that it takes to long to load. In that case just reload the page (CMD + R on Mac or F5 on Windows).
Finally you have to register (if you do not already have an account) and start listening:
Easy – Isn’t it?