recreating tunlr

a long time ago, i wanted to watch the bbc because nbc olympics was just terrible. i did not want a vpn because then it would force all my video streams to get piped through the vpn as well. i found a service called “tunlr” which is still around. when i first started using it, it was free, but then they moved onto a subscription service. (oddly enough, it is free again.)

tunlr was really simple, all you did was change your dns servers and everything afterwards was handled. no vpn software or further configuration required. i really liked it and i wanted to make my own. this guide on github gave really good hints on how i could accomplish it.

the hardest part was trying to find a machine located inside the region i wanted to watch videos from. after looking around for cheap VPSs, i realized that was dumb and bought a VPN instead. now, i had a way to reach into not one, but 40-something countries.

to recreate tunlr, the idea was to create many vm servers, each running a vpn client to one particular region—one machine for the uk, one machine for canada, etc. then, i run another machine as the dns server.

the dns server has a big list of all the streaming services i want to access. i override their normal values with the addresses of the vpn vms of the appropriate region. for instance points to the ip of the uk vm.

on each of my vpn vms, i ran both sniproxy and openvpn, along with a few choice iptables rules.

for the dns, right now, i am just using dnsmasq and keeping track of the custom ips for different streaming services in /etc/hosts.