Part 2 of 3: Pandora in Canada – Technical Background

This is the second part of a three part post on Pandora in Canada.  The three parts will be as follows:

  1. The History (or how we got to this sad state :( )
  2. Technical Background (or how Pandora blocks us)
  3. A step-by-step workaround (or a purely technical and not condoned by the author path to having Pandora work in Canada)
Technical Background

IP addresses are effectively addresses for computers (or any network enabled device for that matter).  They consist of 4 8-bit numbers, commonly written in decimal notation as XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX.  For example, Google’s IP at the time of writing is  You can find your own IP address by going here.  These addresses are issued by an organization called IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority), and by correlating an IP address with the location of the company which has registered it, it is possible to get a rough idea of the physical location of a device.  You can try this out by using this site:  You can enter Google’s IP or your own IP, and it will tell you where the company that registered the IP address is located.

If, like me, you are not currently located in the US, when you find the location for your current IP address it will similarly not be located in the US.  This is what Pandora uses to decide that you are not authorized to access their content.  If you attempt to visit Pandora’s site at you will be forwarded to a landing page telling you that you are not eligible to use their site due to your current location.

Based on the information above, it is probably not difficult to see that if it appeared our traffic was coming from a US location, then Pandora would allow access to their stream.  There are ways to accomplish this, and one is by using what is called an “internet proxy”.  Basically, what a proxy does is act as an intermediary between us and our destination.  We send all our requests to our proxy, which in turn forwards our requests onto their targets.  As far as the final destination is concerned all the requests are coming from the proxy’s location, and not our own location. 

Now that we know we are looking for a proxy, how do we go about finding one?  There are numerous free proxies available (try searching “free proxy” in google), however I haven’t had any luck with these.  Typically it appears that the flash application that is the interface for Pandora doesn’t load properly through this sites.  I am not sure if this is because Pandora is actively blocking these proxies, or if the proxies just don’t have enough bandwidth to load them.  You can try yourself and see if you have better luck.  If not, however, there is still another possibility, and this is to create our own proxy.

In the next post in this series I will go over the steps of configuring our own personal proxy in the US that will allow us to make our traffic appear to be from a US source, and consequently allow us to use Pandora in a normal fashion.