This is the last part of a three part post on Pandora in Canada. The three parts were as follows:
- The History (or how we got to this sad state 🙁 )
- Technical Background (or how Pandora blocks us)
- A step-by-step workaround (or a purely technical and not condoned by the author path to having Pandora work in Canada)
Step 1. Find a webhost
The first thing you need to find is a suitable web host. Almost any old web host will do, but there are two crucial requirements. They *must* be located in the US, and they *must* allow you to connect to their servers through something called “SSH”. If you don’t know what that is don’t worry about it, but if there’s any doubt if a host you are considering will provide this ability, ask before you buy. I personally am currently using Dreamhost. As far as I know any hosts that will meet our requirements will be a pay service, but it is possible to find them for very cheap (Dreamhost, for example, occasionally has sales with very good prices). If anyone finds a free offering that they’re able to get working let me know and I’ll add it to this post.
Step 2. Configure PuTTY
There is only one piece of software (in addition to a web browser) which you will need to setup your own personal proxy; an SSH client. My personal preference is a free offering called “PuTTY”, which can be downloaded here. For the purposes of this post my steps will assume that you are using PuTTY, though the explanation should be in principle transferable to other SSH clients if you have another preference.
To configure PuTTY, first open the application. You should see a window that looks like screenshot below, though if this is your first experience with PuTTY you won’t have any “Saved Sessions” yet.
Now we need to enter the information for the server that we will be connecting to for our proxy. You will need to get this information from webhost; it will probably be listed as the SSH server. If you can’t find this information, send an e-mail to your host asking the server hostname for SSH. In my case as I’m using Dreamhost the host name is xxxxxx.dreamhost.com, where I have blanked out the subdomain for security reasons. We’ll also want to put a name in the “Saved Sessions” box, though we won’t want to click the Save button yet as we have a few more things to configure first! Your window should look like the screenshot below, with the hostname for your Host Name and you’re session name of choice instead of my information:
Now we want to setup our username, so we won’t need to enter it manually each time we login to the server. To do this we go the “Connection” menu in the “Category” window in PuTTY. Click on the arrow beside “Connection”, and in the menu that expands click on the “Data” option. Here we will want to fill in the “Auto-login username” field with the username for our webhost. This is often the same username you use to login to their website, but if there is any doubt ask your webhost! Fill your username into the field, and it should look like the screenshot below. (as an FYI my username is not actually snuffles)
Finally we need to actually configure something called our “Tunnel” which will allow our connection to act as a proxy. Contrary to common sense we don’t go the “Proxy” options to configure this, but into the “SSH” submenu “Tunnels”. Once in this window write “8080” in the “Source port” field, and change the radio option which is by default set to “Local” to “Dynamic”. Your window should appear like the screenshot below.
Once this is completed, click the “Add” button. After clicking this button, your window should look like this:
Step 3. Connecting to the server
We’re done configuring PuTTY! Not that tough was it? At this point go back to the “Session” window and click the “Save” button. This will save us from having to reconfigure PuTTY everytime we want to connect to our proxy. Now we’re reading to connect to the server. The easiest way to connect to the server in PuTTY is to double click on the sessions name in the “Saved Sessions” list. Alternatively we can select the session, click the “Load” button on the right side, and then the “Open” button at the bottom of the screen. Once you have completed these steps, a window that looks like a command prompt should open with a login prompt, similar to the one below.
Here you need to enter the password for your webhost, and if everything has gone correctly you should see a message telling you you’re logged in. This will differ depending on your webhost, but if you’re also using Dreamhost it should look similar to the own below. If you either are not able to connect to the server, or are not able to login, make sure that everything is configured properly, and then contact your webhost’s support for help logging into their SSH server.
Step 4. Configuring the web browser
If everything above has worked correctly, we’re almost ready to try connecting to Pandora. The last step needed is to configure the web browser to use the proxy connection we have created. For the purposes of this demo I’m going to assume you are using Firefox. If there is sufficient demand for instructions for other web browsers I might add explanations for them in a later post. In Firefox you need to go into the “Tools” menu, and click on “Options”. You will then need to navigate to the “Advanced” section, and the “Network” tab. It should look something like the screenshot below, depending on your version of Firefox.
Here we need to click on the “Settings…” button to get the proxy settings. Once this window pops up you will need to change the Radio button from “No proxy” to “Manual proxy configuration”. Lastly you need to fill in the “SOCKS Host” to “127.0.0.1”, and the “Port” field next to it to “8080”. This should look like the screenshot below.
At this point you can click the “OK” button and return to Firefox.
Step 5. Connecting to Pandora’s Site
If everything has gone as planned, we are now ready to connect to Pandora’s website. Go to your address bar and enter www.Pandora.com. Remember that the legality of using this procedure will vary depending on your region, and I don’t endorse using this method to use Pandora’s site where it’s use is restricted, but rather present this as a technical discussion.