Sometimes, you see the message This content is unavailable in your country while browsing the internet. Sadly, that means you’ve been geo-blocked. Don’t fret too much about it because there are ways for you to break down these blocks. Read on to figure out how.
Have you ever questioned why you can’t watch some of your favorite shows when you go to a different location? Or why do the libraries of streaming sites differ depending on where you are? Geo-blocking is the answer to these questions.
Many geo-restricted websites prevent particular visitors from accessing their services. As unpleasant as this may sound, you don’t have to spend hours finding out how to access your favorite online platforms in a restricted region. There is a solution to bypass geo-blocks, which will be disclosed in this post.
How to Bypass Geo-blocking with a VPN – Quick Guide
You can easily bypass geo-blocks using a VPN. Use these simple steps to unblock websites:
- Choose a reliable VPN service to ensure a secure connection to your chosen location. ExtremeVPN is one VPN that can guarantee you this and more. Visit our website to get started.
- Download the ExtremeVPN app that is suitable for your device, and make sure you install it following the instructions.
- Launch the app on your device and log in using the credentials you entered when subscribing.
- On the app interface, locate the country list and scroll down until you find a server location where the site you want to visit is not restricted.
- Once you connect to that server, you can freely browse the site without any blocks.
What is Geo-blocking?
Geo-blocking is the practice that allows websites to stop users from accessing their services based on their location. This means that as a site gets developed, geo-blocks are placed on the site so that it won’t be available in certain countries. For example, if you are in France and wish to watch a show on Hulu, which works only in the US, an error message will stop you from exploring the site.
Websites are not the only platform that uses this technology; content creators and telecommunications companies also use it. They ban users by checking their IP address and deciding if the location matches the countries that can access the site. If it doesn’t, you will get a message that translates to Sorry, the service is unavailable in your region. This can be because of copyright and licensing agreements or even your country’s laws.
Examples of Geo-blocking
Here are some examples of online platforms where you may experience geo-blocking:
One reason why you may not be able to enjoy music on Spotify can be because the app is banned in your region. Countries like China, Pakistan, and Russia have made it almost impossible for listeners to vibe to any sound on the platform. Also, some artists, songs, or albums may be restricted in certain locations due to specific agreements with the record label.
Content creators can decide to make their videos accessible in selected regions. What this means is that the creator decided for you not to enjoy their content because you are staying in a particular location.
An exclusive streaming platform available for only viewers in the United States. So, if you travel from the US to another country, you must unblock the platform to enjoy your favorite shows.
Airbnb is a popular site for booking a comfortable vacation rental quickly. However, due to internal laws in some countries, the site can’t be accessed. So, if you want to experience the pleasure of booking your vacation rental using Airbnb in or to a restricted location, you will need to unblock the site.
Imagine looking forward to a big game night from your favorite team only to see that you can’t watch it because of your location. You may not be able to watch the sports events due to the exclusive broadcasting rights it has with a company, and the only way to catch up with the game is to unblock the platform.
Similar to YouTube, some adult creators can restrict their videos in some countries. Aside from the creators blocking access, people living in countries like Pakistan and Egypt will need to unblock PornHub if they want to use the platform.
Want to enjoy music and radio shows on Pandora while vacationing in the Bahamas? That will be impossible as the service is blocked in every country outside of the US.
Why Do Some Sites Have Geo-Restrictions?
After experiencing geo-blocks, you may wonder why sites have it. There are various reasons why this may be happening.
Copyright and Licensing Agreements
This is one of the major reasons why geo-blocks occur on online platforms, especially streaming sites. Before placing their content on streaming platforms, the providers negotiate the terms and price so that platforms can get the rights to distribute the show for their users to enjoy.
Based on this price, the streaming site decides which country will be profitable for them to purchase the right. They do this by considering every country’s buying power and checking the potential revenue they can generate from the people in each country.
From their analysis, if a country doesn’t yield much profit, they won’t bother purchasing the streaming rights for that country. In other words, viewers staying in a location deemed unprofitable will automatically get geo-blocked from streaming that show.
Blocking Malicious Users
No matter how we wish the internet were a safe space for us to explore, some users make it their sole mission to grant the exact opposite of that wish. Due to this, many websites make use of geo-IP filters to block connections from certain locations. You can ask, why these locations?
There are countries like China, Russia, and Nigeria that are on the blocklist of high-risk locations as a result of the hacking attacks that originate from IP addresses linked to these countries. Websites with no business with people in that country, like local shopping sites, implement this IP filtering to help minimize the risk of being attacked by these countries.
By doing this, any internet user who tries accessing the site with a blocklisted country IP address will find it impossible to gain entry.
Online Gambling Laws
Many countries have bodies that state rules that a gambling site must follow if they want to acquire an operating license. This ensures that every citizen in that country who partakes in betting has a fair and safe chance when playing a game.
For a gambling site, like online casinos, poker, and betting platforms, to run their platform legally in a country, they must obtain a license. For example, if you want to run a poker site in the UK, you will have to get a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
Sometimes, these sites may not bother getting a license in every country or be unable to get one in some. They use geo-blocking technology to restrict players from countries with no license. As this can cause many legal issues for the platform if caught, this is a way for them to avoid any potential issues.
You may have heard of how different platforms sometimes have separate price tags for different countries. Well, if you haven’t, what this means is that some platforms tend to adjust their product or service price to suit a buyer’s location.
You can find this occurring on streaming platforms and online shopping sites. While this may be advantageous for you, it may not benefit buyers in some countries as they can charge higher taxes in these countries by overcharging.
Because these prices are set according to the buying power of a country, those who stay in rich countries will get a higher price for the product. Sites like these use geoblocks to prevent buyers from buying their products at a price not suited for their country.
Have you ever tried logging into a platform from a different location and got a message that tells you to confirm your identity? Apps, like your social media and banking apps, employ this authentication method to help ensure that it’s you trying to access your account. You can’t blame them, as these platforms tend to be an attack zone for hackers.
How can they know you are logging in from a different location? When you visit a site, you browse with an identifier called an IP address that reveals your location. So, if you try accessing the account from a different location, your IP address changes, which will immediately ring a bell in the system.
When this happens, you will receive a code through SMS or email, which you must enter on the site. This confirmation process is very beneficial as it assures you that no outsider can try logging into your account without you getting notified.
How Can a Site Geo-Block You?
Most of the time, whenever geoblocking occurs, especially if a platform does it and not your country, your IP address is involved. Whenever we go online, we sign in with a unique identifier called an IP address. Your IP acts as a means for sites to get the city, state, or country you are browsing from.
Here’s the process:
- Every device that you connect to the internet has an IP which your ISP provides. This means that your ISP is aware of your location and device type when you are using the internet, and what you are doing on the internet.
- You communicate with an online site through your IP address. Once you go to a site, your IP gets transferred to the site’s server, which is in charge of giving you your requested content.
- Before getting your requested content, the server uses specialized software to get the approximate location you are connecting from.
- Based on your discovered location, the site geo-blocks you if you are browsing from a restricted location.
Remember that whenever you travel to another country, your IP address changes automatically. For instance, if you are visiting Germany from the US, you will only be able to view content available to Germany, as you will have a German IP address.
How Can You Bypass Geo-blocking
Now that you know how geo-blocks work and why you are experiencing them, let’s talk about the main reason you are here – ways to avoid them. There are various technologies you can use that can help you achieve this purpose. So, let’s discuss how you can do this:
1. Use a VPN
|It can help you mask your actual IP||Most free VPNs are not trustworthy|
|It works on every app on your device|
|Alongside geo-blocking, it allows you to browse the internet privately|
One of the most effective tools you can use to get past geo-restrictions is a VPN. Since the major way you get geo-blocked is through your IP address, a VPN allows you to modify it. Most VPNs offer server locations across different countries, meaning once you connect to any server, you automatically get an IP address in a different location. This allows you to bypass any online restriction placed on your location.
Besides changing your IP address, VPNs can help you enhance your online privacy and security. So, you don’t have to worry about anyone trying to steal your data, even if you are using public WiFi. It’s easy for you to find a VPN, plus most of them are usually budget-friendly. Even better, most VPN providers have apps perfect for smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs.
ExtremeVPN is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS operating systems. You can also install it on your router and enjoy internet freedom on your smart TV, Playstation, and Xbox. With over 6500+ server locations in numerous countries, geo-blocks will become a thing of the past.
2. Use a Proxy Server
|It operates as a browser extension, so you don’t have to go through any installation process||You may find it hard to find a free option|
|It grants you a different IP||It works primarily on your browser. You will need to configure it on each of the apps on your device.|
|You can access blocked sites through a proxy server||Proxy servers aren’t safe compared to a VPN|
A proxy server stands as a middleman between your device and the website you want to access. As mentioned earlier, you connect to a site with an IP address that signifies your country. However, a proxy server also has its own IP address linked to a specific location. Whenever you go online connected to one, you get a different IP address that may allow you to access a geo-blocked site. Although a proxy isn’t as safe as a VPN, you can try ExtremeVPN’s proxy server if you still want to use one.
3. Use a Smart DNS
|It’s user-friendly||It’s not very effective in evading online censorship|
|It’s free||It doesn’t hide your IP|
|Most ISPs block users from using it|
A DNS, or Domain Name System, is like a phonebook that helps a system translate website names into computer-friendly IP addresses. This tool serves as a means for online sites to get the location of anyone visiting their website. Although it’s not as effective as using a VPN or proxy server, a smart DNS or DNS changer can allow you to hide your actual DNS and get another one that can help you bypass geo-blocks.
4. Use Tor Browser
|It’s free for all users||You can’t access many websites using Tor|
|You can navigate through it easily||As you won’t choose a server, it may be impossible to unblock country-specific sites|
|It re-routes your online traffic through 3 different servers||It is slow|
Tor is a web browser that can help you browse the web anonymously and privately. Using one can allow you to access a site without revealing your IP address. It is especially helpful in opening onion sites, i.e. sites that end with .onion.
Are Geo-blocks Legal?
Yes. Streaming and gambling sites can restrict locations from accessing their content, as these services rely heavily on licenses and agreements. However, if the geo-blocking comes from a place of discrimination, some countries may have a problem with the act.
For instance, the European Union Council has blatantly called geoblocking a practice that discriminates their member states from buying products from one another. This is the reason why they have a regulation that allows all EU buyers to purchase a trader’s product regardless of their location.
Regarding social media, like Facebook and YouTube, each country has a right to decide which to accept and what to reject. That’s why you see countries like China restricting users from accessing some social media sites.
What Does Geo-fencing Mean?
Many people think geo-blocking and geo-fencing mean the same thing, but they don’t. We’ll help you clarify this misconception today. Geo-fencing uses GPS technology to track your location and, by creating an invisible wall, detects if you have crossed a fenced boundary created by the site. You see? It’s not the same as geo-blocking.
This tool is handy to help track location, create security alerts, and help in marketing. For example, whenever you shop from an online site, geo-fencing is used to help you track your shipment location. It can also help inform you of shopping deals on a site that applies to your location.
We can liken geo-block to a virtual wall that prevents users in unauthorized locations from accessing an online platform. This can be unfair, especially if you just want to enjoy a popular show only to find out you can’t watch it in your location. Thankfully, there are various technologies available for you today that can help you get past any geo-blocks.
A VPN is a safe option you can trust. VPNs can act as the bulldozer that helps you destroy these blocks and gain access to any site you choose. You can get started with ExtremeVPN today and wave goodbye to geo-restrictions.