Geo-blocking is a technological procedure used by governments or ISPs to limit or block access to certain websites and web services in a certain geographical location.
And this can be annoying to so many online users who are trying to access these restricted and blocked content, especially for people who rely on certain blocked sites for education or business purposes. But this can also happen to people who aren’t expecting it.
For instance, imagine traveling to some country and then trying to watch some YouTube video only to find that you’re unable to do so, and are shown the following message:
This is one example of a typical geo-blocking situation that so many YouTube viewers find extremely annoying.
What is geo-blocking?
In layman’s terms, geo-blocking simply means that certain content is not available in some countries. But the real question is why is some content not available in certain geographical locations?
There are many reasons for this, some content producers such as Netflix may choose to limit their content on some countries due to copyrights, pricing, other purposes. However, some countries also use geo-blocking in an attempt to block access to some politically sensitive content.
Numerous companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and others may choose to divide their products, services, and pricing depending on different geographical locations.
They simply choose to do so because of the fact that the world is split into different economies. For instance, someone in Haiti may not be able to pay the same price for a Netflix subscription like someone who lives in Germany.
How does geo-blocking work?
Understanding how geo-blocking works will help you understand why government and internet service providers choose to limit content to certain geographic locations, and more importantly, it will help you understand what you really need to bypass these geo-restrictions.
More often than not, each and every electronic device is identified with a unique IP address which can be used to let webmasters and web services know your supposed current location.
Your internet service provider (ISP) is the issuer of your IP address, and in most cases, they’re the one responsible for blocking your access to certain content (and many other things).
Online companies and streaming services use this piece of information to decide if a user is permitted to watch certain content based on their current location.
Even if you pay for a service, you may be blocked from watching certain content mainly because of the location of your IP address. For instance, Netflix may block you from watching Mad Men (or any other TV show) if you’re IP address doesn’t display a U.S. location.
This can be extremely frustrating for many online users, if you travel to another country you may find yourself unable to access many blocked websites and services.
Why websites block content?
Internet companies may choose to limit their content to certain geographic locations for business purposes.
As previously stated, several digital brands often choose to see the world divided to different market segments. For example, Netflix or other streaming services may launch an early version of a movie or a tv series only one market due to copyright issues.
Therefore, they will usually end-up blocking and restricting other geographic locations from viewing this content.
Streaming services apart, geo-blocking also means that online stores will charge different prices for their services based on their visitors’ current geographic location.
How to bypass Geoblocking?
Considering that geo-blocking technologies often rely on detecting IP addresses to operate, the best thing that you can do to bypass these restrictions is to find a way to hide (or change) your IP address from sites or services trying to block your access.
One of the best solutions to this is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass these geo-blocking restriction attempts.
A VPN software will help change your IP address to another server location where that blocked content you’re trying to see is not being restricted.
A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet traffic and enables you to browse the web anonymously. Not only that — but with a VPN internet — companies will not be able to track you around the web or spy on your browsing behavior.
You will also help boost your online security and prevent cybercriminals from stealing your private date, the benefits of a VPN are just too many to list here.