Have you ever been researching something online and found a promising link only to land on a website blocked due to your location? Ever tried to watch a popular video on Reddit but it’s not available in your country?
It’s frustrating, right?
Well, thankfully there is a way around these blocks (called geo-restrictions) – VPNs. This guide will show you how to circumvent geo-restrictions with your virtual private network. So, if you don’t already have a VPN consider taking a look at this full review of best VPNs in the industry.
What are Geo-Restrictions?
Geo-restrictions are technological blocks used to restrict access to digital content based on a user’s physical location. These locations are uncovered using multiple different techniques like, tracking an IP address against a list, monitoring accounts, measuring end-to-end delay, and other methods.
Once a location has been worked out the website will check if the user has permission to access the website. If they do not, the user will be blocked from accessing the website or content.
Why do Websites Geo-Block?
There are a few justifications websites and companies use for geo-restricting content.
In regard to streaming services, there are often blocks on which countries and locations can view content based on how the rights to that content have been licensed out. For instance, certain HBO sub services are only available in the United States because Time Warner already licensed out some HBO services to companies in other countries. Those companies have exclusive HBO rights in those countries, so Time Warner has to keep their services US based.
Here are some other reasons that geo-restricting occurs:
· Blocking access from countries that won’t find the content relevant. This might be seen with local news websites, websites from countries with extremist ideologies, and other location-relevant content.
· Blocking access to content or services that are considered illegal under local law. This is often seen in China, where websites that allow people to openly discuss opposing ideology are blocked.
· Blocking access to control negative or unwanted traffic. This can be reasonable, where people are avoiding harassment from particular groups. However, this can also be a way of creating propaganda echo chambers.
Getting Around Geo-Blocks
Now that we know why websites geo-restrict, and that we need a VPN to work around those blocks, let’s take a look at how it’s done.
1. Download and install a VPN if you don’t already have one! We suggest ExpressVPN.
2. Find out which locations are capable of accessing the blocked website. This can be done easily by checking the URL for location indicating language, or by simply Googling information about the website or service.
3. Choose a server based in that location through your VPN.
4. Click connect.
5. Navigate to the website and gain access.
Why Use a VPN Over Other Methods?
If you look around online, you might find other methods to navigate around geo-restrictions. You can use proxies, use IPs instead of URLs, use Google Translate, use extensions, or replace your DNS server.
Unfortunately, not all of these options are guaranteed to work and some of them are far more complicated than the easy steps behind using a VPN to unblock websites.
When it comes down to it, using a virtual private network to navigate around geo-restrictions is simply the easiest way to gain access to all that the internet has to offer.
VPNs are superior because not only do they gain you access to blocked websites, but they also offer other great amenities like protecting your identity and personal information while online.
Geo-restrictions are terrible. For true equality in the modern digital era, all people should have access to all that the internet has to offer.