Geographic blocking, commonly referred to as geo-blocking, is often used in many countries by both governments and private companies. Sometimes when we try to access certain content, we may see a message that such material is not available in our country. However, we can change this – see how to bypass geo-blocks using a VPN.
Geo-Blocks And Examples
Imposed geo-blocks on the internet are common. When we try to access content which is blocked in our country, we are usually stopped by a message. Even the most popular websites online use geo-blocks. These include YouTube and Netflix, among others. This means that we cannot see specific videos in a certain region, because they are blocked there. Most often such a blockade is implemented via a private company. Similar blockades of video content can occur on adult video sites.
Another example of the use of geo-blocking can be sports content. For example, highlights from basketball or field hockey matches from the United States may not be available in Europe. Such restrictions can also apply to texts and videos about other topics, not just sports. Subscribers to music streaming services may also be affected by geographic blocking. Specific artists or bands may be blocked in a particular country.
Geo-Blocking: How Does It Work In Practice?
Geo-blocking makes specific content unavailable in a particular region or regions. This is possible because when using the Internet we connect to an ISP, with which we have a contract. Every device connected to the network has an IP address, and this, in turn, determines our location. When we want to access any website, it is our IP address (at the same time our approximate location) that goes to the server of such a website. If there is a content blocker imposed on our region, special software from the server in question immediately imposes a geographic blocker.
It is worth knowing that an IP address is not assigned to us or our device, but to the ISP we are currently using. If we are connecting to a network in England, our IP address will point to an English location. If we are traveling in the US, the IP address will specify a US location. The content on English websites may be blocked for us (if geo-blocking is in effect).
Changing Location With a VPN vs. Geo-Blocking
It cannot be denied that geo-blocking is commonly used on the web. However, there are ways to avoid it. One of them, which is also very effective, is the use of a VPN. A virtual private network (VPN for short) hides our real IP address and changes it to one in a different location of our choice. This way, we can bypass geo-blockades and browse Internet content not available in our country, by appearing to be in a country where the content is available.
Best practice is to choose a proven VPN service, preferably a paid one, which offers a large number of servers and data transfer speeds. Above all, the VPN service provider should provide us with security. Beware of free VPN services, as in this case our data can, unfortunately, often be collected and even sold. After choosing a trusted VPN, we will need to install the VPN’s app on our smartphone, laptop or other devices. Then we simply need to connect to a selected server in a virtual location of our choice, and enjoy surfing the internet.
VPN: It Doesn’t Just Remove Geo-Blocks
It is important to know that a good VPN provides us with more than just the ability to bypass geo-blocks. This is only one of the many advantages of this solution. We can also benefit from added security. Every connection established by a reliable VPN is encrypted, and we do not have to worry about data leakage or interception. This is very useful when we frequently use public Wi-Fi networks, for example, in shopping malls. Lots of users connect to such networks every day. In addition, using a VPN also preserves greater privacy and anonymity on the network. Our data cannot be collected by others.
In addition, an effective VPN will give us real and organic results in search engines. We can also count on favorable prices for services or products, such as airline tickets or accommodation. Unfortunately, location can affect such prices, but by changing our location with a VPN, we can ultimately save money on purchases.
Is It Legal To Bypass Geo-Blocks?
We often use geo-blocks to fight censorship in a particular country. By logging onto the network virtually from another country, we can access content blocked by a particular government in our country. The morality of such actions depends on the particular VPN user.
However, simply using a VPN to change location is not illegal in most countries. Of course, this is under the condition that we do not use location changes to break the law. However, there are countries such as North Korea, Turkmenistan and Belarus where the use of VPNs is completely prohibited.