How to Bypass Geo-blocking and Content Limitations

Last updated: September 23, 2019
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Learn what is geoblocking, why it is used, and how you can bypass it for accessing your favorite content on different websites/services around the world!

Not many know this, but the average person only has access to about 0.004% of the internet. The rest of the 99.996% comprises of the “Deep Web” and basically any other content, which is not indexed by search engines like Google or Bing.

However, even in this 0.004% of internet we have access to, many websites around the world indulge in the activity of geo-blocking, further limiting the content accessible. So, this guide focuses on geo-blocking and how to bypass it. But first…

What Exactly is Geoblocking?

Geoblocking involves various methods and technologies used for the activity of restricting internet access, based on upon one’s geographical location. Websites/services that setup geo-blocking first identify IP addresses and then verify them against a blacklist or whitelist.

Any IP that is not in the approved whitelist and enters the blacklist is immediately blocked from completing the connection to the website/service server, resulting in you getting an error like “website not accessible in your location/area.”

Why Does Geoblocking exist?

Geoblocking plays a vital role in restricting access to premium multimedia content on the internet, such as TV shows and movies, due to licensing and copyright-related issues. Typically, production houses lose money, when someone outside the country accesses their content.

This is why you see many streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, HBO NOW, and more restricting access to certain content or making available a different version of their websites, as to prevent users from unblocking the complete library of titles.

They even go further by banning VPN services that are used for bypassing geographical and content blockades around the world. In addition to this, geoblocking also plays a role in enforcing price discrimination, blocking malicious traffic, online gambling, fraud prevention, and location-aware authentication.

Handle Geoblocking with a Proxy

Mostly when people encounter geographical blockades, it is advised for them to use a proxy service. These valuable tools grant users the ability to connect to a server in a different country with a new IP address for unblocking different websites/services.

However, where using a proxy in the past was an easy solution to geographical blockades, it no longer exists as a viable option. Many websites/services can easily detect a proxy service, instantly blocking them, deeming them technically useless.

Proxy services only shift your IP address, but do not offer any encryption that stops websites from finding out that you are using a proxy. The end result is you facing a “proxy detected error”, which is why I advise using a reliable VPN service.

Handle Geoblocking with a VPN

VPNs typically route your internet connection through a secure and encrypted tunnel, which hides your online activities and keeps your identity private. All the internet traffic that was to pass directly from the ISP to the website you visited, now goes through an added layer of encryption with a different IP address.

As such, the destination website now sees data from the server you selected via the VPN client. Not your real location and IP address obtained from your ISP, keeping you anonymous at all times. This is why geoblocking with a VPN is more viable and feasible option, albeit you do have to pay for a premium VPN service.

Is Bypassing Geoblocking Legal?

This entirely depends on the country you are based in and the website/service you are accessing. Some countries like China, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, etc ban VPN services altogether because they discourage geoblocking to access an unrestricted internet.

As such, if you are found using a VPN to bypass geographical blockades, you may face legal hassles and might have to pay hefty fines. For websites that discourage bypassing geoblocking, such strict action is not taken, and neither do your personal accounts get suspended.

Albeit, it is important to mention that most websites do have a clause about geoblocking in their “terms of service/use”. So, if you are double-minded about the activity, make sure to read up on the rules, as to avoid being banned or locked outside your accounts.

Other Ways to Bypass Geoblocking Locks

In addition to using a proxy or VPN service, individuals can rely on Tor for bypassing geographical blockages. Tor typically has a decentralized network protected by several layers of encryption, directed internet traffic through an overlay of servers.

This overlay of servers consists of more than seven thousands relays, allowing for the proper concealing of a users’ location, while preventing anyone else from monitoring your activity, be it on instant messaging, social media, or other platforms.

Tor can even be used in conjunction with VPNs via two configurations; Tor through VPN or VPN through Tor. The former involves connecting to the VPN server first and then the Tor network, while the latter goes vice versa.

Watching German TV abroad via the Internet

If you want to watch German TV abroad, there is no rocket science required. Simply follow the steps below to enjoy unrestricted access anywhere:

  1. Subscribe to a reliable VPN service like NordVPN or Surfshark
  2. Download the relevant app for the platform/device you are using
  3. Install the application, open it once done, and enter your login credentials
  4. Connect to any specific server in Germany (Berlin, Munich, Hamburg Frankfurt)
  5. Visit ARD, ZDF, Arte, n-TV, ProSieben, Netflix DE or any German specific TV website
  6. You will now notice that the website is accessible and does not show a location error!

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