Count the times you wanted to consume a particular content from an online source only to get notified that your access has been restricted. Also, have you ever come across a really great item you wanted to buy online from overseas but to your dismay, you can’t add it to cart because your location was blocked? That, my friend, is what you call geo-blocking. You can read more about that here.
Whether it’s legal or not is still an ongoing debate. First of all, there are constitutional reasons why some content providers do it. For example, it is applied in order to avoid certain copyright regulations in some countries. On the other hand, a particular country may be implementing certain laws that restrict a specific content or genre while it is perfectly alright in the country where it has been produced.
Even so, there are several issues surrounding it that we can consider a downside. One example of those is that some online stores are using it so that they can assign varying prices for the same item depending on the buyer’s geographical location. That said, they can make their products more expensive for people who are living in wealthy countries. Deceptive commercialism indeed!
Another example is that some authorities may be banning a particular content when there isn’t really something wrong about it. Instead of being able to get the benefits from that content, the individuals who are wishing to access it might not do so at all.
Need to Bypass Geo-blocking? Use a VPN
But don’t think you can never resolve this problem. Truth is, there are various ways how. Browsing the internet through a VPN site is one of the easiest things you can do to make sure that the items you wish to purchase are always priced right and that the content you need is constantly accessible.
How does it help anyway? To everyone who’s a novice, your geo location can be traced through your IP address. And so, if your country is restricted to access some websites, content and items for sale, you’re easily blocked because of your IP address. Using a virtual private network (VPN) easily solves that matter.
When browsing through a VPN, your original IP address is hidden. You’re rather using the VPN server’s IP address. So, say, your location has been restricted to access one eBook from the United States but your VPN server is located in the US, you will be able to download that eBook even if you’re in an area where you’re not allowed to access it. Easy, right?
However, some of us shy away from using it. Why, the loading speeds are sloth-like terrible! You’d rather use a normal web browser and miss out on the movies, music, publications and tickets you’re wishing for.
That has to change from now on though. There are options available, you don’t have to settle for something that’s unsatisfactory. There are even various measures you can do to find the best VPN out there that’s right for you—something that’s fast, reliable and affordable.
What is Geo-Blocking?
When Geo-blocking is activated it identifies your IP address and tracks and uses Pacific geolocation technology to see where you are. Then IP address is like your home address or more specifically, your postcode. It indicates the general area you’re in and also indicates the country that you’re in where you’re currently connected to the internet. If the IP address is linked to a country or area that a specific website’s content should be inaccessible from, then geo-blocking is activated and you will not be able to access that website or that specific piece of content.
Unlike your postcode or zipcode, your Internet Protocol (IP) address can change depending on which internet provider you are using (ISP). This is because geographic information is included in each ISP which means that depending on what your IP says, you can indicate that you are connecting from a different country.
How to Choose One?
This would depend a lot on your needs. If you wish to bypass geo-blocking, you need to come up with a full list of sites, content providers and e-commerce sites that you use very often. Is that Netflix? Do you shop through Amazon? Do you often browse videos on YouTube? Where do you usually buy your airline tickets?
The answers to those questions and other similar ones would give you a clue on which you should choose. For example, a factor would be the location of the content providers you want to access. Using a VPN service from the same location would be a wise choice.
It’s important to get to know more about the service itself. Is it really fast? Is it reliable? Of course, every company would say so. But some could not live up to the expectations of the users. As mentioned, there are users who complain about VPNs slowing down the internet connection.
You can find out more insights by reading comprehensive reviews. Browse through social media chatter, too. Nowadays, it’s easy to know people’s opinions about a particular product or service because they are very open about it—they post it on social networking sites. You’ll surely make a more informed decision by getting an in-depth knowledge about the service and learning more about other users’ experiences.
If you think this choice isn’t right for you, don’t worry. There are other effective ways you can bypass geo-blocking. Find out more about that here.
Before you go, there’s one thing you need to answer honestly. Why do you really want to bypass geo restrictions? Hopefully, you’re doing so for just and reasonable reasons. If not, you only become one of the living proofs why geo-blocking should be strictly implemented at times.
Examples of Geo-Blocking
Amazon will not only block access to some of it’s streaming content, but it also will block access to other types of content depending on your location. This includes software, audiobooks, games and other digital content. This is because the same restrictions that apply to TV or movies could apply to other content, which means that it needs to be geo-blocked. Like Netflix, Amazon has been known to block the IP address of some of the biggest and well know VPN companies. They’re wise!
Netflix is available in an incredible 190 countries and that means that there are 190 different libraries. This isn’t just the local content created in the language or by different producers, the copyright holders of some of the largest movies and TV series shown on Netflix have specific licensing agreements based on different regions. When a producer signs an agreement with Netflix they will specify where in the world Netlflix can show this content. A show that is available in the UK might not be available in the US and vice versa. This is why there is only a limited number of TV shows and movies available to synchronise on the Netflix app. They need to be sure that Netflix has the license for that content worldwide.
Youtube is similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime in that the content from creators is not available in every country. Youtube puts the power in the creator’s hands and allows them to choose where their content is viewable. The owners of the copyright are able to file a copyright claim on unauthorized video uploads that are on Youtube.
Many of the videos are restricted to a region or can in fact be removed from Youtube if the original owner files a claim.
Broadcasters pay huge amounts of money to show Live sports on TV and so are protective of the money that they’ve paid. The Premier League in the UK or the Olympics are good examples of selling broadcasting rights. Depending on the country you are watching the Olympics in you’ll see different coverage depending on where your athletes are competing.
Is it legal to Geo-Block?
Even though geo-blocking is frustrating, it is perfectly legal. Think of geo-blocking as a way of enforcing content-based contracts between provider and producer.
Geo-blocking is most common in the media industry where distribution and broadcasting rights might vary from region to region and country to country. In the US there are different rules from state to state whereas in Europe it is more common to have different rules between countries.
Geo-blocking isn’t always done to comply with licensing rights but sometimes it is a business decision. Netflix or Amazon Prime have to think whether showing a programme or movie in a particular region will be profitable or if they’ll recoup the money they spend on licensing.