What is Geo-Blocking and How to Bypass it

James Davis

Jan 14, 2023 • Filed to: Virtual Location Solutions • Proven solutions

Have you ever entered a website and can't access it because it is unavailable in your area? This is what geo-blocking means. If you want to know more about geo-blocking, you have come to the right article. This article provides the definition, symbols, function, type, and how to bypass a geo-blocked site.

Encryption is often used in geo-blocking as a means of protecting material that is restricted to users in just certain locations. In its long existence, the method has been met with several obstacles. These obstacles will be discussed in the next sections!

what is geo blocking

Part 1. What is Geo-Blocking?

This section will give you the definition of geo-blocking. It will also show how websites inform viewers that they are in geo-blocking areas.

Definition of Geo-Blocking

Geo-blocking is the practice of restricting online access to certain users depending on where in the world they happen to be physically located. Telecommunications firms, websites, and other content providers and intellectual property owners often use this method for copyright protection. To monitor and enforce geo-blocks, databases that map out IP addresses' geographical locations are often employed.

Understanding the Main Symbols and Elements

You sometimes can't access a site because it isn't available in your area. This is the main element carried by geo-blocking.

Every online-surfing tool has a unique identifier called "IP address". The address can identify the devices' geographical location. When users access a website, their devices send their IP addresses to the online servers. The servers read if the IP addresses are included in the allowed list and determine whether to allow the visitors to view the content.

The visitors usually know they are geographically limited through the website's displayed outcomes, a poster indicating that the service is unavailable in the location. Take the geo-banned access by Airbnb as an example below.

geo blocked airbnb

Although Airbnb has been criticized for posing a threat to the availability of low-cost lodging in metropolitan areas, it has proven to be a useful resource for travelers. However, not everyone can use it; for instance, it is unavailable in Iran due to US sanctions.

Part 2. How Does Geo-Blocking Work?

When a firm, rather than a government, is responsible for geoblocking, IP addresses are often the first line of defense. Your IP address is like a street address, revealing where you live.

IP addresses are numerical identifiers that distinguish each machine on the internet. Your computer's IP address is sent to the server of the website you visit so that it may supply the required data.

You'll be assigned an IP address when you sign up for an Internet Service Provider. It is possible to pinpoint the location of your device using its IP address, albeit the degree of precision may vary. Websites use the IP address to determine whether you can read their content. They will thus refuse your request if you are using an IP address that's not on their approved list.

Part 3. Common Types of Geo-blocked Content

The difficulty stems from legal hurdles, including copyrights, licenses, and territorial disputes. Certain streaming services may not make all of their offerings accessible in all regions, or a major online shop may restrict some of their offerings to customers in just one geographic area.

Youtube

Users who upload videos can restrict access to them in certain countries. This nearly usually indicates that a business has chosen that you shouldn't be able to see a video because of where you are located.

geo blocked video on youtube

Spotify

You may be trying to find a method to unblock Spotify because you want to listen to unavailable music in your country or because the app has been prohibited in your area.

spotify geo blocked

Live Sports

Big events may be aired exclusively by one company, which means you may be forced to pay to access certain material or go through annoying subscription hoops.

fox sports geo blocked

Pandora

Do you want to tune in to this online radio and music station? You can't access it anywhere in Europe because of a regional firewall.

pandora geo blocked

Porn sites

Artists from porn sites can now geo-block their movies, much like YouTube users do. Some porn sites have been outlawed in several countries, including Egypt and Pakistan, where the vast majority of the population resides.

pornhub geo blocked

Amazon

Amazon Prime geo-blocks other services as well as its streaming content. Games, ebooks, software, audiobooks, and other digital materials like TV and movies may be licensed and copyrighted. Amazon Prime prevents certain VPN IPs from accessing foreign content, including Netflix.

amazon prime video vpn not working

Part 4. Tips to Bypass Geo-Blocking

While certain sites may be blocked in your country, there are still methods to access the full functionality of the web. What exactly are they, and how do you go about getting them? Here's more reading material.

Method 1. Use Smart Domain Name System (DNS)

Clever DNS can evade geoblocking if your smart TV, streaming box, or gaming console doesn't support VPNs or proxy servers. Some home routers can generate VPN connections, but not all.

By changing your DNS address, clever DNS may alter your device's virtual location. Smart DNS replaces your Internet provider's DNS server. Netflix.com's IP is not netflix.com. You'll acquire the smart DNS provider's transparent DNS proxy IP. Netflix thinks you're in the US since this proxy server is.

using smart dns for geo blocked sites

Method 2. Connect to Proxy Servers

Rather than connecting you directly to the server housing the material you want, a proxy server functions as an intermediary. A proxy server does what its name implies: it acts on your behalf to get access to the data and then forwards it to you. Proxy servers, especially those in foreign countries, may be used to get around geographical restrictions.

Depending on the kind of proxy server you use, you may or may not be able to conceal your IP address when surfing the web. Proxy servers are available online and may be accessed from any web browser. Setting up a proxy server is easy, but your activity may still be vulnerable since proxies don't secure your data.

proxy servers for geo blocked sites

Method 3. Use the Tor Browser

In addition to using a VPN, you may use the anonymous Tor browser. The Tor browser links to the Tor network, a collection of computers that collaborate to conceal your online footprint by relaying your traffic via several intermediary nodes.

Tor employs a technique called "onion routing" to conceal its users' identities. Since more time is required to traverse these additional levels, your internet speed may suffer as a consequence.

tor for geo blocked sites

Method 4. A Good VPN Connection

A virtual private network (VPN) may hide your online identity and protect your data by encrypting your connection. VPNs allow you to get around geographically restricted material by redirecting your connection via a server in another country. This will allow you to connect to VPN servers in other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, or Australia.

With effective VPN tools, you can surf the web anonymously, unblock geo-blocked content, and watch your favorite programs abroad. There are several advantages to utilizing a VPN, particularly when you travel or use public Wi-Fi, and they are simple to set up.

vpn for geo blocked sites

Part 5. FAQs About Geo-Blocking

Here are the answers to four questions that you might ask about geo-blocking.

1. Is Geo-Blocking Legal?

Yes. It's legitimate. Limiting access to websites and services based on a user's location is lawful. This practice is routinely used in nations like China to prevent citizens from seeing politically sensitive material. Legal arrangements, such as licensing agreements, may also be enforced by geo-blocking.

2. Is Bypassing Geo Blocking Illegal?

It depends. Depending on the situation, the nation, the purpose of the use, and the technique used, geo-blocking circumvention may be against the law. Copyright regulations prohibit users from accessing material beyond its designated location, yet many providers are reluctant to penalize users for doing so.

3. What's the Difference Between Geo-Fencing and Geo-Blocking?

Geo-fencing is to create digital fences on which to base real-world judgments about where to go. One may draw a boundary around it using longitude and latitude lines on a map to easily establish who is permitted inside a certain region. Restricting access to material based on a user's physical location is called "geo-blocking."

4. Is Geo-Restricted the Same as Geo-Blocking?

They are the same. Restricting a user's ability to access certain online resources depending on their location is known as geo-blocking or geo-restriction. To safeguard their license agreements, foreign media streaming firms often use the practice of geo-blocking.

Conclusion

For several reasons, media and content producers use geo-blocking. Although geo-blocking is unlikely to ever go out of style, there are techniques to circumvent it. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass geo-restrictions on the material you want to watch. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a proxy server, the Tor network, etc., your online location may be hidden or masked.

Geo-blocking controls. It's both useful and abused. Website banning discriminates and manipulates. Geography may be annoying and frustrating. Sadly, they may always be in style. You don't have to tolerate them!

James Davis

James Davis

staff Editor

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