Nowadays, the majority of major streaming services, as well as sports, gaming, and gambling websites, are restricted to certain regions. This implies that they are only accessible to people in certain countries. Additionally, some nations (such as China) impose restrictions on access to a broad variety of services, many of which are quite popular in other countries. Fortunately, there is a simple method to bypass geo-blocking: just connect to a VPN.
VPNs operate by redirecting your traffic to a server located in another country. This masks your true IP address—which is often used to detect your location—and assigns you a temporary, country-specific IP address. As a result, the majority of geo-restricted platforms are unable to distinguish between a VPN user and someone physically present in the needed area.
Additionally, VPNs encrypt your traffic, ensuring that your employer, government, and Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot monitor your online activities. This is especially advantageous if you live in a nation with severe internet control.
How to circumvent geoblocking with a VPN
You can simply access region-locked services from overseas with the correct VPN. Simply follow the instructions outlined below.
- Begin by registering for a reliable VPN. We particularly prefer NordVPN, while CyberGhost VPN and ExpressVPN are also adaptable and high-performance choices.
- Install the VPN app and make sure you get the correct version for your device.
- Connect to a VPN server in the relevant country using one of your VPN’s servers. For instance, you’ll need a British server to unlock BBC iPlayer and a US server to access Hulu.
- Log in to the service of your choice and play a video. It should begin instantly in most circumstances, but if not, clear your browser’s cache and cookies, and then reload the page.
If you continue to have problems, it’s advisable to contact your VPN’s support staff directly to determine if you should utilize a certain server.
When am I likely to run across geo-blocking?
There are two primary scenarios in which you may encounter geoblocking. One is when you attempt to access a service such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or ESPN from a foreign country. Certain streaming sites offer regionally specific content libraries, while others are unavailable to anyone outside of their home nation. Sling TV, for example, prohibits you from visiting their website from outside the United States, stating “We’re sorry.” Sling TV is now accessible only in the United States. “
This is because streaming providers often have exclusive rights to display their content in a limited number of regions. Other sorts of websites limit access to their content as well. For instance, betting websites often cater primarily to residents of certain nations.
Another instance of geo-blocking is when you attempt to access something restricted, prohibited, or illegal in your present location. This does not necessarily mean you are doing anything wrong; other nations just have different beliefs, which leads them to prohibit gambling, dating, and social networking services.
Depending on your location, you may be unable to use even basic services such as WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime. All three of these services, as well as others, are restricted in countries such as China and the UAE, making communication with friends and family impossible.
How are websites and services able to determine the country in which I am located?
Typically, services depend exclusively on the user’s IP address to determine their location around the globe. Advanced systems, on the other hand, often incorporate extra verification techniques. They may, for example, compare your IP address to GPS location data if you’re using a mobile device, or compare it to a list of known VPN servers.
Occasionally, it is not even the website you are attempting to visit that is preventing you from connecting; it is the government. For example, China’s Great Firewall maintains a comprehensive list of blacklisted websites and analyzes domestic traffic for certain keywords and identifiable VPN traffic patterns to determine whether you’re attempting to visit a restricted website.
Can I use a VPN to circumvent China’s Great Firewall?
It is extremely difficult, although not impossible, for China to circumvent regional regulations. However, you cannot just install a VPN and begin surfing, since the government has made a concerted effort to prohibit all access to privacy-related services, including VPN websites. As a result, only a few VPN services operate reliably in China.
If you’re traveling to China (or any other country that prohibits the use of VPNs), you’ll need to download and install the VPN in advance. Additionally, we suggest noting any mirror sites that your VPN may run, as well as for instructions on manually configuring the service. This information should be stored in a password-protected file on your device since countries with stringent web restrictions sometimes prohibit access to cloud storage systems.
Are you unsure if a certain website is restricted in China? You may verify this before your arrival by putting a URL into our Great Firewall tool. Bear in mind that the Great Firewall is constantly updated, so even if a site is available today, it may not be available when you get to China.
Is it possible to circumvent geoblocking using a free VPN or proxy?
Free VPNs often struggle to unblock services. They often have smaller networks than their paid counterparts, which makes it simpler for platforms to ban all of their IP addresses. Additionally, with fewer resources, it’s more difficult to develop a solution whenever new VPN detection technologies are implemented. Free proxies suffer from identical performance concerns, and to compound things, they protect just your browser traffic, which means that whatever you do in an app will remain accessible.
Due to the high volume of users on these sites, you almost surely will suffer poor speeds. Even if a free VPN or proxy unblocks your desired service, you will almost certainly encounter lengthy buffering delays and stuttering play.
When it comes to privacy, free VPN providers have a bad track record. According to a test of more than 280 free VPN programs, over 40% had malware, and more than 80% exposed personal information through IPv6.
Worse still, roughly one-fifth did not utilize any encryption at all, implying that their consumers were no safer than they were when accessing the web regularly. We’ve even seen significant firms in this field engage in questionable economic practices, like when Hola was found selling its customers’ bandwidth to assist the operation of a botnet.
Why is it that my VPN is unable to unblock a certain service?
Certain platforms have more stringent geo-blocking policies than others. For example, a local television live stream is unlikely to have extensive geo-restriction and VPN detecting tools. But Netflix, a multibillion-dollar multinational network, emphatically does. This is why some customers receive messages such as “You appear to be using an unblocker or proxy” while using a VPN to access geo-restricted services.
Even if you get an error, your VPN may be capable of unblocking your desired service. Occasionally, you’ll discover that not all servers operate, and switching to a new server is often sufficient. If you run into difficulties, you may contact your VPN’s support staff immediately. Our finest services provide 24/7 live chats, which means you can often be up and running within minutes.
What services am I able to access when traveling abroad using a VPN?
With the correct VPN, you can unblock an enormous range of geo-restricted websites and services from any location on earth. We’ve included a list of some of the sorts of content you may unblock below:
- Websites that stream television (Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video)
- Sites that broadcast sports (ESPN, beIN Sports, Sportsnet)
- Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Websites for gambling and gaming (Bet365, SkyBet, Steam)
- Services for messaging (WhatsApp, Telegram)
- Online dating services (Tinder, Match, PlentyOfFish)
- Websites devoted to news (NYTimes, Washington Post, The Guardian)
- Websites devoted to privacy (NordVPN, PrivacyExplore, OpenVPN)