How to Unblock Content from Around the World

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Ever tried to access a website, only to get a message saying something along the lines of “Sorry, this content isn’t available in your region”?

If yes, then you my friend have just had your first interaction with geo-restrictions.

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What Are Geo-Restrictions?

To keep things simple, geo-restrictions (also called geo-blocks) are a form of content control technology. Content providers use them to filter who gets to access their platforms and who doesn’t.

Basically, geo-restrictions allow websites to restrict your access to specific content based on your geolocation data. Websites see said data by analyzing your IP address when you send connection requests their way.

The best example I can give off the top of my head is Netflix. If you try to access the US library from Italy, you won’t be able to do it. Instead, you’ll get redirected to the Italian Netflix library instead.

Pandora Radio is another good example. If you try to access the website outside the US, you’ll just see this message:

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So, why do content providers use geo-restrictions?

Well, it mostly has to do with copyright regulations and licensing fees.

You see, most content providers don’t actually own all the content they broadcast. Because of that, they can’t decide on their own where they make it available.

“Why don’t the copyright holders just make it available worldwide then?”

That’s where licensing fees come into play. If a content provider or copyright holder were to make certain content available worldwide, they’d have to buy licensing and/or broadcasting rights and specific taxes in every single country.

Safe to say, that’d be extremely expensive for them, and likely unrealistic.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s fair that you need to put up with geo-blocks just because you’re from a different part of the world or travel/work abroad.

How to Easily Bypass Geo-Blocks With a VPN

If you’re not familiar with VPNs, they are online services that can hide your IP address and encrypt your Internet traffic.

The “hide your IP address” bit will be of interest here because that means the service can hide your geo-location, making it seem like you’re from a different country.

Yep, that pretty much means you can:

  • Trick Netflix into thinking you’re from the US so that you can watch exclusive shows like Adam Ruins Everything, Pawn Stars, and Parks and Recreation.
  • Make BBC iPlayer think you’re from the UK, letting you enjoy shows such as The Rack Pack, Channel M, and Oakwood.
  • Fool Hulu into giving you access to popular stuff like The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, and Das Boot.
  • Get HBO GO to let you binge great series like Girls, True Blood, and Deadwood.

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And here’s the best part – you don’t even need to do much. Just pick a VPN provider, download and install their VPN client, connect to a server in the country where the content you want to watch is available, and you’re good to go.

“But How Do I Find a Good VPN?”

That can be pretty tough. If you look up VPN services on Google, you’ll get tons of results. In fact, there are hundreds of VPN providers on the market right now. Going through them all, and closely analyzing them to see which one best suits your needs will obviously take a lot of time and effort.

Luckily, there are shortcuts – like this review of PureVPN, for example. You can quickly read through it or scan it to find out how PureVPN can help you easily and quickly unblock tons of geo-blocked content from around the world.

It’s got servers in 141 countries, so it’s safe to say you won’t get bored any time soon with it.

Does Unblocking Content With a VPN Increase Speeds?

Not exactly.

Using a VPN can also result in decreased speeds sometimes. Not by a lot, but you might notice the drop.

That mostly has to do with various things, such as:

  • How far you are from the server you’re using (connecting to a server on a different continent will likely slow down speeds).
  • Whether or not the server has bandwidth caps or is overcrowded.
  • How resource-intensive the VPN protocol is (OpenVPN delivers slower speeds than IKEv2, for instance).
  • How powerful your CPU is (since it’s needed to process the VPN encryption).
  • Your original ISP speeds (if they’re slow from the get-go, there’s not much a VPN can do for you).

However, it is worth noting that you might get better speeds with a VPN in two scenarios:

1. If your ISP routes your online traffic poorly, a VPN might “convince” them to use different, faster routing paths. Of course, this is just speculation.

2. If your ISP throttles your bandwidth, essentially slowing down your speeds because you’re using up “too much data” watching your favorite shows.

In both cases, a VPN helps by hiding your Internet traffic so that your ISP can’t see what you’re doing on the web.

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Are There Other Options You Can Use to Bypass Geo-Blocks?

There are, but they’re not exactly better than VPN services.

Smart DNS Services

A Smart DNS is an online service that uses proxy servers, hides your DNS address, and replaces the data that leaks your geo-location from your connection requests with new info that points to different countries.

The good thing about Smart DNS services is that they let you use your original ISP speeds since they don’t use any encryption.

The bad part, however, is that:

·   They can’t protect your privacy and online data.

·   They can’t stop your ISP from throttling your bandwidth.

·   Smart DNS services can’t hide your IP address to help you bypass firewalls.

Tor (The Onion Router)

Tor is an anonymity network, and while it can hide your geo-location, I don’t recommend using it to unblock content.

Why?

Because you’ll get really slow speeds. The devs themselves admit Tor is slow, and it’s hardly a surprise when you’ve got around 6,000 relays serving nearly two million people.

 

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How to Unblock Content from Around the World

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