3 Ways to Effectively Get Around Geo-blocking in 2020

Invented in 1989, the world wide web is essentially an internet information system that connects documents and web resources to each other via hyperlinks. Its main use is providing its users with knowledge from across the globe.

However, is the World Wide Web really worldwide? It’s common for people to believe that everything on the internet is accessible for anyone but that’s not the case.

Geo-blocking or geo-restriction is any technology by a government or corporation that aims to restrict a user’s access to particular content on the web because of the geographical location of the user.

Geo-blocking works by geolocation, estimating the user’s geographical location by using the IP address. When you try to access a website, the website gets to know the region you are accessing their website from although it may not know your exact location. This is how websites can restrict users from certain locations from viewing their content.

The EU has tried to crack down on unjustified geo-blocking and the discrimination of EU customers by online retailers in order to increase profits, redirecting customers without permission and applying different conditions based on location.

Why Geo-blocking exists

There are numerous reasons why geo-blocking and restrictions exist, one of which is strict governments trying to prevent access by their citizens to contents they have no power to regulate and censor; the most prominent example of this is the Great Firewall of China.

Geo-blocking is often used by media and video streaming platforms to protect their copyright and licenses, a good example being Netflix. Individuals who access the site from a different country see an entirely different content library from US streamers. 

This is due to high licensing rights fees if they choose to broadcast in all countries.

Some platforms use geoblocking to restrict their audience to a particular geographical location, like shopping sites only restricting their content to regions they ship to. Geo-blocking is also used to restrict the audience of a company’s ad campaign to increase its potential.

Geo-blocking and geo-restriction have also been used for malicious purposes; some companies use it as a tool for price discrimination — an example of this is retailers using it to show different prices to users based on location, essentially making a far greater profit from users in wealthier and more developed regions.

Ways to get around geo-restriction

Although many platforms (especially streaming platforms) employ geo-restriction for one reason or the other, you can get around these restrictions with the right tools, some of which are listed below:

  1. Utilize the services of a standard VPN

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are one of the most popular ways to bypass geo-restrictions; it works by routing your traffic through a server in another country. It temporarily changes its user’s IP address with the IP address of the VPN server.

Additionally, VPNs help encrypt users’ connections over the internet from a device to a network. This ensures that unauthorized people like employers, governments and Internet Service Providers can’t eavesdrop on your traffic.

Streaming sites like HBO GO and BBC iPlayer are only available in the US and UK but can easily be accessed using a VPN. For Netflix, there are VPNs that can help you bypass the restriction, and switching to a UK IP address will grant you access to a UK only site like BBC iPlayer.

The numerous advantages of VPN include: securing and encrypting data, online anonymity, bypassing geo-restrictions and online security.

VPNs do have their certain setbacks as it may experience slower connection and connection problems. Also, some VPNs do not guarantee your anonymity and may potentially monitor your activity.

Hence it’s important to subscribe to the services of a standard, well-rated VPN.

  1. Proxies

Often used to bypass geo-blocks, a proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary between a user and a server the user is trying to connect to

Essentially, proxies server is an interface between you and the website you’re trying to connect to. Traffic flows from the proxy server to the requested address then back to the proxy server which sends the data to you.

Its main use is to mask a user’s IP address and protect their personal information as it offers anonymity. However, proxies sometimes get overcrowded severing connection speed and in some cases, the connection might not be encrypted.

  1. Using Tor browser

Tor (The Onion Router) is a free service that hides the IP address of its users and allows them to browse the web anonymously. It’s designed to stop individuals and organizations with unauthorized access from snooping on your browsing and personal information.

Rather than connecting directly, the users connect using a number of relays. The IP address is then hidden as it goes from one server to another. Although the Tor browser offers slower connection speeds as it bounces from one server to another and it has also been blocked by governments like China.


It was long thought that the content of the internet is accessible to everyone around the world but geo-blocking and geo-restrictions have proven this myth wrong as it denies users equal access to web resources.

These restrictions, however, can be evaded by masking your IP address using whichever option works best for you. Using a VPN is most advisable as it has faster connection speed and less drawbacks.

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