You may have heard of the term geoblocking. But what is it, how does it work, and – most importantly – how do you get around it? We round up everything you need to know below.
What is Geoblocking?
Geoblocking is the means by which users are restricted in terms of the content they can view on the internet, and the sites that they can visit, based on their geographical location. In some countries, geoblocking is extensive, while in other countries, such as the UK and USA, restrictions are much more relaxed. Even countries like these, though, where geoblocking isn’t used extensively, are still subject to restrictions that many users may not even be aware of.
Geofilters can be deployed to stop a user from visiting a website, accessing a streaming service, or viewing a specific piece of content, for example.
How Does It Work?
Your IP address lets servers know your geographical location, which is the means by which you can be blocked (or partially blocked) from visiting sites or accessing content that is subject to geoblocking restrictions. If you hit one of these blocks, you may get an error message pop up, letting you know that the content you’re trying to view isn’t available in your country, or you may be redirected – without being aware of this – to another version of the site, page or content that has been designed specifically for your region.
In 2018 the European Union passed the Geoblocking Regulation Act, which means that member states are prohibited from certain kinds of geoblocking, such as where payments are concerned.
What Are Some Examples of Geo-Blocked Content
Many of the major streaming services have some form of geo-blocking in place so that users in certain regions can’t gain access to the content that is available in other countries. These geo-filters are usually in place so that the company stays on the right side of copyrighting and licensing restrictions that it is obliged to adhere to.
Another example is the BBC’s iPlayer; this streaming service is only available to viewers in the UK. If you attempt to access programs from outside the UK, you will get an error message advising you that the content you’re trying to view isn’t available in your region.
How Can I Watch Geo-Blocked TV and Movies?
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to get around the restrictions and gain access to geo-blocked tv shows and films. Firstly, when choosing an internet provider, look for options that don’t restrict internet access based on location – they are out there. Have a look here for some additional info on one provider that is committed to allowing free access to all legal internet content. You’ll find full details on the packages available with this option and their respective cost and member benefits in this article, too.
Alternatively, you could use either a proxy server or a VPN connection to access geo-blocked sites and content, including tv – here’s how to do it:
Using a Proxy Server
This is the easiest option. Using a proxy server basically masks your device’s IP address with its own, which will effectively get around any geo-restrictions that are in place – it will appear as if you are literally in a different part of the world from where you actually are, and therefore you’ll have access to the tv you want to watch.
However, although a proxy server is a quick fix, it’s not necessarily the best choice. Although your IP address will be hidden, it can be easily revealed by anyone caring to do so, simply by using basic route tracing. Proxy servers also don’t offer any protection from suspicious pop-ups, some of which could contain malware or other nasties. So, if using a proxy server isn’t a wise move, how else should you access the shows you want….
Go With a VPN Instead!
A VPN (a virtual private network) is a much better choice for getting around geo-blocking to view tv shows and movies. A VPN will both hide your IP address, allowing you to access the restricted content you want, and will protect your privacy and security, too.
A VPN connection encrypts all traffic so that all the data you send and receive is safe from hackers and other cybercriminals; even in the unlikely event that the network was compromised, all that they would be able to harvest would be useless codified fragments of data. Using a VPN, therefore, is a secure way to get around any geo-restrictions you may encounter.
Despite VPN’s capacity to bypass any regional restrictions present, it’s important to note that some of the major streaming services have become wise to what’s happening and subsequently have blocked viewers who are connecting through a VPN from having any access to content at all. However, there are already VPNs available that have been designed to specifically get around this block, so check that the service you’re considering is one of these if you want to be able to access movies and tv shows from a streaming channel where geo-filters are in place.