How to Avoid Geo-Blocking, No Matter the Country
One year, I decided to visit Germany–a full ocean’s length away from the United States. I brought my family along, hoping to give us all a break from the stresses of daily routine.
The trip was fantastic! However, one issue did arise during the trip, namely that of geo-blocking. When we arrived at the hotel, we decided to watch the new season of a show we had been binging the past couple weeks. Imagine our disappointment when we couldn’t find the show on Netflix…
As it turns out, the show isn’t, or wasn’t, available on Netflix Germany at all. This wasn’t a huge deal, we were outside of our hotel room more often that not, but we were still quite disappointed.
Don’t think you must suffer the same fate, though. Geo-blocking may be annoying, but it’s not invincible. Since that trip I discovered that in fact, getting past the barrier of geo-blocking is extremely easy, provided you have the proper technology (and funds) to bypass it.
What is Geo-Blocking
Geo-blocking takes place when certain content is banned (blocked) from a certain region, country, or any geographical area. This practice remains common throughout the world. If you don’t believe me, take a look at The Patriot Act being banned from Saudi Arabia because the royal family didn’t like a joke the host made.
Netflix is plenty familiar with geo-blocking as well. Certain content can not be shown in certain areas, which–depending on how you define it–is a form of geo-blocking. But it doesn’t matter if the geo-blocking is from political or financial motives–it’s annoying.
Fortunately, certain methods allow users to bypass the annoyance of geo-blocking, and perhaps the most popular option is to use a VPN, which circumvents geo-blocking completely with a simple setup.
What is a VPN
A VPN, standing for Virtual Private Network, is a way for users to keep their data secure on public networks. When you’re on an unsecure network, the data sent to and from your device(s) remains unencrypted, leaving that data open for any experienced cybercriminal.
VPNs encrypt this data by “hiding” it from the view of anyone else on the network. This process involves sending the data through VPN proxy servers before the servers of the site you’re trying to reach.
Because the data goes through these VPN servers, VPNs can be used to avoid geo-blocking restrictions. The Internet traffic will go through a server located in a different country instead of a server in your actual location. While your connection speed might be slower than usual as a result, I’d say it’s worth it if it means you can catch up on your show, all for the low price of a VPN.
How to Use a VPN To Avoid Geo-Blocking
Using a VPN is as simple as 2+2. Once you pay for the VPN of your choice, the only thing left to do is to turn on the VPN, which usually only takes the click of a button. Once done, you can choose which country you want to connect to, allowing you to avoid the geo-blocking restrictions of the area you’re in.
For example, if I lived in Germany but wanted to watch United States content on Netflix, all I’d need to do is route my data to a server in the United States. Boom! I now have access to the U.S. catalog (providing I’m using a quality VPN that actually works).
Geo-blocking, whether used for political or financial reasons, is annoying. However, VPNs provide a way to avoid the restrictions altogether, allowing you to enjoy any content anywhere.
Of course, this may be risky depending on where you are, but I’m not one to stop you from enjoying what you want to enjoy and watch what you want to watch. Just be careful when circumventing geo-blocking when you’re in countries like China or Saudi Arabia where using a VPN is illegal.