The Internet is a global network, and anyone has a wealth of knowledge in their hand, in their device, I mean. You have the whole world (almost) with you. But not always. There are websites whose content are not available for certain regions. This phenomenon is what people call geo-blocking.
This happens quite often when you want to get services from the US. You can’t get HBO Go in Australia and nor can you watch US Netflix. So what is this geo-blocking and how to get past geo-blocking? Read further to know the trick.
Geo-blocking and why is it done?
It is a method that service providers use to make sure that people in a specific geographic region can access their services and the others don’t. They know your location by looking at your IP address, and every device connected to the Internet has one.
Whenever you want to visit a website, your device makes a request to access the content. Along with the request, the IP address also is sent so that the server has an address to send the requested content.
There are databases containing information about which IP address belongs to which country and thus they know.
But why do they do so? There are various reasons like legal issues and enforcing blackouts, but the most prominent one is licensing and copyright laws. These laws limit the content to the audience in a specific region. The BBC of the UK, for example, can broadcast its online services only to the UK residents.
Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu widely use this method to provide different content to different regions. There also is this differential pricing system. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, charge more from Australian users than those in the Americas.
How do I change my ISP location?
As you read above, the key to geo-blocking services is the IP address provided by your ISP. If you can change that to say, US, you can then watch HBO from Australia. But how to get American IP address.
The easiest way to do that is to use a VPN. A VPN works by IP masking. When you connect to a VPN server, it encrypts the communication network and hides your public IP address. Then, it gives the device a virtual IP address. IPVanish, a US-based company, has earned a reputation as one of the top VPN providers.
They have servers in around 60 countries in the world and if you want to access the US websites, connect to a server in the US. The server, upon connection, will provide you with a US IP address and unblocks the forbidden world.
The best VPN for Australia does more than just hiding IP address. It gives you privacy while you are browsing the Internet. You have an anonymous IP address so no one can gather information about your browsing preferences. With VPNs, thus, you can avoid unwanted marketing. IPVanish also has zero logging policy. It does not keep any connection logs.
Know more about it, in this IPVanish review article.
Other apps that hide your IP address
VPNs aren’t the only way to get services blocked at your location. There are few other popular ways:
- Proxies – Proxies are one of the alternatives to VPNs. You connect to a proxy server and the proxy server requests information on your behalf. The websites can’t know your IP address, and you have access to their services. The only downside is lack of encryption. You also can use proxies only from the web browsers.
- Smart DNS – This works in the same way as VPN, routing your data to another server but there is a difference. While VPN tunnels entire traffic through a different server, Smart DNS routes only the location related data. With so little a deflection, there is negligible effect on your network speed as compared to when using VPN. But VPNs has the facility to encrypt the data and keeping you private, which Smart DNS lacks.
- Tor browser – Another way is the Tor way. It is a free software which functions as a web browser. While you are browsing the Internet with Tor, your IP address is hidden. Tor also encrypts the data, but it isn’t available for other apps trying to access the Internet.
Governments are trying to prevent implementation of geo-blocks, but until then you can use these methods to bypass the regional restrictions.
The best and the most secure way is VPN, and you should give IPVanish a try. They have a 7-day money-back policy if you don’t like the service.