You probably have ever tried watching Netflix outside US or worse still using the BBC iPlayer outside the Queen’s jurisdiction. Predictably, the result was a bummer saying you could not access the service not because your account balance was zero but simply because Netflix won’t accept money from your geographical location. Well, you’re not alone, millions more have been locked out from online stores such as Amazon and iTunes because of their geo-location. In this article we sum up a few tips to help you bypass Geo-ip restriction and Locations errors from anywhere in the world.
What is Geo-restriction?
Geo-blocking is a discriminative system used to limit access to the internet based on geographical location. It an old age practice similar to the traditional DVD region codes that prevented region-locked DVD players from playing back DVDs encoded in other markets other than those they were sold. Hollywood film distributors employed geo-blocking to segment global markets and allow releasing of movies in different market at different dates and prices.
The concept is the same today only employed on the internet. Popular Video streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Australia’s ABC iView all employ geo-blocking to limit content to US, UK and Australia. Stores such as Amazon and iTunes also use geo-restrictions to segment their markers, and even channels like NTV7 do the same. The most cited reason for geo-blocking is cross-border licensing problems and legality issues but in reality its unwillingness to invest in low end markets such Africa and Asia due to huge capital outlay required coupled with low returns.
How to Bypass Geo-Restrictions
Bypassing Geo restriction commonly known as geo-dodging is a highly contested issue, and a legally gray area as most Laws are silent on the issue. Regardless of the type of geo-restriction, they are a decent number of ways to avoid Geo-blocking and be part of a world without borders. Keeping the legal issues aside, here are some of the methods to avoid geo-restrictions and Location errors – of course.
Using a virtually Private Network (VPN)
Connecting to a Virtual Private Network is a widely used method to unblock geo-restricted sites and avoid location errors on the web. VPNs are designed to conceal your device’s real IP address in order to allow you surf the web anonymously. In this case, geo-restricted sites can’t tell your real location and will have no business declining your monthly subscription fee.
VPNs also guarantee web privacy by encrypting and routing your traffic through a VPN server of your choice. A VPN actively changes your IP address from time-to-time to protect you from activities such as DNS Hijacking by ISP’s. On the downside, the high encryption on VPNs impacts on your browsing speed. VPNs are freely available on the internet but a good service will always cost you money. Here is a list of the best VPN services to help you bypass Geo-restrictions and location errors in your country.
Better still, subscribe to premium VPN service such as IPVanish for as little as $5.19. All you need is to sign up for an account on IPVanish.com and download the Client VPN software to use their many VPN servers around the world and bypass Geo-restrictions and Location Errors. Click here for more information on how to set up IPVanish VPN on windows and Mac devices.
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Using a SmartDNS proxy
DNS tunneling is an easy way to by bypass geo-ip restrictions and location errors. Technically, Netflix, Hulu or ABC iView use your device IP address to tell you’re in a geo-restricted zone and lock you out from their services. Putting it in an easy way, all you need is SmartDNS proxy to mask your IP address such that Netflix can’t tell your real location or make it look like you’re requesting the service from United States.
A SmartDNS eliminates the man in the middle barrier in a VPN that reduce browsing speeds. Generally, a SmartDNS proxy is fast but on the downside, a DNS server won’t encrypt your traffic which leaves you vulnerable to internet crooks.
SmartDNS proxies are freely available on the internet but for a reliable service, we recommend a premium SmartDNS proxy such as Overplay. It is by far the fasted SmartDNS service in the market, enabling you to unblock geo-restricted sites for only $4.16 a month. Overplay supports all devices including PC, Mac, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Windows 8, Android, and PS4. Click here.
Using Hola Browser Plugin
Apparently, Netflix and Hulu started a crackdown on all ‘VPN pirates’upgraded its Firewall unsettling VPN subscribers. These new developments makes it difficult to unblock geo-restricted sites using a VPN and a SmartDNS. On the contrary
a browser plugin such as Hola beats them hands down and allows you to access geo-ip restricted content and bypass location errors even in Beijing. Hola works more like the Zenmate chrome browser plugin we discussed in our Netflix South Africa article, earlier. Better still, Hola spoofs your IP address on both Chrome and Firefox browsers for free. You can also download a Hola app on windows, Mac and android devices. To install Hola, visit Hola.org from here, and Install Hola extension on your Chrome or Firefox browser.
WARNING: DO NOT USE HOLA VPN. They have been found to scam its users by stealing their bandwiodth and selling it.
Using Proxy servers
Rather than masking your device IP address to circumvent geo-blocking, a proxy servers acts as an intermediary between your device and the Internet and gets the geo-restricted content for you. To the Watching web police, your device will be seen accessing the proxy server and not the restricted site.
Unfortunately, proxy servers listening on common ports (80, 1080 and 8080) will only help you bypass school internet restrictions and won’t get you far with Netflix, or the BBC iPlayer. For this reason you need a proxy server listening on uncommon ports such as 8000 and 6588 for Junkbuster and AnalogX proxy servers respectively. Click here for a list of other uncommon proxy servers to pick one for you. Alternatively, use this simple guide to set up your own proxy server.
Which geo restriction bypass method should I choose?
All methods described above will enable you to bypass geo restriction and location Errors from anywhere in the world. But due to different geo-restrictions available today, and personal preferences, one of the methods might suit your better. A VPN would be smartest choice because of the enhanced encryption that allows you to surf the web without necessarily watching your back. On the downside, you have to put up with throttled internet speeds (your Internet speed can go down upto 10-15%).
A SmartDNS on its part won’t impact on your browsing speed but leaves you vulnerable to cybercrimes such as DNS hijacking, Sniffing and Eavesdropping from malicious actors on the Web. A browser plugin or a proxy server might be costless, easy to install and use but won’t encrypt traffic from your other programs and therefore not a smart choice for advanced users.
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